The Cape Verde Islands are located in the mid-Atlantic Ocean some 300 miles off the west coast of Africa. In 1462, Portuguese settlers arrived at Santiago and founded Ribeira Grande (now Cidade Velha)--the first permanent European settlement in the tropics. Mindelo on the isle of São Vicente is Cape Verde's cultural capital and has, by far, the most attractive city centre in the Cape Verde Islands with charming colonial buildings, cobbled streets, and numerous cafés and restaurants.

Port: Mindelo (Sao Vicente)
Experience

Mindelo (Sao Vicente)

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  • Highlights of Cape Verde

    This mostly panoramic driving tour presents the very best of the island's natural attractions, including its highest mountain, most scenic beaches and most fertile valley.

    From the pier it's a short drive east of town to the top of Monte Verde, the highest point on Sao Vicente. From here, you'll have sweeping views of the entire island, including a bird's-eye look at lovely Mindelo and the beaches along the eastern shore. Volcanically formed Monte Verde is rich in plant life with garden crops that include corn, sweet potatoes, and bananas.

    Soon after descending, you'll arrive at Baia das Gatas, which means Catfish Bay. Like much of the island, its sheltered lagoon was created by volcanic eruption centuries ago. Praia Grande, a large crescent-shaped beach lying just south, is equally stunning; especially in the way its white sands beautifully contrast with the backdrop of black lava mountains. While taking in the spectacle, enjoy a glass of "pontche," a traditional island cocktail made with sugar-cane molasses and "grogue," the national liqueur of Cape Verde.

    Continuing on, you'll drive through an agricultural valley fed by a stream that eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The stream provides much needed irrigation for the surrounding croplands, as most of the island is quite arid. In fact, even though Sao Vicente was discovered on January 22, 1462, it wasn't developed until the 19th century because the island lacks substantial water. After passing through the valley, you'll return to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes limited walking, mainly at the guests' discretion during the stops. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the bus and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned only to participate to the extent of their personal stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Transportation is usually via buses that do not have air-conditioning and which are used at other times as public transportation on the island. There are no restroom facilities available on this tour.

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  • Executive Collection Half Day Car

    PRICE is per vehicle

    This exclusive arrangement is designed to allow you the chance to customize your time ashore and discover the most interesting sights in the comfort and privacy of your own vehicle. With your private car and the personalized attention of your driver and English-speaking guide, you will have the flexibility and independence to design your itinerary ashore according to your own interests and sightsee at your own pace. See the most famous sights or go beyond to create your own intimate connections and unique cultural encounters.

    The Executive Collection is recommended for the single/solo traveler, couples, family, friends, and special interest groups traveling together. It can also be an excellent choice for physically challenged guests.

    Capacity: 2 guests

    PLEASE NOTE: Private cars/vans/minibuses are ordered per vehicle (not per person), and only one person in the party need order the vehicle. The price shown is the total cost for the vehicle, driver and English-speaking guide. Kindly note, however, that in certain ports only a driver/guide will be assigned (one person), due to limited availability. Entrance fees are not included in this price, in order to provide you with the most flexibility. In many ports, the number of vehicles available is extremely limited; therefore guests are encouraged to make their reservation as early as possible.

    Half-day private tours must depart between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 am, or after 1:00 p.m.

    Upon embarkation, please consult the Destination Manager onboard to personally discuss your itinerary requirements and set your departure time.

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  • Spectacular Sao Vicente

    A magnificent blend of urban life and natural wonders, this tour showcases the island's spectacular diversity, one of its most alluring characteristics.

    Your tour commences with an enlightening drive through downtown, passing landmarks such as the Belem Tower, a replica of the famed original in Lisbon. The tower stands in homage to the Portuguese naming the island Sao Vicente after discovering it on Saint Vicente's Day in 1462. Before long, you'll arrive at the Praca Estrela, a thriving marketplace where the predominantly West African merchants display wares ranging from handmade crafts to fine jewelry. At another market nearby, the stands are filled with locally grown fresh vegetables. Then, on the way out of Mindelo, you'll stop briefly at a beautiful colonial square that offers a glimpse into the city's casual social life.

