A First-Timer’s Guide to Attending Afro Nation, Portugal 

Afronation 2024

This is a guest post written by Danielle Williams-Bowen to help first-time Afronation partygoers! She’s a Digital marketer who loves to travel and eat cuisines from around the world.

If you enjoy Afro-Carribean music, culture, and dance, The Afronation Festival is the place to be! The festival was formed in 2013 and debuted in 2019 by Smade and Obi Asiaka, Talk Festival Origins, Uniting the African Diaspora & Celebrating Diversity. Afro Nation is an 18+ yearly festival that takes place in Portugal every year but has now spread to other locations such as Ghana, Miami, and, shortly, Nigeria.  

The festival features music from African and international performers and DJs. Not to mention huge headliners from the likes of Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido are among the African music nobility. Despite the festival’s premise of celebrating African culture, it nevertheless draws world-class performers from all over the world to present the best sounds of Afrobeats, Amapiano, Hip Hop, RnB, Dancehall, Bashment, Amapiano, Afro House, and more. 

I would always recommend getting travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday. My favourite travel insurance is Safety Wing and AXA is also good. 

Where To Stay During Afro Nation?   

There are several fantastic quality apartments to choose from that are close to the Prior de Rocha beach, where Afronation is located. I stayed in a magnificent 3-bedroom villa with my friends, which included a private pool, a full kitchen, a BBQ, and a stunning view from the balcony. The villa was about a 30-minute drive from Afronation, and I would recommend staying there because it was beautiful and felt like home.   

Recommended places to stay in Portimão

Afro Nation Portugal will be held on Praia da Rocha beach in Portimão, The Algarve, Portugal. I recommend staying within walking distance or under a 15-minute drive from Afronation’s venue for ease. 

Jupiter Marina Hotel – Couples & Spa – 3 minutes drive to Prior de Rocha beach

Vista Marina Apartamentos Turisticos4 minutes drive or 17 minutes walk to Prior de Rocha beach

Apartments Edifício Cruzeiro – 3 minutes drive or 9 minutes walk to Prior de Rocha beach

Hotel Santa Catarina Algarve164 feet to Prior de Rocha beach

Vitor’s Plaza – 8 minutes drive to Prior de Rocha beach

TURIM Presidente Hotel – 5 minutes drive to Prior de Rocha beach

Algarve Casino Hotel Within 6 minutes walk to Prior de Rocha beach

NH Marina Portimão resort – Within 5 minutes walk to Prior de Rocha beach

Amazing Sea View Apartment Praia da Rocha 10 min walk to Prior de Rocha beach

Little Rose Vila Rosa – 15-minute walk to Prior de Rocha beach

Portimão hotels

What To Expect At Afro Nation

I had so much fun at Afr nation that I went twice! I attended the festival’s first-ever launch in 2019 and returned in 2022. Because of COVID-19, the festival was supposed to start in 2020 but was postponed until 2022 when it became safer to fly and be in public places. Afronation consequently rolled our tickets over the following years until 2022 when I could return to the party and have fun again!

The vibe at Afronation is electric; everyone enjoys and has an amazing time drinking, dancing, and socialising. Wizkid has always been one of my favourite musicians; I’ve even seen him perform in the UK, where I live. I admire his songs, his sense of fashion and the way he performs. I adored the other big headliners like Burna Boy and Davido, who are also two of my favourite artists. They also perform with so much energy.

In 2022, I saw Chris Brown, an artist I’ve always wanted to see in concert, he is gifted at both singing and dancing and is so handsome! So, I am gassed that I had the chance to see him for the first time with Afronation. I like the variety of artists that they spread over the three days as it gives you enough time to soak up the atmosphere and get into the festival! 

The ticket prices and their package deals  (As stated on the Afronation Website) 

The packages are split into three categories: general entry, VIP, and gold ticket.   

General admission: Prices range from £149.06 per person (1st release) to £228.44 (6th release) for a 3-day pass to the event. You will not be allowed to enter the festival once you have walked inside, based on my own experience. – Travelling in style   

VIP: Prices range from £263.72 on the fourth release to £351.92 on the eighth release.   

Perks! The VIP ticket comes with additional benefits, unlike the general admission you can enter and re-enter the event. Additionally, the perks come with:  

  • Access to the VIP area of the festival and the private beach 
  • Restaurant with seating and table service 
  • VIP bars that provide speedier service 
  • Fast-track event admission and wristband accreditation 
  • Toilets of the highest quality 
  • Access to the main event site for three days 
  • Ability to enter and rent the festival as needed.  

