São Vicente, yet especially its exuberant, lively capital of Mindelo, belong to the highlights of a sailing cruise in the Cape Verde Archipelago the new last frontier of the winter sailing escape for Europeans. The 227 km² large island is almost free of vegetation. Highly bizarre mountain formations that reach a height of 750 m and deep valleys characterize the landscape. However, as opposed to its neighboring islands, São Vicente offers wonderful, light-sanded beaches that are located in São Pedro in the western part of the island, on the Baia das Gatas in the northeast and in Calhau in the southeast. Settlement of the island and the development of the City of Mindelo are due largely to Porto Grande, the amplest bay and the best natural port in Cape Verde. Due to its great aridity, settlement of São Vicente only began in the XVIIIth century. Consolidation of the port development from the latter part of the XIXth century to the first half of the XXth century led to the growth of the City of Mindelo which, up to the decade of the seventies in the XXth century, was the largest urban center in the country. The port activity, industry, trade, services, and fishing are the island’s principal economic activities. Mindelo, especially the center of the city, is an important historic and cultural patrimony. The Marina Mindelo is the starting point for an amazing sailing escape during the winter among seam untouched nature and sun.
Mindelo became an important port of call on the middle of the Atlantic during the period when maritime travel was fuelled by coal, and, for that reason, it always counted on the presence of British companies connected with ships provisioning and with telegraphy. Vestiges of the British presence were left in cultural aspects on the island and in the sporting remnants in the games of cricket and golf. During the second half of the XXth century, contacts through maritime navigation as a port of call between Europe, Africa, and the Americas left their mark in the music, the dances, and port related way of life. Mindelo had the first High School in Cape Verde and was, for a long time, the center of the literary culture in Cape Verde. Mindelo is a city of “Serenatas”, “Noites Caboverdianas”, and of “Carnaval”. The city organizes the best “Carnaval” of the archipelago, with a marked Brazilian influence, an inheritance from the golden period of the transatlantic shipping. The principal festive displays on the island are associated with the “Carnaval”. Other important festivals are the music festival at Baía das Gatas, in the month of August, and the theatre festival “MindelAct”, the only one in the archipelago. The island and the City of Mindelo are very dynamic in the industrial and commercial sectors particularly after the installation of Cape Verde’s international fair on the island. An international airport is in Sao Vicente. The City of Mindelo is the second largest urban center in the country and an important business center on the northeast region of the archipelago, which includes the Islands of Santo Antão, São Vicente, and São Nicolau. Mindelo, with its lovely bay that is rightly recognized as one of the most beautiful natural bays on the Atlantic, its characteristic structures from the colonial period, its picturesque fish market, its numerous discos, bars and restaurants, its samba schools, its artists, its colorful and boisterous carnivals that greet thousands of visitors year for year during the Lenten season and its almost metropolitan flair is the expression of a small peoples and a lifestyle that is anchored in the soul of the people despite its often sensitive financial situation and its traumatic history. Aside from the City of Mindelo, and its vast architectural and historic patrimony, there are other places of great interest such as the Beach of Baía das Gatas, the Beaches of Calhau and Salamansa, both areas of tourist infrastructure expansion. Baía das Gatas became famous for its music festival in which artists from various nationalities perform and, at the national level, it is the place most people converge to during the month of August. Nature, culture and fun for your sailing escape in the Cape Verde Archipelago.