Top Activities for Sal – and is it worth the money?

Salinas of Santa Maria

Observing sharks, floating on water, catching a Fata Morgana, crossing the desert by bike or kite surfing are only a few activities of the Cap Verdian paradise Sal. I share with you the top activities and answer the question if it is worth it.

Most tourists who visit Cabo Verde will either way fly to Boa Vista or Sal. Both islands look similar with long white sand beaches, the blue ocean right in front and a lot of hotel chains. Also, both islands are really dry, with only a few cities and otherwise pretty much deserted. But both islands offer a few more activities and spots you can visit to make your stay a bit more varied. In this blog post, I will share the top activities of Sal.

Salinas of Sal

The island is called Sal for a reason. For years Sal was used to win and export salt. Nowadays, there are two Salinas left. One is the famous Salinas de Pedra de Lume in the North-East, the other one is Salinas de Santa Maria and right behind the city in the South of the island.

The Salinas de Pedra de Lume are a very popular and famous spot to swim in – or better you can let yourself float in the water. You should make sure to not stay longer than 20 minutes inside because of the high salinity. But I can promise you your skin will feel really smooth in the end because of the salt peeling. The entrance fee is 5 €.

The Salinas de Santa Maria are not that famous. You can find them right behind the same named city. They are still used for salt production. You can also have a nice walk around them. They look really spectacular, some of the water fields are even pink and red. But locals told me to only go there during the week and before sunset for safety reasons (because the Salinas are very deserted on the weekend).

Is it worth it?

Yes, definitely. I both liked seeing the Salinas of Santa Maria but also floating in Pedra de Lume. I also think the latter is worth the entrance fee. I would totally recommend it.

Pedra de Lume
Pedra de Lume
Salinas of Santa Maria
Salinas of Santa Maria
Shark Bay

Shark Bay is a popular spot for tourists on the east coast. Here you can find a bay in the ocean with shallow water which is a perfect spot to see baby lemon sharks. Before you enter the water you should make sure to lend some closed water shoes. You will enter the water with a guide. Then you can see the little sharks swimming around your legs.

The little sharks eat fish but are not dangerous to humans. In contrast, the bigger lemon shark could become a danger to humans since they are easily provoked. However, the bigger sharks can not enter the bay because the water is not deep enough.

Is it worth it?

It is a special moment seeing the little sharks so if it is something you can enjoy then go for it.

Terra Boa

The middle of Sal is pretty much like a little desert – a lot of sand. Therefore it is also perfect to see a Fata Morgana and to do fun photos playing with perspectives. A famous spot to do so is Terra Boa. From here you will feel like you can always see water on the horizon but there is none. So you are actually able to see a Fata Morgana. You can use the same effect for photos. Since there is almost nothing else but sand it is actually hard to estimate distances. Maybe you know the funny photos people take in the famous salt desert in Bolivia. Here are similar ideas working (just of course the ground is not reflecting). You should definitely play a bit with perspective here and get creative. For example, I balanced with one leg on my camera.

Is it worth it?

It definitely gives you the Wow-effect and it was fun taking some creative photos but it only makes sense if you actually have someone who can take them for you. It is a little stopover, nothing too big.


The Zipline of Cabo Verde is located in the protected area of Serra Negra close to Santa Maria. The tour includes the pick-up from Santa Maria.

The starting point will be the valley station from where you will be welcomed and get an introduction on how to zipline. There you will also find lockers to leave your belongings behind. I actually brought my phone up with me for photos because you will also get a little backpack from the organisers which you can use to put in your valuables. Do not forget to bring your action cam with you to film the whole ride. Otherwise, you can also lend a GoPro.

After the introduction, you will be driven a bit further up the mountain and walk the rest up by yourself with the group. The starting point of the zipline is in 103 metres ( 337 feet) at the top of the mountain. The flight length is over 1  km (0.62 miles) and can reach over 100 km/h (62 mph). You can ride down sitting or headfirst hanging.

