Saturday, March 2, 2024
Bissau Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

Bissau is Guinea-Bissau capital. Bissau, Guinea Bissau’s city, significant port, and administrative and military center, is situated on the Geba River estuary, off the Atlantic Ocean.

Bissau has a tropical savanna climate, which is wetter than other climates of its kind but not nearly as wet as a tropical monsoon climate.

From November to May, there is almost little rain, although the city gets roughly 2,020 mm (80 in) of rain throughout the other five months of the year. High humidity makes heat discomfort intense during the rainy season, and even three months previously.

Bissau is situated on the Geba River estuary, off the Atlantic Ocean, at 11°52′ North, 15°36′ West (11.86667, -15.60). The ground around Bissau is exceptionally low-lying, and the river, despite its small flow, is navigable by ocean-going boats for roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) beyond the city.

Bissau is the country’s main city, a significant port, as well as the country’s educational, administrative, and military hub.

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Bissau | Introduction

Bissau – Info Card

POPULATION :  395,954
FOUNDED :  1687
LANGUAGE :  Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
RELIGION :  Muslim 50%, indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 10%
AREA :  77.5 km2 (29.9 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  0 m (0 ft)
COORDINATES :  11°51′N 15°34′W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 49.70%
 Female: 50.30%
ETHNIC :  African 99% (Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%), European and mulatto less than 1%

Tourism in Bissau

The Presidential Palace (Palácio Presidencial) is the official residence of the President of the United States. During the civil war, it was bombed out. It was reconstructed in 2013 using Chinese funds and is now used as the president’s seat.

The historic Portuguese colonial capital of Bissau is known as Bissau Velho. There isn’t much going on there these days, but it’s still a pleasant spot to roam about in. The jail with pink flowers painted on its façade is not to be missed (At the corner of the fort, close to the harbour).

Porto Pidjiguiti – go out the little port and chat with the fisherman, observe the pelicans, and get a bird’s eye view of the city. On August 3, 1959, the Pidjiguiti port was the location of the Pidjiguiti massacre, in which police shot and killed 50 striking dockworkers. This marked the start of organized opposition against the Portuguese colonial rule. The tragedy is commemorated with a monument styled like a massive black fist.

Bissaus’ primary market is the Mercado de Bandim.

Fortaleza d’Amura is a historic Portuguese fort that houses the mausoleum of national hero Amilcar Cabral as well as the graves of other rebels. Amilcar Cabral’s car is also inside. It may be difficult to get access, but it is feasible if you make friends with the military or obtain permission.

The National Ethnographic Museum (Museu Etnográfico Nacional) is a museum dedicated to ethnography (On the university campus, opposite “Lenox de Bairro”). It features a modest collection of Bissau-Guinean wooden masks and sculptures, as well as baskets, linens, and other items. It is only open in the mornings. The staff is really kind and knowledgeable about the various objects, as well as how to tie them to traditional spiritual beliefs.

How To Travel To Bissau

Get In - By plane

TAP has three weekly direct flights from Lisbon to Bissau, all of which arrive at 01:10AM and depart the same day. Senegal Airlines also operates flights from Dakar.

TACV operates four weekly flights from Dakar to Bissau, returning the following day. These flights are not known for their timeliness, therefore verify with the TACV office in Bissau (Av. Amilcar Cabral 8B, tel. 206087) before heading to the airport.

Get Around - By shared taxi

From Ziguinchor, Senegal, a sept-place (7-seat shared cab) costs CFA$4,000. A normal-sized luggage costs an additional CFA$1,000. The journey takes between 2.5 and 3 hours, depending on border requirements.

How To Get Around In Bissau

Shared cabs are inexpensive and common. Stop cabs and tell them where you want to go (or indicate to passing taxis), and they will either accept “na bai” (I’m going) or refuse “no” (no) if individuals already in the vehicle are headed somewhere else in the city. Prices are more or less set, and you’re unlikely to get ripped off, unless you’re a visible foreigner taking a cab from the airport or Hotel Bissau Palace.

