Paga is situated at the border with Burkina Faso and is the most important bordercrossing in Ghana. And of course it is nice to cross it for a while when you are here. If you ask the officers of both sides friendly, they will allow you to have a look on "the other side" even when you have a single-entry visa. It's nice to see that suddenly all cars are Peugeots, the roads are even worse, the people greet you with "bonjour", the roadsigns are in a typically French style and the fuel is sold in Pastis bottles.
Your passport will not be stamped when you cross the border and you are not allowed to go too far and too long. But at least 15 minutes is no problem at all...
One of the very typical things you should see in the area north from Bolgatanga, are the houses with complex drawings on the walls. The village of Sirigu is famous for it, but in Paga you can see them too. Here you will see the local symbol, the crocodile, painted on the walls a lot.
People will offer you a guided (and expensive) tour through the village all the time, but along the mainroad you can see some of these buildings too. When I was taking a picture of then though, someone yelled at me that that was somehow forbidden, and so he told me in these exact words "next time you come here, I'll slap you!". Decide yourself if you want to take that risk :)
The mainattraction of Paga are the sacred crocodiles that live there. In two "crocodile ponds" there are hundreds of them. There are many different stories about how these crocs became sacred, but the central point is that one day the crocodiles promissed the people of Paga that they would never hurt them again, if they would respect the animals in the same way.
Eversince the two are big friends, and the crocodiles are spoiled by the humans. It is said that the animals wander around the town at night and even lay their eggs inside the houses. Anyways, there are no fences around the ponds, so the crocs are free to go anywhere they want.
When you enter the area around the crocodile pond, the commercial circus begins. Five people attack you, all trying to make some money. You start with paying an entrance fee of 20.000 cedis ($ 2,-) per person, plus a camera fee of 5.000 cedis. And then you have to buy a (living) chicken too for 30.000 cedis.
Then all of you go to the lakeside and a crocodile automatically comes out. You can take dozens of pictures with it, all in the standard poses the guide tells you, and then the animal gets the chicken, eats it and disappears.
It's quite a nice thing to see, but way too commercialized so it gets annoying.
The best way to get to Paga when you are coming from Bolgatanga is by shared taxi. Both from the taxi rank and from the central Tro-Tro station, they depart very often. You should really ask for a SHARED taxi, otherwise they will probably take you to Paga with a private one which costs at least 5 times the normal price.
It takes less then half an hour to get there and it only costs 15.000 cedis per person ($ 1,50). When you get to Paga it is wise to tell the driver where you want to get out: at the Chief's Palace, the Crocodile Pond or the border, because everything is quite far apart. There is no difference in price by the way.
When you want to get back it is the easiest to stop a shared taxi heading for Navrongo. There are hardly any taxi's heading straight to Bolga. In Navrongo you can change vehicle and take another shared taxi to Bolgatanga. The total price for these two lifts is also 15.000 cedis.