QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Where is Cape Verde?
Cape Verde is located approximately 570km off the coast of Senegal in West Africa. It is two hours flying time south of the Canary Islands and approximately 1800km north of the equator.
How long is the flight to Cape Verde?
This depends which island you are flying to. Direct flights from many European cities such as London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt to Sal or Boa Vista take just less than 6 hours. To the other international airports (Praia and São Vicente) flights take a little longer and normally involve changing at Lisbon or Casablanca. The flight time from Lisbon is approximately 4 hours, depending on which island you are flying to. The flight time from Casablanca to Praia is also approximately 4 hours.
What Airlines fly to Cape Verde?
There are airlines flying to Cape Verde from many cities in Europe, together with some connections with North America and Africa. There is a current list of airlines and routes in the travel sections of the relevant island pages – Boa Vista, Sal, Santiago and São Vicente. The busiest airport is on the island of Sal. From all of the international airports you can get to other islands using internal flights.
Does Cape Verde take Euros?
The currency in Cape Verde is the escudo. It is not possible to buy currency before you travel, so it is advisable to take Euros. In some of the larger places, such as Praia and Santa Maria shops will accept Euros. The escudo is linked to the Euro, so the exchange rate is constant at 110 cve = €1. However, many places will use 100 cve = €1, so you may lose 10% if you pay with Euros. Credit and debit cards are taken in many places, but some smaller shops only take cash. You can obtain escudos from cash machines (ATM’s). There are cash machines in the international airports.
Can we use credit cards in Cape Verde?
Generally speaking credit cards are accepted, but usually only Visa or MasterCard. Some smaller shops, cafes and restaurants may only accept cash. It is, therefore, advisable to carry cash with you also.
Are the roads safe in Cape Verde?
Roads in Cape Verde are relatively quiet and driving standards are generally reasonable. Car hire is available, although it is wise to check the quality of the car you are hiring. Heavy rain during the rainy season (August – October) can lead to floods and landslides in some areas. If you want to see more of the island you are on, we would always recommend a guided tour. You will gain more from it as you will get more information.
Is it safe to sail in Cape Verde?
Sea conditions around the islands of Cape Verde can be dangerous; seeking advice from local officials is recommended. Sea travel to some islands such as Brava and Fogo can be disrupted so check locally.
Are the seas safe in Cape Verde?
The seas around Cape Verde are usually warm. The swell can be quite large so using common sense and taking advice from local’s is a sensible thing to do. Water sports are popular in Cape Verde and the seas are great for surfing, kite surfing and other water sports, but the sea should always be treated with respect. Beaches in Cape Verde are not always equipped with lifeguards. Some beaches have a red flag system so beware if there is a red flag flying as it is recommended that you don’t swim.
Will I need vaccinations for Cape Verde?
We cannot advise on the requirements, but your doctor will be able to advise fully. You should seek your doctor’s advice 4-6 weeks before your departure and he/she will have access to the latest recommendations. Your doctor should be able to answer your vaccination questions about Cape Verde. You can also check at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice, or similar sites in your home country.
Does Cape Verde have sharks?
The Tiger Shark is the main predator in the waters around the archipelago, apart from the Blue Marlin. Attacks throughout the world are relatively low and that is so in Cape Verde. On Sal there are lemon sharks, which are friendly and don’t bite and if you are lucky you can see them close to the shore and paddle with them.
Is Cape Verde windy?
Wind is a feature of Cape Verde, although some islands and some beaches are very sheltered and pleasant. The prevailing wind is from the north east and so it is the beaches on the north and east sides of the island that are the most popular for kite and wind surfing. Sal is particularly known for being windy, but even here it is possible to find sheltered beaches. The wind tends to reduce in the evening. The windy season is roughly between October and May. Windy Cape Verde is an attraction for those interested in the various types of surfing on offer in the country. It is always possible to find shelter from the wind, but the wind can be welcome when the temperatures are very high. If you have weather related questions about Cape Verde, see our weather page.
Is Cape Verde in Europe?
Cape Verde was a Portuguese colony, but is now an independent nation. Geographically Cape Verde is in Africa, but it has had European financial support for various projects. All visitors need to complete an online registration before arriving in Cape Verde. Visitors from some countries will also need a visa for visiting the country. If a visa is needed it will be added to your online registration or can be purchased on arrival. For more information on visas, see our visa page.
