Doing your shoping in alternate areas offers you a chance to do some refreshing business in Conakry. In the more crowded places hawkers will flock to you throwing everything from badmitten rackets to evening attire to chinese underwhere in your face. By moving off the expat trails and visiting places like the taxi stand in between Kipe and Aeroporte, you will find friendly honest people who are somewhat caught of guard by a "fote" (white person) visiting their market. Also reward the honest vendor with comments like "I can see that you are close with God - Je peux voir que vous êtes proche avec Dieu." Knowing where Mecca is located and other important aspect of muslim culture will also help. Don't be afraid to let people know that the honest vendor receives your business.
What to buy: There are so many things here that are so special. Fabric, Jewlery (Le Bijoutier in Kipe does excellent silver and gold jewlery - custom!), Sculptures (fabulous place in Aeroporte area - a road with several shops off it. Beautiful Ebony!), get your fabric made into outfits at a tailor shop - traditional african to western style stuff, shoes, and musical instruments!
What to pay: It all depends on political climate etc.
Downtown is the place to go if you want to get into the food shopping for cheaper than the bigger stores here. You can get anything you need down here, definately cheaper, but my suggestion is that you want to come down here with a local friend (if you have one) or just make sure your French is real good!
The thing I like is that you can practice your French, but the thing I don't like is that the second they see you (white face) they ALL swarm around you! That gets into my personal space thing and I just walk away or tell the vendor I am dealing with to tell them to leave or I will buy nothing! That usually works and it is safer!
Also, when you are through, you can walk across the street and have a tea or drink with a pastrie at Le Damie! A/C feel really good after arguing with the people here!
In the first pic, the area in the photo is above the market and where they have a ton of tailors!
What to buy: Everything from aresol cans to live chickens!!!
What to pay: Depends on what you want?
You will see many different things to buy as you drive or walk along the streets here. Everything is for sale!!!
Haggling is a national pasttime here and you might even have fun with it! Things are getting a little more expensive here lately, but if you look around and are not in a hurry, you can buy what you need at a decent price! Just remember to stay away from hotels!!! If you walk around downtown, you can find a multitude of places where you can buy wooden sculptures and crafts. The hammocks here are colorful and I have seen people use them, but they will cost you a bit.
What to buy: Conakry, as well as the rest of Guinea, has a multitude of items to buy. It all depens on your interests. There is everything from wooden statues bigger than you, to electronics!
What to pay: Sorry, it really depends on what you want!
This is a very big spot for wealthy locals and expats alike.
I have combined both shops because they both have pretty much the same stuff.
They have a variety of supplies from toothbrushes to cornflakes. They both also have a nice selection of wines and beers. Super Bobo's is a little bigger. A to Z has more "American" products but smaller store.
I have been down to the local markets, and honestly... after arguing and the heat, the price is not that different... especially for the white guy!!!
What to pay: A can of corn or whatever is about 1.60 USD. So the prices are a little high, but it depends on the name brand. Some of the expensive items are olives and wine.