São Vicente Island



São Vicente Island


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São Vicente Island is a small archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about halfway between Africa and South America. The only inhabited island is São Vicente, and it’s popular with tourists for its beaches, clear waters and picturesque villages. Although it’s not as well known as some of the other Brazilian islands, São Vicente is worth a visit for its unique culture and natural beauty.

São Vicente Island


São Vicente Island was first settled by the Portuguese in the early 1500s, and it became a center for shipping between Europe and South America. The island was briefly controlled by Spain before being acquired by Portugal again in 1636.

Brazilian independence from Portugal reached São Vicente in 1755, and although the island remained part of Brazil until 1808, it gradually developed its own culture separate from that of Lisbon. In 1953, São Vicentes became an autonomous region within Brazil’s new state, Brazilia.


The climate on São Vicente is very similar to the rest of Brazil, with wetter conditions in summer and dryer winter. During February through November, rain showers are common throughout the island’s interior notes William Boekestein (2008).

At lower elevations, vegetation is typical for a tropical archipelago at this latitude. However, it has a smaller variety of plants than surrounding islands due to increased drought pressure during March-November; eucalyptus trees predominate around São Vicente City and southern Arraial do Machado villages (IUCN category VI), upslope from where eucalyptus plantations subsequently have displaced native habitats.

São Vicente is the third largest island in the archipelago, and part of its landmass consists of marine protected areas (MPAs). The island boasts a number of national parks, nature reserves, and regional state forest units.


The island’s culture is distinctly Portuguese, although there have been some influences from Brazilians who have settled on the island.

The music of São Vicente features a mixture of traditional Portuguese styles with Brazilian rhythms and melodies. Sport is also an important part of island life, and many residents enjoy playing golf or tennis. Several hotels and casinos offer island-style entertainment, complete with live music, dancing and generally a more festive atmosphere than in the rest of Brazil. São Vicente has also experienced some success at producing soap operas featuring Hollywood actors such as Ricardo Montalban (Aventura), Robert Wagner(Doña Flor e Seus Doceiras)and DeForest Kelley to name a few.

The island’s traditional cuisine continues to be influenced by Portuguese cooking though it goes beyond the simple dishes found in Lissabon due mainly to extensive trade across Asia during Oporto’s golden age . The island’s sheltered coastal climate, lack of tobacco and expatriate taste for spicy food have also led to a variety of locally-produced spices including cloves, cinnamon sticks and allspice.


The island is a parliamentary democracy with a unicameral legislature. There are nine members of the Assembly, elected by proportional representation in four multi-member constituencies. Executive power is held by the president, who is directly elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The government structure includes an executive branch (cabinet), two chambers of parliament (Senate and Chamber of Deputies) and independent regulatory institutions.

The president appoints a prime minister, whose role it is to form the government (and for whom he or she can be voted out of office upon completion of five years); this in practice means that from time to time São Vicente’s presidents have appointed their political opponents as prime ministers; Prime Minister José Eduardo dos Santos was previously leader of Angola and his current position became untenable following Portugal’s withdrawal.

Government services

The island has a population of approximately 240,000, and its main centers are Ponta Delgada (the capital), Lagos, Vila do Conde, and São Vicente. There is 1 police force on the island with 8 stations – 6 rural and 2 urban; there are also firefighting services, public health services, educational institutions including university campuses in Lagos, Vila do Conde e São Vicente as well as professional training institutes. In addition, there are sporting facilities including a Premier League football team CD Nacional de Santa Maria who play at the Estad io Municipal in Porto Moniz.

There are a number of hospitals including the Clínicas de São João, Uniõ, and Guimarães e facilities such as schools, cultural organizations, hotels e restaurants, and supermarkets located all over the island. Health services cover routine health care (general practitioners), dentistry, optometry, etc., and that’s brought about by the newly developed state-owned hospital Santa Catarina.


Tourism constitutes a significant part of the island’s economy, with a total number of arrivals in 2017 amounting to 194,556 people. Major visitors are attracted by offers of both leisure and business, e.g., provisions of a new special immigration visa for Chinese passengers.

Especially intensive operations take place in the period from late October to part February (usually 3 months off-season) with German tour operators who organize large music festivals and guest radio shows as well as ticketing outlets e.g., Montalivet airport only had 10% more passenger plane traffic than peak season previous year; there has been a surprising leap forward in visitor flows since the island’s 2000s inclusion into European Quality Scheme states on 11 November 2003, when bi-weekly flights are scheduled and increased package deals can be booked.



The island has an excellent transport infrastructure, which is operated by ANA e Companhia Galega de Transportes Aereos (AGT). The island can be reached from mainland Portugal in around 1.5 hours and there are regular services to both Porto and Lisbon.

The airport of Lagos is the island’s main transportation hub with connections to other Portuguese airports as well as international flights to a number of European destinations, including Munich, Berlin, Paris, London Heathrow and Amsterdam. The port of Lagos handles cruise ships docking in the summer months while São Vicente also welcomes a number of day cruises. There is an extensive bus network throughout the island, with connections to most major towns and villages.


São Vicente is an archipelago of five small islands in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, about 540 kilometres east of Cabo Verde. Administratively, it belongs to the Cape Verde Province of Brazil. The population of the islands was estimated at 1,500 in 2005. The main settlement is São Vicente dos Milagres, with some 1,500 residents in 2016. São Vicente is a popular destination for tourists who visit its beaches and its wildlife.


What Is The Main Language Spoken On São Vicente Island?

The main language spoken on São Vicente island is Portuguese. However, there are a few people who speak English.

Is There A Currency In Use On The Island?

There is no official currency in use on the island, but visitors can usually exchange Brazilian real for Cape Verdean escudos at local banks and tourist businesses. There are also some hotel restaurants that accept credit or debit cards.

Are Public Services Available In English?

Yes, many of the public services (such as healthcare, banking, and education) are available in English.

Is There A Airport On The Island?

No, there is no airport on São Vicente island. Visitors can usually fly into Cape Verde or Santiago de Chile and then take a ferry to the island.

What Is The Main Religion On São Vicente Island?

The main religion on São Vicente island is Christianity. However, there are a few Muslim and Hindu residents too.

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