Group travel, for example, is less expensive:

300 FCFA for one person, 300 FCFA for two people, and 600 FCFA for three or four people.

There are also minibuses called “toca-tocas” that run on defined routes; the journey costs 100 FCFA per person, although the vehicles are often overcrowded!

Sights & Landmarks In Bissau

  • Presidential Palace (Palácio Presidencial). During the civil war, it was bombed out. Rebuilt in 2013 with Chinese funds, it now serves as the president’s seat.
  • Bissau Velho – the historic Portuguese colonial center There isn’t much life there anymore, but it’s still a pleasant location to wander around. Don’t overlook the jail with pink flowers painted on the front (At the corner of the fort, close to the harbour).
  • Porto Pidjiguiti – Walk out to the little harbor and chat to the fisherman, observe the pelicans, and get a bird’s-eye view of the city. On 3 August 1959, the Pidjiguiti port was the location of the Pidjiguiti massacre, in which police shot down 50 striking dockworkers. This marked the start of the active opposition against the Portuguese colonial rule. To commemorate the tragedy, there is a monument styled like a massive black fist.
  • Mercado de Bandim – The major market in Bissaus.
  • Fortaleza d’Amura – An historic Portuguese fort that houses the mausoleum of national hero Amilcar Cabral as well as the graves of other revolutionaries. Amilcar Cabral’s car is also inside. It may be difficult to get in, but it is feasible if you make friends with the troops or obtain permission.
  • National Ethnographic Museum (Museu Etnográfico Nacional) (On the university campus, opposite “Lenox de Bairro”). It is only open in the mornings and offers a limited collection of Bissau-Guinean wooden masks and sculptures, baskets, textiles, and other items. The staff is quite friendly and excellent at explaining the function of the various things and relating them to traditional spiritual beliefs.

Things To Do In Bissau

  • The French Cultural Center at the Bayana roundabout often hosts concerts, movies, dancing lessons, French courses, and other events, which are listed on their website.
  • The Portuguese Cultural Center (adjacent to the Portuguese embassy, behind “Benfica”) also offers performances, but in a less appealing setting.
  • Swim at Palace Hotel (5000 FCFA), Azala 24 de Setembro Hotel, or Campo Sueco Hotel (3000 FCFA – somewhat more noisy and crowded, but more African atmosphere).
  • Work out on the running tracks or at the gym at Estadio 24 de Setembro.
  • Play tennis at the Bandim Harbour Tennis Club (near Estadio 24 de Setembro) or Campo Sueco.

