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Porto-Novo

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Dec 16, 2021

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

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Porto Novo is the capital of Benin. 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.

Map of Porto-Novo

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

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.

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.

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.

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