Is it worth it?

The experience itself was great, the guides were really nice and helpful but the ride was with 45 € ( 48.50 US$) a bit pricey. Overall, I enjoyed the ride but it was also pretty fast over. If you always wanted to take a ride on the zipline or just enjoy it in general you can think of doing it otherwise it will be maybe not worth the money.

Bike Tour

In Santa Maria are some bike rentals for normal and E-Bikes you can lend to do a tour. I got a flyer with a map on it but honestly, the way didn’t exist like marked anymore because they started building a house in between. This made it a bit more adventurous for me than I planned in the beginning. In general, the winds in Sal can get really strong. When I was there, the winds mainly always flew in the same direction which made it really hard going from South to North but quite easy the other way. However, it is a special way of exploring the island especially if you do not have a car.

Is it worth it?

It was a nice activity I could do on my own but also pretty exhausting riding against the strong wind. If you enjoy riding a bike you can definitely plan a little nice tour otherwise it is not really on the prior list of activities. I paid 10 € (10,80 US$) for four hours. If you want to lend a bike you can also use Komoot to find a tour or join a group tour of the bike rental.

Kite Beach

Sal is really famous for kite surfing since there are perfect weather conditions from December to April. There is even a beach called Kite Beach on the East side of the island not too far from Santa Maria. The winds are too strong for beginners but if you have already some experience, you can also go kite surfing here. Otherwise, you can just enjoy the colourful kites in the sky. The beach was also used for the latest kite-surf World Cup in 2023.

Is it worth it?

It is totally nice if it is the right weather conditions. You have to check first if it is actually a good day for kitesurfing (aka the right winds) otherwise the beach will be pretty empty.

Blue Eye Cave (Buracona)

Buracona is a natural pool which can be used for swimming if the waves are not too strong. If you are lucky you can also see the Blue Eye from a cliff. If the sun shines on the surface of the water it will change its colour to turquoise. The light is formed by the cliff and has the shape of an eye which brings it its name.

There is also a sightseeing tower nearby from which you can enjoy seeing the natural pools and the wide ocean. Buracona has an entrance fee of 3 €.

Is it worth it?

It was special to see the Blue Eye Cave and to take a look at the strong waves of the ocean (when I was there it was too windy to swim). I would totally recommend a visit.

Snorkelling and Diving Tours

There are several diving schools around the island where you can book different courses and trips. I just did a one-time snorkelling tour to see the underwater world. For these tours, you will not need any previous knowledge but can just join a group. I got snorkelling equipment plus a diving suit. But you can also book classes to learn how to dive and get certificates.

Is it worth it?

I can’t say anything about going diving. I met other tourists who really enjoyed it. But I did book a snorkelling tour. If I am honest the water was not too clear so it was sometimes hard to see something but in the end, we saw a few turtles which was actually nice. But there are definitely better snorkelling spots than this one. Take a look at the video for a better insight.

Where to find the activities
Trip map created with Wanderlog, the best trip planner app on iOS and Android

You have read the blog post Top Activities for Sal – and is it worth the money? on My Travel Journal-Blog.

My favourite spots and hikes on Santo Antão

The village Formiguinha

Which are the best places and views on Santo Antão you should not miss? The second biggest island of Cabo Verde offers a lot of beautiful and unique viewing points, as well as hikes and little fishing villages. I share my favourite spots and hiking highlights with you plus tell you how to reach them.

Santo Antão is the second biggest island of Cabo Verde and has a lot of beautiful spots and hikes I want to share with you. At the moment, it can be only reached by ferry. The fastest connection is from Mindelo in São Vicente but it is also connected with other islands. The ferry terminal of Santo Antão is in its biggest city Porto Novo. Santo Antão is considered the westernmost island of Africa.

Locals recommended to me the two towns Ribeira Grande and Paúl as the best places to stay on Santo Antão. The two towns lay both on the East coast of the island. In general, there is a massive contrast between the East and West of the island. While most beautiful spots and all cities are in the East, this part of the island is also way greener. The western part of the island is mainly deserted and has only a few roads. The main roads are all only on the Eastern side as well.

