Praia, Cape Verde Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Praia, Cape Verde

Praia, Cape Verde 09/20/18

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

This is our second overseas assignment as a family. We have also lived in Skopje, Macedonia.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

We call Boise home. It takes about 30 hours to get there on 4 flights: Praia to Lisbon, Lisbon to Newark, Newark to Denver, and Denver to Boise. We fly United because TAP is a partner airline.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

We have been in Praia since May 2016, and will complete our assignment in May 2019.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Our house is HUGE! We have 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms over three floors. One bedroom is used as a guest room, and two others are used for storage: one is called Costco and stores our consumables, the other stores holiday decorations. Every home I've been in is spacious, with ample room for the occupants. We do not have a compound, but many of the homes are close in proximity to one another. Several homes have small pools, but no green space. I think there are only two homes with non-tiled outside areas.

A typical morning or evening commute to the Embassy by car is 10-15 minutes, depending if you hit "rush hour". Some walk or ride a bike into work, but it is not common to do so.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries can be expensive. We live on an island with almost no natural resources, so everything is brought in. You can always tell when the boat has come in because EVERY store has the same new items. There's no guarantee that you'll be able to find things regularly, so if we see something we like, we stock up as much as we can. The most difficult to find and most expensive items are things like celery and iceberg lettuce. When we see them, we buy the good ones and plan our weekly menus around them.



Meat is expensive! We don't tend to purchase from the grocery stores - there is a place that imports meat that is frozen. We trust them, and purchase large slabs of beef to take home and grind ourselves. The local hamburgers are gross, so we press our own patties.



As for household supplies, you can find a decent amount of items here. The quality is so-so, with local staff telling me they won't buy things like toothpaste at the grocery store or Chinese shops because they're knock-offs. I don't know this to be factual, but it also doesn't affect us, since we have consumables shipments.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

We took advantage of every single pound of our consumables allowance, and with pouch, we can get everything we need. We bought everything we needed for all our holiday baking, as that is nearly impossible to find here. Anything liquid you think you'll need, bring it, and bring too much!



Any time we go back to the States, we bring home frozen items like hot dogs, chicken, bacon, and sausage. We have good coolers that ensure the meat will stay frozen for the 30-40 hours it takes to get home.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are several restaurants that are popular. They serve a variety of chicken, pork, some beef, and seafood options. There is one restaurant where we get takeout almost every day for lunch. It offers grilled chicken, rice, fries, salad, and some other things like ribs and other cuts of pork. For our family of 4, we spend about $13-$15 for the meal. To go out to dinner, we can plan on spending between $20-$40, depending on the place (we also don't drink alcohol). Food delivery has just started up, and most of the good restaurants participate. Trying to explain where you live is fun, as there are no addresses. There are no fast food restaurants in the country.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

We have ants and cockroaches. Pest control keeps them at bay.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

We are pouch only. Receiving takes about three weeks, until we start getting close to Christmas. Sending packages is near impossible. I have brought the USPS flat rate boxes with me, but it takes three-six weeks for it to get to the destination. For mail, we tend to wait until someone is heading to the U.S., and send already stamped letters with them to drop in a box. There are always TDYers (temporary duty folks) coming and going, and they are always happy to take letters back.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Availability of house help is good, but I can't give a cost. We only employ someone to take care of the outside of our home on a part-time basis. We pay him 10,000 Escudos, which is about US$100 per month. This is slightly higher than a typical salary for the country. Others within the community have housekeepers (part-time and full-time) and nannies.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The embassy has a decent gym, but there are also local gyms that are close to most residences. I don't know the actual cost, but I do know that they are not expensive.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are not used, except at hotels. We rented a car on Sal once and had to pay in cash! Most people cash checks at the embassy and use cash. A couple people have opened local accounts to make it easier to pay staff and school fees. The local account comes with a debit card that is accepted everywhere. We have only used an ATM once in an emergency, and we gave it a thorough check before we did.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

None that I am aware of.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You NEED the language! Portuguese is the official language, but Kriolu is the local language. Tutors can be a bit pricey. We tried 2 different tutors, and weren't happy with either of them. With both of my boys needing language for school and Portuguese not offered, we dropped our lessons so they could concentrate on what they need for school.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Wheelchair accessibility is unheard of, even at the embassy. The 2 buildings are old and only have stairs.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are approved and cheap.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Most all of us currently at post have an SUV. Roads are improving, but it's still nice to have the extra clearance. We have a Hyundai, and brought most of the parts we thought we would need. Others we needed, we brought in a suitcase after a trip to the U.S. Parts can be found here, but are more expensive. There is a Toyota dealership, so many bring Toyotas as parts are easier to get at a more reasonable price. We brought tires in HHE, and are so happy we did! Bigger tires are very hard to find, as most vehicles here are little cars.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

"High-speed" internet has just been installed in a couple homes. It is not available to everyone yet. My husband arrived before me, so I can't say how long it took to install. Since we have have fiber optic internet installed, we have gone from 10 MB download to 30 MB download. Each has been sufficient for Netflix. Upload has gone from 3 MB to over 10 MB, which has improved the functionality of Skype tremendously.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Bring an unlocked phone. There are two options, and most go with CV Movel. 1000 Escudos (about US$10) gets you unlimited calls and texts to others in network, and 7 GB of data each month. Plans don't auto renew, but it's a small thing to go pay each month. We have kept our Vonage line in order to call friends and family in the States.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

There are a couple vets in country that people use on a regular basis, and I think they are decent. There is no quarantine on entry. I've been told food is expensive and not great quality, so plan on bringing some and setting up a recurring order.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Most spouses/partners work at the embassy either full or part time.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

There are very few volunteer opportunities, especially if you don't speak the language.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

We are on an island, so the dress code is all over the place. It is mostly business casual. For women, dresses, skirts, pants, capris. For men, dress pants and a button down shirt. Men rarely wear ties to work unless there is an event. At nice events, I have seen people in jeans and even shorts! It's really all over the place. We don't have Marines, so no formal ball each year. There are times when we can get more dressed up, but it's never formal.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

The security threat is high in country due to crime. We just got 24 hour guards at our residences. I've heard that robberies on the streets are done at knife or gunpoint. They seem to be looking for electronics. I don't wear flashy jewelry, but I've never heard of anyone having jewelry stolen.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

The medical care in Praia is awful. We have a local doctor on staff, and some private clinics that can do labwork and take x-rays.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

The only time air quality is bad is when dust blows from the Sahara. It's a couple months during the year. Even having 2 with allergies and breathing issues, it hasn't been a huge deal. We do limit our time outdoors, but inside is fine. We have a couple air purifiers we use in bedrooms at night. Overall, air quality is great!

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

We have environmental allergies in our house. We made sure to bring all the medicine we need. The biggest allergens are going to be the acacia trees and dust. Rainy season is only in August/September, so there isn't anything else really blooming during the year.

View All Answers


5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Spring to fall is hot and humid. Winter is comfortable with less humidity. Lows in the winter are around 60, and highs throughout the year are the 80s. The humidity really affects the heat index, but it's not as bad as DC, Miami, or Houston.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are no supported schools at post. There is a French school that some have sent their children to, but your child needs to already know French. My boys did online school.

View All Answers


2. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Karate is available, and we've been told there is soccer somewhere, but we've never found it. If your child doesn't speak the language, it can be difficult. There are some classes like dance and gymnastics at one of the gyms for younger kids.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The embassy community is small with 12 Americans, and the expat community is also small. Morale is pretty good; I think everyone tries to find their own things to do, and right now we have a lot of introverts at post who like to spend time at home.

View All Answers


2. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

We have loved getting out to the other islands and exploring what each has to offer; they are all so different from each other!

View All Answers


3. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

We love going to San Francisco beach to boogie board, and up to Tarrafal to snorkel.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, but probably not with teenagers.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Your winter clothes (unless you plan to travel during winter).

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Boogie boards, snorkeling gear, and swim suits! Also, bring your patience - island time is a real thing...

