Call us tel: +290 22158 | Email us: enquiries@tourism.co.sh

Useful info

BANKING

Please note that the option of using credit and debit cards on St Helena is limited.  Cash is the best form of making payments locally.  Banking services on St Helena and Ascension Island are provided by the Bank of St Helena, which has main offices 
in The Market Square, Jamestown, St Helena and the AIG Building, Georgetown, Ascension Island.  Kiosks are also available at the Airport and Jamestown Wharf.  Services available to visitors include cashing travellers’ cheques and currency exchange for Sterling, US Dollars, Euros and South African Rand banknotes.

Customers can also obtain cash advances on major debit and credit cards, and UK clearing bank customers can cash UK cheques, up to the limit of the applicable cheque guarantee card.

Charges for these services are advertised in the bank. For more details about Bank of St Helena services please refer to its website at www.sainthelenabank.com/tel: +290 22390 or click on the Visitor Information leaflet.

There are currently no ATM cash machines on St Helena. A limited number of shops and businesses accept visa/ MasterCard for payment (a commission is usually charged).

Entry Requirements & Permits

All visitors must have valid passports, return tickets and pre-booked accommodation.  A fee of £20.00 is payable for all visitors over 12 years of age when arriving at St Helena. Remember to have proof of your medical insurance with you.

Residence Permits

All visitors must have valid medical insurance for at least £500,000 which includes aeromedical evacuation or other means to pay for treatment to cover themselves for the duration of their stay, proof of which must be produced on arrival.  If visitors wish to stay for more than 90 days they must apply for a residence permit, which can be issued for up to a period of 2 years.

A residence permit can be issued for a period of up to five years, especially where the applicant has a spouse or common-law partner with St Helenian status.  Applications for an entry permit should be submitted to the Secretary of the Immigration Control Board, tel. + 290 2470; fax. + 290 2598; or email: cofcouncils@sainthelena.gov.sh

Shopping

Local crafts and souvenirs on St Helena can be bought from the Art & Craft Shop in Jamestown, Abiwans, SHAPE, Serena’s Gift Shop, the Museum Gift Shop, Warren’s, the Hive, the Market and other outlets in Jamestown.  Special items of craft can also be purchased from the individual producer.  St Helena stamps and first day covers make excellent souvenirs of St Helena, and can be found at the post office in Main Street.

The majority of retail outlets open weekdays in Jamestown from 9am to 5pm – the exception being the majority are closed on Wednesday afternoons.  On Saturday’s the main street comes to life between 9am and 1pm reopening in the evenings from 6.30pm – 8.30pm.

All shops are closed on Sundays with the exception of Thorpes, Solomon’s and smaller grocery outlets. 

CUSTOMS

St Helena is not a duty-free port, however can bring the following items in relation to Duty Free Allowance.

  1. Spirits, strong liqueurs over 22% volume, 1 litre and wine x 2 litres, or 12 x 340ml bottles/cans of beer/lager
  2. Perfumed spirits & toilet water not exceeding 250 ml
  3. Cigarettes not exceeding 200, or
  4. Other tobacco goods not exceeding in all 250 grams.
  5. Persons under the age of 18 years cannot claim the duty-free allowance of alcoholic liquors and persons under the age of 16 years cannot claim the duty free allowance of cigarettes and other tobacco goods.

PROHIBITED GOODS.

  • Firearms and ammunition unless accompanied by a valid license.
  • Obscene items or pornographic literature, films.
  • Fruit, vegetables and plant material unless accompanied by an import license issued by the St Helena Biosecurity Service, and in compliance with the specified import health standards.
  • Animals unless accompanied by a licence issued by the St Helena Biosecurity Service. Further information can be obtained from customs on tel +2290 2287 or email: customsmanager@hmrc.gov.sh

For fresh produce, plant material and animals further information can be found here or from the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division on tel +290 24724; fax +290 24603.  It is important to make arrangements well in advance of your departure date if you wish to bring animals, fruit or vegetables to the island.  The law prohibits the importation of animals, plants, fruit and vegetables without prior approval and documentation from the St Helena Biosecurity Service; further information, import health standards and import licence application forms can be found here

CAR HIRE

It is HIGHLY recommended that you book in advance as it can be difficult to book a car once on the island because of the great demand, not only from visitors but returning Saints (St Helenians) as well.

Car hire can be arranged at the Tourist Office or through a Destination Management Company. Visitors also have the option of arranging car hire, directly with each service provider.

Visitors must hold and bring with them a valid driving licence with no endorsements for dangerous driving or drunken driving in the last 5 years and must be 21 years and over (restrictions may be imposed by some companies in respect of the upper age limit).

