Thursday, May 26, 2022
Cape Verde Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Cape Verde

Cape Verde, formally the Republic of Cabo Verde, is an archipelago of ten volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. The islands are located 570 kilometers (350 miles) off the coast of West Africa and occupy a total area of somewhat more than 4,000 square kilometers (1,500 sq mi).

The archipelago of Cape Verde remained uninhabited until the 15th century, when Portuguese explorers found and colonized the islands, establishing the first European colony in the tropics. The islands were affluent throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, drawing merchants, privateers, and pirates due to their strategic location for the Atlantic slave trade. The abolition of slavery in the nineteenth century resulted in economic collapse and emigration, however Cape Verde gradually rebounded as an important commercial hub and maritime stopover. The islands were incorporated as an overseas department of Portugal in 1951 and continued to fight for independence until it was peacefully won in 1975.

Cape Verde has been a stable representative democracy since the early 1990s, and it remains one of Africa’s most developed and democratic countries. Due to a lack of natural resources, its emerging economy is mostly service-oriented, with an increasing emphasis on tourism and international investment. Its 512,000-strong population is primarily of mixed European and Sub-Saharan African ancestry (mulato), and it is predominantly Roman Catholic, reflecting the history of Portuguese control. A sizable diaspora community exists across the world, somewhat outnumbering island residents.

Historically, the term “Cape Verde” has been used in English for both the archipelago and the country since its independence in 1975. The Cape Verdean administration decided in 2013 that the Portuguese appellation “Cabo Verde” will be used for official reasons, such as at the United Nations, even in English situations. Cape Verde is an African Union member.


The strategic position of Cape Verde at the crossroads of mid-Atlantic air and sea routes has been improved by major upgrades at Mindelo’s harbour (Porto Grande) and the international airports of Sal and Praia. In December 2007, a new international airport opened in Boa Vista, and in late 2009, the newest international airport in Cape Verde (Cesária Évora Airport) opened on the island of So Vicente. Mindelo’s ship repair facility opened in 1983.

Mindelo and Praia are the main ports, although all other islands have minor port facilities. Airports have been constructed on all of the populated islands, in addition to the international airport on Sal. Except for the airports on Brava and Santo Anto, all provide regular air service. The archipelago contains 3,050 kilometres (1,895 mi) of roads, 1,010 km (628 km) of which are paved, the majority of which are cobblestone.

The country’s economic prospects are largely dependent on the continuation of assistance flows, the promotion of tourism and remittances, the outsourcing of labor to neighboring African nations, and the pace of the government’s development agenda.


The climate of Cape Verde is moderate, with a warm, dry summer. Precipitation is sparse and falls from June to February, peaking in September.

Sal, Boavista, and Maio are three of the islands that get virtually little rain. The rainiest islands are Santiago, Fogo, and Santo Antao.


The Cape Verde archipelago is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, some 570 kilometers (350 miles) off the African continent’s western coast, near Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and is part of the Macaronesia ecoregion. It is located between latitudes 14° and 18° North and longitudes 22° and 26° West.

The nation is a horseshoe-shaped collection of ten islands (nine of which are inhabited) and eight islets covering 4033 km2.

The islands are split into two categories based on their location:

  • The Barlavento Islands (windward islands): Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, Boa Vista; and
  • The Sotavento Islands (leeward): Maio, Santiago, Fogo, Brava.

Santiago is the biggest island in terms of both area and population, and it is home to the nation’s capital, Praia, the archipelago’s main agglomeration.

Three of them (Sal, Boa Vista, and Maio) are relatively flat, sandy, and dry, whereas the others are usually rockier and have more flora.


In 2013, Cape Verde had a population of 512,096 according to the official census. The largest island, Santiago, is home to the majority of Cape Verdeans (236,000).

Ethnic groups

When the Portuguese found the Cape Verde archipelago in 1456, it was deserted. Slaves from Africa were sent to the islands to labor on Portuguese plantations. Mulattos (mestiços in Portuguese) are people of mixed African and European ancestry; creole is another name for people of mixed black and white ancestry. Many of these Cape Verdeans have moved to other countries, namely the United States and Europe.

