Equatorial Guinea sits surrounded by five islands in Central Africa, and it's known for its beautiful mountain views, secret hideaway beaches, and thriving jungles. Contrary to popular belief, Equatorial Guinea is not located on the equator, but 96 miles south of it. From picturesque views of mountains and sea to a bustling capital, art festivals, and delicious food, Equatorial Guinea is a fantastic travel option for anyone looking for the adventure of a lifetime.

01Bioko Island

Aerial View of island in Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa - stock photo Jan Ziegler / Getty Images

Bioko Island is approximately 20 miles off the mainland, and it's considered one of Equatorial Guinea's most treasured places. If you're up for a little adventure, take a guided tour of the rainforest in the Luba Crater Scientific Reserve, where you can get up close and personal with the primates, or hike along the Cameroon Line and observe the chain of volcanoes. On your hike you may spot some exotic birds, so be sure to have your camera ready.

02Equatorial Guinea Body Painting Festival

A relaxed leopard woman crawling over a stone in the desert. CaseyHillPhoto / Getty Images

If you're planning to visit Equatorial Guinea early in the New Year, make sure to block out a few days for the Equatorial Guinea Body Painting Festival. Artists from around the world head to Bioko Island in early January to put on a mesmerizing living art show featuring beautifully painted models, live music, delicious food, and much more. Mingle with fellow travelers, beautify your body with colorful paints, and experience both local and world culture at this amazing event.

03Colonial Malabo

Old town gate, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea - stock photo mtcurado / Getty Images

For a day filled with history and architectural beauty, take a tour of Colonial Malabo. Located in the heart of Malabo, which is also the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Colonial Malabo takes you back in time to the early 1800s. Book a walking tour and visit the Presidential Palace, the National Library, Independence Square, and take in the amazing scenery of the exquisitely preserved architecture. When you're ready for a mid-day snack, stop by the Central Market for delicious food and a taste of local culture.

04Photo Walk of Sipopo Coast

https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/view-of-malabo-from-the-san-valentine-ferry-on-august-19-news-photo/1045599624?adppopup=true David Degner / Getty Images

For some great photo-ops, fresh air, and a day of true sightseeing, book a walking tour of the Sipopo Coast. The guided tour takes you along the coastline, where you'll experience breathtaking views of the ocean and landscapes. Depending on the time and route of your tour, you may also have the opportunity to purchase fresh local seafood and other items along the way, as well as chat with locals about their life on the island.

05Safari Through Monte Alen National Park

Western Lowland Gorilla from Central Africa - stock photo DavidCallan / Getty Images

Founded in 1990, Monte Alen National Park is one of Equatorial Guinea's most visited natural attractions. Surrounded by mountains and home to over 265 species of birds, this paradise on earth is the perfect backdrop for a safari tour. 105 mammal species including 16 primate species call the park home, so you're sure to spot elephants, gorillas, and chimps, as well as an abundance of reptiles, including crocodiles and Goliath frogs, also known as the largest living frogs on earth.

06Freedom Tower

BATA, EQUATORIAL GUINEA - August 17: Freedom Tower (Torre Le Libertad) stands in central Bata August 17, 2018 in Bata, Equatorial Guinea. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images). David Degner / Getty Images

Celebrate Equatorial Guinea's independence with a day trip to the Torre de Libertad, also known as the Freedom Tower. The tower sits along the coast of Bata, surrounded by lush green gardens with views of the mountains in the distance. Its shape is similar to the Eiffel Tower, and it has an observation deck about halfway up for spectacular views from the inside.

07Malabo Marketplace

Streets of Fez - stock photo xavierarnau / Getty Images

For a fun day of shopping, head over to Malabo's outdoor marketplace. The bustling hub in Equatorial Guinea's capital is extremely popular among locals and visitors alike, and the energy of the people is contagious. Browse the abundance of shops, purchase some fresh seafood, sample exotic meats such as tortoise or porcupine, or pick up some souvenirs to remind you of your adventure.

08Arena Blanca Beach

Arena Blanca beach, Luba, Equatorial Guinea - stock photo mtcurado / Getty Images

For a fun day filled with sun, sand, and magical butterflies, pay a visit to Arena Blanca Beach in Luba. Known for its white sandy shores and clouds of gorgeous breeding butterflies, this beach provides the perfect setting for a leisure day on the water. Pack a picnic and stretch out on the sand, or stroll the shoreline with your camera and capture some fantastic Instagrammable photos of the surrounding beauty.

09Ureka Village

Olive Ridley Sea Turtles racing to the ocean (Lepidochelys olivacea) - stock photo JodiJacobson / Getty Images

Visit Ureka Village and spend the day watching sea turtles frolic. This quaint, magical spot is just 30 miles from the capital on Bioko Island, and it's known for its sea turtle population during the dry season when they lay their eggs on the beach before heading back to the ocean. Ureka Village is also home to the Eoli River, complete with waterfalls and lush greenery.

10Cathedral de Santa Isabel

Santa Isabel cathedral, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea - stock photo mtcurado / Getty Images

Cathedral de Santa Isabel sits on Independence Avenue in Malabo, and it's one of Equatorial Guinea's most breathtaking sites. The cathedral still holds services and choir performances, and the high vaulted ceilings provide fantastic acoustics for an amazing auditory experience. If you visit during non-service hours, you can tour the historic structure and take in the incredible scenery.