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Welcome to Mindelo
Mindelo, the cultural capital of Cape Verde is one of the places in the country you definitely need to see. Mindelo might just be Cape Verde's most beautiful city, and the many festivals that the city hosts makes it an exiting place to visit. The island of São Vicente also has some amazing beaches and very special activities. Add the fact that Cape Verde's most spectacular island is just one hour away by ferry, and you have all the reasons to make Mindelo a priority when visiting the country.
Mindelo has big selection of quality hotels, B&B's and 'residencials'. A choice for an accommodation can depend on location, pricing and features.
Bed and Breakfast
Bed and Breakfast Carvalho
Located just two minutes from Laginha Beach. Brand new family run B&B, with very nice rooms and a delicious breakfast. Hosts Diesje and Dadinha always make sure their guests are well taken care of, and like to help out with many helpful tips only locals know about.
A 9.1 rating on Booking.com, based on 100 reviews! Located on a hill called Cruz Joao Evora, with an incredible view of the city. Vannilla's guest are most happy with their host, owner Katy, and the breakfast Katy and her team serve daily.
Owner Orlando has one of Mindelo's oldest 'residencials', from a time when there was not much tourism on the islands. While he has been in the business for a long time, he has not forgotten what hospitality is all about: the visitor. Another great location for the beach lovers.
Together with Hotel Porto Grande a symbol of the city center of the Mindelo. The typical blue building can be seen from most parts of the city.
Hotel Don Paco
One of the newest hotels in Mindelo's city centre.
Hotel Porto Grande
Probably Mindelo's most popular accommodation, located right on the Praça Nova square. Enjoy the swimming pool, witch is also open to the public (paid).
Although Foya Branca is located outside of Mindelo, in the village of São Pedro, it has a daily shuttle bus service to take people to the city centre. The service is free and the drive is about 15 minutes.
Foya Branca hosts special Sunday events, where people who are not guests can enjoy the pool and a great buffet.
The international Airport of Mindelo, Cesaria Evora (but also known as São Pedro Airport), is located 15 minutes outside Mindelo's city centre. The airport is only a few minutes away from the village and beach of São Pedro. To get to the city of Mindelo you can take a taxi, which costs CVE 1000 (around € 10). Outside the airport building taxis are lined for potential customers. There is no public transportation, other than the 'Hiace' that provides the connection from Praça Estrela in Mindelo to the village of São Pedro.
Bars and Restaurants
Owner Bruno is from the French Antilles, but fell in love with Mindelo when he visited the city a few years ago. The kitchen at Bodeguita is a mix of the two worlds, and the outcome is delicious. Next to the great food they serve great cocktails. Be prepared to wait a little bit for your food to arrive at your table.
- At the end of Rua Camoēs, Alto Mira Mar neighborhood
Lidya opened her restaurant more than 15 years ago. Her small restaurant is the place to go for an authentic experience. The interior has not changed in years, but the food seems to get better every time. Libya heads out to the fish market daily, so make sure to try one of her fish dishes
- To the right of the 'Pink Palace' (Palacio do Governo), coming from Rua de Lisboa
Eating Sushi is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Cape Verde and Mindelo. But at Pub Art they like to think outside the box!
This new spot has a very nice interior and hosts different types of events almost every week. Don't be surprised if you get the chance to listen to some good live music after (or during) your dinner.
- Located just off Praça Nova,
Although São Vicente is not a 'beach destination' it does have a few amazing beaches. Here are some of our favorite places on the island to hit the water on a beautiful sunny day:
Mindelo's famous city beach, located minutes outside the city centre. Easy to reach by following 'Avenida Marginal' from the city center towards (and passed) Porto Grande Bay and the harbour. Incredible blue water, beautiful view of Santo Antão and enough options on where to get a nice cold beer. A must see when visiting Mindelo.
