Guidelines for traveling
Villa Karo’s office in Helsinki orders the plane tickets for the residents. It takes about twelve hours to reach Cotonou from Helsinki, usually via Paris.
From Cotonou to Grand-Popo
The flight arrives in Cotonou in the evening. Villa Karo’s chief of transport Alphonse Bodjrenou (tel. +22994203108) awaits the scholarship holders at the airport on their arrival. The first night is spent in a hotel in Cotonou (eg. hotel Vickinfel or Hotel le Prince) and the journey to Grand-Popo continues in the morning, ending to Grand-Popo at about 13 pm.
Visa and yellow fever vaccination
You need an international certificate of yellow fever vaccination in order to get a visa for Benin. Ask for the certificate when you are taking the vaccine. You can get the visa either from Beninese embassy in Copenhagen or contacting honorary consul Juha Vakkuri (040 5812 248 / firstname.lastname@example.org) in Helsinki, who can grant visas to Finnish residents. To either place you must send the application form and all the necessary attachment documents.
Consider applying for a “multiple entries” visa allowing you to leave Benin (for instance for an excursion or a trip to a neighbouring country) and to come back with the same visa (otherwise, the Beninese visa expires once you cross the border to leave the country).
You need the following documents for the visa:
- Two passport photos,
- A passport (valid for at least six months from the date of visa application)
- A photocopy of the international certificate of vaccination,
- Payment for the visa (or a receipt of the payment)
- A return envelope with your address and the paid postal fee.
Normally you’ll get the passport and visa back in two weeks from Copenhagen, but it may take more, so be in time.
The prices in Danish krones:
- 250 DKK 1 week
300 DKK 2-3 weeks
500 DKK 30 days
700 DKK 60 days
800 DKK 90 days
150 DKK multiple entry
200 DKK express visa
Take with you
- Your passport (+the visa) and the certificate of the yellow fever vaccination
- Anti-malaria medication
- Other medications
- Insect repellent (e.g. Autan that has a high concentration of DEET)
- Sun protection (sun screen, hats, other clothes)
- Torch and/or headlamp, batteries
- Long-legged trousers for evenings (protect from mosquitoes)
- Airtight bags for laptops and other moisture sensitive devices
- Airtight bags for everything that attracts (white) ants
- Light clothes and shoes
- Hand disinfection
- Passport photos (for possible additional visas)
There are bed linen, towels and mosquito nets in Villa Karo, so you need not bring them. There is also a library in Villa Karo; the books are listed here.