We’ve all see the terrible scenes from the Caribbean in recent weeks as hurricane after hurricane has left its trail of destruction. One set of islands that’s also washed by tropical seas but is both closer and sheltered from hurricanes, is Cape Verde. Property tends to be cheaper too.
For a tropical escape that combines a cultural fusion of Portugal, Brazil and West Africa, sweeping beaches and year-round sunshine, Cape Verde is an ideal place to retire or live as an expat. The archipelago of ten small islands combines African verve and vitality but with European democracy and rule of law. It is peaceful and democratic and offers a safe and inviting place for expats from around the world.
Cape Verde offers a cheaper and jet-lag-free alternative to the Caribbean islands. There are also no hurricanes here.
Cape Verde is a little further south than the Canary Islands, with a flying time of around five hours. There are direct flights, especially in winter, but another alternative is to change at Lisbon. That is still considerably quicker than the Caribbean. As there is just one-hour time difference from the UK, Cape Verde offers a cheaper and jet-lag-free alternative to the Caribbean islands. There are also no hurricanes here. Best of all though, is the 3,400 hours of sunshine on offer all year – that is three times more than much of the UK and a good 30% or so more even than many Mediterranean locations.
The Republic of Cabo Verde, more commonly called Cape Verde, is outside the Eurozone, but as a “Lusophone” nation, meaning the people speak Portuguese, it has close links with Portugal and Brazil. Nearly 50% of the half a million population live on the island of Santiago, but most of the islands have at least 10,000 people in them and there is a good infrastructure especially in the more touristy islands, such as Sal.
Cost of living
For UK citizens on a pension or receiving a Western income, life in Cape Verde is first class. Rent prices in Cape Verde’s capital are 73% lower than in the UK and restaurant prices 57% less. Enjoy domestic beers for under £1 and a cappuccino for about the same. Utilities are also much cheaper in Cape Verde at about £40 a month, internet is a bit pricier than the UK but you can expect fibre optic and world-class connectivity. Most food has to be imported to Cape Verde yet general grocery prices are still a quarter less than in the UK.
If you are seriously considering buying a home in Cape Verde, you’ll have a few financial matters to sort out. For advice on currency, download the Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency.
Affording a luxurious lifestyle is easy in Cape Verde if you’re on a UK salary or pension. With the local average salary only £250 a month, having a local job (which are mostly in the tourism or agricultural industry) may not suffice.
Buying or renting
The cost to rent in Cape Verde is very affordable, with many great options at a fraction of the price you would pay back at home. The cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the capital of Praia is about £200 a month. But why rent when you could buy? A two-bedroom apartment in a tourist hub in Cape Verde is only £40,000. Whether purchasing for personal use or an investment, you can’t go wrong at these prices!
Working in Cape Verde
Expats deciding to work while in Cape Verde will want to rely on foreign income generated from overseas or online jobs, or pension income. Starting a business in Cape Verde can be cumbersome, and working in the local tourism or agriculture industry will hardly afford you the expat lifestyle you crave. Teaching English is a reasonable option in Cape Verde with lots of opportunities in this field. With high speed and consistent internet, those tele-commuting or working online enjoy the laid-back lifestyle this type of career delivers.
Healthcare, safety and schools
Healthcare standards in Cape Verde are not up to Western standards, comprehensive health insurance is strongly encouraged before arriving on the island. The larger cities like Praia and Mindelo have decent hospitals, and there are smaller clinics and facilities throughout the country. For those wishing to educate their children in Cape Verde there are a handful of private schools to choose from. Crime rates are considered low but burglaries and muggings have been reported on some of the tourist islands.