Travel Consideration: Guinea

Contributed By RealAdventures

Guinea is a developing West African country with minimal facilities for tourism. Travelers should make Conakry hotel reservations in advance.

A passport and visa are required. There is an airport departure tax. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of the Republic of Guinea, 2112 Leroy Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 483-9420. Overseas inquiries should be made to the nearest Guinean Embassy or Consulate.

Guinea has experienced occasional civil unrest in Conakry, the capital, and in larger towns in all regions of the country. However, U.S. citizens have not been targeted to date in any demonstration-related unrest. Instability in neighboring countries can create tense situations on Guinea’s borders. Regions bordering Sierra Leone are experiencing cross-border incursions and attacks on Guinean villages by armed factions active in the Sierra Leonean civil war. The Guinean military attempts to strictly control Guinea’s borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone. U.S. citizens contemplating travel to regions bordering Liberia and Sierra Leone should consult the latest Consular Information Sheets for these countries. Crossing other borders requires complete paperwork and visas and may be difficult.

In an effort to counter urban crime, the Guinean government maintains countrywide roadblocks from midnight to 6 A.M. Residential and street crime is common. Banditry near the Sierra Leone and Liberia borders has also been reported. Criminals particularly target visitors at the airport, in the traditional markets, and near hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners. Visitors should avoid unsolicited offers of assistance at the airport or hotels as such persons may be seeking opportunities to steal luggage, purses or wallets. Travelers should arrange to be met at the airport by hotel personnel, family members or business contacts so as to reduce vulnerability to these crimes of opportunity. Commercial scams and disputes with local business partners have occasionally created legal difficulties for U.S. citizens. The ability of the U.S. Embassy to extricate U.S. citizens from illegal business deals is extremely limited.

Medical facilities are extremely limited. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside the United States.

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Guinea is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Guinea's road network, both paved and unpaved, is underdeveloped and unsafe. Roads and vehicles are poorly maintained. There are few road and traffic signs. Livestock and pedestrians create constant road hazards. Drivers are poorly trained and road safety rules are routinely ignored. Nighttime travel is inadvisable because of the large number of animals and people on the roads. Roads and vehicles are frequently unlit. Rental vehicles with drivers are available from agencies at major hotels in Conakry. Bush taxis, although available, are not considered a safe alternative.

CURRENCY REGULATIONS: Western Union has an office off the Avenue of the Republic in downtown Conakry. Money transfers have worked successfully. Credit cards are rarely accepted, except at the two major hotels in Conakry. Credit card cash advances are not available. Inter-bank fund transfers are possible at the "BICIGUI", a local bank, but can be difficult and expensive.

All travelers to Guinea are prohibited from having more than 5,000 Guinean francs (about four US dollars) in their possession when they leave the country.

RESTRICTIONS ON PHOTOGRAPHY: Visitors are advised to restrict photography to private gatherings. Explicit permission from the Guinean government should be obtained before photographing military and transportation facilities, government buildings or public works. Taking a photograph without permission in any public area may provoke a response from security personnel or offend the people being photographed.

TELEPHONES: Several cellular phone services are available. A number of public phones operate by locally purchased phone cards. Telephones are available in Conakry and in other major towns and hotels. However, while privatization has improved the communication system, disruptions in telephone service are common

U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Conakry, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Guinea. The U.S. Embassy is located at 2nd Blvd. and 9th Ave. in Conakry. The mailing address is B.P. 603, Conakry, Guinea, telephone: (224) 41-15-20/21/23, fax: (224) 41-15-22.

As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Guinea, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Guinea’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Guinea’s air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 618-229-4801.

Domestic airlines offer services to most interior cities, often to rudimentary dirt landing strips.

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