St. Vincent, Cape Verde | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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St. Vincent, Cape Verde

Sao Vicente is an island of Cape Verde. Activity on the island is centered around the city of Mindelo, which is the cultural capital of the Cape Verde islands. There are few tourist attractions and hence is not as popular a destination as other islands, however, the looming mountains, sandy beaches, and little fishing towns give Sao Vicente a certain charm.

The island is largely desertified and what few plants there are either farmed or at high altitude. All major towns are connected by cobbled roads and are no more than ~30 mins drive from Mindelo. Money has been spent on tourist projects, with the aim of attracting people to the island, however several of these sit empty, waiting for travelers to arrive.

Most of the bars, restaurants, and hotels on the island are located in Mindelo.

Geography

The island is roughly rectangular in shape with a surface area of... Read more

St. Vincent, Cape Verde

Destination:
Sao Vicente is an island of Cape Verde. Activity on the island is centered around the city of Mindelo, which is the cultural capital of the Cape Verde islands. There are few tourist attractions and hence is not as popular a destination as other islands, however, the looming mountains, sandy beaches, and little fishing towns give Sao Vicente a certain charm.

The island is largely desertified and what few plants there are either farmed or at high altitude. All major towns are connected by cobbled roads and are no more than ~30 mins drive from Mindelo. Money has been spent on tourist projects, with the aim of attracting people to the island, however several of these sit empty, waiting for travelers to arrive.

Most of the bars, restaurants, and hotels on the island are located in Mindelo.

Geography

The island is roughly rectangular in shape with a surface area of ca. 227 square kilometers (88 square miles). From east to west it measures 24 kilometers (15 miles) and from north to south no more than 16 kilometers (9.9 miles). The terrain includes mountains in the west, the southwest, the south, the east-central and the north. The area is flat in the north-central and central parts, the eastern part south of Calhau, and the northern part in the Baía das Gatas area. The urban area of Mindelo is in the northern part.

The island, of volcanic origin, is fairly flat. Its highest point is Monte Verde (green mountain), located in the northeast-central part with an altitude of 725 meters (2,379 feet). Although very eroded, some craters still remain, in particular near the bay of Mindelo. Other mountains include Monte Caraand Topona.

A small islet, Ilheu dos Passaros, is less than one nautical mile off the coast north of Porto Grande Bay off Mindelo, the island being one of five that have surrounding islets.

Until the mid-20th century, trees were scarce on the island, and most of the island remains deforested. Most of the wide valleys and smaller dales have become forested, particularly in the middle of the island.

Climate

São Vicente enjoys a very rare mild and dry tropical climate (Köppen–Geiger classification As), much like Santa Cruz de Tenerife or Las Palmas on the Canary Islands, but somewhat warmer during winter months. The average annual temperature in Mindelo is 23.2 °C (73.8 °F) which is two degrees more than in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The island is very arid, with only 80 to 130 mm (3.15–5.12 inches) of annual rainfall, somewhat higher only near the tops of the few mountains. These rare climate conditions are due to its position far off the west African coast and because Cape Verde is in the middle of the cold Canary Current. The ocean water temperature every year is between 22 °C (72 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F). There are two seasons: December through July is mainly dry, cool and windy, while August through November is a wetter and warmer season.

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St. Vincent, Cape Verde: Port Information


Cruise ships dock at Mindelo Sao Vicente Cruise Port.
It is located 15 minutes from the town (on foot). Shuttle buses are available.

Get around St. Vincent, Cape Verde


Buses around the island are limited and start in Mindelo.

Taxis are common around Mindelo and will travel to any town connected to the city by road. Off-road travel costs more, even for short distances.

Aluguers are easy to find around the market places in Mindelo and at the main road junctions/roundabouts on the island and are cheaper than taxis. They can often be flagged down.

Cars and off-road vehicles can be rented from the center of Mindelo. A lot of people who live on the island cannot afford cars and choose to walk between the villages on foot. They can often be seen trying to flag down any passing car, and this can be a way of traveling the island for free. If you are driving, hitch-hikers are friendly and grateful for the transport.

