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Practical information Cape Verde

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Cape Verde : Travel Information before you go!

Area

1557.0

Flights

A 6 hr flight between London and Sal. Sal, the entry point to Cape Verde, which is 2, 705 mi from London.

Population

516733

Airports

On Sal, the Amilcar Cabral airport is a 15 minute drive from Santa Maria, a village where all the seaside hotels of good quality in the whole of the archipelago are located. Allow around 50 Escudos for a trip on a shuttle (service from 7:00am to 6:00pm) and around 700 Escudos in a taxi (1,000 Escudos on average for a night trip).
The Francisco Mendes de Praia airport is 15 minutes away from the capital's centre.

Information: an international airport is planned for the island of Boavista, and Italians have obtained authorisation to finance it.
There is another project for an international airport on the island of Sao Vicente! This is a sensitive subject with the locals.

Security

The Cape Verdeans have a lot of respect for foreigners, making it an extremely calm and safe country to travel in. Nevertheless, there has been an increase in petty crime for several months in the sites with high tourist potential: Sal, Boa Vista, Mindelo, and the capital, Praia, on the island of Santiago. Be vigilant!
When swimming, beware of the strong sea currents that are a frequent cause of drowning.

Languages

Portuguese is the official language, and Creole the commonly spoken language. Learned in primary school (as in Portugal), French is spoken easily.

Required travel documents for

British nationals require a visa to enter Cape Verde. Cape Verde's Ambassador to the UK is Fernando Wahnon Ferreira, based in Brussels. His address is: Ambassade du Cap-Vert, Avenue Jeanne 29, 1000 Bruxelles, tel. +32 2 64 69 025/64 36 270; fax 32 2 64 63 385, email: emb.caboverde@skynet.be.

For those travelling via Senegal there is a Cape Verde Embassy in Dakar. Specialist travel agents dealing with Cape Verde can also arrange visas.

dakar.visaenquiries@fco.gov.uk

Religion

Almost 99 % of the population is Catholic and a very small number are Animists.

Currency

The currency is the Cape Verdean Escudo (CVE). Visa is accepted in larger hotels. ATM machines do not generally accept international bank cards, although it is possible to withdraw money over the counter at banks. The best option though, is to bring cash or travellers cheques (Euro notes are often accepted). Most currencies will be exchanged in banks and bureaux de change. Banks are generally open from Monday to Friday, from 8.00am to 3.00pm.
Note: Cape Verdean Escudos cannot be exchanged in the UK so remember to change any notes you have left over at Sal airport before you leave.

Local transportation

The plane is the fastest means of transport to explore Cape Verdean islands. All the islands are served by TACV, the national airline company. The duration of flights varies between 20 - 60 minutes. Getting around by boat is a cheaper option, although slower and not very comfortable (no food outlet or showers). However, the ferry option is quite practical for certain connections: Santo Antao/Sao Vicente crossing takes an hour with two daily departures on old ferries (since December 2002, fast catamarans ensure connections in 15/20 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day). To drive around the interior of an island you can use private taxis (agree on the price of the trip before jumping in), and shared taxis (locally known as 'aluguers'). However they only leave when they are full, so are not reliable if you need to get somewhere on time.

Car hiring is only possible in Sal, Sao Vicente, Santiago, and Fogo. A national driving licence is sufficient. Check with your insurance company that you're fully covered to drive abroad including breakdown recovery and any medical expenses resulting from an accident.

Another solution: the bus, which is very cheap but almost on par with aluguers.

Health

No vaccinations are required but it is recommended to get vaccinated against yellow fever, and to have the tetanus, poliomyelitis, and hepatitis A boosters topped up. Avoid drinking tap water and having ice cubes in your drinks.

Electricity

220 V.

Tourist numbers

198,000 international tourists visited Cape Verde in 2005.

Taxes and tips

Tax is included in products and service. Tips are at the customer's discretion.

Telephone

To call Cape Verde from the UK, dial 00 238 + the number of the person you are calling.
To call the UK from Cape Verde: 00 44+ n of other party without the initial 0.

Cape Verde : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Cape Verdean Embassy and Bureau
18-20 Stanley Street Liverpool L1 6AF .
Tel. : 0044 (0)151 255 1314.

At the destination

There is no formal British representation in Cape Verde. In case of an emergency you should contact the British Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. There is a British Honorary Consul in Mindelo, Sao Vicente Island but this should be used for consular emergencies only.

British Embassy, 20 Rue du Docteur Guillet, Boite Postale 6025, Dakar.