    The landscape soon changes as you drive east to Monte Verde, San Vicente's highest peak. From here, you'll have sweeping views of the entire island, including a bird's-eye look at lovely Mindelo and its beaches, such as Praia Grande. This large crescent-shaped stretch of sand is renowned for its white color, which beautifully contrasts with the backdrop of black lava mountains. The scenery definitely warrants a photo during your stop here.

    Finally, as you head back to Mindelo and your awaiting ship, you'll drive through an agricultural valley fed by a stream that eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The stream provides much needed irrigation for the surrounding croplands, as most of the island is quite arid.

    Please note: This tour includes limited walking, mainly at the guests' discretion during the stops. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the bus and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Transportation is usually via buses that do not have air-conditioning and which are used at other times as public transportation on the island. There are no restroom facilities available on this tour.

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  • Mindelo - the Cultural Capital

    This exceptional tour presents the cultural side of Mindelo through its museum, open-air market African market, historic quarter and a traditional dance performance.

    Departing from the pier, you'll first drive through downtown, stopping at Praca Nova, a beautiful colonial square that offers a glimpse into the city's casual social life. Still, Mindelo is known more as the island's cultural heart. You will experience this first-hand at a handicraft exhibition and then at the esteemed Cultural Center, a historical colonial building that hosts different cultural activities such as a theater, one of the very rare book shops on Cape Verde, cultural events, and a changing exhibition of local art.

    Continuing on, you'll notice the streets are lined with well-preserved colonial buildings and monuments commemorating key historical events. Mindelo even boasts a replica of Lisbon's famed Belem Tower, an homage to the Portuguese naming the island Sao Vicente after discovering it on Saint Vicente's Day in 1462. The Praca Estrela marketplace is another landmark, where the predominantly West African merchants display wares ranging from handmade crafts to fine jewelry. Even more cultural and architectural treasures await you in the historic quarter, ever deepening your understanding of life in Cape Verde.

    The highlight though may well be watching a traditional dance performance, complemented by a glass of "pontche," an island cocktail made with sugar-cane molasses and "grogue," the national liqueur of Cape Verde. Both the dance and the beverage are presented with great pride, as they reflect the island's cultural diversity. Afterwards, you'll return to the pier.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of easy to moderate walking/standing and includes uneven surfaces and stairs to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Transportation is usually via buses that do not have air-conditioning and which are used at other times as public transportation on the island. There are no restroom facilities available on this tour.

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  • Island Discovery

    Experience the island's natural attractions by hiking through a picturesque valley, swimming in a volcanically formed lagoon, and gazing over the landscape from high atop a mountain.

    Depart from the pier in Mindelo, the island's cultural capital, and follow a scenic route inland toward Mato Ingles, a charming village founded by English traders in the 19th century. Here, in the serenity of the beautifully stark countryside, you'll enjoy a hike along a flat path through a rather dry valley. The island's interior is noticeably barren, a characteristic that only adds to its drama and visual appeal. Still, there are some small farms scattered about the valleys, growing crops such as corn, potatoes and beans.

    Driving on to the eastern shore, you'll visit Praia Grande, a large crescent-shaped beach. Be sure to note the wonderful contrast between its white sands and the backdrop of black lava mountains. While taking in the spectacle, enjoy a glass of ""pontche,"" a traditional island cocktail made with sugar-cane molasses and ""grogue,"" the national liqueur of Cape Verde. More stunning scenery awaits you at Baia das Gatas, which means Catfish Bay, where you may swim in the sheltered lagoon formed by volcanic eruption centuries ago. Then, linger over a hearty traditional lunch at a nearby restaurant.

    Re-boarding your coach, you'll make your way up Monte Verde, a mountainous nature preserve that lies just a few miles east of Mindelo. During a photo stop here, you'll be treated to some amazing panoramic views. As you make your way back to the pier, you'll be able to view more beaches and villages.

    Please note: This tour includes a hike of approximately 75-minutes that travels over uneven and stony natural surfaces at times. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Participants should be in good physical condition. Weather appropriate clothing; swimwear; a change of clothes; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; a bottle of water and towel from the ship; and sturdy, flat walking shoes or boots are recommended. Transportation is usually via minibuses that do not have air-conditioning which are also used at other times as public transportation on the island. There will be no narration during the driving portions of the tour and there will likely be a separate guide at each stop along the way. There are no restroom facilities available on this tour.

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