Much more then any other city in Ghana, Accra is a city where you should not trust people just like that when they want to sell you something. It is very important that you bargain a lot and say "no" often, otherwise you will be an easy victim for these "professional cheaters". A few places where you really have to pay attention are the airport, the beach and other places where a lot of tourists come. A few examples:
- At the airport you should really bargain when you need a ride towards the city centre. The very, very pushy taxi-drivers offer you a ride for a price that is way too high. It happened to me that I was offered a ride for 160.000 cedis ($ 16,-) and after bargaining I only had to pay 30.000. So don't let them fool you, and take your time to bargain!
- At "La Beach", the most popular beach of the city, you also are a certain victim of annoying persons. Here it are dozens of young salesmen that have their focus on the tourists. They start a nice conversation with you and seem interested, but at the end they always end up with trying to sell you their things: paintings, jewelry, woodcarvings and even drugs!
- And other important places where you should bargain a lot are all places where they sell souvenirs and in taxi's. For souvenirs you should never pay more then half of the price they originally ask for it, and for a normal taxi-ride you should never pay more then 20.000 cedis.
- Basically the only places where you don't have to bargain is any place where you can buy food: in restaurants but also at chop bars at the street and at other transport then taxi's: Tro-Tro's and STC busses.
I've been to Accra many times, not out of choice but through work. The whole place is one big tourist trap don't go there! It is full of con-artists, thieves, beggars and prostitutes. Every local that i came accross is always trying to take you for a ride with a sob story or just plain trying to con you out of money.
I've been to 2 beaches Labadi and Paradise, they are both rubbish dumps - literally. The sea is smelly and the 'white' sand is covered in shoes, rubbish and syringes.
What more can i say?
Unique Suggestions: If you have to go, get your self a map. The taxi drivers always get lost and always try to overcharge. 30000-50000 cedis is more than enough to get you from the town centre to the out skirts. Check the taxi before you get in to make sure the driver is not drunk, he's got petrol and if its night the lights work.
Go to ex-pat bars they are usually up to western standard.
Don't hire a car, complete rip off, may even have to hand in your passport and 1000 USD deposit.
The 5 and 4 star hotels are generally clean and up to standard, make sure your room has a safe.
You should always be very careful when you are dealing with the locals.Some of them are cunning indeed.Avoid doing business with people by the roadside and make sure the one are dealing with is a
genuine business person.
The airport is one big tourist trap.
DON'T let anyone help you with your bags (most of them are thieves).
Don't get unmarked taxis from the Airport, they will charge you in dollars. If you have to get a taxi from the airport, find a Ghanaian (or someone who knows the ropes) on your flight and ask them if they will organise it for you - that is sound advice trust me!
be aware of the souvenir salespeople....they will grab at you...push you around....
they are serious....and hang out near the bank machines waiting for you to have cash!!!!
simply say no if you are not interested...and dont get angry with them....just keep cool and have fun...even if they follow you...and they will...
my girlfriend was furious one day....after we haggled half an hour for paintings...
be sure to see osu in accra though....it can be really fun....and boasts one of accras only
western style grocery stores. enjoy!!!!!!!!
the pressure to buy is intense.....ive never felt anything like it....
every time i go....i leave with just enough for my cab. hahahaha!!!
but the stuff in amazing....just say no...
and keep walking....remember...if you look...
that's it...there ON you! good luck!