Is crime an issue in Cape Verde? What about natural hazards, public transport and the weather? Here's how to stay safe on the islands.
Before you set off to discover thisarchipelago off the western coast of Africa, just how safe is Cape Verde for travelers?
Travel hereis mostly safe, and you shouldn't be worried about danger if youuse common sense, such as keeping your belongings out of sight, not being flashy with jewelry or expensive cameras, and showing respect to the local culture, and of course the law.
- The risk of theft in Cape Verde
- How bad is crime in Cape Verde?
- Natural hazards in Cape Verde
- Weather in Cape Verde
- Is it safe to drive in Cape Verde?
- Public transport safety in Cape Verde
The risk of theft in Cape Verde
Therisk of crime overall is relatively low in Cape Verde.
However, travelers have reported beingmugged or robbed on dark roads at night and in isolated areas. Street lights are scarce in many public places throughout the islands, and intermittent electricity blackouts can causeentire suburbs to go dim. Crowded areas such as marketplaces and festivals also attract pickpocketing, so keep your valuables close to you and somewhere nobody could grab them.
Thieves have been reported wandering around hotels looking for easy-to-get belongings nearthe beach in Santa Maria. So if you are staying nearby, don't ever leave your belongings unattended.
Although uncommon, beware of young children on the streets. Streetkids have reportedlyrobbed tourists. Any group of young kids that are hanging out at night without adults may be on the prowl for your phones or money. Whether it's a child or an adult, you will rarely be accosted by just one thief – they usually approach in twos or threes in Cape Verde.
When leaving the airport in Praia, be wary of anyone asking to carry your bags for you – politely decline and insist you are happy to carry them yourselves. Avoid wearing flashy jewelry, posh clothing or flaunting expensive electronics. Be discreet like you would elsewhere to avoid attracting unwanted attention.
Muggingscan beviolent in nature. Praia and Mindelo are the most common areas forany type ofviolence, but it has alsobeen reportedon other islands, such as Sal. But, do the statistics back up the perception of heightened danger?
How bad is crime in Cape Verde?
Most violent crimes here are domestic in nature –and assaults committed by boyfriends and spouses against women are common in Cape Verde. This does not support the idea that violence against travelers is on the rise, or a major threat to visitors.
Organized crime, incidents linked to the drug trade and drug use and gang violence do occur. This is mostly linked to a high level of unemployment and the rise in trade of illegal drugs across the islands.Drug use is not a huge cause for concern, and is not as rife as it is elsewhere in countries such as the United States. However, it is a worthy reminder that travelers should never partake in illegal activities. It goes without saying:neveraccept drugs from a stranger on the streets.
Natural hazards in Cape Verde
Cape Verde is a chain of 10 volcanic islands and five islets, and each island does have natural dangers to be aware of.Santa Luzia is an uninhabited island. The island of Fogo has a volcano that still erupts from time to time, with the most recent eruption occurring in 2014. Tremors from eruptions can be felt on the islands of Brava and Santo Antão as well. The volcanoes on the remaining islands appear to be inactive.
Most natural hazardsare in thesea. Rip currents are one of the chief dangers of swimming in the waters surrounding Cape Verde. Santa Monica beach carries risks both from rip tides and a rocky shoreline. Any travelerwho chooses togo swimming or boating should take extracautionwith currents. If sailing around the Cape, at least one government site lists the seas as treacherous. Small fishing boats have gone missing over the years, and sailing to the southern islands of Fogo and Brava is reported to be especially dangerous.
Weather in Cape Verde
Leave your umbrella and rain coat at home when traveling to any of the Cape Verde islands, as rainfall isn't abundant here. It‘s a very sunny part of the world, with the only clouds appearing when storms from the east blow in. While this can make for a pleasant vacation, this lack of precipitation can cause droughts and shortages of food. It also means fresh water is not available. Don't drink tap water: instead boil all water, carry water purification tablets, or use a water purification device, as tap water might cause stomach sickness.
Is it safe to drive in Cape Verde?
Road conditionsare adequate in Cape Verde.Your biggest concernis cobblestone roads. This material is most common on the islands of Fogo, São Nicolau, Brava, Maio and Boa Vista, but rain can make cobblestone roads slippery.
Asphalt roads are more common on Sal, Santiago and São Vicente.Aproject to switch cobblestone surfaces to asphalt isin progress on the other islands.
