SAO TOME

Country Description: Sao Tome and Principe is a developing island nation located off the west coast of Africa. Facilities for tourism are limited but adequate. The national language is Portuguese.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Travelers should obtain latest information and details from the Permanent Mission of Sao Tome and Principe, 122 East 42nd St., Suite 1604, New York, N.Y. 10168, telephone (212) 697-4211. Overseas, inquiries should be made to the nearest Sao Tomean diplomatic mission.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in Sao Tome and Principe are extremely limited. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside of the United States. Travelers have found that supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas and medical evacuation coverage has proven useful. For additional health information, travelers can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline, telephone (404) 332-4559. Internet address: http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Incidents of crime occur. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, which is in Libreville, Gabon. U. S. State Department pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-saharan Africa" provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strictly enforced. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Road and In-country Travel: National roads are limited but adequate. Public transportation and emergency road service are unavailable.

U.S. Representation: There is no U.S. Embassy in Sao Tome and Principe. U.S. citizens in Sao Tome and Principe needing assistance may contact the U.S. Embassy in Libreville, Gabon, located on the Boulevard de la Mer. The mailing address is b.p. 4000, Libreville, Gabon. The telephone is (241) 762003/4 or 743492.

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