Due to the potential for violence, U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times. Also, due to recent animosities among security forces, U.S. citizens should avoid any gathering of such forces.
Safety of public transportation: Poor
Urban road conditions/maintenance: Poor
Rural road conditions/maintenance: Poor to nonexistent
Availability of roadside assistance: Poor to nonexistent
Road travel can be hazardous. Cars, trucks, and taxis are frequently overloaded with people and goods, and they make frequent stops without signaling. Many vehicles operate with threadbare tires, and blowouts are common. There are no operating traffic lights in the country; therefore, intersections should be approached with caution. There are no public streetlights; pedestrians in Monrovia’s streets and those walking on country roads are difficult to see at night. Pedestrians often walk in the streets and cross busy roadways with little or no warning. Drivers and pedestrians are cautioned that high-speed car convoys carrying government officials force vehicles to pull off the road until they have passed.
Although it is possible to travel overland to and from Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea, travelers should expect frequent delays at government security checkpoints, as well as time-consuming detours around the many bridges and roads damaged during the civil war or by the heavy annual rains which occur from May to November. Travelers can expect strict enforcement of border controls by Liberian, Ivoirian, and Guinean authorities.
CURRENCY REGULATIONS: The U.S. dollar is readily accepted in Liberia. While the official rate of exchange is one U.S. dollar to one Liberian dollar, the street rate is substantially different, and it varies. In the past few months, the street rate has been 35-40 Liberian dollars to one U.S. dollar. The Central Bank of Liberia has recently issued new currency and all older Liberian currency such as the "Liberty" and the "JJ" is no longer legal tender. The use of traveler’s checks is subject to substantial fees, and few commercial establishments accept them. ATMs are unavailable, and credit/debit cards are not accepted anywhere in Liberia. Wire transfers through Western Union and some banks are available, but they are subject to substantial fees.
PHOTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS: Taking photographs of military installations, air and seaports, and important government buildings is restricted. Visitors should refrain from taking pictures of any sites or activities, including official motorcades or security personnel that might be considered sensitive.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa.pdf. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. 618-229-4801.
All international commercial air service to Monrovia now arrives at Roberts International Airport (RIA), located 35 miles (approximately one hour by car) outside Monrovia. Very limited daytime air service exists to Freetown, Sierra Leone; Conakry, Guinea; Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire; and Accra, Ghana. Most airlines do not meet Western standards of punctuality, security, or service. Luggage and passengers undergo inspection prior to boarding. At this time, an armed para-military security force provides airport security. Conditions at the airport upon arrival and departure are frequently crowded and chaotic. As public transportation to Monrovia is not always available, travelers should attempt to make arrangements for an expediter and chauffeur through their hotel, employer, or business associates.
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