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A Quick Guide To Visiting The Islands Of Cape Verde In Africa


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Carlee Music


Overview of Cape Verde

Cape Verde, also known as Cabo Verde, is an archipelago located off the northwest coast of Africa. Made up of 10 main islands and several smaller islets, this tropical paradise is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. With its stunning beaches, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture, Cape Verde offers a unique experience for travelers seeking a combination of relaxation and adventure.


One of the key attractions of Cape Verde is its pristine beaches. With miles of sandy shores and crystal-clear waters, the islands provide the perfect setting for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Whether you prefer the lively beaches of Sal and Boa Vista or the quieter, secluded ones on Santo Antão and Santiago, you’ll find your personal slice of paradise.


Beyond its beaches, Cape Verde boasts a varied and captivating landscape. From volcanic mountains and lush valleys to barren deserts and dramatic cliffs, each island has its own distinct scenery to explore. Hike through the valleys of Santo Antão, climb the volcanic peak of Fogo Island, or discover the natural pools and waterfalls of São Nicolau.


When it comes to culture, Cape Verde is a melting pot of African, Portuguese, and Brazilian influences. The islands are known for their vibrant music and dance, with genres like morna and coladeira setting the rhythm of everyday life. Experience the lively atmosphere of local festivals, such as the famous Carnival on São Vicente, or visit the vibrant markets to immerse yourself in the island’s rich cultural heritage.


In terms of cuisine, Cape Verde offers a delectable fusion of flavors. Sample fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and traditional dishes like cachupa, a hearty stew made with corn, beans, and meat or fish. Wash it down with grogue, the local rum, or try the popular national beer, Strela, for a true taste of the islands.


Overall, Cape Verde provides a unique travel experience with its stunning beaches, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re a sunseeker, an adventurer, or a culture enthusiast, this archipelago has something to offer everyone. Discover the beauty and charm of Cape Verde and create unforgettable memories on these captivating islands.


Getting to Cape Verde

Getting to Cape Verde is relatively easy, with multiple international flights connecting the islands to various destinations around the world. Most travelers arrive at the Amílcar Cabral International Airport on Sal Island, which is the main gateway to the country. From there, you can easily reach other islands through domestic flights, ferry services, or inter-island flights.


Several international airlines offer direct flights to Cape Verde from Europe, including TAP Air Portugal, Cabo Verde Airlines, and TUI Airways. These flights are available from major cities like Lisbon, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. The flight duration from European destinations is generally around 4-6 hours.


If you’re traveling from North America, you can fly with connecting flights via European or African cities. Alternatively, some airlines like JetBlue and TUI Airways offer seasonal direct flights from certain North American cities, such as Boston and Toronto.


For travelers coming from other African countries, there are direct flights available from destinations like Dakar (Senegal), Praia (São Tomé and Príncipe), and Lagos (Nigeria). These flights make it convenient for those already exploring other parts of Africa to include Cape Verde in their itinerary.


Once you arrive at Amílcar Cabral International Airport, you can easily access the domestic flights and ferry services to explore other islands. The domestic airlines, Binter Cabo Verde and TICV, offer regular flights connecting the islands, with the most popular routes being between Sal and Boa Vista.


Ferry services are another option for island hopping, offering a scenic and affordable way to travel between the islands. São Vicente, Santiago, and Fogo Islands are well-connected by ferry services, providing an opportunity to experience the stunning coastal views during the journey.


It’s important to note that entry requirements may vary depending on your nationality. Most visitors to Cape Verde need a visa, which can be obtained in advance or upon arrival. However, certain nationalities may qualify for visa-free entry or visa-on-arrival privileges. It’s always recommended to check the latest visa requirements and regulations before traveling.


With convenient flight connections and various transportation options between the islands, getting to Cape Verde is relatively straightforward. Whether you choose to fly in directly or explore the archipelago through ferry services, the journey to this tropical paradise promises to be an exciting adventure.


Visa Requirements

Visa requirements for Cape Verde vary depending on your nationality. Most visitors to Cape Verde are required to obtain a visa before arrival. However, there are exemptions for certain nationalities, allowing visa-free entry or visa-on-arrival privileges.


