Living in Bissau as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Bissau Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Bissau

Bissau is the capital city of Guinea-Bissau, a small West African country. It is located on the Geba River estuary and has a population of approximately 500,000 people. The city is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and unique architecture.

Tips for expats in Bissau

Visa requirements

Expats planning to stay in Bissau for more than 3 months are required to obtain a residence permit. The process can take several weeks, and expats are advised to apply well in advance. Visitors can apply for a visa on arrival at Bissau International Airport.

Language resources

The official language of Guinea-Bissau is Portuguese, but many locals speak Creole and several African languages. Expats who do not speak Portuguese are advised to learn basic phrases to facilitate communication. Language schools and tutors are widely available in Bissau.

Cost of living for expats in Bissau


Housing is very affordable in Bissau. A room in a shared house costs around $150 per month, a one-bed apartment costs around $300 per month, a two-bed apartment costs around $450 per month, and a three-bedroom house costs around $600 per month.


Groceries are inexpensive in Bissau, with a loaf of bread costing around $0.50, a liter of milk costing around $0.80, and a kilogram of chicken costing around $2.50.


Transportation is also affordable in Bissau, with a one-way ticket on public transport costing around $0.30. Taxis are widely available and are a convenient way to get around, with fares starting at around $1.50 for short trips.

Climate in Bissau

Bissau has a tropical climate with a wet season from June to November and a dry season from December to May. The average temperature ranges from 24°C (75°F) in August to 29°C (84°F) in April. The city experiences high humidity throughout the year.

Job market in Bissau

The job market in Bissau is diverse, with opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, and services. The city is also home to several international organizations, including the United Nations and the African Union, providing opportunities for expats in the development and humanitarian fields.

Healthcare in Bissau

Bissau has a limited healthcare system, with a few private clinics and hospitals providing medical services. The city is home to the Simão Mendes National Hospital, the country's largest medical facility. Expats are advised to have international health insurance to cover medical expenses and evacuation costs.

Transport in Bissau

Bissau has a limited public transportation system, with buses and shared taxis being the most common modes of transport. The city also has several motorbike taxis, which are a convenient and affordable way to get around. Taxis are widely available and can be hailed on the street or booked through a taxi company.

Safety in Bissau

Bissau is a relatively safe city, but like any other city, it has areas that are best avoided, especially at night. Expats are advised to exercise caution when walking alone at night and to avoid displaying valuable items in public. The city has a visible police presence, with police officers patrolling the streets and responding to emergencies.

Neighborhoods in Bissau

  1. Bairro Militar

    Bairro Militar is a well-established neighborhood located close to the city center. It is known for its tree-lined streets and spacious homes, making it a popular choice for expats and diplomats.

  2. Plateau

    Plateau is the city center of Bissau, home to the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly, and several government buildings. The neighborhood is also home to several restaurants, cafes, and shops.

  3. Bairro Luanda

    Bairro Luanda is a popular residential neighborhood located on the outskirts of Bissau. It is known for its large homes, lush gardens, and affordable housing options, making it a popular choice for expat families.

Attractions in Bissau

  1. Pidjiguiti Memorial

    The Pidjiguiti Memorial is a monument dedicated to the memory of the workers who were killed during a strike in 1959. The memorial is a symbol of the country's struggle for independence and is a popular tourist attraction.

  2. Fortaleza d'Amura

    Fortaleza d'Amura is a historic fort located in the heart of Bissau. It was built in the 18th century and offers panoramic views of the city and the Geba River. The fort is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

International Schools in Bissau

  1. Escola Portuguesa de Bissau

    Bairro Militar

    The Escola Portuguesa de Bissau is a Portuguese-language school that offers the Portuguese curriculum to students from kindergarten to high school. The school is popular with expat families and has a strong emphasis on academic excellence.

Expat destinations in Guinea-Bissau