Hovering above the equator off the coast of Gabon, the two Islands of Sao Tome and Principe have turned out to be a great tropical paradise. The interior of the two islands are covered with rainforests and a perfect destination for nature lovers.
Throughout the island, you can spot more than thousand varieties of orchids, luminous trees, giant snails, and several endemic birds too. A trip to this less discovered place would be a treat. This travel guide for Sao Tome and Principe will help you know better about the country if you are planning on traveling to São tomé and principe anytime soon.
WHAT TO DO IN SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE?
There are several top notch places that are famous among the tourists for a tropical holiday. But, these two islands in Africa are not very well known for the wonders that it holds within itself. However, the islands have recently seen a turn of events when more and more tourists are visiting every year. You can enjoy doing and visiting tons of things and places here.
READ ALSO: Sao Tome and Principe Visa Policy
The capital town of the country is a destination to the tourists to enjoy the wonderful experience of being here. The town nestles some of the wonderful architectures of West Africa. The town also houses several museums, open air markets and also several festivals to give you that cultural idea. The thing that you will enjoy the most in the capital is the culture and cuisine though.
The beaches around here should not be underestimated. They have a calm of their own and hold serenity that cannot be ignored. The water is so clear that you would be able to see the coral reefs, tropical fishes, and eels. The banana beach’s golden sand that is covered all over by dense forest is the most popular destination for the tourists. The Sao Tome and Principe people are also welcoming and treat their guests with utmost respect and love. You will enjoy every moment you spend on the beaches.
AUTO DE FLORIPES
It is the biggest festival on the island. The origin of this festival is Portuguese and commemorates the confrontation that was prevalent between the Christians and moors during the middle age. The entire local population participates in the reenactment of the battle, which is followed by dance, music, sideshows, and special cuisines.
THE RAIN FORESTS
Unlike the African counterparts, the rainforests around this island are easy to navigate and there are also no dangerous animals in the rainforests. The hiking is relaxing and easy. You will also get the opportunity to see various tropical birds while you hike through the rainforests. If you visit the country during the rainy season, you will also get to see patches of orchids at higher elevation around the forests.
READ ALSO: Sao Tome and Principe visa application
COFFEE PRODUCTION AT MONTE CAFÉ
In the mountains outside the island offers demonstrations and tours around this coffee plantation. It also allows the visitors to sample some of the production. Once upon a time, this plantation’s output was the largest in the world. Also, the drive here is filled with an awesome view of the ocean.
TURTLE WATCHING AND PHOTOGRAPHY AT PRAIA JALE
This tiny village that relies on fishing is very different from the island, but a must visit. The locals around here are even more welcoming than the main city. You can engage with them and learn more about the history and culture of the nation. The main attraction here are the turtles, which the best time to see is between November and March when the females lay a bulk of eggs.
CORALLO CHOCOLATE FACTORY
It is a chocolate factory that ferments, dries, and stores cocoa raw beans. They offer tours and demonstrations and samples of their products to the visitors. The tour is offered by the owner himself who has profound knowledge of the same. High spirited lectures are given to provide a deep knowledge on production of chocolate.
PICO DE SÃO TOMÉ
This is the largest mountain in the country that stands at a height of 6000 feet. It is situated in the middle of Obo national park. You can also trek here which takes two days to complete. A guide is recommended, however, not necessary.
GETTING IN AND AROUND THE COUNTRY
VISAS: The country requires a visa, a valid passport, and also a vaccination of the yellow fever. It is better if you apply weeks in advance for the same to avoid any delay. Apply for an e visa and you will be ready to visit the country without much hassle.
TRANSPORTATION: There are various flights to Sao Tome and Principe. There are many African airlines that offer flights to this destination such as STP airways. The STP airways run flights a few times a week, and it is the safest way to reach the country. You can also try the water route to reach the country through one of the cargo ships that travel between the two islands.
The roads around the island are pretty good. You will not be able to find any public transportation method, but you can hire a cab or taxi easily. The Sao Tome and Principe map is essential to be kept with you, because the roads are slightly difficult to navigate, and it would help you by keeping a map.
READ ALSO: Is Sao Tome and Principe Safe to Travel
- The currency of the island is called Dobra, which are issued like colorful notes that resemble the euro. You should note that there are no ATMs in either of the islands. Also, credit card usage is limited only to the large hotels and restaurants. However, the cost of living in Sao Tome and Principe is much lower than its African counterparts. Hence, you should carry cash with you at all times.
- The language here is Portuguese, and you should not expect the locals to speak with you in English except for the large Sao Tome and Principe hotels.
- The temperature around the island is relatively mild. But, the weather is a disguise to the sun burns that it offers to the visitors. Hence, make sure to carry a sunblock of SPF 30 and higher above with you.
- You can spend your night time in restaurants or bars that are famous. The café e Companhia is famous among the expats as well as the locals. These are some good places to connect and have fun.
Other than that, you should keep in mind the general travel restrictions in mind when you are around this country. You should respect their culture, and shake hands as a sign of respect. You will find many beggars around the country that you would have to deal with politely.
We hope that this article about the Travel guide for Sao Tome and Principe helped you in gaining the adequate knowledge for the time when you visit this beautiful island.