Golden ticket: This is the ultimate package for those who want to make their experience special with very special perks. Prices start from £396.02 (4th release) – £837.02 (11th release). 

Perks: included in the price (as stated on the official Afronation website) parties will be closer to the stage within reach of the artists and access to a VIP private beach area.  

  • Access to the Golden Circle (Be within arm’s reach of the artists) 
  • Access to the VIP area of the festival and the private beach 
  • Restaurant with seating and table service 
  • VIP bars that provide speedier service 
  • Priority festival admission and wristband accreditation 
  • Afro Nation NFT exclusive 
  • A piece of special Afro-Nation merchandise 
  • You are free to leave and return to the festival at any time. 
  • You are not subject to the festival bag policy. 
  • Priority booking of a table on the Sky Terrace 
  • Toilets with personalised service 
  • Access to the main event site for three days 

Wristbands and Cashless payment 

Customers can pick up their wristbands before the commencement of the event at the Afronation ticket stand, which is also available online. You will receive a cashless wristband after scanning and receiving your tickets at the festival, which they may use to purchase products from the food and drink stands. As a result, you will not have to physically spend money at this event.   

Tip: Don’t top up your wristbands too much as you won’t get the money back. 

Here are a few of the terms and conditions (as stated on the website): 

  • There will be a €2.50 activation fee for all wristbands used.  
  • Keep your wristband and chip to receive a refund for any unused credits.  
  • On request, all consumers have the right to a refund for any unused credits following the event. Please remember that refund requests will be available from this website in the cashouts section between 16:00 on July 5th and 23:59 on July 9th.  
  • Customers are unable to process refunds. You will no longer be able to obtain a refund for any leftover funds on your wristband after this date. 
  • Each refund will incur a bank processing cost of €1.50, which will be deducted from the wristband’s remaining credit.  
  • Please keep in mind that if you purchase online credits but do not attend the event, you will still be charged an activation fee and a refund fee if you request a refund.  
  • Refunds may take up to 7 business days to complete and appear on your account, depending on your location and bank account type.  
  • Please keep in mind that the Auto-Cashout feature of Howler is not available at this event; only requested refunds will be processed. 

Book Afronation 2024 tickets now!

 Allowed in the venue (As mentioned on the Afronation Website) 

  • Bags made of translucent plastic, vinyl, or PVC that are no larger than 12″ x 6″ x 12.”    
  • One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags, such as Ziploc bags or similar.    
  • Small clutch bags the size of a hand (no larger than 4.5″ x 6.5″), with or without a handle or strap. (It is not necessary to be explicit.) 

Tip: Just to be on the safe side I would recommend packing some toilet paper and a small pack of wet wipes for the toilets in your bag; especially if you are going with the general admission ticket because those bathrooms can get musty and run out of toilet paper quickly.  

Not allowed in the venue (As mentioned on the Afronation website) 

  • You are not permitted to bring food or drink into the venue, except for an empty hydration bottle, which you can refill at one of the many water stations.   
  • There are no professional cameras with interchangeable lenses available.  
  • No outside alcohol is permitted inside the venue.  
  • On the premises, no items may be sold.   
  • Drugs or substances being used or sold on the premises are illegal    people on swimming pool Afronation

Where To book Flight Tickets

My companions and I spent a total of nine days at Afronation. We used Booking.com to book our flight and travelled with Easy Jet. The lowest plane ticket I discovered back in 2022 was £169.70 which was for one week with EasyJet, which includes the return journey and one carry-on luggage. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, AirHelp helps you understand your consumer rights and receive up to €600 in compensation. 

How To Get Around Portimão

Rental cars  

Faro (FAO) is the closest airport to Portimão. When my buddies and I arrived at the airport, we boarded a coach provided by our pre-booked rental vehicle company. We chose two separate car rental companies, EPI Hire a Car and Auto Rent a Car, because we had a large group and it was what was available at the time. Although the cars were ingenious in getting us from A to B, I would not suggest the firm since they were difficult and I wanted to bill my buddy (the designated driver) for charges we had not agreed to after we had left Portugal and returned to the UK!  Some other car companies you can use are, Eurocar in Faro airport, KAYAK, Zest car rental and Discover Cars.

