Dating in Cape Verde Islands

Cape Verde, an archipelago situated off the west coast of Africa, presents a fascinating blend of African, Portuguese, and even Brazilian influences, making its history and dating culture quite unique. The islands were uninhabited until the Portuguese arrived in the 15th century, and they subsequently became a significant hub for the Atlantic slave trade. This interaction led to the emergence of a distinct Crioulo culture, language, and people, which still profoundly affect the societal norms, including the dating customs, of the island nation.

The dating culture in Cape Verde is influenced by the country’s deep-rooted customs, its diverse ethnic groups, and the predominantly Roman Catholic faith. Traditionally, family values are strong, and respect for elders is of paramount importance. Relationships often begin at local festivities or through family introductions, with the family remaining an integral part throughout the courting period. However, in recent years, exposure to international cultures and urbanization has led to an evolution in dating practices, with modern influences such as online dating gaining traction, especially among younger generations. Nonetheless, traditional norms and customs still largely shape the romantic relationships in Cape Verde.

Social life and dating culture in Cape Verde Islands are influenced by many traditions ranging from Creole practices to remnants of Portuguese colonial life. Due to the diversity of culture in Cape Verde Islands it is impossible to characterize all Cape Verdean people under a unified dating culture. Individual experiences may vary greatly depending on factors such as age, education, urban vs rural location, religion, and personal beliefs. However, we will attempt to share some specific aspects about dating in Cape Verde Islands, which we feel are shared experiences by most Cape Verdeans.

The dating culture Cape Verde Islands is shaped by a complex interplay of traditional customs, societal norms, and modern influences. Whether it is the formal courtship rituals of traditional societies or the casual dating practices of urban youth, each reflects the unique cultural context in which it occurs, offering a fascinating insight into the diversity and complexity of African social life.

Interesting facts about dating in Cape Verde Islands

  1. Morna, the music of love: Morna is a popular genre of music in Cape Verde, known for its soulful melodies and heartfelt lyrics. It often portrays themes of love, longing, and romance, making it an integral part of the dating and courtship culture in the country.
  2. Island-hopping romance: Cape Verde is an archipelago consisting of ten islands. The unique geography of the country offers couples the opportunity to explore and experience romantic getaways on different islands, each with its own distinct charm and beauty.
  3. Influence of European and African cultures: Cape Verdean dating traditions are a blend of European and African influences. The country’s history as a Portuguese colony and its location off the coast of West Africa have shaped its cultural practices, including those related to romantic relationships.
  4. Festivals of love: Cape Verde celebrates several cultural festivals throughout the year, such as the Gamboa Festival and the Baia das Gatas Festival. These events provide an exciting and vibrant atmosphere for couples to enjoy music, dancing, and shared experiences.
  5. Festas de São João: The festivals of São João (St. John) are significant events in the Cape Verdean cultural calendar. During these festivities, young men and women participate in traditional dances as part of courtship rituals. The lively atmosphere often provides a setting for blossoming relationships.
  6. Traditional courtship dance: Batuque is a traditional dance form in Cape Verde that is often associated with courtship rituals. It involves rhythmic movements, percussion instruments, and singing, creating an energetic and captivating display of affection and attraction.
  7. Cape Verdean Creole language of love: The Cape Verdean Creole language, known as Kriolu, is widely spoken in the country. Its unique blend of Portuguese and African languages adds a romantic flair to conversations and expressions of affection between couples.
  8. Seaside romance: With its stunning beaches and picturesque coastal landscapes, Cape Verde offers couples the perfect backdrop for romantic walks, sunsets, and intimate moments by the sea. The tranquil and idyllic settings enhance the romantic atmosphere.
  9. Cuisine for romance: Cape Verdean cuisine reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage, with influences from Africa, Portugal, and Brazil. Sharing traditional dishes, such as cachupa (a slow-cooked stew) or fresh seafood delicacies, can create a memorable and flavorful experience for couples.
  10. Respect for family values: Family plays a central role in Cape Verdean society, and this extends to romantic relationships. Individuals often seek the approval and involvement of their families when entering into serious commitments, emphasizing the importance of familial bonds in love and marriage.
  11. Long-distance relationships: Due to economic factors and opportunities abroad, many Cape Verdeans live and work in other countries. As a result, long-distance relationships are not uncommon, requiring couples to maintain strong communication and commitment to overcome the physical distance.

Most Romantic Day in Cape Verde Islands

Primarily due to the impact and influence of foreign media on Cape Verde Islands, Valentine’s Day is generally considered to be the most romantic holiday for Cape Verdeans. Like other countries, it is celebrated on February 14th.

