Equatorial Guinea: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Equatorial Guinea’s most complete guide - Updated 2020

We have been working on the most comprehensive guide to Equatorial Guinea for a long time and it is finally a reality. In this guide, we have tried to add all the information that anyone requires to discover this wonderful country.

If there’s anything else you want to know about Equatorial Guinea, leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. In case you think we’ve forgotten something, let us know and we’ll add it. Remember than nobody more than us would like this guide to be as precise as possible.

mapa guinea

Equatorial Guinea is the only  spanish speaking country in Africa due to the colonial era that lasted more than 400 years. This small country is located in Central Africa between Cameroon and Gabon. Although its territory is divided into an island and continental region, both of them are worth visiting. Firstly, the capital, Malabo, is located on the island of Bioko; and secondly Bata and Mongomo stand out as the main cities in the continental region.

The country is very unknown for tourism. Is spite of that, it offers landscapes and a nature worth highlighting. Sadly, Equatorial Guinea is not where it deserves. So, consequently, we are going to explain you everything about this amazing country.

How to get a VISA for Equatorial Guinea?

The visa for Equatorial Guinea has always been a problem.  To end that, the latest government regulations have made it easier for tourist agencies. As a result, tourist agencies in Equatorial Guinea (including ours) should have no problem. Feel free and contact them for more information.

Below we offer the necessary documentation based on your country of origin:

American citizen:

  • You do not need a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea. However, you must fill out two visa application forms and send two passport photos.
  • For business related trips, you must present a letter from the company indicating the reason and duration of your trip
  • For stays longer than 90 days, you have to ask for a permit from the National Police Office in Malabo or Bata. Remember that you would have to justify that you have enough money to cover your expenses in Equatorial Guinea. For instance, you can submit an employment contract.
VISA for Equatorial Guinea

The rest of the world:

  • An original and valid passport. And in case you were wondering, photocopies are not accepted even if they are certified.
  • Two aplications and signed forms and a passport photo with each form. Don’t worry, they can be downloaded online on the corresponding embassy page, or at the same embassy they will provide you with a copy
  • Payment of 100 € non-refundable, as application fee.  Although this is true, this price can be increased or decreased depending on the country in which you apply for the visa and the exchange rates.
  • Certificate of criminal record. Very important, make it more or less recent. Even though, the embassy  does not specify a date, we recommend less than 6 month old.
  • The yellow fever vaccine is mandatory. In the other hand, vaccines for  cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis and tetanus diphtheria are recommended. Despite, borders control does not usually ask for it, we totally recommend it. Besides, it is not just us, but foreign ministries around the world.
  • In the event of business trip, talk to your guest company or your contact in the country to provide a letter of invitation indicating the reason and duration of your visit.
  • For tourism purposes, as we have told you before, contact any tourism agency in the country and they should be able to facilitate it (including ours).

Information obtained from the official website of the Government of Equatorial Guinea

What vaccines are needed to go to Equatorial Guinea?

Fiebre amarilla

By all means, it is mandatory to carry the international vaccination card when landing in Equatorial Guinea.

  • Mandatory: Yellow fever. It must appear in the international vaccination card.
  • Recommended: Tetanus-Diphtheria, Hepatitis A-B, Typhoid Fever and Cholera.

It’s possible and likely that nobody asks you for the card, but this does not mean it is not mandatory. Firstly, it’s for your health. Secondly, it’s not worth risking your holidays or your business in Equatorial Guinea just for not having the yellow fever vaccine.

How to travel to Equatorial Guinea?

There are currently five airports in Equatorial Guinea. However, all international flights are presently landing in the city of Malabo (SSG Code). As an illustration,  find below the list of countries with direct connections to Equatorial Guinea.

Unfortunately, and with the current pandemic, this entire list has been suspended or obsolete. It is totally advisable to review the frequency of flights with each airline. For this reason, we have provided you with the links below the image. With this in mind, contact them if you have any questions.

flights connection to Equatorial Guinea

Is Equatorial Guinea safe to travel?