Car hire costs from GBP12.00 – GBP20.00 per day.  (Delivery & collection fees may be charged).  This rate includes insurance however, any minor damages e.g. broken headlight, wing-mirror, etc, will have to be paid for by the client.  Before driving – show your licence at the police station in Jamestown where they record details of your driver’s licence.

To rent a car please click here 

IMMIGRATION

The St Helena Government welcomes visitors and, subject to certain conditions, those who intend to make their future lives on the island, particularly those married to or in a stable long-term relationship with a resident with ‘St Helenian status’.

Those entering St Helena as a visitor will be required to make a cash entry permit fee of £20.00.

For further information, please contact the Immigration Office, tel. + 290 22626; fax + 290 22096; or email: emerald.newman@sainthelena.gov.sh

EATING OUT

There is a variety of  St Helena local dishes for visitors to enjoy, such as fishcakes, black puddings, pilau, coconut fingers, pumpkin pudding and pumpkin fritters.  For more information on restaurants and eateries who produce local delicacies please visit the Tourist Office.

COMMUNICATIONS

Sure is the telecommunications provider for St Helena, offering services such as international direct dialing, internet & email facilities, information service, facsimile, television, and phone cards.  Phone booths are located in Jamestown and the country districts, with collect calls being possible. A public internet bureau with WiFi facilities is available at Anne’s Place, Castle Gardens, Jamestown.  Several eateries also offer Wifi, including the Consulate Hotel, the Inkwell and Sandwhich bar located in Jamestown.

DRIVING

Most roads are single lane on St Helena – driving on the left-hand side of the road.  The high way code states that drivers coming down must make way for up-coming traffic.  The drink drive laws are strictly applied on St Helena, with a limit of 50µg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

Unless otherwise stated, normal speed limits are 30mph.  Road signs are shown in miles per hour.  In Jamestown the speed limit is 20mph.

Petrol and diesel can be bought from Solomon’s Fuel Station, Jamestown; Half Tree Hollow Supermarket and Longwood Supermarket.

Visitors to St Helena should be aware of the following regulations currently in place with regard to driving on St Helena:

Visitors (residents or non-residents) can drive on St Helena for a period of three (3) months on an overseas driver’s licence. Please note:  The three month period is unrepeatable, and can only be utilised within the initial visit(s), e.g.  a visit of three months, or two consecutive visits of one and a half months.  The overseas driver’s licence should be clean and valid.  Persons with current driving convictions should present evidence of these convictions to a responsible officer, to avoid committing a criminal offence.

Persons staying on St Helena for longer than the three month period, and who wish to continue driving, are required to purchase a St Helenian licence. This licence can be acquired from the Post & Customer Services Centre, which is located in Main Street, Jamestown.  Persons are required to physically present themselves to the front counter staff and to present their valid overseas driver’s licence.  They are also required to fill in the mandatory form and pay a fee of £12.10.  The St Helenian licence will be valid for a period of one year, after which it will have to be renewed.

Persons over seventy (70) years of age, who wish to drive on St Helena, are required to produce a valid medical certificate, stating that there are no medical issues impeding the individual from driving on St Helena. Persons who fail to produce a clean/valid medical certificate will not be allowed to drive on St Helena.

POST OFFICE

The main post office is in Main Street, Jamestown.  All districts have a sub-post office operating in a general store or grocery shops.  Postage stamps are available from the main post office and sub-post offices.

There is no door-to-door delivery available, therefore mail should be collected from the Main Post Office in Jamestown.  The post office will receive mail for you providing it is addressed poste restante where it can then be collected from the main post office.

Overseas post operates both via airmail and surface mail. Airmail service operates to and from Ascension Island and an airmail service via Ascension Island has also been established.  Surface mail operates via the MV Helena.

Postal information line telephone 26099 or visit the Post Office Website.

POPULATION

The population of St Helena at the end of June 2018 was estimated to be 4,300.

St Helenians are mainly descendants of British settlers, East India Company employees and slaves from the South Asian sub-continent and Africa, the East Indies and Madagascar as well as Chinese indentured labourers.

MEDICAL CARE

There is a small (54 bed) well-equipped general hospital, a dental surgery and a community clinic in Jamestown. There are also rural health clinics around the island, regularly visited by the doctors and community nurses. There is no National Health Service and local residents pay for all medical treatment.  Rates for medical and dental attention are divided into three rates: Non British passport holders, British passport holders and Residents rates.  You must have proof of your passport when seeking on island medical care.

