The Bijagos Islands Are Paradise, But Not as You Know It

Wealthy outsiders are on their way, too. I was told of fancy French holiday homes and more high-end hotels, so it’s only a matter of time before Bijagos is at risk of becoming a different kind of island paradise—one just like any other.

What to Do

Stay on Bubaque, enjoy the pace of island life, and laze on or hike along wild, deserted beaches. There is Bruce Beach, on the far end of the island, or a “hidden” beach that has its own Google map listing. Otherwise, get a boat to Orango to see hippos, or Canhabaque or Rubane if you want to explore the tabancas.

How to Get There

Fly to Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau. The island of Bubaque is just an hour away from the port by speedboat, or a little longer on the tourist ferry or local pirogue. Alternatively, if you actually are Elon Musk, there is a tiny airstrip on Bubaque fit for four-person Cessnas.

You can find boat schedules via Consulmar. If you want to visit islands other than Bubaque, you might have more success arranging a boat with a hotel like Ponta Achaca, or Bob Fishing Club. Failing that, speak to the fishermen.

Where to Stay

Saldomar on Bubaque is the best budget option, with some of the best food you will eat on the coast of West Africa. You can expect to pay around $15 a night. If you want more comfort, try Hotel Kasa Afrikana on Bubaque, or Hotel Ponta Anchaca on the Rubane, where rooms are more like $70 a night.

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