Côte d’Ivoire is a nature lover’s heaven. While the political situation can make planning your travels quite time consuming, the rewards of doing so far outweigh the effort. Abidjan, the commercial center, is a high-energy city whose citizens love to party. The more rural parts of the country are nothing less than stunning, with lush national parks, idyllic beaches, and verdant rainforests.
The best place to begin your travels is Abidjan. One of West Africa’s most westernized and modern cities, Abidjan is a metropolis of skyscrapers with districts divided into business and nightlife areas. It's also the best place to begin your travels. While this Abidjan a great place to go out—the nightlife here is booming and there’s plenty going on at all hours—many travelers will move on after a day or so, ready to explore the country’s natural beauty. Yamoussoukro, the country’s capital, is often skipped altogether, although the city’s quiet streets have their own unique, otherworldly appeal.
Outside Abidjan is where Côte d’Ivoire comes into its own. The beaches at Assinie and Grand Bassam are gorgeous and welcoming, with Grand Bassam boasting a host of colonial buildings in various states of repair and plenty of locals who will take you out in canoes to see mangrove forests and exotic birds.
Hikers flock to Man, where the cool air whistles around hills that rival Ireland’s in terms of sheer greenness. Climbers can trek up Dent de Man or Mount Tonkoui, both of which offer beautiful panoramic views of the lush countryside.
Côte d’Ivoire also boasts some wonderful national parks, home to rainforests and an incredible array of flora and fauna. Taï National Park has several endangered species, including leopards and the adorable pygmy hippopotamus, while Comoé National Park shelters all three species of African crocodile.