History and Culture:
You’ll find the Cape Verde Islands located about approximately 570 miles off the west coast of Africa.
The archipelago consists of ten islands divided into the ‘Ilhas do Barlavento’ (the windward islands) and ‘Ilhas do Sotavento ’ (the leeward islands).
Like the Canaries, the islands are of volcanic origin and probably best characterized as arid, although the islands of Santo Antão, San Nicolão and Santiago possess rainforest habitats and extensive agriculture at high altitudes.
The climate is pleasant, though often windy, with average daily high temperatures ranging from 25 °C (77 °F) in January to 29 °C (84.2 °F) in September.
The islands were discovered in 1456, and like much of the African continent were colonized during the period of European expansion.
The islands’ early relative prosperity declined with the suppression of the slave trade in the mid-nineteenth century.
Cape Verde gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
Cape Verdean culture has inherited much from the Portuguese. Its language, Creole, along with its cuisine and music, owes a large part of its heritage to Portuguese.
It is perhaps music that dominates the culture, and many of the islands (including São Vicente) have internationally recognized music festivals. The late Cesaria Evora is one of Cape Verde’s most famous singers. Musically, there is much to discover in Cape Verde.
São Vicente and Mindelo:
Aside from world-class marlin fishing, there is plenty much to savour in Mindelo. The town has a thriving tradition of live music. Many of the bars, restaurants, and hotels host local singers and bands throughout the week. If you enjoy music, it’s really not to be missed. The food is generally good and relatively inexpensive. Pulses and beans are ingredients in many of the recipes; two of the most famous dishes are Cachupa and Fejoada. Both are good. Another favourite is Arroz d’Marrisco, essentially a humble version of Paella.
There is a wide range of accommodation from resort hotels and, boutique pensions to local guesthouses. There are also a number of beautifully restored colonial buildings catering to tourists located in the centre of Mindelo.
All types of water sports are available on the island with world-class windsurfing and good diving available. If you have a spare day in your itinerary, then it’s a short boat ride (about 50 minutes) on the ferry to the neighbouring island of Santo Antão. It’s an altogether different experience to Mindelo and a great trip if you have the time.
The island is about fifty miles from São Vicente, and if the bite is on and you’ve booked more than three days you might find yourself staying in Tarrafal, San Nicolão. It has an altogether slower pace than Mindelo, but the fishing is great and thanks to the bank being on the leeward side of the island, you’re virtually guaranteed calm waters. Not only that, but marlin are regularly caught a few hundred metres from the breakwater!