People on holiday can be divided into two types: “tender creatures” and “adrenaline addicts”. Former ones will trade passive sunbathing and comfortable hotels for nothing. The letter ones prefer even cabins to annoying all inclusive and suites. “Cabins” are the conditions Guinea Bissau provides you with. It is ironic that to go to a state that ranks among the poorest countries in the world would cost more dearly then a decent European resort.
Situated on western African coast, this country used
to scare travelers away instead of attracting them a short time ago. Sluggish
rise of living standards, similar pace of technical progress… It is because of resources-consuming
leisure organization that the prices are high, respectively. But if you decide
to embark on an exotic journey having a modest budget at your disposal, there
still are things to save on. For starters, it’s necessary to specify the route.
It is either hanging out in the capital, visiting Presidential Residence and
African Art Museum or running off to the depths of Guinea. It is worth
remembering that due to a small territory, main city of Bissau won’t treat you
with numerous memorable places. Nevertheless, it has things to offer, contrary
to developed stereotypes. For instance, colorful salt-smelling dock-side
district, national park or local churches drowned in greenery until finally
disappear, for instance. Anyway, to get far more significant experience one
should have a leisurely walk to watch local citizens. Dilapidated houses with roofs
made of palm trees, one pair of shoes for the whole family (and even as much as
for a couple of generations), coconut shells instead of plates… There is hardly
any other place where you can feel yourself more Robinson Crusoe.
Sure enough, chances to roll in hospitality and be
offered VIP-comfort in local hotels are slim. Jacuzzi, Wi-Fi, air conditioning
and similar easements are still a real gimmick here. Don’t go bug-eyed when
you’re charged almost a hundred dollars for a 2x2 room and a set of bed sheets.
Locals see walking wallets in tourists, no wonder they charge exorbitant
prices. However, Guineans like to bargain so if you practice the skill a little,
it’ll be able to save you a couple of bills.
When local big city life runs dry – go to coast-side
villages right off the bat. That’s where everything is much cheaper. One can
rent a boat or take part in real sport fishing. Catch amounts in Guinean waters
impresses even the most skeptical tourists. Nice thing is that a night in a wooden
house and supper made of whatever you’ve caught on you hook are free.
Aesthetes will also find things to admire in Guinea
Bissau. Bolama and Bissagos islands will attract their attention. These are
remarkable for the fact that flocks of birds from all over the world come here
for wintering. It is absolutely free to watch the feathered tribe.
It is worth mentioning that the least troublesome part
of the trip is paperwork. There aren’t too many downshifters in Bissau so far,
so visas are issued with a subtle move of a hand. By the way, you’ll also save
on a consular due that isn’t charged when entering the country. Air flight will
bring some discomfort, though. There is no direct connection from Ukraine so
one will have to change in one of European cities. Cost for such a pleasure varies
from 2500 to 3000 dollars, one way. Mandatory condition is also vaccination
from yellow fever. And don’t forget to ask for a certificate on procedure’s
completion. On Guinea Bissau customs it is Number 2 document after your foreign
passport. So, if an ovelearned scheme “Egypt – Turkey - Tunisia” isn’t for you,
go ahead and pack your luggage. Or better still, hurry up to get vaccinated!
Photo: open sources, João Graça, José Valberto T. Oliveira
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