View All Answers


Praia, Cape Verde 12/27/17

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. We've had previous tours in the Balkans and India.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Montana. The most reliable connection is on TAP airlines via Lisbon. Praia to Lisbon is about 4 hours, then a flight to Newark, Philly or Dulles (7 hours), followed by 5 hours to Seattle or Salt Lake. Departures/arrivals to Praia are often around 1 a.m. and the Lisbon layover is frequently 12 hours. You can take a free layover of up to three days on TAP in Lisbon or some people check into a day hotel near the airport. There is also a direct to Providence/Boston from Praia, but TACV airlines frequently cancels and delays flights, so be careful with your connections.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

2.5 years.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Our house is amazing: very modern, built directly on the ocean, with a garage, pool, and a finished basement. Housing in general here is quite good, with lots of space. Many homes have ocean views. Commute is a cinch -- about 5-8 minutes each way; many at post go home each day for lunch. Traffic is relatively light and roads in the city are good.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Local produce is abundant and cheap with a wide range of fruits and veggies in the green markets. Fish, not surprisingly, is extremely fresh and cheap (line caught by local fishermen). The tuna and serra are awesome. Many other products are imported from Portugal or Spain. Quality varies and selection can be spotty due to erratic shipping schedules. We were expecting higher prices due to being on an island, but most items are comparable in cost to the U.S. Good selection of Portuguese wines.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

We're grateful for the consumables allowance and shipped most cleaning supplies, paper products, motor oil, and many cooking supplies, especially ingredients to make Asian/Mexican food. We cook a lot at home and many specialty ingredients cannot be found here.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Praia has a decent range of restaurants, but no American fast food chains. Lots of grilled fish and seafood (you can get a thick slab of grilled tuna with all the trimmings for about $10). Also good pork and passable steaks/burgers. Portuguese-style bakeries with excellent and cheap bread. There's a new food delivery service in Praia. Very little in terms of ethnic food choices.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

It's the tropics: ants and cockroaches are not unusual. But it's also very dry here, so there's not much to worry about. Houseflies get really annoying in the rainy season, but they don't bite.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Diplomatic pouch. We've sent a few items to Europe via local postal service and the price and speed have been adequate.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Most people employ at least a part-time maid. Unemployment is high and local salaries low. We pay our maid about $350/month and she's amazing and reliable (this is a higher salary than most professionals on the local economy). Being able to speak a bit of creole is really helpful.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The U.S. embassy has a recreation center with a small gym, but a very nice pool and tennis court. There are many gyms in Praia ($30-40/month), including free gyms along city walking paths. The city also has two very nice beaches. Cabo Verdeans are typically very healthy and half the city seems to come out around sunset for jogging and walks. Some members of the mission have hired personal trainers at a modest cost.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are not widely used, except at some of the larger resorts. ATMs are common and I've never had a problem using them. Some people set up local bank accounts to be able to use the local debit card, which is used everywhere. It's a fairly modern banking system.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Doubtful there's anything, other than possibly through the growing LDS Church presence.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Portuguese is very important. Creole even better (easily picked up if you have a foundation in Portuguese). Tutors are available and affordable. English is pretty rare here, outside of the main touristed islands of Sal and Boa Vista.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes. There are sidewalks, but not always in great shape. Even the embassy lacks an elevator.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are everywhere and pretty cheap ($2 or less to get just about anywhere in Praia). Domestic airline is also pretty reasonable, with many flights between islands costing $80-120 roundtrip.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

We have a Toyota 4Runner and love it here. The longest road in the country is about 40 miles (on this island), so it's not like we're burning through too much fuel. You can manage here without 4WD, but it's nice to have something a bit bigger to explore the hills and hidden beaches.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Post has been good about having Internet ready on arrival. It's fast enough to stream videos and make video calls. Can be erratic in speed, though.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I use an embassy-issued phone, but my spouse has a local phone. It's easy to set up and buy credit.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Decent vet care with housecalls. Conditions at the animal hospital are fairly grim. Stray dogs are a major problem in Praia and at least one person at post has been bitten. I walk daily but carry a stick for protection. We've adopted a street dog and support a local NGO that's working on spaying/neutering. The city of Praia holds periodic roundups/euthanasia of street dogs.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Nobody currently works on the local market. Salaries would be quite low. Hiring freeze has made it tough for those seeking work at post.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Yes, with an orphanage or animal welfare group.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business casual most days at work. It's hot and sunny here year round, but Cabo Verdeans dress pretty well so there are times you need to wear a jacket and tie and just hope the sweat doesn't soak through. It's particularly hot and humid from July - October, during the brief rainy season.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes, muggings and break ins are very common in Praia, with expats being prime targets. This is no joke and you need to listen carefully to advice from the RSO. No recorded terrorist attacks, though.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Until 2017, malaria was almost unheard of here, but this year Praia had at least 300 recorded cases. In 2015, there was a widespread Zika virus outbreak. Basic medical care is decent in Praia, but there are nine islands, so transport can be dangerously slow to get care. Most people need to medevac to Lisbon or London for anything. This is not a good place if you need frequent or specialized medical care. No snakes or dangerous critters and we haven't heard of a shark attack since we've been here.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

From November to March, Cabo Verde gets nasty dust storms blown over from the Sahara (300+ miles away). Many people suffer from respiratory ailments during this time. Not a good place for someone with asthma. The dust storms can last more than a week and will ground domestic flights, but it's not constant and usually the sun peeks through each day. For most of the year, it's very sunny, dry and breezy.

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Lots of dust here. Shellfish and peanuts are common.

View All Answers


5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

People who stick to Praia tend to get island fever pretty quickly. It's also a very, very small post, which can be challenging. People who get out and enjoy the people, the music, the ocean, and nature tend to thrive here. Traveling to the other islands, or even a daytrip out of Praia, tends to be enough to dampen island fever. The only way to catch the winter blues here is to lock yourself in a dark room, which might also be a sign of other mental health issues. The sun shines almost everyday of the year.

View All Answers


6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

SUN! Praia typically gets less than 10 inches of rain per year and almost all of it from August to October. The rest of the time is sunny, with daily highs in the 80s and lows in the upper 60s. It's often windy. For a few weeks each winter, we wear sweatshirts and pants when eating at outdoor restaurants at night, otherwise it's shorts/flip-flops.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Our daughter goes to Les Alizes, the French School. Although she's had a couple of good teachers, there's no way I'd recommend this school. They've had constant changes in administration, classes are crowded, and a curriculum that doesn't seem to be followed. There are no English-language schools here. Some new Portuguese schools that appear to be promising. The quality of education and medical care are two very important factors to consider if you're looking at this post. I would not bring an older child here unless you plan to homeschool. If you bring a younger child here, plan to supplement their education.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

None that we know of.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Little experience with them, but we know others at post who have been happy with pre-schools.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, through the school and Brazilian cultural center.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Only a small number of other diplomatic missions here. Fairly large community of Portuguese professionals. Cabo Verde and Portugal have a complicated relationship, but in general the Cabo Verdeans are very welcoming of foreigners. For those who get out and enjoy the country, morale is high. People who tend to stay at home or at work all the time have a harder time here. Morale at post is good, though we're a tiny post, which means a bad apple can spoil the barrel pretty quickly.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Easy to socialize here with locals. There's an active hiking club. Lots of beach activities. People are friendly and open. If you're open to this, you'll have no problem socializing.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Families with young kids tend to love it here. Some single members at post (of both genders) have dated, while others find the town to be too small for this. Couples who like adventure sports seem to have fun. It can be a tough place for spouses without work.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

There's a small but active and open LGBT community, especially on the island of Sao Vicente. There are laws to protect LGBT rights, but it's still a conservative, Catholic country. People are pretty laid back here, though, and don't seem to care too much. In terms of the neighborhood (West Africa), this is a very open place.

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Mostly Catholic and Nazarene. A small percentage of Muslims. Traditionally, the islands have welcomed Jews who've been expelled from other countries, but there's not an active community here. Gender equality is a bit tricky here. You see women in positions of power in politics and business, but still very male dominated.

