Mindelo cruises

A cruise to St Vincent will reveal a tiny island packed with culture and celebrations. St Vincent is the Cultural Capital of Cape Verde and was home to some of the country’s most famous musicians and poets. Life revolves around Mindelo, the bustling, exciting capital city and the heart of the island. Quiet beaches with laidback bars provide most of the entertainment on St Vincent, until the weekend when the celebrations commence.

Mindelo’s Heritage and History

St Vincent was discovered in 1462. The stark island has very little rainfall so it remained uninhabited until the 19th century. Once Mindelo’s coaling station was constructed in 1938 the population of the island grew quickly. Over 93% of the population live in Mindelo but there is still a lot to see outside of the capital.

The Portuguese founded Mindelo and much of their vibrant culture remains. The city is known for hosting the best festivals and carnivals in Cape Verde. St Vincent Carnival takes place in February and is an exotic and colourful celebration with Brazilian and Portuguese influences.

Things to see and do on a Mindelo Cruise

Mindelo’s natural harbour, Porto Grande Bay, offers idyllic views out to sea where yachts can be seen bobbing on the horizon. This is where the majority of the island’s restaurants can be found, along with a cool selection of stylish bars.

Take a walk to The People’s Palace in Mindelo for a beautiful example of colonial architecture. Candy coloured buildings are dotted around the city, giving it a cheerful and quaint vibe.

Foodies should follow their taste buds and take a trip to Mercado Municipal, the capital’s food market that originated in 1784. You will find local produce and souvenirs as you soak up the atmospheric flavours of the island. Make sure you try Cape Verde’s national dish, cashupa. It is a slow cooked stew made with beans and meat or fish. For dessert, try another local specialty bol de cus cus. This corn and butter cake is best served with butter and cheese.

Venture out of Mindelo and you will find a beautiful yet stark island waiting to be discovered. Mount Verde is St Vincent’s highest peak standing at 750 metres high. A hike to the top will reward you with views over the entire island as well as the nearby islands of Santo Antão and Santa Luzia.

Visit the beautiful beaches and pretty village of Baia das Gatas in the northeast of St Vincent. A lagoon lines the coast and provides warm, sheltered water that is perfect for swimming and relaxing. Beachfront restaurants are a perfect escape from the heat and give you the chance to try some delicious, local cuisine. Baia das Gatas also hosts Festival da Baia das Gatas, an annual festival each August. The beach is packed with festival-goers enjoying both local and international musicians.

The village of Calhau is home to some of the best beaches on St Vincent. From here you can enjoy the dramatic beaches surrounded by volcanic mountains, or take a boat trip to the nearby uninhabited island of Santa Luzia.  

Sao Pedro is the place to visit if you would like to try your hand at water sports. The windy coastal village on the south west coast is increasing in popularity with windsurfers and those looking for long walks along the sandy beach.

Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • Mindelo Highlights and Local Life - SUNDAY

    Discover the colourful life and culture of the islanders of Cape Verde.

    Mindelo Highlights and Local Life - SUNDAY

    Embark on a tour of discovery to the lively colonial capital of Mindelo. With your local guide, you’ll head to the heart of the city centre, where you’ll learn about the islands heritage and what life is like on ‘Sao Vicente’.

    In the city centre, learn all about the culture of this colourful and musical city with a visit to the Praca Nova Square and Handicraft Museum before heading to the fascinating Mindelo Cultural Centre, situated in the former Customs House. Soak up the atmosphere as you stroll through the historical quarter of Mindelo, where you’ll pass by the replica of Lisbon Belem Tower and stop at a charming square, with the oldest church on the island. You’ll also visit a small museum dedicated to Cesaria Evora, the barefoot diva and famous ambassador of Cape Verde.

    Before you head back to the ship, sample the national liqueur made from sugar cane and tap your toes to the beat of Morna and Coladera, traditional rhythmic music accompanied by a Capoeira Dance show.

    This excursion is operated by minibus and on foot. There is approximately 1½ hours of walking on this tour. Please be advised that the tour vehicles on the island of Sao Vicente are basic, with no air conditioning or public address system. The order of the advertised itinerary may vary, to avoid congestion at the sites visited.

    Tour code

    VXE_005

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    3 hours

  • Island Panorama

    Explore the colourful Cape Verde island of Sao Vicente, passing the most inspirational sights and rugged scenery.

    Island Panorama

    Sit back and relax on your panoramic drive through fantastic landscapes, volcanic valleys and a bustling city. Your tour starts with a panoramic drive through the cultural capital of Cape Verde, Mindelo. Discover the colourful Portuguese and British colonial influences as you pass by Praca Nova, Placio de Povo, the government palace and the main street of Rua Lisboa with its busy vegetable market.

    Heading further afield, gaze out on the lunar lansdscape, as your minibus climbs 2,460 feet to the highest mountain on Sao Vicente, Monte Verde. Have your camera ready to capture the island views during a brief photo stop. Travelling back along the coastal road, admire the crescent-shaped white sand Praia Grande Beach, surrounded by mountains of black lava. Enjoy a short stop to stretch your legs, and for the more adventurous, why not dip your toes into the clear waters. As you pass through the agricultural valley of Ribeira de Calhau, your knowledgeable local guides will paint a picture of the unique lifestyle and culture of the islanders.



    This excursion will operate by minibus.Please be advised that the tour vehicles on the island of Sao Vicente are basic, with no air conditioning or public address system. Due to a lack of public facilities on the island, no comfort stop will be included during the tour. This tour is not recommended to passengers who suffer from vertigo. Some of the roads are rocky and cobblestoned in parts and so this tour is not suitable for those with injuries or conditions, which may be affected by the bumpy ride.

    Tour code

    VXE_002

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    Duration

    2½ hours

  • Mindelo Highlights and Local Life

    Discover the colourful life and culture of the islanders of Cape Verde.

    Mindelo Highlights and Local Life

    Embark on a tour of discovery to the lively colonial capital of Mindelo. With your local guide, you’ll head to the heart of the city centre, where you’ll learn about the islands heritage and what life is like on ‘Sao Vicente’.

    Enjoy the harbour views as you drive along the busy Rua de Praia, to Praça Estrela. Soak up the atmosphere as you stroll through the African market with its colourful goods and admire the traditional Portuguese azulejos (ceramic tiles), depicting historical scenes. Heading towards the vibrant Mindelo Municipal Vegetable Market, Town Hall Square and the City Hall Church Plaza, you’ll see the replica of Lisbon Belem Tower on the waterfront and the fish market with its brightly painted boats on the beach. Visit the fascinating Mindelo Cultural Centre where you can admire some original paintings by local artists.

    Before you head back to the ship, sample the national liqueur made from sugar cane and tap your toes to the beat of Morna and Coladera, traditional rhythmic music accompanied by a Capoeira Dance show.



    This excursion will operate by minibus and on foot. Please be advised that the tour vehicles on the island of Sao Vicente are basic, with no air conditioning or public address system. The order of the advertised itinerary may vary, to avoid congestion at the sites visited.

    Tour code

    VXE_003

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    3 hours