One of São Vicente's most beautiful beaches. A 'Hiace' will leave from Praça Estrela almost every 30 minutes. Price for one way is CVE 100 (€ 1).
Popular with kitesurfers. Beautiful long and calm beach. Watch out for the current.
Baia das Gatas
Famous for its fantastic music festival that takes place each year in August. A great beach for families because of its beautiful but shallow waters. A drive up to Baia das Gatas gives you a pretty good image of the small island of São Vicente. 15 min. drive from Mindelo's city centre, a taxi costs CVE 1000 (10 euros).
Kavala Fresk has only been around for a few years in Mindelo, but has left it's mark on the city. This 'feastival', as the organization likes to call it, is all about gastronomy. Well, not all. It wouldn't be Mindelo if music was not a part of the programming. The Kavala fish, which is mackerel, used to be one of the main ways for many families to sustain themselves. In recent years prices have gone up, making Kavala less accessible for people with a lower income. The 2017 edition will be held on the 8th of July.
Baia das Gatas
The Baia das Gatas festival is one of Cape Verde's biggest festivals. It usally takes place in the second weekend of august, during Friady, Saturday and Sunday. Baia das Gatas normally is a calm fisherman village, located about 20 minutes from Mindelo. During the festival Baia das Gatas becomes the centre of the island of São Vicente, with many people camping out in the village or renting a house for the weekend.
The 2017 edition will be held on the 11th, 12th and 13th of August.
The Carnival of Mindelo is Cape Verde's biggest event. For almost a week this beautiful and colorful party take over the entire city. The famous Mandinga groups warm up to carnival by parading the streets every Sunday after New Year's Eve. Carnival in Mindelo is an unforgettable experience and is unlike any other type of carnival celebration in Cape Verde.
Carnival (Tuesday) 2018 will be on the 13th of Febuary.
New year's eve
New Year's Eve in Mindelo is one of the biggest parties in the country. Thousands of people come together in Mindelo's main street, Rua de Lisboa, to celebrate the arrival of a new year. Huge Cape Verdean and International artists are contracted by City Hall to perform during this magical night.
Cape Verde's largest theatre festival. The 2018 edition will be organized in November. Participants from 14 different countries, an absolute record.
Taxis in and around the city of Mindelo are not expensive. Be aware of the fact that prices during the day are different from the night prices. During the day any ride within the city will be CVE 150, during the night it costs € 200.
Mindelo - Lazareto CVE 400 (€ 4)
Mindelo - Baia das Gatas CVE 1000 (€ 10)
Mindelo - Calhau CVE 1000 (€ 10)
Mindelo - São Pedro (village and Airport) CVE 1000 (€ 10)
The public transportation system on the island of São Vicente is all about the buses and 'Hiaces'. The Transcor company buses take care of public transportation in the city of Mindelo. This bus system allows you to go from the city centre (Morada) to neighborhoods like Monte Sossego and Chã de Alecrim in other parts of the city. Price per one way trip: CVE 45 (€ 0,45)
A 'Hiace' is a van which provides public transport, mainly to the villages outside the city of Mindelo. They go to places like São Pedro, Salamansa and Calhau.
Prices start at CVE 100 (one way).
The police station in Mindelo's city centre is located on the Avenida Dr. Alberto Leite, better known with Mindelenses as the 'Rua Che Guevara. This is the road that leads to Laginha Beach.
Another police station is located along Avenida Marginal, close to the Porto Grande harbour.
Mindelo's hospital, the HBS (Hospital Batista de Souza), can be reached from Rua Domingos Ramos.
A visa can be purchased upon arrival at the airport of Cesaria Evora in Mindelo. Price at the moment for a standard tourist visa (30 days) is € 25.
One of the bigger nightlife spots in the city. Ote Level is a place where people go to enjoy a good pizza, a nice cold cocktail and some great live music. Don't expect traditional Cape Verdean music but a mix of reggae and up tempo songs by very talented artists. Make sure to check out the smaller bars around the boulevard of Laginha Beach.
