Cape Verdes - Facts

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  • 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 downtown 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 off-lying 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.
  • For more information on supplies, see the Yachting Essentials section.

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Cape Verdes was last updated 6 months ago.

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  1. December 23, 2022 at 4:47 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Cape Verdes update from Tom Sheehy, owner of the Mindelo yachtie bar “Simpatico Sports Bar” and CA honorary local representative:
    “Things have changed dramatically here over the past few years. Some things of note in Mindelo:
    Provisions: You can now get almost everything from a wide range of meats including South American beef, fresh fish much cheaper than in Europe, organically grown vegetables. There are also a wide range of new supermarkets including a new one – PILAR VERMELHO MADEIRAZINHO – which carries a much wider range than historically would be available here, including things such as gluten specialist products, Japanese soya and mats etc. There are now also three MEU SUPER, which are from the large Portuguese supermarket chain of Continente.
    Yachtie Gathering Places: The yacht club is at the marina, Club Nautico is no longer a yacht club but now a restaurant. Simpatico Sports Bar, which is mine, is now regarded as one of the main places for sailors with fibre optic broadband (higher speed than the marina) plus a wide range of international cuisine and drinks. I am the honorary local representative for the Cruising Association (CA) –
    The street of Rua Sena Barcelos, just some 100m from the marina, is now pedestrianised and is where we are located, Taverna Italian restaurant and the Cremosita ice cream parlour. There is street seating available so it’s a very popular aree for sailors and visitors to the island to congregate.
    There are some new hotels due to open in 2023 with a 4 points by Sheraton opening in July. The new cruise ship terminal and new pier are in construction, expected to open in 2023 as well. On January 20th we will see the Ocean Race coming to Cabo Verde for the first time. This puts CV to the forefront as a truly great location for yachts. Carnival Mindelo is back after 3 years due to COVID and occurs on and around February 12th. This is one of the biggest and best carnivals outside of Brazil!
    Santo Antao, the neighbouring island, is also getting great notoriety as being one of the best trekking locations with amazing scenery truly worth a visit. Ferries operate 4 times a day to and from the island (to Mindelo) and it takes one hour to go there.
    With the arrival of the new Hotels we are also now seeing many new flights coming from Europe, which are expected to increase further in 2023. Currently it’s possible to fly from Amsterdam, Lisbon, Luxembourg and France.

  2. October 6, 2022 at 8:03 AM
    jovita says:

    Last night à sailboat near us has been robbed , a big dog on board did not scared them ….
    Close your boat when you go to shore.
    Massive wild tourisme activities créats violence …..
    Be careful …..the world is changent…

    1. October 11, 2022 at 4:22 PM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      We contacted Bernard who posted the report about a yacht burglary, above, for more details. He replied as follows:We are anchored in Palmeira, Isla do Sal, the robbers have been arrested yesterday and we do feel much better.The authorities here in Palmeira réalised they can’t afford such a situation as many sailboats are arriving ….So I confirm that Palmeira is still à great safe place to anchor .When you leave your boat just close it and lock it, no need to tease the devil …..

  3. October 21, 2021 at 10:47 AM
    Arnold says:

    With all the negative reports about Capo Verde and Mindelo ,and as it nowadays seems seems only bad new sells ,we I need to write something positiv not only to straighten out the picture on those ilands a bit.

    I was in Mindelon and I was very positiv surprised .The marina is safe and in good condition.Kai,the owner of the marina and his crew were able to solve all of our various technical problems.Even a 16mm lower shroud that had to be manufactured and replaced on my Benenteau 57 created no problems.

    Really remarkable because I would´t expect anything even close in such a location., having just left Guinea Bissau.In general ,we have otherwise found that .This applies to the marina in Mindelo as well as to almost everything else.Prices could compared with Europa.
    Resume:Capo Verdes is the port to stop before you cross! Not only does it give you the chance to repair and refurbish but it also cuts down the time to cross the Atlantic significantly.
    The ilands are also very beautifull to visit especially after the rain season,when everthing seams a bit greener.

