Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Last updated: ET
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Côte d’Ivoire - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Côte d’Ivoire due to crime.
Borders with Mali and Burkina Faso - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the following regions, within 50 km of the borders with Mali and Burkina Faso, due to the risk of terrorist activity:
- Bounkani, including Comoé National Park
Border with Liberia - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the following regions, within 25 km of the border with Liberia, due to crime, insecurity and recurrent inter-community conflicts:
- San Pedro
Safety and security
Region bordering Liberia
Rogue security forces and other armed groups engage in banditry and extortion in the western regions. Clashes between armed groups and the security forces have taken place in the area.
Regions bordering Mali and Burkina Faso
There is a heightened risk of terrorist activity due to the presence of armed groups and militias in the northern border areas. Clashes between armed groups and security forces could take place in the area.
The level of crime (violent crime, car theft, armed robbery, etc.) is high. The majority of crimes against foreigners are non-violent situation crimes (pickpocketing, theft of unattended property). Be vigilant, particularly in the neighbourhoods of Abobo, Adjamé, Treichville, Yopougon and Attacoubé due to a high level of crime. Avoid driving at night in these neighbourhoods.
Refrain from crossing the Charles-de-Gaulle, Henri-Konan-Bédié and Félix-Houphouet-Boigny bridges by foot, even in broad daylight, because of the risk of assault. In the evening, it is recommended to avoid walking, including in the Plateau district, after offices and shops have closed.
Crime levels are higher at night. Be especially vigilant in the evening in festive neighbourhoods such as Zone 4, where nightclubs, restaurants and bushes are located due to the increased risk of assault.
Demonstrations occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
In recent years, various social or protest movements have rocked Abidjan and other cities in Côte d'Ivoire. In addition to disrupting traffic, these demonstrations can occasionally lead to violent confrontations with law enforcement.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Exercise caution
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
Criminal activity is the main threat to your safety and security in Côte d’Ivoire. In Abidjan and other cities in the country, you could be the target of crime of opportunity such as purse snatching. Petty criminals will use force when faced with resistance.
Burglaries, break-ins and violent assaults are also frequent. Car theft occurs. Luxury and four-wheel drive vehicles are targets of choice. Keep your vehicle’s doors locked and windows closed at all times.
Crime increases significantly at night. Be especially careful after sunset, and avoid travel late at night.
- Avoid showing signs of affluence, such as wearing jewellery, and carrying large sums of cash
- Keep valuables and bags out of sight
- Vary your schedule and travel patterns
- Carry certified photocopies of your identification and travel documents
Highway robbers are armed criminals operating mainly in rural areas, who assault passengers in private cars or public transport. They set up roadblocks to intercept vehicles or force vehicles to stop at gunpoint.
Although this phenomenon has become much less common, incidents occur regularly along primary and secondary roads. These criminals are particularly active in agricultural production areas (cocoa and cashew nuts) or gold washing. They operate at any time of the day, including at night.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Côte d’Ivoire due to the threat of terrorism. Although Côte d’Ivoire has experienced only one terrorist attack on its territory, killing 20 people in March 2016 in Grand-Bassam (a beach resort located some 40 kilometres from the capital), the terrorist threat is real. The risk is particularly high in Abidjan and in the northern regions along the borders with Mali and Burkina Faso where terrorist groups have been operating for some years.
In Abidjan and urban centres, the following areas could be targeted:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship, airports, stations (bus/train/boat)
- public areas frequented by foreigners, such as restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other tourist destinations
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Caution should be exercised, as road safety is one of the major risks in Côte d'Ivoire. It has an extensive road system, including a two-lane highway linking Abidjan to Yamoussoukro. Main roads are generally paved. Side roads are laterite roads (earth roads). The general condition of the road system varies greatly from one area to another. Many road sections are difficult to drive on because of poor road conditions, with potholes and deformities in some places.
Road accidents, often fatal, are common, due to poor road conditions, excessive speeds and careless driving. Note that the ability of emergency services to respond to an emergency is limited or non-existent depending on the region.
Drive carefully and comply with the traffic regulations, including the speed limit. When driving in a vehicle, doors should be locked and windows closed at all times. You should always carry your identification and vehicle documents. It is recommended that you avoid travelling after dark, as there is a higher risk of accidents or incidents.
