It’s a celebration of life—it seems like the whole island leaves their little towns and migrates to downtown Mindelo. This year, 2017, marked my sixth consecutive carnival in Cape Verde. I did the Rio one once before, but, I prefer my querida Mindelo. The one thing I must admit is the weather is not the summer heat that marks Brazilian carnival. I think the weather is what keeps things under control. The vibe is live and with the liquor free flowing it could spell disaster. In my opinion, the best way to celebrate carnival is to be on the streets, moving with the people, however, if you want a birdseye view, check out some of the hotels on Rua Lisboa or for a small fee you can go to Hotel Porto Grande. Mindelo is a walking city, you won’t need a car to get around to the carnival hotspots.
The vibrant colors of the costumes, the beautiful girls, and the music make it experience not to be missed.
When you land in Cape Verde keep an eye out for the girls giving away free CVMovil SIM cards. With your unlocked phone, you can purchase data packages from CVMovil outlets. With Viber and WhatsApp you will be able to easily communicate with you new Cape Verdean friends. If your phone is locked don’t worry, you can still take advantage of the many free wi-fi spots such as the fast one at Simpatico Mindelo.
Enjoy Carnival Safely
Keep an eye on your wallet pickpockets are plentiful—be careful putting stuff in loose back pockets. If you have a high-end camera wear it in front of you, not in your backpack. I suggest you buy your local booze from an established vendor as there are rumors of the harmful chemicals employed to rapidly ferment the grog and ponche sold by the small stands.
Getting to São Vicente
TACV is the national carrier, they are infamous for delayed flights, bumping people, and other nonsense. They do have seasonal flights from Boston to the capital Praia, from there you will have to catch a small plane to Mindelo. My recommendation, fly from the States to Lisbon and from Lisbon direct to Mindelo on TAP. With that route, you can also take advantage of the free three-day layover in Lisbon.