São Tomé and Principe
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São Tomé and Príncipe - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for São Tomé and Príncipe. Exercise normal security precautions.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
There is no resident Canadian government office in São Tomé and Príncipe, which limits the Government of Canada in providing consular assistance to Canadian citizens in São Tomé and Príncipe. If you are confronted with an emergency, you will have to make your way to the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate or rely on your own resources.
Although the country is generally stable, incidents of unrest can arise occasionally. Indications of tension have recently been observed between the government and members of the São Tomé and Príncipe special police forces. You should be vigilant in these circumstances even though these incidents are relatively isolated. You are advised to avoid large crowds and demonstrations and monitor local news reports.
Armed robbery, burglary, and pickpocketing can occur, particularly in public areas such as markets, streets or near hotels, but incidents are rare. Ensure your personal belongings and your travel documents are secure. Avoid deserted beaches and poorly lit areas after dark.
Tourist facilities are limited but adequate.
Power outages occur frequently.
Telecommunications services such as mobile phone, landlines and internet access are limited, making it difficult to communicate with anyone outside the country.
Streets in São Tomé are paved but there are many large potholes. Roads outside the capital are paved and in fair condition, but they are poorly lit and can be impassable during the rainy season. Roaming animals pose a hazard. Car rentals, with or without drivers, can be arranged through major hotels. Honking to warn of your approach is considered a normal practice. Emergency roadside services are non-existent.
Other than taxis, there is no public transportation. Taxi fares should be negotiated prior to departure.
There is air transportation between São Tomé and Príncipe islands but seats must be reserved in advance.
The Government of Canada does not provide information on the safety of foreign domestic airlines. Research foreign domestic airlines, aircraft and government safety supervision if you have concerns about aviation safety standards abroad.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the São Toméan authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of São Tomé and Príncipe and its consulate for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit São Tomé and Príncipe, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Canadians must also be in possession of a visa to visit São Tomé and Príncipe.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Not issued (a tourist visa is issued to students).
An airport tax (US$20 for adults and US$10 for children) is charged upon departure from the country. These fees are set by the local government and may change without notice.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are limited, very poor and many medicines are not available. Serious medical cases may need to be evacuated to another country for treatment.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Homosexual activity is illegal.
It is prohibited to photograph airports, military establishments and government buildings.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
An International Driving Permit is required.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in São Tomé and Principe. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you São Tomé and Principe citizen. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the Dobra (STD). U.S. dollars, euros and CFA francs BEAC (Banque des États de l'Afrique Centrale) are widely accepted. Credit cards can only be used at major international hotels. Traveller’s cheques may be cashed at hotels and at one private bank in São Tomé.
There are no automated banking machines (ABMs).
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy season extends from September to May. Some roads may be impassable during this period. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
There is no resident Canadian government office in São Tomé and Príncipe. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the Deputy High Commission of Canada in Lagos, Nigeria.
Lagos - Deputy High Commission of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Deputy High Commission of Canada in Lagos, Nigeria, and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Department in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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