When you wonder, does Cape Verde have nightlife? Or Is Cape Verde good for nightlife? You’ve come to the right place – because I traveled through Cape Verde for months – and I’m going to share everything you need to know about the nightlife in Cape Verde.
From a list of the best bars, which is the best party city in Cape Verde, to which island has the best nightlife and all insider tips. It’s all here!
Also, make sure to check out the Cape Verde Nightlife FAQ at the end of the article so you can explore the nightlife in Cape Verde like a pro.
Nightlife In Cape Verde
Tucked away in the Atlantic Ocean, the archipelago of Cape Verde is celebrated not only for its natural beauty but also for its rich cultural tapestry. Beyond the sun-drenched beaches and stunning landscapes, Cape Verde reveals another dimension after the sun dips below the horizon – its vibrant nightlife. Where music, dance, and local flavors come together to create unforgettable experiences.
If there’s one thing that Cape Verde is known for and the locals are passionate about, it’s music. It’s an integral part of Cape Verdean culture. The blend of traditional rhythms and African, European, and Caribbean influences create a truly magical experience. Cape Verdeans love to celebrate life with music and dance, so you can say that Cape Verde is good for nightlife!
Where Is The Best Party City In Cape Verde?
The best authentic party city in Cape Verde is the capital city, Praia, on the island of Santiago. It’s also the liveliest part of Cape Verde together with Mindelo on São Vicente and Santa Maria on Sal. The best touristic party city in Cape Verde is Santa Maria on Cape Verde’s most popular island, Sal.
Praia boasts a diverse and energetic nightlife scene that caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences. Here, you can immerse yourself in the rhythms of Cape Verdean music, dance the night away in bustling clubs, or simply enjoy a more relaxed evening in cozy bars. A popular nightlife district is the center called Plateau, where historic buildings house trendy bars and restaurants. But also at the beach at Kebra Cabana, you can dance way after the sun has set.
And Praia hosts many music and cultural festivals where you can experience Cape Verdean culture at its best. A must-visit is the famous restaurant Quintal da Musica. Make sure to make a reservation in advance if you don’t want to miss out.
Which Island In Cape Verde Has The Best Party?
While Praia in Santiago is undoubtedly the epicenter of Cape Verde’s nightlife, other islands also offer unique and exciting party experiences. If you’re looking for a more relaxed and beach-centric party atmosphere, head to Sal Island’s Santa Maria. This picturesque coastal town comes alive after sunset, with beachfront bars and clubs offering live music and DJ sets. The laid-back yet lively vibe here is perfect for those who want to dance under the stars or enjoy a drink while listening to the sounds of the ocean.
Another island worth mentioning is São Vicente, whose main city is Mindelo. This cultural hub is renowned for its music and artistic scene, making it a great choice for those seeking a blend of cultural experiences and nightlife. Mindelo’s bars and restaurants showcase live music performances, from morna to jazz, creating a vibrant and soulful party atmosphere.
And it’s also in Mindelo where the biggest party of the year is: tropical Carnival. If you really want to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I highly recommend visiting Mindelo during the carnival celebration (Feb/march).
Ultimately, the “best” party island in Cape Verde depends on your preferences. Whether you seek the bustling city nightlife of Praia, the beachfront parties of Santa Maria, or the artistic and musical charm of Mindelo, Cape Verde has a party scene to suit every taste. It’s all about finding the island that resonates most with your idea of a perfect night out.
Sal Cape Verde Nightlife
Sal’s captivating beaches, renowned for their pristine beauty and crystal-clear waters, are not the only draw for visitors. After dark, the town of Santa Maria in the south awakens with an enchanting nightlife scene that beckons travelers to explore its vibrant rhythm. Whether you’re a party enthusiast looking to dance the night away or seeking a more relaxed evening by the ocean, Sal has something to offer everyone.
Best Bars In Santa Maria, Sal – Cape Verde
Here are the top 5 of the best Bars in Santa Maria, Sal.
