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IVORY COAST TRAVEL GUIDE

Welcome to Ivory Coast, a vibrant West African country known for its diverse culture, stunning landscapes, and bustling cities. Ivory Coast, also known as Cote d'Ivoire, is located on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea and is bordered by Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, and Liberia.

The country is home to over 25 million people who speak over 60 different languages, making Ivory Coast one of the most diverse countries in Africa. The official language is French, but many Ivorians also speak local dialects such as Baoule, Dioula, and Abidji.

 

Ivory Coast is renowned for its rich history and culture, with influences from various ethnic groups including the Baoule, Senoufo, and Akan. Visitors can experience traditional dance and music performances, sample local cuisine, and shop for handmade crafts at bustling markets.

In addition to its cultural offerings, Ivory Coast is also home to breathtaking natural wonders, including the UNESCO-listed Tai National Park, the Comoé National Park, and the stunning beaches of Grand Bassam and Assinie.

 

Whether you're interested in history, culture, or nature, Ivory Coast has something to offer every type of traveler. So pack your bags and come explore this vibrant and diverse country for an unforgettable experience.

COUNTRY PAGE
  • Capital: Yamoussoukro; Abidjan remains administrative centre (moved from Grand-Bassam in 1893 then Bingerville in 1933)

  • Currency: CFA franc (XOF)

  • Area: 322,460 km²

  • Population: 25,07 million (2018)

  • Language: French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken

  • Religion: Christian 20-30%, Muslim 35-40%, indigenous 25-40%

  • Electricity: 220V/50Hz (European plug)

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SEASONS AT A GLANCE

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Climate Chart with avergae monthly temperatues and rainfall

BEST TIME TO VISIT IVORY COAST

The best time to visit Ivory Coast depends on your travel preferences and itinerary. Generally, the country has a tropical climate with two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

 

The dry season runs from November to March, and it is generally considered the best time to visit Ivory Coast. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, with less humidity and rainfall. This season is ideal for outdoor activities such as exploring national parks, hiking, and visiting the beaches.

 

The rainy season, from April to October, brings higher temperatures and humidity, and frequent rainfall. While the rains can make some areas difficult to access, this season can be a great time to experience the lush greenery of the country, witness spectacular thunderstorms, and enjoy lower travel costs.

 

It's important to note that the north of the country experiences a longer dry season and a shorter rainy season, while the south has a shorter dry season and a longer rainy season. So depending on your itinerary, you may want to plan your visit accordingly.

Overall, Ivory Coast can be visited year-round, but the dry season is generally considered the best time to visit for optimal weather conditions and outdoor activities.

 

SAFETY IN THE IVORY COAST

Ivory Coast has made significant progress in recent years to improve security and stability, but it is still important for travelers to exercise caution and stay aware of their surroundings when traveling in the country.

 

Petty crime such as pickpocketing, theft, and scams can occur in busy areas such as markets and public transport hubs. Visitors are advised to take precautions such as avoiding carrying large amounts of cash, keeping valuable belongings out of sight, and being vigilant when using public transportation.

 

There have been occasional incidents of civil unrest and political protests in the country, particularly in Abidjan and other major cities. Visitors should stay up-to-date on current events and avoid large gatherings or demonstrations.

 

Certain areas of the country, particularly in the western and northern regions, have seen sporadic violence and clashes between armed groups in the past. Visitors are advised to avoid travel to these areas and check with local authorities before venturing into remote or rural areas.

 

Overall, Ivory Coast can be a safe and rewarding travel destination for those who exercise caution and stay aware of their surroundings. Visitors are encouraged to take sensible precautions and follow local advice to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

 

BEST TIME FOR:

The Ivory Coast is home to some of the world's most exotic beaches, such as Monogaga Beach, Sassandra Beach and Assini Beach. The dry season is from December to April.

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IVORY COAST TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to Ivory Coast can vary greatly depending on your travel style, itinerary, and the time of year you visit. Here is a breakdown of some common expenses you may encounter when traveling in Ivory Coast:

  • Accommodation: Budget accommodation such as hostels and guesthouses can cost around 10-30 USD per night. Mid-range hotels and lodges can cost between 30-80 USD per night, while luxury hotels and resorts can cost upwards of 100 USD per night.
  • Transportation: Taxis and shared minivans are common modes of transportation in Ivory Coast and can cost anywhere from a few dollars for short trips to 30-50 USD for longer journeys. Rental cars are also available but can be expensive. Domestic flights are available between major cities but can also be pricey.
  • Food: Local street food and market stalls offer inexpensive options for meals, with prices ranging from 1-5 USD. Restaurants and cafes in tourist areas may charge more, with prices ranging from 5-20 USD per meal.
  • Activities: Many of Ivory Coast's cultural and natural attractions, such as museums and national parks, charge an entrance fee. These fees can range from a few dollars to around 20 USD per person.

