Travel Consideration: Cape Verde

Contributed By RealAdventures

The Republic of Cape Verde consists of nine inhabited and several uninhabited volcanic islands off the West Coast of Africa. Most are rugged and mountainous; three are flat, desert islands with sand beaches. While the tourist industry is bringing ever-growing numbers of tourists, facilities on most islands remain limited. Cape Verde enjoys a stable, democratic government.

A passport and visa are required. Travelers should obtain further information from the Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde, 3415 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 965-6820, or the Consulate General of Cape Verde in Boston. Overseas inquiries should be made to the nearest Cape Verde Embassy or Consulate.

U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political and street demonstrations, and maintain security awareness at all times.

Petty thievery, especially in market areas, and burglary are common. Violent crime is on the rise but still very low by regional standards.

Medical facilities in Cape Verde are extremely limited. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for health services.

U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties. Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Cape Verde is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair

Cape Verde has an extensive road system. Paved roads on most islands are narrow and winding and almost always paved with cobblestones. Roads and streets are often unlit and driving at night can be hazardous. Taxis and buses offer reasonably dependable service. Inter-urban van service can be hazardous due to the recklessness and excessive speed of many van drivers.

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Cape Verdean law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Cape Verde are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at Rua Abilio M. Macedo 81, C.P. 201, Praia, telephone (238) 61-56-16 or 17, fax (238) 61-13-55, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Cape Verde. It should be noted that the U.S. Embassy is located on the island of Santiago; currently only international flights from Dakar, Senegal land on this island. The main international airport is on the island of Sal, a 35-minute flight from Praia.

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