Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
Meetings begin relatively timely, with an expected wait time of 10-15 minutes. Drop-ins are usually entertained, but it is customary to prearrange any meetings. It is common to call within a half hour of meetings to reconfirm the start time. It is also advisable to provide advance notice of the number of participants attending the meeting as most offices will need to organize their space to accommodate guests.
Lunch meetings are common in the country. For this type of meeting, the location should be chosen carefully as the rule of thumb is that the person who extends the invitation covers the bill.
Attire is typically business casual due to the hot and dry climate, although most offices are equipped with air conditioning.
While next steps are often enthusiastically discussed, it is best to gather as much concrete information as possible during the encounter as delays with follow-up are common.
Token gifts are welcomed throughout the year, especially as a form of appreciation after a successful event or negotiation, but the gesture is mainly expected during the holiday season. Culturally, items that can be offered as gifts in Cabo Verde are the same as in Western countries.
Detailed and updated travel information on Cabo Verde is available through the U.S. Department of State’s Consular Information Sheet and Travel Advisory for the country.
A passport and visa are required for most travelers to Cabo Verde. As of February 2020, U.S. citizens entering Cabo Verde for tourism do not need a visa for visits of less than 30 days. Travelers are required to pre-register online before traveling to Cabo Verde, even if a visa is not required. U.S. citizens traveling for business purposes should obtain information about visas by contacting the Embassy of the Republic of Cabo Verde (3415 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington D.C. 20007; tel. 202-965-6820) or the Consulate General of Cabo Verde in Boston (tel. 617-353-0014). Overseas, inquiries should be made to the nearest Cabo Verdean embassy or consulate. Visit Cabo Verde’s Consular Portal to learn more about applying for longer-term visas, entry and exit requirements, questions on dual nationality, and preventing international child abduction. Please refer to Customs Information to learn more about customs regulations.
U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should refer to the following link: State Department Visa Website
In Cabo Verde, the official currency is the Cabo Verdean escudo (ECV), but euros are widely accepted, particularly on the islands of Sal and Boa Vista. The escudo is pegged to the euro, while the escudo-dollar exchange rate changes daily.
Generally, credit or debit cards or cash in escudos are widely accepted forms of payment. Cabo Verde’s Vinti4 network generally accepts Visa cards and Mastercard for payments in point-of-service machines as well as at ATMs for cash withdrawal. Fees for payment and money withdrawal are established by the card issuer. Traveler’s checks are not commonly accepted in Cabo Verde.
There are two telecommunications companies in the local market providing a range of services, including land line, mobile, and internet services. Cabo Verde has reliable and fast internet, and 4G mobile data is available on cell phones. Most major hotels in Cabo Verde offer internet access to their guests, although some charge a fee.
Cabo Verde’s electricity network supplies 220 volts, so transformers are needed for American electronics that can only run on the U.S. standard of 110 volts. Power sockets in Cabo Verde are type F, accommodating plugs with two round pins.
Cabo Verde has four international airports, one each located on the islands of Santiago, São Vicente, Sal, and Boa Vista. Prior to COVID-19, commercial air carriers offered regular service between Praia and Dakar, Lisbon, Casablanca, Boston, and Washington. Before the pandemic, TAP (the Portuguese flag airline) and Cabo Verde Airlines were the major airline carriers to the country. After the re-opening of borders, TAP continued to offer frequent flights to Sal, São Vicente (Mindelo), and Santiago (Praia). Cabo Verde Airlines also offers connections to Lisbon from Praia, Sal, and Mindelo. SATA Azores Airlines has two weekly flights to Praia connecting to Boston with a stopover in Ponta Delgada, Azores. Royal Air Maroc operates between Casablanca to Praia, and Transair and Air Senegal offer connections between Dakar and Praia. International operators are resuming charter flights to Sal and Boa Vista to several European cities. Domestic air travel among the islands is currently provided by Bestfly (Angolan operated) under a concession contract signed with the government that covers all islands except Brava and Santo Antão.