- Buddy Bar – Cozy bar with live music and a mix of tourists and locals.
- Legends – A sports bar to watch sports games on big screens.
- Frankie’s Bar – Nice bar if you’re into shisha, karaoke, game of snooker or want to have a drink before heading downstairs to the club Disco Pirata.
- Disco Pirata – One of the nightlife hot spots in Santa Maria that offers dancing and music late into the night or morning because if you’re not ready to go to bed at 4 a.m., go to Pirata. It’s a place to groove to a mix of tunes, including international hits and Cape Verdean beats.
- Tam Tam Bar – Known for its reggae and live music nights, Tam Tam Bar offers a laid-back atmosphere and a spacious outdoor area.
Best Restaurants In Sal – Cape Verde
Here are the top 15 best restaurants in Sal:
- Marea Restaurant – This restaurant serves Mediterranean and seafood cuisine.
- Baraonda – This is an Italian restaurant that serves pizza and pasta dishes.
- Ocean Cafe – This cafe serves a variety of international cuisine, including seafood, Italian, and Asian dishes.
- Hot Spot – This beachfront restaurant serves international cuisine, including seafood and African dishes.
- The Dubliner Irish Bar – This is an Irish bar that serves pub food and has a selection of beers and other drinks.
- Meky’s Burger Bar – This fast-food restaurant specializes in burgers and sandwiches.
- By Valeria – This bakery and cafe serves coffee, pastries, and light meals.
- Soul Kitchen Restaurant – This beachfront restaurant serves various international cuisines, including seafood, Asian, and vegetarian dishes.
- Sabores – Bar & Restaurant – This seafood and Cape Verdean restaurant also has a bar.
- Creparia Sol Doce – This is a creperie that serves a variety of sweet and savory crepes.
- Cape Fruit – This is a smoothie and juice bar that also serves light meals and snacks.
- George’s is a popular seafood restaurant known for serving fresh, locally sourced fish and seafood.
- Nami – This Japanese restaurant serves sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes.
- Chez Pastis – This is a French restaurant that serves a variety of French dishes, including seafood and meat dishes.
- Americo’s Restaurante – This Cape Verdean restaurant serves traditional Cape Verdean dishes, including seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes.
If you’re considering booking a holiday to Sal, you might want to know the best place to stay.
My Top 3 Picks: Best Cape Verde Hotels In Santa Maria
Nightlife Boa Vista, Cape Verde
Boa Vista is Cape Verde’s second most popular island and is a lot quieter than Sal. There are a couple of bars and restaurants in the town of Sal Rei offering live music and dancing for a great night out. But, you will find most of the live entertainment in the many beautiful all-inclusive resorts on the island.
Best Bars In Sal Rei – Boa Vista – Cape Verde
- Wakan Bar – A small outside cocktail bar overlooking the bay.
- Queens Pub – Known as to be the best club/ pub in town.
- Morabeza Lobby Bar – Part of Riu Karamboa Resort
Best Restaurants In Boa Vista – Cape Verde
- Morabeza Beach Bar & Lounge Restaurant – This beachfront restaurant is located in Sal Rei, offering stunning sea views and serves a variety of dishes, including Cape Verdean dishes, African BBQ, seafood, and international options.
- Perola d’Chaves – Perola d’Chaves is situated on Chaves Beach, and it’s well known for their BBQ nights with live music and dancing and offers a mix of Cape Verdean and international cuisine, with a focus on seafood dishes.
- Bahia the Beach – This restaurant is at Praia Estoril and enjoys a prime beachfront setting. It specializes in seafood, offering a variety of dishes such as grilled fish and lobster.
- Porton di nos Ilha – A beautiful restaurant in the heart of Sal Rei overlooking the harbor that receives high-rating reviews. It offers Cape Verdean and international cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh seafood.
- Elcibar – A Belgian bar and restaurant with a pool located in Sal Rei that serves international food but is famous for its delicious tuna, pancakes, and Mexican wrap.
- Sodade – An African bar located in Sal Rei that serves African and international dishes. It is considered to be a real hidden gem in Boa Vista.
