Mindelo is on the island of São Vicente. Mindelo is the cultural capital of Cape Verde. You'll have trouble avoiding hearing traditional music commonly played in bars and restaurants around town.
From the airport at São Pedro taxis take you to Mindelo for 800$ during the day and 1000$ in the evening.
You can also walk the 100m from the airport up to the main road. From there it is probably possible to flag down an aluguer.
The port at Mindelo has regular ferries across to Porto Novo on Santo Antão.
- Arrival by cruise Ship. If you arrive by cruise ship be aware that there is no information booth handing out or selling city maps as you disembark, nor is there a bank. There are banks in town but they will ask to see either your passport or a copy of it and charge a flat fee of 5 euros. However most businesses accept euros & US dollars. When you exit the compound, turn right for the town centre, a 10 minute walk; alternatively turn left and for 5 minutes walk past a refinery building to the beach at Praia de Laginha. Very few places have functioning Wi-Fi.
A lot of the town is walkable. Local buses travel some limited routes and taxis are common.
San Vincente is a volcanic island, part of the Windward group. It was discovered in 1462 by Portuguese navigator Diogo Gomes but was slow to develop due to the lack of water for drinking and agriculture. There were several attempts at settlement in the 18th century, including one by people from Madeira. However settlement at the deep water port of Mindelo did not take off until the mid 19th century, reinforced by the presence of British trading companies. The period of growth was short-lived, as by the beginning of the 20th century the fortunes of the town were already in decline.
The abandoned Fortim dEl Rei
- Fortim d'El Rei. Old abandoned fort on top of the hill above Mindelo port. Built around 1852, the fort was used to guard Porto Grande. It has since been used as a prison and in 2009 was destined to be demolished and turned into a casino and hotel. Construction appears to have stopped (Jul 2014) and billboards advertising the development lie scattered on the ground. The perimeter fence is largely broken and the gates appear to be always open. The site is now used for a cell mast. The fort is interesting to poke around and the views of the city and bay are lovely. (16.890594,-24.993021) edit
- Climb the Belem Tower. The tower is a modest 3-storey copy of the Lisbon original, built in brick between 1918-21. For a modest fee you can climb to the observation deck above the top floor for great views of the town and its harbour.
Starting at Praça Nova (officially named Praça Amilcar Cabral) walk south past the historic CV Telecom building. Continue until you reach the Alliance Francaise. Diagonally opposite is Chava d'Ouro which is a good place for lunch and dinner or coffee and cake. Turn right into Rua Libertadores d'Africa to reach the eagle monument at the shore. Turn left to head south again past the Torre de Belem and the fish market where the road curves left to enter Praça Independencia and a general market. A narrow road bisects the square. Follow it north past the church, parliament and Mercado Municipal indoor market. Turn right after the market to reach Palácio do Povo. Turn left here and follow Avendia Baltazar Lopes da Silva north until Rua Patrice Lumumba. Turning left here returns you to Praça Nova.
From here you can head west past Hotel Mindel and its terraced bar restaurant and reach a small beach in the harbour. Head north along the road to reach the port. The boat for Santo Antão leaves from here. Looking back along the coast gives you the best view of the city.
If you still have time and energy a 20min walk to the north will take you around the headland, through the port area to a pleasant and popular beach in the next bay. From here you can walk or take a bus back to town.
View of the Praia de Laginha from the Caravela bar
View from Le Gout de Grills
The most famous Capverdian dish is the catchupa.
- Quiosque Praça Nova, Praça Nova. Any stand in the quiosque will do. $200 (2€) for a catchupa or a feijoada with fish has a bar as well. (16.88365,-24.98897) edit
- cafés between Praça Nova and Rua Lisboa (Café Dalia, Café Confiança, etc.). Live music on Friday and Saturday nights in most of the bars. $200. (16.88365,-24.98897) edit
- Pasteleria Morabeza. Avenida Baltasar Lopez da Silva 25. Excellent bakey/cafe open from 6.00am to 2.00 am selling the famous sweet snack 'Pastel de Nata', which is the perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea.
