Situated about 300 miles off the western coast of Africa, this former Portuguese colony is made of 10 larger islands and five smaller ones. These mostly mountainous islands are arid and have seen severe droughts in recent years.
Cape Verde gained independence in 1995 but didn’t hold its first free election until 1991. The United Nations estimates the nation’s population at approximately 500,000 (2005 estimate).
The capital city is Praia has approximately one quarter of the population.
Over the years the droughts have forced many residents to immigrate. Approximately 500,000 of Cape Verdean heritage live in the United States.
The weather is dry and warm. Tourism is a growing industry but accommodations are limited outside the major cities. Fresh water is limited on the islands. Portuguese is the official language but a form of Creole is also common.
The country continues to have close ties with Portugal. Portuguese and Brazilian media (TV, publications and movies) are common. English is primarily limited the hotels and tourist areas.
There are eight air carriers offering service to Cape Verde. Popular ones include TACV Cabo Verde Airlines and Air Senegal International.
Tourists should remain alert to petty crime and avoid traveling alone or in unfamiliar areas. Follow the latest health advisories.