Liberdadi ferry

Sadly internal travel in Cape Verde lacks reliability and frequency, although it is better than it was. This is a big concern on the island of Maio, following the completion of the new port facilities. Whilst the new port facilitates the use of roll-on-roll-off ferries, the frequency of the service is still poor. The port was finished over a month ago, but the number of ferries has not increased. The ro-ro ferry Liberdadi has visited the island a few times, but not regularly. The new port provides great opportunities, but now it needs to have a regular, reliable service from Praia and other islands. Abraão Vicente, the Minister of the Sea (Ministro do Mar), visited the island in April and said he hoped the new port would enable two ferries a day between Praia (on Santiago) and Maio.

Representatives of the tourist industry on the island of Maio have expressed serious concerns over these problems. Guests book their accommodation, but then sometimes can’t get to the island on the right day because the ferry or the plane times are changed or cancelled. The same can happen when guests are leaving (possibly to catch an international flight from Praia), which causes the guests considerable stress.

Shopkeepers on the island of Maio are also experiencing problems. Most food supplies arrive on the Praia d’Aguada ferry, which means that they often arrive at night. This costs the shopkeepers more money because they have to pay workers night time rates, but unreliability is also a concern.

In addition to Maio’s specific issues, the CV Interilhas timetables are not published early enough. Even when they are published, they are subject to last minute changes. There needs to be more certainty. There is a similar problem with flights. Bestfly Cabo Verde do not publish their schedules sufficiently far in advance. Also they only accept a Vinti4 card for online payments. This is causing great difficulties for people wanting to visit Cape Verde, and Maio in particular. The vast majority of visitors to Cape Verde do not have a Vinti4 card.

Whilst these issues have been raised recently in connection with Maio, it is a general problem in Cape Verde. Most people visiting Cape Verde have to book their holidays a long time in advance. Sometimes this can be as much as a year. They can’t do that if they don’t know how to travel between the islands. The timetables need to be published at least six months in advance. In the case of Bestfly Cabo Verde, they must also make it possible to book and pay online with Visa or MasterCard. Cape Verde desperately needs visitors. These issues make it difficult for people to visit the country.

[21 Oct 2022]