São Tomé and Príncipe are two tropical islands in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Gabon. With lush canopies of jungle, vast cocoa plantations and spectacular deserted beaches it is no surprise it is known as 'Africa's Eden'.

Earlier this year our colleagues visited this remote island nation in advance of adding this unique destination to our holiday programme in the summer. Our colleague Yasmin recalls some of the highlights from her familiarisation trip.

My favourite property.

Bom Bom Resort on the north coast of Principe Island. This is a small resort with just 15 wooden bungalows, hidden from above by heavy vegetation and set between two golden sand beaches. The resort restaurant is located on the islet of Bom Bom which is accessed via a 140m wooden bridge. This would be the ideal choice for anyone looking to have an equal balance of relaxation and activity filled days.

Bom Bom Resort, Principe Bom Bom Resort, Principe

My favourite viewpoint.

This has to be from out on the Atlantic Ocean looking towards the Bay of Needles. The only way to experience this view is on a RIB boat excursion. Situated on the east coast of Principe island, the Bay of Needles is so named because of the spectacular phonolite rock towers which rise out of the skyline. There is something quite magical, tranquil and remarkable about seeing the topography of the island from out at sea - an opportunity not to be missed!

Bay of Needles Bay of Needles

My favourite activity.

One of my favourite excursions was a boat trip to some of the amazing beaches that line the northeast coast of Principe, many of which are isolated. The excursion involves a stop on one or two beaches along the way for sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling.

Beach, Principe Beach, Principe

Favourite beach.

For me it was the long, golden sand beach of Santa Rita at the Bom Bom Resort. Take a stroll along its length and watch as decorator crabs disguise themselves as you approach. The ideal place to sunbathe whilst relaxing to the sounds of the lapping waves or enjoy a swim in the emerald green waters.

Beach, Principe Beach, Principe

My favourite meal

Breakfast at Sundy Praia which included locally produced ingredients. Breakfast varied daily, alternating between a buffet and a set menu. The combination of freshly made tropical muesli, natural yoghurt, honey and freshly cut pineapple was not only delicious but was a refreshing way to start the day.

Breakfast at Sundy Praia, Principe Breakfast at Sundy Praia, Principe

Highlight of the trip

Prior to its independence from Portugal in 1975 both Sao Tome and Principe were the largest cocoa producers in the world and several plantation estates (Rocas) existed in its heyday. Abandoned over time, many of the plantations now lie in ruins. A visit to Roca Paciencia, the smallest plantation on Principe, gives you an insight into the history of the cultivation and exportation of cocoa and coffee. Whilst visiting the gardens, filled with medicinal plants, herbs and flowers you learn about the skills, passed down from one generation to the next, that were required by the plantation workers. Current work at the plantation includes organic farming, handmade organic beauty products, coconut oil, tropical muesli and jams which are all available to purchase.

Cocoa plantation, Principe Cocoa plantation, Principe

Talk to our Portugal expert

Yasmin Zaidi
Yasmin Zaidi

Since joining Sunvil in 2007, Yasmin has travelled extensively across Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia. Her depth of knowledge of these countries is remarkable and she uses this to personalise the tailor made itineraries for our clients - attention to detail is something that is second nature, put her to the test. Though fluent in Spanish, she ranks Portugal as her number one destination... with our new programme to Sao Tome and Principe a close second.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

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