Does Cape Verde have Zika Virus?
Some local incidents of Zika Virus have been reported in Cape Verde. The virus, transmitted by mosquitos, is more risky to pregnant women or women planning pregnancy. It is always best to take precautions to avoid mosquitos. If you have health questions about Cape Verde, seek advice from your Healthcare professional before travelling.
What is the weather like in Cape Verde?
The weather in Cape Verde is mostly extremely pleasant. The average temperature is in the range of 26º – 30ºC, with long periods of sunshine. The humidity in between August and October is higher and that is also the rainy season, although rain is fairly rare on most of the islands. It can be windy between about October and May, but that is great for surfers and it is the north and east sides of the island that are mainly affected. The wind dies down in the evenings. If you wish to find out more about the weather in Cape Verde, see our weather page.
How many Cape Verdean islands are there?
There are 10 islands that make up the archipelago together with several islets. They are arranged in two main groups – the Barlavento islands which comprise Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal and Boa Vista. The other group – the Sotavento islands which comprise Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava. All the islands are inhabited except Santa Luzia.
Is there crime in Cape Verde?
Crime in most parts of Cape Verde is low, but there are occasional incidents of crime in larger cities such as Santa Maria, Praia and Mindelo. Some areas of Cape Verde are poor and so it is wise not to display too much expensive equipment or valuables. Use hotel or villa/apartment safes for valuables when possible. Having said that, crime is probably less evident in Cape Verde than in many other countries. If you are going out at night taxis are readily available, but agree the fare before you start the journey. Cape Verde is widely considered to be one of the safest of the African countries.
Does Cape Verde experience hurricanes?
Normally hurricanes form, or seed, south of Cape Verde and head west towards the Caribbean and America. Unusually the archipelago was hit by hurricane Fred in September 2015, but this was a rare occurrence. Check out the live data on the ‘weather page‘
When is the best time to go to Cape Verde?
The temperature is fairly stable all the year round, but the months of November to May are generally considered the best time for weather and the peak season. There is year-round sunshine and very little rain. If you have more weather questions about Cape Verde, see our weather page. The people of Cape Verde love to party and so visiting for Carnival before the start of Lent will find parades and celebrations in most places.
How is Christmas celebrated in Cape Verde?
Cape Verde’s population is more than 93% Roman Catholic and so celebrations follow similar patterns to other Catholic countries, with a Christmas Eve Mass. With lovely weather Cape Verde is one of the countries where you could spend Christmas Day on the beach. In some places there will be Christmas celebrations on the beach.
How is New Year Celebrated in Cape Verde?
New Year is an excuse for a big party, as is common in many countries. People will be out and about as the weather is, of course good, unlike much of Europe. On all national holidays, banks, pharmacies and shops will be closed.
Will my mobile phone work in Cape Verde?
Yes, but data roaming could be expensive. It is possible to buy a SIM card to use in Cape Verde, which will be cheaper for use while you are there. The local companies providing this are CV Telecom www.cvtelecom.cv and T-mais www.uniteltmais.cv. Another option is to take a small mobile router and get a SIM card for that.
Will I get a tan in Cape Verde?
Cape Verde enjoys sun most days and even when the sun isn’t obvious, the ultraviolet rays can still reach you. You should get a tan, but you must be careful and use a high factor sun protection, to avoid being burnt.
Can we get married in Cape Verde?
To be legally married in Cape Verde, you will need to have been resident in the country for at least 30 days. It is therefore advisable to be legally married in your own country and to have a service of blessing in Cape Verde. Services of blessing can be held on the beach in many places.
How does Cape Verde make money?
Cape Verde has few natural resources and annually has a high trade deficit. The islands have experienced periods of drought, so agriculture is problematic. Fish and shell fish are plentiful and small amounts are exported. Service industries such as tourism, transport and commerce account for most of the GDP. The country is the recipient of foreign aid.
Is there a time difference between Europe and Cape Verde?
Generally Cape Verde is one hour behind the GMT (UK), but in British Summer Time it is 2 hours behind. Time differences between different parts of Europe and Cape Verde can be checked online.
What are local restaurants like?