- Restaurante Chave Douro. Mains from 500-800$. (16.886694,-24.988360) edit
- Pizzeria O Cocktail, Avenida 5 de Julho. Nice pizzas. Live music (mornas ) on thursday to sunday. Home of the flaming banana. from $400. (16.88875,-24.98802) edit
- Restaurant Anchote, Alto S. Nicolau - Rua Irmas do Amor de Deus, ☎ (+238) 232 39 16. Good atmosphere and a great seafood selection. Live music on Saturday nights (100$ surcharge). Mains from 500-2100$. (16.889883,-24.990396) edit
- Gaudi, 5, Rua Sanador Vera Cruz (On the small street next to the Mercado Municipal), ☎ 951 26 34. French cuisine with an African touch. Probably the only place in Cape Verde with a kitchen close to fine dining edit
- La bodeguita de Mindelo, end of Travessa do Cadamostro. Caribean food. It is common to see capeverdians play the guitar. $600. (16.88863,-24.98482) edit
- Simpatico, Rua Sena Barcelos, ☎ +(238)9103030, . Good beer and coffee in a nice modern bar. edit
- Casa Cafe Mindelo, Rua Governador Calheiros, 6, . Modern bar and restaurant. Live music. Food and drink from 400$. edit
- Le Gout de Grills, Av Marginal. Restaurant on the second floor. Excellent views of the bay from the window tables. Live music at weekends. Fresh fish and good service. Food from 400$. (16.885019,-24.989397) edit
Most bars are busy Friday and Saturday nights. Clubs do not tend to get busy until ~2am. People like to congregate at the Praça Nova square on Av 5 Julho (opposite the Hotel Oasis), drinking and strolling around the square. This seems a popular spot to meet new people and friends alike.
- cheap grog (rum) and pontche in the local bars of rua Santo Antonio
- Caravela Bar, Av Marginal. Bar directly on the Praia de Laginha edit
- La bodeguita de Mindelo, end of Travessa do Cadamostro. Play urim and listen (or sing!) with capverdians, write your name on the walls. (16.888603,-24.984836) edit
- Mindel Hotel Bar, Av 5 de Julho (Just off Praça Nova to the west). Has an outside terrace (16.889194,-24.988661) edit
- Café Lisboa, Rua Lisboa. 70s-80s rock music (16.886522,-24.987856) edit
- Club Syrius, Travessa do Cadamostro. Club underneath the Hotel Oasis. Live music. (16.889157,-24.987451) edit
- Club Pims, Rua Senador Veracruz. Club underneath a residential building. Cheesy music. (16.890864,-24.986629) edit
- Chave Douro, avenida 5 de Julho. A basic hostel with rooms for 1-2. Located in the center. You can bargain the price if you stay more than a few days. 1000$ (~10€). (16.88712,-24.98826) edit
- Residencial Maravilha. checkout: 12:00. A charming place with friendly management. 4500$ double incl. breakfast. (16.889492,-24.989644) edit
- Residencial Beleza, Rua Oficinas Navais, Caixa Postal 93A, S. Vicente, ☎ (+238) 2324094 / 29839183 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Bed and breakfast hotel with wireless internet in all the rooms. There is a cybercafé, a bar where you can try exotic drinks and a restaurant on the terrace of the hotel with a great panoramic view over Mindelo and the sea. edit
- Casa Colonial, Rua 24 de Setembro (Centro Historico), ☎ +238 9238206, . checkin: 11.00; checkout: 12.00. Classic Mindelo - in Style and Value. Casa Colonial is a beautifully restored historic home in the heart of Mindelo, the cultural capital of Cape Verde, on the island of São Vicente. The house is one of the oldest homes in the City and is perfectly located in a quiet residential street within meters of the Presidential Palace and the cafés, restaurants, bars, and shops of Rua Lisboa. Mindelo bay, the Marina, the Historic Fort, and Ponta D’Agua resort are 2 mins by foot. Laginha Beach is just 10 mins by foot. Casa Colonial has four large double bedrooms, two reception rooms, a dining room, reading room, study, fully equipped kitchen, utility room, and 4 wet-rooms each with open plan shower and w/c. The accommodation is very flexible with three King-sized 4-poster beds and six large single beds. The house can sleep a maximum of 12 guests in 7 separate rooms and is ideal for couples, families, and groups. All the furniture is handmade from solid mahogany by local, skilled craftsmen. The floors and ceilings throughout the property are mahogany and the kitchen and wet-rooms are finished with local, handmade tiles. 40 Euros. edit
Buses travel limited routes outside of the city. Taxis usually wait outside of the marina (Pont d'Agua) and the open market. Aluguers are common for groups of people wanting to travel to other towns on the island and will usually stop at busy locations in town (the ferry port, for example) and can be flagged down en route. It is common for people to walk between distant towns and flag down lifts on the way. Most people will stop and pick you up if they have room.
Go to Santo Antão: a different island with magical landscapes. At least two boats a day leave from Mindelo to Porto Novo for ~$800 (tickets can be bought at the harbour). Check out the Santo Antão page for more detailed information.