- Rural roads can be dangerous at night due to poor lighting. Itiscommon forpeople or livestockto walk on the roads,so don't be distracted at night –drive carefully in these country areas when it gets dark
- Roads in mountainous areas aresubject to mudslides and falling rocks
- It is common for drivers to speed on newly finished asphalt roads – as it's somethinglocal drivers can'tdo on bumpier roads
- Other driving habits hereinclude aggressive driving and drink driving – which is considered problematic in Cape Verde. Be extra careful on the roads on Sundays, public holidays, or when festivals and concerts are happening
- Some drivers on the islands drive in the opposite lane,even whenthey can't see around the bend or are in a mountainous area with steep drop-offs – when you approach a sharp turn, drive verycarefully just in case someone is speeding around the corner.
Public transport safety in Cape Verde
Public transport is surprisingly good in Cape Verde. But here's what you should look out for while getting from A to B.
- If you want to rely on public transport, buses are the best option for cheap, clean, regular service. Buses are in mostly good conditions, and are well-kept
- Taxis are another good option to use, however you should negotiate a fare before letting your driver take off
- If you want to get between the islands, it depends on where you want to go, as certain islands, like Santiago and Brava, can only be visited by watercraft. You can hop on a ferry or fly in a propeller plane, but flights are not always direct. Flights may be cancelled if weather conditions are not great, or if poor visibility is a problem
- Travelers have also reported luggage delays of up to two days due to the small planes with luggage limits
- You can travel via minivans or converted pickup trucks. If you get the latter, you'll basically be riding in the back of a pickup bed. If that doesn't make you queasy enough, the drivers aren't always safe, often speeding and drunk driving or packing too many passengers into the back
- Obvious precautions would involve surveying the driver to make sure he isn't intoxicated and not stepping into any vehicle already weighed down by too many passengers.
Before you buy a travel insurance policy, check your government travel warnings and health advice – there may be no travel insurance cover for locations with a government travel ban or health advice against travel.
By Phil Sylvester,
World Nomads Contributor - Thu, 29 Oct 2020
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How safe is it to travel to Cape Verde? ›
Crime affects all islands of Cape Verde, but the number of incidents affecting British nationals is generally low. Burglaries and muggings have been reported on the main tourist islands of Sal and Boavista. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Keep sight of your belongings at all times.Is Cape Verde safe for a woman? ›
Yes, Cape Verde is generally safe for solo female travellers. The country is known for its friendly locals and low crime rate, making it a great destination for solo female travellers. The country is also known for its stunning beaches and vibrant culture, making it a great place to explore and relax.Is it safe to walk around Boavista Cape Verde? ›
Cape Verde is a safe destination for tourists, with generally low crime rates. Do follow local advice before swimming in the sea, though, in case of strong currents and tides. Some poor local driving, particularly on intercity buses, can also occasionally make road trips a little hairy.Are there lots of flies in Cape Verde? ›
The amount of flies varies year to year and they only seem to be around at certain times of the year. I did talk to a couple who had stopped in one of the big hotels who remarked on the number of flies but i think the problem is made worse if tables are not cleared of food and drink leftovers quickly.Can US citizens travel to Cape Verde? ›
Visas: Effective February 24, 2020, U.S. citizens entering Cabo Verde for tourism for less than 30 days do not require a tourist visa. For tourist visits longer than 30 days, two types of visas are available: a single-entry visa valid for up to 90 days or a multiple-entry visa valid for five years.Is it safe to swim in the sea in Cape Verde? ›
However, it would help if you kept in mind that Cape Verde isn't the best swimming destination. It's an excellent destination for kite surfing as the winds are strong, but so are waves and swimming in the sea with such waves is undoubtedly dangerous.Can you walk around in Cape Verde? ›
Sitting in the Atlantic, 600km from the west African coast, the 10 islands that make up the tiny country of Cape Verde offer an interesting variety of options for walkers.Do you get hassled in Cape Verde? ›
The people of Cape Verde are generally friendly and welcoming – and you won't experience the same type of aggressive hassling as you do as a white person in continental Black African countries such as Senegal.Do you need malaria tablets for Cape Verde? ›
Malaria precautions are essential. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net. Low to no risk areas: antimalarial tablets are not normally advised.Should I take cash to Cape Verde? ›
Cape Verde Currency
If you prefer to use your debit or credit card for transactions abroad, this won't be a problem either. Most shops, restaurants and hotels will accept card payments, but you may come across a few places that only take cash.
