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Ivory Coast travel tips to help you plan your perfect trip

by Catherine Carey | August 27, 2023
Find out Ivory Coast travel tips and visit the The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro

A trip to Ivory Coast will allow you to discover a world of cultural richness, natural wonders, and immersive experiences. To ensure you make the most of your adventure, here is a collection of essential Ivory Coast travel tips that will enhance your journey through this West African paradise.

To travel to Ivory Coast you will need an Ivory Coast visa. You can apply for it online, if you are travelling to Ivory Coast for tourism and less than 90 days. You can learn more about how to get a visa for Ivory Coast with our guide.

Do I need any vaccines to travel to Ivory Coast?

The only compulsory vaccine for Ivory Coast is yellow fever. You cannot enter the country without presenting your vaccination card. The recommended vaccines are tetanus, chickenpox, Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Flu, hepatitis A and B, cholera, typhoid, polio, rabies, Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) and Shingles. Make sure to also take prescription medicine to prevent malaria.

Before your trip, it is recommended to go to the national vaccination centre to be appropriately informed about the necessary vaccinations for travelling abroad. It is also recommended to get travel insurance, although it is not compulsory. With some insurances, you’ll be covered for delays, luggage loss, and all medical costs should you be sick during your trip.

Do I need a SIM card for Ivory Coast?

Yes, you should get a SIM Card to use in Ivory Coast. To obtain a local SIM card in Ivory Coast, you can visit mobile network provider stores, kiosks, or authorized retailers. Major mobile network providers in Ivory Coast include Orange, MTN, and Moov.

One of the cheapest options is by Orange Ivory Coast. You can have a prepaid SIM card for 20000 XOF=$24 USD with 15 GB data valid for 30 days. You can also find Holafly Ivory Coast that offers an eSim card for $44 USD.

What to pack for Ivory Coast?

Some important Ivory Coast travel tips are in regards to clothing and what to pack for Ivory Coast. We recommend packing conservative clothes. Long skirts, dresses and breathable t-shirts are a must. Also, if you are planning on entering any cathedrals, you should think of wearing trousers and long-sleeve shirts and blouses. 

In the Abidjan or San Pedro area, attire is more informal and you may see more people wearing shorts and beachwear.

Some other essentials to pack are hand sanitizer, water purification tablets, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and insect repellent, especially to avoid mosquito bites.

Is tipping mandatory in Ivory Coast?

Tipping in Ivory Coast is not mandatory, but a sign of gratitude for a good service. It is more or less expected in restaurants, taxis, hotels and other services. In general terms, you can tip between 8-15% in restaurants, 8-20% for taxi drivers and between 2.00 to 5.00 USD in hotels. 

If the service is bad, you can tip below the recommended percentage or not tip. You can bargain in Ivory Coast anything between 20-50%, but keep it cool with the seller.

tips for Ivory Coast

What is the currency of Ivory Coast?

The official currency of Ivory Coast is the West African CFA Franc. This currency is currently used by 8 countries in the African financial community, but in the future, it is intended to be introduced in most African countries.

It is possible to exchange euros and dollars in the country's banks or in currency exchange houses that are in most tourist areas. Nevertheless, make sure to change money in the capital, Abidjan, before traveling around the country because changing money can be difficult in some areas. It is always recommended to carry cash because few establishments accept credit cards.

How to travel around Ivory Coast?

There are different ways to travel around Ivory Coast. Here are our Ivory Coast travel tips to move around the country: 

  • By car. The road network is well-developed in Ivory Coast, making traveling by car one of the easiest ways to explore the country. However, the roads aren’t always completely sealed. Some of them are in poor condition, and accidents can happen. Therefore, always be careful and avoid driving at night. As well as poor road conditions, you’ll also expose yourself to the risk of theft as highway robbers tend to operate at night.
  • By bus. The bus network is also well-developed, with at least one bus company linking every major city in the country to Abidjan. The bus station in Abidjan is called Adjamé. To be safe during your bus journey if traveling after dark and make sure to get a taxi to drop you off directly to the correct bus stand. Also, if the bus arrives at your destination before 6 am, stay in until the sun rises.

Ivory Coast tourist attractions

Here, we give you a list of Ivory Coast tourist attractions you must see in the country. 

Basilica of Our Lady of Peace

In the city of Yamoussoukro, you will find the Basilica of our Lady of Peace which is a spectacular basilica that imitates St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. This temple offers worship to the catholic religion.