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

We've loved our time here and have traveled to all nine islands. Each island is very unique: sleeping in a hotel built atop cooling lava in Fogo's caldeira, chilling on the quiet beaches of Maio, celebrating Carenval in Mindelo, trekking in Santo Antao, reaching zombie-like levels of relaxing on Brava, bobbing in the crystal clear waters of Sal, hiking the mountains of Santiago... I can drive home for lunch from work most days. On weekends we walk down to the beach or kayak in the harbor or pitch a tent on a black sand beach. What's not to like? It's been a wonderful place for my family and me to explore. The people are beyond friendly. The music is awesome. The food is great. But the key has been getting out of Praia. The work can be really intense at such a small post, so it's good to play hard on the weekends.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

It's simple: visit each island. Avoid the mega-resorts during tourist season on Sal and Boa Vista (though they can be really fun with kids during the summer months). Santiago has so much to offer: Tarrafal, Rui Vaz, tabanka festivals, Kriol Jazz Fest. Also: Find a friend with a fishing boat!

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not really. Some decent painters on the islands.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

It's quiet and close to work. As a tourist, I probably wouldn't spend anytime in Praia. There are better places.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

Not really. We love the outdoors and expected to enjoy the beaches and hiking here. That's come true. If you're a homebody or really need museums, theater, ballet, chances to wear formal clothes, then this isn't a good place. Some people really do struggle with mental health issues here because it's a very small post in an isolated place. But this is an awesome place for the right people.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Snowshoes, traffic rules, and sense of urgency.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Smile, sense of adventure, sunscreen, fishing pole, tent, snorkeling gear, telescope, and ingredients to prepare your favorite dishes (the tuna and corn stew is awesome, but every night?).

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Listen to the classic mornas and check out the lyrics. You'll learn a lot. Visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Music is key here: Cesaria Evora, of course, is a national icon (and on their $20 note). Also give a listen to Tcheka, Bau & Vogina, Elida Almeida, Fogo fiddle, Tito Paris, etc., etc. This is a good way to get a taste of the national emotion: Sodade.

View All Answers


Praia, Cape Verde 10/30/16

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

This was not my first expatriate experience. I've lived in China, the Dominican Republic and Spain.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington, D.C. There are two main ways to get from Praia to D.C. and there are advantages/disadvantages to each one.



One route is via the national airline, TACV where you go from D.C. to Providence, Rhode Island and then from Providence to Praia. The advantage is that it's a much shorter route on the latter leg (6-7 hours), the disadvantage being that TACV tends to be unreliable; you often face cancelled or delayed flights.



The second route is via Lisbon. There used to be a D.C. to Lisbon direct flight but that ended in August 2016. This route now would require about 3 legs and take about 24 hours depending on layover times. The advantage being that flights tend to be more reliable and the disadvantage being, of course, the length of time it takes to get to post.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

A little over a year.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. State Department.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Like others have said, the houses are large here, even for families with 2 or more children. They tend to have at least 3+ bedrooms and ample entertaining space. Our house, for example, is probably the most modest out of the housing pool and we have an office and 3 bedrooms. Houses tend to have a small backyard/front yard space and some have small pools. The housing pool is slowly being "updated" to include newer homes that also have very nice views of the ocean. That being said, many of the houses require continuous maintenance and that can get annoying after awhile. Many of the homes are in walking distance to small restaurants and other points of interest.



The commute times to the Embassy is about 10 minutes no matter where you are. Many people really enjoy being able to drive back home to eat lunch with family.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

I was actually surprised by how affordable groceries and other goods are here. Freshly baked bread is 20-30 cents a piece, really good Cabo Verdean wine (we recommend Chā) and Portuguese wine is anywhere from US$5-$15, and locally grown fruits and vegetables are also very wallet-friendly. Papayas, mangos, and bananas are all grown locally and affordable. There are also a good local goat cheese and sausage here that are very cheap and delicious. In general, though, most food such as canned and dried goods and cleaning supplies are imported from Portugal, France, Turkey, South Africa and the Middle East, among other places, and they are still quite affordable. You can even find cream cheese here on good days.



The one thing to be careful about is meat. We tend to buy our meat from only one place - which is the same place restaurants and more well-off locals/expats - tend to shop. It is more expensive, but not by much. Overall, we've been happy with the food availability. Whatever we can't find we purchase on Amazon.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

There isn't a lot of variety in terms of cuisine here so bring things that will add variation to your weekly meals. I would bring tahini, pita chips, peanut butter, mixes to make chili and fajitas, different types of nuts like walnuts if you bake, boxed comfort foods (for us it's Annie's Mac and Cheese), BBQ sauces, Heinz Ketchup, etc. We also tore through our Sam Adams pretty fast :).



For household items, it's worth finding out ahead of time if you will have a pool and if so bring pool maintenance supplies because the quality here is terrible. The paper supplies here also leaves a lot to be desired so if you're picky about that sort of thing, paper towels and toilet paper. This is also a post where you will need a car so standard car maintenance supplies such as extra break pads, air filters and an extra set of belts. Don't forget to bring lots of mosquito repellent. It's good to have a full supply of medicine for common ailments - fever, indigestion, cold/flu.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

The restaurant scene here is one-note but improving! The standard fare is fresh fish with rice, steamed veggies and french fries, but there's also lots of places where you can get a decent burger or pizza. A favorite thing to do is to go to a local grill and get meat on a stick or charbroiled chicken. No food delivery services, and take-out options - if you want speed and convenience - are limited.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

The major issues have to do mostly with ants and cockroaches. When we first moved in the ant problem was terrible getting into our foodstuffs and all over our sink but with ant baits and spray they are now under control. Overall, pretty minor. Some houses also have problems with small mice.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Diplomatic pouch. I'm not sure about local postal facilities. I sent something to Tblisi, Georgia in the local mail once and it was received fine.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

The cost of household help is embarrassingly affordable. An "empregada" who comes three times a week for 4-6 hours/day is paid around US$160 a month + social security benefits. Many empregadas are great cooks; ours cooks a couple lunches each week. Household help is easy to find due to high unemployment rates. The Embassy keeps a list of vetted household help. People typically employ help to upkeep pools, gardens, homes, and care for small children.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There is an amazing workout culture here in Praia. You can walk out and see at all times of day and night people running, jogging, or doing group aerobics outside with a view of the Atlantic. There's also a few trails that run out of the city which are nice to explore during the day.



The embassy has a recreation center with a very nice heated pool, tennis court and play area for children. The gym is okay, but I personally prefer the local gyms such as Health Club Korpore which have nice facilities including pool for around US$35/month. You can also get tennis lessons and personal training quite easily.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

This is a cash economy so you will very rarely use an international credit card. We use local ATMs sometimes and haven't had any trouble, but we usually take out cash from the Embassy which we feel is more secure. You also avoid fees that way. If you choose to open a local bank account it is possible to get a local debit card that works at most stores and restaurants.

View All Answers


5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

To get along well you would need a basic working knowledge of Portuguese, though Kriolu would be even better (and get you street cred while you're at it). That being said, many people don't speak either language and get along just fine. Many people here, especially if they are university educated, speak English. Both local language classes and tutors are widely available and affordable.

View All Answers


6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes. The cobblestone streets and relatively poor building infrastructure would make it difficult for those with wheelchairs, for example.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Local taxis are generally safe and affordable, though we haven't really taken one since our car arrived. You can get most anywhere in Praia for US$2-$3. There are local buses but haven't found the need to take them.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

I would recommend bringing a car with high clearance such as an SUV and a brand like Toyota where spare parts are readily available especially if you are planning on going down roads less traveled. The roads in town are slowly improving (i.e. getting rid of old cobblestone roads to paved ones), but they can still be tough on your suspension and tires. The roads outside the city though to other places such as Tarrafal or Cidade Velha are excellent (except in the short rainy season where there are lots of repairs being made).



Some people we know have had minor collisions and all have had a relatively easy time getting their vehicles repaired.



We've had little issues with people stealing minor things like windshield wipers so bring extras of those. I haven't heard of anyone being carjacked here

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Internet is available through CV Telecom, but it could definitely be improved. Download speeds are generally fine, but upload speeds (what you need to Skype, upload files, etc) are so slow. We've had technicians come out to the house several times. Manage your expectations. Overall, it's fine.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We use unlocked smartphones and purchased local sim cards. Plan to spend about $20-$30/month for phone with 3G capability. For calling home -- or anyone in Praia for that matter -- most everyone uses Viber. Some use WhatsApp (less common) and Facebook Messenger. We also have a Vonage line with a U.S. area code.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

There's a great veterinary service called Bons Amigos that will come to your home to treat pets for fleas, intestinal bugs, etc. They work on a donation basis -- typically around US$15 - $20/month, not sure how much it is per visit. They also have a local clinic, but I heard it's best for them to come to you. There's lots of strays here and you will frequently see families adopting dogs and seeking out Bons Amigos to treat them.



