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Honeymoon in Equatorial Guinea

The wildlife- and oil-rich Republic of Equatorial Guinea is a former Spanish colony in west-central Africa comprised of a continental region (known as Rio Muni) and a number of islands, the most important being the Galapagos-like Bioko. Its natural beauty gives it a number of compelling tourist attractions, yet the government has so far seemed more interested in exploiting Equatorial Guinea's oil wealth than developing its tourist infrastructure. According to africatravelguide.com, "Equatorial Guinea is a traveler's destination for those looking for a touch of the unusual in a land of rainforest, brooding volcanoes, scattered islands and atmospheric if somewhat unfriendly cities."

Monte Alen National Park

Lonely Planet calls Monte Alen National Park, a 1,400-square-kilometer preserve on the country's mainland, "one of the hidden gems of Central Africa." Its pristine rainforests are home to a vast diversity of animal life, including elephants, gorillas, mandrills, giant frogs and exotic birds and butterflies.

honeymoonBioko Island

When 15th-century Portuguese explorer Fernão do Po arrived on the island of Bioko, he was so taken by its natural splendor that he named it Formosa, or "Beautiful." According to National Geographic, "In the island's interior, woodlands, grasslands, and rain forest remain much as they were when the first Portuguese explorers stepped ashore in the 15th century: largely untouched and beautiful." Visitors can expect to see up to seven species of monkey, among other animal life.

Malabo

Malabo, the nation's capital city, is situated at the northern tip of Bioko island, though its natural beauty is now punctuated with oil platforms. Still, its worth a visit, though caution is advised. Worldtravels.com calls Malabo "a seemingly dilapidated but charming island town with a prevalence of Spanish colonial architecture," adding that "while the marketplace of Malabo is lively and filled with curiosities and exquisitely wrought tapestry, a tourist will have to take care not to be mugged..."

Beaches

Equatorial Guinea has a great deal of coastline, but its beaches are more likely to appeal to the off-the-beaten-path backpacker than the luxury traveler. Africatravelguide.com describes the nation's beach highlights this way: "Bata is the jaded beach resort with just enough charm to feed the rat in a beachcomber's soul, but not nearly enough to justify a Club Med facility. The beach town of Ureca is a protected sea turtle breeding habitat and little else."

Travel Requirements

Official requirements for tourist entry into Equatorial Guinea can be cumbersome. As the Lonely Planet travelers' website says, "With the difficulties of getting a visa and the shakedown you receive as you walk in the door of this tiny tropical former Spanish colony, you might think that Equatorial Guinea would rather just not have you."

According to the official government website, U.S. citizens do not need a tourist visa to visit Equatorial Guinea. Even so, they still must fill out two visa applications and submit two passport photos, as well as a bank statement showing they have assets of at least US$2,000. Upon entry, they are also required to show proof of smallpox, yellow fever and cholera immunizations along with their passport.

Tourists from other nations face the same requirements, with the exception that since they are required to actually obtain the tourist visa, they must submit a fee of US$100 along with their two visa application forms and passport photos.

Source: Ecuatorial Guinea Tourism | eHow.com

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