Cape Verde Area Guide

These islands are close to Europe and offer an idyllic setting for tourism. The information presented here is designed to help you to get to know the country and make the most of a trip there. Cape Verde is a group of islands 385 miles (620 km) west of Senegal, West Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. Its official name is The Republic of Cape Verde and it covers 4030 sq kms.

The islands are divided into two groups:

Barlavento in the north consisting of the islands of Santo Antao (291 sq miles or 754 sq km), Boa Vista Island (240 sq miles or 622 sq km), Sao Nicolau (132 sq miles or 342 sq km), Sao Vicente (88 sq miles or 246 sq km), Sal Island (83 sq miles or 298 sq km), and Santa Luzia (13 sq miles or 34 sq km)

Sotavento in the south, embraces the islands Sao Tiago (Santiago Island) (383 sq miles or 992 sq km), Fogo (184 sq miles or 477 sq km), Maio (103 sq miles or 267 sq km), and Brava (25 sq miles or 65 sq km).

About Cape Verde

Cape Verde is made up of two distinctly different types of islands. Six of the islands, located more to the west, are characterised by their mountainous landscapes, whereas long, sandy beaches distinguish the remaining three. The currency used in Cape Verde is Cape Verde Escudo (CVE).

The main languages spoken are Portuguese and Criuolo, which is a blend of Portuguese and West African. About 80% of the inhabitants are Roman Catholic.

Cape Verde has the coolest temperatures of any country in West Africa and is fairly similar to the Canary Islands. The capital of the islands is Praia, which is on Santiago Island.

The population of Cape Verde is 418,224 and is made up of 39% 0-14 years, 54.3% 15-64 years and 6.8% of over 65 years. Cape Verde’s population consists of Creole (mulatto) 71%, African 28%, European 1%.

The major industries of Cape Verde are food and beverage production, shoe and garment manufacturing, fish processing, salt mining and ship repair. Bananas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, coffee, peanuts and fish are all produced locally.

Getting To Cape Verde

The easiest way to get to Cape Verde is via Lisbon, Portugal and then directly to Sal Island or Santiago Island. There are many airlines now offering daily flights to Lisbon, not only via the major airports but also through many of the smaller “local” airports. Once in Portugal there are daily flights to the Sal Island which has an International Airport and also now to Santiago Island where the new International Airport has just opened.. Travel to other islands can then be via daily flights or ferry.

View more information on travelling to Cape Verde. November 2006 will see direct flights from UK airports initially starting with Birmingham. However there is an 'Open Skies' policy that allows other airlines to fly to Cape Verde and will lower air fares through competition.

History of Cape Verde

The Cape Verde islands were uninhabited on their discovery in 1465 and became part of the Portuguese empire in 1495 and today the majority of its inhabitants are of mixed Portuguese and African ancestry. In 1951 Cape Verde’s status changed from a Portuguese colony to an overseas province, and in 1961 the inhabitants became full Portuguese citizens. In July 1975 the islands gained their independent.

In an effort to take advantage of this proximity to cross Atlantic shipping, the government has embarked on a major expansion of its port. It is also modernising the fishing fleet and enhancing the fish processing industry. These projects are being funded partly by the EU and partly by the World Bank.

The first multiparty elections since independence were held on 13 January 1991 and the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde lost its majority to the Movement for Democracy Party. Antonio Monteiro won the presidential election and re-held his position in the election in 1996. However the inhabitants became disillusioned with the Government’s privatisation, continued high employment and poverty and in the 2001 election, Antonio Monteiro was defeated. The African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde regained control with the National Assembly choosing Jose Maria Neves as Head of Government and Pedro Pires as the President.

Cape Verde continues to exhibit one of Africa's most stable democratic governments and one of the Governments guaranteed rights is the security and legal protection of property rights and other assets.

Medical, Water and Vaccination Requirements

It is suggested that you drink bottled water when in Cape Verde. Although there is no health danger in the islands, diphtheria, hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations are often recommended. However, a yellow fever vaccination is required when travelling to Cape Verde.

Information Required When Travelling to Cape Verde


All visitors need a visa to enter Cape Verde - More Visa Info


A yellow fever vaccination certificate is a requirement when travelling to Cape Verde

Time Zone:

The islands are one hour behind GMT


Electricity in Cape Verde is 220V, 50Hz. European two pin plugs are the standard.

Weights and Measures:

Metric system.

Tel. Dialling Code:

00 + 238 + area code+ telephone number.

Holiday Rentals in Cape VerdeHoliday Rentals

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