Avoid using buses and other means of public transport, especially the "Gbaka" whose drivers are generally poorly trained in traffic regulations. Buses of the Société des Transport d’Abidjan (SOTRA) are overcrowded and robberies are frequent.
There are many taxi companies in Abidjan, most of them identifiable by colour, whose quality varies considerably from one vehicle to another. Taxis are frequently involved in traffic accidents. If you must absolutely take a taxi, either insist that the meter be turned on and pay only the indicated price, or negotiate the fare in advance.
Taxi passengers have been robbed and assaulted by drivers, so be very cautious. Do not allow the driver to pick up any other passengers on the way to your destination, as this may be a prearranged scheme to attack or rob you.
Avoid using informal taxis (woro-woros)
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Avoid swimming in the sea, especially in Grand-Bassam, as it is dangerous, even for excellent swimmers. Coastal ocean currents are powerful and dangerous. Many people drown each year.
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
Cases of attempted fraud are frequent. Victims of fraud or cybercrime originating from Côte d’Ivoire can report it to the Plateforme de lutte contre la cybercriminalité.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from Ivorian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Côte d'Ivoire.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa before arrival.
You can get a visa at Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport. However, you must first get a “receipt of pre-enrolment” online, as well as a “certificate of approval of the authority” (which is proof of authorization), before you board your flight to Abidjan.
Get an e-visa - Côte d’Ivoire’s official application service
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of yellow fever vaccination for travellers from all countries.
- Vaccination is recommended.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to arrange for vaccination.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Polio - Proof of vaccination required
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended for adults.
Proof of vaccination:
If you are staying more than 4 weeks in this country, you may need to show proof of polio vaccination when you leave the country.
Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination. In Canada, they are provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.
Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is caused by filariae (tiny worms) spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause a range of illnesses. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for lymphatic filariasis although drug treatments exist.
African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. Tsetse flies usually bite during the day and the bites are usually painful. If untreated, the disease is eventually fatal. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites especially in game parks and rural areas. Avoid wearing bright or dark-coloured clothing as these colours attract tsetse flies. There is no vaccine available for this disease.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.
Mpox (monkeypox) is a risk in this country. It is a viral disease that can cause serious illness in some circumstances. Risk is generally low for most travellers.
Mpox spreads in 3 ways:
- from animals to humans through direct contact or by eating or preparing undercooked meat of infected animals or coming into contact with an infected animal's body fluids
- from person to person through close contact, including direct contact with the skin lesions, blood, body fluids, or mucosal surfaces (such as eyes, mouth, throat, genitalia, anus, or rectum) of an infected person
- through direct contact with contaminated objects such as bedding and towels, or by sharing personal objects used by an infected person
Follow recommended public health measures and avoid contact with animals such as rodents and primates to help prevent getting or spreading the infection
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Medical services and facilities
Appropriate health facilities and medical supplies are found in Abidjan, but they may be expensive. Before commencing treatment, public and private medical facilities generally require an up-front deposit, a guarantee of payment or confirmation that the traveller has medical insurance.
There are few medical facilities outside of Abidjan. Air evacuation is sometimes the only option in the event of a medical emergency in remote areas.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Photographing certain installations, such as military sites, government buildings (including radio and television stations), the presidential palace, the airport and the Charles De Gaulle and Houphouet-Boigny bridges in Abidjan, is prohibited.
Art objects purchased in Côte d’Ivoire must be accompanied by an export permit provided by the Musée National (national museum).
You should carry an international driving permit.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Côte d'Ivoire.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Côte d'Ivoire, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Côte d’Ivoire.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Côte d’Ivoire by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Côte d’Ivoire to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
The currency in Côte d'Ivoire is the African Financial Community franc (CFAF).
Credit cards are accepted at major hotels, some restaurants and some shops. ATMs are available in Abidjan and most major cities.
Natural disasters and climate
In the southern coastal region, the rainy seasons occur from May to July and from October to November. In the central and north-central regions, the rainy seasons extend from mid-July to mid-October and from mid-March to mid-May. In the north, the rainy season is from July to November, and the harmattan wind blows down from the Sahara between December and February.
Severe rainstorms can cause sudden flooding and landslides, interrupt essential services and impede overland travel. You should exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the advice of local authorities.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 170 / 110 / 111
- medical assistance: 185
- firefighters: 180
Abidjan - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Abidjan and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
- Date modified: