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Côte d'Ivoire

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Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire
Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire - dream vacation

Boulevard Hassan II 08 Bp 01Abidjan

Novotel Abidjan
Novotel Abidjan - dream vacation

10 Avenue du Général de GaulleAbidjan

Pullman Abidjan
Pullman Abidjan - dream vacation

1, Avenue Delafosse ProlongéeAbidjan

Ibis Abidjan Marcory
Ibis Abidjan Marcory - dream vacation

Boulevard Valéry Giscard d\'Estaing 15 BP 594Abidjan

Onomo Abidjan Airport
Onomo Abidjan Airport - dream vacation

Boulevard de l\'AeroportAbidjan

Villa Anakao
Villa Anakao - dream vacation

2 Plateaux/ Attoban - Rue L151Abidjan

Hotel Tiama
Hotel Tiama - dream vacation

Boulevard de la RépubliqueAbidjan

Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is a country in West Africa, visited for its beaches, rainforest, wildlife and tourist villages.



  • Abidjan – the administrative center; other countries maintain their embassies there.
  • Yamoussoukro – although it has been the capital since 1983, it is not the administrative centre.
  • 3 Korhogo – Rebel HQ; otherwise idyllic, bursts with commerce during Feb–May because of flowing cotton and cashew trade.
  • 4 Aboisso – important milestone on the route connecting Abidjan and Ghana trade route
  • 5 Bouaké – the second largest city
  • 6 Dabou
  • San Pedro – the second port city
  • 8 Grand-Bassam – a coastal town full of colonial charm, often a retreat for local Ivorians seeking to escape the city life of Abidjan on the weekends.

Other destinations

Three National Parks are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

  • 1 Taï National Park
  • 2 Comoe National Park
  • 3 Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve



Côte d'Ivoire was home to several states including the Kong Empire, Gyaaman, Baoulé, and the Sanwi until it was colonised by the French in the late 19th century.

Close ties to France since independence in 1960, the development of cocoa production for export, and foreign investment made Côte d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states, but did not protect it from political turmoil.

In December 1999, a military coup - the first ever in Côte d'Ivoire's history - overthrew the government. Junta leader Robert Guei blatantly rigged elections held in late 1999 and declared himself the winner. Popular protest forced him to step aside and brought runner-up Laurent Gbagbo into liberation. Ivorian dissidents and disaffected members of the military launched a failed coup attempt in September 2002. Rebel forces claimed the northern half of the country, and in January 2003 were granted ministerial positions in a unity government under the auspices of the Linas-Marcoussis Peace Accord. President Gbagbo and rebel forces resumed implementation of the peace accord in December 2003 after a three-month stalemate.

Elections were finally held in 2010. The first round of elections were held peacefully, and widely hailed as free and fair. Runoffs were held 28 November 2010, after being delayed one week from the original date of 21 Nov. Laurent Gbagbo, as president, ran against former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. On 2 Dec, the Electoral Commission declared that Ouattara had won the election by a margin of 54% to 46%. The majority of the rest of the world's governments supported that declaration, but the Gbagbo-aligned Constitutional Council rejected it, leading to a political crisis and then a Civil War, which ended in 2011 with Gbagbo's arrest.


Tropical along coast, semiarid in far north; three seasons - warm and dry (Nov-Mar), hot and dry (Mar-May), hot and wet (Jun-Oct). The coast has heavy surf and no natural harbours; during the rainy season torrential flooding is possible.


Mostly flat to undulating plains with mountains in the northwest. Most of the inhabitants live along the sandy coastal region. Apart from the capital area, the forested interior is sparsely populated. The highest point is Mont Nimba at 1,752 m (5,748 ft).


Côte d'Ivoire has more than 60 ethnic groups but the Baoule are the largest ethnic group.

