São Vicente (Portuguese for “Saint Vincent”), also Son Visent or Son Sent in Cape Verdean Creole, is one of the Barlavento islands of Cape Verde. It is located between the islands of Santo Antão and Santa Luzia, with the Canal de São Vicente separating it from Santo Antão.
The island is roughly rectangular in shape with a surface area of ca. 227 square kilometres (88 square miles). From east to west it measures 24 kilometres (15 miles) and from north to south no more than 16 kilometres (9.9 miles). The terrain includes mountains in the west, the southwest, the south, the east-central and the north. The area is flat in the north-central and central parts, the eastern part south of Calhau, and the northern part in the Baía das Gatas area. The urban area of Mindelo is in the northern part.
The island, of volcanic origin, is fairly flat. Its highest point is Monte Verde (green mountain), located in the northeast-central part with an altitude of 725 metres (2,379 feet). Although very eroded, some craters still remain, in particular near the bay of Mindelo. Other mountains include Monte Cara and Topona.
A small islet, Ilheu dos Passaros, is less than one nautical mile off the coast north of the bay of Mindelo.
Until the mid-20th century, trees were scarce in the island, and most of the island remains deforested. Most of the wide valleys and smaller dales have become forested, particularly in the middle of the island.
São Vicente enjoys a very rare mild and dry tropical climate (Köppen–Geiger classification As), much like Santa Cruz de Tenerife or Las Palmas on the Canary Islands, but somewhat warmer during winter months. The average annual temperature in Mindelo is 23.2 °C (73.8 °F) which is two degrees more than in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The island is very arid, with only 80 to 130 mm (3.15–5.12 inches) of annual rainfall, somewhat higher only near the tops of the few mountains. These rare climate conditions are due to its position far off the west African coast and because Cape Verde is in the middle of the cold Canary Current. The ocean water temperature every year is between 22 °C (72 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F). There are two seasons: December through July is mainly dry, cool and windy, while August through November is a wetter and warmer season