Wedged between Cameroon and Gabon along the elbow of West Africa’s coast, oil-rich Equatorial Guinea is a model of modern infrastructure and abject poverty living right next door to each other. In the capital of Malabo, you’ll find smoothly paved roads, luxury highrises, and posh, western hotels. But few of the people who live here experience that side of Equatorial Guinea, as it’s also one of the most inequitable countries in the world.

The country consists of the mainland region — Rio Muni — and five volcanic islands offshore. On those islands you’ll find beaches like Arena Blanca, the lone white sand beach on the island of Bioko. You’ll also find the 9,843-foot Pico Basile, a challenging day climb with views all the way to Mt. Cameroon from the top. Like much of this part of Africa, wildlife is abundant in Equatorial Guinea, and if you can cut your way through the jungle trails of Monte Alen National Park, you may find yourself face to face with leopards, elephants, and dozens of rare bird species.