If you are a citizen of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, or other eligible countries, you can obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport. This visa is typically valid for a maximum stay of 30 days. It’s important to note that the visa-on-arrival option is subject to change, so it’s recommended to check the latest requirements before your trip.


For citizens of countries that do not qualify for visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry, you will need to apply for a visa in advance at the Cape Verdean embassy or consulate in your home country. The application process usually involves filling out an application form, providing a valid passport, proof of accommodation, a return ticket, and sufficient funds to cover your stay in Cape Verde.


The visa application process can take several weeks, so it’s advisable to apply well in advance of your planned travel dates. It’s also important to ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Cape Verde.


It’s worth mentioning that the visa requirements for Cape Verde are subject to change, so it’s crucial to stay updated with the latest information from reliable sources, such as official government websites or your nearest Cape Verdean embassy or consulate.


It’s also important to note that Cape Verde has implemented an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system for some nationalities. The ETA allows travelers to obtain pre-clearance to enter Cape Verde online before traveling. The process involves filling out an online form and paying a fee. Not all nationalities are eligible for the ETA, so it’s essential to confirm if this applies to your country.


Overall, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific visa requirements for your nationality before planning your trip to Cape Verde. Ensuring that you have the necessary visas in place will help avoid any complications or delays during your journey, allowing you to fully enjoy your time in this beautiful island nation.


Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Cape Verde largely depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to engage in during your trip. This archipelago enjoys a pleasant year-round tropical climate, making it a great destination to visit at any time of the year. However, there are a few factors to consider when determining the ideal time to visit.


The peak tourist season in Cape Verde is during the dry winter months, from November to April. During this time, the weather is sunny and warm, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). The clear skies and gentle breezes create perfect conditions for beach activities, water sports, and outdoor exploration.


These months also coincide with the festive season and holidays, such as Christmas and New Year, when the islands come alive with vibrant celebrations and cultural events. It’s important to note that accommodation and flights may be more expensive during this period, and popular tourist spots can be crowded.


If you prefer a quieter and more budget-friendly time to visit, consider traveling during the shoulder seasons of May to June or September to October. These months offer pleasant weather with fewer tourists, allowing you to enjoy the beaches and attractions without the crowds. Hotel rates and flights may also be more affordable during these periods.


It’s important to keep in mind that Cape Verde experiences a rainy season from August to October. While the rain is typically brief and intermittent, it can impact outdoor activities and make hiking trails muddy. However, the lush green landscapes and lower tourist numbers make this period a unique and tranquil time to explore the islands.


For surfers and water sports enthusiasts, the best time to visit Cape Verde is during the winter months of December to February. These months witness bigger swells and excellent wind conditions, particularly on the islands of Sal, Boa Vista, and Santo Antão.


Ultimately, the best time to visit Cape Verde depends on your personal preferences and interests. Whether you choose to visit during the peak season for lively festivals, the shoulder seasons for discounted rates, or the rainy season for a serene experience, Cape Verde offers something special throughout the year. Plan your visit accordingly and get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and warmth of this stunning archipelago.


Popular Islands in Cape Verde

Cape Verde is made up of 10 main islands, each with its own unique charm and attractions. From relaxing beach getaways to adventurous hiking trails, there is something for everyone in this diverse archipelago. Here are some of the most popular islands in Cape Verde:


Sal: Sal is known for its stunning sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lively beach resorts. It is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, with excellent conditions for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and snorkeling. The town of Santa Maria offers a vibrant nightlife scene and a wide range of restaurants and bars to enjoy.


Boa Vista: Boa Vista is famous for its long stretches of pristine, white sandy beaches and magnificent sand dunes. It is a paradise for sun seekers looking to relax and unwind. The island also offers opportunities for sea turtle spotting and dolphin and whale watching.


Santiago: Santiago is the largest and most populated island in Cape Verde. It is rich in history and culture, with the lively capital city of Praia as its main hub. Visit the UNESCO-listed Cidade Velha, the former capital and one of the oldest settlements in Cape Verde, or explore the rugged mountains and lush valleys of the interior.


São Vicente: São Vicente is renowned for its vibrant music heritage and lively cultural scene. The city of Mindelo is a hub of nightlife, music festivals, and art galleries. Enjoy the lively atmosphere of the famous Carnival, where the streets come alive with music, dance, and colorful costumes.


