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The Bijagos Islands is an archipelago in Guinea-Bissau. The Bijagos Islands have been affected less by Western cultural influence than the mainland. Many of the smaller remote islands remain unspoilt paradises.


Map of Bijagos Islands

The archipelago is made up of eighteen major islands and a dozen more smaller ones.

  • 1 Bubaque — the most populated island and administrative capital of the islands
  • 2 Caravela Caravela on Wikipedia
  • 3 Formosa Formosa (Guinea-Bissau) on Wikipedia
  • 4 Canhabaque Roxa on Wikipedia — also known as Roxa
  • 5 Uno Uno (Guinea-Bissau) on Wikipedia
  • 6 Carache Carache on Wikipedia
  • 7 Bolama Bolama Island on WikipediaBolama is a town of 5000 people a short pirogue trip from the mainland
  • 8 Orango Grande Orango on Wikipedia — famous for its salt-water hippos
  • 9 João Vieira João Vieira (island) on Wikipedia and 10 Poilão Poilão on Wikipedia — best islands for turtle-spotting
  • Keré — a tiny island between Caravela and Carache. No people live on the island, there is only a single hotel. Fishing trips and visits to villages in Caravela and Carache can be arranged. To go there, contact the hotel, which will be able to arrange transport from Bissau.
  • 11 Rubane Rubane on Wikipedia — the Bijagós ethnic group consider it a sacred island; it is accessible from Bissau on a 3-hour boat trip



The economy is largely rural, with many families living from subsistence farming and fishing. There is some tourist activity, mostly boat charters from neighboring Senegal.

Due to difficulties of communication with mainland Guinea-Bissau that persist to this day, the population has a considerable degree of autonomy and has shielded its ancestral culture from outside influence. The Bijago language is spoken along with Portuguese and creole.

There is a high diversity of ecosystems: mangroves with intertidal zones, palm forests, dry and semi-dry forests, secondary and degraded forests, coastal savanna, sand banks and aquatic zones. The archipelago was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1996.



The Bissagos peoples produce many artifacts for daily use and ritual following a traditional iconography that is unique to their culture, and shows variations from island to island. Among the most striking Bidyogo art pieces are the portable ancestor shrines ("iran") and the zoomorphic masks representing cows ("vaca-bruta"), sharks, stingrays and, occasionally, other local animals. Traditionally-decorated artifacts are also produced for "fanado" coming-of-age ceremonies (wood masks, spears, shields, headgear, bracelets), daily activities (fishing, agriculture) and personal use (stools, basketry, foodware). Its unique aesthetics make Bidyogo art easily distinctive from other African tribal arts.

Get in

  • 1 Bubaque Airport (BQE  IATA). serves the city of Bubaque. Bubaque Airport (Q1257520) on Wikidata Bubaque Airport on Wikipedia. The runway is all dirt, so don't expect a smooth landing. Air Bijagos is the only one that serves the airport, as of 2024 , and it's unclear how frequently they fly, though they advertise flights on most days for about CFA90,000 each way.
  • Boat is the most common way to get to the islands, all departing from the port in Bissau. The overcrowded local pirogues are around CFA3,000, but they can be very slow and unpleasant depending on conditions. Consulmar Bissau is a Spanish company that offers regular and reliable boat service. They have a scheduled boat that goes once per week in each direction, but during the dry season they have frequent fast boats if there's enough demand (which there usually is) for CFA30,000 each way. These fast boats take 90-150 minutes to reach Bubaque/Rubane, depending on conditions.

Get around


Motorised canoes or the bigger but safer boats are the best ways to move between the various islands.




  • Boating is a popular activity in the Bijagos Islands.
  • There are plenty of beaches on Bubaque Island, many of which are largely untouched by mass tourism.


  • 1 Saldo Mar Restaurant, Bubaque, +245 955 496 826.




  • Les Dauphins (Bubaque), +33 1 42 89 32 64.
  • 1 Africa Princess, Island of Canhabaque (Port of Bissau), +221 77 645 7529, +245 517 8356, . Check-in: synchronized with the flights arrivals, check-out: synchronized with the flights departures. This is a motorized catamaran with 4 cabins with independent WC and air conditioning that tours the two Bijagos National Parks every week in the dry season. With a set of 5 boats and good skippers, is ideal for itinerant fishing, nature and ethnic tours.
  • 2 Hotel Bijagós-Kéré, Kéré Island, +245 96 679 49 65. This hotel sits on its own islet, and offers fishing and eco-tourism. African-style bungalows with quality beds, mosquito nets and toilets in the majority of the bedrooms. You can also enjoy a big terrace with a living room and sea view. Restaurants and bar.
  • Orango Park Hotel (Orango Grande).
  • Chez Claude (João Vieira), +245-6179577, +245-6661037.
  • Decouverte (Keŕe).
  • Le Tubaron (Rubane).
  • Lodge Ponta anchaca (Rubane).
  • Hotel Acunda (Acunda). There is a fishing lodge at Acunda. Basic facilities, good fishing boats and skippers. Is an excellent base for fishing the outermost islands and marks.


  • 3 Hôtel Kasa Afrikana, Bubaque, +245 956 289 868, +245 724 33 05, . It has a sports fishing club with guides to help get you to the fishing hotspots.
  • 4 Bubaque Island Hotel (at Bruce beach on the southern side of the island, a 35-minute drive from central Bubaque), +245 966 927 421.
  • Hotel do Carlos Ar Petyt, Bubaque +245 966 447 875.
  • Hotel Calypso Rue de Paris, Bubaque +245 955 949 207.
  • Cajou Lodge, Bubaque +245 966 333 329. Air-conditioned rooms in the evenings thanks to a generator, and can arrange activities both on Bubaque and on surrounding islands.

Stay safe


Watch out for the Nile crocodiles and saltwater hippos in the marshes.

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