Porto-Novo

Porto-Novo is the capital of Benin, located on the coast in the southeastern part of the country.

Understand

Porto Novo is the capital of Benin, but in name only. Benin’s second largest city of approximately 250,000 people is a nice change of pace from the bustling Cotonou and has many nice features. It is an easy one-hour car ride from Cotonou, and only 20 minutes from the beach. Porto Novo, named by the Portuguese in the 1500s, is still today showing significant Portuguese influence. For its size, Porto Novo has quite of bit of culture and tourist attractions. Ouando, a district 3km north of the city center, has a large market and pretty good nightlife.

Get in

By plane

Although the capital of Benin, one must fly in to Cotonou and take a taxi (600cfa) to Porto Novo.

By minibus or taxi

Minibuses and taxis go to Cotonou regularly and are cheap (600cfa for the 45 minute trip). You will most likely end up at the big market Dantopka in Cotonou unless you choose to descend somewhere before that. It can be quite intimidating getting out there especially in peak times. You will be immediately surrounded with people wanting to give you rides. They will grab your bags and start to usher you to their moto or car, so make sure you have a good handle on things before stepping out of the car.

Also, from the Porto Novo auto gare, there are taxis to Abomey and Lagos, Nigeria. For traveling north, head to Marche Ouanho and say you are looking for a car for your destination. Every hour or so, when filled, cars leave for Pobé and Ketou.

By boat

There are pirogues leaving from Porto arriving less-visited lake villages nearby. Ask around down by the lagoon, about 50m east of the bridge for prices. No fixed prices, but usually expect to pay around 2,000 cfa round trip.

Get around

Traffic isn't overwhelming like in Cotonou. However, like Cotonou, the best way and easiest way to see Porto Novo is by zemidjan. A full day with driver waiting on you should cost 5,000cfa maximum. Not bad.

See

The Grand Mosque.

The unique and perhaps most colorful building in West Africa is the 19th century Brazilian style church now converted into a mosque. A must-see.

Do

There is in mid- January a fete which celebrates Afro-Brazilian legacy is a large festival of food, music, and dancing; definitely worth checking out if you are around. Contact Musee de Silva for more information.

Ask around in Ouando, there is a decent swimming pool.

Across from the National Assembly, there are two nice parks with an outdoor patio/restaurant, and walking paths.

Buy

There are about four supermarkets with lots of variety. The big ones to ask for are Champignon, Paniere, Universe 7, all located on the same boulevard through town.

Eat

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under 600 CFA
Mid-range 700-3000 CFA
Splurge Over 3000

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Hotels Dona and Beaurivage have restaurants with both big menus and big prices.

Sleep

Budget

Splurge

Connect

There are plenty of internet cafes that work well especially in the town center. Prices are usually around 400cfa per hour.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, December 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.