Santo Antão: Santo Antão is a nature lover’s paradise with its stunning rugged landscapes and lush green valleys. Hike through the Paul Valley, explore the mountain villages, and take in the breathtaking views of the dramatic coastline and towering peaks.


Fogo: Fogo is home to one of Cape Verde’s most iconic natural landmarks, the active volcano known as Pico do Fogo. Trekking to the summit offers a unique experience and rewards you with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. The island is also known for its rich volcanic soil, which produces some of the finest coffee and wine in the region.


These are just a few of the popular islands in Cape Verde, each offering its own unique beauty and attractions. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or cultural experiences, you are sure to find it on these enchanting islands.


Exploring Sal Island

Sal Island is one of the most popular destinations in Cape Verde, known for its magnificent beaches, vibrant water sports, and lively atmosphere. It offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, making it a favorite among tourists. Here are some of the top attractions and activities to enjoy while exploring Sal Island:


Santa Maria Beach: Starting with the main attraction, Santa Maria Beach is a stunning stretch of white sandy shoreline that stretches for miles. The crystal-clear turquoise waters and gentle waves make it a paradise for swimming and sunbathing. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach, relax under the shade of a palm tree, or indulge in various water sports such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, and jet skiing.


Salinas de Pedra de Lume: Located in the crater of an extinct volcano, Salinas de Pedra de Lume is a unique saltwater lagoon. You can float effortlessly in the buoyant waters, similar to the Dead Sea, while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The therapeutic properties of the mineral-rich water are believed to have healing effects on the skin.


Terra Boa: Visit the Terra Boa mirage, a fascinating natural phenomenon where the reflection of the sun creates the illusion of water in the barren desert landscape. This optical illusion creates a surreal and mesmerizing experience for visitors. Capture stunning photos of this rare spectacle and marvel at its beauty.


Shark Bay: If you’re feeling adventurous, head to Shark Bay, also known as Ponta Preta. This spot is famous for its big wave surf breaks, attracting professional surfers from around the world. Even if you’re not a surfer, watching the thrilling waves crashing against the shore is an exhilarating experience.


Buracona and the Blue Eye: Explore Buracona, a natural pool surrounded by dramatic cliffs. Be mesmerized by the Blue Eye, a natural phenomenon where sunlight reflects off the water, creating a captivating blue color. This unique sight is a must-see and offers a great photo opportunity.


Nature reserves and wildlife: Sal Island is not just about beaches, there are also unique opportunities to explore its wildlife and natural reserves. Visit the protected area of Calheta Funda, where you can observe and learn about the island’s flora and fauna. Birdwatchers will delight in spotting various species that call Sal Island home.


Local culture and cuisine: Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the town of Santa Maria. Explore the colorful streets lined with local shops, restaurants, and bars. Sample the delicious Cape Verdean cuisine, such as fresh seafood and traditional dishes like cachupa, while enjoying the rhythms of local music.


Sal Island offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach vacation, thrilling water sports, or cultural discoveries, Sal Island has it all. Get ready to explore this captivating island and create unforgettable memories.


Activities in Boa Vista

Boa Vista, one of the stunning islands in Cape Verde, offers a wide array of activities for visitors to enjoy. With its breathtaking beaches, unique natural attractions, and vibrant culture, this island has something to offer everyone. Here are some of the top activities to experience while exploring Boa Vista:


Praia de Chaves: Start your adventure by visiting Praia de Chaves, one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. This long stretch of golden sand and pristine turquoise waters provides the perfect setting for sunbathing, swimming, and taking leisurely walks along the shoreline.


Sal Rei: Explore the charming town of Sal Rei, the capital of Boa Vista. Wander through the colorful streets and soak up the local atmosphere. Visit the local shops, cafes, and restaurants, where you can sample delicious Cape Verdean cuisine and mingle with the friendly locals.


Desert Adventure: Embark on an exciting desert adventure by exploring the Viana Desert, also known as the Desert of Viana. This otherworldly landscape offers breathtaking views of rolling sand dunes and unique rock formations. Take a dune buggy or quad bike tour for an adrenaline-pumping experience or go on a camel trek to immerse yourself in the desert surroundings.