How to reach the spots

The easiest is to either way go around by car or even with a booked tour – besides the places from hike number one. The places between Ponta do Sol and Cruzinha are only reachable by foot. But there are also a lot of great hiking paths you can follow to reach the different spots mentioned here. If you travel without a car you can just use the Aluger Collectivos which usually go around the more common areas of the island. You can reach most places from Ribeira Grande and/or Paúl and start your hike from there. There are for example Alugers going to Ponta do Sal, Xóxó, or Cova. In general, you should start your hikes early because then it will be easier to catch Aluguer Colectivos. Try also to ask your host on the island for particular times, sometimes they know which times are the best to catch an Aluguer. On Sundays, it is in general way harder to find Aluguer Colectivos.

❗️TIP: On Santo Antão the minibuses are way more often also used as taxis for tourists. You have to ask for an Aluguer Colectivo in order to share the minibus with locals otherwise it happens that the driver will try to give you an expensive single drive.

Find more information about Aluguers in my blog post General tips for your vacation on Cabo Verde.

Prices for Colectivos in 2023

Santo Antão:
Ferry to Paul: 350 CVE (3.15 € | 3.45 US$)
Ferry to Ribeira Grande: 450 CVE (4 € | 4.40 US$)
Ribeira Grande to Xoxo: 100 CVE (0.90 € | 1 US$)
Ribeira Grande to Ponta do Sol: 50 CVE (0.45 € | 0.50 US)

Ponta do Sal to Cruzinha (only reachable by foot)

Starting from Ponta do Sal | 14.6 km (9 miles) | 4 hours | medium | Official Cabo Verde App

Highlights: the way between Ponta do Sol and Formiguinha with the villages Fontainhas and Corvo

The village Corvo
The village Corvo

On this hike you will follow the path along the coast from Ponta do Sol until Cruzinha. Of course, you can do the hike also the other way around. The highlights of the tour are the seafront itself (with incredible viewpoints) but also the three villages Fontainhas, Corvo, and Formiguinha which can be only reached by foot. Especially Fontainhas and Corvo surprise with green valleys. Behind Formiguinha comes Aranhas, you can find a black sand beach before you reach the fishing village Cruzinha.

❗️Tip: The last kilometres between Formiguinha and Cruinha are not that interesting. Since it is way harder to find an Aluguer Colectivo back from Cruzinha than to Ponta do Sal, you can also return from Forminguinha and walk back from there to catch a minibus from Ponta do Sol.

Água das Caldeiras (Cova) to Ribeira Grande

Starting from Água das Caldeiras | 12 km (7.45 miles) | 5 hours | medium | Official Cabo Verde App

Highlights: Cova, Xôxô, Valley of Ribeira Grande | additionally the viewing point over Paúl Valle

The volcanic crater Cova which is used for cultivation farming
The volcanic crater Cova

The hike starts around the volcanic crater Cova which is used for cultivation farming. You can reach Cova also by Aluguer Colectivo.
From Água das Caldeiras, you walk down the path passing Rabo Curto, Lombo de Pico, Xôxô and Ribeira da Torre (Melicia) until you reach Ribeira Grande. But pay attention some of the ways are not hiking paths but streets which are also used by cars. This exact path can also only be taken by foot but the single places are also reachable by car. There is a main road going to Corvo as well as a road going to Xôxô from Ribeira Grande.

❗️Tip: Especially Xôxô was a true highlight for me and if you go here by car or minibus you should make sure to enjoy the green valleys and walk a bit around the village.

Make sure to also check out the viewing points around the crater Cova. If you follow the road in the direction of Porto Novo, there will be one of my favourite viewing points Mirador de Paúl right next to the road which opens a beautiful view over the green valleys of Paúl. It is easily reachable by car.

