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Country Profile

Cape Verde

The Republic of Cape Verde consists of nine inhabited and several uninhabited volcanic islands off the western coast of Africa. Most are rugged and mountainous; three (Sal, Maio, and Boa Vista) are flat, desert islands with sand beaches. Praia, the capital, is on the island of Santiago, and Cape Verde’s major shipping port is Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente. Portuguese is the official language. Praia’s new international airport opened on October 6, 2005, from which Cape Verdean Airlines (TACV) now offers direct flights between Praia and Boston once or twice a week, depending on the season. Cape Verde has another international airport (Amilcar Cabral Airport) located on Sal Island, more than 100 miles northeast of the capital. While the tourist industry brings ever-growing numbers of visitors, facilities on many islands remain limited. Sal has the most developed tourist industry. See the section “Special Circumstances” below regarding issues that impact inter-island transport.
Cape Verde enjoys a stable, democratic government with an elected president as head of state, a prime minister nominated by the National Assembly (the national legislative body) as head of government, and elected members of the unicameral National Assembly. The judicial system is comprised of numerous courts, culminating in a Supreme Court.
Read the Department of State
Background Notes on Cape Verde for additional information.

Cape Verde


Image of Cape Verde
Country Name: Cape Verde
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Praia
Boundary Countries:

No land boundaries.

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Praia:  Hospital Agostinho Neto
Mindelo:  Hospital Baptista de Sousa

Main Cities:

Praia, Santa Maria, Mindelo, Tarrafal, Sâo Filipe

Country Size: 4,033 sq km
Population: 423,613



Portuguese, Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)

Currency: Cape Verdean escudo (CVE)
Predominant Religions:

Roman Catholic (infused with indigenous beliefs), Protestant (mostly Church of the Nazarene)

National Holidays: Independence Day, 5 July (1975)
Economic Status:

This island economy suffers from a poor natural resource base, including serious water shortages exacerbated by cycles of long-term drought. The economy is service-oriented, with commerce, transport, tourism, and public services accounting for 66% of GDP.


People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARP): Army, Coast Guard (includes maritime air wing)

US Presence:

U.S. Embassy Praia
Rua Abilio Macedo 6
Praia, Cape Verde
Phone: +238 260 8900
Fax: (238)-261-13-55

Document Requirements:

A passport and visa are required.  Visa approval can take several days and Cape Verde issues two types of tourist visas: a single-entry visa valid for up to 90 days or a multiple-entry visa valid for one year.  You may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde, 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC  20007 (tel. 202- 965-6820) or the Consulate General of Cape Verde, 607 Boylston Street, Boston, MA  02116 (tel. 617-353-0014).  Overseas, inquiries should be made to the nearest Cape Verdean embassy or consulate.  Visit the Cape Verde virtual portal online at for the most current visa information.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  7, Airports w/paved runways:  7

Amilcar Cabral International Airport (SID/GVAC)
Sal Airport, Cape Verde, PO Box 58, Espargos, Sal Island, Cape Verde
Sal Airport, Cape Verde, Airport Administration, Espargos, Sal Island, Cape Verde
Tel:  +238 241 1394, +238 241 1468, +238 241 1135, +238 241 1309 (Operations) +238 241 1372
Customs, hours:  24 hours
Tel: +238 241 1222
Fax:  +238 241 1222

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

Visitors traveling to Cape Verde who wish to participate in water sports, swimming, boating and fishing should exercise extreme caution since the tides and currents around Cape Verde are very strong.

Campaign rallies and demonstrations are generally peaceful; however, U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political gatherings, and street demonstrations.

Petty thievery and burglary are common in Cape Verde, especially in crowds, such as market places, festivals, and celebrations. Mugging incidents are on the rise, particularly at night and in more isolated areas, and occasionally violence is associated with them.  Crime associated with drugs and drug-use is also on the rise. Violent crime is also increasing in Cape Verde.  There have been several murders and attempted murders in the past year, mostly reported in the urban centers of Praia and Mindelo, although Sal and other islands have not been immune.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  45.27 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth: TOTAL 71.02 years (male 67.69/female 74.44)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: Yellow Fever, all travelers over 1 year old
Recommended: Malaria, Hep A & B, Polio, Typhoid, Boosters: MMR, DPT, etc.

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Malaria exists in Cape Verde, although not to the extent found in mainland Africa. The risk of contracting malaria is mainly limited to the island of Santiago, with a higher risk from July to December.
Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis (river blindness) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. A number of rickettsial infections also occur in this region. Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection, can be contracted in fresh water in this region.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities in Cape Verde are limited, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. There are hospitals in Praia and Mindelo, with smaller medical facilities in other places. The islands of Brava and Santo Antão no longer have functioning airports so air evacuation in the event of a medical emergency is nearly impossible from these two islands. Brava also has limited inter-island ferry service.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 1
Referrals: 54
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Endemic foci of river blindness exist in all countries listed except in the greater part of The Gambia, Mauritania. The risk for contracting African sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis), is high in all countries except The Gambia, Niger, and Mauritania.Plague occurs sporadically or in outbreaks. Polio is still endemic in Nigeria. Other infections that tend to occur more often in longer-term travelers (or immigrants from the region) include tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis B.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +238
Internet Country Code:  .cv


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