Cape Verde - facts

Interesting Facts

  • Cape Verde became independent from Portugal on 5th July 1975
  • The highest point in the archipelago is Mount Fogo, a volcano reaching 2,829 metres in height
  • The island has a unique and exotic Creole culture which has absorbed influences from Brazil, Portugal and musical vibes from Senegal.
  • The beach town of Santa Maria on Sal Island offers great possibilities for surfers
  • Cape Verdeans trust in the "power" of cachupa, a local fish stew, to transform a simple meal into an occasion for storytelling and sharing memories.
  • The natural resources are salt, basalt rock, limestone, Kaolin, fish, clay and gypsum
Currency:The Cape Verde escudo (CVE) is fixed to the Euro at the rate of 1 Euro = 110.265CVE.     
Climate:Dry Tropical
Sunshine:10 – 12 hours a day
Language:Portuguese, Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)
Main Cities:Praia, Mindelo, Santa Maria
Time Zones:One hour behind GMT (GMT - 1 hour)
Visas:Visas are compulsory and cost approx. £25
Area:4,033 square kilometers (slightly larger than Rhode Island)
Terrain:Steep, rugged, rocky and volcanic
Population:420,979 (July 2006 est.)
Flying Times:
5.5 hours from the UK

General Information

Sal – Amilcar International
Santiago – Praia International
Sao Nicolau – Preguica
Sao Vicente – Sao Pedro
Boa Vista - Robil
Ports:  Mindelo, Praia, Tarrafal


Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK passport holders require a valid passport. A visa is required unless traveling in an organised tourist group and holding a 'Certificado Colectivo de Identidade et Viagem'. Individual travelers should obtain a visa prior to travel, unless there is no diplomatic representation of Cape Verde in their country, in which case a visa may be obtained at the airport on arrival.


No vaccinations are required for entry to Cape Verde. However it is recommended that precautions be taken against typhoid fever, Hepatitis A and yellow fever (compulsory for travelers entering from a yellow fever infected area). There is a limited risk of malaria on Santiago Island between September and November. Water is unsafe to drink without prior treatment, and milk is unpasteurised. Medical facilities are limited and some medicines in short supply. Visitors receive free hospital treatment in general hospitals on presenting their passports, but health insurance is strongly advised, with coverage for emergency repatriation.


Better restaurants expect a 10% tip if no service charge has been added to the bill.


Visits to Cape Verde are usually trouble free. The political situation is stable and crime rate low. The only danger is presented by occasional hazardous sea conditions around the islands.


The country code is +238. The outgoing code is 0 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 044 for the United Kingdom). City codes are not required. The archipelago's main cities can be reached by International Direct Dialling. A GSM 900 mobile network is in operation throughout the islands; coverage is good in most towns. Internet is available in the main towns and major hotels offer laptop connections.

Duty Free

Travellers to Cape Verde are permitted the following items without incurring customs duty: a reasonable amount of perfume or eau de cologne and some gift items. In principle there is no free import of alcohol and tobacco products. The import or export of narcotics is strictly prohibited and pharmaceutical products may only be imported by public institutions.


The fish is fantastic and fresh – straight from the sea and into the kitchen and served simply to your table.  Good pizza and pasta are on offer in restaurants and cafes as well as local specialties like cachupa, fresh tuna and lobster.  Cachupa is the staple food of the islands and it is a slow boiled stew of hominy corn, beans, vegetables, spices and marinated pork or tuna.
Wine is made on Fogo Island in the Cape Verdes, and a local lager is brewed on the main Cape Verde island, Santiago. Cape Verde cuisine is Portuguese inspired and most food comes by ship. Tomatoes, peppers and papaya are grown locally on Sal but a lot of food in imported.


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