Accra has a population of 1,661,400 (in 2001). The local language is Ga but Twi (pron. 'ch-wee'), Ewe (pron. ayvay) Hausa, and English are also widely spoken. Accra has rich western looking buildings and dusty shanty towns.
Founded in the 17th century by the Ga people, Accra became the capital of the British Gold Coast in 1877. Following Ghana's independence in 1957, Accra became the capital of the newly independent state.
Kotoka International Airport  is a major hub, with international connections from North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, along with internal connections to Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi.
From the United States, Delta Air Lines operates 4 times weekly flights directly from New York-JFK and Atlanta. From there, it is possible to connect to all major North, South, and Latin American cities, and the Caribbean.
Beginning June 2010, United Airlines will be operating daily service from Washington-Dulles non-stop to Accra.
Arik Air  is a very cheap way to reach Accra from various locations in Africa.
Air Namibia also connects Accra directly with Johannesburg and Namibia
Emirates also operates in the country and Virgin Nigeria (should you wish to fly from Lagos)
Turkish Airlines begins its flights on 15th July 2010 and the flights would be on Monday,Tuesday,Thursday,Saturday.
Virgin Atlantic Airways operates 3 times weekly direct services from London's Heathrow Airport on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays as of April 2010 and has plans for more daily services.
British Airways operates a daily service to London Heathrow.
KLM also operates a daily service to Amsterdam, and from there can connect to almost all European destinations.
TAP Portugal will start a direct service to Lisbon on July 2nd.
Lufthansa runs a daily service to and from Frankfurt.
Alitalia has regular services to Milan; however, inbound services to Accra stop in Lagos first.
SUV or car with driver
Accra's best attractions are scattered across a relatively wide area, so if you can afford the modest prices the best thing to do is hire a car and driver to take you around. Travel companies offer drivers who double as well-informed guides, which helps as interpretive exhibits and brochures (if you can find them) leave much to be desired.
If you need an SUV or a sedan there are plenty of affordable options because even the best drivers earn only about US$15 a day in Accra. You can book directly from Avis and local rental companies at the larger hotels, such as the Golden Tulip, La Palm, or La Badi Beach. Cars are available on short notice but if you want a van or SUV it is best to book ahead. Rates for car and driver are about US$9 (Ghana Cedis $US11.25) an hour. For a US$75 you can book a 10 hour day, but fuel is extra. Rates increase if you leave metro Accra, which is fair because poor roads add to the wear and tear on the vehicle. Toyota Land Cruisers are a popular choice and are widely available.
Accra is relatively safe to walk around during the day (and night, in many areas). Watch out for open sewers, automobiles, (even in the city) when walking the streets.
To flag a taxi wave your arm with your finger pointed down to the ground. On a busy street you will have many taxis driving past trying to offer you their service by honking at you. There are very few Ghanaian cabs with meters. You must negotiate how much you are willing to pay before you start the trip. It is generally 3 cedis within the centre of town and 5-7 cedis to the airport or Accra Mall from the center. A rough mileage rate would be 1.5 cedis per mile. Try to ask someone local how much a trip to a certain location usually costs. Also make sure to haggle hard as most taxi drivers will often try to charge three times (or more) the going rate to foreigners. Relax, and don't show urgency. If the first taxi won't come down on his price, wait for another as they are plentiful. Do have an idea of your route, taxi drivers navigate by landmarks e.g. traffic circles, traffic lights, petrol stations [not street names, and make sure you have a local simcard in your phone so you can ring someone at your destination and pass the phone to the taxi driver.
Taxis are easy to identify. The two front side panels and the two rear side panels are painted yellow with a different colour for the rest of the vehicle.
Typical Accra taxi cab
That said, the most important way of recognizing taxis are by the number plates - they, like many commercial vehicles, always have a yellow background, with black lettering, as compared to the private vehicles that have white background, with black lettering.
There are some taxis with meters in them. These are generally more expensive, but you can be a little more sure about how much they will cost.
These follow fixed routes, similar to taxis' and have fixed rates per passenger. These can be a very useful way to get about the centre of Accra. The rate is not dependent upon numbers of passengers, so you may be lucky enough to travel in a taxi alone for a fifth the rate you'd have paid to flag it down.
TroTros are usually very crowded and dilapidated minivans ad minibuses that act as the city's public transit system. TroTros travel along a well known routes in the city, and stop at various points along the way (some stops have signs, others don't). As a TroTro approaches a stop, a "mate" (the driver's assistant) will usually yell out the side of the window where the TroTro is going. Many people die in trotro accidents every year, howver typically those that die in tro tro accidents die on highways in rural areas. Accidents causing death in Accra are relatively rare, in part due to traffic congestion.
