Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
The global site for cruising sailors
Sections
You are here: Home / Countries / Cape Verdes
By No owner — last modified Jun 20, 2016 10:58 AM

 Cape Verdes - Profile

Facts

  • The Cape Verde Islands are a volcanic archipelago lying 400 miles off the coast of West Africa, although the islands' culture reflects its Portuguese colonial past more than its geographical position.
  • The islands' climate tends to be very dry and the scenery is rather bleak,  although all islands are very diverse depending on the height of the mountains
  • There are 10 principal islands in two main groups; Barlavento (Northern or Windward group) and Sotavento (Southern or Leeward group). Praia, on São Tiago, is the capital and Mindelo, on Sao Vicente, is the main harbour.
  • The Cape Verdes are conveniently placed close to the best sailing route from the Canaries (800 miles to the north) to the Caribbean and most cruising yachts that visit are on their way to the Caribbean, a few to Brazil or West Africa, particularly Senegal and Gambia. Some people have enjoyed cruising the islands more extensively, rather than just viewing them as a stop on the way to somewhere else.
  • Facilities are not as basic as they used to be in the Cape Verdes; provisioning in Mindelo is adequate as it now has a fairly well assorted supermarket just down town and also a gross market where larger quantities can be purchased at fair prices. There are fresh fruit and vegetable markets in Mindelo and Praia, which vary in variety and quality with the seasons. Water is limited and expensive due to desalination, however fuel is subsidised and cheap.
  • Charts are inaccurate, especially near Ilha da Boa Vista which is 3nm east and 0.07nm to the north of its charted position. There are several wrecks and offlying reefs not marked on the charts, especially off the east coast of the island.
  • There are several harbours in this group, the safest with good shelter from most directions is Porto Grande, Mindelo (very occasionally a W swell can set in). All the other anchorages are between 4 and 10m deep and have a frequent swell and it is advisable to put out two anchors.
  • Cape Verde is a democracy which turned independent on July 5th 1975, the official language is still Portuguese but the language spoken amongst the locals is Creole.

Security

Noonsite has received reports in the past from cruisers about dinghy and outboard thefts in these islands. It's important to note however that there are several very rural islands, for instance Santo Antao, which have hardly any reported crimes at all.

Mindelo on Sao Vicente has improved security significantly since 2010, which is also thanks to a special police squad fighting theft, robbery etc. However, it is not recommended to leave your dinghy unattended at the city beach of Mindelo (as in many other cities around the world). Ask the Port Captain if you plan on leaving your boat and wish to employ a local watchman.

For a small daily or monthly charge you can moor your dinghy at the marina where there is 24/7 security on the pontoons. Alternatively, cruisers recommend paying a local to watch your dinghy whilst you are away.

See comment below from cruisers about security.

It is recommended to avoid carrying valuables in public, avoid unlit areas after dark and remain vigilant at all times.

Last updated June 2016.

Weather

Rainfall is limited to a few heavy downpours between July and October, although there are years with little or no rain and others with unusually frequent rainfall as in 2012. The NE trade winds, which set in November/December, are at their strongest in the first months of the year, when they sometimes arrive laden with dust from the Sahara, which can seriously affect visibility.

Cape Verdes Weather Forecast

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page

Main Ports

Northern(Barlavento) Group: Mindelo (Sao Vicente) * , Palmeira (Sal) * , Santo Antao , Tarrafal (Sao Nicolau)

Southern(Sotavento) Group: Boa Vista , Fogo , Furna (Brava) , Maio , Praia (Santiago) *

* indicates port of entry

Share |
rochero
rochero says:
Jun 09, 2016 10:53 PM

Security in Capo Verde: We stayed a month in November 2015 in sal, Boa Vista,Sao Vincente and Sao Nicolau and we were never worried by security. Only Mindelo, as every city in a poor country requires to be more careful as there are beggers and people hanging around cruisers. All other islands are very relax. For the dinghy, we never locked it: We always put a kid in charge of the dinghy, in exchange of 0.25 to 0.50 euro. It worked perfectly. Same experience from 3 other boats we have been travelling with at that time.

rochero
rochero says:
Jun 09, 2016 10:49 PM

There is a lot of confusion about visas required to go to Capo Verde. Do NOT take your VISA in advance if you plan to come with your boat: These visas, delivered by the capo Verde embassy in your country are for tourists, staying ashore. They're very expensive (about 45 euros for french citizen, 80 canadian dollars for canadian citizen).When you clear in, you will be asked to pay 7 euros as immigration fees for the whole crew. That makes a huge difference.
You need to clear in and out on each island. We found it long and painful in Sal, very easy on the other islands we visited (Boa Vista, Sao Nicolau and Soa vincente).

