Getting around-Travel & Transport in Cape Verde
Visitors to Cape Verde for holidays mainly visit the island of Sal. You may have booked a package holiday or flight only with the intention to stay on Sal Island or you may wish to island hop to a few other islands.
The main tourist area on Sal island is Santa Maria, that's where you will find most of the hotels, restaurants, holiday apartments, restaurants, activity centre's, water sports and more. There are also a number of hotels and resorts on the west coast and water sports centre's on the east coast. On Sal you may wish to hire a car or 4x4 for a day or so, Sal isn't a big island so you can probably see or re-visit places in a day or so, depends on your preferences, a mix of sight seeing with sun bathing perhaps. Vehicles are also hired for the purpose of transporting kite and windsurf equipment to other parts of the island. Others may choose to hire quad bike's, buggies, bicycles, segway's, mobility scooters or other newly introduced forms of transport. Vehicles travel along the road on the right, in Cape Verde.
Most of the roads are cobbled, so walking around will mean you will need comfortable soles on your shoes, though flip flops, flat sandals, sports shoes or similar are commonly worn by many when walking around. There are uneven or no paths in some places. Volcanic rocks, small volcanic shale may cause unsteadiness or get into shoes or in sandals etc. Tour Operators, Tour Guides should provide you with information about what best to wear if out on excursions. If out on a Shark Tour along the coast, there are rocks to scramble across in the shallow waters, so extra safety and care should be taken.
There are uneven paths and tripping hazards in other areas, a lot of rubbish discarded or washed ashore, discarded fishing lines, broken beer bottles or building material that you need to be wary of when travelling out and about. This is not just on Sal, but all the islands. There are many 'Beach Cleans' organised throughout the year on Sal. The main organisation on Sal that works with the local authority and the Police is 'Project Biodiversity', they will provide more information on the work they do with turtles, birds, beach cleans, conservation and more.
Cape Verde Tips supports Project Biodiversity. If you do anything today when reading this page, please visit their website to see the great work
they are doing on Sal Island. Scroll down their page and watch and listen to Albert's interview and read about their collaboration to make
a film with 'Our Blue Planet' a project by BBC Earth. Follow them on Facebook or on their website PROJECT BIODIVERSITY
There are four international airports on the Cape Verde islands, those being Sal Island, Boavista Island, Santiago Island and Sao Vicente Island. Direct travel from other countries can by booked online or at a Travel Agency at home or abroad. There are travel and tour operators based on the main islands and they will be able to help you make further travel arrangements by road, plane or boat.
Travel arrangements can be booked direct from Sal or by travelling from Sal to for example, Santiago Island to reach Fortelaza in Brazil, Angola, Boston and other countries. However, you would need to check whether direct flights have become available since this information was posted online. There are a number of Tour operators here that sell tickets for direct flights to Belgium, Portugal, U.S.A.,Brazil, Germany, Denmark, UK and other countries.
The quickest way to travel between islands is by air (where available) and it's more comfortable than by boat. A number of the islands have airports, some will accommodate international flights as well as inter-island flights, while a few others may only accommodate inter-island flights. Where there are no inter-island airports then boats have to be used. Distances between islands will differ, travel by boat could be overnight or only an hour. You will need to consider timings of travel as adverse weather conditions may mean you cannot travel by boat or plane, which may mean missing other connecting travel arrangements.
Tour Operators can sell you inter-island flights so that you can visit some of the other islands during your stay in Cape Verde. There are also day trips organised by some tour operators. Two island holidays have been organised for some travelers who want to stay with one hotel chain but on different islands. Others may prefer to make their own independent travel and accommodation arrangements on different islands.
A number of Cruise ships visit Cape Verde, but the bigger ships normally head for the deep ports of Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente. Some smaller cruise ships have arrived on Sal but anchor off the port of Palmeira and transport people across to shore in small boats. Alternatively there is the sail ship the Oostershelde from the Netherlands which makes a number of island tours around Cape Verde in the winter time.
Always ask how much it will cost before you get in a taxi, then if you think you are being charged too much, haggle! The authorities did produce a tariff guide, but unfortunately this isn't enforced. Generally you should not pay more than 1.000cve - 1500cve (10-15 euros) from the airport into Santa Maria and visa versa.
Alugers (local transport)
These are mini buses or pick up trucks that are licensed to carry passengers either within the vehicle or on benches secured on the back of the truck. Generally it is 100cve (1 euros) to travel inside an Aluger from Santa Maria to Espargos. If travelling on the back of an open truck, wear sun cream and be aware that Sal is a windy island, there can be a lost of dust and sand in the air.
Car hire can be pre-booked. Please be aware that some of the main car hire companies like Avis and Hertz may me more expensive than others on Sal and other islands. There are a number of Auto / Car Rental companies on Sal that rent out cars and 4x4's at more reasonable cost. Not all hire vehicles will be as clean or in as good condition as you would expect in Europe, this is mainly due to the fact that cars here are very expensive to import and replacement parts also need to be imported. Car hire businesses will also have paid higher customs tax on new imported goods.
You will need to check the vehicle before you use it to see if the windows, air con, wind screen wipers that the 4 wheel drive work properly and whether it is Diesel or Gasoline. 4x4's are needed if going off road i.e Burracona and other dirt tracks. If there are more than two people, you may need to consider if passengers can climb into the rear of the vehicle easily if accessing from the front passenger door, you may need a 5 door. You may need to contact some hire companies at least two weeks in advance by email, some may not respond if they don't speak English. We are seeking contact for companies who say they can and will respond to email inquiries within 3 days.