A practical foreign exchange and currency guide on sending money and travel to Equatorial Guinea
What's in this Equatorial Guinea currency guide?
The capital, Malabo, boasts fascinating colonial architecture alongside sleek oil company high-rises, yet retains its African flavour with colourful markets and a bustling port. On Bioko Island, are volcanic views, fishing villages, rainforests full of endangered primates, vibrant birdlife and shores of nesting sea turtles.
Cash is king in Equatorial Guinea. Make sure you have plenty of foreign currency to exchange for large purchases such as airline tickets. Equatorial Guinea is a part of the French Monetary Area, and the Bank of Central African States (Banque des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale) issues currency called the Communaute Financiere Africaine franc, which is abbreviated XAF or CFA.
ATMs can be found at all banks in Malabo and Bata, but not elsewhere. They often don’t work, only take Visa cards and only give small amounts (usually no more than CFA100,000 per day), meaning frequent trips to the bank. Note that many ATMs start to run dry from Thursday evenings in anticipation of the weekend. This is particularly noticeable towards the end of the month. You can change euros or US dollars at banks in most towns or bureaux de change such as Pecunia Express that has branches in both Malabo and Bata.
Credit cards can only be used in top-end hotels and restaurants. Local airlines and car-hire agencies do not generally accept credit cards. You cannot withdraw cash over the counter in banks using your credit card.
Malabo International Airport lies 9km west of the city centre.. In the main building, there is a cafe, a bank that is only open during banking hours, and an ATM that often does not accept cards. It’s worth having euros or dollars in small denominations if you are unable to withdraw cash and have to pay for a taxi in foreign currency.
Roads are excellent in Equatorial Guinea. There are tolls on all roads outside of the cities that cost CFA500 per vehicle. Car hire is expensive: expect to pay at least CFA70,000 per day, and there’s a hefty deposit of around CFA250,000.In towns and cities, there are plenty of shared taxis to hail for short journeys. They are usually white with a coloured stripe along the side. They will hoot if they’re free, and if they are not going in your direction, will simply drive away. There is no railway in Equatorial Guinea.
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Central African franc.
The Central African CFA franc (XAF) is the currency of six independent states in Central Africa – Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The currency was introduced to the previously French colonies in Equatorial Africa in 1945, replacing the French Equatorial African franc. The currency continued in use when these colonies gained their independence. Equatorial Guinea, the only former Spanish colony in the zone, adopted the CFA franc in 1984.
In several west African states the West African CFA franc (currency code XOF) is in circulation, such as Benin – West African CFA franc. The West African CFA franc is of equal value to the Central African CFA franc.
Both XAF and XOF currencies are referred to as the CFA franc.
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