Morabeza Beach Bar: Relax and unwind at the Morabeza Beach Bar, a popular beachside spot known for its laid-back atmosphere and stunning sunsets. Enjoy a refreshing drink, listen to live music, and soak in the beauty of the beach as you watch the sun dip below the horizon.


Turtle Watching: Boa Vista is a nesting ground for loggerhead turtles, and witnessing these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience. Join a guided turtle watching tour and get the chance to see these gentle giants as they come ashore to lay their eggs.


Santa Monica Beach: Visit Santa Monica Beach, located on the south coast of Boa Vista. This vast stretch of untouched coastline offers peace and serenity, perfect for long walks or simply lounging under the sun. Take a dip in the clear waters or try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing in the trade winds that make this beach a favorite among water sports enthusiasts.


Cabo Santa Maria Shipwreck: Explore the iconic Cabo Santa Maria shipwreck, an abandoned cargo ship that ran aground on the west coast of Boa Vista in 1968. This eerie and captivating sight is an interesting spot for photography and offers a glimpse into the island’s maritime history.


Local Culture: Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture of Boa Vista by visiting the small villages scattered around the island. Interact with the locals, learn about their traditions, and experience the rhythms of traditional Cape Verdean music at local bars or during cultural festivals.


Boa Vista has something to offer for every kind of traveler, from outdoor enthusiasts to beach lovers and culture seekers. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a taste of local culture, Boa Vista is sure to capture your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.


Discovering Santiago Island

Santiago Island, the largest island in Cape Verde, is a vibrant and culturally rich destination that offers a wide array of experiences for visitors to discover. From its historical sites to its breathtaking landscapes, Santiago Island is a treasure trove of discoveries. Here are some of the top attractions and activities to enjoy while exploring Santiago Island:


Cidade Velha: Start your journey by visiting Cidade Velha, also known as Old Town. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the first European colonial settlement in the tropics and is rich in history and charm. Explore the cobblestone streets, visit the ruins of the Sao Filipe Fortress, and walk up to the Pelourinho, the town’s historic central square.


Tabanka Museum: Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Tabanka Museum in Assomada. This small museum showcases the traditions and customs of the Tabanka people, one of the largest ethnic groups in Cape Verde. Learn about their history, music, dance, and unique way of life.


Tarrafal: Make your way to the coastal town of Tarrafal, located on the northern side of Santiago Island. This picturesque town is known for its stunning beaches, such as Tarrafal Beach, with its pristine white sand and turquoise waters. Take a dip in the refreshing ocean or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun.


Serra Malagueta Natural Park: Venture into the Serra Malagueta Natural Park, a protected area encompassing lush forests, dramatic peaks, and stunning landscapes. Explore the hiking trails and witness the diverse flora and fauna that call this park home. The park is also a great spot for birdwatching, with various endemic and migratory bird species.


Pedra de Lume: Visit the Pedra de Lume salt crater, a unique natural attraction located in the northeastern part of Santiago Island. Take a dip in the mineral-rich saltwater lagoon, which is known for its buoyancy, similar to the famous Salinas de Pedra de Lume on Sal Island.


Local Markets: Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by visiting the markets in Praia and Assomada. Explore the bustling stalls filled with fresh produce, local crafts, and vibrant textiles. Get a taste of the local flavors by sampling traditional Cape Verdean snacks or purchasing handmade souvenirs.


Assomada Carnaval: If you happen to visit in February, don’t miss the Assomada Carnaval, one of the biggest and most colorful carnival events in Cape Verde. Experience the lively parades, vibrant costumes, and pulsating music as the streets come alive with festivities.


From its historical sites to its natural wonders, Santiago Island offers a blend of culture, history, and outdoor adventures. Immerse yourself in the rhythms and traditions of this fascinating island and create unforgettable memories along the way.


Cultural Experience in São Vicente

São Vicente, known as the cultural hub of Cape Verde, offers a vibrant and enriching experience for those seeking a deeper understanding of the country’s heritage. From its lively music scene to its unique festivals, São Vicente is a treasure trove of cultural delights. Here are some of the top cultural experiences to enjoy while exploring São Vicente:


Mindelo: Start your cultural journey in Mindelo, the capital city of São Vicente. This bustling port town is renowned for its lively atmosphere and rich artistic heritage. Explore the colorful colonial-style buildings, visit the vibrant central market, and soak up the local ambiance as you stroll through the city streets.


