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  • Overview

    Founded in 1817 as a colony for emancipated African-American slaves, Monrovia is both the financial heart of Liberia and an important port on the West African coast.

    The centre of Monrovia is a typical tropical city. Its wide streets are lined with palm trees and informal merchants, and paint-chipped buildings make up most of the sights. There are a few attractions worth seeing, including the Waterside Market, the oldest Masonic Lodge in Africa, the National Museum of Liberia, and the Centennial Pavilion.

    One of Monrovia's top attractions, Monkey Island, had a sinister beginning, founded as a lab to conduct medical experiments on chimpanzees. However, the experiments have long since ceased and the chimps are now cared for. The facility is set on six small islands and visitors who make an appointment can ride with the caretakers and interact with the chimpanzees.

    There are also plenty of beaches around Monrovia, most notably ELWA Beach near the airport, Thinkers Beach, and Ce Ce Beach. Facilities are spotty however, and swimmers should get local advice on where the safest areas are as the ocean can be dangerous.

    Tourism in Monrovia is on the rise, thanks in part to cruise ship traffic, and infrastructure is gradually improving. A good, if limited, selection of restaurants and bars pepper the downtown area, and the locals are generally friendly and welcoming to all visitors.

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    Monrovia has a tropical climate, which means that it is hot and humid year-round and gets plenty of rain. Temperatures generally range between 68°F (20°C) and 89°F (32°C) year-round. The humidity makes it seem hotter than it is, but there is an almost constant breeze along the coast, which is refreshing.

    The year can be divided into a wet and a dry season: between late April and mid-November it is hot, wet, and cloudy, with frequent heavy rain showers; and between December and March it is dry with hot days and cool nights. Monrovia is one of Africa's wettest capital cities, with annual rainfall averaging about 202 inches (5,130mm), but rain seldom falls outside of the wet season.

    The best time to visit Liberia is in the dry season, between December and April. This time of the year is characterised by the hot, sandy Harmattan wind, which blows in from the Sahara Desert, but this is seldom very disruptive for travellers.

    Roberts International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 35 miles (56km) outside of Monrovia.
    Time: No GMT offset.
    Getting to the city: Bus and taxi services are available at the airport to transport passengers to their required destination.
    Airport Taxis: Taxi services are available at the airport to transfer passengers to their required destination.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities include banking and foreign exchange services, cell phone services, bars and restaurants, business class lounges, and duty free shops.
    Parking Parking is available directly outside the terminal.
    James Spriggs Payne Airport
    Location: The airport is located three miles (5km) south of the city centre.
    Time: No GMT offset.
    Getting to the city: The airport is in a busy, built-up area of the city, so taxis and motorbike taxis are readily available. However, it is safest to arrange private transport in advance through your hotel or a car hire company.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis and motorbike taxis are available in the Sinkor neighbourhood outside the airport.
    Fascilities: Facilities are very limited.

    Useful Contacts:

    There is no official public transport system in Monrovia. Taxi cabs operate across the city, but these are not always the safest means of getting around; they are shared taxis and drivers will often stop to pick up other passengers along the way.

    Robberies and pickpocketing have been reported in shared taxis, and it's best to rather try hire a taxi exclusively for your own trip. Motorbike taxis are a popular mode of transport, but although they are relatively cheap and convenient, they are also not reliably safe.

    Local buses travel along set routes in the city, but they are also best avoided due to safety concerns as they are often overcrowded and hotspots for pickpocketing. Car hire is available, and a recommended option is to hire a car with a driver. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for travel outside of Monrovia due to the poor road conditions.

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