Roelof Crevecoeur
Roelof Crevecoeur says:
Dec 03, 2014 01:01 AM

We are currently in the Cape Verdes, and although the Imray pilot says that only Visa cards can be used, we found ATM's that accept both Visa, Maestro and MasterCard in all the cities we visited: Escargo (Sal), Tarafal (São Nicolau) and of course Mindelo. Also Internet is available if you buy a 3G SIM card, we paid less than 15 euro for 5 Gbyte which is significantly cheaper than buying access in for instance
Marina Mindelo. In Escargo and Mindelo we also found free internet (KoneKta) and in Mindelo there are several cafe's offering Internet.

seasunstories
seasunstories says:
Jan 21, 2014 11:33 PM

we are presently in Capo Verdes. Police recommended us not to leave the dingy at night on any pontoon or beach. The boat next to us as lost this dingy two days ago!

Cape Verdes
Northern(Barlavento) Group
Southern(Sotavento) Group
Profile
Facts
Security
Weather
Main Ports
Formalities
Clearance
Immigration
Customs
Health
Documents
Fees
Restrictions
Local Customs
Clearance Agents
Pets
General Info
Time Zone
Yachting Essentials
Opening Hours
Money
Communications
Transport
Diplomatic Missions
Events
Emergencies
Publications
Links
Update History
Countries
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Angola
Anguilla
Antarctica
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Aruba
Ascension Island
Australia
Azores
BIOT (Chagos)
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bermuda
Bonaire
Bosnia
Bouvetoya
Brazil
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Canary Islands
Cape Verdes
Cayman Islands
Channel Islands
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Cocos Keeling
Colombia
Comoros
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Curacao
Cyprus
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor Leste)
Easter Island
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Eritrea
Estonia
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Subantarctic Territory
Galapagos
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Hawaii
Heard, McDonald & Macquarie Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Ivory Coast
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Juan Fernandez Islands
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Latvia
Lebanon
Libya
Lithuania
Macau
Madagascar
Madeira
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Marion & Prince Edward Island
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Monaco
Montenegro
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar (Burma)
Namibia
Nauru
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands
Nicaragua
Niue
Norfolk Island
Northern Marianas
Norway
Oman
Palau (Belau)
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Island
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Reunion Island
Romania
Russia
Saba
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Sint Maarten
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands
South Korea
Spain
Spanish Virgin Islands
Sri Lanka
St Barts
St Helena
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Martin
St Pierre & Miquelon
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Statia
Subantarctic & Southern Ocean Islands
Sudan
Suriname
Sweden
Syria
Taiwan
Tanzania
Thailand
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tristan da Cunha
Tunisia
Turkey
Turks & Caicos
Tuvalu
US Virgin Islands
USA
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Wallis and Futuna
Yemen
Add/Update Your Business
If you would like your business to be listed, or the details are wrong, please update your business
Related Reports
Report Icon

On Passage from Canary Islands to Cape Verdes: Attempted Boarding off W Sahara - November 2016 (16 Nov 2016)

Cape Verde, Mindelo: Report of a Visit to the Marina

Cape Verde, Mindelo: Report of a Visit to the Marina (17 Sep 2016)

Report Icon

Mindelo: Feedback from Cruisers (19 Nov 2015)

Report Icon

Street’s Guide to the Cape Verde Islands (29 May 2012)

Report Icon

Palmeira, Sal - Details of New Breakwater & Deep Water Channel (08 Nov 2011)

Report Icon

Atlantic Islands Guide (29 Sep 2010)

Report Icon

Cape Verdes: Mindelo - Yacht Stolen (19 Apr 2010)

Report Icon

Atlantic Ocean: N of Cape Verdes - Suspicious Pursuit (19 Apr 2010)

Report Icon

Cape Verdes Thefts And Yacht Boarding - A Problem Cured? (09 Jun 2009)

Report Icon

Update on West African Territories (15 Sep 2008)

