a baby turtle crawling out of the sand
a large mountain sitting on the side of a body of water
the night sky with stars and the milky

Is Saint Helena Safe?

Saint Helena is generally safe for tourists, with low crime rates. However, its remote location in the South Atlantic poses potential health risks due to limited medical facilities. Travelers should ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance and carry necessary medications. The island's volcanic origins also increase the risk of natural disasters, so being prepared for emergencies is advisable. Overall, reasonable precautions can mitigate most safety concerns on this isolated British territory.

Download Vigilios

Your Pocket-Sized Travel Safety Guide

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store

Safety & Security

Saint Helena is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. However, it's important to exercise caution and take necessary precautions, as with any travel destination.

  • Petty Crime: While violent crime is rare, petty crimes such as theft and pickpocketing can occur, especially in crowded areas or tourist hotspots. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure.

  • Scams: Be wary of common travel scams, such as overcharging for goods or services, or individuals offering unsolicited assistance or tours. Only use reputable and authorized service providers.

  • Civil Unrest: Saint Helena is a British Overseas Territory and is politically stable. However, it's advisable to monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities in case of any civil disturbances.

  • Terrorism: The risk of terrorism on Saint Helena is considered low. However, it's always prudent to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the relevant authorities.

  • Disputes: Avoid confrontations or disputes with locals, as they may escalate quickly. If faced with a difficult situation, remain calm and seek assistance from local authorities or your embassy/consulate.

While Saint Helena is generally safe, it's essential to take standard precautions, such as securing your belongings, being aware of your surroundings, and respecting local laws and customs. Exercising common sense and caution can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Health & Medical

Travelers to Saint Helena should be aware of the limited medical facilities on the island. While basic healthcare is available, there is no hospital equipped for major medical emergencies or complex procedures. Visitors with pre-existing conditions or those requiring specialized care should plan accordingly.

  • Vaccinations: Routine vaccinations like measles, hepatitis A/B, and COVID-19 are recommended. Yellow fever vaccination may be required for some travelers.

  • Common Illnesses: Traveler's diarrhea, respiratory infections, and insect-borne diseases like dengue fever are potential health risks.

  • Medical Facilities: The island has a small hospital and a few clinics, but resources are limited. Serious cases may require medical evacuation to South Africa or the UK.

  • Air Quality: Air pollution is generally low, but dust from the island's volcanic terrain can be an issue for those with respiratory conditions.

  • Insect-Borne Diseases: Mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever and chikungunya are present. Use insect repellent and cover up to prevent bites.

Natural Disasters

Saint Helena is a remote volcanic island located in the South Atlantic Ocean, approximately 1,200 miles from the nearest landmass. While natural disasters are relatively rare, there are a few potential risks that travelers should be aware of:

  • Volcanic Activity: Saint Helena is an active volcanic island, with the last eruption occurring in the late 16th century. Although the risk of a major eruption is low, minor seismic activity and the release of volcanic gases can occur.

  • Tropical Cyclones: The island lies within the South Atlantic tropical cyclone belt, and while direct hits are infrequent, the island can experience heavy rainfall, strong winds, and rough seas during cyclone seasons (November to May).

  • Landslides: The island's rugged terrain and steep slopes, combined with heavy rainfall, can increase the risk of landslides in certain areas, particularly during the wetter months.

  • Flooding: Intense rainfall can lead to localized flooding, especially in low-lying areas and near watercourses.

  • Drought: Prolonged periods of dry weather can result in water shortages, which may affect the availability of water for visitors.

While the overall risk of natural disasters is relatively low, travelers should stay informed about weather conditions, follow local advisories, and take necessary precautions, such as avoiding areas prone to landslides during heavy rainfall and adhering to any evacuation orders if issued.


Transportation in Saint Helena is limited due to the island's remote location and rugged terrain. Public transportation options are scarce, and most travelers rely on rental cars or taxis to get around.

  • Road Safety: The island's roads are narrow, winding, and often steep, making driving challenging. Exercise caution and drive defensively, especially on the unpaved roads in rural areas.

  • Rental Cars: Renting a car is the most convenient way to explore the island at your own pace. However, rental cars are in high demand, so book well in advance. Familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and regulations.

  • Taxis: Taxis are available but can be expensive for longer distances. Agree on the fare before starting your journey to avoid misunderstandings.

  • Public Buses: A limited public bus service operates on the island, primarily serving the main towns and villages. Schedules and routes are subject to change, so plan accordingly.