National Museum. Highly worthwhile, the National Museum offers visitors a look at Ghanaian history and culture from prehistory to the present. Cultural exhibits include clothing, thrones, carvings, paintings, pottery, and a variety of instruments and tools used in various rituals. Each of these is accompanied by descriptions of their significance and meaning, so you can learn a lot if you take the time read them! Historical exhibits feature some of the most influential and important parts of Ghana's history, particularly the slave trade. There is also a fascinating exhibit of the history of the Ghanaian currency.
Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. The park was created to honor Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana to its independence from Great Britain and became the nation's first president. Voted as Africa's "Man of the Millenium", he is a highly important figure of the 20th century. In the park you can see a monument dedicated to him, as well as his mausoleum, where he is buried.
Independence Square. Also known as Black Star Square for the large black star located atop Independence Arch. The square celebrates Ghanaian independence from the British in 1957 and features an eternal flame first lit by Nkrumah himself in 1961.
W.E.B. DuBois Memorial Centre, . W.E.B. DuBois was a famous American author and Civil Rights activist who moved to Ghana near the end of his life feeling his efforts to create equality were all in vain and that America would never accept black people. Although the Centre itself is a research library, historical sites and monuments are scattered about amidst the learning centers. The most interesting of them being House Number 22, which is where W.E.B. DuBois resided when he moved to Ghana, and his grave.
Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop, Teshie First Junction (along the road, by a TOTAL gas station), ☎ 0233-(0)244-11-47-19, . This is the workshop of Seth Kane Kwei who invented the famous design coffins in the 1950's which are carved into shapes that represent something important and relevant to the deceased person, such as a fish, airplanes, etc. You will likely meet Eric Adjetey Anang, grandson of Kane Kwei, who has owned it since 2005 and hear stories about these fantastic coffins. They are used for funerals in the region and are part of many public or private collections of contemporary art around the world.(5.587742°N,0.099610°W)
The National Archives of Ghana.
The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences
Artists Alliance Gallery, La Beach Rd (1 km west of La Beach Hotel). Artist-run gallery over 3 floors with sculptures, fabrics and paintings. Covers everything from cheap wooden artifacts for a few dollars to expensive paintings by top artists in Ghana. Big plus is being able to look, browse in a relaxed gallery without being hassled to buy.US$10-US$10k.
Ghana's Central Library
Osu Castle. Built by the Danes in the 17th century for Sweden, it has changed hands under many rulers before the Danes were finally able to stake claim to the area and the castle. Before it was claimed by Denmark, it was used for trading precious metals, but once the Danes took power, it became a place to store slaves prior to shipping them. Later it became the headquarters of the Danish Gold Coast. Since that time, it has been used as a government building and when Ghana gained independence in 1957, it became the Presidential House. It remains the seat of government today, although there is controversy because of its ties to the slave trade. Visitors are able to go to the castle however, armed guards stand outside and they typically don't allow photos to be taken. Rules about pictures change sporadically, but it's best (safest) not to try.
Labadi Beach - One of the most popular beaches in Accra for tourists. Located between two of Accra's most expensive hotels-- La Palm and La Badi Beach--this short stretch of the Atlantic Coast features several makeshift cafe-restaurants, lots of souvenir vendors, and if you are lucky (i.e. on good weather weekends) an amazing cast of characters who will entertain you with drumming, dancing, pony rides, and acrobatic performances. Some people actually go for a swim, but there's plenty to do on-shore. Don't miss it. (Warning: this is a prime-time venue, one highly "not recommended" after dark.) The beach is 'offically' accessible only from an entrance at La By-pass (Labadi Road) for a fee of 5 Gh¢. If you are a guest at La Palm or Labadi Beach Hotel you can access the beach for free through the back gate. Non-hotel guests can enjoy the facilities - pool, fitness, sauna - for 10 Gh¢ a day at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel.
Jamestown - Jamestown is the oldest part of Accra and remains an active fishing center. It is similar in many ways to Zanzibar's Stone Town, though it has not yet been restored, so it is not typically highlighted on tourist itineraries. Despite this, for many visitors, it is one of the most memorable sights in the city. Jamestown is a short distance west from Independence Square; from the busy street the only real sights are the lighthouse, a prison building housed inside an old colonial fort, and the old Customs House. From the lighthouse there is a road which takes you to the otherwise hidden delight: one of the largest working fishing harbors in Ghana. Go early in the morning and see dozens of small boats bring in the day's catch. It's best to find a friendly local guide so you don't miss the hidden alleys, old stone houses, and fantastic cliff-top harbor vistas.
