Cape Verde is located in the North Atlantic about 370 miles off the extreme western tip of Africa. It comprises a group of 10 islands, west of Senegal. It is part of the region of Islands collectively known as Macaronesia and that promises diversity with an appeal to every kind of traveler.
Cape Verde is known for it`s eclectic culture, with a great blend of African, Portuguese, and Caribbean influences with a touch of Brazil and even maritime New England.
Each of the 10 Islands offers its own distinct landscape and individual experience. Santo Antao has rugged peaks hiding green valleys of flowers and sugar cane, ideal for amazing hikes. Sao Vicente is home to the cultural capital of the islands, Mindelo is lively with great nightlife. Sal and Maio have rolling windswept dunes merging with turquoise waters.
Contrary to this, there is Fogo and Brava boast a much different vibe with fantastic volcanic landscapes and gleaming bays outlined by towering peaks making them excellent for hiking.
The best time to travel is from September to June, this is when the weather is absolutely perfect. However, it truly is a year-round destination because of it`s subtropical climate. The average annual temperatures range between 79°F and 86°F.
January is the perfect month to experience the mountainous islands of Fogo, Santo Antao, and Sao Nicolau. Visit Mindelo on Sao Vicente in February as it hosts one of the most important carnivals. There are daily events during the carnival season. Percussion and dance groups start rehearsing in early December.
Fall and spring months are dry with very little rainfall, making them the best time to go to Cape Verde for sunny and dry weather.
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
Traveling between the islands is fairly easy and convenient. Several options exist for tourists with various budgets. Binter Airlines is the main domestic airline to travel from one island to another. To travel by sea, you may use the daily ferry service (far cheaper) that runs between Santiago, Fogo, and Brava.
By Ferry: Most of Cape Verde`s inter-island ferries are tardy and it`s not unknown to for the ferries themselves to be rickety cargo boats in questionable condition. Luckily, the routes from sao Vicente to Santo Antao (three times a day) are short, and Fogo to Brava (once a day) are the exception. Relatively punctual and comfortable, both take about an hour.
Getting between the island via ferry really depends on where you want to go, as certain islands, like Santiago and Brava, are only able to be visited by watercraft. You can hope on a ferry, or fly in a propeller plane, but flights are not always direct. Sometimes flights get canceled if weather conditions or poor visibility pose problems.
By Car: Road conditions and driving habits are considered to be fairly adequate in Cape Verde. One of the biggest problems you`ll encounter is more of an annoyance: cobblestone roads. This material is most common on the islands of Fogo, São Nicolau, Brava, Maio and Boa Vista.
Rain can make cobblestone roads slippery. Asphalt is more common on Sal, Santiago and São Vicente. There has been a continuing project to switch cobblestone surfaces to asphalt.
Rural roads can be dangerous due to poor lighting. It is not uncommon to see people or livestock walking in the roadway, so it`s important to keep your eyes on the road and drive carefully at night in these country areas. Roads are subject to mudslides and falling rocks if they are in mountainous areas.
The smoother roadways on the newer asphalt roads can bring speeding, which is something Cape Verdan drivers couldn`t previously do on bumpier roadways. Other things to be aware of are aggressive drivers and drunk drivers (especially on Sundays), which are considered problematic in Cape Verde.
Drivers on the islands also have a tendency to drive into the opposite lane, even when you can`t see around the bend or are in a mountainous area with steep drop-offs.
By Taxi: Nice, new taxis are available in the major cities and are metered.
Aluguers, which are usually either open back pickup trucks with bench seats or 15 passenger Toyota vans, tend to travel between more rural destinations, particularly on Santo Antão. Also called hices (due to its model, Toyota Hiace), they work as a collective taxi: they drive by the main streets, usually near the city market, and they announce the final destination from the window, gathering passengers. They depart when they are full, which may take some time.
In Cape Verde they pay with the Cape Verde Escudo (CVE). This follows the currency exchange rate of the Euro. For 1 Euro you get about 110 CVE. ATM`s are available, but of course not at almost every corner of the street. With a credit card it is often possible to pay at many places.
Portuguese, Cape Verde Creole are the most widely spoken languages. English is semi-widely spoken. English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. We suggest you get a good English-Creole guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.