The local currency the Cape Verdean Escudos (CVE) has a fixed exchange rate with the Euro. 1 Euro is equivalent to 110.265 CVE.
Euros are widely accepted throughout the major tourist centres and especially on the Island of Sal however on the street the exchange rate will be 1 Euro to 100 CVE. The only way to get the full exchange rate is to change your Euros in to CVE at the Bank. The bank charges a standard rate of around 5 Euro or 550 CVE and will exchange Euros and US Dollars. Banks are open from Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 15:00 and are situated at most airports and commercial centres.
It's therefore a good idea to take Euros in cash and also a Visa debit or credit card for ATM use please check with your bank to see associated charges for using your card abroad and remember the Euro is not widely accepted on the majority of other Islands, so you will need to exchange your money if you are Island Hopping.
Visa is certainly more widely used than Mastercard but I would not recommend using credit cards to pay for goods or services, as there is normally an additional charge of 3% to 5% Cash is King in Cape Verde.
The dialling code for Cape Verde 00238 and there are two main providers CV Telecom the national company and T+
It's very important to check with you contract provider in your home country to see if they have a rooming agreement with either CV Telecom or T+ and of course the associated costs involved. There also may be a limited coverage if you are visiting some rural areas but coverage in the main tourist and commercial centres is normally fine.
If your mobile is unblocked than you can simply purchase a Sim card for only 200 Escudos, 2 Euro and buy a pay as you go voucher, which come in various amounts from CV Telecom, local convenience stores and Kiosks.
The cheapest method to call home is to use an Internet based service such as Skype, these services are available at Internet points throughout the main commercial and tourist centres. Internet cards from Cabocom can be obtained from various commercial locations.
CV Telecom have moved to the entrance of Santa Maria, next to the Indian Restaurant 'Bombay Brasserie' and are now selling 3G smart phones. CV Telecom have also now introduced free internet access on the main square in Santa Maria, next to Luciano 'Cafe Cultural', the connection is called "KoneKta"
I have noticed that on a number of other Islands they have also introduced free internet access, usually on the main town square.
220-240 volts euro adaptor, 3 pin Italian
One of the great benefits of traveling to Cape Verde from Europe is the lack of jet lag.
Cape Verde is GMT – 1 in the winter and GMT – 2 in the summer. There is no daylight saving.
The shops will tend to open between 09:30 and 13:00 and then Siesta in the afternoon until reopening at 1500 until 1900
Cape Verde is very much on African time, so some shops don't always open on time, so remember 'No Stress' you're in Cape Verde.
There are post offices throughout the main commercial centres and an International stamp will cost you around 0.70 cents (70 CVE) Post cards will take between 10 to 15 days to arrive at their destination. Post office opening times are 09 :00 to 12:30 and 15:30 to 17:00
The banks open at 08:00 and close at 15.00 Monday to Friday and tend to be quieter as you go through the week. The majority of banks operate a ticket queuing system.
There is no set percentage rate for tipping and it's certainly not expected but if you feel that you have received good service and want to show your appreciation, then a tip of a few Euros (200 CVE) will be sufficient.
There are hospitals in major cities but these are not comparable to Europe.Its therefore essential to have medical insurance when you visit Cape Verde and your policy should include evacuation by air ambulance most likely to Santiago Island or Portugal for extreme emergencies.
Private medical clinics, with European practitioners and European standard facilities such as Shekinah Medical Consulting on Sal have certainly improved the standard of care. The major hotel chains such as the RIU will have a doctor on call.
The new Sal Hospital was opened on October 30th 2010 and will provide initially up to 40 beds and is a fantastic addition to the medical care currently available.
I would recommend carrying a small all-purpose First Aid Kit containing any personal medication you might need. There are pharmacies available in the majority of urban centres, which cater for most medicines.
There are no compulsory inoculations required to visit Cape Verde but I would recommend you contact you GP for up to date travel advice. There is however a very low risk of Malaria on Santiago during the rainy season between late August and October.
The tap water comes from the process of desalination and is therefore not suitable for drinking. Bottled water suitable for drinking is widely available from local food stores. Cape Verde is becoming more environmentally friendly and water because of the lack of rain is very precious, so please use responsibly.
The vast majority of people will have an event free holiday but like everywhere in the world there are incidences of crime. In the main tourist areas crime is low but use your commonsense avoid poorly illuminated areas, and use taxis if you're are out late at night. Pack your valuables away in a safe and just take out the cash you need for the evening.
If your going in to isolated areas it makes sense to go in pairs or an organised group, and bring an essential day pack, with water, sun cream, money, mobile.
In line with the rest of the world, crime is higher in major urban areas, so if you are visiting the cities of Mindelo, in Sao Vicente and Praia in Santiago use your commonsense and take normal precautions in line with when you visit any other European city.
At the Beach
The stunning beaches and the beautiful turquoise waters of Cape Verde are one of the main attractions however wherever your participating in water sports or swimming, please be careful in regards to currents, the condition of the sea changes on a daily basis, one day it's as flat as a lake the next its rough, with strong waves and currents. There are now lifeguards on the main beach in Santa Maria, Sal but seek local advice when swimming in deserted areas.
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"When you come to a fork in the road, take it" - Yogi Berra