Along the road Paúl until Boca di Figueiral (and back)

Starting from Paúl | both ways: 4.6 km (2.85 miles) | 1.5 hour | medium

Highlights: The Green Valley

The valley of Paúl
The valley of Paúl

This little hike was actually recommended by my host in Paúl. Starting from Paúl, you can follow the street along until you reach the village Boca di Figueiral – from there you take the same way back. The whole path with its green valleys around is a highlight to watch. The street is tarred and therefore easy to walk on but since it is used a lot by cars and minibuses you should pay a lot of attention while walking which makes this a hike of a medium level.

Tip: Official Cabo Verde App

In the end, I would like to recommend you download the official app of Cabo Verde. The app offers a little guide of every island showing you among other things where the Colectivos are leaving, some sightseeing points and hikes. You can find number one and two plus way more hikes in the app.

You have read the blog post My favourite spots and hikes on Santo Antão on My Travel Journal-Blog.

Santiago on a budget – Top 6 activities

The national park Serra Malagueta

Santiago is kind of an all-rounder offering you different activities from hiking, over swimming to exploring the culture of Cabo Verde. Explore more about the history of the country, visit a village of rebels, and learn more about how Cabo Verde was used for the slave trade.  Here are six tips on what to do on Santiago if you want to save some money but still have a good time.

If you are visiting Cabo Verde’s main island Santiago, you will fast recognise that food and activities are in general more expensive since most products are imported from Portugal. Here are six perfect activities for you if you are also travelling on a budget.

Number One: Visit the local markets

If you visit Santiago, you should make sure to visit some of the famous markets around. One food market called Mercado Municipal for fruits and vegetables but also fish is directly in the city centre of the capital Praia on the plateau of the city. If you follow down the stairs you come directly to a second even bigger market called Mercado de Sucupira. From here are also starting the colectivos (minibuses used as public transport, read more in my blog post General tips for your vacation on Cabo Verde) to go around the island.
Mercado de Sucupeira is a market where you can buy all kinds of clothes but also shoes, jewellery, accessories and other different items. The market is also used by locals for shopping. Here I bought some pretty hair bands. Locals sell self-made clothes in traditional colours and fabricsMost of them bring their sewing machines to fix the sizes in case a garment is not fitting you. The prices are really reasonable. I paid 150-200 CVE (1.36-1.80 €/  1.50-2 US$) for a hair band and on a market in Sao Vicente 1,000 CVE (9 €/ 10 US$) for a homemade shirt plus 200 CVE (1.80 €/ 2 US$) extra to change it to my perfect fit. The market also sells homemade meals in front of the market. I paid 200 CVE (1.80 €/ 2 US$) for a whole meal. You can eat no were else in Praia cheaper than here.

Also, the other towns on the islands have their own markets. There is another big market in the second biggest city of Santiago called Assomada you can visit on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you are in Assomada make sure to also visit the Poilon Tree, the oldest tree in Africa. 

Number Two: Visit Cidade Velha

Cidade Velha is the old town and former capital of Cabo Verde. The town was formerly called Ribeira Grande and was also renamed again to Ribeira Grande de Santiago in 2005. But all locals know and most of them also still use the old name Cidade Velha. It became the first settlement on the islands of Cabo Verde in 1462, founded by Antonio da Noli. Cabo Verde was actually a former uninhabited island. But with the discovery by Portugal, Cabo Verde was used for the slave trade marking the dark history of further colonial power of Europe. Most slaves were brought from Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone to Brazil and the Caribbean. Therefore nowadays the inhabitants of Cabo Verde are the descendants of Europeans and Africans – both influenced the Creole culture of Cabe Verde.

The historical centrum of Cidade Velha became part of the UNESCO world heritage in 2009. The town is full of history and culture. The Rua da Banana has nice traditional houses to gaze at and at the end of the street an old renovated church which is the oldest in Africa. There is also a fortress you can visit, which recalls the ancient history of the town being used for slavery. Cidade Velha is located next to the ocean and has a rocky stone beach.  

