Papua New Guinea travel advice
Latest updates: Safety and security – removed Port Moresby protests information
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- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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Papua New Guinea - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
Avoid non-essential travel to Papua New Guinea due to high levels of crime, inter-ethnic violence and civil unrest.
Safety and security
Violent crime, such as sexual assault, carjacking, home invasion, kidnapping, and armed robbery, is common and often includes the use of lethal weapons such as firearms or machetes. The Highlands provinces and the cities of Lae and Port Moresby are particularly affected.
In Port Moresby, the area around Parliament and the suburb of Waigani experience increased levels of crime.
- Do not travel alone, especially after dark
- Consider hiring private security as police capacity to respond to crimes and other incidents is very limited
Criminals tend to target areas and establishments often frequented by foreigners, including:
- restaurants and bars
- places of worship
- outdoor recreation events
- tourist areas, including markets, parks and beaches
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, frequently occurs, particularly in public markets.
- Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Avoid displaying signs of affluence
Carjacking occurs in Port Moresby and along the highway between Lae and the Lae Nadzab Airport. They are particularly frequent in the Two-Mile and Nine-Mile settlement areas. Violent attacks on vehicles travelling on the Highlands Highway also occur, particularly between Goroka and Kainantu.
Criminals may attempt to open doors of cars that are stopped or moving slowly in traffic. Assailants may assault their victims while robbing them. Criminals may demand tolls at illegal roadblocks and can assault you if payment is not made.
- Be vigilant while travelling by road
- Drive with windows up and doors locked at all times
- Avoid travel after dark
- Avoid leaving personal belongings unattended in your vehicle
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters, particularly in the Milne Bay and its capital, Alotau. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Sexual assault, including gang rape, frequently occurs. Foreigners have been targeted. Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Inter-ethnic tensions often lead to communal violence, sometimes deadly. They occur particularly in:
- the province of Enga
- the province of Hela
- the province of Southern Highlands
- the city of Lae
- the city of Port Moresby
Demonstrations take place from time to time, particularly in the cities of Port Moresby, Lae and Mount Hagen. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Unexploded ordnance and landmines are present in many islands, including Bougainville and East New Britain.
Avoid walking or hiking off marked roads and trails.
There are no tourist facilities in the area. Transportation options are limited.
There is a risk of violence in the central mountainous area around the Panguna mine and access is restricted. You need a special permission to enter this area.
Attacks on trekkers have occurred, including on the Black Cat track, in Morobe, and on the Kokoda track. Facilities along the Kokoda track are limited.
If you intend on trekking:
- never do so alone
- always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- do not venture off marked trails
- ensure that you're properly equipped
- ensure that you're well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back
- obtain detailed information on each activity before setting out
Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards.
- Ensure that rental aquatic equipment is safe and in good condition
- Ensure you are diving within the limits outlined by your tour company
Venomous snakes are common throughout Papua New Guinea.
If bitten, seek immediate medical attention. The cost of anti-venom is very high. Medical staff can charge up to CAD $6,000 for treatment.
Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country.
Driving can be hazardous, especially outside major towns. Poorly maintained cars, drunk drivers and roads in disrepair increase the safety risks.
Roads may become impassable due to flash floods and landslides during the rainy season.
If you are involved in a traffic accident, proceed directly to the nearest police station. Crowds tend to form quickly after an incident, and could become hostile and aggressive.
Public buses, known as public motor vehicles (PMVs), and taxis are poorly maintained. They also are a common target for criminals.
- Avoid travelling by taxi or on public buses
- Whenever possible, arrange for hotel or other private transportation
- Plan to have someone waiting for you at the airport, particularly if arriving in the evening
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the authorities of Papua New Guinea. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid at least 6 months upon entering Papua New Guinea.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
You may obtain a tourist e-visa prior to travelling to Papua New Guinea. It’s also possible to obtain your e-visa upon arrival at the Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby.
Online visa application - Government of Papua New Guinea
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay.
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* 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.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.
There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination.
Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times:
• Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.
• Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
• Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.
• Wear permethrin-treated clothing.
If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living.
In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals).
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is very low for most travellers. Travellers at relatively higher risk may want to consider vaccination for JE prior to travelling.
Travellers are at higher risk if they will be:
- travelling long term (e.g. more than 30 days)
- making multiple trips to endemic areas
- staying for extended periods in rural areas
- visiting an area suffering a JE outbreak
- engaging in activities involving high contact with mosquitos (e.g., entomologists)
Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
The flu occurs worldwide.
- In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to April.
- In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and October.
- In the tropics, there is flu activity year round.
The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.
The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
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.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
During your trip:
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.
If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel.
For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
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 professional.
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
Good health care is limited in availability. Quality of care varies throughout the country.
Specialist services are extremely limited. There are long delays for emergency treatment.
Shortages of basic medical supplies are common. Doctors often expect immediate cash payment for services.
Medical evacuation, which can be very expensive, may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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 and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences.
Photography may be restricted at certain cultural sites.
Do not photograph individuals without their prior consent.
Adultery is a criminal offence. Offenders can face imprisonment.
The possession and sale of pornographic material are strictly prohibited.
Papua New Guinean law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face up to 14 years’ imprisonment.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Papua New Guinea.
Dress and behaviour
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Papua New Guinea.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Papua New Guinea, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Papua New Guinea.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Papua New Guinea by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Papua New Guinea to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Traffic drives on the left.
You must always carry the following when driving:
- valid driver’s licence and International Driving Permit
- valid registration
- safety sticker
If your driver’s licence is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by an official English translation.
Police roadblocks are common. You could be fined if your documents are not up-to-date.
The currency of Papua New Guinea is the kina (PGK).
ATMs are available in Port Moresby and other main cities but may be rare in certain rural areas.
Natural disasters and climate
Papua New Guinea is located in an active seismic and volcanic zone. Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions occur.
There are several active volcanoes throughout Papua New Guinea, and eruptions occur regularly.
Heavy smoke and ash from volcanoes periodically lead to flight disruptions, particularly in the Rabaul region.
In the event of an eruption:
- pay careful attention to all warnings issued
- avoid restricted areas
- follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
- check with your carrier or tour operator to determine if the situation could affect your travel plans
A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.
Tsunami alerts - U.S. Tsunami Warning System
The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from:
- December to March in the northwest
- May to October in the southeast
Seasonal flooding and landslides can hamper overland travel, damage infrastructure and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged. This is of particular concern on the Highlands Highway between Lae and Mount Hagen.
- Keep informed of regional weather forecasts
- Avoid affected areas
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
In case of emergency in Port Moresby, dial:
- police: 000
- ambulance: 111
- fire department: 110
In the rest of the country, there is no centralized number to reach emergency services.
Local emergency services - Papua New Guinea white pages
There is no resident Canadian government office in Papua New Guinea. Canadians in Papua New Guinea can obtain consular assistance and further information from the Australian High Commission to Papua New Guinea, in Port Moresby, under the Canada-Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement.
Sign up to receive email updates from the Australian government on situations and events that could affect your safety while in Papua New Guinea.
Smartraveller - Australian travel advice
Port Moresby - High Commission of Australia
Canberra - High Commission of Canada
Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Guam, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Northern Marianas, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Australia, in Port Moresby, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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