Cape Verde

Communication

There are two providers of mobile phone services in Cape Verde: Cabo Verde Telecom which is the market leader and T+ mobile. The government announced creation of new firm which will manage telecom sector. 3G mobile data service is available here. It is possible to buy only 3G cards.

Major tourist spots have good coverage of mobile networks, which cannot be said for other areas. You can purchase local SIM card to avoid high expenses of roaming. In case you receive call by using the local number, the person calling you will foot the bill.

Wi-Fi

One of the ways to stay connected it to rent Wi-Fi device. Devices which can be found there allow connecting up to 5 devices. Most accommodations, restaurants and bars provide Wi-Fi to their guests. Government provided Wi-Fi in the most frequent places in Cape Verde.

Shopping

If you need to buy some everyday items in Cape Verde, prepare for high prices. The main reason behind that is almost everything has to be imported in this tiny country. Shampoos, sunblock and other cosmetic products are expensive there and there is poor choice. Make sure you bring enough with you.

Shopping area which you should not miss is on the Praça Estrela, where colorful fabrics and island grown fruit and vegetables are being sold by African traders.

Souvenirs

If you are looking for souvenirs, make sure to visit local markets, where you can find unique pieces of handmade jewelry. The best place to visit them is early morning.

Very popular products in Cape Verde are woven baskets, which are part of handicraft heritage on the island. Other popular items include clay pots and kitchen tools. By purchasing these products, you give your contribution to the community.

Bargaining

This is another place where you can practice your bargaining skills. Although, save it for the marketplace, and avoid it in shops. It is advised not to do that unless you are genuinely interested in purchasing products.

Education

Adult literacy rate for males is 91,69% and for females 82,4%, which give total literacy rate of 86,79%. These numbers reveal educational gap between sexes.

Mandatory education is imposed to children from six to fourteen years old and it is free until they turn twelve. Although education is mandatory it is actually not enforced. Children have access to textbooks, while not all teachers have received training.

Due to Portuguese influence throughout the history, Portuguese language is used in education, which to some extent complicates situation. Most of the students and teachers speak Creole privately, which impacts their fluency of Portuguese.

Education system is struggling to finance books and other school materials, which will hopefully be resolved with foreign financial help over the time.

Universities

There are two Universities in Cape Verde: Jean Piaget University of Cape Verde and University of Cape Verde, which opened its door in 2006, due to cooperation of several institutions and organizations.

Health

Health services are limited in Cape Verde. There is a lack of medical facilities and medicines. Hospitals can be found in the following places: Fogo, Praia, Mindelo and São Filipe. The largest hospital is Agostinho Neto in Praia.

On the bright side, clinics and pharmacies can be found in many towns. Having medical insurance with cost reimbursement policy is a wise choice when visiting Cape Verde. Medical services are charged in cash, so make sure you have enough for emergency cases. Vaccinations are usually not necessary to visit this country.

Diseases

Tourists should be aware of the fact that Malaria is present in Cape Verde, although it is not wide spread. Island Santiago is the riskiest area in the country. HIV infections are not so rare and they are most commonly spread among Cape Verdeans in their late twenties.

Business Hours

Normal business hours in Cape Verde are from 08:00 to 12:30 and from 14:30 to 18:00. Shops normally close in the afternoon, between 13:00 and 15:00. Some of them open and close in slightly different time span.

Shops in popular tourist destinations are usually open most of the time during the day. Some of them are not properly marked and there is a good chance you will simply pass them without realizing they were shops.

Capital

The capital city of the Republic of Cape Verde is Praia. Praia means “beach” in Portuguese and local Creole. This city is the largest in the country and it is its trade center. It was funded in 1615 under the name “Praia de Santa Maria”.

Its population is around 155.000 and the city covers the area of 102.6 km, which results in density of approx. 1.500 persons per square km.

Economy

This is a developing country. Most of the GDP origins from services. Country’s economy has important ties with the economy of Portugal, which is also reflected in Cape Verde’s currency being pegged to Euro.

Cape Verde faces trade deficit constantly, because it has to import almost everything, and food is being imported up to 75%. Starting in 1990s, Government promotes investing in the country to foreign investors. They advocate market economy and development of private sector.

Sea Food

There is an abundance of fish and shellfish. In spite that, only tiny portion is exported. Cape Verdeans use freezing and storing facilities and fish processing plants. Lobster and tuna fishing potential is not used to the maximum.

Service Sector

Economy of Cape Verde is service oriented. It is focused on transport due to location advantages, commerce and tourism.

Currency

Cape Verde has national currency called Caper Verde Escudo, abbreviated CVE. It is pegged to the EUR at the rate EUR = 110 CVE. This currency is not available outside of the country, which means you will have to bring Euros and covert them in Cape Verde to the local currency.