The type and style of restaurants vary from island to island and place to place. Some are smart, but many are fairly casual. In Mindelo (São Vicente), Praia (Santiago) and Santa Maria (Sal), there is a large selection to choose from. On islands like Maio, you will find fewer to choose from, but you will still find some lovely food. In some places street food is found and is cheap and tasty, often barbecued in the street, with just a few tables and chairs. Be prepared to eat in places that you might pass by in Europe or America. Small backstreet restaurants are definitely worth trying.
Would Cape Verde be suitable for people with mobility issues?
Some places in Cape Verde are more suitable than others. For example, Santa Maria on the island of Sal would be reasonably accessible. However, even there some roads and pavements are setts (or cobbles) and uneven, so not ideal and there may be problems finding suitable taxis. The provision of accessible toilets is also not on a par with Europe. Some of the other islands, such as Santo Antão and São Nicolau are mountainous and some towns are on steep hillsides.
Can you drink the water in Cape Verde?
It is recommended that you don’t drink the water from the tap. Bottled water is readily available in shops and restaurants. In some places water is delivered by lorry and stored in tanks. In other areas it is piped. If you are in self-catering accommodation then boiling water and bottling it after it has cooled is an option.
Do I need a visa for Cape Verde?
If you are travelling from Europe, technically you don’t need a visa, but all visitors have to register online prior to arrival and pay the registration fee. If you are not travelling from the EU and a short list other countries, you may need a visa, which would be added to your online registration. There is more information on our visa page. If you can’t complete the online registration at least 5 days before arrival, then leave it and pay at the airport. If you try to register less than five days before, the system may not have a record of your payment and you will have to pay again at the airport.
What is the legal drinking age in Cape Verde?
No Cape Verde drinking age is mentioned in law. However, there is a minimum age of 18 for purchasing alcohol.
What is the culture like in Cape Verde?
There is a blend of Portuguese, Brazilian and African culture evident in Cape Verde. Music and the arts are popular and the locals love to dance. The cultural centre is probably Mindelo on the island of São Vicente, but all the islands have their own character and traditions. There are also plenty of festivals on all of the islands.
Is Cape Verde classed as a developing country?
Cape Verde is a developing country. It is one of the wealthier of the African countries, but it is not Europe and so standards are not the same as expected in Europe. Cape Verde does not have many natural resources, but it is stable, both politically and economically. Some of the islands in particular are liable to drought, so agriculture is a challenge.
What is the capital city of Cape Verde?
The capital of Cape Verde is Praia, (which is Portuguese for beach). Praia is on the south coast of the island of Santiago. Both the port and the airport in Praia serve as a transport hub for the islands of the archipelago. The original capital was Ribeira Grande, on the south west of the island of Santiago. This is now known as Cidade Velha and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Praia is a bustling city and has a pleasant shopping area on a part of the city known as Plateau.
Is there a drink that is specific to Cape verde?
Farmers produce a strong rum called Grogue (or Grog). It is over 40% alcohol and distilled from sugar cane. It is drunk on a variety of occasions and is popular with locals. In many places it is used in the Caipirinha cocktail.
Does Cape Verde have Covid-19?
Yes, Cape Verde has been affected by Covid-19 and closed its borders for several months to control the virus. The number of cases is now very low and as a result from 15 September 2022, all travel requirements (tests or vaccination certificates, etc ) were lifted. Some people choose to wear a mask, but it is no longer compulsory. The outside lifestyle in Cape Verde is a help in reducing the transmission of covid and other similar diseases.
What is the food like in Cape Verde?
Cape Verde food is heavily influenced by the island nature of the country. Consequently, fish is found everywhere and can be bought direct from the fishermen, in shops and is on most menus in restaurants. Meat and chicken are also available, along with vegetables and salads. A Cape Verdean special is a stew called cachupa, made with beans, sweet potato and either fish or meat. It is also possible to find European foods served in restaurants, such as pasta, pizza and omelettes. Fruit such as bananas and papaya are usually available all the year round. Others such as passion fruit and mangoes will be found when in season.
What is the correct name of the country?
Cape Verde is the English version of the name. The official name of the country is Cabo Verde. It was named after Portuguese sailors had discovered a peninsula in Senegal and named it Cabo Verde. After that they discovered the archipelago and gave the islands the same name. The name of the peninsula in Senegal subsequently became known as Cap Vert.
