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Cape Verde is a diverse and exotic group of islands on the coast of West Africa. Cape Verde consists of several different islands, each of which is worth visiting. This distant island nation is a dream for many travelers and I myself visited here for the first time in 2022. Now that I’ve lived in Cape Verde for almost a year, I thought I’d list Cape Verde’s Top 12 pros and cons, the best highlights and the negatives, because it’s not always just dancing on a bed of roses even in a beach paradise like this. Or is it?
CAPE VERDE HIGHLIGHTS
Cape Verde always has a good climate all year round. The sun shines almost every day and the temperature is around +25-30 degrees. During the winter time it is high season, which is also the windiest time in Cape Verde. However, the wind is mostly just refreshing when the hot sun shines to the fullest. Cape Verde’s summer is hot and there is plenty of space on the beaches, because the European holiday season is also at its peak and there are no direct flights here from the north. It rains the most in autumn and on rainy days you can paddle up to your knees in rainwater, but the rains are not daily and of course they don’t last all day. Therefore, there is also room for sunbathing even in the rainy season.
WATER ACTIVITIES AND SURFING
Cape Verde and its turquoise sea water is an excellent place for swimming and various water activities. Cape Verde is especially famous among surfers and here it is possible to learn for example kite surfing directly from the world champion. You can also try plenty of other sports, such as jet ski rides, diving and snorkeling, paddle boarding, boat rides and many others.
Cape Verde is a great place for island hopping, of course depending on your travel schedule. Each of the islands is unique and both hikers and beach vacationers can enjoy here. Sao Vicente offers buzz and culture, Sal and Boa Vista are paradises for beach vacationers, and the green Santo Antao offers amazing mountain landscapes for hikers. Distances between islands require time and patience due to their somewhat unreliable travel connections, so I don’t recommend island hopping during a holiday trip of less than 2 weeks.
Read more about island hopping in Cape Verde here:
CHEAP LIVING COSTS AND RESTAURANT PRIZES
If you want to live in Cape Verde for longer, I recommend getting long-term accommodation from the local rental market. The rental prices of the apartments are affordable and you can get a spacious studio apartment or even a two-bedroom apartment for 250-300 euros/month in Sal, on the more local islands you can get even cheaper. Resorts with swimming pools are usually a bit more expensive due to their services, but they are still below the rental prices of many European countries.
In restaurants you can enjoy a daily lunch for an average price of 4.50-6€, depending on the place. In local restaurants, even an ordinary dinner is not too expensive, but the more touristy restaurants will of course raise their prices higher. So I strongly recommend to try and get lost further away from the main pedestrian streets in search of good and cheap food.
ACCOMMODATION FOR EVERY BUDGET
Every island in Cape Verde offers accommodation for every budget and need, from hostels to idyllic bed & breakfasts, from mid-level hotels to luxury hotels favored by travel agencies and, of course, a variety of holiday apartment accommodation from cheap to luxurious. Quality, style and price level vary widely. You can browse all types of accommodation in Cape Verde on Booking.com.
The relaxed lifestyle and the “No stress” attitude that has become the motto of the islands is admirable in its own way. Everything always works out, no stress. Now that I’ve lived in Cape Verde for a year, I still haven’t fully embraced this, because I’m an inner workaholic and I get stressed easily from every duty I have to take care of. On the other hand, I enjoy being in a place that at least maximizes the possibility of feeling relaxed.
CAPE VERDE NEGATIVES
EXPENSIVE GROCERIES AND LIMITED SHOPPING POSSIBILITIES
It is an island, so naturally everything is imported from elsewhere. Because of this, the price level of foods in stores are a bit higher. This is also not a shopper’s heaven, because for example in Sal you only find Chinese shops with fake products and a few tourist boutiques, where you can make mostly overpriced finds in the same clothes that you can get in every dozen stores in Europe for three times cheaper.
INTERMITTENT AND EXPENSIVE ELECTRICITY, WATER AND INTERNET
These are quite understandable things considering the destination. From time to time, the internet, electricity and water are breaking here. Surprisingly, however, these faults are often fixed quite quickly and things work more smoothly than expected, so it doesn’t really interfere with normal life. Electricity, water and internet are also quite expensive here.
APARTMENT RENTAL SCAMS
The rental prices in Cape Verde may be cheap, but you should be careful in the rental market. The guarantee money is easily held here and from time to time they just never return your deposit. Especially with rental agencies, I recommend caution. According to the law, you don’t have to agree to pay more than one month’s deposit here, and you should take pictures of the apartment carefully when you move into the apartment, in order to avoid unnecessary disadvantages at the time of returning the deposit. Never rent a home without checking it first yourself. I myself have bad and good experiences and I am happy to give tips.
SMALL PLACE, SMALL CIRCLES
Island life is wonderful and relaxed, but living on an island has its downsides. On a small island, almost everyone knows each other and especially other people’s businesses, or at least they think they do. It’s also common to gossip a little and cause drama, just to have a little entertainment. However, you shouldn’t stress about this, because everyone has their own way.
TERRIBLE LOCAL PAY LEVEL
Almost without exception, all companies here are owned by foreign private entrepreneurs or larger chains. The local salary level is really miserable and it doesn’t even cover the locals’ own living expenses, not to mention other nice things. The salary level is around 150-300 euros/month, depending on the island and the job.
LARGE HOTEL CHAINS AND TRAVEL AGENCIES
Cape Verde lives mainly from tourism. Big travel agencies bring large numbers of tourists to the islands every year. At the same time, large international travel agencies and the large hotel chains they also unfortunately take clients from the local entrepreneurs. Cape Verde has plenty of high-quality accommodation and good small restaurants, as well as local tour providers and guides who know their stuff and naturally know their own islands better than seasonal guides from elsewhere, so I definitely recommend getting to know the tours offered by the locals either online in advance or after arriving on site. And under no circumstances should you just stay only in the hotel area to sunbathe, because then you won’t get to experience even a scratch of the real Cape Verde.
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HAVE YOU ALREADY VISITED CAPE VERDE? HAVE YOU EVER LIVED ABROAD AND EXPERIENCED ALSO THE DOWNSIDES OF THE DESTINATION? SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! 🙂
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