Republic. Gained independence from Portugal in 1973.
Head of state:
President José Mário Vaz since 2014.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Rui Duarte Barros since 2012.
Limited electricity supply on 220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.
Guinea-Bissau is a small coastal country just to the South of Senegal where the people speak a host of local languages and Creole together with Portuguese and a little bit of French.Until recently, Guinea-Bissau was well off the tourist route. Struggles for independence and a civil war in 1998-99 devastated the economy. Tourist facilities and infrastructure remain, in general, very limited but efforts have been made to encourage visitors to this undiscovered gem of West Africa.
Although a relatively small country. Guinea-Bissau's beaches and wildlife are exceptional while West African traditions and Portuguese colonial remains can still be seen. On the coast, you can find fishing villages surrounded by forests, whereas further inland the country is dry and dusty.
The islands off the coast of Guinea-Bissau (the Bijagos Archipelago) are of exceptional beauty. These islands are home to a group of indigenous people. Turtles, sharks, manatees, and a very special and very rare form of hippopotamus that lives mostly in salt-water can all be seen here.For those willing to go off the beaten track, Guinea-Bissau has a lot going for it.
Last updated: 29 September 2014
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
An outbreak of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria. If you travel to this region you should follow the health advice issued by the National Travel Health Network and Centre. There have been no suspected cases of Ebola in Guinea-Bissau.
Following a coup d’état in April 2012, Guinea-Bissau was run by a transitional government for 2 years. Successful democratic elections (legislative and presidential) were eventually held between April and May 2014. The security situation is currently calm, though much instability remains. You should stay alert to local developments, keep a low profile and avoid sensitive areas like military installations. Avoid any large gatherings of people.
See Political situation.
There is a low threat from terrorism.
There is no British Embassy in Guinea-Bissau and our ability to provide assistance to British nationals is limited. If you need consular assistance, you should contact the British Honorary Consul in Bissau, Mr Jan Van Maanen (telephone: +245 5522772 or +245 6622772) or the British Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.