One area that many tourists have questions about when visiting any destination is how to travel around within the country or city being visited. In Cape Verde, the transportation industry is quite developed. The infrastructure is in place for road, air and sea travel. You'll find that the conditions vary by island given population sizes and state of development of each of the nine inhabited islands.
Roadways are increasingly being paved. Over 25% of the roads are paved and the unpaved roads are not places you would have imagined anyone driving on anyway. So driving yourself around is very doable. However, car rentals are relatively expensive at around €45-80/day depending on the type of vehicle you rent. There are quite a few choices for car-rental agencies and you'll even find a few in the airports on your arrival.
Don't expect turn-by-turn GPS! LOL. In fact, you'll promptly and often get lost even with detailed maps because none of the streets have street-signs although the streets all have names. I've often wondered what is the point of naming a street if no-one can actually see the name? And if you're the adventurous type and want a good laugh ... just stop and ask a resident for directions! It's not that Cape Verdean's are not a friendly lot, but you simply will not get there.
Be aware that Cape Verdeans love their cars. So don't smack into anyone! And watch out for the guys who will offer to wash your car at every turn.
I would strongly advise that you not drive at night if you don't know the roads really well. If you decide to rent, please be safe.
On the more populated islands and the tourist meccas like Santiago, São Vicente, Fogo, Sal and Boa Vista, it is easy to hail a cab for about €1-2 for short trips. In Santiago and São Vicente, you can take the bus for about €0.30. Be warned, the taxi drivers are certifiably nuts! I'm sure that's a world-wide phenomenon. Maybe the taxi drivers of the world have a secret association where they share crazy driving tactics.
Cabo Verde Express has 3 aircraft but they are very small 19-passenger LET 410 UVPs.
a new era in inter-island maritime transportation. It is not that there were no ferries in Cape Verde prior to Fast Ferry's arrival in January 2011, it is simply that the ferry services were completely unreliable, slow and uncomfortable because they use very old vessels which constantly have maintenance problems. And several of the islands were not served except on an ad-hoc basis.
Now, with the advent of the Fast Ferry with sleek, modern, rapid craft and daily schedules for the first time, both residents, businesses and tourists have a meaningful choice for travelling between the islands. You can even reserve and purchase your tickets online - another first. You can even befriend Fast Ferry on Facebook.
Of course, the question that is surely on the mind of every tourist: "how safe is it?" The answer is that all of the travel options are extremely safe. If it's one thing governments are good at, it is regulation, and the transportation industry in Cape Verde is no exception, perhaps even to a fault (they even regulate the prices that can be charged by private companies!) So the good news is that you can rest assured that the operators of airlines, maritime vessels, taxis, buses and vans are all scrutinized by the regulators and are required to comply with various laws. Nothing is ever fool-proof, but I personally would not hesitate to use any of these options anywhere in Cape Verde. So go forth with confidence and explore more of these islands!