Getting In and Around
São Tomé requires a visa, a valid passport, and proof of a yellow fever vaccination for entering the country. It’s best to apply several weeks in advance; visas are not sold at the airport, and though it is possible to apply and then pay when you’re leaving the country, doing so involves an elaborate process, and we don’t recommend it.
Most direct flights to São Tomé from Europe and North America pass through Lisbon. Several African airlines, including the domestic carrier, STP Airways, offer flights from the African mainland.
The most reliable way to get to Príncipe is via STP, which runs flights a few times per week. If your schedule requires more flexibility, you might try to buy passage on one of the cargo ships that travel between the two islands.
São Tomé’s roads are quite good, and a
lthough there is no public transportation, you can rent a car or hire a taxi on both islands. Make sure to have a map on your person at all times; the roads are somewhat difficult to navigate, and having a help will help.
Safety and Security
Despite the concerns associated with visiting any developing nation, São Tomé and Príncipe is a safe country to visit. Beggars are generally annoying but harmless. Refrain from showing your valuables or large amounts of money in public places. The U.S. Department of State’s consular website has a wealth of regularly updated information about safety in São Tomé and Príncipe
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index
, according to scores based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to São Tomé or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.