Food & Restaurants In Bissau

  • Every night from 20.00-7500 FCFA, Recidencial Coimbra serves an excellent buffet that includes appetizers, main meals, desserts, wine, and water.
  • Palace Hotel. Quite perhaps the greatest restaurant in town. There is a swimming pool for non-guests to use for 5000 FCFA (eat lunch in the pool) and wireless internet.
  • Hotel Malaika. There is a great restaurant on the first floor, but there is also a roof top restaurant for beverages and fast food type meals.
  • O Bistro – Delicious meals served at a Belgian-owned restaurant near to Mavegro.
  • Hotel 24 de Setembro. Excellent service and a good food, albeit little pricey.
  • Hotel Kalliste – There is an open-air restaurant directly on Praca Che Guevara (known as “Praca Bayana” by most cab drivers). Excellent pizza and excellent music most nights, although at a high price (4000f – 5000f for a small pie).
  • Papa Louca Favorite pizza and shawarma joint. Very reasonable pricing!
  • Le Grimaldi Hotel Kalliste’s restaurant at the Bayana roundabout, with delicious cuisine and a pleasant ambiance.
  • The Centre Culturel Franco Bissau-Guinéen is open for lunch and has a pleasant patio for eating croissants and cappuccino in the morning or a fantastic meal.
  • Breakfast at Bate Papo is excellent, with croissants, pastries, and sandwiches, as well as coffee, natural juices, and so on. It’s just close to “meteorologa.”
  • Dom Bifana is a fantastic steakhouse near the parliament, with a live gazelle and a crowned crane in the restaurant.
  • The Dragon Chinese Restaurant is located uphill from the Bayana roundabout. When you’re bored of Portuguese and Libyan cuisine, this is a welcome alternative.
  • Fernandas in Santa Lucia is well-known for her Bica (Carpe Rouge).
  • Campo Sueco in Alto Bandim is a fantastic place for lunch and a dip in the pool while waiting for your meal.
  • In the dry season, Ta Mar in Bissau Velho is a lovely area with outside serving in the street.
  • Penso Central – For lunch or supper, a fixed menu of soup, fish, meat, and dessert costs about 5000 FCFA.
  • A Padeira Africana – Portuguese cuisine
  • Ponto de Encontro – owned by the same people as “A Padeira Africana” – an excellent place for a drink and a food on the sidewalk.
  • Restaurante bar maroquino “Sara” – Moroccan restaurant near Aparthotel Lobato with amazing seafood, shawarma, and so forth.
  • Lenox – Bairro de Ajuda Popular neighborhood hangout featuring an internet café, loud music, beer, shawarma, pizza, goat meat, sandwiches, and other fast food.
  • Lenox – Luanda The same idea, but without the loud music.
  • Phoenicia Libanese restaurant serving delicious sandwiches, shawarmas, burgers, pizzas, soft drinks, and wireless internet. There was no alcohol sold.
  • Ali Baba – No alcohol, just libanese quick food and soft ice.
  • Morabeza – close to the Bayana roundabout Food is fantastic, especially the pizza.
  • Magui – Above the shuttered theater is a Senegalese location.
  • Monte Carlo – Hotel Jordani – The meal is unremarkable.
  • Dom Bifana – Situated inside the airport, it is opulent in appearance but offers poor value for money.
  • The Adega do Loureiro is located on a side street between Baiana and Benfica. Nice cafe with wonderful and unique Portuguese cuisine, however the service is inconsistent.
  • Casa Santos in Santa Luzia
  • Cantinho da Mana M’Butcha Rua Domingos Ramos
  • Ruby Restaurant is located near to the United Nations headquarters.
  • Chez Ami Rua Eduardo Mondelane

Shopping In Bissau

  • Wood carvings – Try the Centro Artistico Juvenil, adjacent to “Chapa de Bissau,” which has regulated pricing and no need to negotiate – or the market in front of Penso Central, which requires bargaining.
  • Hand woven textiles – NGO Artiss@l in Quinhamel – or at the Bandim Market – has a good store under Penso Central selling textiles.
  • Batik Next to the Post Office.
  • Cashew nuts
  • Bissau-Guinean CDs
  • TINIGUENA , based in Bairro de Belém, is an NGO dedicated to long-term community development, food and economic security, and better control over the natural resources on which the local population depends. It features a small store where you can buy high-quality wall calendars and postcards with Guinea Bissau themes, as well as locally made baskets, marmalade, rice, spices, palm oil, and so on.
  • Ponto de Encontro features a vast collection of high-quality DVDs that may be purchased from Portugal and picked up the next Friday.


  • Darling – Offers various Spanish brands at a reasonable price. One in the center, one on Estrada de Bor, and one on the Airport Road, just across from Mercado de Bandim.
  • Bon Jour – a little more costly than the others, with a large part of tableware, cooking equipment, linen, and so on.
  • Mavegro – Dutch store, Northern European food, “Tiniguena” wall calendars and postcards, creole novels and cartoons, historical literature about Guinea Bissau
  • Bodem – Supermarket featuring a large department dedicated to shoes and clothing.
  • Mini Marché Alvalade – The greatest spot in Bissau to purchase cheese and frozen meat is outside the Dragon Chinese restaurant.



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