Number Three: Go swimming in Cuba

Cuba is one of Santiago’s must-visits where you can swim in natural pools. Natural pools are little lagoons which are separated from the ocean. Cuba offers little water pools of stone with stone and sandy ground and different depths. It is close to Ribeira das Pratas (next to Tarrafal). You can reach it by hiking down to Ribeira Principal.

The pools of Cuba fill with fresh water from the ocean when the waves get a bit higher. On these days you should obviously also not swim in the pools since the strong waves can press you against the walls or under water. There is no entrance fee for the natural pools.    

Number Four: Go hiking in Serra Malagueta

Serra Malagueta is a huge natural preserve in the heart of Santiago. Here you can have different kinds of hikes, like following a loop road but also a one-way path ending at the East and North-West coast.

The national park is located on a volcanic mountain range. The peak of Serra Malagueta is with 1,064 metres (3,490 feet) the second highest on the island (the highest is Pico da Antónia with 1,394 metres or 4,573 feet). If the sky is really clear you can see the neighbouring islands Fogo and Maio at the horizon. The park was founded in February 2005 and has a size of 774 hectares (1,912 acres).

Cabo Verde’s landscape can be really dry. If you want to hike in green you should come right after the rainy season to Cabo Verde, which is during September.  You can find 124 different kinds of plants and around 19 different birds.

You can find a collection of hiking tours with the official app of Cabo Verde. Hiking in Cabo Verde is in general save, there are no dangerous animals anyway on the islands. You should just make sure to go with enough time, during day time and if possible bring others with you. You could also think about booking a hiking tour.

❗️ Tip: In the 1940s the mountains of Serra Malagueta were a hiding spot for the Rabelados, a group of non-violent rebels who flew from the Portuguese colonial ruler. The community of Rabelados are still living in this area. You can take a Colectivo from Calheta to find Espinho Branco to visit a little village and learn more about their traditions and culture. They also offer their own art exhibition

Number Five: Visit the beaches in Tarrafal

The nicest beaches on Santiago are probably in Tarrafal in the North-West of the island. Here you can choose between white or black sand beaches and enjoy perfect sunsets.

You will find the black beach in Reibeira das Pratas which is nearby Tarrafal. The beach is usually deserted because it is a bit harder to find by tourists. So if you are lucky you will have (almost) the whole beach to yourself. When I went to visit the beach there was only one other couple there. If you are lucky you can even see the neighbouring island Fogo from the shore.
As I mentioned, the beach is a bit hidden from the road. There is a path, you have to follow which goes between coconut and palm trees. The beach is at the end of it. There is also a self-made sign saying ‘beach’. My host in Praia told me it is even allowed to set up a camp there which sounds pretty perfect in the combination of being in the West and having the whole horizon with the possibility of beautiful sunsets right in front of you.

The more famous white beach is directly in Tarrafal – here for sure, you won’t be alone. At this beach, you can also rent a boat or try jet ski.

But also Praia has some nice beaches you can visit. A bit hard to reach but famous for its turtles is São Francisco. Here turtles lay eggs if it is in the season. There are also some beaches closer to the city where you can go swimming as the little beach Prainha or the bigger one Praia da Gamboa.

Number Six: Enjoy the Street Art around Praia

Especially the two districts Achada Grande Frente and Terra Branca in the capital Praia offer a lot of different street art you can explore for free. Achada Grande Frente shows a long underwater scene and musicians. The art of Terra Branca is more diverse diving into the culture of the country. But you can also find more street art around the whole island like in Tarrafal. Read more about my favourite street art on Cabo Verde in my blog post Best Street Art spots on Cabo Verde.

❗️ One last extra tip

Enjoy the live music everywhere around the island. Especially in the capital Praia, there are a lot of nice spots to have dinner and listen to some music – there are several types from traditional to modern world music. Not really low budget but still worth a mention is 5tal da Música, a restaurant that offers different music and dances every night. Since it is a place where tour guides love to bring tourists you should make a reservation first.

