All travelers to São Tomé, including those from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, are required to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. Visa applications can be made online through local travel agents in the country if there is no embassy in the applicant’s home country at which to make an application. Travelers will be issued a visa which is valid for 30 days in the country. All travelers are required to be in possession of a passport which is valid for no fewer than six months after leaving the country. Visitors should keep in mind that proof of a yellow fever certificate is required on arrival and so should be kept in a place that is easily accessible.
Health and Safety
Medical facilities on the islands are in poor condition, with only one hospital in São Tomé alone. It is imperative that travelers take out comprehensive travel or medical insurance so as to assure full coverage in case of emergency. Travelers are also advised to carry a rudimentary first-aid kit.
Many health-care boards have advised that the following immunizations be received before entering the country: hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis. All travelers are required to show proof of a yellow fever vaccination.
The water that comes from the faucet is not safe to drink and should either be boiled or sterilized before drinking or being used to brush teeth or make ice. Bottled water is available from local stores. The same is necessary for milk, which is generally unpasteurized. Food is safe to eat but tourists should always make a point of checking that fruits and vegetables have been washed and that meat has been properly cooked.
São Tomé is a relatively safe country, with crime rates low. The usual tourism-related crimes like pick pocketing and muggings are rare. With the increase in tourism over the past few years, there have been reports of makeshift roadblocks being placed near remote areas at which tourists are extorted for money. Travelers should ideally take a guide with them when going off road. There is a low threat of terrorism in the country.