Tourism is picking up in the Ivory Coast, helped by the incredibly friendly and welcoming nature of Ivorians. That’s great news for the country, which had long been a popular beach destination for French sun-seekers. Now Abidjan and the rest of the country are on the way up, and travellers in the know are returning.
Most high-end resorts are outside of the city, promising peaceful surroundings and lovely beaches. Many of them offer the kind of African paradise that tourists crave, with recreational activities like yachting, windsurfing and kayaking.
The country is home to more than 60 ethnic groups, but a basic understanding of French will get you around pretty well.
TimeAbidjan is constantly in line with GMT and has no Daylight Saving Time.
The Côte d'Ivoire currency is the Franc CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine). It is linked to the Euro at 1 Euro = 655.957 Franc CFA. Travellers with Euros get the best rate of exchange.
There are a few ATMs, but some only accept Visa cards. Credit cards are accepted in larger hotels and better restaurants, but most shops require cash.
WeatherThis is tropical monsoon territory all year round, with May to July the peak rainy season. The rest of the time is mainly warm and wet.
ElectricityElectrical sockets are the two-pinned European type with a voltage of 220-240V.
CommunicationsMobile network operators include MTN and Orange and the networks are decent. Internet access isn’t speedy, but most hotels and a growing number of restaurants and bars now offer wifi.
Public transportAbidjan is a big city with public transport of taxis, buses and boats. Orange taxis are quite expensive, but are open to haggling despite efforts to introduce meters. Coloured taxis, in different colours according to their area, are shared and run certain routes around their neighbourhood. Buses are cheap but over-crowded and ferries will take you across the lagoon, which is a nice way to see the Abidjan skyline at sunset.
Airport to City Center
The airport is 16km from the city. The airport company recommends that travellers only take orange taxis or use a courtesy bus from their hotel. Car rental companies including Avis, Budget and Eurocar have branches at the airport.