Alternatively, you can pre-arrange an airport transfer from Faro Airport to Portimão and the Algarve region so that your driver is waiting for you when you land so that you don’t have to worry about finding a taxi when you arrive at the airport.

Top Things To Do In Portimão

While you’re enjoying the Afronation festival, it’s worth exploring Portimão in the beautiful Algarve region during the day. Portimão is a port city in Southern Portugal known for its stunning beaches, caves, old quarter, and the best seafood you can find. We chose to experience the festival in the middle of our 9-day trip so that we could enjoy some site seeing and activities such as going to Sand City, Slide and Splash waterpark, Zoo Marine and relaxing at some of the most beautiful beaches Portugal has to offer whilst spending valuable time together. 

1. Take a boat trip along the coast to see the Benagil Sea cave

Discover the stunning coastline of Portimão on a cameraman cruise and see the most spectacular sea cave, Benagil, dramatic cliffs and secluded beaches. You can also try dolphin-watching tours or kayaking.

 

 

2. Slide and Splash Waterpark

Slide and Splash Waterpark in Lagoa (about a 15-minute drive from Portimão) offers a fantastic day of fun and excitement. Enjoy the park’s more than 25 attractions, including the gravity-defying Big Wave, the high-speed Big Fall, and the exciting Boomerang. There are also pools and water slides suitable for guests of all ages. If you want to unwind and take a break from the action, you can relax in one of the 15 cabanas available in the leisure area. 

lide & Splash Water Park

3. Visit the Zoo Marine

Get tickets to Zoomarine Algarve for a fun-filled day with friends, where you can enjoy an expansive aquarium, as well as a sandy beach with slides and a waterpark. You can stop by restaurants and relax with the sun loungers, photo booths, and lockers available at the beach.

4. Visit the Portimão Marina

Stroll along the marina and admire the luxury yachts and sailboats. There are several waterfront restaurants and bars where you can relax and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

5. Relax in Praia da Rocha beach 

This beautiful beach is one of the main attractions in Portimão. Enjoy the golden sands, clear waters, and stunning rock formations. There are also many beachside cafes, bars, and restaurants to relax and enjoy the view.

people on beach during daytime at Praia da Rocha, Portimão, Portugal

6. Explore the Sand City 

Sand City in Lagoa is the world’s largest sand sculpture park and a must-visit attraction in the Algarve. Spanning 6 hectares, it showcases over 90 unique sculptures crafted by more than 60 artists from various continents. Explore the park on foot or rent a buggy for an adventure. As the sun sets, it’s worthwhile staying to enjoy the illuminated sculptures during a magical light show. The FIESA Sand Sculpture Festival runs from May to September, with varying closing times. The festival dates for 2023 are April 17 to November 17.

What Is The Weather Like in Portimão, Portugal

When travelling, always take items for hot and cold weather, as the days in Portugal can be bright and beautiful, but temperatures can drop in the evening and become a little chilly, especially when partying up on Praia de Rocha beach in a bikini! July is the hottest month in the Algarve, with highs reaching 23.5 degrees Celsius and lows rarely falling below 20 degrees Celsius.   

Packing list For Afro Nation

It’s essential to have an outfit for every occasion, whether you’re going to Afronation or relaxing by the pool at the hotel. Here is your ultimate packing list for your summer vacation.  

  • Sun protection: The Algarve, Portugal gets hot in June, especially as it’s a coastal area. Bring sunscreen with a high SPF, sunglasses, and a hat to protect you from UV rays. My go-to sunscreen is the Garnier Ambre Solaire Anti-Dark Spots & Anti-Pollution, Protection Fluid SPF50+
  • Clothing: Sundresses are not only appropriate for the occasion but also for lounging about during the day or going out shopping and doing activities.  Shorts, Crop tops and bralettes are also a good choice.
  • Shoes: Bring comfortable footwear like trainers as you’ll be on your feet for most of the festival. Sandals are good for beach days and activities in between.
  • Mini portable fan:  This will be the best thing you pack with you to Afro Nation. It has been a lifesaver for me especially travelling to countries with scorching climates and during festival season. 
  • Waterproof phone case pouch: Since you’ll likely spend a lot of time near the water, having a waterproof phone case pouch can help protect your phone from water damage. Whether you’re swimming, boating, or simply relaxing at the beach, a waterproof case pouch will keep your phone safe and dry. It allows you to take photos, create content and stay connected without worrying about water-related accidents.
  • Adapter and charger: Portugal uses plug types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. This means you will need a universal adapter to charge your electronic devices. 
  • Money and banking essentials: Bring sufficient cash in the local currency (Euro) and have a credit/debit card for emergencies. My go-to travel card is Monzo as it offers great exchange rates and I can easily track my spending. Also, consider carrying a money belt or a secure wallet to keep your valuables safe.
  • Power Bank: If you’re like me and you’re always capturing content on your phone it’s more likely you run out of battery on your phone quite often. This is why I always bring a power bank with me when I travel as I never want to be in a situation where my phone has died on me. 
  • Travel insurance: It’s always recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen belongings. Don’t travel on vibes and inshallah, stay ready for any mishaps. 

