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What to See and Do in Guinea-Bissau

by Jack Guy

Aug 14, 2020

Bissau © Rui Vale De Sousa | Dreamstime.com

Tips / Destination

The former Portuguese colony of Guinea-Bissau is way off the tourist trail, and it can be a rewarding place to visit.

 

Most visitors will arrive in the capital, Bissau, packed with decaying colonial buildings. This is especially true of Bissau Velho, the old town, and other highlights include Fortalea d’Amura, a historic fort still used by the army.

 

Outside the capital, the Bijagos Archipelago is one of the main attractions. Formed of 88 islands, the archipelago is home to some great beaches and amazing wildlife. Look out for saltwater hippopotamuses on Orango Island, and sea turtle nesting sites all over the place.

 

The area is also known for mask dances, with wild bull dances used to celebrate the harvest. Learn more about the local culture at the museum in Bubaque, the largest village in the archipelago.

 

Nearer the mainland, Bolama Island is another intriguing place to visit. This former trading post used to be the capital of the country 1871–1941, but now lies abandoned. It’s an eerie ghost town you can explore on foot.

 

Another place worth a visit is Quinhamel, a city west of Bissau. It’s great for birdwatching thanks to its flooded mangrove forests.

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