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sao vicente island shape

Sao Vicente

The cultural hub of Cape Verde

Welcome to the musical island of Cape Verde. São Vicente is the cultural centre of the country and home to artists, writers, painters and great musicians. Breathe in the Cape Verdean hospitality Morabeza as you wander around the colourful centre of Mindelo. It's a busy city with a tropical, island like atmosphere and a charming street life. Relax on the main beach Laginha with a rum based Caipirinha cocktail and enjoy your vacation!

mindelo city

Mindelo

All the daily activities happen in the capital Mindelo. The vibrant city with nearly 75.000 inhabitants is the beating trade centre of the Northern (Barlavento) islands. The musical and architectural heritage makes Mindelo so special.

Home town of the barefoot diva Cesaria Evora whose Morna's are still played everyday. Sit down a small cafe and listen to the melancholic songs full of Sodade.

 

During carnaval Mindelo turns into a dazzling spectacle. The parade is one of the most beautiful of its kind and attracts many visitors.

 

This artistic city will inspire and show you the diverse Cape Verdean culture!

cesaria evora

Landscape

San Vicente is characterised by impassable mountain areas, hidden sand beaches, inactive volcano views and steep rocky coastlines. The land is dry and even the highest peak (Monte Verde, 774m) is not high enough to stop the clouds' moisture from falling down and irrigate the landscape. Sao Vicente has beautiful, unspoiled white beaches and a natural pool in Baia das Gatas. Please be aware of dangerous currents, some spots can be tricky to swim.

Due to the dry lands, Sao Vicente was settled much later than the other islands. The sheltered harbour of Mindelo was often used by pirates as a hiding location, but the first real settlement only came in 1794. Nowadays the bay shelters the largest marine harbor of Cape Verde.

laginha

Laginha beach in Mindelo

Highlights of São Vicente

  • Mindelo: explore the historical city centre or the local neighbourhoods Ribeira Bote & Monte Sossego during a city tour

  • Calhau: a sleepy fisherman's village with volcanic rocks and views on the uninhabited island Santa Luzia.

  • Vulcão Viana: an inactive volcano hidden in the landscape next to Calhau village. The volcano is well kept and the crater accessible for visitors. Best to visit with a guide on one of our hiking tours. 

  • Monte Verde: the highest mountain of the island with agriculture areas on top. At 744 meters visitors are treated with a panoramic 360° view of Mindelo city and the wild East coastline. 

  • Baia das Gatas: a cosy sunbathing village with great beach spots to relax. It's home to the yearly Baia das Gatas international music festival. The natural pool is easily accessible from the pier and safe for children to swim. 

  • Sao Pedro: a fishermen's village growing in tourism development with a few cosy restaurants by the beach. For windsurfers and bodyboarders Sao Pedro is thé spot on the island. The hike to the Don Amelia lighthouse is worth the climb, but the real highlight of the bay is snorkeling with turtles

  • Salamansa: a colorful fishing village with an authentic way of living. The beach is unspoiled and has 2 restaurants. On windy days in wintertime Salamansa is a great spot for kitesurfing.

  • Praia Grande: follow the scenery road along white Sahara sand dunes and spectacular ocean views. Swimming is not recommended due to strong currents.

snorkeling with turtles

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Where to stay

Getting to the cultural island Sao Vicente  

Sao Vicente Airport, named after the legendary Cesaria Evora, is your gateway from Europe to this exotic destination. Let's explore how you can easily connect to Sao Vicente and other Cape Verdean islands for an unforgettable journey.

 

International flights to Sao Vicente

Sao Vicente Airport (VXE) is one of the four international airports in Cape Verde, and it welcomes daily flights arriving from Europe. The primary connection is from Lisbon with reputable airlines like TAP and TACV. Luxair from Luxembourg, Transavia from Paris, and TUI Holland from Amsterdam also offer weekly flights.

 

Domestic flights to Sao Vicente

Sao Vicente receives daily connections from the capital Praia with Cabo Verde airlines (TACV) and has 4 to 5 weekly connections to the beach island Sal.  There are occasional flights available to the less visited neighbour island Sao Nicolau. Flying to Fogo and Boa Vista is only possible with a stop in Praia. 

Flying is the most common way to reach Sao Vicente from Sal and Praia, but some travellers prefer the route over sea. Keep in mind that ferry travel is possible, but is time-consuming. Daily connections aren't guaranteed, so purchasing tickets from CV interilhas in advance is the safest way.

 

The only connection guaranteed multiple times a day from Mindelo harbour is to the greenest island, Santo antao:

 

How to get to Santo Antão island?

To reach Santo Antao, you must take a 1 hour ferry from Mindelo on Sao Vicente to Porto Novo harbour. Since Santo antao doesn't have a functioning airport anymore going by ferry is the only way to get to the island. Count 3.000 CVE / €27 for a return ticket for non-residents. 

 

The 2 ferry companies Armas and CV Interilhas both offer one daily AM and PM departure each and change their schedules every 45 days to compete effectively. This flexibility ensures you have options to fit your travel plans.  The timetable is fixed year round with departures at 7h,8h,14h and 15h. You can easily purchase tickets at the Mindelo and Porto Novo harbours right before departure or a few days in advance. Online purchases are not recommended as the websites tend to have technical issues. 

Travel duration by ferry

Mindelo, Sao Vicente - Porto Novo, Santo antao : 1 hour

Mindelo, Sao Vicente - Tarrafal, Sao Nicolau : 4,5 hours

Mindelo, Sao Vicente - Palmeira, Sal : 14 hours

Travel duration by plane

Sao Vicente (VXE) - Sal (SID) : 40 minutes

Sao Vicente (VXE) - Praia, Santiago (RAI) : 45 minutes

Sao Vicente (VXE) - Sao Nicolau (SNE) : 20 minutes (only seasonal connections)

 

Exploring Sao Vicente and the other Cape Verdean islands with Cabo Mundo 

While Cape Verde's islands offer an extraordinary experience, it's important to note that travelling between them can take time and flight tickets are limited. As you plan to visit Sao Vicente, consider the convenience of having your trip organised. We specialize in island hopping trips, ensuring that your journey is hassle-free.  Our serviced include airport transfers, activities and booking assistance. 

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