    Arnold Schaefer,SY Incroyable

  4. May 3, 2021 at 1:45 PM
    thomassyirmi says:

    Brutal robbery on a Sailingvessel on April 18. 2021 in Praia
    Some days ago, my friend Peter arrived here in Mindelo on his Sailboat IVALU. As he told me, he arrived on 18. April 2021 in Praia and was anchoring in the harbour. They were three people on board. During the night, three men, armed with big knives, entered the boat ant threatened the crew. Peter was slightly insured with a knive. The crew was tied up on hands and feet and mouth. The three suspects went through the boat and took everything on value. Computers, mobiles, harddisks, cameras, money and also some of the boat equipment. They packed everything in Peters Dingi, unlocked the outboardengine to fix it on the Dingi and went on shore. Even when one of the crew could lokate the house, where they went after this brutal robbery through an mobile app: Where is my phone, the police did nothing to get the things back. Some days later, they were surching this house, but of course everything was gone.
    They tried to get into the bank accounts and mails and all the personal informations, stored on the computers.
    So, as Peter and crew said: Dont go to Praia, it is more than dangerus

    1. May 5, 2021 at 11:29 AM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Thank you for reporting this incident to Noonsite. Unfortunately Praia is well known as a hot spot for crime, and should be avoided if at all possible. We have previous incidents detailed on Noonsite in the Cape Verdes security section – see Please encourage Peter and crew to send Noonsite a first-hand report of what happened to them so we can publish further details on Noonsite (to [email protected]). Many thanks.

  5. September 4, 2020 at 8:26 AM
    hsailrivercafe-com says:

    Thanks a lot for a perfect support from Lutz Meyer-Scheel and his marvelous shore crew. Our sailing cat “Rivercafe” had to stop unexpected in Mindelo on its delivery trip from Cape Town to Tenerife. Lutz and his crew did everything to provide supplies in order to avoid a quarantine witch would have cost the crew some additional days in CV. And thats even though the marina was officially closed due to C19, Lutz found a way to help the crew and not to violate the CapoVerde C19 protocol. Great job done, thanks again from the happy owners.

  6. October 24, 2019 at 9:15 AM
    drifter says:

    Yacht burglary in Praia.
    I stayed one night in Praia harbour and was boarded whilst asleep. All hatches and doors were locked except for some small side hatches (12cm X 38cm) for ventilation. No signs of forced entry could be found when I discovered my iPad, cash and Kindle missing when I woke in the morning. A small hatch (18cm X 33cm) was open that had been locked.

    The only explanation I could find was a trained monkey. (I had seen one on the beach at Maio a few days before) I later confirmed with a Veterinarian friend that small monkeys are trained to identify and steal only cash and phones etc, in many countries.
    I would advise anyone who visits Praia to be aware to lock even the smallest means of entry.

  7. January 17, 2019 at 4:51 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    It is possible to get water in the port of Tarrafal on Sāo Nicolau in the fishing harbour. I saw 2 catamarans doing it but don’t know the depth. I spoke one of them. He paid harbour fees and water.

  8. November 7, 2018 at 10:40 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Thank you, Daniel, for reporting this. Indeed, this fee was abolished in March and has not been charged since April 2018. This has been confirmed by the Maritime Police in Mindelo.

  9. November 5, 2018 at 9:17 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    The fee to the Policia Maritima of CVE $700 on the departure of each harbour is no longer charged as of about 2 weeks ago. We paid for the first part of our cruise here but have not paid in Maio (where we were charges previously) or Praia.

  10. April 10, 2018 at 10:29 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    In October/ November 17 we stayed 5 weeks in Cabo Verde. We visited Sal, Sao Nicolau and Sao Vicente. We fell in love with the friendly people, the relaxed atmosphere and the „no stress“ attitude. We especially liked Palmeira even if Sal is very sandy and desert-like. Palmeira is a small fishing village and there is not a lot to see. You find small shops and basic restaurants. There is a bus connection to the main village of Espagos.

    Tarrafal on Sao Nicolau is a little town, landing with the dinghy is not always easy due to the swell. In Mindelo, there is lots of space in the anchorage and there is the only marina of the Cabo Verde. Here are different shops and supermarkets, the market with fruits and vegetables, a little shop with boat parts in the marina, possibility to send boat parts to the marina, water, fuel, gas…

    The islands of Cabo Verde are worth a visit, not only a nice stop during the Atlantic crossing!

  11. June 9, 2016 at 9:53 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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, like every city in a poor country, requires to be more careful as there are beggars and people hanging around cruisers.

    All other islands are very relaxing. 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.

  12. June 9, 2016 at 9:49 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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 Sao Vincente).

  13. December 3, 2014 at 1:01 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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), Tarrafal (São Nicolau) and of course Mindelo.

    Also, the 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 cafes’ offering Internet.

  14. January 21, 2014 at 11:33 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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!