The situation in Equatorial Guinea is generally acceptable and safe. However, as in any country in Africa, it is always advisable to take extreme precautions. Be caution particularly at night, with special attention to leisure places. In other words, it is always recommended to go with a reliable driver or taxi and above all it is advisable to avoid taking unofficial taxis especially at night.

Regarding the safety for tourists and the necessary documentation, on Bioko Island it is necessary to obtain official permission to visit some areas of tourist interest, such as the Moka Valley, Ureka and Basilé Peak. Generally, the tourist agency or tour operator of your choice will be responsible for this management.

With regard to the Continental Region, authorization to travel through tourist areas  issued by the Regional Tourist Office or, where appropriate, by the Bata regional police, is usually required.

It is also often necessary to travel to the islands of Corisco and Annobón. Remember, you must present the authorization to the local police authorities before boarding in your trip to Corisco by boat from Kogo.

Guinea Ecuatorial turistic permit

Transportation Risk

Taxi Equatorial Guinea

Public transportation in Equatorial Guinea is limited to taxi services. In case you want to avoid them, most likely your only way to move around Equatorial Guinea is to drive, rent a driver or hire an agency that includes transportation.

Below you will find our opinion on this subject. However, registered and official taxi drivers should not be a big concern.

Risk of natural disasters

The risk of natural disasters can be considered low, as none have been recorded in a long time that have caused any casualties. Even if rains and storms occur during the rainy season, the floods and wind have only caused minor material damage.

Bioko vulcano

Terrorism Risk

Terrorism in Equatorial Guinea

There have been no recent terrorist attacks in the history of Equatorial Guinea. So, no active threat are active at this time.

Risk for woman travellers

 

Equatorial Guinea does not pose any additional risk for women. While planning your trip to Equatorial Guinea, make sure you avoid the distant and lonely streets, both day and night. On top of that, don’t expose your valuable items or show money in public. In addition,  try to be accompanied on your nightly leisure outings.

Woman travel Equatorial Guinea

What currency is used and how to exchange money in Equatorial Guinea?

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The actual currency in Equatorial Guinea is the CFA franc. The Banknotes are divided into 10,000, 5,000, 1,000 and 500 FCFA. Currently, all of them are in circulation and are widely used.

Coins are divided into 500, 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5. In Equatorial Guinea, the coins of 500, 10 and 5 are practically non-existent and coins of 25 are less and less used.

Currency in Equatorial Guinea

How is the conversion rate to CFA?

Exchange rate at July 2020:

  • 1 euro = 655,957 F CFA
  • 1  dolar USD = 574,067 F CFA
  • 1 pound GBP = 721,240F CFA
  • 1 yuan CNY = 82,1077 F CFA
  • 1 yen JPY = 5.36384 F CFA
 
Above you can find the official change. In reality, the change is much worse. Currently, the Euro / FCFA exchange rate is at about 700 FCFA and USD/FCFA at about 600 FCFA. The positive side is that it is relatively easy to change any type of currency in central points of the city or in the corresponding banks.

Only in some banks cheques or credit cards are accepted. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with our entity or the corresponding embassy which is the possibility of transferring money if necessary.

How to move around Equatorial Guinea?

The roads in Malabo are mostly paved. In general, the country has enviable infrastructure compared to closest countries. But there are many roads in rural areas that are not paved, and rain can cause you some trouble. In spit of that, under no circumstances, can rain make any main road impracticable.

Transport in Equatorial Guinea

Taxis are available at a price of 500 FCFA for the urban territory in Malabo and from 300 FCFA in the city of Bata. But be careful, as some illegal taxis drivers can increase prices for tourists. Trully, this is nothing new, and unfortunately it happens in all countries, including the developed ones. Firstly, our advice is to ask or negotiate the price before you go up. Secondly, we also need to let you know that taxis are shared. Therefore, don’t be afraid if someone else get in the taxi with you, that’s normal.

Also, minivans are available throughout the city, but we strongly advise against it.  Despite, vans are the cheapest transportation, can be crowded, unsafe and its route is not very clear. In other words, you’ll have to ask for directions to save less than 300 FCFA.

