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Asiana

The Islands of Guinea-Bissau

by Jack Guy

Jul 20, 2020

© Fabian Plock | Dreamstime.com

Trends / Unique Itineraries & Tours

The Bijagos Archipelago is made up of 88 islands, of which around 20 are inhabited.

 

One of the biggest settlements in the archipelago is Bubaque, where you can find a small museum dedicated to local culture. The island is also home to Praia da Bruce, an isolated stretch of sand where you can relax under cashew trees. Rent a bike in the village and cycle to the beach for a few hours. Another highlight is Orango Island, where you will find saltwater hippopotamuses and amazing beaches.

 

The islands also have their own vibrant culture, including mask dances. For example, locals celebrate the harvest with the vaca bruto (wild bull) mask, which has real bull horns and leather ears. This is just one part of cultural traditions that remained largely unchanged for centuries due to the isolation of the islands and the lack of colonial influence.

 

A good way to see as much as possible is on a small cruise ship such as the Africa Princess, which offers island-hopping trips that last a week. It can be challenging to get around on your own, with unpredictable boat schedules and high prices. Many people travel Guinea-Bissau on organized tours, certainly another good way to see the islands.

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