Get in


All ECOWAS countries, as well as Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, Seychelles, Chad, Singapore and Philippines citizens may get a Côte d'Ivoire visa on arrival. Other visitors are able to apply for an E-Visa online beforehand, which pre-approves travelers and allows them to receive three-month visas on arrival at Felix-Houphouet Boigny International Airport in Abidjan. Please consult the E-Visa website for further details and to apply. The cost of the visa is €73 (as of Oct 2022). It is recommended to print out the Approved Pre-enrolment to show it at the airport.

By plane

The Felix-Houphouet Boigny International Airport has daily scheduled flights to and from Paris with Air France and Brussels with Brussels airlines. There are also regular flights to other African capitals. The airport is a modern facility and increased security has shaken its old reputation as a place for travellers to be ripped off.

By train

There are weekly trains from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Abidjan, operated by Sitarail. Travel time for the full journey is scheduled for 36 hours but delays are the norm. The train does not feature couchettes or sleeping cars so it's an rather uncomfortable journey.

By car

It is ill advised to try to enter Côte d'Ivoire from Guinea, Liberia, Mali, or Burkina Faso. The Ghanaian border is fairly secure. If you enter at Elubo, you can easily catch a shared taxi to Aboisso and then a bus to Abidjan. There are about ten military check-points between the border and Abidjan so have your documents ready. If you do not have proper documentation of your inoculations at the border you will be forced to pay a small fine and they will give you an injection at an on-site clinic.

By bus

Buses run daily between Abidjan and Accra. The service is offered alternating between the STC (Ghana) and its Ivorian equivalent.

Get around

Intercity travel in Côte d'Ivoire is usually more comfortable than travel in neighbouring West African countries. The roads are generally in good condition and the bus service is relatively modern. The downside is the very frequent military checkpoints which add hours to a trip. Though the stops are a hassle, Ivorian soldiers tend to be quite professional and don't hassle non-French Western travellers. Soldiers in Ghana, for example, are much more likely to demand a bribe than in Côte d'Ivoire. Most Western governments recommend that their citizens steer clear of Côte d'Ivoire. This should be taken particularly seriously by people who are not travelling on French passports. An Ivorian soldier's attitude towards you will change very quickly when and if you explain that you are not French.

Travelling around Abidjan is easiest when you have your own vehicle. The roads are very good and the traffic rules are obeyed to the T, except some taxi drivers who steer everywhere on the road. Lane discipline and traffic lights are followed with rigour.

Taxis are a great and easy way to get around in Abidjan. Just look for an orange coloured car and flag it down. Fares are very cheap: USD2–4 depending on the length of the journey. Always bargain before you get into the taxi. Overall however, they are reasonably priced, unlike in Accra.


The official language is French, which is widely spoken and the main language of most urban areas. There are also around 70 native languages: important ones include Anyin and Baoulé (related to Twi), Attié, Bété, Dan, Dioula, Guro, and Senari. English is not spoken outside of major international hotels, so basic French proficiency is essential to getting around.


Fine beaches, tourist villages, rainforests and wildlife preserves are the principal attractions of Côte d'Ivoire.

  • Taï National Park has the largest tropical rainforest in West Africa.
  • Comoë National Park is the biggest and best-known national park in Côte d'Ivoire. It has plenty of wildlife including birds, elephants, giraffes, lions, monkeys and antelopes.


  • Football: the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations is hosted by Côte d'Ivoire 23 June - 23 July 2023, with 24 national teams participating. Venues are not yet determined but are likely to include Abidjan, San-Pédro, Yamoussoukro, Bouaké and Korhogo. The new national stadium, opened in 2020, is Stade Olympique d'Ebimpé (capaity 60,000), and internationals are also played at Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny (capacity 50,000); both are in Abidjan. The top tier for club competition is Ligue 1, with 14 teams, and a playing season Oct-May.



The currency of the country is the West African CFA franc, denoted CFA (ISO currency code: XOF). It's also used by seven other West African countries. It is interchangeable at par with the Central African CFA franc (XAF), which is used by six countries. Both currencies are fixed at a rate of 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs.


