Travel Consideration: Sao Tome

Contributed By RealAdventures

Sao Tome and Principe is a developing nation, comprising the islands of Sao Tome and Principe and located off the west coast of Africa. Facilities for tourism are limited but adequate.

A passport is required. A visa is required and must be obtained in advance. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Permanent Mission of Sao Tome and Principe, 400 Park Ave., 7th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10022, telephone (212) 317-0533. Overseas, inquiries should be made to the nearest Sao Tomean diplomatic mission

Medical facilities in Sao Tome and Principe are extremely limited. Many medicines are not available. Doctors and hospitals often require immediate cash payment for health services. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside the United States.

It is advisable to check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs' brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via its home page at and autofax service at 202-647-3000.

Incidents of crime occur. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, which is in Libreville, Gabon. U. S. State Department pamphlets A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.

National roads are limited. Some roads may be impasable without a four-wheel-drive vehicle. While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions which 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

Credit cards are rarely accepted. Travelers checks can be cashed at major local banks. U.S. dollars are widely accepted at tourist establishments.

There is no U.S. Embassy in Sao Tome and Principe. U.S. citizens in Sao Tome and Principe needing assistance may contact the U.S. Embassy in Libreville, Gabon, located on the Boulevard de la Mer. U.S. citizens traveling or living in Sao Tome and Principe are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Libreville. The mailing address is B.P. 4000, Libreville, Gabon, telephone numbers (241) 76-20-03/4 or 74-34-92.

As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Sao Tome and Principe, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Sao Tomean civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Sao Tome's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at 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

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