Questions

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Cape Verde is located approximately 500km 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.

This depends which island you are flying to. Direct flights from many European cities such as London to Sal take just less than 6 hours. Other islands take a little longer and involve changing at Lisbon or Casablanca, because at the time of writing there are no direct flights to these islands.

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. Credit and debit cards are taken in many places, but some smaller shops only take cash.

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 cary cash with you also.

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.

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.

The seas around Cape Verde are usually warm, but 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.

We cannot advise on the requirements, but your GP will be able to advise fully. You should seek your GP’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

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.

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 surfing. Sal is particularly known for being windy, but even here it is possible for find sheltered beaches. If you have weather related questions about Cape Verde, see our weather page.

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. A visa is required for visiting Cape Verde, which is obtainable in advance, but is more usually purchased on arrival. For more information on visas, see our visa page. The Cape Verde Escudo is also linked to the Euro.

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.

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. If you wish to find out more about the weather in Cape Verde, see our weather page.

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 populated except Santa Luzia

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 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.

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 happening.

The temperature is fairly stable all the year round, but the months of November to May are generally considered the best time for weather. If you have more weather questions about Cape Verde, see you weather page.

Cape Verde’s population is over 93% Roman Catholic and so celebrations follow similar patterns to other Catholic countries, with Christmas Eve Mass.

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.

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

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.

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.

Cape Verde has few 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.

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.

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.

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 granite setts 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 hillsides.

It is recommended that you don’t drink the water from the tap. Bottled water is readily available in shops and restaurants.

There is a blend of Portuguese 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 there own character and traditions

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.

Farmers produce a strong rum called Grogue. It is over 40% alcohol and distilled from sugar cane. It is drunk on a variety of occasions and is popular with locals.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us