Typical First Date in Cape Verde Islands

There is no way to accurately define a first date in Cape Verde Islands. There are many factors which will impact what two people decide to do on a first date. The socioeconomic dynamic of the couple, where they might be located and even religious beliefs will all have some impact on the first date.

Despite all of these influencing factors, there are some common aspects that first dates around the world typically share. On your first date in Cape Verde Islands, the focus should be on getting to know each other in an informal setting where you can chat openly. It does not matter if you are talking over a cup of coffee, walking out in nature or a park or another original idea, the goal should be to check the vibe, see if there is a connection or potential for continuing the relationship. Here are a few ideas for first dates in Cape Verde Islands:

  • Shopping: In Praia, Mindelo and other cities, shopping malls or commercial centers can be great date spots. They are relatively safe, public and there is enough external stimulation to keep a good conversation going.
  • Coffee or drinks: Many first dates in Cape Verde Islands take place in a casual setting, such as a coffee shop or bar.
  • Outdoor activities: In some parts of Cape Verde Islands, there are many options for outdoor activities such as hiking/walking, picnic, biking or even a combination of activities while visiting a local park. Depending on the activity level of you and your date, these may be nice options for you.

Dating etiquette

Like social cues and other aspects of dating, dating etiquette or expectations of behavior when on a date can vary somewhat from individual to individual. That being said, if you are on a date in Cape Verde Islands, below are some general tips to keep in mind:

  • Punctuality: Even though many parts of Africa are known for \’Africa time\’, being on time for a date is generally seen as a sign of respect in most cultures. However, attitudes towards punctuality will vary, with some cultures placing a high importance on it, while others might have a more relaxed attitude. Don\’t be surprised if your date arrives 3 hours late!
  • Dress and appearance: Dressing appropriately for the occasion and taking care of personal hygiene are often seen as signs of respect towards the other person. In Cape Verde Islands, men are expected to dress in a neat and stylish manner, while women might be expected to wear more fashionable or elegant outfits. This will vary based off of socioeconomic factors.
  • Physical contact: In some cultures, casual touching (like a hug or a kiss on the cheek) might be common even on a first date, while in more conservative cultures, any kind of physical contact might be reserved for later stages of a relationship or even marriage. Since Cape Verde Islands has both traditional, conservatively minded and others who may follow more international
  • Public vs Private Affection: Public displays of affection are not common in Cape Verde, especially among the older generation, reflecting the influence of conservative Catholic values. Couples usually express their affection privately. However, this is gradually changing among younger, more urbanized Cape Verdeans.
  • Paying the bill: In many cultures, the person who initiated the date is expected to pay the bill, although this is not a universal rule. Offering to split the bill can be a polite gesture, although in some cultures it might be expected for the man to pay.
  • End of the date: How the date ends can also convey a lot. Walking the other person to their car or home, or arranging for their safe return, is often seen as a sign of care and respect. If both parties enjoyed the date, it is common to express interest in meeting again.

The Importance of language

Africa is an immensely diverse continent. There are thousands of languages spoken throughout and many different cultural practices. Cape Verde Islands is one of fifty-four countries in Africa, each generally having their own using culture and language norms.

As Cape Verde Islands was colonized by the Portugal, Portuguese is widely spoken. However, there are other languages such as Cape Verdean Creole. Though it is not possible to learn all languages, especially as a foreigner or tourist, we do always recommend studying local culture and learning language, even if just a few phrases. As you know, language is an incredibly important form of communication and knowing some Creole will greatly enhance your experience.

While some Cape Verdeans may also speak English or other languages, being able to communicate in any other local language can help to build stronger relationships with locals, facilitate communication in a variety of contexts and gain respect or trust with new people. It is a win-win situation for you and the culture.

Is Cape Verde Islands gay friendly?

Unfortunately, as a whole, Africa has a very poor record for LGBTQ+ rights and protections. Further, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, the majority of people in many sub-Saharan African nations held negative views towards homosexuality.3 Because of this, gayness is heavily stigmatized in certain Cape Verdean communities and areas around Cape Verde Islands. These stigmas are influenced by a myriad of religious, political and historical cultural beliefs.

With the exception of South Africa, where there are constitutionally enshrined protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. South Africa was the first country in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in their constitution, and it remains the only African country to have legalized same-sex marriage. Unlike Praia, Mindelo cities like Cape Town are known to have vibrant gay communities and events, which is a rare occurrence in Africa.

As of today, homosexuality remains criminalized in nearly every African country, including Cape Verde Islands. While a few have made strides towards acceptance and equality, sadly there is a long way to go before LGBTQ individuals are freed from oppression in places like Cape Verde Islands. Until that time, it remains dangerous to be openly gay in most of Africa.

