What is Special about the trip


Carnival is the main festivity in Guinea Bissau. 
An incredible mix of African and Portuguese traditions, the Carnival goes wild in the afternoon : along the main avenue, colorful masks from different areas and neighborhoods start their parade, sacred masks, fetish priests in traditional costumes, warriors dressed in a crocodile skin and armed with arrows, initiated girls wearing strings of glass beads around their waist and contemporary masks made of papier-mâché. Hours of lively parades turn this carnival into an unforgettable experience, a real “fiesta popular” combining Portuguese influence and tribal African soul. 
 

Tour program:

  • BIssau Day 1

    Bissau, the capital

    Arrival in Bissau and transfer to the hotel. 

    Meals         Own arrangements
    Overnight     Hotel Azalai or similar (all rooms en-suite and with air conditioning)
     

  • Bandin Day 2

    Ancestors’ cult

    Living Bissau, we will visit Bandin the largest market in the country. Full day dedicated to exploring the region inhabited by the Manjaco. This ethnic group calls their traditions “Gendiman” and keeps them still very much alive. We visit tiny villages hidden in the forest to discover sculptured wooden poles called “Pecab” representing the spirits of their ancestors; they are kept in sanctuaries known as “Cab Balugun”. With the permission of the elders, we will have the opportunity to admire sacred wooden sculptures varying in age and styles. It is indeed a unique opportunity to enjoy tribal art in its original cultural context: the village. 

    Meals         Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Overnight     Hotel Banagam (all rooms en-suite and with air-conditioned, basic comfort)

     

  • Remote villages Day 3

    Villages of the flooded forest

    By car and by foot we reach some remote villages inhabited by the Felupes and Baiotes, both tribes part of the Diola ethnic group. They live in an isolated ecosystem where, thanks to their complex “tribal technology”, they manage to desalinate the land and farm rice.  We will walk in a unique landscape made up of streams, salt swamps, flat lands, clay dams and rice farms. In this remote environment, some huge isolated Kapok and Baobab trees provide the shade to the tiny human settlements. Local people live in adobe huts built in a distinctive African architectural style: clay “buildings” supported by a complex structure of palm tree poles, surrounded by a shady veranda and covered with high wide thatched roofs, with garrets for aeration. The Felupes practice different ceremonies and the initiated groups include a powerful cast of female priestesses; rituals are generally announced by large sacred drums called “Bombolon”.  
    In the afternoon we will assist to ritual dances of the Diola sacred mask; rarely shown to the foreigners, this mask belongs to a secret society and the identity of the dancers is not revealed, it is said that the mask is animated by the spirits. Drums, dances and a colourful crowd will enliven the tiny village in the shade of larges kapok trees. 

    Meals         Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Overnight     Aparthotel Avo Anisa, simple in Varela NO TWN

  • Bissau Day 4

    Carnival!

    Bissau, the capital, is a small but intriguing city with its old Portuguese architecture and its huge fort dating back to the Slave Trade period. It is in the afternoon that the carnival goes wild - along the main avenue  colorful masks from different areas and different “barrio” (neighborhoods) start their parade: sacred traditional masks, warriors armed with arrows and dressed in a crocodile skin, contemporaneous masks made of papier-mâché, all surrounded by initiated girls only wearing strings of pearls around their waist… Hours of lively parade, turning this carnival into an unforgettable experience, a real “fiesta popular” combining the Portuguese influence with the cheerful African spirit.

     

    Meals         Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Overnight     Hotel Azalai or similar (air conditioned rooms with en-suite facilities) 

  • Bissau Day 5

    Reminiscent of colonial time

    Morning spent discovering the magical and animistic traditions of the intriguing Pepel people. In this region the forest hides a fetish endowed with feared powers: only the initiated young men can carry it on their shoulders… 

    We drive to Quinhamel to visit of a traditional healer specialized in the treatment of bone injures. He will show us the herbals and traditional medicaments and explain us his way of proceeding and how he became a “healer”.
    Visit of an old-style local rum distillery (Cana) dating back to the old colonial days and walk across a cashew nuts plantation, the main export product of the country. 

