COUNTRY DESCRIPTION ^
Sao Tome and Principe is a developing nation, comprising the islands of Sao Tome and Principe, located off the west coast of Africa. Facilities for tourism are limited, but adequate.
SAFETY AND SECURITY ^
U.S. citizens should maintain security awareness at all times. There was civil unrest in the capital city in July 2003. Therefore, American citizens are reminded to avoid large gatherings or any other events where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest. In instances where such actions occur, American citizens may contact the U.S. Embassy in Gabon for the most up-to-date information.
Taking photographs of military or government buildings is strictly forbidden.
Crimes such as burglary, pick-pocketing and armed robbery do occur on the islands. Such crimes can occur anywhere, but are more prevalent in public places, such as in markets, on the streets, or near hotels. Do not display large amounts of cash in public. If possible, leave valuables and extra cash at your hotel while sightseeing or visiting the beach.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES ^
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Sao Tome and Principe's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Sao Tome and Principe are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
MEDICAL FACILITIES ^
Medical facilities in Sao Tome and Principe are extremely limited. There is one hospital in the country, on the island of Sao Tome, and several clinics. However, the level of care is low. For all but minor medical needs, it is necessary to travel to Libreville, Gabon or Lisbon, Portugal. Additionally, some medicines are not available; travelers should carry, properly labeled required medicines and medications with them.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS ^
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Sao Tome and Principe is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:
Safety of Public Transportation: Public transportation is not available
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Non-existent
Streets in the city of Sao Tome are paved, but large potholes are common. Major roads outside of town are also paved, and are less worn. Pedestrians and animals on the roads can be a major obstacle. There is no street lighting outside the capital. Some roads may be impassable without a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Only a few miles of paved roads exist on the island of Principe, and their conditions are similar to those in Sao Tome.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, home page at
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT ^
As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Sao Tome and Principe by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Sao Tome and Principe's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at
1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
Please also refer to the separate Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.
April 6, 2004