Cote D’Ivoire, a French-speaking country in West Africa is the world’s top cocoa producer. It produces more than a third of the world’s total supply of cocoa beans. To the English speaking world, Côte d’Ivoire is known as Ivory Coast. Côte d’Ivoire enjoys a tropical climate and boasts of French-colonial architecture and a long Atlantic Ocean coastline in the south of the country.
Capital Yamoussoukro is neither the economic nor the cultural hub of the country. The only site worth checking out is the gigantic Basilica of Our Lady of Peace – a near-replica of Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica. Besides that, Yamoussoukro has nothing much to offer to its visitors. Many people skip the capital altogether in favor of Abidjan – Ivory Coast’s economic powerhouse, transport hub and its most vibrant city. Located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, the city’s skyline is dominated by several skyscrapers and the futuristic architecture of Cathedrale St Paul and La Pyramid. Opened in 1985, Cathedrale St Paul is an innovative Roman Catholic cathedral with a unique design, while the high-rise La Pyramide is Ivory Coast’s most famous building. To learn more about Abidjan and its culture, explore its bustling markets and galleries and taste some of its street-food.
Around an hour from downtown Abidjan, Grand Bassam is Ivory Coast’s top resort destination and a favorite place for weekend getaways from Abidjan. Resorts are lined along a long stretch of beach. Another hour east of Grand Bassam is the resort town of Assinie – actually a cluster of three villages – Assinie village, Assinie Mafia and Assouinde. For hiking and nature enthusiasts, the mountains of Man and the rainforests of Parc National de Tai in the west are the best places.
With a coastline of over five hundred kilometers, modern architectural landmarks and nightlife of Abidjan and excellent outdoor activities, Ivory Coast makes a great destination in the region. However, keep in mind that away from the cities, understanding of English language is little to none. So learning a few basic French words and phrases is highly recommended.
To the outside world, Cote d’Ivoire is known by its English translation – Ivory Coast.