Mercado Municipal: Dive into the local culture at the Mercado Municipal, the central market of Mindelo. Immerse yourself in the vibrant sights, sounds, and smells as you browse through the stalls filled with fresh produce, spices, local handicrafts, and traditional Cape Verdean music CDs.


Art and Music: São Vicente has a thriving art scene and is home to many talented artists and musicians. Visit the Centro Nacional de Artesanato e Design (CNAD), a cultural center that promotes local craftsmanship and showcases the works of Cape Verdean artists. Catch live music performances at the various bars, clubs, and restaurants scattered throughout Mindelo, and immerse yourself in the soul-stirring rhythms of Cape Verdean music, including the famous genre of morna.


Carnival of Mindelo: If you’re lucky to visit during February, don’t miss the Carnival of Mindelo, one of the most vibrant and exciting events in Cape Verde. Join the festivities as the streets come alive with exuberant parades, colorful costumes, traditional dances, and infectious music. This unique cultural experience is a feast for the senses.


Centro Cultural do Mindelo: Visit the Centro Cultural do Mindelo, a cultural center that hosts art exhibitions, music concerts, theater performances, and literary events. The center is dedicated to promoting and preserving Cape Verdean arts and culture, providing a platform for local and international artists to showcase their works.


Cidade Velha Festival: If you have the opportunity, venture to Cidade Velha on São Vicente during the Cidade Velha Festival. This annual event celebrates the historical significance of the UNESCO World Heritage Site with traditional music, dance performances, and storytelling. Immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of Cape Verde during this engaging festival.


Local Cuisine: No cultural experience is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. Taste traditional Cape Verdean dishes, such as catchupa (a flavorful stew with fish or meat and vegetables) or pastel com diabo dentro (a fried pastry filled with spicy meat). Visit local restaurants and street food stalls to savor the authentic flavors of São Vicente.


Whether you’re exploring the art scene, immersing yourself in the rhythms of Cape Verdean music, or experiencing the vibrant festivals, São Vicente offers a wealth of cultural experiences that will leave you with a deeper appreciation of Cape Verde’s rich heritage.


Beaches and Nature in Santo Antão

Santo Antão, the westernmost island of Cape Verde, is a haven for nature enthusiasts and beach lovers alike. With its dramatic landscapes, lush valleys, and stunning coastline, Santo Antão offers a unique and captivating experience for visitors. Here are some of the top beaches and natural attractions to explore while on the island:


Ponta do Sol: Start your exploration by visiting Ponta do Sol, a picturesque coastal town known for its stunning beaches. Enjoy the golden sandy shores of Praia da Ribeira Grande, where you can soak up the sun and take a dip in the refreshing waters. Watch local fishermen bring in their fresh catch of the day or indulge in delicious seafood at the beachside restaurants.


Paul Valley: Embark on a journey through the lush greenery of the Paul Valley, located in the heart of Santo Antão. Surrounded by towering mountains and dotted with banana plantations, this valley is perfect for hiking and exploring. Follow the trails that lead to hidden waterfalls, natural pools, and traditional villages, immersing yourself in the island’s natural beauty.


Pico da Cruz: For stunning panoramic views, hike to the summit of Pico da Cruz, the highest point on the island. This challenging but rewarding trek takes you through rugged terrain and offers breathtaking vistas of the surrounding valleys, mountains, and coastline. Marvel at the beauty of Santo Antão unfolding before your eyes.


Tarrafal de Monte Trigo: Visit the remote village of Tarrafal de Monte Trigo, accessible only by boat or a long hike. This hidden gem is known for its secluded sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and peaceful atmosphere. Relax on the beach, go snorkeling in the vibrant underwater world, or simply enjoy the tranquility that this off-the-beaten-path destination offers.


Cova Crater: Explore the Cova Crater, an ancient volcanic crater located in the heart of the island. Take a guided tour through the lush green landscapes, encountering unique flora and fauna along the way. Witness panoramic views of the valley from the edge of the crater and learn about its geological history.


Fontainhas: Visit the colorful village of Fontainhas, perched on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Admire the small, brightly painted houses that cling to the mountainside, creating a picturesque scene against the backdrop of the deep blue sea. This charming village offers breathtaking vistas and is a photographer’s dream.


