CAPE VERDE TRAVEL GUIDE
Welcome to Cape Verde! Located off the coast of West Africa, Cape Verde is a stunning archipelago made up of ten islands and five islets. This tropical paradise offers visitors a unique blend of African and Portuguese cultures, as well as breathtaking natural beauty.
With its year-round warm weather, stunning beaches, and crystal-clear waters, Cape Verde is the perfect destination for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts. The islands offer a variety of activities, including snorkeling, diving, kite surfing, and fishing. Visitors can also explore the islands' volcanic landscapes, lush valleys, and charming towns and villages.
Cape Verde is also known for its vibrant music scene, with genres such as morna, coladeira, and funana. Visitors can enjoy live music performances in many of the island's bars and restaurants.
The local cuisine is a fusion of African and Portuguese flavors, with seafood and fresh vegetables featuring heavily in many dishes. Visitors can sample traditional dishes such as cachupa, a hearty stew made with beans and corn, and pastel com diabo dentro, a fried pastry filled with spicy meat.
Overall, Cape Verde offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors seeking a tropical getaway with a twist of culture and adventure.
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CAPE VERDE QUICK FACTS
Capital: Praia (moved from Cidade Velha in 1770)
Currency: Cape Verdean escudo (CVE)
Area: 4,033 sq km
Population: 543 767 (2018)
Language: Portuguese, Kriolu
Religion: Roman Catholic (infused with indigenous beliefs); Protestant (mostly Church of the Nazarene)
Electricity: 220V/50Hz (European plug)
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CAPE VERDE PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 13 January, Freedom and Democracy Day
- 20 January, Heroes’ Day
- 1 June, Youth Day
- 5 July, Independence Day
- 15 August, Assumption
- 1 November, All Saints’ Day
Also, Carnival, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday.
FESTIVALS IN CAPE VERDE
BEST TIME TO VISIT CAPE VERDE
The best time to visit Cape Verde depends on what you want to do and see during your trip. The islands have a warm and dry climate year-round, with temperatures averaging around 25-30°C (77-86°F) and low rainfall. However, there are some seasonal variations that may affect your travel plans.
If you are a beach lover and want to soak up the sun and swim in the clear waters, the best time to visit Cape Verde is from November to June, during the dry season. The weather during this time is sunny and hot, with very little rainfall, making it perfect for outdoor activities and water sports.
If you are interested in bird watching or hiking, the best time to visit Cape Verde is from July to October, during the wet season. Although there may be occasional rain showers during this time, the lush green landscapes and increased bird activity make it a great time to explore the islands' natural beauty.
It's worth noting that the islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean and can be affected by hurricanes and tropical storms, particularly between August and October. Visitors should keep an eye on weather reports and travel advisories before planning a trip during this time.
Overall, Cape Verde is a great destination to visit year-round, depending on your interests and travel preferences.
SAFETY IN CAPE VERDE
Cape Verde is generally a safe country to travel to, with low levels of crime and violence. The government has made efforts to ensure the safety and security of visitors, and there is a visible police presence in tourist areas.
However, visitors should exercise common sense and take precautions to ensure their safety. It is advisable to avoid walking alone at night or in secluded areas, and to keep valuable belongings out of sight. Pickpocketing and theft can occur in crowded areas, such as markets and public transportation, so visitors should be vigilant and keep their belongings close.
Like many destinations, there is a risk of petty crime, scams, and fraud aimed at tourists. Visitors should be cautious when using ATMs and exchanging money, and only use reputable vendors and tour operators.
The islands are also located in the Atlantic Ocean and can be affected by hurricanes and tropical storms, particularly between August and October. Visitors should keep an eye on weather reports and travel advisories before planning a trip during this time.
Overall, while Cape Verde is a relatively safe destination, visitors should take precautions to ensure their safety and security. By staying alert and using common sense, visitors can enjoy a safe and enjoyable trip to this beautiful country.
CAPE VERDE WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Cape Verde has three distinct seasons, determined by the activity and intensity of the dominant regional weather systems, identified in a transition season (November to February), a dry season (March June), a rainy season (July to October). Annual temperatures have a low temperature range. The average annual temperature is around 25ºC for coastal areas, reaching 19ºC in areas above 1,000 m. The minimum values between 20ºC and 21ºC, correspond to January to April, and the maximum values of 26ºC to 28ºC in August / September.