The Portuguese Empire gave territory to Spanish and Italian sailors, who were followed by Portuguese immigrants, exiles, Portuguese Muslims, and Portuguese Jews, both of which were victims of the Inquisition. Many immigrants from all over the globe have made Cape Verde their permanent home. These individuals arrived from the Netherlands, France, Britain, Arab nations (Lebanon and Morocco), China (particularly Macau), India, Indonesia, South America, North America, and Brazil (including people of Portuguese and African ancestry) and were incorporated into the mestiço community.

The majority of Cape Verde’s population in the twenty-first century is creole; the capital city Praia accounting for one-quarter of the country’s population. According to the 2013 Cape Verdean census, over 65 percent of the archipelago’s population resides in urban areas, and the literacy rate is approximately 87 percent (91 percent among males aged 15 and above and 83 percent among women aged 15 and above).

According to a DNA research, the heritage of the Cape Verdean people is mainly European in the male line and West African in the female line; when both lines are included, the proportion is 56 percent African and 44 percent European. Individuals have a high degree of genetic and ethnic mixing as a consequence of centuries of migration.


Approximately 95 percent of the population is Christian. In 2007, more than 85% of the population was officially Roman Catholic. Catholicism is mixed with African influences for a small percentage of the people.

The Church of the Nazarene is the biggest Protestant denomination; other organizations include the Seventh-day Adventist Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Assemblies of God, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, and various Pentecostal and evangelical denominations. There is a tiny Muslim community in the area. On many islands, there were Jewish communities. The population of atheists is believed to be fewer than 1% of the total.


Despite a dearth of natural resources, Cape Verde’s significant economic growth and improvement in living circumstances has gained worldwide attention, with other nations and international organizations often giving development assistance. Since 2007, it has been categorized as a developing nation rather than a least developed country by the United Nations.

Natural resources are scarce in Cape Verde. Only five of the ten major islands (Santiago, Santo Anto, So Nicolau, Fogo, and Brava) are usually capable of supporting substantial agricultural output, and more than 90 percent of the food eaten in Cape Verde is imported. Salt, pozzolana (a volcanic rock used in cement manufacturing), and limestone are examples of mineral resources. Its limited number of wineries producing Portuguese-style wines have historically concentrated on the local market, but have lately gained worldwide recognition. Wine tours of Cape Verde’s different microclimates started in April 2010 and may be booked via the tourist office.

Cape Verde’s economy is service-oriented, with trade, transportation, and public services accounting for more than 70% of GDP. Despite the fact that almost 35% of the population lives in rural regions, agriculture and fisheries account for just around 9% of GDP. The majority of the rest is accounted for by light manufacturing. Fish and shellfish are abundant, yet only a tiny amount is exported. In Mindelo, Praia, and Sal, Cape Verde contains cold storage and freezing facilities, as well as seafood processing factories. Through remittances, expatriate Cape Verdeans contribute an estimated 20% of GDP to the local economy. Despite having few natural resources and being semi-desert, the country has the best living standards in the area, attracting thousands of immigrants of all countries.

Since 1991, the government has promoted market-oriented economic policies, including as an open invitation to international investors and a comprehensive privatization initiative. It set the promotion of a market economy and the private sector as key development objectives, as well as the growth of tourism, light industrial sectors, and fisheries, as well as the construction of transportation, communications, and energy infrastructure. From 1994 to 2000, about $407 million in foreign investments were made or planned, with tourism accounting for 58%, industry accounting for 17%, infrastructure accounting for 4%, and fisheries and services accounting for 21%.

A wind farm was constructed on four islands in 2011, supplying about 30% of the country’s energy. It is one of the leading nations in terms of renewable energy.

Between 2000 and 2009, real GDP grew by more than 7% per year on average, considerably above the Sub-Saharan average and faster than other small island economies in the area. Strong economic performance has been supported by one of the world’s fastest growing tourist sectors, as well as significant capital inflows that have enabled Cape Verde to build up national currency reserves equivalent to 3.5 months of imports. Unemployment has been quickly declining, and the nation is on pace to meet the majority of the UN Millennium Development Goals, including reducing its poverty level from 1990.