Our recommendation, if you are a backpacker, you better arm yourself with patience to negotiate and talk to each taxi driver. It has its charm, and you will get used to it if you move around the city and surroundings frequently.

If on the other hand, you are a tourist who wants to enjoy nature and not suffer so much, we recommend that you contact a travel agency or transport agency. In that case, they may assign you a driver for your entire stay.

And if you are an exclusive tourist, you may be interested in renting a car and a driver to have at your disposal 24 hours a day.

Driving in EQuatorial Guinea

Under no circumstances do we recommend renting a car and driving it yourself. The way you drive is not like any other occidental country. To put it simply, driving can be a bit chaotic or wild.

Besides, GPS and maps are not very useful, as most sites will not appear. So, we are forced to repeat it again. Do not try to drive your own car.

How is the healthcare system in Equatorial Guinea?

Equatorial Guinea is a country with endemic tropical diseases, such as malaria and typhoid fever. It is highly recommended to follow the prophylaxis prescribed by a doctor and use mosquito repellent anytime you plan to leave the city to more wild areas.

At any Malaria symptoms like feel ill and have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, it is best to go to a medical center for testing.  It is key to identiy and treat those diseases on time. Surprisingly, these diseases do not pose any serious health problems when detected early. But if left untreated, they can become fatal.

Malaria in Equatorial Guinea
infografía https://www.sahum.gob.ve/

The hospital facilities, both on the island of Bioko and in the Continental region are perfectly prepared for this type of disease. Although it may seem the opposite, they are quite effective in treating local diseases.

In MALABO, in case of accident or illness, you can go to La Paz Hospital (+240 555 666 160) or Guadalupe Clinic (+240 222 573 173), with the necessary reservations. In addition, the “Castro Verde” Laboratory (+240 222 237 864) carries out reliable analyses on most tropical diseases.

Hospital Equatorial Guinea
Ambulance in Equatorial Guinea

In BATA, capital of the Continental Region, it is advisable to go to the La Paz Clinic, with the necessary reservations.

Where to buy in Equatorial Guinea?

The possibilities of purchasing commodities in Equatorial Guinea are unlimited. First, we can find public markets in almost every major city. This is the main point of trade for fresh food for the locals. You will find from vegetables to bush meat. Everything can be found in a good market.

Because of the elevated popularity of the public markets,  different stalls  have been established around this area. In fact, this small shops sell the rest of things needed for the house. 

As for big supermarket, the followings stand out:

Martinez hermanos supermercado Malabo

Clearly the most prominent distributor and the preferred by a large majority. For this reason, Martinez Hermanos has been in the country for many years offering  mainly Spanish products. Note that, there are several centres in all major cities and small warehouses in secondary cities. Besides, prices are slightly higher in comparison with Spain, but still reasonable.

EGTC

Another big distribution company across the country. Even though, EGTC cannot be compared with Martinez Hermanos, they focuses on products intended for Muslim citizens because of the large amount of spices and varieties offered very typical of that culture.

EGTC Supermarkt in Malabo

Online shopping

Moreover, as prevention measures against COVID19, several online platforms have been developed recently to purchase your products online.  This services definetely facilitate the existence of people  living in a remote area or difficult to access or simply you do not want to surround yourself with a crowd.

Among the others, currently stands out a plantform called Situcka, which has the main supermarkets in the city of Malabo. This idea has not yet been implemented in other cities, but little by little we are sure it will take shape.

compra online Malabo

Favourite restaurants in Equatorial Guinea

The gastronomy in Equatorial Guinea is very abundant and quite varied. Regardless your location, there are many high quality restaurants with all prices. Sadly, we can not make a detailed description of all of them. Nevertheless, we invite you to look at tripadvisor to get more information. Not only of those that we recommend, but of all the others, because unfortunately we left unmention many of them.

In the capital Malabo, we would highlight these:

L’atellier

It stands out for its great customer service and for a quite varied mix of Guinean and Western food. Located in the city centre, it is probably one of the most exclusive in Malabo. Surprisingly, on Friday nights different artists play live music which makes it very attractive if after dinner you feel like moving your body a bit. A meal or dinner for two people would be around 30,000 FCA.

