There are no internal flights within Benin.
Cycling in the cities equals playing with your life. In rural areas, a mountain bike is best due to road conditions.
Apart from informal boats run by private individuals, there is no passenger ferry service within the country.
Buses are the most reliable and comfortable way to get around, especially between cities in southern Benin and Natitingou to the north.
Buses almost always operate with guaranteed seating and fixed departure times; arrive early or book the day before to ensure you have a seat on your preferred service.
Car & Motorcycle
Roads are in relatively good condition throughout Benin except the Cotonou–Bohicon road, which is appalling. It has been scheduled for resurfacing for years, but little progress has been made.
Hiring a car with a driver is a good option if you're short on time. Travel agencies and tour operators in Cotonou can organise 4WD hire for about CFA50,000 per day (with driver). For a regular vehicle, you'll pay about CFA20,000 per day. Fuel is extra.
If you're driving, you need an International Driving Permit.
A litre of petrol cost around CFA600 at the time of research. Petrol stations are easy to find throughout the country.
There is no internal train service within Benin.
Bush taxis, generally beaten-up old vehicles, cover outlying communities that large buses don't serve, but also run between major towns and cities. There is sometimes a surcharge for luggage. Most leave from the gares routières; morning is the best time to find them.
The omnipresence of zems (zemi-johns; motorbike taxis) has translated into the near disappearance of car taxis for short journeys. While they are by far the fastest and most convenient way of getting around, they are dangerous: most drive like lunatics and helmets are not available.
Zem drivers wear numbered yellow shirts in Cotonou (various colours in other towns). Hail them just as you would a taxi, and be sure to agree on a price before the journey. The typical fare is from CFA200 to CFA350 for trips within a town. They are also an easy way to get to remote villages where public transport is infrequent.