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What you need to know about Praia

Praia, is the capital and largest city of Cape Verde, an island nation in the Atlantic Ocean west of Senegal. It lies on the southern coast of Santiago island in the Sotavento Islands group. It is the island’s ferry port and is home to one of the nation’s four international airports. The city centre is known as Plateau due to its location on a small plateau. Praia is a centre of commerce, government and education, and a port that ships coffee, sugar cane, and tropical fruits. It is the seat of the Praia municipality.

Currency

Climate

Praia has a desert climate (Köppen: BWh) with a short wet season and a lengthy, very pronounced dry season. In fact, outside of the months of August, September and October, little precipitation falls on Praia. The city on average sees about 210 millimetres (8.3 in) of rain per year. Since the coldest month is far above 18 °C (64 °F) its temperature patterns resembles a tropical climate, but lacks enough precipitation to be classified as such. Despite the fact that it has an arid climate, Praia seldom gets very hot or very cold, due to its oceanside location on Santiago Island. Temperatures are warm and constant with an average high temperature of 27 °C (81 °F) and an average low temperature of 22 °C (72 °F).

Economy

The principal economic activities of Praia belong to the tertiary sector. Beyond activities related to administration and governance (local and national), there are extensive commerce, services (health care, education, tourism, restaurants and hotels, public functions, etc.), and other activities of a liberal character. Being the nation’s capital as well as the economic hub, Praia is one of the most economically viable cities in the Cabo Verde archipelago. About one third (1/3) of the city’s population lives below the poverty line today (2014). The gross metropolitan product for the city is about 39 of the country’s GDP, translating into US$4764 income per capital. TACV Cabo Verde, the national airline of Cabo Verde, has its headquarters in Praia.

Infrastructure

The city is served by Nelson Mandela International Airport and TACV Cabo Verde Airlines. It has the nation’s second most used port, Praia Harbor, with a ferry terminal linking to other islands, direct ferry routes are Maio, Fogo and São Vicente. The port is managed by the national port authority ENAPOR. The port was reconstructed and expanded in 2014. Praia has a dual carriageway ring road, the Circular da Praia (EN1-ST06), which is connected with the main national roads to the north (EN1-ST01) and the west (EN1-ST05) of the island. The main roads inside the city are Avenida Grão Ducado de Luxemburgo (from the centre to the west), Avenida Amílcar Cabral (in Plateau) and Avenida Cidade de Lisboa.

Public transport

Public transport within the city of Praia is provided by the company SolAtlântico. There are 12 city bus lines. Intercity share taxis for other cities on the island of Santiago depart from the Sucupira terminal in the city centre, which was opened in May 2018. In 2015 a project called EcobusCV started running a fleet of dual fuel waste vegetable oil / diesel minibuses between Praia and Assomada. However, services were suspended in November 2016.

Sports

Praia is home to several sports teams. The most popular football (soccer) clubs include Sporting, Boavista, Travadores, Académica, Vitóriaand Desportivo; others include ADESBA, based in Craveiro Lopes; Celtic, based in Achadinha de Baixo; Tchadense, based out of Achada Santo Antônio; Delta, and Eugênio Lima, based in that neighbourhood. Basketball clubs include ABC Praia, Bairro and Travadores. Volleyball clubs include Desportivo da Praia. All are part of the Santiago League South Zone. Many clubs play at Estádio da Várzea.