Overall, travelers can expect to spend around 30-60 USD per day for a budget trip, 60-100 USD per day for mid-range travel, and upwards of 150 USD per day for luxury travel. However, it's important to keep in mind that prices can vary greatly depending on your itinerary and travel style, so it's always best to research specific costs and budget accordingly.

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR IVORY COAST

Here are some travel tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable trip to Ivory Coast:

  • Get vaccinated: Make sure to visit a doctor before your trip to get vaccinated against common illnesses such as yellow fever and hepatitis A.
  • Dress appropriately: Ivory Coast is a conservative country, so it's important to dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting religious or cultural sites.
  • Carry small bills: Many places in Ivory Coast, such as markets and public transport, may not accept large bills, so it's a good idea to carry small bills and change.
  • Learn some French: French is the official language of Ivory Coast, so learning some basic French phrases can be helpful when communicating with locals.
  • Be cautious with street food: While street food can be delicious and inexpensive, it's important to be cautious with hygiene and food safety. Look for stalls with a high turnover of food and avoid anything that looks unhygienic.
  • Avoid drinking tap water: It's best to drink bottled water in Ivory Coast to avoid the risk of water-borne illnesses.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: While Ivory Coast has made significant progress in recent years in improving security, it's still important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against petty crime such as pickpocketing.
  • Respect local customs: Ivorian culture is diverse and rich, so it's important to respect local customs and traditions, especially when visiting religious or cultural sites.
  • Plan ahead: Ivory Coast is a large country, so it's a good idea to plan your itinerary ahead of time and allow for plenty of travel time between destinations.

REGIONS & HIGHLIGHTS OF IVORY COAST

Ivory Coast is a diverse and culturally rich country with many regions and attractions worth visiting. Here are some of the main regions and their highlights:

  • Abidjan: Abidjan is the economic capital and largest city of Ivory Coast. It's known for its vibrant nightlife, beaches, and cultural landmarks like the St. Paul's Cathedral, the Plateau Mosque, and the Musée des Civilisations de Côte d'Ivoire.
  • Yamoussoukro: Yamoussoukro is the political capital of Ivory Coast and home to the stunning Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, one of the largest churches in the world. Other notable attractions in Yamoussoukro include the Presidential Palace and the Foundation Félix Houphouët-Boigny.
  • Grand-Bassam: Grand-Bassam is a historic town and former colonial capital located on the coast, known for its beautiful beaches, architecture, and museums like the Costume Museum and the National Museum of Costume.
  • Korhogo: Korhogo is a city in the north of Ivory Coast, known for its traditional arts and crafts. Visitors can explore the Musée des Arts de la Côte d'Ivoire or attend the annual Fêtes de la Moisson, a festival celebrating the harvest season.
  • Man: Man is a region in western Ivory Coast, known for its stunning natural beauty, including the Mont Tonkoui waterfall and the Dent de Man mountain. Visitors can also explore the traditional village of Danansé or attend the Fêtes des Masques, a festival featuring traditional dances and masks.
  • Sassandra: Sassandra is a coastal region known for its beaches, fishing villages, and lagoons. Visitors can take a boat tour of the lagoons or visit the Parc National de Taï, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to chimpanzees, elephants, and other wildlife.
  • Comoe National Park: Comoe National Park is a large protected area in the northeast of Ivory Coast, known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, and antelopes. Visitors can go on guided tours or safaris to explore the park.

These are just a few of the many regions and attractions worth visiting in Ivory Coast. Whether you're interested in culture, history, nature, or wildlife, there's something for everyone in this vibrant and welcoming country.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN IVORY COAST

Ivory Coast is a vibrant and culturally rich country with many things to see and do. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Ivory Coast:

  • Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace: The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is located in Yamoussoukro and is one of the largest churches in the world. The impressive structure is a must-see when visiting Ivory Coast.
  • Explore the Abidjan National Museum: The Abidjan National Museum is a great place to learn about Ivorian culture and history. The museum houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts, including traditional masks and sculptures.
  • Take a boat tour of the Sassandra Lagoons: The Sassandra Lagoons are a series of interconnected waterways located along the Ivory Coast coast. Visitors can take a boat tour of the lagoons to see fishing villages, wildlife, and beautiful scenery.
  • Attend a festival: Ivory Coast is known for its lively festivals, such as the Fêtes des Masques in Man and the Fêtes de la Moisson in Korhogo. These festivals feature traditional dances, music, and masks, and are a great way to experience Ivorian culture.
  • Visit the Parc National de Taï: The Parc National de Taï is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a diverse range of wildlife, including chimpanzees, elephants, and monkeys. Visitors can take guided tours of the park to see the animals and explore the beautiful scenery.
  • Relax on the beaches: Ivory Coast has many beautiful beaches, such as Grand-Bassam and Assinie. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports like surfing and jet skiing.
  • Explore the markets: Ivory Coast is known for its colorful and bustling markets, such as the Treichville Market in Abidjan. Visitors can shop for souvenirs, clothing, and local products, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of these markets.
  • Learn about traditional arts and crafts: Ivory Coast has a rich tradition of arts and crafts, such as pottery, weaving, and wood carving. Visitors can explore workshops and markets to learn about these crafts and purchase handmade products.