Of course, it is not as busy as the Vatican and you can enjoy it much more calmly. It is said to hold more glass than all of France. In French, it is known as Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro. It is an architectural place of interest that you cannot miss under any circumstances. 

Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Ivory Coast with our Ivory Coast travel tips

Taï National Park

The Taï National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, it's home to diverse flora and fauna, including rare species like pygmy hippos and chimpanzees. There you can see several primate species, antelope, elephants, leopards, and more.

The park's landscapes range from dense rainforests to savannas and wetlands. The pristine rain forests are particularly noteworthy and worth exploring. 


One of Ivory Coast tourist attractions is Grand-Bassam, a historic coastal town with charming colonial architecture, vibrant markets, and tranquil beaches. 

Grand-Bassam is located just a short drive from Ivory Coast's economic capital, Abidjan. The town is divided into two parts: the older Quartier France (French Quarter) and the more modern Quartier Anglais (English Quarter). 

We recommend you to see the National Museum of Costume that showcases traditional Ivorian attire and accessories. In Grand- Bassam, you can also see the Governor's Palace, the Customs House, and the Sacred Heart Cathedra.

Comoé National Park

Comoé National Park it is known for its diverse landscapes, from savannas to forests, and it is home to a variety of wildlife. It spans approximately 11,500 square kilometers and you will be able to see with some guides the diverse cast of wildlife of African elephants, lions, leopards, antelopes, and monkeys.

Capitals of Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast has two capitals. While Yamoussoukro is the political capital, Abidjan is the de facto economic and administrative center and the largest and most populous city in Ivory Coast. 

You should definitely visit Abidjan for its modern infrastructure, bustling markets, and vibrant nightlife. It also has the Plateau district, the central business district, and cultural attractions like the Abidjan National Museum.

In Yamoussoukro, you will find the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace (Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix), the Presidential Palace and Presidential Museum (Musée des Civilisations). You can also taste some typical dishes of the area.

Ivory Coast travel tips landscape of Abidjan

When is the best time to visit Ivory Coast?

Characterized by a tropical climate, Ivory Coast experiences two main seasons: the dry and rainy seasons. In general, the country maintains an average temperature of 30° during almost all the year.

The dry season, from November to March, is a prime time to visit the country as the skies are often clear, humidity is lower, and the temperature oscillates between 29 and 32 °C (84 and 89°F). This season is ideal for outdoor activities such as exploring Taï National Park and soaking up the sun at Benie Beach Sassandra or Monogaga Beach.

The rainy season, from April to October, is also a good time to visit Ivory Coast because that’s when the country is lush and green. During the rainy season, visit cultural sites such as St. Paul’s Cathedral or the Basilica of Our Lady of Peacebird, enjoy colorful bird-watching, and explore the country’s many rivers and waterfalls, including the famous “La Cascade.”

Safety in Ivory Coast

Is Ivory Coast safe? Ivory Coast is not one of the safest countries in the world, but with some precautions you can discover all it has to offer. Some of our safety tips are:

  • Stick to the most populated and tourist cities such as San Pedro, Abidjan and Yamoussoukro. 
  • Be careful when you go for a swim due to the force of the waves and the risk of drowning. 
  • Avoid large crowds and demonstrations, as public protests can turn violent.
  • Avoid traveling to regions close to the borders with Liberia, Mali, and Burkina Faso.
  • Never carry large amounts of cash or valuable items with you.
  • Avoid nightlife or walking alone at night due to the risk of assaults.
  • Avoid oversharing in social media.
  • Taking photographs of government buildings, military installations, and certain sensitive areas is illegal.
  • Be wary of cybercrime, particularly in Abidjan. Fake internet friendship and marriage schemes are common in the country.

More Ivory Coast travel tips

  • Sample the local cuisine to your heart’s content, including kedjenou (a spicy stew made with chicken or fish) and attiéké (a couscous made from grated cassava).
  • Remove your shoes before entering a mosque or traditional home.
  • Learn a few basic French words and sentences, as French is Ivory Coast’s official language.
  • It is a requirement to carry your passport at all times. Check out all Ivory Coast entry requirements before your trip.
  • Stick to drinking only bottled water and avoid eating food from street vendors.
  • Craftsmanship is a specialized skill of the Ivorians. Don’t forget to buy an African mask or some typical ceramic souvenir to remind you of the area.