CAPE VERDE TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN CAPE VERDE
HIKING & CYCLING IN CAPE VERDE
BEACH OPTIONS IN CAPE VERDE
SURFING IN CAPE VERDE
KITESURF IN CAPE VERDE
Kitesurfing spot details and weather
HEALTH RISKS IN CAPE VERDE
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
CAPE VERDE TRAVEL COSTS
The cost of traveling to Cape Verde can vary depending on several factors, such as the time of year, the length of stay, the level of accommodation and the activities you plan to do. Here are some estimated costs to give you an idea:
- Flights: A round-trip flight from Europe or North America can cost anywhere from $400 to $1000, depending on the time of year and airline.
- Accommodation: Accommodation options in Cape Verde range from budget hostels and guesthouses to luxury resorts. A budget hotel or guesthouse can cost around $30 to $50 per night, while a mid-range hotel can cost $70 to $120 per night. Luxury resorts can cost upwards of $200 per night.
- Food and drink: Eating out in Cape Verde can be affordable, with local restaurants offering dishes for as little as $5 to $10. Western-style restaurants can be more expensive, with prices ranging from $15 to $30 per meal. A beer or a cocktail can cost around $3 to $7.
- Transportation: Taxis and buses are the most common modes of transportation on the islands. A taxi ride within a city can cost around $5 to $10, while a bus ride can cost $1 to $2. Car rentals are also available, with daily rates starting at around $30.
- Activities: There are plenty of activities to do in Cape Verde, such as island hopping, water sports, hiking, and cultural tours. Prices can vary depending on the activity, but expect to pay around $50 to $100 per person for a day tour or activity.
Overall, Cape Verde can be an affordable destination, with plenty of budget-friendly options available. However, prices can vary depending on the level of comfort and activities you choose.
CAPE VERDE TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some travel tips for visiting Cape Verde:
- Learn some basic Portuguese or Cape Verdean Creole: While many people in Cape Verde speak English, knowing some basic Portuguese or Cape Verdean Creole can go a long way in helping you communicate with locals and navigate your way around.
- Be prepared for the weather: Cape Verde has a warm and dry climate year-round, but temperatures can vary depending on the island and time of year. Be sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, and lightweight clothing for the hot days, and a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.
- Take precautions against mosquitoes: Mosquitoes can be a nuisance in Cape Verde, particularly during the wet season. Bring insect repellent and consider wearing long-sleeved clothing in the evenings.
- Try local cuisine: Cape Verdean cuisine is a fusion of African and Portuguese flavors, with fresh seafood and vegetables featuring heavily in many dishes. Be sure to try local specialties like cachupa and pastel com diabo dentro.
- Respect local customs and traditions: Cape Verde has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors should be respectful of local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites and ask permission before taking photos of people.
- Take care with water activities: The waters around Cape Verde can be deceptively strong, particularly during the winter months. Be sure to check local conditions and only swim or take part in water activities where it is safe to do so.
- Use common sense: While Cape Verde is generally a safe destination, visitors should use common sense and take precautions to ensure their safety. Be aware of your surroundings, avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and keep valuable belongings out of sight.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF CAPE VERDE
Cape Verde is a beautiful archipelago made up of 10 islands and several islets located off the coast of West Africa. Each island has its own unique culture, landscape, and attractions. Here are some of the main regions worth visiting and the highlights of each:
- Sal: Sal is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cape Verde, known for its long stretches of white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Santa Maria is the main town and a hub for watersports like windsurfing and kitesurfing. Visitors can also take a boat trip to nearby Shark Bay to swim with nurse sharks.
- Boa Vista: Boa Vista is another popular island for tourists, with stunning beaches and sand dunes that look like they belong in the Sahara Desert. Visitors can take a quad bike tour of the island, go whale watching, or visit the Viana Desert to see the unusual rock formations.
- Santiago: Santiago is the largest island in Cape Verde and the cultural and political capital of the country. The city of Praia is the main hub and has a mix of modern and colonial architecture. Visitors can visit the UNESCO-listed Cidade Velha, the first European settlement in the tropics, or hike to the top of the Pico do Antónia for panoramic views of the island.
- Fogo: Fogo is home to the highest peak in Cape Verde, the Pico do Fogo, and is known for its fertile volcanic soil and coffee plantations. Visitors can hike to the top of the volcano, explore the charming colonial town of São Filipe, or relax in one of the island's hot springs.
- São Vicente: São Vicente is a cultural hub with a thriving music scene and colorful colonial architecture. The city of Mindelo is the main town and a hub for live music, festivals, and nightlife. Visitors can also explore the island's beautiful beaches, or take a boat trip to nearby Santo Antão to see stunning mountain landscapes.
