The island of São Vicente is actually one of Cape Verde's smaller islands. Santo Antão, located on the other side of the bay is at least 4 times bigger than São Vicente. If you have little time to discover the island during your visit, you can see practically the entire island in one full day.
Having a rental car during your stay in Mindelo gives you the opportunity to go around the island on your own pace. You can take your time to go around, and visit different places over the course of two or three days, depending on the length of your stay.
A rental car might be a better option than an island tour if you have at least one full day on São Vicente, and it can also be a cheaper option. Although Mindelo is Cape Verde's second biggest city. It's easy to get around, especially if you're staying in the city center. The rental car option really is great for visiting all the fantastic places outside of Mindelo.
Besides the villages there are 3 places on the island you need to see, which you can easily reach with a car. In case you don't have a rental, try and find a driver and discuss a route you would like to do that includes the places you want to see most. Figure out the cost before starting.
Here are the 3 places you can see thanks to your rental:
The first is the most well known. Monte Verde is São Vicente's most highest point with about 750 meters. With a car you can easily drive up to the top to enjoy the fantastic views. From the city, drive in the direction of Baía das Gatas (and Salamansa). Halfway along, just after passing Lameirão, you'll see the signs for Monte Verde.
You can easily drive all the way up to the top of the mountain, from where you have the best possible view of the city of Mindelo and the bay of Porto Grande. Make sure to make the drive on a clear and sunny day. This is a great day tour in combination with both Baía and Salamansa.
Flamengo beach is a place many people on the island have heard of, but not many have been there. It truly is one of São Vicente's best kept secrets. Flamengo is not far from São Pedro, but you can't reach it from there. To get to Flamengo, you'll need to drive out of Mindelo in the direction of São Pedro, and make a left halfway down the road (after the Sina factory).
This dirtroad will lead you into the valley, while passing a windmills on your left hand side. From here, it's just straight ahead down the valley and all the way to the amazing beach. Like at São Pedro and Salamansa, be aware of the current if you decide to go for a swim.
Another 'secret' of the island of Mindelo, until a group of Belgian architects chose it as the location for their project. Today, the bay of Jon d'Ebra is home to a few very interesting eco-villas. As part of the project, the road to the bay is much better than it was years ago.
The road to Jon d'Ebra will lead you through neighborhoods such as Espia and Ribeirinha, both very different from Mindelo's city center. Be sure to stop at the top of the road, right before driving down into the valley that leads to the bay. From here you'll have a very nice view of a big part of the city of Mindelo.
It is advised to be cautious here as well when taking a swim. The current in the waters around the island can be a bit tricky. Take a walk towards the left side of the beach, where you can go under the rocks and also enjoy the little natural pools formed by the tide.
Where to rent a car in Mindelo?
- Don Paco
- Atlantic Car Mindelo
Hi, I'm Freddy, the creator of the MindeloCaboVerde.com blog. Thank you so much for reading! Please feel free to message me with questions, bookings and reservations.