Sao Tome & Principe

An island nation of pristine beaches, rainforest, colonial architecture and friendly locals

Africa’s second smallest nation after the Seychelles, the former Portuguese colony of Sao Tome and Principe can be found on the Equator, 225 km west of Gabon in West Africa.  These islands are virtually untouched by tourism and if you choose to visit you will definitely feel you are on the road less travelled.  Despite this the islands have lovely boutique luxury hotel choices, plenty of activities and gorgeous landscapes and wildlife.  Not to be missed are:

  • the larger island of Sao Tome, once the world’s largest cocoa exporter where you can still visit cocoa plantations
  • a visit to Sao Tome in mid August for the Auto de Felipes annual street theatre clash between the fiery Moors and cool Christians – more carnival than performance
  • the impenetrable forests of Principe with over 25 endemic bird species including parrots and kingfishers.  Jungle has overtaken many old plantation buildings and you can find churches enclosed by the roots of trees like in Angkor Wat
  • a hike to the summit of Pico Papagaio – its name means Parrot Mountain and en route you will definitely see parrots and kingfishers
  • Stunning golden sand beaches on Principe, especially the photogenic Praia Boi and Praia Banana
  • From September to April, Leatherback, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles lay their eggs in the sands of Praia Grande on Principe
  • From August to October you can see humpback whales cruise past in the offshore waters of Principe
  • All flights to Sao Tome and Principe go via Lisbon, so tack on a few days in the lively Portuguese capital as part of your trip
  • Flying time: 8 hours via Lisbon with touchdown in Accra
  • Time difference: 0 hours
  • Currency: Dobra
  • Best time of year to travel: Year round but dry season June to September

Ideas for a trip to Sao Tome & Principe

Here are some ideas for trips to Sao Tome & principeall of which can be adapted for you and we are always happy to create a bespoke trip from scratch

Sao Tome & Principe Island Retreat

from £2950 per person
9 nights stay starting with a three night stay at Omali Lodge. Set within pretty gardens full of coconut palms and not too far from Obo National Park - and also just across from the white sands and crashing waves of Lagarto Beach - Omali Lodge is the perfect base from where to acquaint yourself with what the island has to offer. On day four, head to Príncipe for 5 nights, a beautiful island with a relaxed ambience. Despite its small size, Príncipe contains diverse ecosystems and its people have an interesting culture, with African roots mixed with elements of Portuguese.

Best of Sao Tome & Principe

from £2880 per person
Experience the highlights of São Tomé and Príncipe on this 12 day itinerary. You will spend the first three nights at Omali Lodge on São Tomé, to experience the history and culture of the island. Hop over to the Island of Príncipe for four nights at Bom Bom Island Resort. Being on a protected biosphere, this resort is extremely peaceful and naturally beautiful. You can go whale watching, see the dolphins and even turtles nesting. Bird watching here is also brilliant.Finish off your stay with 3 nights at Roça Sundy - a restored plantation house.

Active Sao Tome 7 Principe holiday

from £3098 per person
9 night holiday including a couple of nights in Lisbon and then seeing all the sights of these lovely islands including a boat trip to the bay of Needles, a cultural tour of Principe Island, turtle watching between September and April, a half day hike on the wild trails in Principe ending with a refreshing dip in a waterfall, waterspouts at island retreat including SUP boarding, snorkelling and kayaking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions that haven't been answered here? Send your questions to enquiries@shearwatertravel.co.uk and we'll try our best to help.

No visa needed for UK citizens for stays of 15 days or less.  More details available on the FCO Travel Advice pages 

Usual immunisations should be up to date and Hepatitis A and Tetanus are also advised.  for latest advice visit the NHS travel pages 

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