These are just a few of the many regions worth visiting in Cape Verde, each with its own unique attractions and highlights.
There are many amazing things to see and do when visiting Cape Verde. Here are some of the best:
- Visit the beaches: Cape Verde is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with crystal-clear waters, soft sand, and stunning scenery. Sal and Boa Vista are particularly popular for their long stretches of white sandy beaches.
- Go hiking: Cape Verde has many stunning hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the islands' landscapes. Some of the best trails include the hike to the top of the Pico do Fogo volcano on Fogo Island and the hike to the top of Monte Gordo on Santo Antão Island.
- Explore the colonial towns: Cape Verde has a rich history of colonialism, and visitors can explore many charming colonial towns with colorful architecture and fascinating cultural heritage. Cidade Velha on Santiago Island and São Filipe on Fogo Island are particularly worth a visit.
- Experience the music and culture: Cape Verde has a vibrant music and cultural scene, with many live music performances, festivals, and celebrations throughout the year. Mindelo on São Vicente Island is particularly known for its music scene.
- Sample the local cuisine: Cape Verdean cuisine is a blend of African and Portuguese flavors, with fresh seafood, vegetables, and spices featuring heavily in many dishes. Some of the must-try dishes include cachupa, pastel com diabo dentro, and grilled lobster.
- Take part in watersports: Cape Verde's crystal-clear waters are perfect for watersports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, and diving. Many beaches offer rental equipment and lessons for beginners.
- Visit the natural attractions: Cape Verde is home to many stunning natural attractions, including the salt flats of Pedra de Lume on Sal Island, the sand dunes of Boa Vista, and the hot springs of Fogo Island.
These are just a few of the many amazing things to see and do in Cape Verde. With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm and friendly people, Cape Verde is a destination that offers something for everyone.
WHAT TO EAT IN CAPE VERDE
Cape Verdean cuisine is a blend of African and Portuguese influences, with fresh seafood, vegetables, and spices playing a big part in many dishes. Here are some of the must-try foods when visiting Cape Verde:
- Cachupa: This is the national dish of Cape Verde and is a hearty stew made with beans, corn, vegetables, and sometimes meat or fish.
- Catchupa Rica: Similar to Cachupa, but with added ingredients like sausage and bacon.
- Grilled lobster: Cape Verde's crystal-clear waters are home to some of the freshest and most delicious lobster you will ever taste. Grilled with garlic and butter, it's a must-try dish for seafood lovers.
- Pastel com diabo dentro: This is a savory pastry filled with spicy meat or fish, and is a popular snack food in Cape Verde.
- Buzio: This is a type of shellfish that is often served in a garlic and wine sauce.
- Feijoada: This is a popular Portuguese stew made with beans, meat, and vegetables that is often served in Cape Verde.
- Grogue: This is a strong alcoholic drink made from sugar cane that is popular in Cape Verde.
- Ponche: This is a sweet dessert drink made from condensed milk, sugar, and rum.
These are just a few of the many delicious foods and drinks to try when visiting Cape Verde. With its blend of African and Portuguese flavors, Cape Verdean cuisine is unique and flavorful, and sure to delight foodies and adventurous eaters alike.
LGBTQ IN CAPE VERDE
WHERE TO STAY IN CAPE VERDE
When visiting Cape Verde for the first time, it's best to choose a location that offers easy access to the island's main attractions, as well as comfortable and safe accommodations. Here are some suggestions for where to stay:
- Sal Island: Sal Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cape Verde, known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lively nightlife. There are many hotels and resorts on the island that cater to tourists, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts.
- Boa Vista Island: Boa Vista Island is another popular destination in Cape Verde, known for its beautiful beaches and natural attractions like the sand dunes and the Viana Desert. There are many hotels and resorts on the island, including all-inclusive options that offer a range of activities and amenities.
- Santiago Island: Santiago Island is the largest and most populated island in Cape Verde, and offers a mix of historical and cultural attractions, as well as beautiful beaches. The capital city of Praia has many hotels and guesthouses to choose from, as well as easy access to other parts of the island.
- Mindelo, São Vicente Island: Mindelo is a charming and vibrant city on São Vicente Island, known for its music and cultural scene, as well as its beautiful harbor. There are many hotels and guesthouses in the city, as well as easy access to other parts of the island.
These are just a few of the many options for where to stay when visiting Cape Verde for the first time. It's important to research different locations and accommodations to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences.
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