With the exception of South Africa, where there are constitutionally enshrined protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. South Africa was the first country in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in their constitution, and it remains the only African country to have legalized same-sex marriage. Unlike Praia, Mindelo cities like Cape Town are known to have vibrant gay communities and events, which is a rare occurrence in Africa.

Social cues

In Africa, social cues can be somewhat subjective to the individual, as is the case with Cape Verdeans. Each country, like Cape Verde Islands, has multiple cultures inside of it. It is important to understand who you are dating. More conservative people will be reserved and may be focused purely on serious relationships, while more liberally minded people will be more open to different connections. It is important to be respectful to your date and understand their expectations.

When it comes to dating in Cape Verde Islands, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Non-verbal cues: As is common in many cultures, body language plays an important role in expressing interest or disinterest during a date. Maintaining eye contact, smiling, and leaning towards the other person can all indicate interest. On the other hand, crossing arms, avoiding eye contact, or frequently checking a phone can signal disinterest.
  • Verbal cues: Listening attentively, asking follow-up questions, and responding positively to stories or jokes can signal interest. In contrast, frequently interrupting, dominating the conversation, or responding negatively can signal a lack of interest or respect.

Gender roles

Much like the rest of the world, traditional gender roles in Cape Verde Islands are not substantially different. Though it is difficult to generalize such a vastly diverse region, Africa, as a whole, tends to be somewhat conservative. Because of this, traditional gender roles tend to dominate dating practices in Cape Verde Islands. Cape Verdean men are often expected to take the initiative in asking women out, planning the date, and paying for the expenses. Cape Verdean women, on the other hand, are often expected to be more reserved and nurturing. To a degree, religion will often play a part of this as well.

While evolving, some aspects of traditional machismo culture are still present in Cape Verde. Men are often expected to make the first move in starting a relationship, and it’s common for men to show chivalry when courting. Despite this, the roles of women in society and relationships have been changing with societal progress and urbanization.

As globalization and urbanization march forward, norms around dating and gender roles are changing, especially among younger generations and in urban areas. More egalitarian dating practices are becoming more common, with some Cape Verdean women also taking the initiative and couples splitting the bill. Further, where applicable, LGBTQ couples will have different norms.

Best way to meet singles in Cape Verde Islands

The best place to meet singles in Cape Verde Islands depends a lot on where you might be. If you are in a rural area, then your options may be limited. However, if you find yourself in a large urban center like Praia, Mindelo, then you may have more options. Do some research on popular activities or events happening in your area and see what you find.

We believe that you can increase your chances of meeting Cape Verdean singles by trying out some of these methods:

  • Social events: Attending social events like festivals or cultural events even parties are great ways to meet new people and potentially find a romantic partner. Though many of these are not specifically focused on dating, they may present opportunities to strike up a conversation with someone new.
  • Through friends: If you live in a place and have a friend network, it may be easy to meet potential partners through friends or mutual acquaintances. Ask your friends to introduce you to someone they think you may hit it off with, or attend social events with them to meet new people. It is important to use this sparingly though in case a new relationship does not work out.
  • Joining groups or clubs: Joining a new club or group centered around a common interest such as a profession, skill, sport or even language exchange, can all be great ways to meet new people. By joining an organization based on mutual interests, conversations will be easy and it is easier to relax.
  • Go shopping: In cities like Praia, Mindelo, shopping centers, malls and markets are great places to meet new Cape Verdean singles. Markets and malls are often central to daily life and people visit them frequently either out of necessity or to pass time.
  • Volunteering: There should be plenty of volunteer opportunities in Cape Verde Islands. Volunteering for a local organization or charity is not only a great way to give back to the greater human society, but it can also be a great way to meet new people who share similar values, passions and worldviews.
  • Online dating: If all else fails, there is always online dating. As you will read in the section below, the online dating scene is evolving in Cape Verde Islands. Though the amount of Cape Verdean singles on these platforms is still relatively small, the apps and sites can still be ways of meeting someone new who shares values and interests with you.

Is it safe to date people in Cape Verde Islands?

As a continent, Africa has a bad image for safety and security. It is not that all of Africa is unsafe, it is more that it is not consistent. Many parts of Africa are quite safe and open for dating, whereas other parts are very complicated for a number of reasons.

It does not matter if you are Cape Verdean, African or a foreign tourist, if you plan to date in Cape Verde Islands, it can be an interesting experience for you. However, you should take certain safety precautions to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable time meeting new people.

