How Do You Travel Between The Islands In Cape Verde?

Are you wondering if it’s easy to travel between the islands of Cape Verde? We traveled between the islands for 10 weeks, so we know what to expect when traveling between the Cape Verdean Islands. You can find all the essential information in this article! 

Traveling between the islands of Cape Verde is limited to two options. Travel by plane or by ferry. Ferry connections between the islands are not very reliable, often they’re delayed or canceled. Traveling by plane is the fastest and most reliable option to travel between the Cape Verde Islands. The islands Brava and Santo Antão are only connected by ferry.

During our roundtrip, we visited 6 of the 9 inhabited islands in Cape Verde. It did take a bit of planning figuring out how to travel between islands, but in the end, it was all straightforward. However, we did feel like some essential information was missing, which could help make the planning process easier. So here it is! 

Ways of Traveling Between the Cape Verde Islands

So, let’s start with the two basic ways of transportation between the Cape Verde Islands. Either you can travel by plane or by ferry. Like we said at the beginning of this article, ferries are not the most reliable form of transportation. However, sometimes it is your only option. I’ll get back to that later. 

Travel by Plane 

Domestic air travel in Cape Verde is managed by the company Binter Cabo Verde. People who also flew domestically between the Canary Islands might recognize the company. It belongs to the same holding as Binter Canaries. 

Binter Cabo Verde connects most of the Cape Verdean Islands. Flights from Binter Cabo Verde leave several times a week. Santo Antão and Brava are the two islands that don’t have an airport. 

The islands and cities where you can fly to with Binter Cabo Verde are: 

  • Sal, 
  • Boa Vista, 
  • Santiago (Praia)
  • Maio, 
  • Fogo (São Filipe),
  • São Nicolau, 
  • São Vicente

These flights don’t leave daily, and sometimes it’s not possible to go with a direct flight from one island to another. The average cost of a domestic flight (one-way) is around 4500 Cape Verdean Escudo (40 Euro/ 44 US Dollar)

You can easily find the latest flight schedules and book your tickets online on the website of Binter Cabo Verde or by using Skyscanner.

Fun Fact; The Flight between Santiago and Maio is recorded as one of the shortest flights in the world and takes only 15 minutes!

Travel By Ferry

The other common form of transportation between the Cape Verde Islands is traveling by ferry. But like I said, it is not the most reliable way of transportation. 

Because of the heavy and rough sea conditions, it can be dangerous for a ferry to leave. So where at first you might think its unfortunate a ferry gets canceled, it all has something to do with safety issues. Sometimes there are also mechanical problems, but most of the time, ferries are delayed or canceled due to weather conditions. 

Traveling by ferry is much cheaper, though, so many people still choose this option. And when a ferry gets canceled, they just wait for the next one to run. No Stress is a typical saying in Cape Verde, which is something you’ll need when traveling with the domestic ferries. 

The average cost for a one-way ferry ticket is around 2100 Cape Verdean Escudo (19 Euro/ 20 US Dollar). However, prices can vary massively depending on the dates, and the routes you’ll take.  

How To Book A Ferry Ticket in Cape Verde

Luckily it is possible to book ferry tickets online, which makes it much easier. However, you’ll need a Visa card or Cape Verdean Bank to complete your booking. So if you don’t use one of those, it is not possible to buy a ticket online at the moment. This might change in the future, but this was already the case in 2017 when we traveled around the islands. So, I’m not so sure if they will accept other cards soon. But you’ll never know! 

If you want to make a booking online for a ferry ticket, you can do so on the website of Cabo Verde Interilhas (which is the ferry company).  

Santo Antao Cape Verde

How To Travel to the Islands; Santo Antão and Brava

So, there are two islands in Cape Verde that don’t have an airport. Santo Antão and Brava. These islands are only connected by a ferry. 

Santo Antão Ferry Connections

When you want to go to Santo Antão, the easiest way is first to travel to the island São Vicente. From the port of Mindelo, which is the most important town on the island, you can easily catch a ferry to Santo Antão. This ferry runs several times a day. It is, in fact, the most reliable ferry in Cape Verde. The sea street between these islands is ferry short, so sea conditions are often calm. 

Since 2019 a few new ferry connections running between the Cape Verdean Islands. You can now also reach Santo Antão by taking a ferry from every island. However, you always need to take a connecting ferry. So, you still travel to Mindelo first, but this is now also possible by ferry. 

Brava Ferry Connections

The small island of Brava has only a direct ferry connection with the island Fogo. But since the new ferry connections, it is also possible to travel to Brava with a ferry when leaving from every other island. 

The connection between Fogo and Brava is often delayed. The sea street between these islands is not so calm as between São Vicente and Santo Antão. So this connection is way less reliable. It is one of the reasons why Brava is one of the quietest islands in Cape Verde. 

Average Travel Duration Between The Island by Ferry

Traveling by ferry is not only dependent on weather conditions, but it is also a form of traveling that takes a long time. So when you’re visiting Cape Verde for a short vacation, it is probably not the best form of transportation between the islands.

It is important to know that timetables can change. I always recommend getting the latest information at the ferry office on the island that you’re leaving from. 

The average travel duration varies for every connection. The longest connection is between Santo Antão and Santiago which takes a minimum of 14 hours and 20 minutes. The shortest route is between Santo Antão and São Vicente which takes a minimum of 40 minutes. You can find the complete schedule of travel duration here.

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 — You’ll want to buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water, so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Cape Verde and helps keep you hydrated while traveling to Cape Verde.

🚗 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?

For Cape Verde hotels, is the best site. If you’re considering an (all-inclusive) resort, I recommend TUI since they have the best resorts on the islands.

🛫 What’s the best site to buy Cape Verde flights? For direct flights from UK and Europe, I recommend TUI Airways. For finding alternative flights to Cape Verde, I recommend Skyscanner.

⛵️ 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: 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
Tarrafal Beach

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