ATMs are generally available at banks in urban areas and accept both Visa and Mastercard.

Afriland First Bank seems not to charge a fee for withdrawing money.


Good eats are cheap and you can find very good restaurants in Abidjan. You should get a vaccine for Hepatitis A before coming but even street foods are fairly clean. Try the national dishes like "garba", "alloco" and "attiéké". Alloco is simply fried plantains, mostly accompanied by a spicy vegetable sauce and boiled eggs. L'attiéké, grated cassava that look like couscous but taste slightly, is often served with grilled fish and vegetables (tomatoes, onions, cucumber) and a must-try. Braised fish and chicken are also very good and can be found on every corner. The most established chain is Coq Ivoire. When you order, make sure that you let them know whether you want the intestines. You can always ask for extra vegetables, especially avocados, which are amazing during the season. Another speciality is the excellent "shoukouilla" a blend of charbroiled meat. For the ones who are not adventurous you can find the Hamburger House or the French restaurant at the Sofitel Hotel. Kedjenou is a spicy stew and is very popular.



Stay safe

Côte d'Ivoire experiences periodic political unrest and violence in northern regions, and it is recommended to contact your embassy or consult other travellers about the present situation prior to travel inland.

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth office as well as the US State Department advises against all but essential travel to the western regions of Dix-Huit Montagnes, Haut-Sassandra, Moyen-Cavally and Bas-Sassandra of Côte d'Ivoire at this time.

Most of the crime committed in Abidjan is by unemployed youth. Should you ever feel in danger it would be wise to seek the help of a middle-aged man. This older generation is often very contemptuous of young criminals and will likely help you out if you are being hassled. Generally Ivorians will recognize the dangers to foreigners in their country and will often be very protective of naïve travellers. This is especially true in the Abidjan neighbourhoods of Treichville and Adjame.

On 14th March 2016, militants killed at least 16 people in a gun attack on a Grand Bassam beach resort about 40km from Abidjan. The attack was claimed by al Qaeda (AQIM). Côte d'Ivoire had been previously listed as at risk of attack by militants and security had been tightened.

If you drive at night do not stop fully at lights or signs. Be aware of car jackers. Keep a brisk pace so they cannot carjack you. Travellers from the West might also want to take a security detail with them when visiting bars and night clubs.

Stay healthy

HIV/AIDS had once reached epidemic proportions in the country but has since seen huge improvements with an adult prevalence of 2.7% as of 2016.

Tap water is generally not drinkable. Stick to bottled water.


Although the country was previously referred to in English as "Ivory Coast", the country has requested that it be called "Côte d'Ivoire" (the equivalent in French). Pronouncing it "Coat di-VWAR" is close enough for an English-speaking person.


Exercise a high degree of caution; see also regional advisories.

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.

The political, economic and security situation in Côte d’Ivoire has improved considerably throughout the country. However. security conditions remain precarious in certain regions.,

Increased threat of attacks and kidnappings

In 2013, the French military assisted the Malian government in efforts to repel armed rebels. Terrorist groups in the region declared their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners. While the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has been supporting the transitional authorities in stabilizing the region since July 2013, citizens of countries supporting the intervention are still at particular risk, but all travellers should exercise increased vigilance in the region.


The security situation in Abidjan has greatly improved as a result of the more stable political climate. Crime is the primary security threat to travellers. You should maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in the districts of Treichville, Adjamé, Abobo and Yopougon. Refrain from crossing the main bridges to and from Le Plateau on foot, as pedestrians have been assaulted there, even in broad daylight. Do not walk alone in the Le Plateau business district at night once offices and shops have closed.


Criminal activity is the main threat to your safety and security in the major urban and densely populated areas. In Abidjan and other cities in the country, you could be the target of petty crime such as pickpocketing or purse snatching. Petty criminals do not hesitate to use force when faced with resistance. Burglaries, break-ins and violent assaults are also frequent, as is car theft. Luxury and four-wheel-drive vehicles are particularly targeted. You should keep your vehicle’s doors locked and the windows up at all times.

