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 offices in The Market Square, Jamestown, St Helena and the AIG Building, Georgetown, Ascension Island. 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 or tel: +290 22390.
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).
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 reservations at Andrew Weir Shipping. 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 book a car, please contact:
St Helena Tourism Enquiries Desk:
St Helena Tourism
St Helena Island
Tel: + (290) 22158
Fax: + (290) 22159
Casual informal clothing is appropriate, however it is advisable to bring a jersey, light-weight rain jacket and good walking shoes if you are contemplating doing any of our interesting walks. Semi-formal clothing is also suggested for some evenings.
Sure is the telecommunications provider for St Helena, offering services such as international direct dialling, internet & email facilities, information service, facsimile, television, flexible access, national and international telephone. Phone cards can be obtained from the Sure Customer Care Centre or Warren’s shop, Wellington House Hotel, Anne’s Place and the Consulate Hotel in Jamestown and various country outlets. Phone booths are located in Jamestown and the country districts. Collect calls are possible to United Kingdom and Ascension Island.
A public internet bureau with WiFi facilities is available at Anne’s Place, Castle Gardens, Jamestown.
The St Helena Pound is used on the island which is fixed at parity with the British Pound Sterling, which is accepted on the island.
NB: Scottish banknotes are accepted however, Scottish coins/change are not accepted.
St Helena is not a duty-free port.
Duty Free Allowance
Visitors arriving in St Helena may bring with them the following:
- Spirits, strong liqueurs over 22% volume, 1 litre and wine x 2 litres, or 12 x 340ml bottles/cans of beer/lager
- Perfumed spirits & toilet water not exceeding 250 ml
- Cigarettes not exceeding 200, or
- Other tobacco goods not exceeding in all 250 grams
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.
- Firearms and ammunition unless accompanied by a valid license.
- Obscene items or pornographic literature, films or video tapes.
- Fruit, vegetables and plant material unless accompanied by an import licence 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: email@example.com
For fresh produce, plant material and animals further information can be found at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/st-helena-biosecurity-service/ 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 at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/st-helena-biosecurity-service/
Most roads are single lane. Etiquette requires the driver coming down to make way for up-coming traffic. Drive on the left-hand side of the road. The drink drive laws are strictly applied with a limit of 50µg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The safest course is not to drink and drive.
Speed Limits: Unless otherwise stated, normal speed limits are 30mph. Road signs are shown in miles per hour and not kilometres 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.
There is a variety of St Helena local dishes for the visitors to enjoy such as fishcakes, black puddings, pilau, coconut fingers, pumpkin pudding and pumpkin fritters. For more information visit the Tourist Office. Visitors are advised to make eating reservations in advance for evening meals.
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.
In case of emergency, dial 911 for Ambulance and 999 for Police, Fire or Sea Rescue.
All visitors must have valid passports. Return tickets and pre-booked accommodation.
A fee of £17.00 is payable for all visitors over twelve years when arriving at St Helena. Remember to have proof of your medical insurance with you.
All visitors must be covered by medical insurance, 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.
Cost of a residence permit is as follows:
Valid up to 6 mths £20.00
Valid up to 12 mths £25.00
Valid up to 2 years £40.00
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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’. For further information, please contact the immigration officer, tel. + 290 22626; fax + 290 22096; or email: Immigration1@police.gov.sh.
Before leaving home you should arrange travel, personal accident, additional medical insurance and baggage insurance to cover the journey. You will be asked to produce proof of medical insurance by the immigration officer if you intend to stay longer than 48 hours. Please remember to have it with your passport.
English is the only language spoken on St Helena, although most St Helenians speak their own dialect of the English language.
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.
If you think St Helena is your ideal place for a wedding, please contact the Customer Care Manager on email: email@example.com. 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 publically 21 days before the intended marriage date, and couples must marry within 3 months of the notice being published.
Ceremonies can either be held in the Registry Office or Church’s, so please contact your Diocese to make arrangements.
There is a small (54 bed) well-equipped general hospital, a dental surgery and a community clinic in Jamestown. There are also six rural health clinics around the island, regularly visited by the doctors, dentist 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
- Residents rates
You MUST have proof of your passport when seeking medical care.
Please contact the Tourist Office for further information on medical and dental fees and charges or call the St Helena General Hospital on 22500.
The population of St Helena is circa 3 800, 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. The capital and only town is Jamestown, with a population of circa 880. The other main districts of population are Longwood and Half Tree Hollow.
The main post office is in Main Street, Jamestown. All districts have a sub-post office operating in a general store or grocery shop. Postage stamps are available from the main post office, sub-post offices and Warren’s, Main Street, Jamestown. Overseas post is operated via the RMS St Helena. There is no door-to-door delivery available so mail should be collected from your area’s assigned outlet (check with the main post office in Jamestown about this). 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. Postal information line telephone 26099.
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. Check with St Helena’s Tourism enquiries desk for opening times.
Opening times for pubs and clubs vary. Most pubs open Mondays to Saturdays from 11:00am – 11:00pm or after. Some pubs/clubs are also open on a Sunday, (times will vary depending on pub/club), normal hours are from noon until 2:00pm or from 5:00pm until 1:30pm. Alcoholic beverages cannot be consumed on the streets of Jamestown.
Check the weekly newspapers for published times and events. The Sentinel or The Independent.
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.
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 in more recent times.
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.
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. Passengers can be ferried by ships’ tenders or local boats.
Local crafts and souvernirs on St Helena can be bought from the Art & Craft Shop in Jamestown, Abiwans, SHAPE at Sandy Bay, Serena’s Gift Shop, the Museum Gift Shop, Warren’s and other shops in Jamestown. Special items of craft can also be purchased from the individual producer. Souvenirs, such as T-shirts, caps, key-rings, etc are on sale in a number of shops in Jamestown. St Helena stamps and first day covers make excellent souvenirs of St Helena, and can be found at the post office in Main Street.
Most shops in Jamestown usually open:
9:00am – 5:00pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays
9:00am – 1:00pm Wednesdays,
9:00am – 1:00pm & 6:30pm – 8:30pm Saturdays
Some shops also open late on Friday evenings and on Wednesday afternoons. All shops are closed on Sundays (apart from Thorpes which open between 10am and 1pm) except when there is a cruise ship in port.
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
- The St. Helena Coffee shop at the seafront
- Farm Lodge Country House Hotel
Details of taxis can be found in the telephone directory, at the Tourist Office or at your accommodation. Taxis do not have meters and rates should be checked before the journey. There is also a taxi rank in Jamestown.
Greenwich mean time all year round.
Tipping is very much the individual’s choice according to service. A tip of around 10% is standard.
The public bus service on St Helena is fairly new and has a very limited service, which is designed primarily for locals. Please enquire with the Tourist Office for assistance.
St Helena has an airport with flights that operate a Saturday weekly service to Johannesburg (via a stopover at Windhoek International Airport in Namibia). Initially, the maximum number of passengers on each flight will be 76. There will be six business class seats and 70 economy class seats. The monthly charter flight to Ascension Island has commenced and returns to St Helena on Sunday. The flight will take place on the second weekend of every month.
The RMS St Helena who served the island of St Helena for 27 years has now been decommissioned.