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Visit the villages of São Vicente

· Travel

Mindelo, São Vicente

With 90% of the population of São Vicente living in the city of Mindelo, you would almost forget about the villages outside Cape Verde's second biggest city. When visiting São Vicente, you should definitely have at least one of the villages on your 'list'.

Places like Salamansa, São Pedro, Baia das Gatas and Calhau are where you can get a good sense of traditional Cape Verdean life in villages where the fishing industry plays a fundamental part. This is where you can get away from city life with big buildings, loud traffic and wifi. It's only you, the mountains, the sea and the locals.

São Pedro

For many people visiting the island of São Vicente, the sight of São Pedro is the first real thing they see when looking out the window of an airplane. Right before landing at the International Airport of Mindelo the view is one of the sea, the beach, mountains and the village. A great first impression because São Pedro is one of Cape Verde's most beautiful beaches.

The amazing beach of São Pedro, São Vicente

A place where you'll feel as if you own the beach and where you can spend the day in absolute peace.

Try the hike to the lighthouse of São Pedro, and enjoy watching the fishermen at work.

*Time to get there: About 15 minutes

Price: CVE 100 by Hiace (Aluger), CVE 1000 by taxi


The beach of Salamansa is popular among kitesurfers and windsurfers because of the perfect conditions. The long and calm beach is also perfect for a nice walk. On a sunny and bright day it's possible to see the island of Santo Antão in the distance.

By following a trail that starts along the beach, you can walk all the way to Baia das Gatas. It takes about 45 minutes to get to 'Baia'.


*Time to get there: About 15 minutes

Price: CVE 120 by van, CVE 1000 by taxi

Baia das Gatas

This village is famous for having two things: The Baia das Gatas music festvial and a beautiful, calm bay in an amazing surrounding. 'Baia', as it's called by the locals is located in the northeastern part of the island of São Vicente.

If you have a car, the drive from Norte Baia to the village of Calhau sure is worth your time. Norte Baia hosted a Graffiti Festival in 2017, when the small village was visited by different artists who created amazing artworks on and around the houses. The festival was partially inspired by the Sonvela Arte project, which main project was created in the Ribeira Bote neighbourhood in Mindelo (2014).

*Time to get there: About 20 minutes

Price: CVE 120 by van, CVE 1000 by taxi

The Beach of Baia das Gatas


The drive to the village of Calhau might be the best one on the island of São Vicente. Very beautiful in its own distinct way, with rough shaped mountainpeaks and tiny villages where life looks nothing like it does in the 'bic city' nearby. On a clear day you can see the uninhabited island of Santa Luzia from Calhau.

Fishermen go out to sea in Calhau, São Vicente

Swimming in Calhau can be done at the small stone beaches, or at the spot towards the end called 'Salto'. From here you can reach the volcano of Calhau. Another option for swimming is Praia Grande, which can be reached from the roundabout. Praia Grande has amazing sand dunes.

*Time to get there: About 20 minutes

Price: CVE 120 by van, CVE 1000 by taxi

Go local, head out to Praça Estrela to catch a 'Hiace' (van) and don't be afraid to get lost :) If you rahter go by taxi be sure to confirm the price before getting in, and have the driver pick you up again at a certain time and place. Make time to spend at least half a day at one of the villages. Swim in the ocean that provides life to so many Cape Verdeans (be aware of the current). Have some fresh fish (like 'moreia') at one of the local bars with a nice cold kriola beer. Enjoy! Read more about Mindelo on Mindelocaboverde.