The first step to get to the Bijagos Islands!
As detailed in the article Road trip Guinea Bissau in 10 days – Bijagos 😍 Islands we arrive in Bissau after a long journey!
However, what we didn't know yet was that the hardest part was yet to come. But we tell you more in the next article with the detail to get to the Bijagos Islands.
Bissau is more a city of passage, than a city of tourism. You can go around the main things to see in half a day, a maximum of one day.
We found it rather complicated to find good addresses with interesting value for money.
How to get to Bissau?
Ziguinchor – Bissau:
- Bus n°9 at the main roundabout between the port and the large garage: 250 FCFA. Get off at MPAC about 1h. Or take a 7-seater taxi from the large garage to Mpac.(don't hesitate to ask people on the street)
- A MPAC take a Jakarta negotiated 1000FCFA per person to cross the border and go to Domingo. They are quite insistent, negotiate well.
- 3 stops for 3 Customs posts, to check, visa, passports, bag
- In São Domingos, take a 7-seater taxi to Bissau. The road is not good, count 3 hours for 125 km (40 km / h). Descent to the airport. Always enjoy water because with the heat it is sporty! Price : 2000 FCFA per person
– Taxi in Bissau: 500 FCFA city center / 1000 FCFA per person for the longest journeys
–> Total price: 4000 FCFA per person (6€)
→ By Plane to Bissau: international airport in Bissau, covid test needed, rather high price
What to do/see in Bissau?
The two days we spent in Bissau were Sundays so the capital seemed very very quiet to us. However, you can do the following activities:
- Walking around the city centre
- the small city center around the port with the few streets to the old colonial houses
- Che Guevara Square
- the Cathedral
- the fort
- The Museum: The House of Rights (Casa de Direitos)
- Cultural Center of the French Institute
The city still has a crazy charm! It's really nice to walk around the city to feel the atmosphere.
Languages spoken : Portuguese, French (a little), Wolof (a little) and English if you come across Gambians.
Where to stay/stay in Bissau?
The accommodations are clearly not the fort of Bissau.
They are not given with relatively poor quality. It will therefore be necessary to wait and be patient to savor even more the archipelago of Bijagos.
- Pensao Créola : 18,000 FCFA, central address, Che Guevara Square, in a colonial house, at the home of a retired Swiss, who makes little effort to advise you. Shower and toilet, out of the room. Atypical room, with a mattress not so comfortable. Wifi.Quite expensive for a decent luxury room
- Gorila : 15,000 FCFA negotiated 12,000 FCFA, noisy (above a nightclub), decrepit at will, without mosquito net, questionable hygiene, cockroach … 500 FCFA by taxi from the city center. WiFi
- Ta Mar Hostel : we preferred to turn around, 15,000 FCFA for a place, dirty, dilapidated, without wifi
There are other addresses, higher standing around 30,000 – 40,000 FCFA at night, near the port and towards the Imperio.
Restaurants to eat in Bissau
- Imperio : Bakery / Café, perfect for eating on the go or for breakfast. No wifi
- Kaliste : First prize 5,000 FCFA for a rice / fish, nothing extra, but wifi
- We also tested a more local address at GORILLA, but it was rather a fast food with sandwich between 2000 FCFA and 3000 FCFA
- Papa Loca : We find it quite expensive for what is offered without wifi. Flat 7000 FCFA approximately
Reminder of some tips
- Budget: for 2 weeks we spent about 500€ all inclusive per person. Depending on your activities or the accommodations you will take it can go up to 1000 €. there is something for every budget.
- Time: to enjoy well it takes about 10 days. Especially because for the Bijagos Islands there are no departures every day and in Guinea-Bissau the journeys are very long.
- Currency: For information, 10 000 FCFA = 15€ // 600 FCFA = 1€. In Guinea Bissau, CFA francs are used so you will be quiet if you come from Senegal! Otherwise you will have many banks in Bissau but on the Bijagos archipelago few ways to withdraw cash. (a person makes money transfers to an account in the UK, we have not tested but it is better to avoid I think).
- Temperature: IT'S HOT but it's tenable remember to buy water and bring Lifestraw if possible to troubleshoot.
- Wifi/Infrastructure: the country has poor infrastructure in general, wifi is not the best and not available everywhere. To have some (Bissau: Restaurant Kalliste, Bubaque: Mango Lodge). For the internet, we advise you to take a card in Bissau –> Between 500 FCFA and 1000 FCFA for first prices to receive at least calls.
- In my suitcase I have … : Mosquito repellent, a Decathlon "meat bag", summer stuff, glasses cap, sunscreen, a headlamp, a Lifestraw
The rest of the adventure:
- ✅ Bissau, the quiet capital of Guinea-Bissau
- ➡️ The wonderful Bijagos Archipelago and its main island of Bubaque
- Wild camping on the island of Canhabaque in the Bijagos Islands ⛺
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