  • Walking and Hiking: Many of Saint Helena's attractions are accessible by foot or hiking trails. However, be prepared for steep inclines and uneven terrain. Wear appropriate footwear and carry sufficient water and supplies.

While transportation options are limited, proper planning and caution can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the island.

Cultural Norms

Saint Helena is a remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean with a rich cultural heritage influenced by its history as a British colony and a stopover point for ships. Respecting the local culture is essential for travelers to have an enriching experience. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Dress Modestly: While not overly conservative, it's advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or rural areas. Avoid revealing clothing that could be seen as disrespectful.

  • Greetings: Greet locals with a friendly "Good morning/afternoon/evening" and a smile. Handshakes are common, but wait for the local to initiate.

  • Hospitality: Saint Helenians are known for their warm hospitality. Reciprocate by being polite, respectful, and appreciating their way of life.

  • Religious Observances: Christianity is the predominant religion, and many locals attend church services on Sundays. Be mindful of your behavior and noise levels during these times.

  • Local Customs: Familiarize yourself with local customs, such as not walking on the roofs of historic buildings or disturbing the island's unique flora and fauna.

  • Festivals and Events: Participate in local festivals and events, such as the annual St Helena's Day celebrations, to immerse yourself in the island's culture and traditions.

  • Respect for Elders: Saint Helenian society places a high value on respecting elders. Be patient and courteous when interacting with older individuals.

By embracing and respecting the local culture, travelers can create meaningful connections and leave a positive impression on the island's warm and welcoming community.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Saint Helena are limited due to the island's remote location and small population. While basic medical facilities are available, travelers should be aware of the following:

  • Medical Facilities: The island has a small hospital and a few clinics, but specialized medical care is limited. Serious medical emergencies may require evacuation to a better-equipped facility off the island.

  • Ambulance Services: Ambulance services are available, but response times can be longer in remote areas. Travelers should exercise caution and follow safety guidelines to minimize the need for emergency medical assistance.

  • Fire and Rescue Services: The island has a fire and rescue service, but resources are limited. Travelers should take precautions to prevent fires and other emergencies that may require their assistance.

  • Police Services: The island has a small police force responsible for maintaining law and order. However, travelers should exercise caution and take necessary precautions to ensure their personal safety.

While emergency services on Saint Helena are basic, travelers can take steps to minimize risks by purchasing comprehensive travel insurance, carrying necessary medications, and following safety guidelines. It is also advisable to familiarize oneself with the island's emergency contact information and procedures before embarking on any adventurous activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful illustration with three people and the letters "FAQ" representing a Frequently Asked Questions section

Is Saint Helena safe for tourists?

Saint Helena is generally safe for tourists. However, petty crimes like theft can occur, so it's advisable to take precautions with valuables. The island has a low crime rate, and the locals are friendly and welcoming to visitors.

Is Saint Helena safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers can feel relatively safe in Saint Helena. The island has a low crime rate, and the locals are respectful towards women. However, it's still recommended to take standard precautions and avoid isolated areas, especially at night.

Is Saint Helena safe for families?

Saint Helena is a family-friendly destination. The island offers a safe and relaxed environment for families with children. There are various outdoor activities and attractions suitable for kids, such as hiking trails, beaches, and historical sites.

Is Saint Helena LGBTQ+ friendly?

Same-sex relationships are legal in Saint Helena, and the island is generally tolerant towards the LGBTQ+ community. However, public displays of affection may be frowned upon by some locals due to conservative attitudes.

Do you need a visa to go to Saint Helena?

Visitors from most countries do not require a visa for stays up to 183 days. However, a valid passport is mandatory. Travelers should check with their respective embassies or the Saint Helena government for specific visa requirements based on their nationality.

Can you drink tap water in Saint Helena?

Tap water is generally safe to drink in Saint Helena. The island has a reliable water supply system, and the water is treated and regularly tested for quality. However, some visitors may prefer to drink bottled water as a precaution.

What is the currency in Saint Helena?

The official currency in Saint Helena is the Saint Helena Pound (SHP). However, the British Pound (GBP) is also widely accepted. Credit cards are accepted in most establishments, but it's advisable to carry cash for smaller purchases.

Download the App

Map, Insights & Support - Vigilios is your Personal Safety Companion

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store QR LinkApp Store
Google Play QR Link
Coming soon to Android
Google Play