On Sao Vicente the most important is the capital Mindelo. The capital of the island is also the cultural capital of Cape Verde. The city is one of the wealthier cities of Cape Verde and is known for its intimate atmosphere, the music, the architecture and the bustling vibrancy. The port city inspired many intellectual, musician and artist. Through live music, carnival and other music festivals Sao Vicente is also known as the Rio de Janeiro of Cape Verde. Also beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts will find Sao Vicente an excellent destination. An island well worth a visit.
The majority of the population of Sao Vicente lives in Mindelo. Apart from the capital, the dry island has red colored surfaces and mountain ranges interspersed with desert valleys. Sao Vicente is centrally located to other small uninhabited and idyllic islands. In addition, the distance to the occupied Santo Antao is only 14 kilometers. Sao Vicente is a good starting point to visit the other Cape Verde islands.
Sights Sao Vicente
With the main port of the Cape Verde islands, this is also the cultural capital of the archipelago. The pastel-colored colonial houses, live music, numerous bars, restaurants and fine liveliness make Mindelo a good place to stay. Mindelo is also the city where Cape Verde singer and queen of the morna Cesária Évora was born.
Carnival / festivals
The know how to celebrate on Cape Verde. In February, on Sao Vicente is the biggest carnival (Mardi Gras) of Cape Verde. The parades, costumes, feather headdresses and atmosphere remind of the carnival as it is celebrated in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Another great music festival is the Baia das Gatas. This international multi-day festival is held in August.
At the top of Monte Verde you will have a great panoramic view of Mindelo. From here you can see the montain Monte Cara. In clear weather you can even see the island of Santo Antao and the uninhabited islands of Santa Luzia, Branco and Raso.
The waters around Sao Vicente are internationally known for its blue marlin. These powerful fish with their big sword can be more than 4 meters long and reach a weight of over 900 kilograms. Sao Vicente is considered one of the best blue marlin destinations in the world.
For kite, wind and board surfers this belongs to one of the best places in the world, predominantly at the sandy beach at Calhau. If conditions are favorable you can reach very high speeds here. Also for beginners there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the waves and the wind.
A small fishing village with pastel colored houses and fishing boats. This beautiful village is located on a white sandy beach and is a good place to relax, swim or surf.
From the air you get an impression of what Sao Vicente looks like. A nice video made with a drone shows a part of Sao Vicente from a bird’s eye view. View the aerial video ‘Sao Vicente from the air‘.
How to get to Sao Vicente?
You can get to Sao Vicente by airplane from several international airports (e.g. Amsterdam, Lisbon). Moreover you also can take a domestic flight to / from the islands of Sal and Santiago. For all flight information please check out our page about domestic and international flights to Cape Verde. The international airport of Sao Vicente is named after the music icon Cesaria Evora. It is located around 10 kilometers from the city Mindelo. A taxi from the airport to Mindelo takes about 20 minutes and will cost you around 10 euros.
You also can take the ferry to Sao Vicente. For example, from the island Sao Nicolau. The ferry ride is pretty long and departures can be re-scheduled. Based on this we do not recommend to take the ferry.
If you arrive by sailing boat, then you can make use of the modern harbor / port of Mindelo (Mindelo Marina). The port has fuel, fresh water, a dock and boat repair facilities that are considered the best of the Cape Verde islands.