Welcome to Cape Verde!! Swept by strong winds, Cape Verde islands look like pieces of the moon laying on the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Verde hills parched by the sun offer a charming view, and few islands have luxurious vegetation. If you love outdoors activities, then Cape Verde is for you. The country has many great diving sites and excellent places for hiking. Nightlight is also very entertaining.
- Capital city: Praia
- Language: Portuguese (official language), crioulo (mix of Portuguese and African languages)
- Time difference: GMT/UTC – 1h
- Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz
- Telephone: +228
- Health: No vaccines required except during epidemics.
In Cape Verde, the comfort of most hotels is very basic. You will not spend more than 110 USD daily even if you fly from one island to another. Average budget is around 50 USD daily. Keep in mind that there is no foreign exchange office in the airport. It is customary to leave a tip of 10 % in upscale restaurants.
Currency: Cape Verde escudo (CVE)
Daily budget food
- Low Budget : < 1 200 escudos
- Average budget : 1 200-1 800 escudos
- High budget : > 1 800 escudos
Daily budget accommodation
- Low budget : < 5 000 escudos
- Average budget : 5 000-12 000 escudos
- High budget : > 12 000 escudos
Hotels are quite expensive in particular in Sal and Praia where prices are 50% higher than in the rest of the country. Except for Sal and Praia, you can find a decent double bedroom for less than 1500 CVE. For a comfortable bedroom (A/C and hot water available), you will pay around 2800 – 3800 CVE. Only major hotels hosting tourists in organized trips offer high standard rooms (Sal and Santiago). If you want to use all the hotel facilities (swimming pool, gym, and business centers) you will have to spend 8000 CVE or more. There are no campsites, but you can always camp on isolated beaches.
When To Go And Climate
The best time to go visit Cape Verde starts from August to October (temperatures are pleasantly warm). However, there are strong winds during all year. It is advisable to take functional clothing with you and to pack a rain/windproof jacket. From November to July, it begins to get cooler
Celebrations and Festivals
The Cape Verde carnival is among the most spectacular festivities in Africa. It is the most important event of the country. During the months of May and June, São Tiago and Fogo celebrate the “Tabanka” ceremony with music. Each island has its own festival which lasts for about a week.
Temperatures in Cape Verde are the coolest in West Africa. Daily variations in temperatures are between 20°C and 29°C from August to October. From May to October, temperatures reach 30°C. From December to March, temperatures are nearing 20°C. Thanks to ocean currents, the temperature of the sea is cooler than the sea along the African coast
São Tiago, the main island, is hosts the capital, Praia. If the capital city is not the most beautiful city of the country (that title going to Mindelo), it is however a very fun city. All around the city, there are the suburbs and the two beaches, Praia Mar and Quebra-Canela located west from the town center. You will need half a day to visit Cidade Velha situated 10 km west from Praia. It is the first city built by the Portuguese Cape Verde. Fort Real de São Felipe overlooks the town and offers a superb view. You will have to go 20km away from Praia to see some vegetation at São Domingos. The second largest town of the island, Tarrafal (famous for its beaches) is located on the north coast. You can reach Tarrafal from Praia by bus.
This flat and desert island, which hosts the international airport, is much appreciated by tourists in search of exotic places. Santa Maria, located 18km from main village (Espargos) welcomes tourists with comfortable budget. There are daily flights between Praia and Sal. A ferry connects Sal with other cities twice a week
São Vicente is the second largest island of Cape Verde islands. Mindelo is the liveliest city of the archipelago. There are more nightclubs and restaurants than Praia. Most of ancient colonial houses have been transformed into shopping places
In the north of São Vicente, the superb city of Santo Antão is worth visiting. It is the greenest and woodiest island of the Cape Verde archipelago. If you love hiking, that’s the island for you! There are daily flights from Mindelo to Santo Antão three times a week. There is also a ferry connecting Santo Antão and Mindelo.
Brava is the smallest inhabited island of Cape Verde. Located 3 hour far from Fogo, its rugged landscape offers a beautiful panorama for visitors and photographers and fantastic hikes
With its 2,829 meters high, Mount Fogo is the highest point of the archipelago
Cape Verde culture is a mix between Portuguese and African cultures, except for São Tiago Island which has an important population of African descent. Majority of inhabitants of the archipelago are Afro-creoles.
The official language is Portuguese, but Cape Verdeans speak also crioulo. Despite its small size, the country has a very rich literature. Most of literary works written in crioulo before the independence of the country are dealing with the liberation of the country. Most recent writers are writing about mass migration of Cape Verdeans moving to USA and racial discrimination. Some authors such as Kaoberdiano Dambara, write in crioulo language where as others (Onésimo Silveira for instance) use Portuguese language to write their books.
Cape Verdean food is similar to Portuguese food, but is enriched with many local dishes. The”pastel com diablo dentro” (pastel with the devil inside) is made from a mashed potatoes mixed with corn flour’s dough filled with tuna, onions, and tomatoes. After being fried, the pastel is served hot!!!! Soups are very common dishes. The most famous soup is the “caldo de peixe” (fish stew), flavored with vegetables and spices thickened with cassava flour. Other culinary specialties are “bananas enroladas” (banana donuts) and “manga de conserva” (kind of unsweetened chutney)
The majority of the population is Roman Catholic (90%). During the time of independence, the Church was the biggest landowner of the archipelago. Political reforms have reduced the ownership of the land by the Church. However, the influence the Church in the country is still very strong.
Cape Verde is the cradle of a wide variety of music styles. The most popular is “funana” which is a very rhythmic music. “Morna” (slow rhythm and nostalgic lyrics) is the national music. “Coladeira” music has a light and fast rhythm.
Sports & Activities
Hilly Cape Verde islands offer many hiking opportunities. Green hills of Santo Antão are perfect for short treks (the main attraction being the climbing of Ribeira Grande, located 10km south on the northeast coast). You need about a day walking round trip). São Vicente and Brava islands are great for pleasant walks. Windsurfers, kite surfers, divers and fishermen will love the archipelago, in particular Sal and Boa Vista islands. Mountains of São Nicolau, Brava, Fogo and Santo Antão are ideal for nice hikes. Walking and hiking are practiced during all year. Cape Verde is a renowned for its several diving spots. You can easily see dolphins, whales, sharks and sting rays. Best time for diving is between March and November. You will spend 3500 CVE for single dive plus 1000 CVE for diving equipment. Diving classes cost between 35000 CVE and 60000 CVE. Surfboard hire will cost you about 20 000 CVE. During high season, you should hire in advance. If you are planning on fishing, the best season is between June and October (wahoos, barracudas, sharks, manta rays, and marlins).