What do I need to know about Cape Verde? ›
The country is located in the Atlantic Ocean on an archipelago a little west of Africa, namely-620 kilometers from Senegal. This archipelago is a sparsely populated country of tropics and beaches, including 18 islands. In Cape Verde, tours are sent primarily to show tourists a beautiful land, far from civilization.How bad are the mosquitoes in Cape Verde? ›
It's recommended to take a vaccine against hepatitis There are no mosquitoes in Cape Verde islands so you don't need to take Malaria medicine / vaccine as in other African countries.Are there poisonous spiders in Cape Verde? ›
Latrodectus cinctus is a species of spider in the family Theridiidae, found in Cape Verde Islands, Africa, Kuwait and Iran. It is one of six species of Latrodectus found in southern Africa, four of which, including L. cinctus, are known as black button or black widow spiders.Are there poisonous snakes in Cape Verde? ›
There are no predators in Cape Verde, no snakes and very few poisonous animals. However, there are a few animals that you might want to watch out for, in case you come in contact with them. That is the case of the very rare Portuguese Man o'war (1).What language do they speak in Cabo Verde? ›
The official language of the islands is Portuguese, which is used in most written communication, including newspapers; however Creole tends to be used in conversation and it's this you'll hear being used on a day to day basis. Creole is based on African languages but with additions from several European languages.Do you need mosquito repellent in Cape Verde? ›
Insect repellent – while there is no malaria present in Cape Verde (with the exception of Santiago from September to November), we recommend taking insect repellent to help avoid annoying insect bites.Do I have to wear a face mask in Cape Verde? ›
The Cape Verde health authority still recommends that you use a face mask when in crowded areas and in enclosed spaces.What is the best time to visit Cape Verde? ›
Autumn and spring are dry with very little rainfall, making them the best time to go to Cape Verde for sunny and dry weather.Is Isla Verde beach safe at night? ›
Isla Verde has a lively night scene, with clubs and restaurants often staying open late. Don't miss sunset at the beach on your trip to Isla Verde. Petty theft is the biggest risk at night, but if you keep your belongings close at hand and leave valuables at your rental you will likely be fine.How much do you tip in Cape Verde all inclusive? ›
Small tips in countries with fragile economies are always welcome, however, there is no standard tipping etiquette in Cape Verde. The tip varies from restaurants and bars to hotel staff. For restaurants and bars, 10 – 18% of the bill is a good standard for tips.
Which is the safest island in Cape Verde? ›
Santo Antao is extremely safe. It is said that Santiago and Fogo less so, you must be somewhat careful in Praia (but no need for paranoia).Do you need a jacket in Cape Verde? ›
If you're planning an inter-island sailing trip you need to have waterproof trousers and jacket – you WILL need them. Pack a fleece and long trousers for the evenings. Take shorts for the daytime.What is Cape Verde etiquette? ›
Etiquette. Cape Verdeans are an extremely generous and hospitable people. Even the poorest take pride in presenting guests with a meal. It is considered rude to eat in front of others without sharing, and for this reason one does not eat in a public setting such as on the street or on a bus.What cash should I take to Cape Verde? ›
The escudo is fixed at a rate of 110 escudos to 1 euro and euros are widely accepted across the island, so it may be worth converting your travel money to euros before you leave to guarantee good rates once you get there.Are things cheap in Cape Verde? ›
Yes, prices in general are lower than in most countries in Europe and also the United States. But in my opinion Cape Verde is not a very cheap country. I've traveled to countries where almost everything was cheaper.Do you get food on flight to Cape Verde? ›
If you're on a short or mid-haul flight – that's anything less than seven hours including Cape Verde – you'll find our Café menu on board. It's packed with tempting treats, snacks and drinks, plus great-value meal deals and a range of hot food, too. Check out the full Café menu here.What sickness bug is in Cape Verde? ›
A food and water hygiene reminder
A reminder of the risks of diarrhoeal illness, including shigellosis, and the importance of food and water hygiene. Since August 2022, an increased number of shigellosis cases, caused by Shigella sonnei, have been reported in travellers returning from Cape Verde .
The majority of bloodsucking arthropods of public health concern are found in two classes, Arachnida and Insecta. Mosquitoes, ticks, cattle flies, horseflies and biting midges are the main hematophagous groups occurring in the Cape Verde Islands and whose role in infectious disease transmission has been established.Can you flush toilet paper in Cape Verde? ›
Toilet paper can be flushed down the toilet. Sanitary napkins, etc. need to be thrown in the bin.Can I use my debit card in Cape Verde? ›
Only Visa and Mastercard are accepted on Cabo Verde. A few major hotels accept Visa. Currency can be obtained in banks from credit cards but charges are very high. There are ATMs in Sal, Praia and Sâo Vincent.