There isn't a local kenneling services available but some vets will take care of your dog for a fee.



No quarantine required. Cabo Verde is rabies free.



Other considerations: There aren't many options in terms of dog food, treats and medicine. We brought our own dog food, treats, flea and tick meds, ear cleaner, extra collar and leash, etc.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

The embassy makes a fair effort to find employment for those spouses and partners who want them, and a good number of partners do take advantage of that. Others either stay at home with children or start small businesses. Someone else stated here that it is easy to start a local business here and I agree. People are eager to buy or learn about things that are different. Not too sure about local salary scales, but people don't earn a lot; the average educated worker can make US$400-500/ month.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Yes, I'm sure there are, but haven't explored that. I would imagine you would also need to speak Portuguese (formal language) or Kriolu ("informal" and more widely spoken language)

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

At work, it's business casual unless you're in a formal meeting. In public spaces it's pretty casual. You will see lots of people walking around in workout wear, sweats, shorts and tank tops running their errands.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

It depends on what your level of tolerance is and where you are coming from, but overall the data support that crime is slowly increasing. A recent newspaper article stated that crime rose either 13 or 16% in the past year, but most are "crimes of opportunity" as opposed violent crime. We know people who have been robbed in the daylight but it's because the thieves wanted something that looked valuable such as a laptop or purse. All embassy houses have guards now and many other expats have chosen to contract with residential security guards. In general, be aware of your surroundings, and driving around at night and you'll be fine.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

There have been a number cases of Zika here and a couple cases of babies born with microcephaly. If you are planning to become pregnant or are already, check with your medical provider. Pregnant women are most at risk in their first trimester.



The embassy here employs a local doctor. There is also an RMO based in Senegal who makes visits.



The medical care for physical and mental health here is of poor quality compared to back in the U.S.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Air quality here is very good though it does tend to get quite dusty here especially in the winter and spring months. People with allergies should bring the necessary medication with them if they have issues with dust.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The climate for most of the year is dry and in the high 80s and 90s with very strong sun. Bring lots of sun protection! This is great if you are a beachgoer since almost everyday is a beach day though there are days when it is very windy.



The rainy season starts up in August and ends in October. This is my favorite time of the year because the entire island of Santiago becomes lush and green. Some parts of the island even have waterfalls.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

We don't have children; most families tend to send their young children to the local French or Portuguese school, or do homeschool.

View All Answers


2. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

There are local sports teams for soccer and also ballet classes. There are a few outdoor spaces just for children with playsets and people selling popcorn and cotton candy. Lots of families take their kids out camping or out on daytrips to other parts of the island. There's also a movie theatre that plays children's movies.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The expat community here is small; made up of people from Portugal, USA, France, Senegal, Brazil and other parts of Latin America. The overall morale here is pretty good.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

People tend to go out to local bars and clubs where there are live concerts almost every week. Cabo Verdeans love listening to and participating in live music so don't be surprised if you see a spontaneous concert spring up while you're having dinner out one night. The club life starts later around 11 or 12 a.m. and there are seasonal events where you'll have people partying for 3 straight days! There are local groups for expats but they tend to thrive or die depending on who is around at the time.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Single people would have a tough time here if you aren't "plugged into" a social group here just because there isn't a ton to do, and the community is quite small. Lots of couples (with managed expectations) do well because there's lots to explore here and on the other islands, and it's easy to get to Europe. Families also seem to do well because of these reasons.

View All Answers


4. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

People coming from wealthier countries in the north with lighter skin will have more unearned privileges than those coming from poorer places such as Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal. You will notice this from the moment you board your plane to Praia until the time you leave.



There are problems with gender inequality everywhere, but as a wealthy expatriate woman in Cabo Verde local inequalities will not affect you as much.

View All Answers


5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Going to Fogo Island in Cabo Verde and climbing / descending the Pico de Fogo in the morning. Spending the night inside a caldera.



Going to Maio Island and spending a romantic weekend watching the sunset over the ocean.



Exploring Santiago (Praia) island in the rainy season and seeing the huge green mountains encased in sleepy clouds.



Learning about the amazing local products grown and produced here - wine, cheese, sausage, coffee, bread. All the basic food groups.



The easy access to Portugal (4 hour flight to Lisbon) and exploring Lisbon, Coimbra and Evora.



The many, many weekend trips to the beach. Just pack a small bag and go!

View All Answers


6. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

See "highlights" above.



Also add the many local concerts at bars and in restaurants. Cabo Verde has a wealth of talented singers and musicians. Just go out and enjoy.



There are also a few people here who have taken the extra time on their hands to cultivate new hobbies such as fishing and motorbike riding.

View All Answers


7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not as much as compared with other posts. The main things we purchase for gifts include coffee, wine, simple woven textiles, and music. On other islands such as Sao Vicente (the cultural heart of Cabo Verde where Cesaria Evora is from) you can find artwork by famous artists and some unique handicrafts.

View All Answers


8. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The easy, affordable laid back lifestyle. The pace moves much more slowly here and it takes awhile for some people to get used to. For some, it's a bit off-putting how little there is to do but if you have the right perspective it's one of the main advantages of living here. The easy access to the beach and water is also pretty amazing. We keep towels, screen, and a mat in the back of our car all the time in case we're in the mood to head to the beach.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How small Praia actually is and the lack of diversity that is here. After awhile, it can feel constricting and isolating seeing the same people, going to the same places, and eating the same food. It puts the onus on the person to seek out new adventures whether in or out of the country, meet new people, and make an effort to keep in contact with loved ones back home. Many people thrive here while others ... do not.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Desire for constant stimulation.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen, mosquito repellent, beach gear, and desire to seek out adventures and new people

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

The Brandt Guide to Cabo Verde.

View All Answers


Praia, Cape Verde 05/18/14

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Second tour. We were in SE Asia previously.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

There is a direct flight via TACV from Boston that takes about four hours. If you are flying on official government business you have to transit via Lisbon and the trip will take about 22 hours.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

1 year.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government. Spouse of a Foreign Service Officer.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The housing is AWESOME!! There are 8-9 houses and 1 apartment. The houses are huge and a couple have swimming pools. They are massively large and built like fortresses. We don't really use the 3rd floor. Very little green space. They are spread out all over Praia. The longest commute by car is 10 mins to the Embassy. There is no traffic here.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Other than seafood, meat is very expensive. If you are willing to negotiate at the open air market, then you can get a good price on produce. Bring all of your soaps, shampoos, contact lens solutions, canned good with you. Household supplies are affordable but not American quality. Wine is not expensive and very good. They also have great olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

If you like to drink they make grog here and it is quite tasty.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

More peanut butter, salsa, beef jerky, nuts, laundry detergent, diapers.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

No fast food. There are several expat friendly restaurants that range from US$10-20 per meal. There are many Portuguese bakeries if you need a quick snack. The food here is good but not great. If you really like grilled seafood you will be in heaven.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

After the rain there are a lot of flies. They will get into your house and it will be difficult to eat outside. This will last for 1 to 2 months. It is not bad. There is not a "bug problem" here.

No dengue.

An occasional roach.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Pouch.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Our nanny costs US$88 per week plus 20% Social Security. She also cooks lunch for us everyday. We hired a cleaning lady two times per week for US$40.

Good help is widely available and there is a good pool of maids in the embassy community.

We don't have green space but a couple of houses hire a gardner/pool man.

A couple of families have hired security guards.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There is an embassy gym that has free weights, bench, elliptical, treadmill, stationary bike and a large swimming pool. You can also join several local gyms for not much money.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Cash. Use the embassy cashier to cash checks. Only the high end hotels accept credit cards.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

None. It is all in Portuguese or Kriolu.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Basic Portuguese will get you by but you should learn Kriolu. Cabo Verdeans never speak Portuguese to each other so if you want to know what is happening around you, then you need Kriolu. A surprising number of people here speak English.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes. It would be impossible to live here if you were disabled.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are safe and affordable. You don't hail taxis here, taxis hail you. The buses are not in great working condition and I don't think that they are safe.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

If you want to leave Praia and explore the rest of the island then bring an SUV. On the few days that it does rain, the streets flood so you will need the extra clearance. We brought a older 4runner and it has worked out well.

