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Region Summary

Introduction to Sao Nicolau

Sao Nicolau is one of the Barlavento islands of Cape Verde. It is located between the major islands of San Vicente and Sal. Its population is 13,536 and the land area is 388 km/sq. The mountainous island is mostly agricultural but has been subject to droughts in the past. The flat areas and hills dominate most of the coastline and the central part. A peninsula covers the eastern part of the island. The highest point on the island is Monte Gordo rising to 1312 m.

First inhabited in the sixteenth century, it is known for its mountains and for its main town, Ribeira Brava, long the seat of the Cape Verde diocese. It's other town is the ferry and the fishing port of Tarrafal. Its main economy is agriculture as well as fishing and tourism mainly on its beaches, and major businesses are rare to find but new investment is slowly increasing and the future for the island in on the up. Many Cape Verdeans use Sao Nicolau as a weekend retreat. Much of the population live in rural areas. The island also has an airport to the south between Vila da Ribeira Brava and Campo with flights from Sal and San Vicente.

There was a famine on the 1940s and 50s which lead to many of the population leaving the island, but a new urbanisation plan has recently been launched and the municipality  is selling land to developers which is attracting investorment into the island.

Sao Nicolau is renowned for its Blue Marlin fishing, some of the best in the world and obviously the great weather.