Is the sea in Cape Verde warm? ›
A comfortable 25°C is the average maximum temperature, and sea temperatures average at 23°C, making it ideal for water sport enthusiasts.What foods are in Cape Verde? ›
Corn and beans are staples of Cape Verdean cuisine. Also popular are rice, fried potatoes, cassava and vegetables such as carrots, kale, squash, fish and meat such as tuna, sawfish, lobster, chicken, grilled pork and eggs.How many days do you need in Cape Verde? ›
Two weeks allows you to visit four islands, or even five for the fastest. It is possible to spend 5 days on the islands of São Vicente and Santo Antão, then 5 to 6 days on those of Santiago and Fogo.Do they speak English in Cape Verde? ›
Language in Cape Verde
The official language is Portuguese. Creole is spoken by most of the inhabitants. Some English, French, German and Spanish are widely spoken.
We found Cape Verde to be hotter than Egypt although the wind in Cape Verde made it a more bearable heat. I would advise you to take a higher factor than 4 to start off with cos the wind will burn you even on a cloudy day. I'm a sun worshipper but i used factor 15 for the first few days and dropped down to 10.What is the hottest month in Cape Verde? ›
Cape Verde has an enviable climate and good to visit at any time of the year. The hottest month of the year is September with an average daily maximum of 31 C and an average low of 25 C. The coolest month of the year is February with an average daily maximum of 24 C and an average low of 19 C.Are sharks common in Cape Verde? ›
West Africa's Cape Verde is an archipelago of ten volcanic islands, home to over 60 shark and ray species including whale sharks, tiger sharks and manta rays.Do you get snakes in Cape Verde? ›
Although Cape Verde is an African country, it presents no dangers regarding dangerous wildlife. The same goes for the island of Boavista, where there are no animals considered dangerous, such as snakes, crocodiles, scorpions or even lions and other wild cats.What diseases can you catch in Cape Verde? ›
- ensure that travellers to Cape Verde are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever.
- remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Cape Verde.
The islands are home to many species of sea turtle, in particular the endangered green sea turtle, as well as crocodiles and a plethora of stingrays and sharks, including grey reefs and hammerheads. Also present are dolphins, West African manatees, and of course the famed but rare saltwater hippos.
Are there scorpions in Cape Verde? ›
Distribution. The species is endemic to Cape Verde, where it occurs on the island of Santiago. It is considered the only native species of scorpions in the archipelago.Is there Zika virus in Cape Verde? ›
Serious complications and deaths are not common. However ZIKV is a cause of Congenital Zika Syndrome (microcephaly and other congenital anomalies) and neurological complications such as Guillain-Barré syndrome. There is a risk of ZIKV in this country.Are there great white sharks in Cape Verde? ›
Trip description. Whether snorkeling or scuba diving, the islands of Cape Verde are particularly famous for diving. Schools of surgeons and sars, manta rays, white sharks, tigers or hammers, jacks, groupers, morays and lobsters, fish species are not lacking and are visible in a sea offering good visibility up to 15 m.Do you get spiders in Cape Verde? ›
In agreement with earlier studies of Cape Verde spiders, the most common species in our collection are Berlandina nigromaculata (Gnaphosidae) and Hogna cf. ferox (Lycosidae). Other relatively common species are Pellenes cf. vanharteni (Salticidae), Zelotes laetus (Gnaphosidae), and Devade cf.Which 4 countries have no snakes at all? ›
An unlikely tale, perhaps—yet Ireland is unusual for its absence of native snakes. It's one of only a handful of places worldwide—including New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, and Antarctica—where Indiana Jones and other snake-averse humans can visit without fear.What is the best month to visit Cape Verde? ›
The best time to visit Cape Verde is between November and June – at this time of year, you can make the most of the white-sand beaches the islands are known for. The temperatures sit around the mid-to-high twenties, and there's hardly any rain.What language do they speak in Cape Verde? ›
The official language of the islands is Portuguese, which is used in most written communication, including newspapers; however Creole tends to be used in conversation and it's this you'll hear being used on a day to day basis.What is Cape Verde famous for? ›
Cape Verde is famous for its warm tropical climate, volcanic islands, wonderful musicians, and delicious cuisine. Americans may not have heard much about Cape Verde, but Europeans are much more familiar with the islands as a winter escape.What country is Cape Verde owned by? ›
On 30 June 1975, Cape Verdeans elected a National Assembly which received the instruments of independence from Portugal on 5 July 1975.Do people speak English in Cape Verde? ›
Language in Cape Verde
The official language is Portuguese. Creole is spoken by most of the inhabitants. Some English, French, German and Spanish are widely spoken.
Do you need bug spray in Cape Verde? ›
Insect repellent – while there is no malaria present in Cape Verde (with the exception of Santiago from September to November), we recommend taking insect repellent to help avoid annoying insect bites.