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6 reasons why you should definitely

visit Mindelo’s Carnival

Going Local

Mindelo has yet to see the numbers of foreign visitors traveling to Sal and Boavista. Sure, events such as Carnival attract more visitors to the city than during others times of the year. There is still a huge difference if you compare the islands. 90% of people visiting Cape Verde at the moment go to eather Sal or Boa Vista.

The atmosphere around the tourist area’s of these islands is very different from what you get in a place like Mindelo. It’s a fantastic city for people who want to experience what life really is like in the country. While celebrating Carnival you will feel as if your among the first visitors to discover one of Cape Verde’s best hidden secrets.

It’s Compact & Affordable

It might seem a little bit much comparing Mindelo's Carnival to those of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia in Brazil. But it was the legendary Cesaria Evora who said that "Mindelo is a Brazilim" (Mindelo is like a tiny Brazil). Unlike giant cities like Rio or Salvador, the Carnival celebration in Mindelo is a lot smaller.

The fact that it is so much easier to get around is great, so you don't miss any highlights. Besides the fact that you can easily walk your way around Carnival in Mindelo, it's also much cheaper than many other Carnival celebrations across the globe. Prices for accommodation and flights are not doubled or trippled around Carnival as it happens in many other popular Carnival destinations.

See The Mandingas

One of the most popular things of Mindelo Carnival are the Mandinga groups. The Mandinkas are an ethnic group from other West-African countries such as Senegal and Gambia. As a tribute members of Mandinga groups started to dress as the warriors, as they would hit the streets of Mindelo during Carnival.

In recent years the Mandinga parades have become extremely popular, attracting thousands of people who join them on a weekly Sunday parade around the city. These parades usually start as soon as New Years Eve is over.

The Parades

The official kick-off of Carnival in Mindelo is on Friday night, when a group called Mindel Fantasy hits the streets of the city centre with a big music truck and thousands of followers. The weekend of Carnival is filled with many different parades of various organizations like schools. All of this is considerd a warm-up for the main events of Mindelo Carnival: The parades of the official Carnival groups and Samba Tropical.

'Samba', as the people from Mindelo like to say, isn't an official Carnival group. For this reason they hit the streets of Mindelo on Monday night.

Tuesday is the day of the competition. The Carnival groups of Cruzeiros do Norte, Monte Sossego, Flores do Mindelo and Vindos do Oriente parade down Mindelo’s ‘Sambodrome’, which includes main street Rua d’Lisboa.

Enjoy the many events

Mindelenses, as the people from Mindelo are called, are known for their party spirit. There is no time like Carnival to see why. In Cape Verde’s cultural capital people always find a reason to party. Next to all the parades that take place in Mindelo's city centre, you can party at many private events.

From Friday before Carnival all the way up to the Sunday after Carnival, when the last Mandinga parade hits Mindelo for what is called the "funeral of Carnival". Most party’s sell out so make sure to buy your tickets in time and show up early to enjoy the great food and drinks.

It’s incredibly beautiful

Some people say the real stars of the Carnival in Mindelo are the artists creating the outfits and all the parade trucks. For a country as small as Cape Verde, and the limited funds available for the event each year, the show that the Carnival groups put on is simply unbelievable. And it just gets better each year.

As Carnival approaches and budgets get approaved members of the Carnival groups work around the clock to make sure everything looks amazing. The groups choose a theme and built a ‘sub-theme’ for each of the teams within the groups to show off during the parade. Carnival groups can be as big as 900 people!

This year's Carnival celebration will have be on the 13th of Febuary (Tuesday). There are many events around the city in the days before.

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