Sunset on Sao Vicente Island, Cape Verde
Cape Verde

Winding down in Mindelo, São Vicente

Residencial Goa, a comfortable retreat in a unique location, serving French cuisine with a Cape Verdean twist, under the shadows of several volcanoes…

We ended our stay in Cape Verde by winding down in Residencial Goa, in Mindelo, on São Vicente. It was the perfect end to our trip. The beaches on São Vicente aren’t as beautiful as the ones on the other islands like Sal or Boa Vista, but the island had other charms.

Residencial GOA, Mindelo, São Vicente, volcano, rock desert, cape verde
Our very own rock desert in the backyard of Residencial Goa

It was fairly uncrowded, and had a few interesting trails in the rough, rocky desert. While we were there, however, the winds were really reaching their peak after a few days of storms threatening, so we satisfied ourselves with short walks out to the hill in the backyard of our hotel.

Residencial GOA Mindelo São Vicente, rocky desert, volcano, cape verde
You can hike the long stretch of rock desert and get up the low volcano right outside Residencial Goa

We were surrounded by moonscape. The land around us was all rocky desert covered with low shrubs, most of which were dry and barren for the winter. The dust in the air made the sunsets very surreal. It was odd that a short walk of a few hundred meters could take us from the town into what was, essentially, nothingness.

Residencial GOA Mindelo São Vicente, volcano, beach, cape verde
The bleak, almost lunar landscape just off the beaches of Mindelo

On the day we headed out, the weather turned from bad to worse, and the wind blew so hard it felt we could fall into it and be lifted by its current. The hike to the hill was epic, and we made it back to the hotel just before the wind got properly dangerous. I found it quite exciting really.

Residencial GOA, Mindelo, São Vicente, sunset, cape verde
Brilliant sunset in a lonesome landscape

Residencial Goa is an oasis in this desert, with its thick walls and comfortable, spacious sitting area and well appointed rooms. We were very pleasantly surprised at the design of the place and the quality of the rooms. It was modern but cosy, and the beds were very comfortable. After many days of comfortable, but rather basic rooms, Residencial Goa was luxurious by comparison. We spent all of our time there reading, resting our muscles, and eating really lovely food, prepared by Raphaele. The dinners here were very good. Raphaele does exquisite French cuisine with fresh Cape Verdean ingredients, all prepared from scratch in their kitchen. I could have stayed here a week doing absolutely nothing save for reading and eating.

Residencial GOA, Mindelo, São Vicente, beach, cape verde
Looking out the fortress like entrance of Residencial Goa

On Sunday, we went to a restaurant a walk away, for brunch. Apparently it was the “thing to do”. It definitely seemed so. The place was packed, mostly with locals and the few other people from the Residencial. There was a huge variety of food, and we basically got to sample every single Cape Verdean dish in one sitting. The meal was followed by music, accompanied with professional dancers.

Residencial GOA Mindelo São Vicente, ship wreck, cape verde
Ship wreck spotted in the bay of Mindelo

We left Residencial Goa properly rested for our journey back to the Netherlands. We certainly wish we had had more time here, but then, we felt the same way about every place we went to on Cape Verde. I suppose we’ll just have to return for another visit.

Residencial GOA, Mindelo, São Vicente, sunset, cape verde
Stunning, otherworldly sunset behind some volcanic hills