Report Icon

Caribbean to West Africa (10 Jul 2008)

Report Icon

Caribbean East to Southern Brazil (15 May 2008)

Report Icon

Cruising Report On Morocco & Atlantic Islands September 2005 - January 2006 (08 Sep 2006)

Report Icon

Praia Cape Verdes Cruising Report (17 Mar 2005)

Report Icon

Cape Verdes Cruising Update February 2004 (01 Mar 2004)

Related News
Sea Kidnappings Rise Despite Plummeting Global Piracy

Sea Kidnappings Rise Despite Plummeting Global Piracy   (06 Feb 2017)

Canaries, Las Palmas: An International Parade officially opens the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

Canaries, Las Palmas: An International Parade officially opens the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers   (14 Nov 2016)

Atlantic Crossing: ARC+ Cape Verde sets sail  from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Atlantic Crossing: ARC+ Cape Verde sets sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria  (07 Nov 2016)

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: 31st Atlantic Rally for Cruisers prepares to set sail

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: 31st Atlantic Rally for Cruisers prepares to set sail  (26 Oct 2016)

ARC+ Cape Verde sets sail  from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

ARC+ Cape Verde sets sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria  (08 Nov 2015)

Gran Canaria: 30th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers prepares to set sail

Gran Canaria: 30th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers prepares to set sail  (03 Nov 2015)

Atlantic Ocean - The Sargassum Phenomenon is a Serious Issue for Atlantic sailors

Atlantic Ocean - The Sargassum Phenomenon is a Serious Issue for Atlantic sailors  (21 Sep 2015)

Fred: A Rare Hurricane For Cape Verde Islands

Fred: A Rare Hurricane For Cape Verde Islands  (06 Sep 2015)

ARC+ 2014: Beach Party Wraps Up ARC+ for another year

ARC+ 2014: Beach Party Wraps Up ARC+ for another year  (12 Dec 2014)

Atlantic Rally: ARC+ 2014 first arrival reaches Saint Lucia

Atlantic Rally: ARC+ 2014 first arrival reaches Saint Lucia  (01 Dec 2014)

ARC+ Cape Verde sets sail  from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

ARC+ Cape Verde sets sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria  (09 Nov 2014)

29th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers sets sail in November

29th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers sets sail in November  (05 Nov 2014)

ARC 2014: Exceptional interest for the world's most popular rally

ARC 2014: Exceptional interest for the world's most popular rally   (26 Jun 2014)

Saint Lucia, Rodney Bay: The first edition of ARC+ comes to a close

Saint Lucia, Rodney Bay: The first edition of ARC+ comes to a close   (13 Dec 2013)

Cape Verdes to Saint Lucia: The first ARC+ arrivals make landfall

Cape Verdes to Saint Lucia: The first ARC+ arrivals make landfall   (04 Dec 2013)

TransAtlantic Rally: The first ARC+ sets sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

TransAtlantic Rally: The first ARC+ sets sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria  (12 Nov 2013)

ARC 2013 - Rally Preview

ARC 2013 - Rally Preview   (05 Nov 2013)

Great New Service for noonsite users: Get notified of cruising news, reports and country updates as they are posted

Great New Service for noonsite users: Get notified of cruising news, reports and country updates as they are posted  (23 May 2013)

New Cape Verdes Route  Proves Popular with ARC Sailors

New Cape Verdes Route Proves Popular with ARC Sailors  (15 May 2013)

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers Announces Second Start Date and Stopover in Cape Verdes for 2013 rally

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers Announces Second Start Date and Stopover in Cape Verdes for 2013 rally  (07 May 2013)

Report Icon

World ARC: A New Route Choice  (03 Apr 2013)

Report Icon

Rescued at sea for the second time in four months  (27 Mar 2013)

Report Icon

OceansWatch International - another good year in 2012  (20 Dec 2012)

Report Icon

Routing: Getting Back to Europe - Avoiding GOA and the Red Sea  (19 Aug 2011)

Report Icon

Falmouth coordinates rescue of yacht after fishing boat collision  (16 Dec 2010)

Report Icon

Wood Logs - Navigation Hazard  (27 May 2010)

Report Icon

Dengue Fever Outbreak in Cape Verdes  (16 Nov 2009)

Report Icon

Piracy attempt NW of Cape Verde Islands  (11 Jun 2007)