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Cape Verde – General information

GEOGRAPHY

Location
Cape Verde is an archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, 455 km from the West African coast, between latitudes 14º 23′ and 17º 12′ North and longitudes 22º 40′ and 25º 22′ West.
Total area
4,033 km2.

Formation
Ten islands and eight islets, of volcanic origin.

Barlavento (northern region): Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal and Boa Vista and the Branco and Raso islets.

Sotavento (southern region): Maio, Santiago, Fogo, and Brava and the Seco or Rombo Cima, Grande, Sapado, Luís Carneiro and Rei islets.

Relief

Mountainous islands: Santo Antao, Santiago, São Nicolau, Fogo and Brava (the latter has the highest point in the archipelago, reaching 2882 meters of altitude).

Flat islands: Sal, Boa Vista, Maio, and Santa Luzia.

Climate

Tropical dry, with only two seasons: the dry season, between November and July, and the wet season, from August to October, with irregular rainfall.

Sun: 365 days a year.

The average annual temperature is around 25° C and the temperature range does not exceed 10° C.

Population

491,875 inhabitants (2010 Census). Cape Verde’s population is on nine of the ten islands (Santa Luzia is uninhabited, as are the islets, which are visited only by fishermen).

HISTORY
Cape Verde was discovered by the Portuguese in 1460. Soon after, the first settlement nucleus was founded in Ribeira Grande (Santiago Island). The place served as a stopover for Portuguese ships and the African slave trade. After 500 years as a Portuguese colony, the Republic of Cape Verde was born on July 5, 1975, following about a decade of armed combat, which took place in Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau). In 1991, the first multiparty elections were held, establishing a parliamentary democracy.

POLITICAL SYSTEM

Semi-presidential democratic republic, with a multiparty system.

PEOPLE & CULTURE

Miscegenation
European and African elements mark the local culture, defining its idiosyncrasies and revealing a very unique blend, through its musical styles and dances, handicraft and cuisine.

Hospitality

Morabeza is a word created by the Cape Verdean people to define the art of engaging nicely with visitors.

Religion

Mostly Catholic, with other faiths coexisting freely and peacefully.

Language
Cape Verdean Creole, or Cape Verdean Language: commonly called Creole, is the most spoken language.
Portuguese: is the official language.

MONEY

Currency
Cape Verde Escudo (CVE).

Value
The escudo has a fixed exchange rate with the Euro. 1 Euro = 110.265 CVE. Against the dollar, it varies, but usually it’s around: 1 USD = 80 CVE.
Exchange
There are currency exchange offices on the islands of Sal, Santiago and São Vicente. On all the islands, you can exchange money at banks and ATMs.

Credit Cards

Are accepted at major hotels and many restaurants.

TRANSPORTATION

Airlines
TACV Cape Verde Airlines provides inter-island and international air transportation. Other airlines connect the country to specific destinations in Africa and Europe.

Ship Transportation

Two islands of Cape Verde (Brava and Santo Antão) can be reached only by sea. There are daily trips between Brava and Fogo and Praia; and between Santo Antão and São Vicente.

Taxis

Taxis abound on the main islands at affordable prices. Buses run in Santiago, São Vicente and Sal.

Car rental

Several companies provide this service, in major urban centers.

Public transportation

The so-called (Toyota) Hiaces are a cheap, but not always the most comfortable, option. They travel between the urban centers throughout the islands.

COMMUNICATIONS

Telephone and mobile phone

Available anywhere in the country. Cards can be purchased at operators’ delegations, post offices, service stations, bars and other commercial establishments.

Internet

There are mobile Internet options and, in certain places (parks, schools, airports), with a wireless network.
Post office

Stations in all urban centers. In some cases, they sell books, postcards and souvenirs, in addition to the usual service.

HEALTH

Medical services

Hospitals and health centers provide public health care, but you can find private clinics in the main urban centers. In major hotels, there is always contact with medical assistance, in case of need.

Pharmacies

On all islands.

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