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! 

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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.

Best Way To Book Your Cape Verde Holiday

Tui Booking Holiday

Are you ready to book your all-inclusive trip to Cape Verde? Then the best travel company you can choose is TUI. They offer many holiday deals for all Cape Verdean Islands, including direct flights from major cities in the UK and EU.
And if you are from the United States or elsewhere, you can still book your holiday via TUI. You book your stay via TUI and your flight tickets separately. Most travelers from the US will have a stopover in Lisbon, Portugal. Find out their latest deals here.

Tarrafal Beach

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Léon Kopijn

Léon Kopijn works and lives as a Digital Nomad. He travels the world with the love of his life and writes about inspiring cultures and practical travel tips. Find out more about Léon on his about page!

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