- Blu Mery – Situated in Sal Rei, this Italian restaurant gets 5 out of 5 stars on Tripadvisor.
Nightlife Praia, Cape Verde
Praia, the capital city of Cape Verde and located on Santiago Island, is a vibrant and bustling hub that comes alive after dark. The city’s nightlife scene offers a delightful mix of Cape Verdean culture and modern entertainment. The historic district of Plateau hosts a variety of bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a leisurely dinner or sip on cocktails in a relaxed atmosphere. Or dance the night away at one of the many nightclubs in town.
Best Nightclubs In Praia, Santiago – Cape Verde
Here are the best nightclubs in Praia:
- Zero Hours Nightclub – The oldest club in Praia, Cape Verde
- Kebra Cabana – A beach bar located at Quebra Canela beach in Praia that serves good cocktails and food and often has live music.
- Eclipse bar lounge – A good place to dance and enjoy the night in Praia.
- XPTO – A nightclub right at the beach in Praia
- Karga Club – Nightclub located in the middle of Santiago island in the town of Assomada
Best Restaurants In Praia, Santiago – Cape Verde
- Quinta da Musica – The most famous restaurant in Cape Verde with live music that offers a stage to local Cape Verdean bands.
- Bistro Noventa 90 – A great restaurant that offers European and Portuguese dishes and is known for a fine dining experience.
- Punto d’Incontro – Famous for the best pizzas in town, prepared by an Italian chef.
- Linha d’Água – A lively restaurant right at the beach that serves Mediterranean dishes.
- Terrazza Italia – An Italian restaurant that serves pizza and other Mediterranean dishes.
- Batuku Espaço Cidade Velha – A Brazilian restaurant located in the oldest street of Cape Verde, Cidade Velha (a short drive from Praia)
Nightlife Mindelo, Cape Verde
Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente, is the lively cultural heart of Cape Verde that offers an unforgettable nightlife experience that seamlessly blends music, dance, and local hospitality. As the sun sets over the charming streets, the city awakens with the soulful sounds of Cape Verdean music.
In Mindelo, you can expect to find different music venues, from intimate bars to larger restaurants, all featuring live performances that showcase the country’s diverse musical styles. Of you’re lucky you can witnness the streets come alive with spontaneous dance performances, and it’s not uncommon to be invited to join in the rhythmic celebrations. Especially around carnival the celebration on the streets all over the place.
Whether you’re sipping on local grogue at a traditional bar, dancing to live music, or enjoying the eclectic arts scene, Mindelo’s nightlife promises a truly authentic and lively experience.
Best Bars In Mindelo, São Vicente – Cape Verde
- Marina Mindelo Floating Bar – Best spot for sunset and drinks.
- Livraria Nho Djunga – Cozy little live music bar to enjoy listening to local musicians.
- Jazzy Bird Bar Pub – Jazz bar with live entertainment and outdoor seating.
- M.Sunset – Lounge and pool bar with an amazing ocean view.
- Pub art (shot bar) – Sushi bar with live music and art.
- Simpatico Sports Bar – American-style sports bar.
- Kalimba Beach Club By Oásis Atlântico – Beach bar with a great view.
Best Restaurants In Mindelo, São Vicente – Cape Verde
- Caravela Mindelo – A beach restaurant that serves international dishes and cocktail drinks. With a beautiful view over the beach, the ocean, and Santo Antão island.
- Casa Café Mindelo – One of the most famous cafes in town. Located in the most central part of town and is part of a hotel. Serves international and local dishes.
- Taverna – The best Italian restaurant on the island.
- La Pergola – Cozy restaurant that serves seafood but also has vegetarian-friendly and Vegan Options.
- Nautilus Restaurante Bar – A beautifully located restaurant that serves authentic African and Creole dishes.
Cape Verde’s vibrant nightlife is inseparable from its rich musical and dance heritage. Let’s explore the music genres and dance styles that dominate Cape Verde’s nightlife.