    Finally, we are back to Bissau to enjoy the last vibes of the carnival. We will stroll around Bissau-Vehlo: the lively old quarter with its sleepy streets and alleys. Here we will be amazed by the interesting Portuguese architecture which gives Bissau an atmosphere that reminds us of Portugal back in the days. Old wooden café where to drink Portuguese wine and watch Portuguese news. Or an open-air restaurant where to drink the best mojito in town.

     

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Overnight: Azalai hotel (all rooms en-suite and with aircon)

  • Bolama Day 6

    The ghost capital

    Aboard a speedboat, we start our sailing to discover the Bijagos Archipelago with its remote islands and isolated human settlements. The Bijagos Archipelago is located approximately 40 miles off-shore and, with its 88 islands (of which only 21 are permanently inhabited), is the largest archipelago in Africa. With its wild and pristine landscapes, its genuine tribal culture and its unique fauna, Bijagos is a “geographical jewel”. 
    Due to the remoteness of the destination, the lack of transportation and the deep attachment to the local traditions, the Bijagos inhabitants have been little influenced by the external world: during ceremonies women still wear the saiya - a traditional skirt made of straw - and the rhythm of life in villages is given by initiations and secret ceremonies – for example young men have to go through a seven-year initiation rite during which they live in a “convent” without any contact with women..

    Our first stop will be Bolama Island, the former capital of Portuguese Guinea from 1871 to 1941, before it was moved to Bissau. When the Portuguese left, native people came to live in the town which is now falling apart and is partly invaded by tropical vegetation. It was originally built following the plans of a «Castrum Romanum» (roman citadel) so today we can witness its large sunny lethargic avenues, its empty squares, its dry fountains, its bush-like gardens and its charming administrative buildings in neo Palladian style. In the Governor’s Palace we can still admire columns in the classic style … where now goats graze! Bolama, although inhabited, is plunged in the fairy-tale atmosphere of a ghost town.

    Meals       Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Overnight     Hotel Ponta Anchaca or similar (ocean front comfortable bungalows en-suite with air conditioning, private wild beach, sea water swimming pool, spectacular bar and gastronomic restaurant on stilts).  

  • Rubane Island Day 7

    Bijagos Islands

    Morning boat excursion on Soga bay where we will walk to the villages on the island. 

    We continue to Bubaque.
    Visit of the village, the largest one in the archipelago and the only one connected to the continent by a ferry once a week: unpaved alleys, a tiny colorful market, local bars and traders; quite interesting also the ethnographic museum dedicated to the Bijagos culture.

    We will take the time to wonder around and see if there are any traditional celebrations.
    All in all, the discovery of the Bijagos islands will give you a great opportunity to have an insight into the remote life on the islands. Having the chance to see how people still live making little use of the modern technology and at the same time be part of the lay-back atmosphere that characterizes the islands and the entire country, a beautiful mix between Portuguese and African style.
    Return to our comfortable base in Rubane Island. 

    Meals             Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Overnight     Hotel Ponta Anchaca or similar 

  • Rubane Island Day 8

    Beach and relax

    Time to relax on the beach or to discover the lush vegetation and villages of the island.

    On request excursion to Orango island to watch hippos (the vision is not guaranteed) and the village of Okina Pamapa.

    Optional: game fishing

    Meals         B – L - D
    Overnight     Hotel Ponta Anchaca or similar 
     

  • Bissau Day 9

    Тransfer to the airport

    Relax on the beach

    Arrival by speedboat in Bissau, the actual capital of the country. Here a vehicle will be waiting to take us to the hotel for the last shower.

    In the evening transfer to the airport for the flight out.

    Meals         B – L 
    Day-use     Rooms in day-use till 18.00 (all rooms en-suite and with air conditioning)

• main festivity in Guinea Bissau
• incredible mix of African and Portuguese traditions

• colorful masks from different areas

• remote villages inhabited by the Felupes and Baiotes

• itual dances of the Diola sacred mask

• drums, dances and a colourful crowd

• spent discovering the magical and animistic traditions of the intriguing Pepel people

