Mindelo, São Vicente
Cape Verde’s cultural capital is said to be in Mindelo on the island São Vicente, once home to the barefoot diva, the late Cesária Évora, the islands’ best-known singer. It’s also famous for its colourful Brazilian-influenced carnival held here each February. It’s here in the city’s cool bistros and bars, locals and savvy travellers gather to listen to morna, the islands’ traditional music, while sipping grogue, the local rum-like drink.
A few years ago I spent a Sunday afternoon there, wandering through the back streets, photographing the people and the wonderful architecture, a reminder of its colonial past. There’ a sense of history and faded glory about many of the buildings.
Wandering down the cobbled back streets, I chatted with a family playing the game of wuri. Everyone I met was happy to be photographed as they went about their daily life. As you can probably tell, it’s a very laid back place.
Click on any image to see it enlarged.
You might also enjoy A slice of lemon with your barnacles madame? A rather bizarre dish I came across in Santa Maria on the island of Sal, Cape verde.
The city hugs the crescent-shaped Porto Grande Harbour set against a stunning backdrop of rugged mountains. Down by the waterfront, hundreds of boys were practising the local martial art of capoeira. It’s said to have been developed by slaves in Brazil, who fooled their masters into thinking it was a dance when really they were practising self-defence. It’s fabulous to watch. The Torre de Belém, by the harbour, is a scaled-down replica of the 15th-century tower that overlooks Lisbon’s port. There’s a fascinating museum inside about the history of the island. Check out nearby fish market, which lies just beyond Torre de Belém, with a jetty right by it where fishermen unload their catch each day.
Looking for a hotel in Mindelo?
Also by the marina, the swanky new Pont d’Agua, a modern glass and concrete complex of restaurants and shops lined with palm trees, is a new addition to the waterfront since I visited. For something more traditional visit the Mercado Municipal, a restored two-storey food market built in 1784 on Rua da Libertad d’Africa. Also, not to be missed is the bright pink Palácio do Povo, on Avenue Baltazar Lopes da Silva, a former government building now exhibition space. Back near the waterfront, the Centro Cultural do Mindelo on Avenue Marginal, is home to changing exhibitions by local artists and has a small shop selling local crafts, music and books.
Join my 'Behind the Scenes' newsletter
Delivered monthly to your inbox with all my behind the scenes news, latest posts and giveaways exclusive to my subscribers.
Travel Planning Resources
Please note that most of the following links are affiliate links which means that if you click on the link, I may be paid a small commission. You can find out more about affiliate links in my Disclaimer.
I never travel without insurance. If something unexpected goes wrong the costs implications are just too high to take the risk. World Nomads provides travel insurance to travellers from over 130 countries. They're the perfect choice for long term travellers or single trip insurance.
Travel clothes for women
Check out my guide to all my favourite travel clothes for women.
Book your hotel or package holiday
Book your flight
Skyscanneris my preferred flight search engine. I'd recommend them for finding the best deals on flights.
Rent a car
Discover Carsis a great site for comparing car hire prices to help you find the best deal. They search both local and international rental companies.
Book an experience
Don’t forget your travel adaptor
Worldwide travel adaptors are perfect no matter where you are travelling from or to. Buy this one from the US or this one from the UK. It’s pretty much the only one you’ll ever need. Please note that as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.