Cape Verde’s Music Styles
1. Morna: Often referred to as the “blues of Cape Verde,” morna is the soulful and melancholic music genre that has captured the hearts of generations. Characterized by its heartfelt lyrics and emotive melodies, morna is often accompanied by instruments like the guitar, cavaquinho, and violin. This genre, exemplified by the legendary Cesária Évora, is perfect for those quiet moments when you want to reflect on life’s nuances.
2. Coladeira: For a livelier beat, coladeira steps into the spotlight. Coladeira is known for its upbeat tempo, catchy rhythms, and infectious danceability. It’s often the soundtrack to celebratory gatherings and joyful moments. Artists like Tito Paris have brought this genre to international acclaim with their catchy tunes and unforgettable melodies.
3. Funaná: Born in the rugged landscapes of Santiago Island, funaná is a high-energy music and dance style that features the accordion, ferrinho (iron bar), and bass guitar. The rapid, pulsating rhythms of funaná compel dancers to move their feet and hips with abandon. Renowned musicians like Bitori and Ferro Gaita have elevated funaná to new heights, making it a genre that’s impossible to resist on the dance floor.
Famous Cape Verde Musicians and Bands
Cape Verde boasts a wealth of talent, and many local musicians have achieved international recognition. Some of the most famous names include:
- Cesária Évora: Known as the “Barefoot Diva,” Cesária Évora’s enchanting voice and interpretations of morna made her an iconic figure in Cape Verdean music. Her songs, such as “Sodade” and “Besame Mucho,” have left an indelible mark on the global music scene.
- Tito Paris: With his charismatic stage presence and fusion of styles like coladeira, morna, and jazz, Tito Paris has become a beloved figure in Cape Verdean music. His songs celebrate love, life, and the vibrant spirit of the islands.
- Bitori: The king of funaná, Bitori is celebrated for his mastery of the accordion and his contribution to preserving and modernizing this energetic genre. His music is a testament to the island’s rural traditions and its ability to evolve.
Local Food & Drinks
When it comes to experiencing the true flavors of Cape Verde, there’s no better way than indulging in the country’s rich array of traditional drinks and cocktails. Let’s embark on a journey through the tastes and ingredients of iconic Cape Verdean beverages and explore the best places to savor these delightful concoctions.
Grogue: Cape Verde’s Liquid Legacy
Flavor and Ingredients: Grogue, often referred to as the “soul of Cape Verde,” is a potent distilled spirit made from sugarcane. It boasts a unique flavor profile, with earthy and fruity notes, and a touch of sweetness. Grogue can be enjoyed straight, as a shot, or in cocktails.
Best Places to Enjoy Grogue: To experience the heart and soul of grogue production, visit the rural villages of Santo Antão or Santiago Island, where small distilleries craft this local elixir. Bars and restaurants in cities like Praia and Mindelo also offer grogue-based cocktails, providing a modern twist on this traditional favorite.
We visted a local distillery in Santo Antão as you can see our travel video below:
Ponche: Sweet and Lively
Flavor and Ingredients: Ponche is a sweet and creamy cocktail that combines grogue with condensed milk, sugar, and various flavorings, such as cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s a delightful, dessert-like drink with a rich and indulgent taste.
Best Places to Enjoy Ponche: You can find ponche in bars and restaurants throughout Cape Verde, especially in touristy areas. Enjoy this sweet treat with views of the ocean in Santa Maria, Sal, or along the charming streets of Mindelo, São Vicente.
Cachupa: Cape Verde’s Hearty National Dish
Cachupa is not just a meal in Cape Verde; it’s a beloved cultural institution. This hearty and flavorful dish is often considered the national dish of Cape Verde, and it’s deeply woven into the fabric of Cape Verdean identity. Cachupa is a reflection of the country’s history and fusion of culinary influences, blending African, Portuguese, and Brazilian flavors into a satisfying and comforting one-pot stew.
