Where to Stay on Sao Vicente Island – an Insider’s Guide

The majority of the accommodation on the island of Sao Vicente is situated in the capital Mindelo, which has a good choice of hotels, guesthouses and private villa rentals. There is a more limited choice of hotels, resort accommodation and villa complexes located in remoter coastal communities like the small village of Calhau.

yachts in Mindelo marina

Where to stay in Mindelo

Mindelo is the heart of Sao Vicente, a town of colonial buildings, cafes, restaurants and markets that’s famous for its carnival. Most of the nightlife and shopping is situated one road back from the coast, on Rua de Santo António and Av 5 de Julho, and many of the hotels and private rentals in the town centre are within easy reach of here.

The streets around main town square, Praça Amílcar Cabral, have a range of hotels, houses and apartments right in the heart of things, as well as a scattering of upscale restaurants and shopping. Accommodation in the town centre may be affected by noise from the clubs and bars nearby, so if you’re looking for a guaranteed peaceful stay, try one of the quieter neighbourhoods, such as the hills towards the fort above the bay.

pastel coloured buildings on street in Mindelo

Accommodation is sometimes situated in old colonial buildings - for hotels this may mean that your room faces inwards onto an enclosed courtyard or shaft. Some private villas in town are also colonial style houses, often refurbished to offer luxury accommodation.

Choosing a location close to the ferry pier is convenient for island hopping – boats leave from here to Santo Antao, one of the most beautiful destinations in Cape Verde. Hotels on the sea front look out over the bay and are close to the beach.

Resorts outside Mindelo

Outside Mindelo accommodation is clustered in resorts and villa complexes. There are secluded private villas on the beach at Praia do Norte, and in the area of Baia das Gatas, situated about 12km from Mindelo, a resort that gets lively once a year in August for a large music festival on the beach. Foya Branca Resort is around 15km from Mindelo; all rooms here face the beach, which is a short walk away. Calhau is a small town on the east coast, where the Blue Marine apartment complex offers self-contained accommodation.

Foya Branca Resort...

Stunning apartments and pool at Foya Branca Resort

Pedra Branca villa rental community

If you’re looking for seclusion and quick beach access, there are private villa rentals available in communities such as Pedra Branca, also in Calhau, on the east coast of the island about 15km from Mindelo. The square white villas here were designed by Imobrisa, a bio architect firm, to fit in with the surrounding landscape, and are furnished with high quality furniture and facilities. There’s a communal swimming pool and Jacuzzi, and dramatic views of the sea, and Santa Luzia, an uninhabited nature reserve, from rooms in the front line villas. There’s a small beach about 300 metres from the complex, and sandy Praia Grande, one of the best beaches on the island, is nearby. There’s also a place to eat within walking distance, Loutcheu Restaurant, which opens at the weekend.

Pedra Branca Resort...

Villas at Pedra Branca Resort