What to see in St. Vincent, Cape Verde


  • Monte Verde

    . The highest point on Sao Vicente at 725 meters (2,379 ft). Climb the precarious mountain road (cobbled) by foot or by car and visit the islands only nature reserve. The top of the mountain hosts several communications towers and is the only place on the island you will find a variety of wild green plants. There are some abandoned farm buildings which people apparently use in the wetter months of the year to grow some vegetables on the island. The views of Mindelo and the surrounding area are beautiful and well worth a look. Aluguers and taxis can drop you at the bottom of the track up to the mountain as it is just off the main road between Mindelo and

    Baia Das Gatas

    .

Beaches

  • Sao Pedro. Long sandy beach just behind the airport. Planes flying overhead can be disconcerting, but the beach is often empty. There is the town of Sao Pedro at one end where locals land fish daily and enjoy to play footsal, and a resort at the other. The beach is sheltered from the prevailing winds typical of Sao Vicente. There is a popular surf spot (point break) at the Sao Pedro end of the beach.
  • Praia Grande

    . Beach around the headland from Calhau. Popular with locals at the weekends. The beach is accessible from the main road over sand. The beach is sandy and has long rolling waves. Visitors should be careful as the sea currents can be strong here.
  • Baia das Gatas. Amazingly sheltered bay ~15 minutes from Mindelo. The shallow, calm waters make the area perfect for bathing. Very popular with locals who often stay the whole weekend, drinking and listening to music. There are a few bars/restaurants close to the beach and plenty of parking space. Aluguers travel to and from here fairly regularly.

What to do in St. Vincent, Cape Verde


  • Mornas. Try and hear some mornas in the bars and restaurants on the islands. There is live music in Mindelo every weekend.
  • Hiking. There are several extent volcanoes on the island that can be explored on foot and hiking maps showing routes can be bought from tourist information kiosks in Mindelo. However, the sun, heat, and lack of shade and sights can make walking unbearable on Sao Vicente. Hence, people prefer the more lush Santo Antão and Fogo islands for hiking.

What to eat and drink in St. Vincent, Cape Verde


Eat

  • Restaurante Serenata, Calhau. Excellent restaurant out near Calhau.

Drink

  • Simpatico, Baia das Gatas, 2. Extension of the bar in Mindelo with extensive outside seating to enjoy the beaches nearby.
  • Hamburg Bar, Calhau.

Shopping in St. Vincent, Cape Verde


Since most goods are imported, they are pretty expensive. Nevertheless, you can buy locally grown and produced items (wine, cheese, etc.) as well as lovely handicrafts.

Safety in St. Vincent, Cape Verde


Crime rates are relatively low. The emergency number is 132.

UK health authorities have classified Cape Verde as having a risk of Zika virus transmission.

Language spoken in St. Vincent, Cape Verde


The official language is Portuguese, used in all official publications and announcements as well as in business, media, and schools, but the local language is Cape Verdean Creole (Kriolu kabuverdianu), a Portuguese-based Creole language with 90-95% of the words from Portuguese and the rest mainly from West African languages. It is divided into 9 dialects spoken on various parts of the country. Even though Kriolu is comprehensible to a skilled Portuguese-speaker almost all people can also speak Portuguese as a second language. French Creole is not the same as Cape Verdian Creole, and a considerable number also speak English; basically, Kriolu is your first option, Portuguese second, English third.

It is a good idea to know some Kriolu or at least Portuguese, since even though young urban people are often quite proficient in English, this does not apply to old and rural people, and even those who can speak English will highly appreciate any attempt you do to speak Kriolu or Portuguese.

LOCAL TIME

3:53 pm
June 18, 2019
Atlantic/Cape_Verde

CURRENT WEATHER

29 °C / 84.2 °F
sky is clear
Wed

22.88 °C/73 °F
sky is clear
Thu

22.75 °C/73 °F
sky is clear
Fri

22.27 °C/72 °F
sky is clear
Sat

21.63 °C/71 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

CVE

1 USD = 0 CVE
1 EUR = 0 CVE
1 GBP = 0 CVE
1 AUD = 0 CVE
1 CAD = 0 CVE

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