When is the best time to go hiking in Cape Verde?
The weather in the summer is probably going to be rather too hot if your holiday is to be based on hiking. The best time would be between October/November to May. There is plenty of hiking to be enjoyed in the country. Some islands are mountainous and great for energetic hikes. Other islands are flatter and better for more gentle walking holidays.
Where could we listen to live music?
You will find live music in many bars and restaurants. Music is very important to Cape Verdeans. Live music can be found on all the islands, but Mindelo is often considered the cultural centre. The most famous singer from Cape Verde was Cesária Évora and she is remembered all over the country.
Is Cape Verde crowded
Cape Verde is quite sparsely populated, especially compared with much of Europe. The population of the country is about 550,000. The population is spread over 9 islands and so nowhere feels crowded with the possible exception of the capital, Praia on the island of Santiago.
Is Cape Verde right for me?
If you are looking to visit Africa then Cape Verde is an excellent place to start. Although it is an African country it has some European and Brazilian influences. The beaches are lovely and the weather is ideal for relaxing on the beach or around the pool. If you like something a little more energetic, then the islands of Santiago, Santo Antão, and São Nicolau offer dramatic mountain scenery and hiking opportunities. If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of life, then an island like Maio would be ideal. It is a country that can offer such variety that there is likely to be something for everyone. It is also a country that welcomes some minorities, such as LGBTQ+ visitors.
Does Cape Verde have malaria?
It has been reported that there is now no malaria in Cape Verde. In December 2022 it was stated that the World Health Organisation was expected to certify Cape Verde as being malaria-free.
What are the Cape Verde travel restrictions?
Currently visitors to Cape Verde do not have to follow any covid restrictions. Masks, covid vaccination certificates and/or negative tests are not required now. [Updated October 2023]
What kind of electrical plugs are used in Cape Verde?
Cape Verde uses the two-pin European style plugs (Type C and F). The standard voltage is 220V and the frequency is 50Hz. Visitors from the UK will need to take a UK3-pin to type C/F adaptor (European style). Types C and F are basically the same type of socket, but one has an earth contact.
Are there restrictions of public facilities opening?
All venues are now open normally. There were opening restrictions when the Covid-19 pandemic was rampant, but these restrictions have now been relaxed.
Is Cape Verde safe for gay visitors?
Cape Verde is one of the most accepting and safe African countries for gay and lesbian visitors. Gay Cape Verde does not have specific gay bars or clubs etc., but such venues are welcoming and accepting. The LGBT Cape Verde community is also one of the few in Africa to hold a Gay Pride event, which is on the island of São Vicente. There is more information on LGBT+ life in Cape Verde on our equality page.
Are masks required to be warn?
The wearing of masks is not a requirement anymore, although it may be necessary in some environments, such as hospitals and clinics. Some people still choose to wear a mask.
Is Cape Verde safe to visit?
There has inevitably been an increase in crime since tourism increased. However, the vast majority of people that visit Cape Verde encounter no problems of this kind. It is important to be sensible, as is the case throughout the world. It is important to understand that many of the local people are very poor when compared to most Europeans and Americans. Therefore, as is necessary in many countries, visitors should take precautions against petty crime. Most accommodations have safes for your valuables, and it is best not to flaunt your Rolex watches or expensive jewellery. Crime generally is quite low. Is Cape Verde safe? We would say that it is.
Many people ask whether it is safe for a woman to walk around the towns, such as Santa Maria. It is considered safe and probably safer than it would be in many towns in Europe.
The sea conditions can be treacherous at times. However, wherever you are in the world, care is needed when in or on the sea. Take advice from local people if in any doubt about the conditions.
What is Cape Verde known for?
Cape Verde is well known as a beach destination. However, it is more than that, it has lovely tropical weather and a variety of scenery. It makes an excellent winter get-away when the weather in Europe is cold and wet. There is great food and fantastic musicians.
Are there any Cape Verde vaping laws?
There appears to be no specific law about vaping in Cape Verde. E-cigarettes cannot be used on planes, and this includes charging them. Vapes must be carried in hand luggage and in the plastic bag with liquids and not in hold cases. Purchasing vapes and vaping liquids may be more difficult in Cape Verde, so take what you are going to need with you.