- Avenida Marginal, walking towards the end of the beach on your right.
A very charming little place very close to the Praça Nova. Nhô Djunga is a bookstore by day, and a bar by night. Whenever people feel like jamming, they simply pick up their instruments and start.
One of Mindelo's more authentic spots for a drink and great live music.
- Rua Senador Vera Cruz, a few hundred meters from the Praça Nova kiosk.
Owner 'Voo' loves good music. A few years ago he changed the name of his club to Jazzy Bird, wanting to focus more on live events.
- Avenida Baltazar Lopes da Silva, take a left when coming from the Praça Nova
The city's most poplar nightclub is located right next to Laginha beach. The 'terrace' of the place is open every day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. On Thursday's, Friday's and Saturday's you can enjoy a night of dancing in 'the basement'. Especially on Saturday you might have to wait in line to get in, so make sure to get there on time.
- Avenida Marginal, at the end of Laginha Beach
One of the oldest nightclubs in Mindelo, Sirius lost it's titel of most popular nightclub in the city to Caravela a few years back. Sirius is located a few steps from Praça Estrela. At the moment the nightclub only opens for special events, where it used to open regularly on friday and saturday.
During july and august the nightclub might be opening for 3 or 4 times a week.
- 100 meters from the Praça Nova kiosk, next to the ice cream shop
A nightclub that has been part of Mindelo's exiting nightlife for many years. Formerly known as Galaxia and further way back, Pims. Mon Cherie is still a popular hotspot in the city.
You can enjoy a meal at the restaurant with the same name, while listening to traditional Cape Verdean music before going down to 'the basement' to dance the night away.
Praça Nova Kiosk
This iconic spot on the famous Praça Nova is almost a monument for the city of Mindelo. Start your night here, by enjoying a Strela beer or a delicious pontche. Great place to do some people watching and for enjoying the relaxed vibe of Mindelo.
While hanging out at the Praça Nova Kiosk you can see the importance of the square for the Mindelenses. Students hang out there after class, the older generation walks around discussing the latest events, and families use the square for some quality time together. One of Mindelo's most important places.
One of our favorite things about Mindelo: The sunset. Mindelo truly has a sunset that leaves you speechless. Here’s a top 3 of where to be when the spectacle starts:
Porto Grande Bay:
The bay of Mindelo is often listed as one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Take a walk down the boulevard of Avenida Marginal at sunset and you will understand why. In winter the sun sets behind Monte Cara, Mindelo’s famous ‘Face Mountain’. Make sure you stop to the right of the pier at the Mindelo Marina and find a spot on the little beach to see how the sunset colors beautifully bounce back of the ocean.
If you decided to spend your day at the beach of Laginha don’t go home when the sun starts to go down. Better yet, hop over to one of the beach bars and get yourself a nice cold drink and let nature take care of the rest. Depending on the time of year, the sun will set behind Monte Cara or behind the amazing neighboring island of Santo Antão. Either way, this is a ‘Mindelo moment’ you surely won’t forget.
Walk up to ‘Cruz’ (less than a 10 minute walk from the city center) where you have a stunning panoramic view of Mindelo. Take the road that leads to Laginha Beach, but instead go the other way. After passing Enacol the climb starts. Have a seat at one of the benches, and watch how the various colors of the sunset seem to take over the entire city leaving nothing but ‘sodade’ as it slowly disappears.
Things to do / Places to see
Especially a must if you are staying in an apartment while in Mindelo. Visit the fish market, the municipal market and Praça Estrela, and return to your apartment to prepare a delicious Cape Verdean meal.
Great fresh products daily. Many different local vegetables and fruits.
Famous for the fruit and vegetable market, and for the 'shops' selling all kinds of clothes and souvenirs.
Hi, I'm Freddy, the creator of the MindeloCaboVerde.com blog. Thank you very much for reading.
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