The basic ingredients of cachupa include corn kernels, hominy (dried maize), beans (often kidney beans or black-eyed peas), and a variety of meats, typically pork, sausage, and sometimes fish or chicken. The ingredients are simmered together in a flavorful broth with spices like garlic, onions, and bay leaves. Cachupa can vary from island to island and from household to household, with each cook adding their own personal touch and choice of ingredients. The locals like to eat it at night and like to eat the leftovers from the night before at breakfast time.
Seafood lovers rejoice in the abundance of fresh catches, from grilled tuna to succulent lobster. The vibrant and flavorful cuisine of Cape Verde invite you to embark on a culinary adventure that mirrors the spirit and authenticity of this enchanting archipelago.
Best Festivals And Events
Cape Verde’s nightlife truly comes alive during its annual festivals and events, where the music, dance, and cultural celebrations reach their peak. These festivities are not only a showcase of the archipelago’s rich heritage but also a thrilling and immersive experience for visitors. Here are some must-attend events with a strong nightlife component that will leave you enchanted:
When: Typically held in February or March, depending on the year.
What Makes it Special: Cape Verde’s Carnival is a dazzling display of color, music, and dance. The streets of cities like Mindelo and Praia come alive with extravagant parades featuring vibrant costumes, live music, and electrifying dance performances. The festive spirit of Carnival is infectious, and locals and visitors alike join in the celebrations, dancing to the rhythms of Cape Verdean music late into the night.
Baia das Gatas Festival
When: Usually takes place in August.
What Makes it Special: Baia das Gatas Festival is a unique and iconic event on São Vicente Island. It’s a three-day music festival held on the beautiful Baia das Gatas beach. The festival features a lineup of renowned national and international artists who perform live under the starry Cape Verdean sky. With genres ranging from morna and coladeira to reggae and hip-hop, the festival offers a diverse and immersive musical experience. Attendees can camp on the beach, enjoying bonfires and jam sessions that extend well into the night.
Kriol Jazz Festival
When: Typically held in April.
What Makes it Special: The Kriol Jazz Festival in Praia, Santiago Island, is a celebration of jazz music with a Cape Verdean twist. This international festival features jazz performances that blend Cape Verdean rhythms with global jazz influences. It’s an opportunity to enjoy world-class jazz artists under the starry skies of Cape Verde, creating a memorable and soulful musical experience.
There are many more celebrations and national holidays which you can read in my article: What Do Cape Verdeans Celebrate? A Culture Guide
Cape Verde Nightlife Guide | Frequently Asked Questions
Is Cape Verde a safe destination for nightlife activities?
Yes, Cape Verde is generally considered a safe destination for nightlife activities. The local population is known for its warm and welcoming hospitality. However, as with any travel destination, it’s advisable to exercise standard safety precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas late at night, be mindful of your alcohol consumption, and don’t leave your drink unattented.
What are the best times to experience Cape Verde’s nightlife?
Cape Verde’s nightlife is vibrant year-round, but it particularly comes alive during major festivals and events, such as Carnival (usually in February or March) and Baia das Gatas Festival (typically in August). These times offer a unique and exhilarating nightlife experience. However, you can enjoy the local music and dance scene in bars and clubs throughout the year.
Are credit cards accepted in Cape Verde’s nightlife establishments?
Credit cards are generally accepted in more upscale and tourist-oriented nightlife establishments, such as restaurants, bars, and hotels. However, it’s a good idea to carry some cash, especially when visiting more local or rural areas, as cash may be preferred in some places.
Is tipping customary in Cape Verde?
Tipping is not customary in Cape Verde but very well appreciated. The minimum salary in Cape Verde is around €150 EUR a month and so, don’t be afraid to leave a tip when you are happy with the service, it really makes a difference!
What is nightlife like in Cape Verde?
Cape Verde’s nightlife is vibrant and diverse, offering a mix of live music, dance, and cultural events. It varies by island and city but typically includes bars, clubs, and restaurants featuring Cape Verdean music genres like morna, coladeira, and funaná. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with locals and visitors dancing and enjoying the lively music scene.
