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Sao Vicente-Mindelo Cape Verde

Music and Carnaval

The fine natural harbour in Mindelo made it a natural enclave for the British in the years when they ruled the waves. Although once well cultivated, farming is now failing due to drought. The golf course - the only one so far in the islands - is on baked mud with browns instead of greens. A lot of English words have made it into the local version of criolu.

Once a regular port of call for ocean liners, it now sees only a few passing yachts and the Onboard Sailing race of Farr 60s to Barbados each November. The city has a pretty colonial air, with some fine buildings. Time has passed it by. But there are plenty of restaurants and bars and many think that it is the most attractive town in the Cape Verdes. The hinterland is quite empty, but ideal for walking or riding around.

Mindelo the most sophisticated town in the Cape Verdes

Cape Verde’s second largest town, Mindelo, is a port where most people live here.The streets have many colonial British and Portuguese houses and gardens.In the evening, Mindelo's bars and discotheques come alive with the swaying rhythmic music and dancing. Most places have live bands which play and bars have live groups of guitarists and violinists who play traditional Moura music. This is particularly good at the yacht club or Club Nautico, where you can listen under billowing jibs, which form sunshades.

J from Scotland found Mindelo lively.

"Mindelo being a major port is much more vibrant and cosmopolitan and well worth a visit. Places worth a look at in Mindelo - the African and French cultural centres the fish market, the municipal market, the old prison (soon to become a casino). "

J from Rhode Island

"Sao Vicente greeted us with colorful buildings, palm trees and a nice calm harbor.. We went up a hillside to look at an old building we had seen from shore. We walked up a road and then up a hillside, dirt sliding into my flip-flops. It was an old jail with a great view of the harbor. We looked back over the city and saw the different zones, one of which is named Che Guevara. There is a tall mountain whose silhouette is a striking image of a man’s face looking up. The houses around the harbor look very nice. There are certainly some wealthy people on the islands, though many people are poor . We had Portuguese beer and Catcupa, a delicious local dish - a mixture of beans and corn, a fried egg and a few pieces of spicy sausage. We drank “punch” a delicious sweet, syrupy rum type drink with lemon or lime slices in it. I had a cup of Cape Verdean Coffee from Santa Antao, which now might rival a cup of coffee I had had in the Dominican Republic as the best cup of coffee I have ever had in my life.
A Senegalese with dreads brought a two-liter bottle of white rum. from Santa Antao. We stopped back at Club Nautica and listened to a great band. They sang traditional Cape Verdean music, and then sang the words of Bob Marley . . . “Emancipate your self from mental slavery . . .no other can free your mind . . .” Those words stuck me harder than ever before sitting on an island next to people whose history was so impacted by the slave trade. Next day, we looked at a statue whose bird represents peace. We went to the library and found, of course, all of the literature in Portuguese. I spoke to a few university students. A few models of tall ships dressed in flags decorated the halls. We walked around, had lunch in a park where a man offered to shine our shoes. The park was lined with palm trees and sunshine. We met some nice children on the street who spoke great English and liked football and Play Station. . We went to a market that had cassava, fresh fruit and friendly faces. We went to an outdoor market selling souvenirs and goods that looked like they could also be found in West Africa. Blue and while tiled murals depicted images of Mindelo’s harbor and people working.

N from Arizona found it so different from Boa Vista

"Mindelo is easy to get lost in, not just literally, but figuratively as well. This city is so alive and you will hear many people tell you that Mindelo is the smallest big city in the world. Everyone knows each other, but it's big enough that if you want to avoid someone, you can. The grocery stores are virtually unlimited and (gasp!) even open on Sundays! I can't tell you the exact population, but it's fairly large and just so alive. The change from Boa Vista is like night and day. . I chose Mindelo because I had been here once before (last February for Mardi Gras)and loved the feel and ambiance of the place. It's large, but it's not Praia which I find too large. Here I can still walk anywhere within a maximum of fifteen minutes and the stores are plentiful and cheap."

H from Essex liked it best of all.

"Sao Vicente was my favourite island. Fascinating mixture of people and incredible landscapes. The Nautical Bar in Mindelo is a must as is Nella'srestaurant. Only two negatives, didn't get to meet Cesaria Evora as she had left the day before for Paris and the Hotel Loutcha where the staff seem not to care about anything, all a bit gloomy really. "

F from Portugal

"Next to Sao Vicente's Airport there is a large beach surrounded by a majestic arid landscape. Foya Branca Hotel faces the beach very closely. The hotel Foya Branca has villas' with great panoramic ocean view. The night fell and we went on to Mindelo, the largest city in the island and the country's second largest. Sao Vicente is a small island compared to others but it is the second most populated after Santiago. Here it is the second largest town in Cape Verde, Mindelo. Mindelo is considered the cultural capital mostly because of music that seems to be everywhere. Mindelo has the most important port in the country which is located in Mindelo Bay. This bay faces the majestic mountains of Santo Antao, the island 1 hour away by boat. On the left side of this bay Mount Cara (seems a human face) looks towards the ocean. Behind Mindelo it is Mount Verde (Green) that seems to dominate this side of the island. From there one can look at Gatas Bay down there with its famous beach and Music festival site. On the other side of the island, the village of Calhau faces the desert island of Santa Luzia.

Hotels and Restaurants on Sao Vicente