As you plan your trip to Cape Verde, you might wonder, how do you travel between the islands in Cape Verde?
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 of Brava and Santo Antão can only be reached by ferry.
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!
Ways of Traveling Between the Cape Verde Islands
Cape Verde is such an awesome destination for to go island-hopping. Its stunning beaches, diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and wide range of activities offer something to every traveler. And because each island is unique and has its own characteristics and charm, make Cape Verde a good holiday destination.
As you’re planning your trip, you want to know how to travel between the 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. As 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
You travel to Cape Verde by flying into any of the four international airports on Santiago, Sāo Vicente, Sal, or Boa Vista. TUI Airways offers direct flights from most major European cities. From the USA or other places, you mostly fly via Lisbon, Portugal. TAP Portugal operates direct flights from Lisbon to Cape Verde daily. We recommend using Skyscanner to check for the best flight deals to Cape Verde.
After arriving at one of the major Cape Verde islands, you can hop on a domestic flight to other islands. Domestic air travel in Cape Verde is managed by the company Binter Cabo Verde and can also be booked through Skyscanner. 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:
- Boa Vista,
- Santiago (Praia)
- 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).
Cape Verde Domestic Flight Routes Map
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
Traveling by ferry is the other common form of transportation between the Cape Verde Islands. But as I said, it is not the most reliable way of transportation for some islands’ connections.
Due to heavy and rough sea conditions, it can be dangerous for a ferry to leave. So where at first you might think it’s unfortunate a ferry gets canceled, it all has something to do with safety issues. Sometimes there are also mechanical problems, but ferries are usually delayed or canceled due to weather conditions.
When you’re not on a tight travel schedule, it can be fun to take the ferry. 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 domestic ferry company is Cabo Verde Interilhas, where you can book your tickets online. Or you can book a ticket at the office in the harbor or at one of the travel agencies on the island.
The average cost for a one-way ferry ticket is around 2100 Cape Verdean Escudo (19 Euro/ 20 US dollars). However, prices can vary massively depending on the dates, and the routes you’ll take.
Cape Verde Ferry Routes Map
Note: some ferry connections, such as São Vicente-Santo Antão, are most reliable than other far-distance connections between the other islands. Don’t let this map convince you that these routes are often traveled.
Average Travel Duration Between The Island by Ferry
Traveling by ferry is not only dependent on weather conditions but 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 you’re leaving.
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 at least 40 minutes. You can find the complete schedule of travel duration here.
How To Travel To The Islands; Santo Antão and Brava
So, two islands in Cape Verde 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 of São Vicente. From the port of Mindelo, the island’s most important town, 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.
Brava Ferry Connections
The small island of Brava has only a direct ferry connection with the island of Fogo. The connection between Fogo and Brava is often delayed. The sea street between these islands is not as 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. You can get to Fogo by taking the 4-hour ferry from Santiago or by plane flight from Santiago island.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the best island to visit in Cape Verde?
The best islands to visit in Cape Verde for a beach holiday are Sal and Boa Vista. These islands are perfect for families, couples, and watersports. Santiago, São Vicente, Santo Antão, and Fogo are the best islands to visit in Cape Verde for hiking, nature, and cultural experience. São Nicolau, Brava, and Maio are the most authentic islands to visit.
Can you visit other islands from Sal Cape Verde?
It is possible to visit other islands from Sal, Cape Verde. Sal serves as a transportation hub with good connectivity to other islands in the archipelago. You can reach various islands by taking domestic flights (the best option) or ferry services. Some popular destinations to consider are:
- Boa Vista: Located near Sal, Boa Vista is known for its stunning sandy beaches and desert landscapes. Domestic flights are available to reach Boa Vista from Sal.
- Sao Vicente: Sao Vicente offers a vibrant cultural scene, including the city of Mindelo, known for its lively music and festivals. You can fly from Sal to Sao Vicente or take a ferry for island hopping.
- Santiago: As the largest and most populous island in Cape Verde, Santiago offers diverse landscapes and cultural experiences. Flights are available from Sal to Santiago’s Praia International Airport.
- Santo Antão: Known for its dramatic mountainous landscapes and hiking trails, Santo Antão is a paradise for nature lovers. You can reach Santo Antão by flying from Sal to Sao Vicente and then another ferry to Santo Antão.
How do I get from Sal to Sao Nicolau?
To travel from Sal to Sao Nicolau, you must take a combination of flights and ferry rides. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make the journey:
- Flight from Sal to Sao Vicente: Start by taking a flight from Sal International Airport (SID) to Cesária Évora International Airport (VXE) on Sao Vicente Island. Regular flights are operated by domestic airlines such as Binter CV or TICV. The flight duration is approximately 45 minutes.
- Transfer to Mindelo Port: Once you arrive at Sao Vicente, you’ll need to take a taxi or arrange a transfer to Mindelo Port, which is the main ferry port on the island.
- Ferry from Sao Vicente to Sao Nicolau: At Mindelo Port, you can board a ferry operated by the Cabo Verde Fast Ferry or Atlântico Line. The ferry journey takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the sea conditions. There are multiple departures per week, but checking the ferry schedules in advance and booking your tickets accordingly is recommended.
- Arrival at Sao Nicolau: Upon arrival at Sao Nicolau’s ferry port, you can take a taxi or arrange for transportation to your desired destination on the island.
How to get from Sal to Santo Antão?
To travel from Sal to Santo Antão, you would need to take a combination of flights and ferry rides. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make the journey:
- Flight from Sal to Sao Vicente: Start by taking a flight from Sal International Airport (SID) to Cesária Évora International Airport (VXE) on Sao Vicente Island. Domestic airlines such as Binter CV or TICV operate regular flights between these two islands. The flight duration is approximately 45 minutes.
- Transfer to Mindelo Port: Once you arrive at Sao Vicente, you’ll need to take a taxi or arrange a transfer to Mindelo Port, the main ferry port on the island.
- Ferry from Sao Vicente to Santo Antão: At Mindelo Port, you can board a ferry operated by Cabo Verde Fast Ferry or another ferry company. The ferry journey from Sao Vicente to Santo Antão takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on the sea conditions. Ferry schedules may vary, so it’s advisable to check the latest information and book your tickets in advance.
- Arrival at Santo Antão: Upon arrival at Santo Antão’s ferry port, you can take a taxi or arrange for transportation to your desired destination on the island.
Can you get from Boa Vista to Sal?
To travel from Boa Vista to Sal, you can take a domestic flight. Regular flights are operated by domestic airlines such as Binter CV and TICV between Boa Vista’s Aristides Pereira International Airport (BVC) and Sal’s Amílcar Cabral International Airport (SID). The flight duration is typically around 20-30 minutes.
I recommend Skyscanner to find the best flight deals between the island of Cape Verde.
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