Cabo Verde Interilhas (CVI) provides maritime transportation for passengers and cargo for all islands. While ferry fares are affordable, maritime transportation is difficult to plan and subject to cancelation and delay due to sea conditions.
Taxis are reasonably priced, numerous, and available throughout the commercial areas of Praia, 24 hours a day. By law, the rates double after midnight. Legally, taxis should have meters installed, but this is seldom enforced. It is recommended that passengers ask the fare before getting in the taxi. Taxi drivers know the city well, but most do not speak English. It is customary to instruct them to slow down (“devagar”) or stop (“para!”) when necessary. Taxis are also available on other islands.
Rental cars are available in Cabo Verde. Rates, depending on type and availability of vehicle, range from 4,000 to 7,000 CVE (approximately $40-$75) per day. It is possible to hire a driver as well. Gas stations typically sell both gasoline (gasolina) and diesel (gasóleo) at prices set by the government.
The official language in Cabo Verde is Portuguese. It is used by the government for public services, schools, newspapers, and most television and radio channels. The local language, Cabo Verdean Creole (“Kriolu”), is not official but is almost universally spoken, although the dialect varies by island. For advertising purposes, Portuguese is generally used when companies want to lend an air of formality to their product or service (e.g., banks, insurance companies, real estate agencies), while Cabo Verdean Creole is used to target the masses (e.g., retail shops, supermarkets, detergent brands, restaurants). Both languages are used in social media, but Creole is more common.
Medical facilities in Cabo Verde are limited, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. The country’s largest hospitals are in Praia and Mindelo. There are smaller public health centers and private medical clinics, of variable quality in both personnel and equipment, throughout the country. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities or provide urgent medical treatment. Transportation between islands is difficult, and inter-island medical evacuation options are limited. The islands of Brava and Santo Antão do not have operational airports, which makes air evacuation in the event of a medical emergency nearly impossible.
Some of the islands are mountainous, and travelers venturing into areas of altitude may suffer from altitude sickness, which can be life threatening. Travelers should follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. In recent years, there have been some cases of malaria on the island of Santiago. Travelers should use CDC-recommended mosquito repellents and avoid mosquitoes. Travelers should bring a supply of prescription medications and any over-the-counter medications frequently used, as not all are available on the local market.
Sanitation: Tap water is not potable. Bottled water and other packaged beverages are generally safe and readily available. Be aware that ice for drinks might be made using tap water. Conditions in the two largest cities, Mindelo and Praia, are fair. There is a high risk of travelers’ diarrhea, so it is recommended that visitors eat only recently cooked food and wash their hands frequently.
Additional immunizations: While additional immunizations are not required, Hepatitis A and Typhoid immunizations are recommended for all travelers. Hepatitis B is recommended for travelers expecting a prolonged stay or frequent short stays. Yellow fever is also required for travelers coming from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Travelers should consult the U.S. Embassy website for country-specific information on COVID-19 vaccination and test requirements.
Medical Evacuation: Ambulance services are not widely available, and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance. The U.S. Embassy in Praia maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. In the event of serious medical emergencies, every effort should be made to go to Lisbon, Portugal.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas, including in Cabo Verde, accept only cash payments. See the U.S. Embassy in Cabo Verde’s website for more information, and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the types of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Travelers should refer to Department of State’s Travel Website and CDC Guidance for the most up-to-date information.
Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays
The local time zone in Cabo Verde is GMT-1. The working hours are generally Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m., with a lunch break between noon and 2:00 p.m. The holidays are:
- January 1, New Year’s Day
- January 13, Democracy and Freedom Day
- January 20, National Heroes’ Day
- Ash Wednesday
- Good Friday
- May 1, Labor Day
- June 1, Children’s Day
- July 5, Independence Day
- August 15, Assumption Day
- November 1, All Saints’ Day
- December 25, Christmas Day
- Note: There are other holidays that vary by municipality.
Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings
There are no restrictions on the temporary entry of materials and/or personal belongings.