São Tomé & Principe
|Still current at: 07 January 2011
Updated: 23 December 2010
This advice has been reviewed and reissued without amendment. The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in São Tomé and Principe.
(see travel advice legal disclaimer)
Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. For more general information see Terrorism Abroad.
Safety and Security - Crime
Crime rates in São Tomé and Principe are generally low, but burglaries and armed robberies do occur. Beware of pickpockets, particularly at the beach. Take precautions, such as safeguarding valuables and cash. Deposit them in a hotel safe, where practical. Keep copies of important documents, including passports, separately.
See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Local Travel
Seats on the small aircraft that operate between the main island of São Tomé and the smaller island of Principe need to be booked well in advance or there is a risk that you could become stranded. There are shared taxis on São Tomé, but no other public transport in São Tomé and Principe.
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel
You should bring a valid International Driving Licence if you wish to hire a car. Traffic is light but the majority of roads are in poor condition, particularly outside the capital. Most roads are unlit. You should avoid being on the road at night (there are animals on the roads) and during periods of heavy rainfall (landslips and mudslides can occur).
See our Driving Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Air Travel
The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community. You should check the following link to see whether this will affect your travel - European Commission Transport - Air.
For more general information see Airline Security.
São Tomé and Principe Country Profile
São Tomé and Principe is generally peaceful. Economic difficulties and political rows over the handling of investments in the islands’ development occasionally lead to civil unrest. You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings.
Drug-smuggling and taking are offences. Punishments can be severe.
It is our understanding that homosexual practices are illegal.
See our Your Trip page.
Entry Requirements - Visas
British nationals require a visa to enter São Tomé and Principe. This should be obtained before travel as problems can occur should you arrive without the necessary documentation. Visa enquiries should be directed to the nearest São Tomé Diplomatic Mission in Brussels: Square Montgomery, 175 Avenue de Tervuren, 1150 Brussels; tel: +32 2 734 89 66; fax: +32 2 7348815; e-mail: email@example.com. Specialist travel agents dealing with São Tomé and Principe may also be able to arrange visas.
Entry Requirements - Passport validity
Passports should be valid for the duration of your visa to São Tomé and Principe.
Entry Requirements - Yellow Fever Certificate
You need a valid Yellow Fever certificate to enter São Tomé and Principe.
Entry Requirements - Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the São Tomé Embassy: Square Montgomery, 175 Avenue de Tervuren, 1150 Brussels; tel: +32 2 734 89 66; fax: +32 2 7348815; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medical facilities on São Tomé and Principe are limited and many health conditions would require evacuation to Europe, South Africa or Gabon for treatment. You should therefore ensure that your insurance covers this.
There are frequent outbreaks of cholera. You should observe routine food and hygiene measures.
You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. See our HIV and AIDS page.
You should seek medical advice before travelling to São Tomé and Principe and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
See Travel Health page.
General - Insurance
We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling, including cover for medical evacuation. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. For more general information see Travel Insurance.
See our When Things Go Wrong page.
General - Registration
Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.
General - Representation
There is no British Embassy in São Tomé and Principe. São Tomé and Principe is covered from the British Embassy in Luanda, Angola.
General - Money
Credit cards are accepted in a very limited number of places. You should confirm with the hotel, restaurant, etc. that they will accept your card before incurring expenditure. There are no ATMs. Cash is available from the main bank in São Tomé with a Visa card. Travellers’ cheques can also be exchanged there but are not generally accepted elsewhere.
In an emergency it may be possible to remit funds via Western Union. Their website lists details of their agency on São Tomé. You are strongly advised to check the latest position with your travel agent/tour company prior to travel, and to carry sufficient cash.