Santo Antão’s combination of stunning beaches and breathtaking natural landscapes makes it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Whether you’re trekking through lush valleys, relaxing on secluded beaches, or immersing yourself in traditional villages, Santo Antão promises to leave a lasting impression of its unspoiled beauty.


Wildlife in Fogo Island

Fogo Island, located in Cape Verde, is a volcanic island that boasts not only mesmerizing landscapes but also a diverse array of wildlife. From unique bird species to marine life, Fogo Island offers a captivating wildlife experience for nature enthusiasts. Here are some of the remarkable wildlife encounters you can have while exploring Fogo Island:


Fogo Natural Park: Start your wildlife adventure by exploring the Fogo Natural Park, a protected area that encompasses the island’s volcanic landscapes and endemic flora and fauna. Embark on guided hikes through the park, and keep an eye out for the various bird species that call this area home.


Fogo Lark: The Fogo Lark, also known as the Fogo Island Lark, is a small, ground-dwelling bird endemic to Fogo Island. This species is incredibly rare and can be found in the mountainous regions of the island. Birdwatchers will delight in spotting these unique and elusive birds as they dart across the rocky terrain.


Monte Velha: Visit Monte Velha, the highest peak of Fogo Island, for incredible birdwatching opportunities. The rugged volcanic slopes and rocky cliffs provide a perfect habitat for a variety of bird species, including the endemic Fogo Sparrow. Binoculars in hand, you can observe these fascinating birds in their natural environment.


Marine Life: Fogo Island offers excellent opportunities for marine wildlife encounters. Take a boat trip around the coast and keep an eye out for dolphins, turtles, and even whales. These majestic creatures frequent the waters surrounding the island, and spotting them in their natural habitat is an awe-inspiring experience.


Nature Walks: Explore the natural landscapes of Fogo Island on guided nature walks. Trek through the volcanic terrain, passing through scenic valleys, and along the coastline. Along the way, you may come across various reptiles, such as lizards and geckos, as well as a diverse range of insects and invertebrates.


Botanical Gardens: Visit the Botanical Gardens in São Filipe, the main town on Fogo Island, where you can discover a wide variety of plant species, including endemic and rare plants. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about the island’s unique flora and the efforts to preserve its biodiversity.


Fogo Island’s wildlife is predominantly found in its natural habitats, making it crucial to respect the environment and its inhabitants. Remember to follow responsible tourism practices and observe wildlife from a distance to minimize any disturbance.


Whether you’re a birdwatching enthusiast, marine life lover, or simply appreciate the wonders of nature, Fogo Island’s diverse wildlife will captivate your senses and leave you with unforgettable memories of this volcanic paradise.


Food and Drinks in Cape Verde

Cape Verde is not only known for its stunning beaches and vibrant culture but also for its rich culinary heritage. The cuisine of Cape Verde is a fusion of African, Portuguese, and Brazilian flavors, resulting in a unique and delicious culinary experience. Here are some of the must-try food and drinks in Cape Verde:


Cachupa: Considered the national dish of Cape Verde, cachupa is a hearty stew made with corn, beans, vegetables, and various meats or fish. It is slow-cooked for hours, resulting in a flavorful and comforting meal. Variations of cachupa include cachupa Rica, which incorporates additional ingredients like sausage and chicken.


Lagosta Grelhada: As Cape Verde is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, seafood plays a prominent role in the local cuisine. One popular seafood dish is lagosta grelhada, which is grilled lobster. Served with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and accompanied by traditional sides like rice and vegetables, this dish is a true seafood lover’s delight.


Pastel com diabo dentro: Translating to “pastry with the devil inside,” this popular street food snack is made by stuffing a fried pastry with spicy meat. The dough is crispy, and the filling is flavorful and spicy, offering a delicious combination of textures and flavors.


Xerém: Xerém is a traditional Cape Verdean dish made from cornmeal, which is cooked with a variety of ingredients such as fish, shellfish, and vegetables. It is often flavored with spices, herbs, and coconut milk, resulting in a rich and aromatic dish. Xerém is often enjoyed during festive occasions and gatherings.


