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Praia Cape Verdes Cruising Report

By doina — last modified Mar 17, 2005 11:13 AM

Published: 2005-03-17 11:13:23
Countries: Cape Verdes

For boats heading north into the Atlantic, Praia, the capital of the Cape Verde Islands, is an excellent stop. The harbour nestles in a well protected bay on the south side of the island of Santiago. Cruising yachts normally anchor in the bay. The dinghy can be left on the blue floating pontoon of ENACOL, the fuel station next to the fishing harbour. Formalities are completed at the immigration office, a 200 metre walk turning right from the fuel station, right by the large harbour gates. Photographs of each crew member, or photocopies of the relevant page in the passport, will be needed. Photocopies can be made at a small kiosk opposite the immigration office.

The port captain's office is located on the beach fronting the city that gave the city its name (Praia is beach in Portuguese). The ship's papers will be kept there until one's departure. There is a 496 C.V. escudos port fee (1 euro = 110 CV escudos). There are no immigration fees.

Provisioning is excellent with a colourful and very well provisioned fresh produce market in the centre of the old town (referred to as the Plateau). The best supermarket (Casa Felicidade in Rua Serpa Pinto) is close by and there is a bakery in the street west of the market. There are several 24 hour ATM machines, mostly at the BCN bank. Outside hours, cash can be exchanged with money changers based around the market. Rates are negotiable. There is a laundry (Lavanda) close to the parliament building. Taxis are plentiful and cheap (a ride to the harbour costs 150-200 escudos).

Fuel at ENACOL at 47 escudos per litre of diesel. It may be advisable to have it filtered. There is no easy way of obtaining water. A busy and very colourful fish market takes place every morning next to the ENACOL fuel station, with a profusion and diversity of fish rarely matched anywhere else.

There are two good restaurants in town: Gamboa, on the waterfront, with both fish and meat dishes and the best service in Praia, and A Poeta, close to the large parliament building overlooking the bay, with a beautiful view of the harbour. There is also a good inexpensive restaurant right by the harbour gates open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Petty theft is a problem as everywhere else in the Cape Verdes, so the boat should not be left unattended for too long. If there is space in the inner harbour (next to the fishing fleet) one may obtain permission to come alongside the quay, in which case one should employ a watchman to be around when one is away, even in daytime. The usual fee is around 2000 escudos per day. All prices quoted were as per March 2005.

Tudor Roman, Danera