Crime increases significantly after dark; be especially careful after sundown and avoid travel late at night.

Highway robbers

Several attacks by armed highway robbers (known as “coupeurs de route”) have taken place on the main road from Yamoussoukro to Korogho as well as on the Abidjan-Yamoussoukro highway in 2013.  Attacks have also been reported in the west of the country, and can occur both during the day and at night. If you are considering travelling by road you should plan your journey carefully and take security precautions.


Demonstrations and large gatherings have the potential to degenerate into violence or deadly stampedes. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Road travel

The road system is relatively good in the southern part of country, and in and around the capital. Elsewhere in Côte d’Ivoire, poorly lit roads and vehicles make driving at night hazardous. Road regulations are not well respected and serious accidents are frequent.

Checkpoints set up by security forces are common, particularly after dark, and vehicles may be searched. You should always carry identification and vehicle documents.

Roadblocks set up by coupeurs de route (highway robbers), who are often armed, are fairly frequent on the country’s main roads, both during the day and at night.

Vehicles stopped in heavy traffic or at roadblocks can be targeted by smash and grab thieves or armed robbers. Doors should be locked and windows shut at all times.

Public transportation

Public transportation is inadequate in Abidjan. Buses are overcrowded and although taxis are available, they are generally in poor condition and their drivers are reckless. If you must absolutely take a taxi, you should either insist that the meter be turned on and pay only the indicated price, or negotiate the fare in advance. There have been incidents of taxi passengers being robbed or assaulted by drivers, so be very cautious. Do not allow the driver to pick up any other passengers on the way to your destination, as this may be a prearranged scheme to attack or rob you.  Avoid using informal taxis (“woro-woros”) and buses (“Gbaka”) on the road in Abidjan.

Air travel

The Abidjan airport is located 17 km away from Abidjan’s business district. Major hotels provide a shuttle service to and from the airport. It is best to make prior arrangements for this service. There is a risk of baggage theft at the airport, so valuables and electronic equipment should be securely locked in hand luggage. Customs authorities X-ray all incoming passenger luggage before it leaves the terminal. Customs and police officials regularly inspect luggage after it has been X-rayed.

Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.


Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.

General safety information

Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash. Valuables and bags should be kept out of sight. It is also recommended that you vary your schedules and travel patterns.  

Carry certified photocopies of identification and travel documents.


Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in this country. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.


Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.


Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.


Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.


This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is a serious and sometimes fatal infection of the tissue around the brain and the spinal cord. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers), those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings, or those travelling for a longer period of time.


There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.


Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).


Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers from all countries.
  • Vaccination is recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in West Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in West Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.


Insects and Illness

In some areas in West Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley feverWest Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.



  • There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.


Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in West Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities and supplies in Abidjan are relatively good but can be expensive. Medical facilities outside large cities are limited. Air evacuation is sometimes the only option in the event of a medical emergency in remote areas.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Homosexuality is tolerated but should not be demonstrated in public.

Photographing certain installations such as military sites, government buildings (including radio and television stations), the presidential palace, the airport and the De Gaulle and Houphouet-Boigny bridges in Abidjan is prohibited.

Art objects purchased in Côte d’Ivoire must be accompanied by an export permit provided by the national museum.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.


The currency is the African Financial Community franc (or XOF bank code). Credit cards are accepted by hotels and by some restaurants and shops. Credit card and bank card fraud is common. Traveller's cheques in U.S. dollars or euros and bank cards are accepted only in large banks in Abidjan.


In the southern coastal region, the rainy seasons occur from May to July and from October to November. In the central and north-central region, the rainy seasons extend from mid-July to mid-October and from mid-March to mid-May. In the north, the rainy season is from July to November, and the harmattan wind blows down from the Sahara between December and February.

Severe rainstorms can cause sudden flooding and landslides, interrupt essential services and impede overland travel. You should exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the advice of local authorities.

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