These are just a few of the many things to see and do when visiting Ivory Coast. Whether you're interested in culture, history, nature, or simply relaxing on the beach, Ivory Coast has something for everyone.

WHAT TO EAT IN IVORY COAST

Ivorian cuisine is diverse and flavorful, and there are many delicious dishes to try when visiting Ivory Coast. Here are some of the must-try dishes:

  • Attiéké: Attiéké is a traditional Ivorian dish made from cassava that is grated, dried, and then steamed. It's often served with grilled fish or chicken and a spicy tomato sauce.
  • Fufu: Fufu is a starchy side dish made from cassava or plantains that is mashed into a dough-like consistency. It's often served with a soup or stew and eaten with the hands.
  • Kedjenou: Kedjenou is a slow-cooked stew made with chicken or goat, onions, tomatoes, and spices. It's often served with rice or attiéké.
  • Aloco: Aloco is a popular street food snack made from fried plantains that are seasoned with spices and served with a spicy tomato sauce.
  • Bangui: Bangui is a spicy fish soup made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and other spices. It's often served with rice or fufu.
  • Grilled Fish: Ivory Coast is known for its fresh seafood, and grilled fish is a popular dish. It's often served with attiéké and a spicy tomato sauce.
  • Poulet braisé: Poulet braisé is a grilled chicken dish that is marinated in spices and grilled over charcoal. It's often served with attiéké, aloco, or rice.
  • Maquis Platters: Maquis Platters are a popular dining experience in Ivory Coast, where diners can choose from a selection of grilled meats and sides served on a large platter.

These are just a few of the many delicious dishes to try when visiting Ivory Coast. Be sure to also try the local drinks, such as palm wine and bissap juice (hibiscus tea).

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WHERE TO STAY IN IVORY COAST

When visiting Ivory Coast for the first time, there are several cities and regions where you could consider staying, depending on your interests and travel plans. Here are some options:


Where To Stay in Abidjan:

Abidjan is a bustling metropolis known for its vibrant culture, culinary scene, and modern infrastructure, making it an ideal introduction to Ivory Coast. Explore attractions like the Plateau district, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the vibrant markets of Treichville.

  • Budget: Hotel Onomo Abidjan Airport offers budget-friendly accommodations conveniently located near the airport. The hotel features comfortable rooms, a restaurant serving international cuisine, and complimentary airport shuttle service. Hotel Le Marly provides affordable accommodations in the Plateau district, the city's central business area. Guests can stay in simple yet comfortable rooms, enjoy access to a restaurant and bar, and explore nearby attractions such as St. Paul's Cathedral and Banco National Park.


  • Mid-range: Novotel Abidjan offers mid-range accommodations in the heart of the Plateau district. The hotel features modern rooms and suites, a swimming pool, fitness center, and multiple dining options including a restaurant serving international cuisine.

  • Luxury: Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire is a luxurious five-star hotel located in the affluent Cocody district. The hotel features elegant rooms and suites, a spa offering a range of treatments, swimming pools, tennis courts, and multiple dining options including a rooftop restaurant with views of the city.


Tip: Consider visiting Abidjan during the dry season (November to March) for pleasant weather and fewer crowds, but book accommodations in advance, especially during festivals and events.


Where To Stay in Grand-Bassam:

Located about 40 kilometers east of Abidjan, Grand-Bassam is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed town known for its colonial architecture, sandy beaches, and relaxed atmosphere. There are several hotels, guesthouses, and beachfront resorts in Grand-Bassam offering a tranquil retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city.


Where To Stay in Assinie:

Assinie is a coastal resort town located about 80 kilometers east of Abidjan, known for its pristine beaches, water sports activities, and vibrant nightlife. There are luxury resorts, boutique hotels, and beachfront villas in Assinie offering a luxurious getaway surrounded by nature.


Where To Stay in Yamoussoukro:

Yamoussoukro is the political capital of Ivory Coast and is known for its impressive landmarks, including the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace (Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix), one of the largest churches in the world. There are hotels and guesthouses in Yamoussoukro catering to visitors interested in exploring the city's cultural and historical attractions.


Where To Stay in Man:

Located in the western part of Ivory Coast, Man is known for its picturesque landscapes, including the nearby Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are hotels and guesthouses in Man offering a peaceful retreat surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and lush vegetation.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.

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DiscoverCars.com is a leader in online car rental bookings; we compare car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose which is best for your trip. 12Go connects the world door-to-door, from transfers to flights, under the same user-friendly ticket.

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