Favorable foreign exchange rates make Ghana a generally budget-friendly destination – but, as everywhere, the costs of traveling solo here can also add up.
Thankfully, your vacation to Ghana doesn't have to leave a big dent in the bank, and there are lots of ways to cut costs on a trip around this vibrant West African country. Here are a few ways to take full advantage of your vacation to Ghana on a tight budget.
Hostels are not commonly advertised in Ghana, but they do exist
An average hotel stay in Ghana is about US$40 to US$60 every night – but can go north of US$100 per night in popular cities like Accra. Though not so well known, Ghana has lots of hostels with rates beginning from US$20 per night. Somewhere Nice in Accra offers wi-fi, breakfast and pool access for a modest sum. Though many hostels could be booked upon arrival, we advise booking in advance.
Ditch the Uber and Bolt rides
Uber and Bolt are popular ways to get around Ghana – and though the price of each ride seems low, the price of many rides quickly adds up. Instead, do as locals do and take minibuses (“tro-tros”) within and between cities in Ghana. Tro-tros operate at almost all times of your day, have set fares and could be starting as low as C3 (US$0.42) for a 30-minute ride.
Join group tours to visit regions beyond Accra
Group tours are typical in Ghana, and they allow travelers to understand more about different regions at a total price that's less than the sum of the separate components. Popular destinations include Cape Coast, where the appalling fortresses that when imprisoned enslaved people remain, and Eastern Ghana, where Boti Waterfall and Aburi Botanical Gardens are prime attractions.
These tours usually include accommodations, transportation, food and a photographer who'll take pictures during the trip. Joining an organization tour is also a great way to meet Ghanaians along with other visitors. Reputable tour companies include Travel Time Africa, Cytravel Consult and Abusua Travels.
Eat at local chop bars and street food joints
Some of the best food in Ghana can be found on the street – and it is often unbelievably inexpensive. Local spots serving delicious freshly cooked meals, chop bars aren't any exception. (In Ghana, the term “chop” way to eat, and bars are common places where Ghanaians gather to consume, therefore, the term “chop bar.”)
A medium-sized portion of Ghana's delicious tomato-based jollof rice with meat ranges from C10 to C20 (US$1.43 to US$2.85) – this is the standard cost of street meals with meat. Ordering meatless, soup-based dishes can help to eliminate the cost close to US$0.40. Eating at chop bars also means dodging expensive taxes from restaurant bills.
There's lots to complete in Ghana in December, but you'll pay a premium
December is among the best times to go to Ghana due to the nonstop festivities occurring around the country. The Ghanaian diaspora along with other visitors from around the world flock to the country at the end of the entire year in December to take part in the night-long parties, seasonal festivals and themed daytime events. Many vendors and organizers know about this and make the most by spiking up prices for the season. Budget travelers should time their visit for less busy times of the year, such as February to April.
Don't wait to reserve your flight
Since flights to Ghana are expensive no matter what time of year it is, it is best to buy your ticket to Ghana 3 to 6 months in advance to get the best deals.
Use the STC bus to go to different regions
The STC bus allows visitors to travel around Ghana safely and for one fourth from the cost of flights with domestic airlines. A flight ticket to Tamale from Accra with PassionAir, for example, can cost US$150 round trip but is only C310 (US$44) with STC. Riding the bus does take longer than a fast flight, however the views you will get out of your bus seat tend to be more engaging than what you will see from the air.
Take out more money in one ATM transaction
Cash is king in Ghana, and that means you will require a lot of it as you travel around. C100 (US$14) may seem just like a lot, but it can be quickly allocated to a medium-distance Uber ride. To avoid multiple ATM trips, which can include high withdrawal fees, withdraw C700 (US$100) at a time.
Balance paid attractions with free ones
Attractions in Ghana are either free, have set low fares or are tip-based. Black Star Square is among the most widely used tourist attractions in Ghana and is totally free to visit. Most attractions in Ghana have set visitor fees, yet they are modest: a ticket to Kakum National Park costs just C60 (US$8.57) for non-Ghanaians.
Some attractions have free tours but welcome tips for the tour guide or facility. The Pikworo Slave Camp in the North is a registered attraction site with knowledgeable guides in the area who will get you on the tour with the site; at the end, you're asked to give what you would like. In this instance, possess a set plan for what you would like to tip. C20 to C50 (US$2.86 to US$7.14) is really a fair range for many tips.
Stroll the markets for excellent deals on souvenirs
Art Centers are known as the best sites to shop for local crafts along with other keepsakes in Ghana. Located through the country, these marketplaces are comprised of stalls filled with clothes, keychains, purses, wall art, decor and much more. The merchants know that visitors are here to buy – and can accordingly quote prices at 3 times the market rate.
At Ghana's many unofficial markets, you can find most of the same goods at a lower price. Ghana includes a lively bargaining culture, so be prepared to test your skills. Never accept the first quoted price provided to you; instead, make your first counteroffer half of the merchant's first offer. You'll almost surely haggle up from there – but you'll align on the price satisfactory to both parties in no time, and enjoy a fun cultural exchange as well.
Daily costs in Ghana
- Hostel room: US$12 -$25 (dormitory bed)
- Basic room for 2: US$30 -$120
- Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): US$30 -$120
- Public transport ticket: US$0.50 -$1.43, based on distance
- Coffee: US$0.26 -$1.42
- Sandwich: US$4 -$7
- Dinner for two: US$20 -$42
- Beer/pint in the bar: US$1 -$2