It is much better if you can bring a diesel vehicle. Diesel is 20% cheaper per liter. Gas here is very expensive. US$6.50 per gallon.

There are no car jackings but bandits will break your windows if you leave anything valuable on the seats. Bring all parts you will need. All car parts are at least twice as much here as in the states.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. It is pretty good. The internet/cable bill is US$95 per month.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Embassy issued. If you want a smart phone, bring one with you. They are prohibitively expensive here.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No need for quarantine. There are vets, but I don't know if the quality is good.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

There are two positions at the U.S. embassy. You can also teach English. I know several Americans who have started their own businesses. It is very easy to start a business here.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Yes. You can volunteer at an orphanage, Paralympics, and teach English.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Dress casual in the workplace. Shorts/jeans are acceptable in public.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

There are a lot of robberies. The criminals are looking for money, ipads and iphones. Most of the people I know who have been robbed were usually robbed late at night. This is a culture that does not start partying until midnight. My family has not been affected but we are not out late at night.

Very little murder, rape or violence in the expat community. Just thieves.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

We have a U.S. trained Cape Verdean doctor who is contracted with the Embassy. You will be medevac'd for any reason. You so not want to go to the hospital here.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Great. There is no manufacturing and few cars. The air is clean. It does get quite dusty in the late winter months and that can make cleaning difficult but no problems breathing.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Awesome. The average temperature during the day is 80F. A little warmer in the summer and a little cooler in the winter. 5F degrees in either direction. The nights can get a little chilly in the winter months when it will dip into the high 60s F.

The official rainy season is from August to October but it only really rains heavily a few days per year.

If you have young children this is the main benefit of living here. The kids can play outside every single day.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Currently there are not any children at post older than 5. There are currently no English speaking schools but rumor has it, one is on the way.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

I don't know for sure but I cannot imagine it is suitable.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

I have two children 4 and 2 years. The four-year old goes to a Portuguese preschool half a day and I have a nanny helping me with my two-year old. The Portuguese preschool costs about US$180 per month. The other embassy children go the French preschool and they are happy and the cost is the same.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

My 4-year old is in ballet and a boy from another family takes karate. There are pick-up soccer games all over the city.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small. It is good to socialize with non embassy expats. You get tired of hearing all of the gossip within the embassy community. There is a good group of English speaking expats from the U.S., Portugal, Ukraine, UK, that hang out with English speaking Cape Verdeans. They are a lot of fun.

Within the embassy community there is a lot of socializing at peoples houses.

We love it here, but some people get island fever and/or get bored with the lack of activities.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Beach. Pool. Dinners at peoples houses. There is a pretty active poker scene in the expat community. Lots of concerts.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Great for families with small children and single people seem to do well for themselves. There is a vibrant bar/club/music scene.

You would probably have difficulties with older children here.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes.

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

None. This is a very open and accepting place.

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Seeing the loggerhead turtles lay eggs on the island of Maio. Staying at the lovely resort Riu Karamboa on the island of Boa Vista and playing on the white sand beaches of Sal. There is also a small, but close knit group of non-embassy expats that are a blast to hang out with in Praia.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Inter-island travel is great and relatively affordable via plane or ferry. The beaches are fantastic and the community is pretty close. The live music scene is great in Praia, you can see a live concert every night of the week. Also, everyone here either sings, plays an instrument or dances so you are in for a fun night when you go out.

When it gets hotter in the summer months, you can escape to a Assomada. It is about 45 minutes from Praia and it is 10-15F degrees cooler in the summer.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Grog. Some local artwork is nice.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The weather is fantastic. There is no traffic and no crowds. There are two beaches in the city and a pristine beach that is twenty minutes away by car.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

Yes. Getting out of the country is very expensive!! If you don't leave you will save money.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How much more prevalent Kriolu is than Portuguese. I wouldn't have spent all that time on Rosetta Stone learning Portuguese. I would have found a Cape Verdean to teach me the language. It is a very easy language to learn.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes!

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter clothes.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Sunglasses, sense of adventure.

View All Answers


5. Do you have any other comments?

This is an easy tour if you are willing to make your own fun or be willing to make an effort to meet people. We really enjoy it here and wish that we could extend.

View All Answers


Praia, Cape Verde 02/02/11

Background:

1. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

There are direct flights twice a week to Boston with the local airline (TACV). The flight takes approximately 7-8 hours. On returning to the US, staying overnight in Boston is necessary as the flight lands too late to connect. TACV is safe, and relatively inexpensive ($600-1000 USD roundtrip), but it is known for delays. Otherwise, we fly through Lisbon (daily flights from Praia) and then from Lisbon to Newark or Philadelphia, which costs twice as much and takes 12-14 hours to get to the US and 24 hours or more to get back, due to a long layover in Lisbon.

View All Answers


2. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

(The contributor works for the U.S. Government in Praia and is about halfway through a two-year assignment, a third expat experience.)

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The U.S. Embassy housing pool is evolving,---moving toward supplying larger houses with outdoor space. One even has a small pool. Nothing in Praia is very far from the main downtown area. Commutes average 10 minutes, more or less.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries and household supplies are about as expensive as in the States, or a bit more depending on what you purchase, since everything is imported. That being said, things appear and disappear often, so you never know what you are going to find. For household goods, I usually use the diplomatic pouch or bring everything with me. This is a consumables post, and we ship a lot of specialty and ethnic items (mostly Mexican and Thai) and liquor, beer and wine, as the selection gets very old after a little while and liquor can be quite a bit more expensive for lesser brands than in the States. The fresh fish is wonderful, and I am getting more and more courage to cook it all!

View All Answers


3. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are many decent restaurants around town with cuisine that includes churrasco (barbecued chicken and pork skewers), Italian food and pizza, grilled fish, Portuguese food, plus local cuisine in both casual and more formal settings. Also crepes, one delicious Indian restaurant, and a couple of Chinese places. Cost range is from $5 USD per person to $30-40 USD per person for dinner, depending on the restaurant you choose. There are no fast-food chains, and restaurant eating is never really THAT fast, but you can eat out and get decent food for reasonable prices. The options get old after a while, but as the city grows, restaurants do pop up!

View All Answers


4. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

There are mosquitoes, but malaria is not a major problem. There are less than 100 incidents per year, and we are not entirely sure if they are local cases or if they arrive from other places in W. Africa. Dengue outbreaks are a problem during the rainy season. Ants can be a problem in homes, but they are easily treated. And flies are quite a nuisance in the summer.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

I use the U.S. diplomatic pouch. Things from Amazon.com take about 2 weeks to get here, sometime less if we are lucky, and sometimes more during busy times of the year. There is no local mail delivery service, but you can rent a mailbox at the post office for a nominal fee. International mail delivery service from the States takes about 4-6 weeks IF it gets delivered at all.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Almost all expats have an "empregada" who cleans and/or cooks for them. We have a wonderful empregada who works 8-3 on Monday through Friday for about $250-$275 per month, including insurance and social security. She will stay longer for parties and helps with shopping, which is immensely important in the beginning if you do not feel comfortable with the local language.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, a couple. They range from $25-75 USD per month, depending on the plan you choose, but they are adequate. Also, the U.S. Embassy has a small gym that they are working to renovate. There is a big workout culture here with lots of people running and walking before and/or after work.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are accepted at VERY few places (maybe one upscale restaurant) and at hotels in Praia. You can also use credit cards to book travel. When credit cards are accepted, VISA is the only option. MasterCard stopped working, and everything else should not even be considered. I use the embassy cashier to get money, so I don't use an ATM card. ATMs are easy to find but, in my experience with guests, they only function with Visa debit cards or ATM cards with the PLUS logo on the back. To buy groceries and things without using cash, you would need to open a local bank account and get a debit card (called vinti-quattro).

