Video Source: Youtube
Flag Source: CIA World Factbook
Getting In and Around
Because of Guinea-Bissau’s lack of consular representation in the United States, it’s difficult to obtain a visa to travel there. Since most visitors to the country fly in or cross the border from Senegal, however, you can apply for a visa at either the Bissau-Guinean embassy in Dakar or at the consulate in Ziguinchor, where 30-day single-entry visas are issued on the spot. Take note: Visitors should also travel with a return ticket, a notarized passport copy, and a certificate stating immunization against yellow fever.
Because of restrictions on flights to Guinea-Bissau, many travelers opt to fly into Dakar and then take another flight to Bissau. Another option is to fly into Dakar and continue to Bissau by car. From Dakar, look for bush taxis heading to Ziguinchor and Kolda in southern Senegal. After spending a night in either town, take another bush taxi to Bissau in the morni
Guinea-Bissau is such a small country that it’s best to get from place to place by car. Bush taxis and minibuses called toko tokos gather in central locations and tend to leave early on most mornings. (The fare for a trip from Bissau to Bafatá, which is an approximately three-hour journey, averages CFA 1,500.)
Check with your phone provider to learn whether your phone will work abroad and what the charges will be. You’ll likely be charged extra for incoming calls. If you live in North America, you’ll need to have a GSM/triband cell phone. Consider buying a SIM card on your arrival for making inexpensive calls.
Safety and Security
The U.S. embassy in Bissau suspended its operations in June 1998 during the country’s civil war. Today the U.S. embassy in Dakar has jurisdiction over Guinea-Bissau, and U.S. citizens traveling to Guinea-Bissau are urged to register with the embassy there. (The former U.S. embassy in Guinea-Bissau is now operated by local staff members, who are not equipped to handle consular services but may be contacted in an emergency. The office is located at Edifício SITEC, Rua José Carlos Schwarz 245, Bairro d’Ajuda; telephone/fax: 245-3-25-6382, 245-595-4647.)
ATMs are not available, credit cards are not accepted, and local currency may be obtained only from banks or hotels. Wire transfer possibilities are very limited, so travelers are encouraged to secure ample amounts of the local currency before arrival in Guinea-Bissau. Though the country’s civil war ended in 1999, visitors should be aware that political tensions still exist; therefore, political gatherings and demonstrations should always be avoided. Another consequence of the war is the scattering of unexploded land mines throughout the country, including in Bafatá, Oio, Biombo, Quinara, and Tombali. To reduce their exposure to land mines, travelers should limit driving beyond towns to daylight hours and always stick to well-traveled roads.
Check the U.S. Department of State
’s travel page on Guinea-Bissau for up-to-date travel information.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index
, wherein scores are based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to Guinea-Bissau or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.