For travel to the Cape Verde Islands you need to be in possession of a valid passport, which most also be valid for at least 6 months after departure from Cape Verde. You also need a visa. Buy a visa when you book your trip with your travel agent or consulate in your country. A visa can also be bought on arrival at the airport.
Time in Cape Verde
UTC: -1 hour
Vaccinations are not compulsory, but a good idea. Vaccinations against DTP and Hepatitis A are recommended. Hospitals and pharmacies are available on all islands, so there is always help available should something happen.
The national currency is the Cape Verde Escudo partly tied to the Euro. You can easily exchange money at banks and exchange offices. There are few restrictions in the import and export of foreign currency, exporting more than you entered with is not allowed.
Cash and traveller's checks can be changed at almost all banks with relatively low costs. At some banks you can withdraw money with a Visa or MarsterCard.
In restaurants and shops, ask first if credit cards are accepted. Electronic payment is currently difficult or impossible.
Food & Drink
The big hotels have an international cuisine. The local cuisine is a blend of Portuguese and African cuisine. Basic vegetables are mixed with fish or meat: pork, chicken and tuna. The food is usually prepared from fresh products, including different kinds of fish especially shellfish which are of the best quality.
There is an abundance of local fruit such as mango and papaya. Cachupa is the national dish, a bean dish with corn and sausage.
Pies with a spicy filling are available the whole day as a snack. The typical rich and spicy style of cooking on the Cape Verde islands is a unique and delightful experience. The Arroz de Marisco is a wonderfully prepared dish of seafood served with rice. The local beer is quite drinkable.
Make sure to try the local liqueur Grogue based on cane. The water from the tap is not suitable for drinking. Whenever possible, use local or imported mineral water. Do not eat raw or partially cooked food or vegetables (salads) and avoid unwashed vegetables (wash them in mineral water or boiled water or peel them). Do not use ice cubes in your drinks if you are not sure if they are made from mineral water.
Photo & Film
You may photograph or film almost anywhere, however, take into account the rules of politeness. Do ask permission to photograph people.
Keep your camera away from military installations, airports, ports, ferries, etc. Unauthorized photographing people in uniform can cause significant problems.
Transport: Taxi, car and bus
Taxis are sufficient on Santiago. Make a price in advance with the driver if there is no meter in his taxi!
There are several car rental agencies in Santiago (including Hertz and Avis). The bus is cheap and a reasonably fast way of transportation.
The best way to explore the island is by using the Toyota "Hiaces" buses. These (16 passanger!) buses are cheap and run criss-cross over the island. You can get on and off whenever you like.
Note: The bus only departs from the cities when it is nearly full! Do not step in an empty bus as it may take a while before you actually go!
The islands themselves have regular flight connections. There is a network of inter-island flights with TACV/
Halycon Air. Between the major cities there are almost daily flights.
There are regular boat services between the islands, which many Island hoppers make use of!
The Cape Verde islands have a reliable telephone network. Calling from the hotel is usually more expensive than calling from a payphone. It is also recommended to use phone cards.
To find out if you can call or be called, please ask your provider if they have a roaming agreement with a local Cape Verdian provider.
If you visit the Cape Verde islands please take account of the following public holidays:
January 1 New Year's Day
January 20 Day of the Heroes
April Good Friday
May 1 Labour Day
July 5 Independence Day
August 1915 Assumption
September 1912 National Day
November 1 All Saints Day
December 25 Christmas Day
There are also a number of local holidays when shops, banks etc. are closed.
The voltage is 220 V.
The shops are generally open from 08.30 to 12.00 and from 14.30 to 18.00, Monday to Friday. On Saturday from 08.30 to 12.00.
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