But also if you do not want to spend too much money on food, crabbing some snacks and drinks and walking around the main streets of Praia will also entertain you for sure.

You have read the blog post Santiago on a budget – Top 6 activities on My Travel Journal-Blog.

Best Street Art spots on Cabo Verde

Street portrait of a whale

Cabo Verde’s islands are full of colourful street art and murals. In this blog post I will share my favourite art I found visiting the four islands Santiago, São Vicente, Santo Antão and Sal.

You will generally find a huge variety of street art on the different islands which perfectly matches the already colourful houses. I couldn’t find an explanation for why there is so much urban and street art everywhere in Cabo Verde. Maybe one of the reasons is that art and culture in general have a massive significance in Cabo Verde.

I collected some of my favourite artwork on my trip through Cabo Verde, visiting Sal, São Vicente, Santiago, and Santo Antão.

Street Art on Sal
Turtles and tradition behind the market

If you follow the road to the Mercado Municipal of the more tourist city Santa Maria you can find all kinds of murals and art decorating the walls and streets. One shows a Cabo Verdian family and another one the importance of music in Cabo Verde. On the mural, you can see a painting of people dancing Funaná an African dance style based on accordion music that was invented at the beginning of the 20th century on Santiago, the main island of Cabo Verde. I am not completely sure who the singer is though but I thought it could be Lucibela – because she started her career singing in hotels of Santa Maria.

My favourite mural

My favourite mural is in the capital of the city: Espargos. You can find this mural of different Cabo Verdian women in the Rua Morro Curral. It was created by the artist Adi Neves who also created another well-known mural of Cabo Verde you can find on the main road between the airport and Espargos.

Street Art on São Vicente
Cape Verdians most famous singer Cesária Évora

São Vicente’s capital Mindelo is especially famous for one particular mural in the centre of the city. It shows the world-known singer Cesária Évora (1941-2011). She was actually born in Mindelo and brought the Cabo Verdian music of Morna and Coladeira to the world’s attention. You will find a lot of pictures of her everywhere in Cabo Verde and this is by far not the only street art portrait of her but probably the biggest and for sure the most famous one. You can find it on the square Praça Dom Luís on the external wall of the Municipal Library of Mindelo.

The mural was created by the Portuguese artist Vhils. The portrait is so special because the artist did not use any paint to create it but actually carved the picture into the wall. Vhils used the same method to create a portrait of Amilar Cabral (1924-1973) who fought for the independence of Cabo Verde. You can find the portrait on the Escola Secundária Achada Grande Frente in Praia (Santiago). And this is the perfect transition to switch to the next island: Santiago.

Street Art on Santiago

The capital Praia offers a lot of colourful street art you can find especially in the two districts called Achada Grande Frente and Terra Branca. But also, on the plateau in the city’s heart is more to discover.

Daily life in Praia

Achada Grande Frente is located east of the city centre, between the harbour of Praia to the South and the international airport to the North. In this district, you can find all kinds of different murals of famous personalities representing the culture of the country but also art focusing on daily life in Cabo Verde. Here you can also find the portrait of Amilar Cabral of the artist Vhils (Escola Secundária Achada Grande Frente). 

The mural below for example shows different daily occupations and tasks of people and animals living in Cabo Verde like fishing, field work, playing music, cooking and washing clothes.   

Under the sea

The district of Terra Branca is located in the west of the city centre. It offers a lot of colourful murals along the square Praça da Terra Branca. Most of them belong to eighter the sea world or to the artist life in Cabo Verde. Rua D’Arte next to it offers a gallery called Galeria de Arte Tutu Sousa (Gallery of the art from the artist Tutu Sousa) but also a lot of art around.

Street Art on Santo Antão

Honestly, I did not see too much street art on the island. You can find most of the street art hidden between houses and landscapes in the bigger city of Ribeira Grande.

You have read the blog post Best Street Art murals on Cabo Verde on My Travel Journal-Blog.