Tripadvisor Review

Italian restaurant Bidji Binia

This restaurant has become a classic of the city of Malabo. It stands out mainly for its oversized pizza and to be honest, of a very high quality. After all, the service is good and the food excellent. Possibly the most outstanding restaurant in terms of quality/price. It is worth mention that a lunch or dinner for two people can be around 15,000 FCA.

Black spoon

To highlight a more humble restaurant, this is among our favorites. Blackspoon is located between Ela-Nguema and the Sipopo roundabout. They serve both African food and wonderful chicken skewers that have us in love. It is clearly the cheapest of all and a good place to have a traditional lunch or dinner for less than 10,000 FCA per couple

In Bata city, we would highlight the following:

 Manila Restaurant – Terrace San Miguel

An oasis of calm in the middle of the beautiful promenade. In this place you can enjoy exclusive food on the top floor as well as a wonderful place to relax on the lower floor. They have from menus of the day at an affordable price to the most exclusive food in the city. It is a place worth visiting if you are in Bata City. As a souvenir, you can photograph yourself with a real-size representation of the famous albino gorilla Snowflake from Equatorial Guinea.

As if that were not enough, they also have live music, the best views of the sea, food at home and celebration of events. Manila Restaurant, A luxury within everyone’s reach.

Manila Restaurant Interior
San Miguel Terrace Interior
San Miguel Terrace Exterior
Facade San Miguel Terrace
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La Ferme restaurant

La Ferme Restaurant is located in one of the most touristic areas of the city of Bata, the beach of Bome. The food and service is excellent.

This restaurant has spectacular sea views, and also has a large terrace with tables arranged around its pool. If while you wait for your food you want to walk a bit on the beach. Here you can do it.

TripAdvisor review

There are many more restaurants in the country, and many of them wonderful. The selection above is totally subjective and we understand that they may not be your favorites, the best or the most representative. But if you have a restaurant and you think you should be included, contact us and we’ll see what can be done.

Things to do in Equatorial Guinea

There are many things to do and visit in Equatorial Guinea, first and foremost all its islands. The island of Bioko , cradle of the Bubi culture; The island of Anobon, magical and totally unexplored place; Corisco and its paradisiacal beaches and we cannot forget the mainland with Rio Muni and Monte Alen.

In short, there are many things to see and perhaps not enough time to see everything on a trip. That’s why below we detail some sites in each region you should try to visit, from there and always according to your interests, you can plan your trip knowing the top places.

What should I visit in the insular region?

The insular region is subdivided into the following areas:

Bioko Island

It is the largest island in the country and where the capital, Malabo, is located. Therefore, as we mentioned earlier, it is your starting point on your trip to Equatorial Guinea, and fortunately for you, it contains a wealth of places and activities.

On the other hand, it is the area most prepared to receive tourism, so if you do not consider yourself a good adventurer, visiting only this island is not a bad option. Below is a list of possible destinations:

  • Moka City and surroundings:

    The truth, this city is capable of stealing your heart. First, you can meet and pay your respects to the descendants of the kings of the island. And then, it has a spectacular landscape and animal variety. Next we’ll put you some pictures because it deserves to be discovered by oneself.

Moka Church
Moka Overview
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  • Ureka Waterfalls:

    It is probably the most impressive place on the island. A steep descent in a curve where you will discover the impressive beach of Sobe. Then, you will admire the spectacular waterfalls and a walk on the most amazing beach. Be careful with bathing, because the currents are very treacherous.

  • Malabo City:

    Malabo is the capital, and fortunately still retains some of its magic. In open spaces, the promenade, the national park and the Sampaka farm stand out. If you are looking for architecture and art, certainly the Malabo Cathedral (still under reconstruction), San Fernando Church and the French, Spanish and Equatorial Guinean cultural centers should be a mandatory stop in your journey.

