For Mindelo, Cape Verde's second biggest city, the port has always been extremely important. If you look at how the city was built, it's obvious the port and the bay of Mindelo are what the city was built around. At one point in history, Mindelo's port has said to have been the biggest in the entire region, even bigger than the ports of far larger cities such as Dakar and Las Palmas.
The port and the city
In the 19th century Mindelo was a fast growing city thanks to its harbour. The port of Mindelo has natural deep waters, giving it a huge advantage compared to other harbours in the country. The English set up a coal deposit in the city in 1838. Although Mindelo was the last of all habited Cape Verde islands to be permanently habited, this was a period of fast growth.
Times changed in Mindelo when coal started to get replaced by oil to fuel the ships. Suddenly, there was no need for the coal deposit that had been so important in the development of Mindelo's port and therefore the entire city. A big part of the city's habitants lost their jobs because of this. With multiple periods of drought in Cape Verde, Mindelo was suffering. The city saw a huge decline in population, with people passing away or immigrating.
Because of its strategic location, the port of Mindelo continues to be an important one, both for business and leisure. Ships and yaughts on route from Europe to South America stop in Mindelo for stock, preparation and fuel. A lot of cargo comes through the port of Mindelo. Not only are a lot of items sold in the supermarkets imported, the many Cape Verdeans living abroad send various items to the country for personal use and to support family.
The cruise port of Mindelo
The port of Mindelo can be divided into two parts, of about 45.000 m2 in total (!). On the left, the ferry terminal for ferries and boats heading to Santo Antão, São Nicolau and Santiago. On the right is where the cruise ships arrive and where cargo is handled. This part of the harbour stretches out all the way to Laginha Beach.
The city of Mindelo is the most popular among cruise ships in Cape Verde. The city receives around 70.000 passengers a year from many different cruise companies, usually from October to March. After the completion of its new terminal neighbor Santo Antão has been receiving cruise ships as well.
Mindelo is the last stop for cuises crossing the Atlantic towards Brazil or the Carribean.
Visitors to the city can choose to do city tours, islands tours, or just enjoy a walk through the city to see some highlights. To get the most out of the visit, it is recommended to prepare online to figure out what the possibilities are.
In order to keep up with developments elsewhere in the region (both in Cape Verde and outside), Mindelo needs a new and modern harbour. Cities such as Praia and Porto Novo have already seen their ports improved. The government has been working on financing this large project, and administrator Enapor has already announced the start of the development of a new harbour. The ambitious project will totally change the way the entire harbour area looks at the moment. It will include the following:
As of this moment, it is not clear when the new and improved port of Mindelo should be completed.
Hi. I'm Freddy, the creator of the MindeloCaboVerde.com blog. Thank you so much for reading. If you're coming to Mindelo on a cruise ship, please feel free to look at our offer on other pages, or send me a message for reservations/bookings.