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

No religious services are in English as far as I can tell, but there are Catholic Churches and Seventh Day Adventist Churches.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

No English-language newspapers are available. On the local cable you can get CNN International in English with Portuguese subtitles, and on the local premium cable subscription there is BBC World and Fox Life, which has a lot of popular US programming, including Glee, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, American Idol, etc., but they run about a season or a half a seasion behind. US Embassy personnel have the option to pay to have AFN installed in their homes.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

A lot. The local language is Kriolu (based loosely on continental Portuguese) but everyone understands Portuguese, as well. Sometimes people will answer in Kriolu, which can be hard for some of us. I have learned some Kriolu, which helps with my daily shopping and working with my empregada, who is a great teacher. Learning numbers, food names, and general salutations is a must! Very few people (only young people, those who have lived in the US) speak English.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

The roads are all cobblestone, so it would be difficult to have a wheelchair. There are no handicapped-accessible buildings as far as I can tell.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

There is a bus system that is privately owned but operates like a public bus and costs about $0.50 per ride. It can be very crowded and hot, and expats rarely take it (though I have :)). Taxis are EVERYWHERE, very easy to flag down, and affordable. Rides around town are about $2.00, and it costs about $10 to get to the airport. I find both options to be perfectly safe during the day, but I have never really had to travel at night by myself. Women should not do that here.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Without question, I would bring an SUV. Within Praia, the side roads are cobblestone and are not always well maintained. Plus, when traveling around the island it is great to have the clearance and flexibility of four-wheel drive. Diplomats can ship cars in with no duty fees, but otherwise taxes are extremely high on imported cars. Toyotas, Volkswagens, Suzukis, Mercedes and Peugeots are most common, and some even have dealerships here. We have a Jeep, and we brought our own air filters, windshield wipers, motor oil, etc., with us. Parts for cars are hard to find AND very expensive, so I would bring extra batteries, tires, etc., if you are worried about your car.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

High-speed internet is available at about the same cost as in the States. The only problem is that you receive an allotment of bandwidth (maximum 15Gigs per month) which runs out quickly if you are downloading or viewing videos. The overage charges are outrageously expensive and compound quickly. The internet (like electricity) can be unreliable and go out without any warning.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Bring an unlocked cell phone from the States and buy a local SIM card. You can either subscribe to a local plan or pay as you go. There is no data service here yet, but it seems to be coming soon!

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

This is a great place to adopt a pet, as there are many street puppies and kittens that need loving homes. We found a sweet and loving puppy that we will be taking with us. That being said, there is vet care but it doesn't live up to the US standard. Male dogs will have no problem with the neutering surgery, but female dogs have had some issues with their spaying surgery. Some Americans just wait until they return to the States to take care of these things. You can get all the vaccinations and micro-chipping that you need to travel with the pet.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

It is very difficult to find jobs on the local economy, especially without the language. There are very few jobs at the US Embassy for spouses. But this is changing. There is more industry moving in, and the US Embassy is growing. Also, there are always opportunities to teach English. So if you are interested in doing that, bring supplies.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Petty theft happens but violent crime is rare. It is like living anywhere; you just need to be alert to your surroundings.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is a definite problem in Praia, with few services available. The U.S. Embassy has a locally-engaged doctor who is extremely knowledgeable, makes house calls, and is realistic about the limitations and so will medevac you for anything that appears serious. There is little to no malaria, and I do not take prescription medication for malaria but the Peace Corps does. Dengue fever is a problem during the rainy season. Other than that, there is little presence of the communicable diseases that cause problems in other parts of Africa.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

In the city there are many old cars and buses with terrible exhaust. Outside of Praia the air is cleaner.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There is a French School that has received very mixed reviews. I do not have children, so I do not have first-hand experience with the school. However, mothers I am friendly with have pulled their children out of the school and home-school their children instead. The U.S. Embassy will warn families with school-aged children that this may not be a post for them.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

None that I can see, and I am a special education teacher.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are local preschools and daycares that Cape Verdeans use, but I do not know about the quality or price.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small but present. There are many Europeans from various embassies and a sizable presence from the UN.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

People seem happy and make the most of it. Whenever we all get together we have a great time. Some people stay for five years or even longer. The sun and warm weather certainly help the mood!

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There are many bars and restaurants that have lively scenes at night. There are a few places that have live music every night or certainly on weekends. There are also clubs that are very popular, and they can be fun if you are willing to start the party at 2 a.m. They are ghost towns before then. Throughout the year there are concerts and festivals outside, and throngs of people flock to them. Cape Verdeans love to party!

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I think this is a great post for couples without school-age children or couples who have already raised a family. Singles have mixed reviews. The city is so small you know virtually everyone, so dating can be difficult.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

It seems to be, though I am not sure there is a gay/lesbian community. Cape Verdeans are very accepting.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not overtly toward expats at all.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

This is certainly "Africa-Lite" or more like the "Afr-ibbean." The people are kind and not aggressive, so it is easy to shop and walk around during the day by yourself. Each island has a unique flavor, some with incredible beaches and more established tourism. This is a peaceful, quiet country with kind people and---for a developing country---a decent lifestyle.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Go to the beach for snorkeling, swimming, or just lying in the sun. There are two decent---but small---swimming beaches in Praia. About 15 minutes away is a beautiful, longer white sand beach with a nice little restaurant. About 20 minutes in the opposite direction is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cidade Velha (Old City), which has interesting historical significance and is a gorgeous place to see the sunset. There are two different markets, one for fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat and the other for various "stuff." On the other side of Santiago there is the beautiful white sand beach of Tarrafal (the most beautiful beach on the island), and on the way there is a natural park with several beautiful hikes and campgrounds. There are other various sites around the island, including more traditional cities, a black-sand beach, and one of the oldest Kapok trees in the world. I would not say there is SO much to do, but we find ourselves very busy with beautiful places to visit. The other islands are all unique and beautiful, so traveling to them can keep you busy on weekends as well. Flights between islands are about $100-150 roundtrip, and hotel prices vary, with the most expensive being about 100 Euros per night. At this point I have been to five of the nine islands, and in the next year it is our goal to see them all!

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not much. Local fabrics, wine and coffee, paintings, grogue, and Havana Flip-Flops.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The weather is fantastic most of the year, November until June. The summer is quite hot and humid, and the rainy season starts in August/September but is short, only lasting through October. Many days of sunshine.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

Yes, if you make good choices and don't travel too much.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

ABSOLUTELY! We have had a very good experience here and wish we didn't have to leave! We love our home, our empregada, and the weather!

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

winter coats, stiletto heels (not fun on the cobblestones), and day planner, along with your need for things to be done on time.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

sunscreen, bug spray, love of adventure, and patience.

View All Answers


4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Testamento (has English subtitles).

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Cape Verde Brandt Guide.

View All Answers


Praia, Cape Verde 09/08/12

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Saint Petersburg FL. Shortest direct flight is via Boston and takes a total of ten hours.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

(The contributor is affiliated with the US Embassy and has been living in Praia for 16 months, a first expat experience)

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The Embassy has palatial houses all within a ten minute drive of the Embassy. Everything in Praia is basically within 20 minutes of everything else. The houses are way, way too big. Most do not have yards. They are made of tile and concrete block and leak in the rainy season.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Very expensive. Everything is imported except the tuna and the eggs. You will need your COLA.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

More white vinegar for cleaning and food disinfection purposes. One shouldn't eat the veggies and fruit here without first bleaching or otherwise disinfecting them.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Nothing recognizable to a Westerner. I think this is the last remaining place in the world without a McDonalds. However, junk food is widely available i.e. pizza, burgers, chicken, chips. CV'ers love their ice cream.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not too many. Some roaches, ants and critters in the houses. Mosquitoes and flying bugs in the rainy season. Bring bug spray, but it's not that bad.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Dip pouch. Local mail service is a joke.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Cheap and widely available.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, Embassy has a nice gym and pool. There are also private gyms. CVers love to exercise.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

It's a cash society, only the tourist hotels accept major credit cards. However, I have had no problem using the ATMs to get cash from my US bank. Others have not been so lucky - I think it depends on your bank.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

None that I can tell. The Mormons are a big presence here so maybe they have an English language service?