Credit Cards

Do not rely on credit cards, and make sure you have enough cash at disposal, because there is no guarantee that you card will be accepted.

Culture

The culture of Cape Verde is a beautiful mixture of European and African customs. The main cultural ties are shared with Portugal and mainland Africa. Slavery left its mark on the history of this country. Some of the music, for example morna origins from these days.

Music

Music is omnipresent and you do not have to go to find it, if you are interested to hear local sounds. They are played everywhere. It is said that their music comes straight from the heart and it never fails to wake emotions. Country’s most famous artist is morna singer Cesaria Evora and the country is abundant with many other artists, mostly poets.

Carnivals

Carnivals are the most important festivals in this country. You will be surprised to learn how much Cape Verdeans love to party. Carnivals are accompanied by bright colors, cars, decorations and of course a lot of music and fun.

Cuisine

Local cuisine is a result of blending Creole, Brazilian and African specialties. Fish and seafood are commonly used in dishes. There are numerous desserts and tasting their coffee is a must. Undisputedly, national dish is Cachupa, a stew made of vegetables, yams and sometimes bacon, which Cape Verdeans love to eat no matter the time of the day. They love it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Language

Creole spoken in Cape Verde is known as Kabuverdianu. It is based on Portuguese and it is considered native language. It is the oldest Creole which is still spoken, and the most commonly used creole which is based on Portuguese. There are differences in the way creole is spoken among islands, which is the major obstacle for Capo Verdeans to standardize their language.

Despite the omnipresence of Creole, the official language is Portuguese. It is used in media, schools and by the government. English is also spoken there.


Language

Creole spoken in Cape Verde is known as Kabuverdianu. It is based on Portuguese and it is considered native language. It is the oldest Creole which is still spoken, and the most commonly used creole which is based on Portuguese. There are differences in the way creole is spoken among islands, which is the major obstacle for Capo Verdeans to standardize their language.

Despite the omnipresence of Creole, the official language is Portuguese. It is used in media, schools and by the government. English is also spoken there.

Religion

Cape Verdeans are very religious and they are principally Catholics, which is result of Portuguese influence on the culture of this country. Catholicism they practice is combined with African customs even today. Capo Verdeans go to church on Sunday. On the other days, they from time to time practice African rituals.

State & Church

Catholic monopoly was abolished in 1910, when it was allowed to practice other religions. The remaining part of the population are Protestants and other quite small denominations. The Church and the State are considered separate and everyone is allowed to practice the religion they want.

History

Islands of Cape Verde were discovered in 1462 by the Portuguese, where they made their settlements. One of the first settlements was on the island Santiago.

Slave Trading

During the 16th century, islands were part of the slave trading, where slaves were sent over the Atlantic Ocean. Slavery drew attention of other nations, which made attempts to take it over. Slave trade was what made the islands rich and when that practice dissolved, they faced economic downturns.

Fight for Independence

In 1951, Portugal changed the status of Cape Verde to its province. Until that moment, it was its colony. They did it to prevent nation from seeking independence. That strategy worked until 1961, when revolt against Portugal appeared. Independence was finally declared in July 1975.

The Constitution was created in 1980 and there were three revisions. In contrast to its turbulent history, the todays Republic of Cape Verde is one of the most stable democratic countries in Africa.

Climate

This country has climate which is uniform throughout the year: there is minimum rain and too much sunshine. It is a true example of tropical paradise, which is why it is adored by tourists.

Temperatures range from 26 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius. Surfers will appreciate the info that wind causes larger waves from November to March.

Population

Cape Verde has large diaspora, which exceeds the number of inhabitants in the country. Slightly more than half million people live on the islands. They are diverse ethnically, as a result of mixing of African and European ancestors. There are also many immigrants in this country.

Geography

The Republic of Capo Verde is comprised of 10 volcanic islands and 5 islets. They are vidinded into two groups - windward called Barlavento and leeward called Sotavento. The largest out of nine inhabited islands Santiago, which most of the population is concentrated. Islands are settled near Senegal in the Atlantic Ocean. The country only has maritime borders with Mauritania and Senegal.

Total surface of the country is 4.033 km². Eastern islands are commonly flat, while western islands are characterized by mountains which reach up to 1.500m in height. Pico the Cano is one of the highest mountain peaks and it is an active volcano.

Endemic species

There are four endemic species in Cape Verde and islands are important breeding spot for seabirds. There are also eleven reptile species. Islands were originally covered with savannas and dry forests, which people turned into agricultural land. Original forests are preserved in high altitudes only.

Contact

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