Monrovia is the capital, and with a population of around 1,000,000, also the largest city in Liberia.
The city center is the image of a tropical capital, melting in the hot sun. Monrovia is a low-rise capital on the sea, lined with palm trees and paint-chipped buildings of no more than three stories. The city, however, has a vibrant vibe on the street.
There are a number of merchants lining the streets of downtown, selling used clothes, household wares, and an interesting selection of DVDs. Waterside market is the largest local indoor/outdoor market, with narrow walkways between busy stalls. There are two large, well-stocked supermarkets in the city center to offer a surprising selection of Western foods.
Still, despite its woes, Liberia has the feeling of a country on the ascent. Billboards line the streets, inviting citizens to pay their taxes to make their country stronger and to take pride in their success. It is not cliché to say that Liberians are extremely friendly, so the streets seem alive and peepy.
ClimateMonrovia is one of the wettest capitals in the world with over 5,100 mm of annual rainfall.
Roberts International Airport
Brussels Airlines offers a flight from Brussels, Belgium. Monrovia is connected to Casablanca with Royal Air Maroc. From there, connections exist to Europe and North America.
Before the 2014 Ebola outbreak, a dozen airlines flew into Monrovia. The Brussels flight used to make a stop in Accra, Ghana or Dakar, Senegal. Air France had been flying from Paris via Conakry. Delta Air Lines had established a weekly flight from Atlanta to Monrovia in 2010 via Accra. Connections from the African continent also existed to the Addis Ababa hub of Ethiopian Airlines, to the Nairobi hub of Kenya Airways, and to Lagos, Nigeria with Arik Air via Accra. Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways offered excellent connections to other African destinations and to the Middle East.
Some of the service (a Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi-Accra-Monrovia and a return to four flights a week on Brussels Airlines) was restored in 2015, but many others have yet to return.
National Museum of LiberiaHouses cultural artefacts and historical items depicting Liberia's heritage. Much looted during the long civil war it is now trying to regain stolen artifacts. Also includes exhibitions on the civil war itself.
Ducor HotelA former luxury hotel now abandoned, and occupied by squatters.
- The Waterside Market
- The Blo Degbo—Rock formation shaped like a human face in Paynesville
- Waterside Market.
- Ranzeno. Fine men’s clothing. Tel: +231 6-530-799. Benson Street (Between Randall and Gurley Streets).
- The Best Jewelry. For high-end African-inspired jewelry. Tel: +231 6-513-578. 15th Street and Tubman Blvd, Sinkhor.
- Little Angels. Children’s clothes and supplies. Tel: +231 6-699-699. Randall Street, next to Computech.
- Rima’s Fashions. Jewelry. Tel: +231 6-239-001. Randall Street.
- Sorayah Laurice Fashion House. Customixzed tailoring and interior decorating. Tel: +231 0-82-78-49. Camp Johnson Road.
- LIB Electronics. Electronics of all sorts. Tel: +231 6-530-057. 195 Broad Street.
- Aretha. Women’s fashions and accessories. Tel: +231 6-517-945. Gurley and Benson Streets.
- Unboxed. Women’s shoes. Tel: +231 6-698-005. Broad Street.
- Touba Art Center. Traditional arts and crafts. Tel: +231 6-373-939. Next to Cape Hotel on Mambo Point.
- Picasso. Art. Tel: +231 7-7006-666. Randall Street.
- Fuchsia. Arts and crafts. +231 6-446-688. Randall Street, across from Stop and Shop Supermarket.
Dining options in Monrovia are pretty good, all things considered. Anything other than Lebanese and Liberian tends to be expensive, but there are a few reasonable places.
There are hundreds of "cook shops" serving Liberian fare, but if you're yearning for something other than spicy sauces and rice, you can try one of the following (in no particular order):
- Casablanca. Great Moroccan food at the top of Broad Street. Again, very expensive, but tasty tagines (the chicken with raisins is particularly good.)
- Diana's. Great lunch spot on Center Street. Great Lebanese sandwiches and falafel. +231 656 3333
Golden Beach Restaurant & Barphone: +231 6-821-717address: 2nd Street (Sinkor region)American-owned Continental restaurant that offers seafood, pizza and fine French dining from the head chef of Chez Christophe in San Francisco, California. Enjoy your meal with custom seating directly on the beach. Some great items include French Onion Soup, Filet mignon with mushroom sauce, lobster tails, pan fried fish with creamy bell pepper sauce and thin crust pizza. This is the only restaurant directly on the beach. This is the most popular spot for United Nations workers because of the large amount of Security guards here provided for protection of customers.
- Great Wall. Pretty good, authentic Chinese food on Tubman Boulevard. Hot pot (shabu shabu) available in the front room. Back room available for karaoke parties.
- Le Griot Cafe Opposite the American Embassy is an outdoor bar/restaurant offering a daily African special and a Sunday Brunch ranging from African food to Southern Creole Buffet. Friday Happy Hour Grill Bar Wireless internet. Cell +231 7 155 242 or +231 6 815 242
- Jamal's Boulevard Cafe. Very reasonably priced, restaurant that serves pizza/Lebanese/International cuisine on Tubman Boulevard and Sinkor. Happy hour on Saturdays include live, Liberian band. Pizza delivery available. Cell +231 77969969
- The Living Room (Royal Hotel Sushi Restaurant). Sinkor, between 14th and 15th Streets, on Tubman Boulevard. Expensive, especially for the mediocre sushi. Very nice, sleek atmosphere - you could almost be in New York. Almost. The Royal Hotel also has another Western/Lebanese restaurant, where the chicken burger is pretty good. Pirate (seafood) soup also not bad.
The Barracuda Seafood and Sushi BarThe city's second sushi restaurant - food is comparable to sushi at the Royal.