Travel Smart Tip: Wear your bikini with a sarong to the beach or a cover-up over your bikini if it gets a little cooler at night, and bring a fanny pack for essentials like your phone and keys.   

Where To Eat and Order Food In Portimão

Portugal boasts some of the freshest food in the world, with some restaurants just minutes from the beach. Selling some of the finest seafood; they are commonly known for their fish dishes. ‘Bacalhau’ Portugal’s national cuisine, is “cod fish flaked and combined with an egg mixture, sauteed onions, strips of potatoes, and spices.”   

1. Sueste Restaurant  

I went to a few places in the Algarve with my pals, but one stood out: it was called ‘Sueste,’ a seafood restaurant on the seafront. We liked that they had fresh fish out on display for customers to pick which one they would like to be cooked; the atmosphere and design of the restaurant were also quite nice.  I ordered the Sea bream with boiled potatoes, which I thought was a little costly for what it was worth. The potatoes were undercooked for my taste, but the fish was fresh and delicious. From the restaurant, we could see boats going by on which visitors could pay to travel to the opposite half of the island, which was also closer to the Afronation site.   

Address: Tv. do Salva Vidas 3, Ferragudo, Portugal 

2. Vinhos and Comidas  

On the busy strip, there was a restaurant called Vinhos and Comidas. I can say that I enjoyed some of the food at this restaurant. I ordered two starters which were garlic buttered prawns and a side of chorizo sausages.  I then had their lamb cutlets with roasted potatoes and vegetables which were deliciously grilled and seasoned.  

Address: Edifício Casa da Praia, Av. Tomás Cabreira Loja 1, 8500-802 Portimão, Portugal 

3. Uber eats delivery  

My friends and I typically would rustle up some delicious meals to keep us going throughout the day, but on days when we did not feel like cooking, we would order a bite to eat from Uber Eats.  There was a decent selection of fast-food establishments around Portimão. After a night out, my favourite food to order is a kebab or burger. I enjoyed the burgers from ‘Burger Ranch’, and we ordered KFC. But they also have a selection of Chinese food, Sushi and kebab as delivery options if you are feeling those too.  

Supermarkets in Portimão

Whether you want to complete a comprehensive food shop or just pick up a few last-minute items. There are numerous supermarkets in Portimão. One of my favourites is Apolonia Lagoa; some essentials can be a bit on the pricy side but seems like meats and fresh produce i.e. vegetables are of good quality. There are well-known stores in Portimão, such as Lidl where you can acquire all your supplies at a reasonable price and get some home comforts.  

Where To Buy Alcohol

My friend and I purchased bottles of alcohol at the airport duty-free to prepare for the festival. We created a lot of cocktails at our villa, but our favourite to make was ‘Sex On The Beach’. We would mix drinks to make the perfect cocktail and as one of my friends could not drink, we also had the perfect mixtures and juices to make mocktails for them too!  

Food and Drink At The Afro Nation Venue 

For hungry and thirsty partygoers, there are numerous fast-food trucks and a beverage bar. I recall using my wristband to purchase food at these stalls such as chicken wings, fries, burgers and alcohol at the bar. Although waiting in the queue was a hassle at times, and my friends and I believed the meal quality could be better for the price we firmed it because we were so hungry and had general admission tickets, which meant we couldn’t leave the event and return to eat somewhere else outside. 

Conclusion

Writing this blog made me reflect on excellent times and amazing memories; if I could, I’d be back on a plane to Portugal for some more fun at Afronation right now! Roll on next year! Whether you want to dance, drink, or see outstanding artists, this is a festival that you do not want to miss because it is all about a celebration of Black culture and it’s just pure vibes!  

So, my question to you is will you be attending Afronation next year? 

Afronation

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