The streets of Mindelo in the island of Sao Vicente in the North of Cape Verde come alive for the first weeks of March every year for Carnival. Sao Vicente is one of 10 islands in Cape Verde, best known as the home of the legendary musician, Cesaria Evora.
The country’s second largest island in terms of population has gone from being a mostly uninhabited island until the mid to late 19th century to becoming a cultural powerhouse attracting thousands of visitors to the country each year.
Officially, carnival in Mindelo, Sao Vicente lasts a week, but locals will tell you Carnival fever begins as early as the end of the previous year. While Sao Vicente’s population is 80,000 people, the league which organized this year’s carnival (LIGOCSV) gave an unconfirmed estimate of as many as 50,000 additional visitors to the island for the carnival. This includes visitors from all the other nine islands in Cape Verde in addition to international visitors and press. The estimate is based on the fact that as early as end of December 2018, most hotels and other accommodation were fully booked. All flights to Sao Vicente were full.
This is the second year the Carnival in Sao Vicente has been organized by the league. It is all part of an ambitious plan to professionalize the carnival bring in more revenue for the country.
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