Cape Verde - Consular Information Sheet
March 19, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Republic of Cape Verde consists
of nine inhabited and several uninhabited volcanic islands off
the west coast of Africa. Most are rugged and mountainous; three
(Sal, Maio, and Boa Vista) are flat, desert islands with sand
beaches. The capital city of Praia is located on the island of
Santiago. Cape Verde International Airport is located on the island
of Sal, 100 miles north of the capital. While the tourist industry
is bringing ever-growing numbers of tourists, facilities on most
islands remain limited. Cape Verde enjoys a stable, democratic
government. The national language is Portuguese.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required.
Travelers should obtain further information from the Embassy of
the Republic of Cape Verde, 3415 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington
D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 965-6820, or the Consulate General
of Cape Verde in Boston. Overseas, inquiries should be made to
the nearest Cape Verdean embassy or consulate.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: U.S. citizens should avoid crowds,
political and street demonstrations, and maintain security awareness
at all times.
CRIME: Petty thievery, especially in market areas, and
burglary are common. Violent crime is on the rise, but it is still
very low by regional standards.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or
consulate. The pamphlets, A
Safe Trip Abroad and Tips
for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa, provide useful information
on personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the
region in general. Both are available from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are limited, and
some medicines are unavailable. Travelers should bring their own
supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. Further
information on prescription drugs is found in the section on import/export
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether
your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical
evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur.
Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via the
CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Cape Verde is provided for general reference
only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance : Poor
The Cape Verdean authority responsible for road safety is Direccao
Geral dos Transportes Rodoviarios in the Ministry of Sea, Transport
and Tourism. Most inter-city travel is by private automobile,
taxi and vans. The van service can be hazardous due to the recklessness
and excessive speed of many van drivers. Taxis at hotels offer
reasonably dependable service. City buses in Praia are very old,
break down frequently and are usually overcrowded. Ambulance service
is available in Santiago, Sao Vicente, Sal, Fogo and Ribeira Grande
on Santo Antao. There is only one ambulance on each island and
limited emergency medical care. There is no organized system of
Cape Verde has an extensive road system. Paved roads on most islands
are narrow, winding and almost always paved with cobblestones.
Cobblestone roads are extremely slippery when wet, and many are
in poor repair. Roads and streets are often unlit, and driving
at night can be hazardous. The Peace Corps restricts volunteers
in Cape Verde from driving on the roads after dark.
For additional general
information about road safety, including links to foreign government
sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular
Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has not assessed Cape Verde Civil Aviation Authority for
compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight
of Cape Verde's air carrier operations. For further information,
travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within
the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the
FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign
air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
IMPORT AND EXPORT RESTRICTIONS: Airport police and customs
officials routinely inspect incoming and outgoing luggage. Travelers
in possession of prescription drugs should carry proof of their
prescriptions, such as labeled containers. Police have been known
to arrest foreigners carrying unlabeled pills. For a complete
list of prohibited items, please contact the nearest Cape Verdean
embassy or consulate.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Cape Verdean law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested
or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in
illegal drugs in Cape Verde are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children, international
parental child abduction, and international child support enforcement
issues, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
EMBASSY LOCATION/REGISTRATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged
to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at Rua
Abilio M. Macedo 81, C.P. 201, Praia, telephone (238) 61-56-16
or 17, fax (238) 61-13-55, and to obtain updated information on
travel and security in Cape Verde. The U.S. Embassy is located
on the island of Santiago; currently the only international flights
that land on this island are from Dakar, Senegal. The main international
airport is on the island of Sal, a 35 minute flight from Praia.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated April 21,
2000 to update the sections on Medical Insurance and Traffic Safety
and Road Conditions.