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Guinea Bissau

Guinea Bissau
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Guinea-Bissau or officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a West African state and a former Portuguese colony. The Republic consist of the mainland, the Bijagos Archipelago, and the Bolama Island. It borders Guinea and Senegal. The country is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The capital city is Bissau.

The climate in the Republic is equatorial. The average monthly temperature is +24°C + 28°C. There are two seasons: a wet season lasts from May to December and a dry season is from November to April. The best time for visiting Guinea-Bissau is from December to January.

The official language is Portuguese. The local people can also speak French. About 60% of the population practice local religious cults and 30% are the Muslims.

If you want to relax on the beach or prefer calm family holidays, go to the city of Verala. The coastal line of Bissau is good for surfing and yachting. Boat trips, cruises and fishing are arranged for the tourists.

Amazing nature attracts the fans of ecological tourism and a diverse underwater world attracts the divers. The tourists can bike, ride a squad, and go on safari in the jungles.

Get in

By Plane

There are no direct flights from CIS countries to Guinea-Bissau. The tourists can take a transit flight with a transfer in Lisbon or Dakar. A Portuguese airline TAP Portugal offers flights to Guinea-Bissau several times a week.

By Land

The highway connects Guinea-Bissau with the neighbouring Guinea and Senegal.

By Ferry

One can get to Guinea-Bissau by cruise ships departing from Dakar.

Visa

If your stay in Guinea-Bissau will not exceed 90 days, you can obtain a visa at the border on arrival. You just have to provide a valid international passport and pay a visa fee. You should also have return tickets and enough money for the entire period of your holidays.

If you want to stay in the country for a longer time, you should obtain a visa beforehand at a consular mission of Guinea-Bissau. It will take you 3 days to get the visa. All the tourists are required to have a vaccination certificate against yellow fever.

Customs

The Customs legislation of the Republic does not restrict the import and export of currency. It is not necessary to fill in the declaration form. Personal belongings are free of customs duty.

It is prohibited to import:

  • any weapons and ammunition.

It is prohibited to export:

  • weapons;
  • drugs;
  • food in large amounts;
  • rare species of flora, fauna, and birds;
  • ivory and goods made from crocodile skin (without a special permission of the authorities).

Under a strict control is the passage of:

  • antiquities and art objects;
  • gold and precious metals.

Cuisine

The traditional cuisine of Guinea-Bissau formed throughout many centuries. The workers from Malaysia and British merchants greatly influenced the local cuisine. The British introduced meats to the locals and today African game is the main meat ingredient here. The Malays brought hot spices, namely Curry. The local cuisine is also rich in fish and seafood dishes. They use a lot of grains, nuts, vegetables, and beans.

You should definitely try roasted mutton and game with a curry and garlic sauce. Roasted South African lobster is a favourite dish on any celebration. It is served with sweet potatoes or rice.

For a dessert, you will be offered various exotic fruits and cassava cake.

The tourists can try a local beer which is a favourite low alcoholic beverage of the locals.

Money

The official currency in Guinea-Bissau is the West African Franc (XOF).

The tourists can exchange the currency at banks and in exchange offices.

It can be problematic to cash traveller’s checks as the rate is volatile. Each bank and exchange office set their own exchange conditions which are not always acceptable for the tourists. The best exchange rate is for checks in Euro.

The cards Diners Club and MasterCard are rarely accepted.

Details of interest

Sightseeing in Guinea-Bissau

In Guinea-Bissau, the tourists will have a chance to see many different islands. The most popular is the Bijagys Island with its biosphere reserve. The reserve is a UNESCO candidate site.

  • The Boloma Bijagys Biosphere Reserve occupies 88 islands. This natural park has a lot of different ecosystems. The mangroves, palm forests, rain forests and dry forests grow there. You can see there the sand dunes, savannahs, and jungles. In the waters of the Rio Geba, there are a lot of fish and shell fish. Anyone can see the Nile crocodile and the common hippopotamus.
  • The Orango Islands National Park is part of the Bijagys Biosphere Reserve. It occupies five major islands and several smaller ones. The territory of the park is covered with forests and mangroves. Savannah covers the major territory. This park is a place for birds’ nesting and green turtle breeding.
  • Joao Vieira — Poilao Marine National Park is also included in the biosphere reserve. The park is located on four large islands. This is a place for birds’ nesting and mammals’ breeding. The park is a habitat for several types of sea turtles.

The city of Bolama is a popular touristic place. Until 1941, it was a capital city. Due to a rich colonial history, there are a lot of historical and architectural monuments here. The main sight is the Bolama Governor’s Palace.

Souvenirs in Guinea-Bissau

  • bright textile with traditional African patterns;
  • pottery;
  • jewellery;
  • masks;
  • wooden figurines of the local Gods;
  • in Bijagys, the tourists buy clay figurines of sharks, skates, and other marine animals.