12 Voltas – A hidden gem of São Vicente

12 Voltas, a sandy cave

Did you ever visit a sand cave made by the ocean’s water? On São Vicente you can find 12 Voltas – a sandy underground labyrinth. I share with you how to find this hidden gem.

The 12 Voltas is a sandy underground labyrinth formed by the ocean’s water. The location is not too well known. The cave is at the foot of Mount Cara, in the area of Lazaretto and towards the first Military Region Command – on the island São Vicente.

12 Voltas, a sandy cave
With the help of locals

I found out about 12 Voltas by finding it in the official app of Cabo Verde. In general, I really love the app but this time it showed me the wrong location so I could not find the underground labyrinth.  Luckily, I stopped a nice guy at the street who was just out for a jogging tour. He helped me finding 12 Voltas and were climbing with me the hills around up and down until we found it. Because I knew I would want to share this hidden spot with you I saved the exact location in my phone. These are the coordinates of the cave 16.878175, -25.025002.

You have read the blog post 12 Voltas – A hidden gem of São Vicente on My Travel Journal-Blog.

General tips for your vacation on Cabo Verde

People sitting infront of a mural in Praia

Planning my vacation on Cabo Verde, I crossed one or the other challenge. Starting with the domestic flights but also the transportation on the islands. This is a little guide for you with tips for your vacation on Cabo Verde.

At the beginning of 2023, I visited four of the nine inhabited islands of Cabo Verde (in English it is actually called Cape Verde but the country prefers the name Cabo Verde, which I will therefore use in this post). First, I went to the main island of Santiago with the capital Praia. From there I flew to São Vicente to visit the cultural island with its capital Mindelo. A ferry brought me to a hiking weekend on Santo Antão. My last stop was the vacation dream of Sal, a paradise for surfers with perfect beaches.
I started planning my trip about half a year beforehand and had to overcome one or the other challenge when booking my trip but also on site. This is why I want to share all my tips to make it easier for you. 

CVE – The currency of Cabo Verde

Cabo Verde uses Cabo-Verde-Escudo (CVE). But most islands also take Euros. It is very common on the more touristic islands Sal and Boa Vista. Here you can also pay in coins, the other islands usually only take bills. In general, it is also way cheaper to pay in the local currency. If you pay in Euros most people change 1 € to 100 CVE which is a weaker calculation. In general, it is also really common to pay by credit card.

Good to know is also that you are not allowed to bring Escudos outside of Cabo Verde therefore it is also not possible to change the money beforehand in your home country.

Arriving on Cabo Verde

Depending on which island you are flying to you will arrive in different cities. The most touristic islands are Sal and Boa Vista and therefore offer also the cheapest flights. So you will probably arrive eighter way on SID or BVC. One important piece of information is that no matter which island you are flying to there is no public transport coming and going to the airport. Therefore you will need to take a taxi or arrange something in the beginning (a lot of accommodations offer a pick-up).

Public Transport

Cabo Verde has no public transport but Colectivos (also called Aluger) which locals use to travel over the island. Colectivos are mini buses usually of the brand Toyota Hiace and drive around the main streets of the islands and stop in the different towns. But you can also pull them in on the way or ask the drivers to drop you off in between towns (I used this on São Vicente to go to the airport since the main street between Mindelo and São Pedro crosses the airport). The mini buses are also safe to use by tourists. There is usually one common stop in every city from where all Colectivos leave. In the capital Praia, the busses stop in the street in front of the big market called Sucupira Market. In São Vicente they stop in the city centre around the markets. You can also easily ask locals to help you find the right stop or take a look at the official app of Cabo Verde (see below).

A Colectivo at the market in Praia

The prices are usually fixed and way cheaper than the taxis. Anyway, you should ask the driver for the price before entering the bus so you don’t get caught by surprise. You pay the driver when you arrive at your destination. The driver has usually enough money to give you a change in case you don’t have it fitting.

