Cape Verde

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Table of Contents

Travelling to and in Cape Verde

International travel

Since Cape Verde is an island group in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the most obvious choice for getting there is by plane.

Cape Verde has 7 airports in total, 4 of which are international. You can fly from most European countries to Sal (SID) and Boa Vista (BVC) depending on the season, as they are the most popular tourist destinations. There are some places in Europe where you can fly to the capital city Praia, with the most frequent flights being from Lisbon. Mindelo is the fourth International airport and has the least connections to Europe. Wondering if your nearby airport has a connection to Cape Verde? Find out here!

Fun fact: while living in Boa Vista I always wondered why there were no plains arriving during the night. My coordinator told me that no planes were allowed to land after dark due to minimal runway lights, meaning they simply do not have them.

Domestic travel

Alright, you arrived in Cape Verde, but not on the right island. How do you get to another one? This is where you can choose between 2 options.

You can choose to go island hopping by boat. The only ferry company in the country is called CV Interilhas and has routes that connect all the islands. The schedules and routes depend on the time of the year, and to be honest, I still haven’t figured out when the ferry frequencies change. Make sure to check their routes through their website or via this link.

Personal note: I mostly used the ferry to get around the islands, as it was the cheapest and most sustainable option, but you have to give up some comfort. The boat doesn’t go very fast so you can travel for several hours. My journey from Boa Vista to Santiago took 7 hours and departed at 4 in the morning. I honestly don’t mind this, and I got to make some new acquaintances on the way. And although you’re travelling by sea, you can still see some of the other islands as you pass by.

You can also travel from one island to another by plane. 2 airlines fly these routes: Cabo Verde Airlines or Bestfly Cabo Verde. The best between these 2 is Bestfly. It is cheaper and it has more frequent domestic flights. While researching your island journey, you might not find this airline on booking websites like Skyscanner or Momondo. That’s why it is best to check out and book directly from their website:


Cape Verde has a variety of accommodations that go from star resorts to staying in a family’s house. Both options are definitely worth considering, depending on which type of holiday you wish to go. And that mainly depends on which island you plan to stay.

As said before, Sal and Boa Vista are the perfect destinations for beach bums. On these islands you will find more all inclusive hotels and apartments close to the beach.

General information


Cape Verde has 2 official languages: Portuguese and Crioulo. Portuguese is used for official matters and in the media, but you won’t hear Cape Verdeans speak it in the streets or on the beach.  

Crioulo is the common language of the islands and is a linguistic kaleidoscope born of Portuguese roots and infused with African, French, and English hues. Cape Verdeans use Crioulo for songs and poetry, and   

You can get around with English in the more touristic places (Sal, Boa Vista, Santiago). The more remote you go, the less English will be spoken. Make sure you know a few Crioulo words, as it will be highly appreciated by the locals. 

Affiliate link to dictionary. 


Although Cape Verde enjoys a year full of sunshine and low rainfall, there is a rainy season between July and October. November to February is considered to be a ‘transition season’ where rain is still to be expected before the fully dry season from March until June. The best time to visit Cape Verde is during the transition and the dry season. 

Holidays seasons like Christmas and Easter are very busy periods on touristic islands like Sal and Boa Vista. Many Europeans come down in search of sun and warmer weather during these holidays, so hotels and beaches are usually busier. Plane tickets are very high in these periods as well, so try to avoid them. 

There are a few exceptions to visiting Cape Verde, especially Boa Vista, in the rainy season that are worth your consideration, such as turtle season. Find out more information here! 


Unless you are a citizen of Cape Verde, you will need a valid passport to enter the country. Once you’re in, you can usually travel around freely, though it is still useful to keep your passport at hand. 

If you are one of Cape Verde’s 60 visa exemption countries, you don’t need a visa to enter the country. You still have to register online, preferably 5 days before arrival. You will also be required to pay a tourist tax of 3400 CVE (€ 30,85), either online or upon arrival. 

If you want to stay longer than your country’s visa exemption period (30 days for EU countries), you will need to apply for a visa. This can be done at the local police stations. 

Warning: this is general information, still make sure you check your country’s visa requirements before planning your trip. Find more information through these useful links: 

Currency and exchange

The currency of Cape Verde is Escudo. 1 euro is 110 escudos and is usually the fixed exchange you will get in local stores and businesses.  

You can exchange money before arriving in Cape Verde as a safety measure, but I recommend exchanging once you are there. If you are on a touristic island, like Sal or Boa Vista, a lot of businesses will accept euros as payment, but the exchange might be less favourable (it is easier to calculate with a 1 euro to 100 escudos exchange rate). 

I found that it is cheaper to retrieve money from an ATM at a local bank, as you will only pay for the exchange rate. If you exchange euros for escudos in banks, they will count as an exchange rate and a service cost. Make sure to check with your bank if you can retrieve money abroad and how foreign exchange rates are calculated. 

There are exchange offices in all international airports as well, but these exchange rates might be higher than the local bank. Still, it is convenient to exchange a little bit of cash to pay for a taxi to your hotel. 

The use of credit cards is limited in Cape Verde, so it is important to have some cash with you at all times. You can pay with a VISA or Mastercard in most hotels and banks. 

It’s not very common to negotiate in restaurants or grocery stores, but in my experience, you can always bend the prices with taxis and souvenir shops.  

Driving in Cape Verde

Want to rent a car? As a European citizen, you don’t need to get an international driver’s license to do that. Still, make sure to check with your country’s requirements. 

Driving happens on the right side of the road. There are car ferries between the islands, but make sure to check if you can take your rented car off the island. 

Want to rent a car in Boa Vista? Find more information here. 


Upon arrival at the airport, there will be some people trying to sell you SIM cards with a tourist data plan. This is a great option if you want to have immediate internet when you land, but I recommend waiting a bit until you’re in town. 

There are 2 main network providers in the country: CVMovel and Unitel. I recommend the first, as it gives me fast and reliable internet anywhere. In towns and villages, you can connect with 4G, but in more rural areas 3G is the best you will get. 

When you go to one of these providers, they will ask for your passport to connect your identity to your new SIM card. The card is free, and you pay a fixed rate for a certain amount of data. You can usually recharge your data in supermarkets when your internet provider is closed. 

Most hotels have reliable and fast WIFI, so you can get through your holiday without needing to buy a SIM card at all!