Grogue: Grogue is the traditional Cape Verdean rum, made from distilled sugarcane juice. It is known for its smooth taste and is often enjoyed as a sipping rum or mixed into refreshing cocktails. Take a sip of grogue and savor the flavors of Cape Verde in every drop.


Caoipirinha Crioula: A delightful Cape Verdean twist on the classic Brazilian cocktail, the caipirinha crioula incorporates the local flavors of the islands. Made with grogue, lime juice, sugar, and a hint of mint, this refreshing cocktail is the perfect accompaniment to a beachside sunset or a lively night out.


Fresh Tropical Fruits: When in Cape Verde, be sure to indulge in the abundance of fresh tropical fruits. From juicy mangoes and papayas to sweet bananas and pineapples, the islands offer an array of succulent fruits that burst with flavor. Enjoy them as a snack or in refreshing fruit salads.


Exploring the cuisine of Cape Verde is an essential part of experiencing the local culture. From the comforting flavors of cachupa to the unique combination of spices and ingredients, Cape Verdean food offers a true culinary adventure. So, be sure to savor these flavors and embark on a gastronomic journey through the delicious offerings of Cape Verde.


Shopping in Cape Verde

Exploring the local markets and shops is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Cape Verde. From unique handicrafts to traditional clothing and locally produced goods, shopping in Cape Verde offers a wide range of treasures to take home as souvenirs or gifts. Here are some of the best shopping experiences in Cape Verde:


Local Markets: The local markets in Cape Verde are a treasure trove of authentic products and a hub of local culture. While each island may have its own market, the central market in the capital city of Praia is a bustling hub where you can find a variety of goods, including fresh produce, spices, textiles, and locally crafted items. Explore the stalls, interact with local vendors, and negotiate for unique souvenirs.


Handicrafts: Cape Verde is known for its beautiful handicrafts, made by skilled artisans using traditional techniques. Look for handmade items such as woven baskets, hand-carved wooden masks, pottery, and colorful textiles. These unique pieces reflect both the cultural heritage and natural beauty of the islands.


Music and Instruments: Music is a vital part of Cape Verdean culture, and you can find a wide selection of CDs and recordings featuring traditional Cape Verdean music styles like morna and coladeira. Additionally, you may come across traditional musical instruments, such as the cavaquinho (a small guitar-like instrument) or the gaita (a Cape Verdean accordion).


Local Artwork: Cape Verde is home to many talented local artists who create beautiful artwork reflecting the vibrant island life and culture. Look for paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media creations that capture the essence of Cape Verde. Galleries and art shops are the best places to find these unique pieces.


Culinary Delights: Don’t forget to bring some flavors of Cape Verde back home with you. Look for local products like grogue (Cape Verdean rum), traditional spices, jams, and coffee. These culinary treats will allow you to relive the memories of your trip as you enjoy the tastes of Cape Verde in your own kitchen.


When shopping in Cape Verde, remember to explore beyond the tourist areas and seek out the local markets and smaller shops for a more authentic experience. Engage with the local vendors, learn about the stories behind the products, and support the local economy.


With its rich cultural heritage and skilled artisans, shopping in Cape Verde offers a wonderful opportunity to support local craftsmanship and bring home a piece of this captivating archipelago.


Safety and Health Tips

When traveling to Cape Verde, it’s important to prioritize your safety and well-being. Here are some safety and health tips to keep in mind during your visit:


Health Precautions:


– Ensure that you are up to date on routine vaccinations before traveling to Cape Verde. Consult with your healthcare provider to discuss any additional vaccinations or medications recommended for your trip.


– It’s advisable to drink bottled water or water that has been properly treated. Avoid consuming tap water or drinks made from tap water to minimize the risk of water-borne diseases.


– Protect yourself from mosquito bites by using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and sleeping in mosquito netting, especially if you plan to visit areas with a higher risk of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria or dengue fever.


– Pack a basic first aid kit with necessary medications and supplies. It’s also recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies.


General Safety:


– Like any travel destination, it’s essential to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded areas, and avoid displaying valuable items.


– When swimming in the ocean, be mindful of the currents and tides. Always swim within designated areas and seek advice from local experts if you are uncertain about the safety of the water.


– Take precautions to protect yourself from the sun, as the UV rays in Cape Verde can be strong. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, and seek shade during the hottest hours of the day.