Here are 10 things to keep in mind when dating in Cape Verde Islands:

  • Be Aware of Local Laws and Customs: Learning about the local culture, like you are doing now, can help you navigate dating in Cape Verde Islands and avoid cultural misunderstandings or faux pas. Further, if Cape Verde Islands is a new place for you, take some time to review local laws and customs, particularly related to dating and public behavior. This is especially important for LGBTQ+ individuals, as laws and societal acceptance vary greatly. If you are going to use gay dating apps, we recommend that you consider using well known international apps. Some dating apps, such as Grindr or Tinder, have implemented security features into their apps that let you know if you are traveling in a country where gay relationships are illegal.
  • Choose a Reputable Dating Platform: Use a reliable dating app or website that requires identity verification. This can help weed out fake profiles and scammers.
  • Use the messaging service on the dating app: It is safer to use the messaging service provided by the dating app until you are comfortable sharing your contact details.
  • Keep Personal Information Private: Do not share sensitive information like your home address, financial details, or other private information with someone you have just met online.
  • Research Your Date: Do a quick online search of the profile information of your date to verify their identity. Be wary of profiles with limited friends, photos, and interactions as these could be signs of a fake profile.
  • Tell Someone About Your Plans: Always tell a friend or family member where you are going, who you are meeting, and when you expect to return.
  • Meet in Public: On your first few dates, meet in a public place like a café or a park where there are plenty of people around. In a places like Praia, Mindelo, it should be somewhat easy to find a public space.
  • Stay Sober: If alcohol is served on your first date, pay attention and limit your intake to ensure that you are fully aware of your surroundings. As alcohol can impair your judgment, it is safer to drink less when you first get to know someone.
  • Trust Your Gut: If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts and do not feel obliged to stay in a situation that makes you uncomfortable. Remove yourself from a bad situation when it feels right to do so.
  • Safe Sex: If you decide to become intimate with your date, remember to practice safe sex. This includes using protection and getting regular check-ups for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Remember, safety first. It is important to take precautions and use common sense when dating in Cape Verde Islands, whether online or offline.

Dating scams in Cape Verde Islands

Dating scams can and do unfortunately happen across the globe. Africa is no stranger to scams or deceptive practices. Particularly in the digital world, wherever there are lonely or naive people, a nefarious person can take advantage of their kindness or emotions.

While we do not know of any dating scams unique to Cape Verde Islands, we do believe you should keep in mind these online dating scams which are common in other African countries and the rest of the world. While we do not believe paranoia helps, it is always a good idea to be careful and approach online dating in Cape Verde Islands with caution. Until you build trust with someone, you should not provide too many personal details. Whether you are Cape Verdean or a foreigner looking to date in Cape Verde Islands, please keep these common dating scams in mind when using apps and sites to meet new people:

  • Identity theft: Scammers may use dating apps or websites to steal personal information from their targets, such as credit card numbers or other personal details.
  • Romance Scams: In this scam, criminals create fake profiles on dating websites or apps. They build an online relationship with their victims and then ask for money for various reasons – a sick relative, a plane ticket to visit, or some other fabricated story. Once they receive the money, they disappear.2
  • Advanced Fee Fraud: This is one of the most common types of fraud in West Africa, in countries like Nigeria and Ghana, but could also happen in Cape Verde Islands. The scammer forms a relationship with the victim and then asks for money to help them access a large amount of money or gold they have supposedly inherited but cannot access due to bureaucratic red tape.
  • Catfishing: This involves a scammer creating a fake profile with stolen photos and false information. The scammer entices the victim into a relationship with the goal of obtaining personal information or exploiting them emotionally.
  • Military Scams: In these scams, fraudsters pose as military personnel who are serving overseas or outside of Cape Verde Islands. They form a relationship with the victim and then ask for money, often claiming that it is for a leave application, medical expenses, or other fabricated reasons.
  • Gift Scams: Scammers, after forming a relationship, might ask for expensive gifts or money to buy such gifts. Once the gifts or money are received, they break off contact.
  • Kidnapping Scams: These are extreme and less common, but there have been reports of scammers luring victims to a location under the pretense of a date and then kidnapping them for ransom.
  • Other money scams: Scammers may create fake profiles on dating apps or websites and then ask their targets for money for any number of other reasons than previously mentioned. If money is involved, it is likely a dating scam. Use good judgement.

Online dating in Cape Verde Islands

The advent of the digital age has revolutionized many aspects of modern Cape Verdean life, including the way people meet and form romantic relationships. Though online dating in the greater African continent is not a significantly developed industry, growth, at least on a relative percentage level, has been significant in recent years. The online dating industry, albeit relatively small in Cape Verde Islands, is blossoming and we may be on the cusp of a developing industry for the region.