• Bolama Island, the former capital of Portuguese Guinea 

• discovery of the Bijagos islands 

Countries

Guinea Bissau

Program cost per person in 1/2 dbl accomodation - double room


Based on 6+ people 2600 EUR
Based on 2/5 people 3050 EUR

Surcharge for single occupancy


Surcharge for single room 387 EUR

Included


  • Assistance at Dakar airport upon arrival and Bissau airport upon departure
  • Transfers and tour in a great variety of 8 different transports, each fitting the different geographical environment, allowing maximum interaction with the local peoples,     comfort and fun: minibuses/microbuses, 4WD vehicles, local calash (private use), local bush taxi called “taxi brousse” (private use), donkey chariot, local motor boat (private   use), speedboat fitted for ocean crossing to the Bijagos Archipelago. 
  • Tour Leader (languages spoken: English, French, Italian and Spanish)
  • Tours and visits as per the programme 
  • Accommodation in standard rooms/bungalows/permanent tents as per itinerary
  • All meals as described, from breakfast of day 2 to lunch of day 14. 
  • Mineral water in the bus/car/boat during the visits, up to 1 bottle a day. 
  • Entrance fees to parks, concessions, protected areas and cultural sites, festival and events as in the program.
  • Pass for carnival when applicable
  • First Aid box
  • All service charges and taxes
     

Not included


•    International flights to Dakar and from Bissau
•    Visa fees 
•    Mineral water and drinks at restaurants and hotels.  
•    Portage
•    Fees for personal photos and videos
•    Personal insurance (compulsory). 
•    Tips for drivers, guides and hotel staff
•    Any item of personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.
•    Whatever is not mentioned as included
 

Information


•    VISAS: single entry visa required and obtainable upon arrival in Bissau airport (please advise if we have to arrange for it)

•    VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever – compulsory; malaria prophylaxis - highly recommended; cholera not necessary at the moment but to be checked upon departure

•    MEALS: lunch, picnic or at local restaurants (tourist menus); dinner at the hotel restaurant (tourist menu)

•    LUGGAGE: Due to frequent transfer from vehicles to boat and wet shores, please contain your luggage in approximately 20 kg preferable in waterproof duffle bags.       when on the speedboat, passengers may get splashed by water or foam, we advise to protect any camera and electronic equipment.

•    TRAVEL INSURANCE: Not included. Mandatory for medical assistance, repatriation, material and physical damages. In the event of a claim, our liability is limited to the coverage of our local insurance. 

•    TRANSPORT: on roads and tracks by Minibus or 4x4, motorboat fitted for ocean sailing to the Bijagos Archipelago.
 
•    TIDES: with each departure, visits and itinerary could be re-scheduled as per the tides; all visits will be done but, maybe, in a different order.  

•    ACCOMMODATIONS hotels and lodges are always chosen with maximum care, however due to possible lack of availability in some hotels, the Tour Leader may have to replace some hotels during the tour itself with others of similar standard. In some hotels single rooms are not always granted. One hotel we use only has 8 rooms.

•    All our trips are designed to be flexible so that we can adapt to weather conditions, focus on the group’s interests and take advantage of opportunities that arise once there.  Meteorological condition can change or cancel some navigations and visits.

•    Considering the special nature of the journey, some parts may be modified due to unpredictable factors and are based on unarguable decisions of the local guide. Costs originating from such variations will be sole responsibility of the participants. Of course, the guide will do his/her utmost to adhere to the original program.

•    Prices could change in case of major changes in services costs, beyond the organizer’s will

Terms and conditions


Payment policy
A deposit of 30% is required at the time of confirmation and the balance is due  not less than 14 days before the arrival of guests at the destination.
If the reservation is made within 45 days of departure, the whole amount must be paid at the time of confirmation. 
Failure of the booking agent to comply with these payment terms will result in automatic cancellation of the reservation and all applicable cancellation fees will be charged. Bookings not secured by the appropriate deposit will be released. Kindly note that the amount of the invoice has to be transferred NET, with all bank charges covered by you.
  
Cancellation policy
In the event of a cancellation 46 days in advance the deposit will be refunded.  
For any cancellation received after 45 days the following conditions and cancellation fees apply:
45 – 30 days prior to departure                    10% of tour cost           
29 - 18 days prior to departure                     30% of tour cost
17 - 10 days prior to departure                     50% of tour cost
09 - 04 days prior to departure                     75% of tour cost
03 -  0 days prior to departure                    100% of tour cost