Transportation Safety:


– When using public transportation, choose reputable providers and be cautious of your belongings. Keep an eye on your belongings while on buses, taxis, or other modes of public transportation.


– If you plan to rent a vehicle, make sure you are familiar with the local driving laws and regulations. Be cautious on the roads and avoid driving at night if possible.


Local Laws and Customs:


– Familiarize yourself with the local laws and respect the customs and traditions of Cape Verde. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and show respect for local customs and cultural practices.


– Be cautious when engaging in water sports or outdoor activities. Listen to instructions from local authorities, and only participate in activities with reputable operators who adhere to safety guidelines.


It’s important to note that the information provided here is general in nature, and it’s always recommended to consult with official travel advisories and seek advice from qualified professionals before traveling to Cape Verde. By taking necessary precautions and being vigilant, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience during your visit to this remarkable archipelago.


Local Customs and Etiquette

When visiting Cape Verde, it is important to familiarize yourself with the local customs and etiquette to show respect for the culture and engage with the local community. Here are some key customs and etiquette practices to keep in mind:


Greetings and Hospitality:


– Greetings are important in Cape Verdean culture. It is customary to greet people with a warm handshake or a hug and a kiss on each cheek. Take the time to greet people individually, even in a group setting.


– Cape Verdeans are known for their hospitality and friendliness. Don’t be surprised if you are invited into someone’s home or offered food or drinks. Accepting these gestures with gratitude and humility is greatly appreciated.


Dress Code and Modesty:


– Cape Verdeans generally dress modestly, and it is respectful to do the same. When visiting religious sites, it is advisable to dress more conservatively, covering your shoulders and knees. In everyday situations, casual and comfortable clothing is appropriate.


Respect for Elders:


– Respect for elders is highly valued in Cape Verdean culture. When interacting with older individuals, it is customary to show deference and address them with a title such as “Sr.” (for men) or “Sra.” (for women), followed by their last name or a term of respect.


Cultural Sensitivity:


– Cape Verdeans take pride in their cultural heritage. Show an interest in learning about their traditions, music, and history. Avoid making assumptions or generalizations about the culture and be open to embracing different customs.


– It is common to address Cape Verdeans by their first names or a nickname. However, if someone addresses you with a title, such as “Sr.” or “Sra.”, it is respectful to reciprocate and use their title as well.




– When taking photographs, it is polite to ask for permission before capturing images of individuals, particularly in more intimate or private settings. Showing respect for cultural sensitivities ensures a positive interaction and avoids any misunderstandings.


Tipping and Payment:


– Tipping is not a widespread practice in Cape Verde, but it is appreciated and becoming more common in tourist areas. If you receive exceptional service, a small tip is a thoughtful gesture to show your appreciation.


– Cash is the preferred method of payment in many establishments. It is always advisable to carry some local currency, the Cape Verdean Escudo (CVE), for smaller transactions and businesses that may not accept credit cards.


By observing and respecting these customs and etiquettes, you can forge meaningful connections with the local community and truly appreciate the rich cultural heritage of Cape Verde during your visit.



Cape Verde, with its stunning beaches, diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality, offers a truly unique travel experience. From the captivating islands of Sal and Boa Vista with their pristine beaches and exciting water sports, to the historical and cultural delights of Santiago and São Vicente, there is something for everyone in this archipelago.


Exploring the natural wonders of Santo Antão and Fogo Island, with their dramatic landscapes and rich wildlife, allows you to connect with the untouched beauty of nature. Meanwhile, immersing yourself in the local customs, savoring the flavors of Cape Verdean cuisine, and enjoying the rhythmic music and vibrant festivals provide a deep appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of the islands.


As you plan your trip to Cape Verde, take into consideration the best time to visit, visa requirements, and the diverse activities each island has to offer. Keep in mind the safety and health precautions, respecting local customs and etiquettes, and engaging with the local community with genuine curiosity and respect.


By experiencing the enchanting beaches, exploring the fascinating landscapes, indulging in the flavorsome cuisine, and embracing the vibrant culture, you will create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you are seeking relaxation, adventure, cultural immersion, or a combination of all, Cape Verde promises an unforgettable travel experience that will captivate your senses and leave you longing to return to its shores.