Getting there & away
With Cotonou’s confusing number of gare routières (bus stations), it’s easiest to ask a taxi or a zemi-john to take you to the right one.
Gare Jonquet (Rue des Cheminots), a couple of blocks west of Blvd Steinmetz, services western destinations, such as Lomé (CFA3000, three hours) and Ouidah (CFA600, one hour). Gare Guinkomé (Rue des Dako Donou) services the northern destinations, including Parakou (CFA6500, eight hours). Gare de l’Ancien Pont (cnr Ave Clozel & Rue des Libanais) services eastern destinations, such as Lagos, Nigeria (CFA3000, three hours).
Bush taxis for Porto Novo (CFA500, 45 minutes) leave from Gare du Dantokpa (Ave de la République) at the new bridge, Pont Martin Luther King. Gare Missébo (Ave van Vollenhoven) is the station for Abomey (CFA2000, two hours), but there is also an unofficial bush-taxi stop, about 100m southwest of Église St Michel on Blvd St Michel, for Abomey, Abomey-Calavi (for Ganvié), Grand Popo and Ouidah.
Confort Lines (21 32 58 15) runs daily buses between Cotonou and Natitingou, stopping in all major towns en route. The northbound service leaves from the Sonacop petrol station (Carrefour Legba) at 7am. Benin Routes’ daily buses between Cotonou and Parakou leave in both directions at 7.30am.
STC runs buses between Cotonou and Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) via Accra (Ghana). Westbound buses leave from the station just off Rue 403, at noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. STN is among the coach lines that ply the route between Cotonou and Niamey (Niger).
The train station is in the heart of the city, one block north of Ave Clozel and several blocks southwest of Blvd Steinmetz.
The international airport is on the western fringe of town, in Cocotiers. If flying out, arrive early – checking in is a predictably long-winded process.