University of Ghana - Ghana's largest university is in Legon and is accessible by Tro-Tros to Madina. It's a very charming and quiet place with old trees, a botanical garden (although you should be aware there have been reports of muggings and violent crime taking place in the gardens) and many small buildings surrounded by green grass. The Cafeterias are open to anybody and serve typical Ghanaian dishes.
The lighthouse in Jamestown
The La Raceway: a Go-karting circuit, Sports bar and Entertainment Centre is situated behind the Trade Fair Centre, near Labadi beach
Harbin's: a bowling alley in Teshie, about 8 km (5 mi) from the city centre.
Swimming Pools: Sport swimmers find a pool in East Legon at A&C Mall  for 7 Gh¢ a day. Those who want to spend a relaxing day at a hotel pool can use the one of La Palm Royal Beach Hotel  for 10 Gh¢ a day.
Makola market, in Accra's busy downtown, includes a large boulevard and several alleys full of fabric shops with goods such as wax-print pagnes, as well as embroidered and beaded cotton and tulle for special occasions. Look for wax prints from Ghana Traditional Prints (GTP) and the Akosombo Textile Company, which issue a wide range of new designs annually. Another source for such fabric is Woodin, an upscale fabric store with outlets in Osu and at the A&C shopping mall in East Legon, selling a variety of shiny patterned cottons, batiks, and ready-made clothes.
Kaneshie Market is both a transit centre and a great place to shop, offering a very wide variety of mostly traditional goods and items. It is a source for food and household items; beads, hair salons, shoes, handbags, and beauty products, and fabric shops.
For curio shopping, the National Cultural Center, known popularly as the "Arts Center" near the Independence Square is an overwhelming but well-stocked option. Smaller curio markets can be found around the city.
Wild Gecko (near the Tetteh-Quarshie Interchange, off the Kwame Nkrumah Motorway Extension sells a variety of crafts, upscale curios, furniture, and batik clothing. Be sure to check out the extensive collection of Christmas ornaments, including Adinkra symbols carved into dainty souvenirs. Down the dirt road from Wild Gecko are further several smaller but well-stocked pottery and craft stores.
For a more modern shopping experience, options include:
Palace Shopping Mall, situated on the Spintex Road
Shaaba Shopping Mall, off the Motorway Extension
Eat out at one of Osu's many trendy restaurants. Osu, a suburb of Accra, is known for its nightlife and a wide variety of eateries, hotels, and several options for entertainment.
A concept lifestyle eaterie, Café Dez Amis is situated close to Osu, next door to Jubilee House and the French embassy. Offering gourmet coffees, sandwiches and salads, as well as cold fresh juices, and ice cream, it has become a hotspot in town, from 7AM till 10PM. Breakfast and fresh baked breads and pastries are available all day. There is also an outside cocktail bar, serving Mojitos and other cocktails from all over the world.It also has wireless access.
Located in Labone near the Metro TV building, "Maquis Tante Marie" is a restaurant serving a variety of African cuisines in a pleasant garden setting.
Frankie's on Oxford Street in Osu is a popular oasis for tourists in Accra. Offering accommodation, a restaurant, salad bar, ice cream and a bakery/pastry shop.
Other popular eateries in Osu include Livingstone Safari Restaurant, Haveli (Indian Cuisine), Papaye(Fast Food), Asanka Locals(Traditional Ghanaian Cuisine) and Noble House Restaurant (Indian and Chinese Cuisine)
The biggest entertainment precinct in town is the Oxford Street area, in Osu. Home to over a dozen different night venues (most of them tucked up side-streets), there is no shortage of variety. Taxi drivers generally know the location of the following, but if not, just ask a young-looking person on Oxford Street.
Tantra: A late-night (best from midnight to 5am) club, with a 50:50 mix of expats and locals. Plays western style electronic and R&B music. Entry 20 cedis, small beers 5 cedis. You can usually negotiate for a discount on the entry charge.
Duplex: Possibly the most popular venue as of early 2012, 50:50 expats and locals. Similar music to Tantra, free entry, 5 cedi small beers.
Container: One of the original drinking icons, located on Oxford Street. An overgrown "spot" style bar, 90% locals. Good for a couple of drinks in the open air early in the evening, large beers about 3 cedis. Free entry. Street acrobats.