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

None.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Lots. Many people speak English but you really need to know some Portuguese or Kriolu to get by here.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Impossible. Forget it. Cobblestone streets, lots of rickety staircases, no elevator in the Embassy, no sidewalks in many neighborhoods, and where there are sidewalks they often have random gaping holes with rebar sticking out.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Buses and taxis are very affordable. They are not very safe from a Western perspective (no safety belts, overcrowded etc.) but I've never heard of someone getting hurt/robbed on a bus or taxi here. No trains here. The ferries are safe and relatively affordable. The Fast Ferry, despite what some uppity expats here may say, is very comfortable and a good deal.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Four wheel drive is not necessary but nice during the rains and for excursions out of the city. Diesel is better than gasoline. And definitely something you don't mind getting dinged up and scratched. There are no import restrictions for diplomats. For everyone else, you'll pay a huge customs fee to import a car. However you can buy a car here for a pretty reasonable price.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes! Thank goodness! ADSL here supports Skype video and streaming video, if you can believe it. A 10GB package costs about 30 bucks a month.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Just buy one here. Or bring your unlocked iPhone but don't be surprised if someone tries to jack you up for it.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Very bad.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

No.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Western casual

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Petty crime, assaults and robberies are on the rise but, again, it's not that bad. Be smart. Don't go out at night alone and lock up at night.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is poor here. Medevac to Dakar, Lisbon or Boston for anything remotely unusual i.e. a really bad toothache, pregnancy, weird muscle spasms.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Good to moderate. The brumaseca (sand storms) in the winter can aggravate allergies. Most cars spew black smoke but it's a small city so there isn't too much air pollution from cars.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

January to August is hot and dry without a drop of rain. From August to October there can be pretty regular rainstorms but it's generally clear and sunny. In November and December there are occasional rainstorms. Average temp ranges between 60s and 90s F. May and June before the rains are the nicest months.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

French and Portuguese. I hear the French are militant but good and the Portuguese are OK. I dont have any kids in the schools here.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

None, as far as I can tell.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Hire a nanny. A full time "empregada" will cost you about $300 per month.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

I believe the Embassy CLO is organizing a kid sports program.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Pretty small, less than 100 people probably. But it's a tight community.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Fair. Praia is isolated with poor infrastructure and for many Westerners there is "nothing to do." All of the little frustrations (slow customer service, language barrier, bugs, power outages etc etc) can build up to really hurt morale.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Mostly at home but there is a huge nightclub scene considering the size of the country. There are also cafes, pick up soccer games, sidewalk card games, beach gyms, hanging out blah blah.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Families and couples yes. Singles no.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Dunno. Probably not a "good" city but there are openly gay Cape Verdeans. CV is a pretty relaxed place and is striving to be more modern so homophobic behavior is not common or at least isn't overt.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Asians are not well-liked here. My colleague is Chinese-American and seems to be having a hard time. Everyone else seems to get along fine.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Seeing the volcano on Fogo, hiking the ribeiras on Santo Antao, off-roading, boat trips.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

See the islands! Santo Antao is difficult to access but worth the trip - it's a revelation. Fogo is easier to get to and gorgeous. Drink grog, go to the beach every day, fish, swim, hike, party with the excellent locals

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Grog. Amazing coffee. The best canned tuna fish you will ever eat. Locally made linen items. Local music recordings.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Climate, very easy-going lifestyle, can save money if you don't travel, people are super mellow and friendly.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

YES! If you don't travel outside of CV and buy local products you can save money here. If you buy all imported Western products and escape to Lisbon or Boston every two months you will not.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

No freaking way. I'm a city person and need more action. Beach lovers and the lazy will love it here.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Sense of urgency to get things done. Expectations of good customer service. Rum. Tuna. Volcanic rock collection.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen. Patience. Bug spray.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Praia, Cape Verde 05/23/12

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

4th expat experience.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington DC. For personal travel TACV has direct flights to Boston 2x per week, you spend the night in Boston and connect the following day. For business travel, you fly thru Lisbon, this can take up to 30 hours. Flights change and/or are cancelled without notice. Traveling to/from CV can be a nightmare.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

18 months.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US Embassy.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

You are 10 minutes from everywhere in Praia. Most folks are pleased enough with their homes. All have pros and cons. Most are poorly built. Homes tend to be fairly large and do not have yards.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

It's an island. What's available today you might not see again for months, ie butter, eggs, chicken breasts. Costs are similar to DC.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Food I can't live without. Definitely think about your consumables, there are very few American products and when you find them they are usually expired and expensive.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

No fast food. Not many choices. People seem to eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are a few decent places, but it gets old after a while. Prices are fairly expensive.

View All Answers


5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

I think it would be very difficult. All local produce must be bleached before eating.

View All Answers


6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Flies, mosquitoes and roaches. We have found them to be more of a nuisance, but others have had serious problems.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Pouch - takes up to 3 weeks each way.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Very inexpensive, $300 per month. We love ours.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, and it is quite nice.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Only Visa ATM cards work. This is a cash society; very few places accept credit cards.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

None that I know of.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Cable is available and affordable.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

A lot, very few people speak English in the markets.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

A lot.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

There are tons of cabs and they are affordable.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

One you don't mind getting banged up. It's mostly cobblestone roads and I don't think there are any traffic rules. People drive how they feel. It's not uncommon for locals to just stop the car because their cell phone rang. Crazy.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Available and affordable, as long as you don't go over your allotted usage. Plans are available.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

The Embassy provides, otherwise you can buy one on the corner along with sunglasses from some guy.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Rudimentary. No kennels.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Very few. Teaching English is about the only option.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Tropical. It's always hot.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. This is a very poor country with high unemployment. Crimes of opportunity are frequent. You cannot leave anything unsecured. It's not uncommon for jewelry to be grabbed.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Yes, medical care is poor. You will be medivaced for most anything.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Pretty good except for the dusty season. People with allergies can suffer.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Warm and sunny, with a brief rainy season in the fall.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are two schools Embassy kids attend: one French and one Portuguese. Parents seem moderately pleased. There is nothing fancy about either school. There is no option for older kids.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

None.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Available and inexpensive. Quality will vary.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Not that I am aware of.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Fair. This is a very isolated island; getting off it is expensive and time-consuming.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There are a few events: festivals etc.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

If you like peace and quiet, this is for you. I would think being single here would be a little lonely if you are not an extrovert.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I don't think there is any problem. It's a live-and-let-live society.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

None that I have witnessed.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Warm sunny days.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Go to the pool, the beach, drive around the island.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Grog, punch.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

While Cape Verde is naturally beautiful, it is not a modern country, basic utilities are intermittent. The weather is almost always sunny and warm and inter-island travel can be enjoyable though somewhat expensive.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

If you don't leave Cape Verde, maybe. Services are cheap. Things aren't. Gas is $9 a gallon.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Probably not. I'm glad I did it, but don't want to do it again.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Sense of urgency.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Patience.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

If you like a bustling city life with lots going on, this isn't for you.

View All Answers


Praia, Cape Verde 09/19/09

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, Zaragoza, Spain, as well as short stays in various cities in Greece and Brazil.

View All Answers


2. How long have you lived here?

3 months, summer 2007.

View All Answers


3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

There are direct flights from Boston to Praia with TACV (approx. 7 hrs.). Otherwise, people fly into Lisbon (usually with TAP) and then connect to Praia with TACV (approx. 11hrs w/ lay over). Dakar, Senegal is also another popular place to connect. Beware that most of the connecting flights have a reputation for being a black hole for luggage.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US Government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The ambassador's residence is about 10-15 minutes away from the embassy. Most other embassy personnel, as well as other foreign government representative, live in the upscale Prainha section. The president of Cape Verde also lives in this neighborhood. From Prainha to the center of town- where the embassy is located- is about 5 minutes driving.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Both are readily available. Over-the-counter drugs, though, are expensive and should be purchased before arriving.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

More books, snacks of all kinds.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Fast food is limited. And Cape Verdeans actually take a very long time to serve food. It is likely that you can wait up to an hour and a half to be served. The cost is similar to that in the US. Vegetables are scarce. Lettuce and carrots are commonly served, but greener veggies are uncommon. The supermarket is very good, but there are produce items that appear and disappear quickly.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

None.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Very slowly, if not through the diplomatic pouch.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes. This country is also full of runners and walkers. People are very exercise friendly.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

While cards were accepted, usually it was only VISA. And at times the machines weren't fully functional. Don't depend on credit cards.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

I did not come across any in my time there.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Portuguese is required everywhere, but most people outside of the city center only speak Cape Verdean Creole. Creole in Santiago is fairly similar to a Portuguese/ Spanish mix to decipher key points, but its always helpful to speak the language when leaving downtown Praia.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

YES! Most roads are extremely poor. There are no sidewalks. Taxis can be hailed from the roadside, but getting to the road with a mobility disability would likely be very difficult.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

There are no buses. Vans are affordable and relatively safe, but drivers do drive extremely fast and can be careless.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Off road, SUVs are recommended because of the poor road quality. But be aware that some roads in the rural areas are super narrow, even though there's two-way traffic.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

The embassy provided these, so I'm not sure about this.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good. It can get dusty during the dry season.

