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Country Profile

Sao Tome and Principe

São Tomé and Príncipe is a developing nation, comprising the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, located off the western coast of central Africa.  Facilities for tourism are limited, but adequate.  Read the Department of State Background São Tomé and Príncipe for additional information.

Sao Tome and Principe


Image of Sao Tome and Principe
Country Name: Sao Tome and Principe
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Sao Tome
Boundary Countries:
Recommended Hospitals in Capital: None at this time
Main Cities: Sao Tome, Neves, Anto Antonio, Santa Cruz
Country Size: 1,001 sq km
Population: 3,581,655



Portuguese (official)

Currency: dobra (STD)
Predominant Religions:

Catholic 70.3%, Evangelical 3.4%, New Apostolic 2%, Adventist 1.8%, other 3.1%, none 19.4%

National Holidays: Independence Day, 12 July (1975)
Economic Status:

This small, poor island economy has become increasingly dependent on cocoa since independence in 1975.


Armed Forces of Sao Tome and Principe (FASTP): Army, Coast Guard of Sao Tome e Principe (Guarda Costeira de Sao Tome e Principe, GCSTP), Presidential Guard.

US Presence:

Although there is no US Embassy in São Tomé and Príncipe, the US Embassy in Libreville, Gabon is also accredited to São Tomé and Príncipe and can provide assistance to US citizens there. All Americans in São Tomé and Príncipe are encouraged to register with the US Embassy in Gabon through the State Department’s travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within São Tomé and Príncipe. Americans withoutInternet access may register directly with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.
The Embassy in Gabon is located on the Boulevard du Bord de Mer; the mailing address is B.P. 4000, Libreville, Gabon; tel numbers: (241) 76-20-03 or (241) 76-20-04; the fax numbers are (241) 74-55-07 or (241) 76-88-49; the website is http://gabon.usembassy.gov/ .

Document Requirements:

A passport and visa are required.  Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for entry.  Visas must be obtained in advance, as airport visas are no longer available.  Travelers can obtain visas and the latest information on entry requirements from the Permanent Mission of São Tomé and Príncipe to the UN, 400 Park Ave., 7th Floor, New York, NY  10022, telephone (212) 317-0533 or (917) 751-2742, fax (212) 317-0580 or (212) 239-2272.  Travelers transiting through Gabon to São Tomé and Príncipe can also obtain visas and the latest information on entry requirements from the São Tomé and Príncipe Embassy to Gabon, B.P. 49, Libreville, Gabon, telephone (241) 72-15-27, fax (241) 72-15-28.  Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest São Toméan and Príncipian embassy or consulate.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information Sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports: 2, Airports w/paved runways: 2

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

US citizens should maintain security awareness at all times. There have been isolated incidents of civil unrest within the past two years in the capital city. Large gatherings or any other events where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest should be avoided. American citizens may contact the US Embassy in Gabon for the most up-to-date information on safety and security. The Embassy informs the registered resident American community of security matters through a warden system (please see the Registration/Embassy Location section below for more information).
Crimes such as burglary, pick-pocketing and armed robbery do occur on the islands. Such crimes can occur anywhere, but are more prevalent in public places, such as in markets, on the streets, or near hotels. Do not display large amounts of cash in public. If possible, leave valuables and extra cash at your hotel while sightseeing or visiting the beach. The prevalence of sexual assault is low, and no specific groups seem to be targets for victimization. While scams and confidence schemes are not common, travelers should exercise caution.
Credit cards are accepted at only a few major hotels. Travelers' checks can be cashed at hotels and at one private bank in São Tomé city, but transaction fees can be high. US dollars are widely accepted at tourist establishments.
Taking photographs of military or government buildings is strictly forbidden.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total: 40.54 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: TOTAL 67.64 years (male 66.03/female 69.3).

Immunization Indicators:

Required: Yello Fever vaccine
Recommended: Hep A & B, Typhoid, Polio, Boosters: MMR & DPT, as needed

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Malaria risk area in São Tomé and Príncipe: All.
Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis (river blindness) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in West Africa. African trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness) has increased in Africa (it is epidemic in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Sudan; and highly endemic in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mozambique, Uganda, and Tanzania; low levels are found in most of the other countries), and an increase in travelers has been noted since 2000. Most had exposures in Tanzania and Kenya, reflecting common tourist routes. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.
Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection, can be contracted in fresh water in this region. Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in these countries. (For more information, please see Swimming and Recreational Water Safety.)
Polio outbreaks were reported in several previously polio-free countries in Central, Eastern, and Western Africa beginning in 2003. Polio is still endemic in Nigeria.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities in São Tomé and Príncipe are extremely limited. There is one hospital in the country, on the island of Sao Tome, and several clinics. However, the level of care is low. For all but minor medical needs, it is necessary to travel to Libreville (Gabon), Lisbon (Portugal), or elsewhere. Additionally, some medicines are not available; travelers should carry properly labeled required medicines and medications with them.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 0
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Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) has been found in poultry populations in several countries in Africa. Avoid all direct contact with birds, including domestic poultry (such as chickens and ducks) and wild birds, and avoid places such as poultry farms and bird markets where live birds are raised or kept. For a current list of countries reporting outbreaks of H5N1 among poultry and/or wild birds, view updates from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and for total numbers of confirmed human cases of H5N1 virus by country see the World Health Organization (WHO) Avian Influenza website.
Many countries in this region have high incidence rates of tuberculosis and high HIV prevalence rates.

Communications Info:

Country Code: +239
Internet Code:  .st


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