Sao Vicente is one of the 10 Islands in the archipelago of Cape Verde, which is located about 500 km from the West coast of Africa near Senegal.”
The island of Sao Vicente has an area of 227 Km2 and with 76,140 inhabitants it is the second most populated island of the archipelago of Cape Verde. Despite of its volcanic origin, the island is quite flat and the highest point is Monte Verde with 774 meters, which is only a short drive from Kira’s Boutique Hotel.
Sao Vicente is sometimes called “the island of Porto Grande” by hosting the country’s largest port, Porto Grande, built in the bay of the same name – considered one of the 10 most beautiful bays in the world -, and sometimes also referred to as “the island of Monte Cara”, one of the brand images of the island, designated as such by looking like a human face.
Discovered in January 22, 1462, by the Portuguese navigator Diogo Gomes, Sao Vicente has a wonderful history of different cultures. The island remained practically uninhabited for more than 300 years and was used for cattle pasturage. After a few failed attempts of settlement, at the beginning of the 19th Century, in 1838, the British decided to establish a coal deposit in Porto Grande to supply the ships on the Atlantic routes. The excellent port characteristics of the Bay of Mindelo made the island into one of the most important world’s trade post to supply the ships that crossed the Atlantic. You can visit the Port and the New Marina within a five minute walk from Kira’s.
The city of Mindelo won fresh impetus around the Port trade and sea-facing services and attracted residents from neighboring islands, particularly from Santo Antao, searching for better living conditions.
According to official data of the history of Cape Verde, Mindelo was elevated to the category of Village in 1859, when it possessed “four streets, four cross-streets, two small squares and 170 houses”, occupied by approximately 1,400 inhabitants, who thrived with the installation of several English coal companies and was considered in 1875 to be the biggest coal port in the mid-Atlantic. Four years later, on April 14, 1879, Mindelo was elevated to the category of city, with a population of 3,300 inhabitants.
Mindelo, capital of Sao Vicente, has become the cosmopolitan Capital of Cape Verde with its rich and varied architecture, music, culture, food and its people.
Mindelo enjoys a year round sunny climate and it is reflected in the happy and welcoming nature of its inhabitants.
The City of Mindelo is a well structured city with well laid out streets and interesting architectural traits that show the early influence of the British presence, and monuments that trace back to the colonial times. Mindelo is fascinating to explore and highlights include: The Governor’s Palace (Palácio do Governador), the Church’s Little Square (Pracinha de Igreja), the cradle of the city, from which were built the first houses and traced the earliest streets; and the Main Square (Praça Nova), a garden located in the heart of the city, built in 1894 by the British and which is the meeting point for restaurants, local bars and nightlife. All this and the international airport Cesária Évora is only located 10 km southwest of Mindelo. Kira’s is only a few minutes walk from most of these highlights.
The island of Sao Vicente is blessed with the beaches of Laginha, the most popular beach, in the centre of the city, a short stroll from Kira’s, Baía das Gatas, a natural swimmimg-pool with crystal white waters and very safe, Calhau, a small bay with excellent conditions for fishing and family barbecues, and São Pedro, offering great conditions for the practice of windsurfing. All of these beaches can be reached from Kira’s and transport can be organized. Carnival in Cape Verde is usually in February and is known worldwide. It is the most important cultural event celebrated in the island of Sao Vicente with animated parades inspired a great deal by the Brazilian carnival but with its own “Creole” features and passing nearby Kira’s. The Music Festival of Baía das Gatas is held in August and the theatre festivals in March and September.