It is the easiest to catch buses before 12 pm because then a lot of people use the minibuses. Because the driver will wait until the minibus is full (or he decides it is full enough) with people before he leaves (in this case I can say he – I really didn’t see one single female driver). Usually, a minibus has a spot for 15 people. You pay per seat so if you bring huge luggage you need to bring in the bus, you will need to pay extra if your luggage blocks a seat (sometimes you are lucky and they have a space in the small boot or a net on the bus). 

The drivers also use their minibuses to deliver items between the towns so do not worry if they stop to carry extra buckets.

Santo Antão: I felt it was a bit special on Santo Antão. Here the minibuses are way more often also used as taxis for tourists. You have to ask for an Aluguer Colectivo in order to share the minibus with locals otherwise it happens that the driver will try to give you an expensive single drive.

Prices for Colectivos in 2023

Praia to Tarafal: 600 CVE (5.40 € | 4.90 US$)
Praia to Cidade Velha: 100 CVE (0.90 € | 1 US$)

São Vicente:
Mindelo to São Pedro: 100 CVE (0.90 € | 1 US$)
Mindelo to Salamanca: 100 CVE (0.90 € | 1 US$)

Santo Antão:
Ferry to Paul: 350 CVE (3.15 € | 3.45 US$)
Ferry to Ribeira Grande: 450 CVE (4 € | 4.40 US$)
Ribeira Grande to Xoxo: 100 CVE (0.90 € | 1 US$)
Ribeira Grande to Ponta do Sol: 50 CVE (0.45 € | 0.50 US)

Santa Maria to Espargos 100 CVE (0.90 € | 1 US$)


Taxis are really common on all islands. The prices are usually negotiable. Also here you should make sure to ask the driver beforehand how much he wants for the ride. Especially from the airport the drivers sometimes try to make prices higher. It can help if you just switch taxis.

Prices for Taxis in 2023

Airport to Praia: 10 € (11 US$)

São Vicente:
Airport to Mindelo: 12 € (13 US$)

Santo Antão:
Ferry to Paul: 30 € (32.50 US$)

Airport to Santa Maria: 20 € (21.50 US$)
Airport to Espargos: 4 € (4.30 US$)

How to cross the islands

If you want to visit more than one island, you have two possibilities to cross over. The easiest but more expensive way is to take a flight. The second possibility is to take a ferry to cross the islands.

BestFly is the local flight company that offers different flights every day. If you choose to fly, you can buy your flights on the homepage of BestFly. At least if you are lucky – BestFly didn’t work with my Visa credit card and I read on the internet that many other people had the same problem. I wrote to a local travel agency which booked the flights for me. You can also buy the tickets last minute on the spot. But be aware that the airplanes are small and often booked out beforehand.

The main ferry company of Cabo Verde is called CV Interilhas.  Depending on where you want to go the ferry can take several hours, the longest direct ride takes 13 hours and 20 minutes between Santiago and São Vicente. The ferries are less reliable than the airplanes because the ships sometimes don’t leave on time because of damages or weather conditions. It can even happen that the ferries don’t leave the harbour for several weeks because of weather conditions. Locals told me that the only reliable ferry is the one from São Vicente to Santo Antão, since Santo Antão has no airport (but my tour guide from Santo Antão told me an airport is already planned). There are two different companies going between these two islands, one is the one I mentioned already above, and the other one is called ARMAS – Nôsd Ferry (this ferry has no website, you can buy the tickets at the harbour of Mindelo and Porto Novo).

❗️ A little tip from my side: Bring some medication against travel sickness if you are not sure how resistant you are against strong swells. One positive point though: I heard a lot of people see dolphins and sometimes even whales when they cross the ocean on longer ferry rides. 

Tip: Official Cabo Verde App

In the end, I would like to recommend you download the official app of Cabo Verde. The app offers a little guide of every island showing you among other things where the Colectivos are leaving, some sightseeing points and hikes.

You have read the blog post Tips for your vacation on Cabo Verde on My Travel Journal-Blog.