Abidjan is the biggest and most important city of Cote d'Ivoire. Formerly it was the country's capital.
The city is a major sea port. In 1995 the population was estimated at 2,793,000.
In 1934 the city became capital of the French colony Cote d'Ivoire.
Abidjan has regular flights of Air France from Paris, Emirates from Dubai (via Accra, no change of aircraft), Virgin Nigeria from Lagos apart from Air Ivoire, Kenyan & Ethiopian air.
The easiest way to get around in Abidjan is per orange taxi. They are not too expensive; a ride from Adjame to Plateau should cost around CFA 1000. From the airport to downtown Plateau should set you back some CFA 3000. The taxi's have meters but make sure that you always agree on a price before you get in. Many taxi drivers will try to overcharge whites but if you insist on the normal rate they will usually accept the ride. The best thing is to ask locals what the going rates are.
Even cheaper are the small white vans, locally known as "gbakas". They connect the different neighbourhoods and will cost no more then CFA 200-300.
Lastly, Abidjan also has some public transportation in the form of large buses that drive along fixed routes. However, the number of lines is limited and you have to beware of numerous pickpockets.
Abidjan is sometimes referred to as the "Paris of West-Africa". During the long and stable rule of the Ivory Coast's Godfather Felix Houphigny-Bouet the city of Abidjan has flourished. However, the political instability and the civil war of the past decade have taken their toll on the city. Neglect, low maintenance of buildings and public space and the mass exodus of foreigners have given the city an atmosphere of "lost glory". Nowhere is this to be seen better then in the famous Hotel Ivoire. Entering it is like taking a trip to the sixties; since its construction there have been no significant changes or modernisation to its interior and furniture. Too bad though that its massive swimming pool has weeds growing on the bottom instead of blue waters. Very nice is the public zoo. It really is a beautiful place with loads of interesting animals for just CFA 200, well worth this small sum. Also don't forget a trip to Bassam, Abidjan's no. 1 beach.
There are many places to eat Ivorian food, most of them on the sidewalk or on a small road side terrace. Make sure that you ask about the price before you sit down, in order to avoid lengthy discussions about the price when they try to overcharge you after the meal. The staple foods in the Ivory Coast are rice, cassava, yam and bread. Bread is usually eaten at breakfast or as a supplement to the meal. The cassava (manioc) can be eaten cooked whole, as a mash called plakali, mixed with banana (foutou) or in crums (atchiki). Fish is usually the cheapest meal. European style cuisine can be found in the wealthier neighbourhoods such as Plateau, Cocody, Deux Plateaux and Zone 4.
The number one place to go out at night in Abidjan is Princess Road in Yopougon. There are many bars to just relax and drink and also loads of dancings with live music or deejays. Don't forget to order some fried spicey chicken from one of the guys that prepare it for you right on the street!
For budget travellers staying in Abidjan, a good option is Hotel Banfoura in Adjame, near the bus terminal. They serve delicious French cuisine and offer rooms with a great view of the city for about US$10/night. The employees are also very helpful and protective of foreign guests. Another good budget place is Hotel du Nord, also in Adjame. The rooms have double bed, airco and bathroom for CFA 10.000 per night. Most hotels in Yamoussoukro are also brothels but there are some decent places to stay cheaply.
- Abengourou - A small town three hours north where you can have an audience with the king of Indénié Kingdom.
- Bouaké- The second largest city of Côte d'Ivoire located in the dead center of the country with a lively market and night scene.
- Grand-Bassam - About 45 minutes to the East and the original capital of the country with old Colonial architecture that is being restored and an excellent beach.
- Jacqueville - A small, relaxing beach town that sits about an hour from Abidjan with a short, 450m ferry across the lagoon.
- San Pedro - An old town about six hours West of Abidjan with nice beaches which serves as a secondary port city for the country.
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.