View All Answers


2. What immunizations are required each year?

View All Answers


3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Petty theft, like anywhere else in the world if people aren't being careful.

View All Answers


4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care and common medicines are very limited. But this is not a malaria country, so that's at least one less worry.

View All Answers


5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

There can be a very heavy rainy season, but the dry season can be devastating. This country has had droughts, and water shortages are constant.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

From my understanding, there are no international schools, but for preschool and very elementary grades there is a fairly reputable French school.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

I have seen no evidence that special needs-kids are well accommodated, but I do have minimal experience with this.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Not that I saw.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Cape Verde is a very migratory country. There are many Cape Verdean-Americans, as well as Cape Verdeans living in Europe, who spend summers or long stretches in country. Otherwise, the expats number about 50 or so people.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Expats love it here, though some people go stir crazy. It is a small place where comraderie is really good. But boredom can set in very easily for the adventurous types.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

This country loves music. You can always catch a live performance in town at a number of good restaurants and bars. Dancing is also common outside of some of the more upscale restaurants. Food and eating out are very commonly the center of social outings. While the food may arrive late, it is usually of very good quality.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

This is a good city for people (with family members or not) who are pleased by the simple things: eating out, good music, dancing, and friendly folks. People who need lots of organized activities can expect to be bored here. Unfortunately, many of the beaches are not sanitary enough to swim in, so most water sporting is out.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I have very limited knowledge here, but the society is extremely tolerant.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

No.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Cidade Velha, the old city, is a great day excursion. It is picturesque and historical. The city was the first city founded by Europeans on the continent. This city was the Portuguese's first stop before navigating throughout the west and southern coasts. So there are slave forts and a lot of historic remnants. If you are willing to spend money to travel to the other islands, it's well worth it. Boa Vista and Mindelo are more touristy and see more European visitors than Santiago does.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Pano de Terra- native cloth; Jewelry (black beads with white dot- to ward off the evil eye). Fresh Mangoes!

View All Answers


9. Can you save money?

Yes, but the prices are really expensive when compared to other places in the West African region.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely!

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

cold-weather gear.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

flip flops, sunscreen, and sense of humor.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


7. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Praia, Cape Verde 02/06/08

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I've been to several places in Latin America and Europe.

View All Answers


2. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

View All Answers


3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

There is a direct weekly flight from Praia to Boston on TACV (usually twice weekly during high season) and that takes about 8 hours. It cannot be used by USG employees for official business as it does not qualify under Fly America Act. The best route is usually through Lisbon, Portugal but the total trip to US East Coast can take as much as 24 hours with connections. Another option is to fly via Dakar to either New York, Washington or Atlanta but many people have bad experiences with this due to cancelled flights, lost luggage, or layovers of over 12 hours.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

I am affiliated with the U.S. Government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is spacious and usually very nice. Yards are uncommon in Praia so don't expect a place for your dog to romp.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

The availability of fresh products improved during my time in Praia. More fruits and vegetables were being brought in from Brazil, Spain, Portugal and South Africa. That being said, it was still hit or miss and prices were higher than in the U.S. You certainly can't go to the grocery store with a meal plan in mind and expect to find all the ingredients. Fish is readily available and fresh. Dairy products are difficult to come buy and milk is all long life. Meat is mainly imported from Brazil (some from Europe) but be sure to take a good look at it as sometimes it is frozen and thawed several times due to poor refrigeration systems. Praia is a consumables post and, especially if you like to cook, I would strongly recommend bringing most things with you. Laundry detergent is very expensive and of poor quality. Clothing and shoes of any sort of quality are also hard to come by so plan on ordering replacement items from the US. Dry cleaning is available but they are often out of fluid.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Peanut butter, baking items, chocolate chips, laundry detergent, all house cleaning items, spare tires and other car parts, plastic ware for entertaining, plastic wrap, foil, baggies, toiletries.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

No fast food. There are a couple places that serve reasonably priced Cape Verdean or Portuguese food. Churrasco is usually a good bet. Other than that, the selection is slim.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Readily available and reasonably priced. The quality of work varies but those who work with USG families are outstanding.

View All Answers


3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

This is a cash economy. Credit cards can be used at the major hotels in Praia and in a few other places in Sal but cash is preferred. A tax is often added when credit cards are used.

View All Answers


4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

No.

View All Answers


5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Newspapers aren't available (thank goodness for the internet). USG employees have AFN. South African satellite option is also available.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

An absolute must. It is important to understand that although Portuguese is the official langugage, most of business is conducted in Criollo.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Many: Streets and most of the sidewalks (if the exist at all) are cobblestone. Only one or two buildings in town have elevators.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are available and cheap but not always particularly safe. It's better to have your own car.

View All Answers


2. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

Right, like the U.S.

View All Answers


3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

In Praia almost anything will do. However, if you plan on traveling outside of town, something with a higher clearance is advisable.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Internet is available but is exclusively dial-up and quite slow. However, I was able to make calls back to the US using Skype. Cost is high especially considering the slow speed.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

USG provides one to employees. Otherwise, one recharges by buying cards with specific quantities of minutes.

View All Answers


3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

Over the internet using a VOIP. Land line or cell phone calls are expensive.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There are a couple vets around that are decent but they can only provide basic services at a reasonable price.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

No.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business casual, business. Weekend errands are more relaxed.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Dust storms part of the year can be difficult for even those in the best of health. Those with allergies may suffer more of the year.

View All Answers


2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

There are home break-ins and muggings. Many parts of town should be avoided at all times. The main parts of town such as Achada Santo Antonio, Palmarejo, and Plato are okay during daylight but one should be wary even when in a group, at night. Women should be particularly vigilant at all times and should never walk alone at night.

View All Answers


3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is poor and all expats (and some Cape Verdeans) leave the country for anything more than minor health issues such as colds or sprains.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

There is a rainy season in August/September. When it rains, it pours and flooding often occurs. The rest of the year is dry and gets more dusty as the months go on. Temperature is usually 75-85F but can get as high as 95F in summer and as low as 60F during December evenings.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There is a French elementary school that some expats send there kids to but I have heard that many have been very unhappy and have moved their children back to their countries of origin for their education.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

None.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small. Mostly Portuguese.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

In my opinion, poor.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Inviting others over to your home or vice-versa.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Married couples as long as the spouse is aware that employment on the local economy virtually does not exist and possible work with the USG is not full-time. Families with small children who are not yet in school might fare well depending on concerns about health care.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Seems to be okay.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Women are often stared at and sometimes approached by overly aggressive men. If it is known that you are with the USG (and it is such a small place that it is always known) you are even more likely to get approached. Men can be more aggressive in clubs than most American women are used to.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Not much. The beaches in Praia are not fit for swimming. You have to travel by car for quite some distance over rough roads to find anything adequate. And if you are used to Caribbean beaches you will be sorely disappointed. Other islands (Sal, Boa Vista, Maio) have nicer beaches but it is quite expensive to travel there. A trip to Sal for the weekend would cost about US$500 for two people. There is no movie theater, clubs are pretty sketchy and the expat community is very small. If you are single, especially a woman, this will be a lonely place.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Music.

View All Answers


9. Can you save money?

Absolutely.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Probably not.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Idea that this is an island paradise.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen, sense of humor, sturdy shoes, allergy medicine, anything to entertain yourself with.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


7. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More