Like a microcosm of Africa, this tiny nation contains multitudes - of landscapes, peoples, cultures and plant and animal life. All of it the fingertips of the capital, Bissau. Faded colonial-era houses sag, from tropical decay plus the weight of history. Decades of Portuguese colonisation were accompanied by a long painful liberation struggle and after that cycles of civil war and political chaos.
Despite hardships and poverty, Bissau-Guineans persevere. The jokes, such as music, are loud but tender. The bowls of grilled oysters are served which has a sauce spicy enough to present a kick, although not so strong concerning mask the bitterness. The jewel from the country's crown could be the labyrinth of tropical islands that comprise the Arquipélago dos Bijagós. Long white-sand beaches are lapped by waters packed with fish. Hippos, monkeys, chimps and buffaloes thrive in protected reserves and a huge selection of bird species call its vast mangroves and wetlands home.
National Park in Ilha de Orango
Though it contains several other islands (Ilha de Imbone, Ilha de Orangozinho, Ilha de Canogo and Ilha de Meneque), one's heart of Parque Nacional das Ilhas de Orango is its namesake, Ilha de Orango. Travellers are aware of the latter since the site of Anôr Lagoon, where you could spot rare and sacred saltwater hippos, which are now living in both the sea and freshwater. Besides wildlife and birds, you can find breathtaking beaches.
Local guides (around CFA10,000) lead your self on a sandy path, more reminiscent in the prototypical African savannah than other islands. Be sure to wear shoes you won't ever mind muddying or sandals with straps, and also pants you are able to roll up or shorts. It's a pretty walk, though shade is scarce.
Arts Centre in Quinhámel
An inspiring community project that introduces visitors to your traditions in the Papel people. Pano de pente, symbolic weavings created by Papel men on large makeshift looms, are employed in a variety of ceremonies and rituals. A visit to local workshops might be arranged. It's located for the entrance to Quinhámel.
Museum in Ilha de Bubaque
Houses an amount of masks, sculptures along with ritual objects collected by an Italian missionary
Fortress in Bissau
Surrounded by imposing, if decomposing stone walls, this fort, originally internal 1753, will be the headquarters with the Guinean military and off-limits to visitors. After dark, exercise caution when walking at night fort, which can be off the southern end of Av Pansau Na Isna, and also the area close to your port.
Nature Reserve in Buba
Sandwiched between Buba and Corubal Rivers, this 890-sq-km park will be the largest wetlands reserve in Guinea-Bissau. Kayaking across placid waters with an early morning amid twittering birds (you will discover an estimated 250 species here) definitely makes the effort to have here worthwhile. There's an observation post to sit, appreciate the scene and tick-off sightings. There are also African buffalos, gazelles, hyenas, white hippos and crocodiles within the park.
The entrance to your park is approximately 20km from Buba over the rough road. You will need a 4WD along with a guide - contact IBAP in Bissau for information.
The newly renovated presidential palace dominates Praça dos Heróis Nacionais with the northern end of Av Amílcar Cabral. Damaged over the civil war, its graceful, neoclassical facade now incorporates modern features. Security is concered about photographers aiming towards a close-up.
Monument in Bissau
Three separate monuments to martyrs from the 1959 Pidjiguit Massacre when striking dockworkers were killed because of the colonial the police. August 3rd, the day from the event, is really a national holiday. There's also a bust of Amílcar Cabral inside square.
Museum in Bafatá
Not truly worth a visit with the exception of its historical value because birthplace of Guinea-Bissau's independence leader Amílcar Cabral (1924-1973). Might need to rustle someone approximately let you in.