LOCATION

St Helena is situated in the South Atlantic Ocean, 5° 43′ west and 15° 56′ south, 1,200 miles (1,950km) from the south-west coast of Africa, and 1,800 miles (2,900km) from the coast of South America. The nearest land is Ascension Island, which lies 703 miles (1,125km) to the north-west. The island is 47 square miles (122 square km), ten and a half miles (17km) long and six and a half miles (10km) wide.  Please visit the link for further information regarding the coordinates of Jamestown.

MARRIAGE

If you think St Helena is your ideal place for a wedding, please contact the Customer Care Manager on email: karen.yon@sainthelena.gov.sh. St Helena welcomes all nationalities to marry on the island, but sufficient notice is needed for couples to supply necessary documentation and to give sufficient notice.  Marriage notices must be placed publicly 21 days before the intended marriage date, and couples must marry within 3 months of the notice being published.  Ceremonies can be held in the Registry Office, Church’s or a venue/location of your choice agreed with the register.

TRANSPORT AND TAXIS

Details of taxis can be found at the Tourist Office or on the following link.  Taxis do not have meters and rates should be checked before beginning your journey. There is also a taxi rank in Jamestown, located behind the Tourist Office building.  The public bus service on St Helena has a very limited service, which is designed primarily for locals.  Please enquire with the Tourist Office for assistance.

TRAVEL

St Helena has an airport with flights that operate a Saturday weekly service to Johannesburg (via a stopover at Windhoek International Airport in Namibia). The monthly charter flight to Ascension Island has commenced and returns to St Helena on Sunday.  This flight takes place on the second weekend of every month.

Additional midweek flights to St Helena and Ascension will take place between December 2018 and April 2019, arriving to St Helena on Tuesday of each week.

The RMS St Helena who served the island of St Helena for 27 years has now been decommissioned.

CHRISTIANITY

Christianity has deep roots in St Helena and has played a symbolic part in the island’s community, the majority of people belonging to the Church of England, being members of the Diocese of St Helena, which includes Ascension Island, and which has its own bishop residing on St Helena. Other denominations of Christianity represented on the island for many years are: Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, Baptist and in more recent times, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witness and New Apostolic. The Baha’i Faith has also been represented on the island. These all have one or more buildings set apart for worship.  The members of the ‘Two by Two’ Christian Group meets for worship in private homes.  Visitors are welcomed by all of these religious groups.

PUBS AND CLUBS

Opening times for pubs and clubs vary, with most pubs open Mondays to Saturdays from 11:00 am – 11:00 pm or after.  Some pubs/clubs are also open on a Sunday, (times will vary depending on pub/club).  Alcoholic beverages cannot be consumed on the streets of Jamestown.

INSURANCE

Before leaving home you should arrange travel, personal accident, additional medical insurance and baggage insurance to cover your journey. You will be asked to produce proof of medical insurance by the immigration officer if you intend to stay longer than 48 hours.

ELECTRICITY

The electricity supply on St Helena is 240V, 50Hz. The standard electrical socket is the 13-amp flat pin as used in the United Kingdom.

The utilities provider for St Helena Island is Connect St Helena Ltd. The Company is owned by the St Helena Government and came into operation on 1 April 2013.

MEDIA

There are two radio stations presently on the island, namely SAMS and Saint FM.  Saint FM provides a local radio service for the island which is also available on Internet Radio and relayed in Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands. weekly newspapers are The Sentinel or The Independent.

LANGUAGE

English is the first language spoken on St Helena, although most St Helenians speak their own dialect of the English language. The mother tongue has evolved into a unique way of speaking, whereby locals have a tendency to shorten words, create new words and speak a lot faster.

ST HELENA COFFEE

The rare and delectable St. Helena coffee can be bought on St Helena from either of the following retailers:

Wellington shop, The Star, Warrens, The St. Helena Coffee shop at the seafront or Farm Lodge Country House Hotel.

EMERGENCY

In case of emergency, dial 911 for Ambulance and 999 for Police, Fire or Sea Rescue.

The General Hospital is located in Upper Jamestown, together with a dental surgery and community clinic.

St Helena Police Head Quarters have recently relocated to Coleman’s House, on Main Street, Jamestown.

The St Helena Fire and Rescue Service operates from Ladder Hill.

The Sea Rescue Service operates from Rupert’s Valley.

PUBLIC LIBRARY

The St Helena public library is the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere.  Visitors may borrow up to four (4) books at a time on deposit of £10 which will be refunded on the return of all books borrowed.

SEAPORT

Jamestown is the only port in St Helena.  The harbour consists of an open roadstead with three anchorages.  Vessels of any size can use the anchorage and passengers can be ferried by ships’ tenders or local boats.

CLOTHING

There is no traditional or official dress on St Helena – however it is advisable to bring a light weight rain jacket or coat and good walking shoes if planning to tackle the several walks and trails on the island.