Epo's: Another overgrown spot, 80% locals. Located a couple of blocks off Oxford Street, it feels like a mini carnival. Try the "beer tower", a 3 or 5 litre (you choose) tapped tower of beer delivered to your table. 3 litres for 15 cedis, 5 litre for 25, free entry.
Monsoon: Quality sushi restaurant, also has a smallish bar. Popular with the over 30 crowd, mostly expats.
Bella Roma: A nice Italian restaurant, transforms into a bar/club after 10pm. 60% locals, quite a prominent Lebanese presence. Possible entry fee of 20 cedis.
Duncans: A chilled but popular outdoor spot.
Ryan's Irish Pub: One of the few places in the area where you can order a pint. An option if you want a rest from Africa, but pretty uneventful otherwise.
La Pleasure Beach: Located at Labadi Beach (about 4km from Osu), an outdoor reggae night happens every Wednesday on the beach from 9pm. 5 cedi entry, 4 cedi large beers. 80% locals, foreigners get hassled a little by jewelery/t-shirt sellers, but it's safe, and worth a look on a Wednesday.
There are plenty of other places throughout the city to discover, but this list is good for new visitors.
Fiesta Royale, North Dzorwulu, ☎ +233 30 274 0811, . Excellent (slightly lower priced) alternative to the Golden Tulip or any of the other luxury hotels in the airport area. The rooms are very large and very comfortable, the grounds are lovely and they include a swimming pool and fitness center, and the food is also reliably good. It is located a little farther afield than other similar hotels, but it is worth the extra 5 min drive to save on the price. Accra Mall is 3 min away by car, and there is a taxi stand immediately outside the hotel.US$220.
Gye Nyame Hotel, Asylum Down (close to Circle, Ring Road Offices and Osu), ☎ +233 30 0222 3321. Great price, more than the basic comforts, and very reliable. Air conditioning, super comfortable bed, hot water, desk and stool, TV and fridge. Nothing broken, and quite clean. Not fancy, but excellent bang for your buck, and great staff. Quiet location is convenient for most activities in Accra - business or leisure.$55.
Le Baron Hotel, No 3 - 4 Akuetey Street, American House Area, East Legon, ☎ +233 21 520701, . single, double and executive rooms, all equipped with A/C, cableTV and mini-bar. Swimming pool, children's playground, barber shop and beauty salon.From US$110.
Meaglent Hotel, 1 Pantang Junction Adenta, ☎ +233 30 2942340, . A/C rooms equipped with sat/cableTV, private toilet and bath, mini-bar, intercom telephone, wardrobe, instant water heater and internet. Conference room, fitness room/gym, restaurant, and swimming pool.From US$60.
PH Hotels Accra, 1st Boundary Road, East Legon, 84/86, ☎ +233 302 517452, . 74 standard, deluxe, superior, and superior deluxe rooms, all of which have an LCD TV, internet, and in-room safes. Swimming pool, business center, laundry service, and room service.From US$180.0.
Ghana Hotel Midindi 10 min to the Accra Airport, 20 min from town. Safe neighborhood. 24/7 WiFi. Restaurant with Ghanaian/African menu. Swimming pool has an assigned life guard. Gym available.
Korkdam Hotel, P.O. Box at 49, No. 8 Korkdam Avenue, New Achimota, ☎ +233 302 400423, . 55 A/C rooms with satTV, WiFi, and mini bar. Massage service, travel services, airport transfer, car rental, and complimentary parking. Restaurant and bar.FromUS$85.
Golden Tulip Hotel, Business hotel 5 min from the airport. African atmosphere, but with a buttoned-down Dutch efficiency. Downstairs lobby bar, pool-side dining, live music, and gallery of local artists. Business centre provides WiFi with Skype-capable bandwidth. The food is mostly just OK; unimaginative, but hygenically prepared. The rooms are small, a bit smelly, and very much in need of new carpets. The Chalets are the place to be if you decide to stay in this hotel, but they are generally held for those booking two-weeks or more at a time. If you like to play tennis, the courts here will suit you just fine, provided you've bought your whites.
La Badi Beach Hotel. Good atmosphere, especially if you yearn for a Graham Greene-inspired fantasy British Colonial-era experience. The lobby is all dark wood, leather sofa, campaign furniture and ceiling fans. Queen Elizabeth slept here; and Prime Minister Tony Blair. More recent guests include quite a few airline flight crews, and far-too many US government/military contractors who spend long hours at the bar each night boring other guests with their "thoughts" about Africa which are predictably a bit naive, if not downright creepy. The pool and gardens are nice, the Western-style buffet is excellent, and the rooms are small but well-appointed, most with balconies. Best feature: it is on the beach at La Badi, so there is always something happening just footsteps away. It is a long drive from the centre of town or the airport. Unless you are in Ghana for a vacation, this isn't the best location.
