São Vicente Island
Monte Verde is the highest point of the island
16,8533° N, 24,9808° W
São Vicente is a place filled with history, great music, and unforgettable natural beauty
In addition to its rich and lively cultural offerings, the island of São Vicente boasts a breathtaking natural landscape.
From the rugged mountains that rise over Mindelo to the crystal-clear waters that kiss its shores, the island is a dream for nature enthusiasts.
Visitors are embraced by the warmth of 'morabeza,' because na nôs tera, nôs tudo ê família - in our land, we are all family.
This Cape Verdean trait of welcoming everyone as family is evident in the warm smiles and welcoming gestures, which immediately instill a sense of belonging and acceptance.
History, geography, and culture of São Vicente
The island of São Vicente was discovered in 1462 by Portuguese explorers and, throughout its history, has been an important trade hub due to its strategic location.
The capital and main city is Mindelo, vibrant and colorful, known for its lively music scene and stunning colonial architecture.
São Vicente covers an area of 227 square kilometers and is characterized by rugged terrain and steep mountains.
The island's highest point is Monte Verde, which stands at an altitude of 774 meters.
The coordinates of São Vicente are 16.8533° N, 24.9808° W. The island has a population of around 80,000, with a blend of African, European, and Brazilian heritages.
Some of São Vicente's most notable children are the artist and performer Cesária Évora and the writer Germano Almeida.
The island is recognized as the music capital of Cape Verde.
Its cuisine, like that across the Cape Verde archipelago, is influenced by Portuguese, African, and Brazilian kitchens.
Some must-try local products include 'grogue,' a potent rum made from sugarcane, and of course, the famous cachupa
Exploring the capital: Mindelo
Mindelo is worth a visit for its colonial architecture, strong musical culture and bustling markets.
The Municipal Market, with over a century of history, is the perfect place to experience local life with dozens of stalls and commercial spaces that include:
- Fresh and dry goods stalls
- Butcher shop
- Grocery store
- Electronics stores
- Sewing workshop
- Craft store
- Herbalist shop
- Theater documentation center
- Permanent exhibitions
The Mindelo Cultural Center is a true lesson in history and culture, with its doors always open for rehearsals and classes in music, singing, theater, visual arts or yoga.
Throughout the year there are concerts, festivals, lectures, training sessions, book launches and other events.
It includes a craft store, bookstore and courtyard for relaxation.
Enjoy the crystal clear and golden beaches
The island of São Vicente is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in Cape Verde.
The top 3 include:
- Laginha Beach, a favorite among tourists and locals alike,
- São Pedro Beach, known for its peaceful atmosphere and excellent surfing conditions, and
- Calhau Beach, located in a more secluded area with dramatic rock formations and calm waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
But there are over a dozen beaches on São Vicente, each with something different to offer.
Whether it's swimming, sunbathing, trying out windsurfing, kiteboarding or surfing or simply relaxing with a book.
Beaches of São Vicente
- Baía das Gatas Beach
- Calhau Beach
- Calheta Grande Beach
- Ceilada do Calhau Beach
- Flamengos Beach
- Laginha Beach
- Palha Carga Beach
- Grande Beach
- Norte Beach
- Salamansa Beach
- Topim Beach.
Walking in Monte Verde
Nature lovers will fall in love with Monte Verde.
The trail starts in the village of São Pedro and climbs the rocky and steep slopes of Monte Verde, the highest peak on the island at an altitude of 774 meters.
The ascent is exhausting and requires a good level of physical fitness.
Along the way, hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of the rugged coastline, sea embracing it, lush vegetation, as well as unique flora and fauna.
Enjoying the nightlife
The night can start at Baía das Gatas beach, a popular spot that hosts an annual music festival and is an excellent choice to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset.
Mindelo is known for its vibrant music scene and bars and nightclubs in the city center, particularly around Rua de Lisboa and Praça Nova.
From traditional Cape Verdean music to jazz, reggae, and electronic beats, there's great music and entertainment for everyone.
The most famous musical style of the archipelago is morna, a melancholic genre full of soul that has been compared to blues.
Cesária Évora, Bana, and Tito Paris are some of the island's most famous musicians who started their careers in Mindelo and were huge ambassadors of Cape Verdean music worldwide.
Visiting Santo Antão
Just a short ferry ride away, the island of Santo Antão is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts.
With its green-filled valleys, towering cliffs, and traditional villages, this island offers a glimpse into a way of life that has changed little over the centuries.
It's worth visiting the city of Paul, famous for its sugarcane fields and coffee plantations.
POCKET GUIDE TO THE ISLE OF SÃO VICENTE
Explore Cabo Verde
Sun and beach, mountain trails, landscapes of a nature that so easily springs up everywhere and a wealth of customs and traditions that does not translate into any price: Cabo Verde is a paradise that rests by the sea.
With the morabeza of the people and the magic that is only found in Islands of sun and sea, this archipelago is a universe of experiences to discover.
Flavors, smells and colors permeate memories and here you can feel the warm breeze on the skin and the sweetness of life.
Getting to know a new country is synonymous with new adventures. Each country is a country. It is a different culture, with its own laws, customs, tastes and peculiarities distinct from any other part of the world.
Preparing your trip in advance can save you some challenges.
Here you can find the most frequent questions of travelers and some tips so that you can get to know the country smoothly.
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