What is the local alcoholic drink in Cape Verde?
The local alcoholic drink in Cape Verde is “grogue.” It’s a strong distilled spirit made from sugarcane and is often used as a base for various cocktails, including the popular Cape Verdean cocktail “ponche.”
Are drugs illegal in Cape Verde?
The possession and use of illegal drugs are illegal in Cape Verde, and the country enforces strict drug laws. It’s essential to abide by local laws and regulations when visiting.
Is alcohol expensive in Cape Verde?
The cost of alcohol in Cape Verde can vary depending on the location and the type of establishment. Generally, alcoholic beverages are reasonably priced, especially in local bars and restaurants and when it’s locally distilled. Imported and premium brands are more expensive.
Is it illegal to smoke in Cape Verde?
Smoking is prohibited in enclosed public spaces and some outdoor areas in Cape Verde. Smoking regulations have become stricter in recent years, so it’s important to adhere to local smoking laws.
What to wear at night in Cape Verde?
Cape Verde has a relaxed dress code for nightlife. Casual and comfortable clothing is generally acceptable in most bars and clubs. However, some upscale venues may have a smart-casual dress code, so it’s a good idea to check ahead if you plan to visit such places.
What is the legal drinking age in Cape Verde?
The legal drinking age in Cape Verde is 18 years old. Bars, clubs, and restaurants will typically ask for identification if you appear to be underage.
Do celebrities go to Cape Verde?
Celebrities like Tinie Tempah, The Black Eyed Peas, Lydia Bright, Danielle Lloyd and Kerry Katona go to Cape Verde and stayed at the Melia Dunas resort in Sal.
Are there vegetarian or vegan options available in Cape Verde’s nightlife establishments?
A6: Yes, Cape Verde’s nightlife venues often offer a variety of dishes, including vegetarian and vegan options. While traditional Cape Verdean cuisine is meat-heavy, you can find restaurants and bars that cater to dietary preferences and offer plant-based menu items.
Cape Verde Travel Planning Guide
🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Cape Verde?
100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $2 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Safety Wing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.
💧Can you drink tap water in Cape Verde?
No — It is generally recommended to drink bottled water in Cape Verde. While tap water is generally safe for showering and brushing teeth, it may not be suitable for drinking. Bottled water is readily available and affordable throughout the country. Or you can buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water.
🚗 Is it safe to rent a car in Cape Verde?
Yes — Renting a car in Cape Verde is one of the best ways to see the islands. I always rent with Rentalcars, which checks international and local Cape Verdean companies, so you get the best rates.
🏩 What’s the best way to book places to stay in Cape Verde?
🛫 What’s the best site to buy Cape Verde flights?
⛵️ Where to book the best tours in Cape Verde?
For the best tours in Cape Verde, I highly recommend booking your trips at Get Your Guide.
🛂 Do I need a visa for Cape Verde?
Likely Not — U.S. and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Cape Verde. Most travelers will receive a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival.
😃 Which is the safest island of Cape Verde?
Santo Antão – Although all islands are safe to travel to, Santo Antão is the safest island of Cape Verde. It is known for “Morabeza,” a Creole word meaning very friendly Cape Verdean hospitality. In the capital Praia on the island of Santiago, you must be somewhat careful but not need paranoia.
🗣 Do they speak English in Cape Verde?
Yes – Most staff speak English, and some are multi-lingual. The official language of Cape Verde is Portuguese. The mother tongue of virtually all Cape Verdeans is Cape Verdean Creole. (Read more)
⭐️ What is the best time to visit Cape Verde?
The best time to visit Cape Verde is between November and June. The average day temperature is around 24°C (75°F), the sea temperature is 25°C, and there is almost no rain. Perfect for a white-sandy beach holiday. However, Cape Verde has many attractions and activities throughout the year:
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Hiking: November & December
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Snorkeling and Diving: July – December
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Kitesurfing: December – March
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Whale Watching: March-May
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Turtle Spotting: Mid-July – October
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Carnival: February/ March