La Palm Hotel, (next door to La Badi Beach Hotel). Post-modern pan-African style of the wife of Ghana's decade-plus military ruler, Air Force Lt. Jerry Rawlings, who gets credit for the hotel's best feature, an authentic, Ghananian-inspired design theme. Somewhat sterile with a great location on the beach. 5 restaurants producing good food only in the hotel's flagship outdoor 'African Village' which is a charming breezy and architecturally distinctive venue. Sunday brunch is good, but dinner or drinks any night work equally well. Avoid the main dining room, room service, or Bali Hai, Equator, or other 'international' offerings. The pool is nice and there is WiFi. You'll appreciate the attentive staff, who make up for the indifferent management, awful food, and generally run-down facilities.
African Regent Hotel. The decor is great; hard to describe, but when you see it you'll immediately have a sense of what non-kitschy authentic African style should look like. And the hotel's dining room offers impeccable food for breakfast lunch or dinner. The sleeping rooms are clean, airy, and well-furnished, complete with in-room broadband, and flat-screen cableTV. There is a nice pool, and a first-rate health club.
Highgate Hotel. 70 Mango Tree Avenue, Asylum Down, (2 blocks from the Ring Road, across the street from the i-Burst building a block down from FedEx).Newly-renovated boutique hotel offers old-world charm, friendly service, fine food and wine. 33 spacious rooms with internet and wall-mounted plasma digital satTV. On a quiet cul-de-sac in a mostly residential neighborhood. Restaurant has fresh seafood, grilled chicken, pasta and great club sandwiches. The cocktail menu is a real treat.
Paloma Hotel (Ring Road Central), firstname.lastname@example.org, ☎ +233 302 228700 (email@example.com), . Good staff, WiFi, coffee shop, bar, grill restaurant.
Airport View Hotel, , proximity to the airport, web access, A/C, European menu.
Dot's Inn, Labone, (close to Osu tourist centre and beach). Small hotel, with very friendly staff.
Christianborg Hotel, Dabedu Rd, OSU, (opposite Chez Lien restaurant, turn left after Koala's in Cantonments Rd, then the first on the left, 400 m on the righ, a big white house).
Kokomlemle Guesthouse, Oroko Street, Kokomlemle, (north from Ring Road Central, close to Nkrumah Circle).
The Postlodge-in Newtown, New town Accra, ☎ +233 21-229456, ☎ +233 21 231908. If on a very tight budget.
Alisa Hotel, Ridge, . A decent hotel at the quiet section of town. Caters mainly for business travellers who usually have things to do at the Ridge (West and North), which is where some of the biggest corporate names have their head offices.
Atomic Lodge Hotel, . (Agege, last stop).
Aplaku guesthouse, Aplaku/Kokrobite (8 km before Kokrobite at Aplaku-Israel junction), ☎ +233 20 0111345, . Beaches are in walking distance. Airport or other transport is available with reliable drivers and cars in a good condition. €30-40.
Elmeiz Place Guest House, No.12 Awula Meeya Street, Dansoman, ☎ +233 21 305005, . Bed & breakfast, a charming guest house operating almost entirely on solar power in the comfortable neighborhood of Dansoman. 20 min drive from Kotoka International Airport. Cosy and modern.US$45+. (0° 12' W,5° 33' N)
Frankies, Oxford Street, Osu, ☎ +233 - 21 - 77 35 67, . Staff are friendly. Rooms are clean, gushing hot water 24/7. Restaurant and bar.
Peace House Guest House and Eco-Lodge, No. 3, 3rd Nautical Close, Old Nautical Road, Nungua (Pick up from airport available.), . Eco-lodge with 5 double rooms. It is designed as a series of interlinked, informal, spaces on two levels to suit individuals, families, or workshops. Wi-Fi.US$30.
Rosa's Compound, Kokomleme/New Town. Nice compound for medium or long-term, rented out by room to international interns (especially Germans). Rooms range from 350-450 Cedis per month as of late 2010 when I stayed. Some have their own bathroom. Wireless internet access. Laundry facilities. Safe street off main road with easy transportation to town. Rooms well kept and some are very spacious. Housekeeper and security guard at night. Contact Rosalind at firstname.lastname@example.org