The Republic of Guinea-Bissau, a small, little-known country in
western Africa just south of Senegal, is an ideal spot for
adventurers seeking off-the-beaten-path travel opportunities.
Though it is one of the world’s poorest nations and has limited
tourist facilities, Guinea-Bissau has much to be commended, too:
gorgeous beaches, ultra-fresh seafood, and a local population
known for being especially friendly and laid-back. A visit to
Guinea-Bissau practically guarantees an authentic African
experience, and adventurous travelers willing to make the trip
can enjoy some real finds and relative freedom from tourist
THE TOP 10. What to do in Guinea-Bissau
1. Varela: Just
south of the Senegalese border, in the Cacheu region, this beach
can be a challenge to reach, but its stunning views, pine
forests, and remote feel make it worth the trip.
2. Bolama Town: Bolama
Town, on the landward side of Bolama Island, provides a look
back at the past grandeurs of the Portuguese empire. Crumbling
mansions, decaying colonial buildings, and leafy avenues make a
lovely backdrop for an evening stroll.
3. Praia da Bruce: This
isolated beach on the island of Bubaque, in the Bijagó
Archipelago, boasts pristine stretches of sand and shady cashew
trees. Rent a bike and journey to the beach along Bubaque’s
straight, forest-lined road.
4. Orango: One
of the many Bijagó islands, Orango is home to stunning tropical
beaches and a population of salt water–dwelling hippos.
5. Bafata: This
small, picturesque town is a good spot for wandering among the
red, Portuguese-style houses. Maimouna Kape, a hotel in the
town’s center, also has a popular outdoor bar.
6. Local Fare: Feast
on the country’s many specialties, like kaldo branco (fish in
white sauce) and grilled king prawns while sipping the national
beverage, cashew wine.
7. Fiesta: Soak
up the sights at Bissau’s annual carnival, which takes place in
February or March and draws people from all over the country to
check out the fierce dance and music competitions.
8. Local rhythm: Tap
into the Bissau-Guinean culture through gumbe, a samba-like type
of music that is sung in Crioulo and reflects both indigenous
musical traditions and Portuguese influences.
9. Move It: Seek
out a performance of Broxa, the traditional dance of the Balante
people. Near Mansôa, in the Oio region, Broxa dance troops
travel from village to village dressed as warriors, dancing and
playing centuries-old instruments.
10. Street Market: In
Gabú, the country’s most significant eastern town, stroll along
the street market in the early evening; there you’ll find
everything from locally made crafts to just-picked fruit.
WHEN TO GO
In Guinea- Bissau the weather is hot and humid averaging about
80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celcius) year-round. The
monsoonal-type rainy season typically lasts from June to
November, and the dry season runs from December to May.