Like many other countries in Africa, online dating in Cape Verde Islands was slow to take off initially. This is likely due to a few aspects:

One is that historically, Cape Verde Islands has had a low internet penetration and limited access to smartphones. However, over the last decade with the widespread adoption of mobile technology, increased internet accessibility, and reduction in costs, Cape Verdeans people are increasingly digitized.

Second, accessibility, particularly through localization. Product adoption and education is typically very low when people do not understand the user interface (UI) language of your product. Historically, most dating apps have not localized for any African languages, let alone languages native to the region around present-day Cape Verde Islands, such as Cape Verdean Creole. This makes Cape Verde unique. As European languages, such as Portuguese, are often available, Lusophone Cape Verdean singles are often able to find their way to international dating apps, like Badoo, Bumble, Tinder or even gay dating apps localized into Portuguese.

Third, history and widespread scams, have led to distrust amongst online platforms, especially foreign ones on occasion. With time and companies demonstrating devotion to privacy and data security, it is likely that more single Cape Verdeans will be open to online dating. However, with the dark colonial past by Portugal, there is definitely a legacy sentiment of skepticism among certain people. Rightfully so in some cases. Companies will need to work extra hard to overturn this and build trust with locals, or be locals themselves.

A fourth reason is mainly culture. More traditional societies and indigenous people like the Verdean Creole, are quite foreign to the concept of a dating app or website. This is due to the reliance on social circles and emphasis on maintaining culture through relationships within the Creole community(ies). Further, for religious Cape Verdeans there would definitely be stigmas or perceived risk associated with online dating.

A fifth reason is that dating can be seen as a luxury, even among people who have an open mind towards meeting new people. Though there are wealthy Cape Verdean, many singles in Cape Verde Islands continue to struggle economically. With each passing generation, the economic situation seems to be improving, but many Cape Verdean have a long way to go before having a western style social life.

Despite these setbacks and reservations, we believe that the online dating industry has an interesting future in Cape Verde Islands. As a whole, the African continent has more than 1.4 billion people; most interestingly, the median age of this population is 19.4.1 Compared to Europe, where the median age is over 40 and population is roughly half, that is a substantial growth story for Cape Verde Islands and the rest of Africa. As more and more people join the digital world, we expect Cape Verdean singles to increasingly turn to online dating as a means for connection.

Presently, the online dating landscape in Africa is dynamic, diverse and slowly accelerating. International platforms have had a presence for years, but a notable trend in the online dating scene in Africa, is the rise of niche platforms catering to specific groups. For example, culture-specific dating like dating apps for Muslims or Christians or LGBTQ communities. Where indigenous or linguistic communities are large in number, we may even see dating apps that cater to Creole singles.

With continued tech adoption and changing societal attitudes, the future of online dating in Africa looks promising. User growth in Cape Verde Islands will inevitably contribute to that change, even if in relatively small ways. As a youthful and digitally-connected population continues to grow, so too does the potential market for online dating services. Additionally, the ongoing shift towards homegrown and niche dating platforms suggests a future where the industry is increasingly tailored to the diverse needs and preferences of local Cape Verdean daters.

Top dating apps in Cape Verde Islands

Much like in the rest of the world, international recognized dating apps like Badoo or Tinder, are likely to have users in nearly every African country. These apps are likely to be popular with young Cape Verdean singles. If you plan to use a dating app in Cape Verde Islands, we recommend reviewing the below apps in addition to any other apps you may be familiar with. Online dating is a lot about trying different platforms and sites and finding ones that works best for you and your interests. This will give you the best chances of success in meeting someone special.

Keep in mind, the dating sites and apps available and popular by country may depend on how well the apps are localized into the languages of Cape Verde Islands.

  • AfroIntroductions: As one of the largest African dating sites, AfroIntroductions has a prescence in Cape Verde Islands and gives Cape Verdean singles access to connections with other single daters around the continent and in the diaspora.
  • Tagged: Tagged is a social networking site that has grown to be a popular platform for dating in many African countries with a presence in Cape Verde Islands.
  • Muslima: This niche dating site caters to the Muslim community. Though it has its largest and most significant user base in North Africa in countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, Muslims around Africa find value in the dating app.
  • Muzz: a popular dating app for Muslim people
  • DateMeKenya: Though specific to Kenya, DateMeKenya is an example of a country-specific dating site.
  • Liefie: Additionally, in South Africa, Liefie is particularly tailored towards Afrikaans-speaking singles.


2 Romance dating scams in Africa are common:

3 Sub-Saharan views on homosexuality: