São Vicente

Travel Guide Africa Cape Verde São Vicente

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Introduction

São Vicente is one of the Barlavento islands of Cape Verde off the west African coast. It is located between the islands of Santo Antão and Santa Luzia, with the Canal de São Vicente separating it from Santo Antão.

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Geography

The island is roughly rectangular in shape with a surface area of 227 square kilometres. From east to west it measures 24 kilometres and from north to south no more than 16 kilometres. 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 metres. Although very eroded, some craters still remain, in particular near the bay of Mindelo. Other mountains include Monte Cara and 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 in 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.

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Cities

  • Mindelo - the cultural capital of Cape Verde.

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Sights and Activities

The island is suitable for windsurfing; the beach of São Pedro is considered one of the best for windsurfing, as shown by the many world-class champions of the sport. Cycling, walking trails and horseback riding are ways to explore the island. São Vicente has an excellent 18-hole golf course.

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Events and Festivals

Cape Verde Carnival

February sees the most colorful and spectacular festival of the island’s calendar and is one of the best times of the year to visit Cape Verde. No matter where you go, it is virtually impossible to escape the party and endless music in full swing. The most elaborate and hedonistic celebrations take place on the streets of Praia and Mindelo where everyone pulls out their fancy costumes and puts away their inhibitions. The dancing, drinking and debauchery goes on for days, with music, fireworks and huge parades.

Cape Verde Independence Day

A raucous event which is celebrated on every island, Independence Day festivities are held July 5, commemorating the day the country gained its freedom from Portugal. Colorful celebrations complete with serious drinking the local favorite grogue and feasting are the norm and the fun carries through into the evening. It’s a great time to visit and experience the pride and light-heartedness of the locals.

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Weather

São Vicente enjoys a very rare mild and dry tropical climate, 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 which is two degrees more than in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The island is very arid, with only 80 to 130 mm 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 and 25 °C. 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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Getting There

By Plane

Flights with TACV or Halcyon go from São Pedro airport to Sal and Praia.

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Getting Around

Travel between the diverse localities of the island is provided by a system of public transportation operated by five private companies: Transcor.SA, Morabeza Transport, Transport Joy, Friendship, Sotral and Automindelo. However, especially for places farthest from the city of the Mindelo, namely Baía das Gatas, Calhau, and São Pedro, van and bus rentals are the usual forms of transportation.

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São Vicente Travel Helpers

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This is version 2. Last edited at 12:42 on Aug 7, 17 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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