What do you need to travel to Ivory Coast?
Also known as Côte d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast is a hidden gem in the heart of West Africa. Often overlooked by travelers, this off-the-beaten-path destination brims with historical, cultural, and natural wonders.
From traditional festivals and unique cuisine blending African, French, and Lebanese influences to rolling savanna, lush rainforest, and pristine beaches, Ivory Coast has it all. If you’re looking for an authentic destination combining food, culture, history, and natural beauty, this is the spot!
In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know before traveling to the Ivory Coast so you can enjoy the experience of a lifetime.
Requirements to visit Ivory Coast
You need a valid passport to enter Ivory Coast. Your passport should be valid for at least six months upon entry into the country. This means that if you’re planning to visit Ivory Coast on the 1st of December 2025, your passport should be valid until the 2nd of May 2026.
Most international travelers are required to apply for a tourist visa before traveling to the country. The visa is valid for a stay of up to 90 days. The fastest and easiest way to obtain your tourist visa is to apply for the Côte d'Ivoire eVisa. Alternatively, here’s all the information you need about applying for a visa to travel to Ivory Coast.
Travel insurance isn’t mandatory to enter Ivory Coast. However, purchasing comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended. This way, you’ll be covered for delays, luggage loss, and all medical costs should you be sick during your trip.
The currency in Ivory Coast is the West African CFA franc (XOF). Note that changing money can be difficult. Therefore, make sure to change money in the capital, Abidjan, before traveling around the country. Note that ATMs are widely available in main cities, and mobile money is becoming the norm via the M-PESA app.
Things you need to know when traveling to Ivory Coast
Is Ivory Coast open to tourists?
Yes, Ivory Coast is open to international travelers.
Do you need a transit visa to travel to Ivory Coast?
Yes, you’ll need a transit visa to transit through Ivory Coast. Note that this type of visa is only valid for 3 days.
Vaccines, health, and Covid-19 restrictions
Ivory Coast requires international travelers to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering the country. The definition of full COVID vaccination for the Ivory Coast government involves receiving two doses of an approved vaccine. Travelers who aren’t fully vaccinated need to show proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before boarding their plane.
Besides being vaccinated for COVID-19, you should also be up to date with the following vaccinations:
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Flu (influenza)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A and B
Lastly, make sure to also take prescription medicine to prevent malaria.
How to travel around Ivory Coast?
- 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. If you decide to travel by bus, this is where you’ll take the bus to your next destination after landing in the capital. To be safe during your bus journey if traveling after dark, 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.
Safety in Ivory Coast
While Ivory Coast isn’t a mainstream tourist destination, it’s a great place to explore as long as you follow the precautions below:
- 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.
- As you should do in any country, keep a copy of your passport and other important documents in a safe place.
- Stay informed about the local political situation.
- Avoid discussing sensitive topics.
- Avoid oversharing on social media.
- Dress conservatively and respect local customs and traditions.
- 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.
- Avoid walking alone at night.
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.
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 the stunning 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.”
Travel tips for Ivory Coast
- When in the country, plan a trip to the spectacular Taï National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to diverse wildlife, including chimpanzees, elephants, and leopards.
- Explore Abidjan, its vibrant nightlife, marketplaces, and incredible cultural attractions.
- Explore the Grand Bassam Historic Town. It used to be the country’s colonial capital and features well-preserved colonial-era buildings and a mesmerizing beach.
- 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.