Exercise increased caution in Papua New Guinea due to crime, civil unrest, and a polio outbreak. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do Not Travel To:
- The Southern Highlands Province and Hela Province due to civil unrest.
Reconsider travel to:
- Areas near the Panguna mine in Bougainville due to civil unrest.
- The Highlands region due to the aftermath of a recent earthquake
Violent crime, such as gang-rape, carjacking, home invasions, kidnappings, and armed robberies, is common. Tensions between communal or clan groups may result in violence.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of major population centers and in the southern part of Bougainville, Porgera Mine area, Lae, Mt. Hagen, Southern Highlands, and Hela Province as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization before traveling to those areas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Level 2 Travel Warning for Papua New Guinea regarding the recent outbreak of vaccine derived poliovirus in the Morobe Province. The CDC has additional information and advice on the outbreak at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/polio-papua-new-guinea. Travelers who have received all the routine childhood polio vaccinations as well as a single booster dose of polio vaccine as an adult have essentially no risk of infection with this vaccine derived polio that is circulating in Papua New Guinea.
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.
- 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 Traveler’s Checklist.
Areas Near the Panguna Mine – Level 3: Reconsider Travel
The Autonomous Government of Bougainville has designated areas near the 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 Highlands Region – Level 3: Reconsider Travel
An earthquake has damaged infrastructure and disrupted local services.
The Southern Highlands Province and Hela Province – Level 4: Do Not Travel
Recent government protests and tribal fighting have caused major destruction to government buildings and public infrastructure. Police have been unable to keep public order or prevent destruction of property. The U.S. Embassy has banned travel to these two regions for all Embassy employees until further notice.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.