Papua New Guinea Travel Advisory

Travel Advisory
October 9, 2019

Papua New Guinea - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

O K E N H U T C

Exercise increased caution in Papua New Guinea due to crime, civil unrest, health concerns, natural disasters, and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reconsider Travel to:

  • Areas near the Panguna mine in Bougainville due to civil unrest.
  • The Highlands region due to the long-term effects of a natural disaster that occurred in February 2018 and civil unrest.
  • Areas in the vicinity of Mt. Ulawun on the island of New Britain due to natural disaster.

Country Summary: Violent crime, including sexual assault, carjackings, home invasions, kidnappings, and armed robberies, is common. Tensions between communal or clan 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.

Public demonstrations, especially in population centers, are common and may turn violent. Even peaceful demonstrations may present opportunities for criminal elements or other actors to exacerbate local political tensions.

On August 21, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Level 2 Travel Notice for Papua New Guinea regarding an outbreak of vaccine-derived poliovirus in the Morobe Province. Refer to the CDC for additional information and advice on the outbreak.

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 special authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including Bougainville.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Papua New Guinea:

  • Visit the CDC Travelers’ Health Page.
  • 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.
  • 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 Crime and Safety Report for Papua New Guinea.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Travelers’ Checklist.

Areas Near the Panguna Mine - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The Autonomous Government of Bougainville 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.

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 special authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including Bougainville.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

The Highlands Region - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

An earthquake has damaged infrastructure and disrupted local services. There is a risk of tribal violence in the region.

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 special authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including Bougainville.

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.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to a Level 3 area(s) and information on Natural Disaster and Civil Unrest Risk Indicators.

Travel Advisory Levels

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) 321-1455
Emergency
+(675) 7200-9439
Fax
No Fax

Papua New Guinea Map