Road Conditions and Safety: Cabo Verde has an extensive road system. On the islands of Santiago, Sal, and S?o Vicente, many urban and rural roads are asphalt. On other islands, some roads are narrow, winding, and mostly cobblestone.
During the rainy season, cobblestone roads are especially slippery, and mud and rockslides are common on roads that cut through mountains. Roads and streets often are unlit and driving at night is hazardous.
Traffic Laws: Most accidents result from aggressive driving, speeding, passing on blind curves, and/or on inclines or declines in the rain.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a serious problem in Cabo Verde and U.S. citizens could face severe penalties, including prison time, for driving under the influence. You are most likely to encounter a drunk driver on Sundays and at night. Exercise extreme caution toward both pedestrians and other drivers after celebrations, festivals, and open-air concerts as well as during holiday periods, such as Christmas, New Year?s Eve, and Carnival.
Public Transportation: Praia has three principal modes of public transport: taxi, bus, and commuter vans. Using buses and vans is strongly discouraged. These vans may have a fixed, but flexible route and often contain more passengers than is safe. Licensed, registered taxis are clearly marked and tan/cream in color. While official taxis are considered safe and reliable, passengers should still exercise good common sense and avoid sharing a taxi with strangers.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Cabo Verde?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Cabo Verde?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Cabo Verde should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.
Medical facilities in Cabo Verde are limited, and some medications are in short supply or otherwise unavailable. The country?s largest hospitals are in Praia and Mindelo. There are smaller public health centers and private medical clinics, of variable quality in both personnel and equipment, throughout the country. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. Transportation between islands is difficult and inter-island medevac options are limited. The islands of Brava and Santo Ant?o do not have operational airports which makes air evacuation in the event of a medical emergency difficult.
For emergency services in Cabo Verde, dial 132.
Ambulance services are not widely available, and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.
Water Quality: Tap water is not potable. Bottled water and other packaged beverages are generally safe. Be aware that ice for drinks might be made using tap water.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription.
General Health Language
The following diseases are prevalent:
- Hepatitis A
- African Tick-Bite Fever
- Hepatitis B
- Follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on malaria. In recent years, there have been some cases on Santiago island. Travelers should use CDC-recommended mosquito repellents and avoid mosquitoes.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Cabo Verde.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
Those traveling to Cabo Verde for scuba diving should be aware that there is no hyperbaric/decompression facility on the islands.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Cabo Verde are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
The Department of State warns all U.S. citizens against taking any firearms or ammunition into Cabo Verde. If you are caught entering Cabo Verde with firearms or ammunitions, you may face severe penalties, including prison time.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our website for further information.
Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in both Cabo Verde and the United States. U.S. citizens who buy these goods are punishable under Cabo Verdean law. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Cabo Verde.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There are significant hardships in Cabo Verde for persons with limited mobility due to rugged terrain, widespread use of cobblestone streets and pathways, very limited number of elevators in buildings, and frequent power outages.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Exercise extreme caution when participating in water sports, such as swimming, boating, and fishing, as the tides and currents around the islands are very strong. Several small fishing boats have been lost at sea, and drownings have occurred on the beaches and along the coast in Santiago, Sal, and on other islands.
The entire island of Fogo is an active volcano. Future eruptions remain a threat, as do earth tremors throughout the islands, especially on Fogo, Brava, and Santo Ant?o, and beneath the ocean channels that separate them. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available on our website.
Crime: Petty crime and burglary are common in Cabo Verde, especially at marketplaces, festivals, street fairs, and public gatherings. Criminals target anyone perceived to be affluent, regardless of nationality. Avoid groups of children who appear to have no adult supervision, since the perpetrators of petty theft and pickpocketing are often groups of street children. Muggings occur often, particularly at night and in more isolated areas, and often involve violence. The perpetrators are predominantly males between the ages of 14 and 25 operating in groups of two or more. Due to inadequate lighting in many public areas, you should be especially vigilant after dark, carry a flashlight to illuminate your path, and never go out alone. You should also keep vehicle doors and windows locked, and avoid isolated places.
It is dangerous to use hillside stairways connecting neighborhoods in Praia and many other Cabo Verdean cities and towns, even in broad daylight. These stairways isolate users and make them vulnerable to assault.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.
Report crimes to the local police at 132 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(238) 260-8900 or after hours at +(238) 991-3325. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Provide general information regarding the victim?s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide our information on victim?s compensation programs in the United States
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities are not common. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. Medical facilities in Cabo Verde are limited. The country?s two largest hospitals are in Praia and Mindelo, and there are smaller hospitals, public health centers, and private medical clinics throughout the country. Transportation between islands is difficult and inter-island medevac options are limited. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment may not be readily available. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities to provide urgent medical treatment. There is no hyperbaric/decompression chamber in the country for scuba divers. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Requirements for Entry:
- Passport valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in Cabo Verde
- Visa ? except if entering for tourism for less than 30 days
- World Health Organization (WHO) card if arriving on flights from Senegal or other West African countries
Visas: Effective February 24, 2020, U.S. citizens entering Cabo Verde for tourism for less than 30 days do not require a tourist visa. For tourist visits longer than 30 days, two types of visas are available: a single-entry visa valid for up to 90 days or a multiple-entry visa valid for five years. You can apply for a visa at the Cabo Verdean Embassy in Washington, D.C. Please see their website for the most up-to-date visa requirements. You may also apply for a visa upon arrival, valid for a single entry stay of 30 days, and pre-pay at least five days prior to traveling through www.embcv-usa.gov.cv, or apply and pay, in cash (Euros, U.S. Dollars, or Cabo Verdean Escudos) or by Visa/Mastercard, upon arrival at one of the country?s four international airports:
- Nelson Mandela International Airport
- Cesaria Evora Airport
- Amilcar Cabral International Airport
- Aristides Pereira International Airport
Airport Security Fee: All foreign citizens planning to travel to Cabo Verde are required to complete a pre-arrival registration and pay the Airport Security Fee (TSA) at the online electronic platform EASE (www.ease.gov.cv) at least five days prior to entering Cabo Verde.
The following travelers are exempt from paying the TSA:
- Children under 2 years old;
- Passengers on official missions on aircrafts in the private service of Cabo Verde or foreign countries, on a reciprocity basis;
- Passengers on planes forced to return to the airport, due to technical or meteorological reasons or any other reasons beyond their control;
- Transfer passengers;
- Citizens holding a Cabo Verdean passport, their children under 18 years old, and their spouses, upon presentation of a valid ID card (Passport, Identity Card or National Identification Card);
- Resident foreigners, upon presentation of the Residence Permit, Residence Visa or other valid identification document.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Cabo Verde.
Travel with Minors: For both entrance to and exit from Cabo Verde, any parent traveling with a minor should carry the child?s birth certificate. If the child is not traveling with both parents, the non-accompanying parent(s) should provide a signed statement consenting to the child?s travel and naming the adult accompanying the child.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Cabo Verde for information on U.S. ? Cabo Verde relations.