Dona Mariaphone: +231 6-439-439address: Tubman Blvd at 15th St., land sideReasonably priced, nice little ice cream parlor/pizza/sandwich shop.
- Nour Restaurant. Good Lebanese on Center Street.
P.A.'s Rib Housephone: +231 77-766-555, +231 6-899-998, +231 6-599-322address: Near Spriggs-Payne AirfieldPretty good American-style barbecued ribs. Like most restaurants in Monrovia, service is a bit slow, and items on the menu are not always available.
phone: +231 5-516-500Liberian fusion restaurant, Bestman Road in Airfield, Sinkor - you'll see the signs pointing the way off of Tubman Blvd. and Old Road. Excellent menu, charming "New York City meets West Africa" decor. Also caters and delivers.
phone: +231 7255address: Tubman Blvd, SinkorVenerable Lebanese establishment with outdoor dining, a big screen TV, and wi-fi internet along with a wide-range of menu options. Cell phone number is "SAJJ" (7255)
- Taaj. Indian food at 5th Street (beach side) and Tubman Boulevard. Great Baigan Bharta (eggplant). Home to expat trivia game on Thursday nights.
B Firstaddress: 13th St., SinkorExcellent and cheap Bangladeshi restaurant in Sinkor.
Tidesaddress: WatersideExcellent location overlooking the water, good cheap food, huge range of cocktails.
The best produce (salad, vegetables, herbs, fruit, squash, etc.) can be found on Benson St., around Newport St. Raw honey is available outside the mosque (you'll need to strain it).
There is an excellent strip of butchers on Somalia Drive, near the port, where they slaughter and sell fresh cow, goat, and sheep meet. A butcher shop on Benson St. in town sells meat from these butchers (freshest Wed/Sat).
Fresh fish is available in Sinkor just past the Vavoma building (where Sinkor becomes Congo Town), on the beach side of Tubman Blvd. Or call Moses at 06368158.
There are several supermarkets that sell imported (usually American, Lebanese, and some Western European) goods.
- Abi Jaoudi (Randall Street) is the biggest of the bunch. Has decent bakery, deli, fish and meat counters. Produce is usually overpriced and tired looking. Now officially Harbel's.
- Stop 'n' Shop (Randall Street) is small and crowded, but has a good assortment of groceries. Sometimes imports specialty items (i.e., strawberries.)
- Monoprix (Benson Street) is conveniently located right by the good outdoor produce market in town.
- Greenland (Tubman Boulevard, at ? Street.) Small and a bit dark, but it's the only one open on Sundays (from about 8AM to noon). Overpriced (but convenient) produce stands in front.
- UN Drive Supermarket (Tubman Boulevard, between 15th and 16th Streets). Decent array of imported goods.
- Exclusive Supermarket (Tubman Boulevard at 19th Street in Sinkor). A well-stocked supermarket with many imported goods of international standards. Excellent range of spices and Indian pulses. One of the only sources of whole wheat flour. Western cereals, energy drinks, and a wide range of wine are on sale. There is a small bakery offering sandwiches and Indian foods for take-away.
- Exclusive Supermarket (Second location in town on Center St. at Carey St.). Not as large as its Sinkor cousin, but large housewares section and reasonable prices.
phone: +231 776 57 99 18Luxury lounge with a patio offering beautiful views over the Atlantic. With an extensive wine list and good cocktails, it's a popular hangout spot for the local upper classes as well as tourists. Additionally, The Capital Room is also one of few places in Liberia where it's possible to get an proper Cuban cigar.
- T's Bar & Lounge
- Zanzibar Blue
BudgetSt. Teresa's Convent, Randall Streets - the only hostel in the city - beds are $10–15/night.
phone: +231 6538588address: Tubman Blvd at 24th StFormer Peace Corps HQ, now hotel and conference center, on edge of Congo Town. Single rooms advertised at US$65 + tax at airport, actual price usually at least US$90. Small, dark, old rooms and minimal breakfast are not great value for money at that price. Sam's BBQ in front of the hotel serves as its main restaurant. Diners beware however. When the bill arrives, the total for ex-pats at least is often higher than indicated on the menu. Check the prices and math first or risk paying more than necessary due to an honest "mistake". The beer however, is the coldest available in Monrovia.
phone: +231 77 155242, +231 6-815242address: 1 Greystone Access RdOne, two or three bedroom suites with 24-hr electricity, hot water, AC, wireless internet, DTSV, security, housekeeping and laundry. Opposite the American Embassy and the European Union building.
Hotel Providentphone: +213 6-553-943address: 9th St., SinkorSimple, clean rooms. Popular for workshops - good catering, nice conference spaces.
Moko's Guest Housephone: +231 77-515747, +231 6-515897This guesthouse is located on a secure compound in Sinkhor. Prices include a generous and delicious breakfast of omelette, pancakes, or fish. Laundry services, cable television, and wireless internet are available. The staff are extremely attentive and competent.
Mamba Point Hotelphone: +231 226693, +231 226452Mamba Point has 55 air conditioned rooms, TV, 24 hour electricity, a bar and an international restaurant. It's near the water and several of the western embassies and UN agencies. It also has wireless internet connection in the lounge.
Royal Hoteladdress: Tubman Blvd
phone: +231 22 100 100Built by the owner of the US cable channel, Black Entertainment Television, is a luxury resort with spa and beach access. A bit far from town, past SKD Stadium on the Robertsfield Hwy.
The Renaissance Hotelphone: +231 6-552-200address: Cheeseman AveBoutique hotel and restaurant with cable television and restaurant.
phone: +231 77-006633address: United Nations DrPosh hotel with African-inspired décor at Mambo Point, close to the US Embassy.