Malabo City
Promenade
Malabo 2
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  • City of Luba and nearby towns:

    Luba is one of the most important fishing towns. The city converses a special aura very typical of fishing villages. In its surroundings we can find villages of a beauty and a marble history, such as Batete,…

Luba road
Argelejos Count
Arena Blanca Beach
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Annobon Island

The island of Annobón is located in the Atlantic Ocean, in the Gulf of Guinea and south of Sao Tome and Principe. It is an island of volcanic origin surrounded by several islets visible from its wonderful beach. It also has a lagoon (Lake Mazafin) in the center of the island. Undoubtedly, it is a destination little known but it is advisable to visit. A place of fishing and absolute peace.

Best places in the continental region

The continental region is possibly where we can find the greatest variety of unexplored places and beaches. So let’s proceed with a summary of those that seem most important to us:

  • Corisco Island:

    This island is one of the best kept secrets of all Central Africa. Its vast and white beaches delight the few adventurers who dare to ride the cayuco to get there.If you are an adventurous expert looking for unique and exclusive sites, this destination has to be within your plans. We assure you that very few people have managed to get here.

Corisco Island
  • Punta Mbonda:

    It is one of the most beautiful villages in Equatorial Guinea. Its attractive beaches and nature make this town a place to breathe fresh air.

    In addition, we can visit the lighthouse, from which you can observe the city of Bata. This lighthouse built and used during the colonial period to monitor the coast, is one of the cultural heritage of Equatorial Guinea. As if that were not enough, Punta Mbonda is the city of one of the best-known Youtuber in Equatorial Guinea, the great Monanga Bueneke.

Punta Mbonda
Foto: http://luisnegromarco.blogspot.com/2015/02/punta-mbonda-el-faro-de-guinea.html
  • Monte Alen:

    This national reserve has always stood out for its attractive nature and for the possibility of sighting gorillas. Sadly, the passage of time has made a dent in this virgin territory. After the withdrawal of ECOFAC, the site has slowly faded away. Although it is not possible to spend the night there, it is always advisable to walk through its imposing mountains.

Monte Alen
Foto: https://www.seo.org/2012/05/07/parque-nacional-de-monte-alen-guinea-ecuatorial/

How long should I need to spend in Equatorial Guinea?

This is the million-dollar question, and to be honest,  you should spend all the time you have. In general if you like to have contact with nature, maybe 7 days on Bioko Island are enough if you like a quiet tourism.

If you want to know the continental region, we recommend at least 10 days to make the trip worthwhile, the same if you want to visit the wonderful island of Anobon.

In general we cannot tell you an exact number of days as it depends on your interests.

Tiempo en Guinea Ecuatorial
  • If you are looking to visit all the countries of the world. Maybe 2 days on Bioko Island and 2 days on the mainland will be enough to give you an idea of what the country looks like. But forget about knowing their secrets.
  • If this is your first experience in Guinea, and you want a bit of adventure and nature, with 7 days on Bioko Island you should have time to know the most important sites and observe a lot of nature.
  • If you want to know the whole country and its secrets, it will be necessary at least 2 weeks. This would include 7 days on Bioko Island, 3 days on Annobón and 4 days on the mainland.

Is it required to purchase a tourist package to visit Equatorial Guinea?

No, you don’t need a tourist package to visit Equatorial Guinea. But we strongly recommend you to have someone you trust in the country because it will save you quite a lot of headaches and lost time getting permits. 

After all, you’re on vacation, you don’t want to spend a day or two waiting for permission to go on an excursion. But anyway, it’s a totally personal decision.

Esperas en Guinea Ecuatorial
Photo: La vanguardia

We have already received requests of all kinds, from crossing to Cameroon in cayuco, trying to cross from Cameroon to Gabon through Guinea by truck, private visits to Annobón and Corisco etc…

We try to help everyone, either with us or on your own. We think the more people who knows about Equatorial Guinea, the better off we’ll all be. So we will just tell you our opinion without any commitment.  If you still need our help, contact us or leave a comment below and we will advise you on everything you need.

Phones of interest

Country code: +240

numbers of interest:

  • National Police: 113 and 114
  • Fire and Civil Protection: 112 and 115
  • National Committee to Combat Covid19: 1111 and 111
  • Police station: 333 09 3469 / 333 08 2393

 

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