Cape Verde joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2007, and the nation was promoted from Least Developed Country (LDC) to Middle Income Country (MIC) status in 2008.

Cape Verde has substantial economic cooperation with Portugal at all levels, which has led to the country’s currency being linked to the Portuguese escudo initially, and then, in 1999, to the euro. Cape Verde became the 153rd member of the World Trade Organization on June 23, 2008.

For the first time in Cape Verdean history, the minimum wage was established at 11,000.00 Cape Verde escudos (CVE) per month (equal to US$110 or 101 Euros) in August 2013. On January 1, 2014, the national minimum wage went into effect.

Things To Know Before Traveling To Cape Verde

Visa, Passport

Citizens of Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Hong Kong, Liberia, Macau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, and Togo do not need a visa to go to Cape Verde. Everyone else may get a visa on arrival for 25 euros.

Internet, Comunication

The phone system is functional and developing. Mobile phone coverage is available in all cities and villages. Check with your service provider for roaming fees.

There is also one Internet service provider in the nation.


People are courteous and friendly: they will attempt to sell you something, and if you reject, they will tell you tales about their families’ hardships. It is essential to purchase anything, but it is much more crucial to negotiate.

Stay safe

The crime rate is quite low. The number to dial in an emergency is 132.

Stay healthy

The tap water in resorts is generally desalinated and safe to drink. Bottled water is inexpensive and widely accessible in other places.

How To Travel To Cape Verde

By planeThe islands of Sal, Santiago, Boa Vista, and So Vicente all have international airports. Europe, Africa, and the Americas are all connected.Because not all connections are accessible on travel booking platforms, it is generally a good idea to verify with a travel agency.From EuropeRegular flights are available from...

How To Travel Around Cape Verde

Timetables in Cape Verde are not to be taken seriously; don't be shocked if the boat leaves ahead of time or if the flight is abruptly rescheduled for tomorrow. This is something to think about if you want to go island hopping. Flights may be delayed or canceled due...

Destinations in Cape Verde

Cities in Cape VerdeThere are 24 cities in Cape Verde.Praia – the capital, on Santiago IslandMindelo – port city on São Vicente, probably the country's liveliestCidade Velha (Ribeira Grande) – A historic town on SantiagoEspargos is the capital of Sal where the airport is and Santa Maria is the...

Things To See in Cape Verde

Cidade Velha, or "Old City," was the first European city in the tropics and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The Cova valley on Santo Anto is situated in an extinct volcano's crater.The city hall, church, and Palace of Justice in Praia, the capital.Fogo is a volcanic island, one of which...

Money & Shopping in Cape Verde

CurrencyThe escudo, abbreviated CVE, is the official currency of Cape Verde. It is denoted by a cifro (a symbol similar to the dollar sign, but with two vertical strokes instead of one) following the quantity. The currency is pegged to the euro at 110 dollars per euro.Euros are often...

Food & Drinks in Cape Verde

Fresh fish is abundant in Cape Verde. Tuna is widely available, as is Wahoo, a white-fleshed fish with a similar texture.Lagostada – a lobster dishCachupa - the national dish made from maize and potatoes. Flavorings such as fish or chicken are often used.Tosta mista - Tosta mista is a traditional toasted ham...

Culture Of Cape Verde

The social and cultural trends of Cape Verde are comparable to those of rural Portugal. Football (Futebol) games and church activities are both common forms of social contact and enjoyment. In Cape Verde communities, the customary stroll around the praça (town square) to greet acquaintances is still practiced on...

History Of Cape Verde

The Cape Verde Islands were uninhabited prior to the advent of Europeans. The islands of the Cape Verde archipelago were discovered in 1456 by Genoese and Portuguese navigators. According to official Portuguese records, the initial discoveries were made by António de Noli, a Genoa native who was later named...



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