Located off the coast of West Africa, Cape Verde is one of the continent’s best-kept island secrets. The archipelago of ten islands has recently been attracting more and more island hoppers looking for a tropical destination that’s still relatively unknown and secluded. The islands’ blend of Brazilian and West African cultures boosts the excitement level of Cape Verde, and if you're a watersports fanatic, this is the destination for you: from daytime surfing to nighttime dancing, Cape Verde's perfect for the adventurous and curious spirit.
1. Local Cuisine: Cape Verde has a rich ethnic culture that blends Portuguese and Senegalese customs and traditions; that blending is happily reflected in the country’s amazing cuisine. Be sure to try canja (a rich chicken soup) and cachupa (a stew of hominy, beans, and either fish or meat), two local dishes you are bound to like. Aguardiente is the local sugarcane rum, and it’s gaining in popularity in the States; be sure to try it while you’re in Cape Verde.
2. Sal’s Salt Mines: The salt mines of Sal were built inside dormant volcanoes. The caves are truly impressive, and we highly recommend seeing them.
3. Water Sports: Windsurfing, surfing, jet skiing, scuba diving, and waterskiing are all must-do activities in Cape Verde. Organize your itinerary with your hotel before setting out.
4. Island Hopping: The four top islands to visit are Sal, São Vicente, Praia, and Cidade Velha. All the islands offer wonderful natural viewing and plenty of comfortable places to stay.
5. São’s Submarine Tour: It’s rare that tourists can say that they’ve ridden in a real submarine. In that respect, tourists to Cape Verde are truly lucky. Make sure to book a submarine tour of this island to see remarkable oceanic flora and fauna from a 360-degree viewpoint.
The weather is beautiful all year round, the temperature usually about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Cape Verde’s geographical position, at the northern limit of the tropical rain belt, leaves the country with very little rainfall. Although it’s highly unlikely, if rainfall is to occur, it’s usually between August and September. There is no “perfect” time to visit Cape Verde because the weather is fantastic throughout the year.
Visas: Visas are required for entry into Cape Verde for visitors from all countries. Make sure to have a valid passport.
Transportation: Traveling between the islands is fairly easy and convenient. Several options exist for tourists with various budgets. TACV Cabo Verde Airlines is the main domestic airline for taking people between islands. To travel by sea, you may use the daily ferry service that runs between Santiago, Fogo, and Brava. Tourists usually rely on taxis, private-car hire, and minibuses for local transport.
Cape Verde is quite safe, and crime is relatively low. When traveling by ferry, be aware of sea conditions before taking off. For further information, visit the U.S. Department of State’s travel site on Cape Verde.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index, wherein scores are based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to Cape Verde or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.
1. The official language is Portuguese, but most of the locals speak Cape Verdean Creole, a mixture of Senegalese and Portuguese. English, French, German, and Spanish are also widely spoken throughout Cape Verde.
2. Agree to a price before you take a taxi, and ask your hotel about suggested taxi rates before traveling. Taxi drivers are known to hike prices for tourists.
3. Sal is the main resort island, but if you have the time and money, try to visit other islands to get a full taste of Cape Verde.