Safety and security
Crime affects all islands of Cape Verde, but the number of incidents affecting British nationals is generally low. Burglaries and muggings have been reported on the main tourist islands of Sal and Boavista. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Keep sight of your belongings at all times. Leave valuables in a hotel safe if possible and do not carry large amounts of cash. Avoid unlit areas after dark. Petty crimes e.g. pick-pocketing or handbag snatching can occur, including on beaches.
Make sure your holiday accommodation is secure. Lock all doors and windows at night and when you go out. If you’re worried about security at your accommodation, speak to your tour operator, hotel manager or to the owner of the property.
Sexual assaults are rare but they do occur. Be alert and avoid secluded stretches of the beach with limited or restricted visibility. If you become a victim of crime, contact the local police. In an emergency call 132 (police) or 131 (fire). Response times vary and service standards may not be as high as in the UK.
You can drive in Cape Verde with a valid UK driving licence for up to 6 months, or on a valid International Driving Permit. If you’re staying longer or living in Cape Verde, you’ll need to get a Cape Verde driving licence.
Traffic is usually light and main road conditions are generally of a reasonable quality.
If you hire a car, scooter or quad bike, make sure it’s in good condition and that it’s fully insured. Quad biking is considered to be an extreme sport and may not be included in your travel insurance policy. Check whether you need additional insurance and make sure it covers you for the cost of medical care and repatriation.
Crash helmets are needed by law. Your insurance policy may be invalidated if you have an accident and you’re not wearing a helmet.
The rainy season in Cape Verde is from mid August to mid October. Torrential rains can cause floods and landslides. Monitor local weather reports and expect difficulties when travelling to affected areas during this season.
Intercity bus services can be dangerous due to poor driving. Taxis hailed from hotels are generally reliable. In Praia, city buses and taxis are reliable, clean and in good condition. Car rental is widely available on the islands of Santiago, Sal, Boa Vista and São Vicente.
Sea conditions around Cape Verde are sometimes dangerous. Take local advice before travelling by sea. Travel by sea to the southern islands of Fogo and Brava in particular can often be disrupted.
Take care if you participate in water sports, swimming, boating and fishing. Tides and currents around the islands are very strong. Respect the warning flags and keep within sight of the lifeguard.
The political situation is generally stable, but you should avoid demonstrations and large gatherings