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Have you ever wished that when you travelled to a new place you could meet "one of the locals" right away to be your guide? The following few pages are the next best thing. We have planned out some tours to the places that we recommend, and the places we love to visit.

Ghana is a country that invites you to get out and explore its traditional towns and villages. Uncover the distinct heritage and culture of Ghana encountered in all our regions. The following tours are only suggestions, and we urge you to ask our local tour operators to recommend tours that include those special interests that you want to discover.

Availability Of Items
When arriving in Ghana, you might be surprised to discover how many excellent products are available on the market. Let us just take the example of food. It is very easy to find French baguettes and croissants comparable in quality to those you would buy in Paris, or the best quality of Italian olive oil.

Once you know where to shop, you will know where to get capers, Brazil nuts, teas, herbs, spices and coffee beans from all over the world. You will also discover that many local products are very good quality, whether it is milk products such as yogurt or ice cream, meats, or excellent fresh fish and seafood.

Market Bargaining And Bargain Hunting
For Westerners arriving in Ghana, the Ghanaian way of doing business may be unfamiliar. Perhaps most disconcerting is that the vast majority of merchandise in the markets has no marked price and no fixed price.

How then to go about negotiating reasonably? Given the wide range of goods and services offered and the wide range of personalities selling them, there are no universal guidelines to be given. However, the following guidelines may help.

"Sizing-up" the customer and the limits of his pocketbook is an integral part of the Ghanaian way of doing business - this is the reason that prices are not marked. Such a practice can be unfamiliar to newcomers because it is illegal in many countries, but even if you find it bothersome, it is a fact of life that you will have to adapt to.

Don't fall into the trap of feeling embarrassed to bargain hard. While every salesperson will try to squeeze as much out of you as possible, in the end nobody will respect you if they think you have put one over on them. Do not let the seller make you feel as if you are taking advantage of him. For newcomers, it is usually the other way round.

For most everyday items, there is plenty of competition. If the price you offer is too low, remember that nobody will sell at a loss. Walk away. If the seller does not follow you, offer a slightly higher amount to a competitor. Repeat the process if necessary. In this way, you will establish the baseline.

Some people think that they will get better prices if they send a Ghanaian shopping or bring a Ghanaian with them to do the bargaining. This works less frequently than you would think, because the seller immediately knows that your agent is not spending his own money.

Some people will find the process of having to negotiate the price of everything to be hard work and tedious. Nevertheless, this mode of doing business is like every other - the less work you put in, the more money you will have to spend. The issue is striking a balance that suits you. It will not take as long as you think.

Tips For Success
There are few tips about shopping that should be kept in mind:

Hours of operation vary considerably around town, but most stores are open between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, with some from 8am to 2pm on Saturdays. Very few stores are open on Sundays.

If you find a store closed when going shopping, try another time. The attendant might just have gone out temporarily.

Never expect to find everything you need in one or even two shops. Many stops will be necessary in order to complete your errands.

It is illegal to sell out of date products in Ghana.

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