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Cape Verde: Important Q&A's

Everything you need to know about (traveling to) Cape Verde

· Travel

Where is Cape Verde?

Cape Verde is a wonderful archipelago located a few hundred miles of the coast of Senegal, West-Africa.

The 10 islands of Cape Verde, from which 9 are habited, are very different from each other. In recent years Cape Verde has become a popular tourist destination, with many tourists visiting the islands of Sal and Boavista. For example, the flight Amsterdam to Sal takes about 6 hours.

The country is a former Portugese colony, 'discovered' by the Portugese in the 15th century. The strategic location of Cape Verde, situated between the African contintent and 'the new world', made it an important part of the transatlantic slave trade. Cape Verde became independent in july 1975.

What currency is used in Cape Verde?

The Cape Verdean currency is called 'escudo'. The escudo is linked to the euro, so the rate does not fluctuate. Current rate: € 1 = CVE 110

In tourist destinations like Sal and Boavista there are places where payment in Euros is accepted. It is not likely that payment in Euros will be possible in other places.

Do I need a visa for Cape Verde?

EU-citizens and citizens from the USA can travel to Cape Verde without a visa, but will need to by a tourist visa at the boarder when entering the country. Cost for the visa is € 25. There has been talk about this visa being suspended by the government in order to stimulate the tourism sector.

What are things to do in Cape Verde?

This depends on what island you decide to visit. There are many things you can do in Cape Verde besides enjoying the amazing beaches. You can hit the water for diving, surfing and kitesurfing. A few islands are known for having fantastic hiking trails, which offer many hours of adventure. Fogo island for example has an active vulcano.

The two biggest city's of the country, Praia and Mindelo, have a big cultural offer. History and events such as carnival are what you can expect here. Small islands like Brava and Maio are places where you can get away from everything, and experience life in a way which is very different from others places and islands in the country.

How is Tourism in Cape Verde?

Tourism in Cape Verde has seen a lot of growth in the last 5-10 years. At the moment, the tourism sector in the country is mainly focussed on hotels and resorts along beautiful beaches on the islands of Sal and Boa Vista. These islands are by far the most popular of the country.

Other islands are getting more popular with travelers, and this is a positive change for the country. Tourism can help the country's population overcome social and economical issues, but therefore it needs a type of tourism that supports local initiatives on a much bigger scale.

What is the best island of Cape Verde?

Many people want to know 'what the best Cape Verde island is to visit'. This obviously is a very difficult question to answer. The beauty of Cape Verde as a destination is the fact that the islands are so different. So ultimately it depends on what you are looking for, or what you prefer to do when going on a holiday or traveling. To help you out, here's a extremely short description of what the island are most suited for:

  • Beaches: Sal, Boa Vista and Maio
  • Hiking/Nature: Santo Antao, São Nicolau, Fogo and Brava
  • Culture: São Vicente
  • A bit of everything: Santiago

What is the best time to visit Cape Verde?

What is the weather like in Cape Verde? The country has a lovely climate with warm summers and very mild winters. The delightful tempratures in the months October - March is one of the reasons the country has become so popular with European tourists.

Cape Verde is a great option for people looking for a little bit of sun during cold and rainy months back home. Even during winter tempratures can be around 25 degrees on the islands. It can get a little chilly at night, so be sure to pack a light jacket or sweater and also some pants.

What is the capital of Cape Verde?

The capital of Cape Verde is the city of Praia, the country biggest city. Praia is located on the island of Santiago, and is home to 155.000 people. The population consists of 40.000 families, of which 49.4% are masculine, 50.6% female. 40.2% of it's population are people between 15 and 34.

The city of Praia is responsible for 43.2% of the PIB of Cape Verde.

What is the language in Cape Verde?

The offical language in Cape Verde still is Portugese. Cape Verde became an independent country in july 1975, after years of fighting against the regime of Portugal. Today, Portugese is the language used in schools and some other offical institutions.

The most used language in Cape Verde is 'kriolu'. It is described as a mix between Portugese and different West-African languages, that former slaves brought to the country.

Is Cape Verde expensive?

Cape Verde is not a expensive place, but it is not as cheap as many other country's in Africa or Asia. All-Inclusive deals can be very affordable, especially if discount deals are found. Touristic hotspots such as Sal and Boa Vista have prices on a European level. In other places in the country imported goods can be pretty pricy.

Traveling across the different islands is expensive when using domestic flights, which are provided by Binter Canarias. A cheaper alternative would be island hopping by using ferry services. Infrastructure has been improved in recent years, but there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to connecting the different island of Cape Verde.