Papua New Guinea Travel Advisory

Travel Advisory
July 11, 2022

Papua New Guinea - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

O D K E N H U T C

Last Update: Reissued with updates to travel advisory level, and information on health and safety.

Reconsider travel to Papua New Guinea due to crime and civil unrest.  Exercise increased caution due to unexploded ordinance, ongoing elections, and volcanic activity.  Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • Southern Bougainville, particularly areas near the Panguna mine, due to civil unrest.
  • The Highlands region due to civil unrest.

Country Summary: Violent crime, including sexual assault, carjackings, home invasions, and armed robberies, is common. Tensions between communal or tribal groups may result in violence at any time without warning.  Police presence is limited outside of the capital Port Moresby, and police may be unable to assist due to limited resources.

Exercise increased caution throughout the election period and subsequent formation of a new government, which runs from May 12, 2022 through the end of August 2022. Historically, the election cycle has led to increased demonstrations which often become violent, typically between rival political parties and their supporters, especially after polling ends, during vote counting, and when results are contested or challenged.  Public demonstrations, especially in population centers, and protests intended to be peaceful can quickly turn confrontational and become violent.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Port Moresby due to limited transportation infrastructure. U.S. government employees must obtain authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including the southern part of Bougainville, Lae, Mt. Hagen, Southern Highlands Province, Hela Province, and other areas of Papua New Guinea where one is unable to fly directly.

Travelers should exercise increased caution when traveling in remote areas of Papua New Guinea due to the presence of unexploded ordinance (UXO) remaining from World War II.  UXO is discovered infrequently throughout the country, often on smaller islands.

Papua New Guinea is home to several active volcanoes.  The most recent major eruption occurred in June 2019 at Mt. Ulawun, on the eastern end of the island of New Britain. The eruption caused widespread ash fall, the displacement of local communities and more than 5,000 local inhabitants, and the temporary closure of the international airport in Hoskins.  U.S. citizens are advised to familiarize themselves with active volcanoes in Papua New Guinea, exercise increased caution when traveling near them, and develop contingency plans in the event of an eruption.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Papua New Guinea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined Papua New Guinea has a high level of COVID-19.  Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel. Healthcare across Papua New Guinea is inconsistent and may be difficult to obtain outside of Port Moresby. Pharmaceuticals may be scarce or unavailable.

If you decide to travel to the Papua New Guinea:

  • Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, and read the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for country-specific COVID-19 information.
  • Avoid using local taxis or buses, known as public motor vehicles or PMVs.
  • Travel with guides from a reputable tour company, particularly if you plan to hike.
  • Avoid walking or driving at night.
  • Avoid areas in the vicinity of active volcanoes
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds. 
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.   
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.   
  • Review the Country Security Report for the Papua New Guinea.   
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Areas Near the Panguna Mine on the island of Bougainville – Level 4: Do Not Travel

The Autonomous Bougainville Government has designated areas near the Panguna mine as “no go zones" due to the risk of violence and civil unrest. Bougainville police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

The Highlands Region – Level 4: Do Not Travel

There is a heightened risk of tribal violence in the region.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Areas in the Vicinity of Mt. Ulawun – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Recent years have seen regular volcanic activity at Mt. Ulawun, a volcano on the eastern end of the island of New Britain. A major eruption occurred in June 2019, leading to widespread ash fall, the displacement of local communities, and the temporary closure of the international airport in Hoskins.

Smaller, but still significant, eruptions occurred in August and October 2019. Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Travel Advisory Levels

Information for Vaccinated Travelers

The CDC's latest guidance on international travel for vaccinated people can be found here.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Port Moresby
Douglas Street, adjacent to the Bank of Papua New Guinea,
P.O. Box 1492
Port Moresby, NCD 121
Papua New Guinea
Telephone
+(675) 308-2100
Emergency
+(675) 7200-9439
Fax
No Fax

Papua New Guinea Map