Overview

Introduction

The verdant, Atlantic islands of Sao Tome and Principe are two destinations that, once visited, will change your outlook on the world forever.

Sao Tome and Principe at a glance:

  • Just north of the equator, this lesser-known archipelago has an immense natural, experience-rich and deep-rooted cultural appeal
  • Dense rainforests, lofty volcanic peaks, phonolitic rock towers, glorious stretches of empty beach, colonial architecture and a cool vibe
  • The island of Principe has been designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve and is home to a great biodiversity in terrestrial as well as in marine ecosystems. Diving here is world-class
  • Visit between October and January to observe the nesting of leatherback, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles. Turtle hatching takes place from December to April. Whale watching is available from July to October
  • A year-round destination with activities and experiences on offer to suit all interests. Of course, Sao Tome and Principe will feel like paradise should you wish to do little more than relax, swim and read

If you draw a line along the Greenwich meridian to the spot where the line crosses the equator, then close by, at Africa’s westernmost point and 250km off the coast of Gabon, is where you will find the verdant, Atlantic islands of Sao Tome and Principe; two destinations that, once visited, will change your outlook on the world forever.

At just 1001km2 this little-visited archipelago is Africa’s second smallest country. What it lacks in size, these islands, and their satellite isles, make up for with their immense natural, experience-rich and deep-rooted cultural appeal. ‘Packs a punch’ would be one sentiment we would use to describe a holiday to São Tomé and Príncipe; another would be ‘takes your breath away’.

Nature:

Products of a long-extinct volcano, the landscape of the islands is dramatic, beautiful and unforgiving: black basalt rocks, thundering waterfalls, glorious stretches of golden sand, warm turquoise water, mountain peaks and dense rainforests - packed so thickly that visible pathways are hard to find. From the air they have the distinct look of deserted paradise islands; from the land, you realise this initial impression is not far from the truth.

Birdlife on Sao Tome and Principe is exceptional, boasting the highest density of endemic species in the world - more per km2 than the Galapagos archipelago. Some 25, single-island species can be found here and a further 14 species are endemic to the country. The abundance of forest and lack of development ensure a pristine environment in which these birds can thrive, separate from their human neighbours. With a local guide it is possible to explore the islands’ interior and hear the calls of the prinia, blue waxbills, kingfishers, starlings, Sao Tome green pigeons, Principe drongo and the African grey parrot. Soaring above, the black kite can often be seen.

Off shore, the waters of the archipelago, amidst the Bay of Guinea, are considered a marine hotspot. Three species of sea turtle nest here (green turtle, hawksbill and leatherback) between October and January, with hatching from December to April, and the Loggerhead turtle can be observed in the islands' waters. Humpback whales migrate past the isles in July and August.

Cultural:

One hundred years ago, Sao Tome and Principe, under Portuguese colonisation, were the largest cocoa producers in the world. Former plantations now lie largely abandoned, reclaimed by nature. However, their heritage and products live on (to a lesser extent).

The primary language, Portuguese, can be traced back to this period. Cape Verdean creole, on the other hand, spoken by over 15,000 people, was introduced, and passed on, by plantation contract workers. The majority of Principe’s residents are of Cape Verdean descent, their ancestors left behind at the time of independence.

A visit to a plantation house (Roça) is a must, in our opinion. The crumbling estates will transport you back in time. Close your eyes and it’s not hard to imagine the sounds and smells of these former communities. Slowly but steadily, trees and vegetation are obliterating the legacy of colonisation - enabling excellent photographic opportunities - but, at a few, the plantation manors now house artist workshops and stores selling local products.

These islands are not stuck in the past. Times are changing on Sao Tome and Principe; improvements in infrastructure, communication and education, increased job opportunities and the introduction of new industries - tourism being one - are aiding social mobility. The islands’ capitals, Sao Tome (Sao Tome) and Santo Antonio (Principe), are vibrant communities with a fascinating architectural mix and warmly welcoming to those who visit. Explore the food markets to discover for yourself the vast array of locally colourful herbs, spices and vegetables. Be sure to stop and converse with those you meet; the more you engage the deeper and more enriching the experience (limited English is spoken but hand signals, smiles and basic words can make all of the difference).

Holiday:

With idyllic beach after idyllic beach, fringed by almond, coconut, bamboo and begonia, you could be forgiven for spending your days by the sea. Snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking and diving are all popular activities along the coast.

A variety of boat excursions operate, and are highly recommended by the Sunvil team. It is from the water the drama of the landscape unfolds.

With a walking guide it is possible to explore the islands’ natural parks and to discover cocoa trees almost eclipsed by a medley of ferns, banana trees, palms, breadfruit trees and more. At their roots, medicinal and aromatic herbs, including wild coriander, wild ginger and lemongrass can be harvested. 

With minimal light pollution, the constellations of the night sky shine brightly. Find your own tranquil spot or book a local guide to understand more.  

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Getting There

Getting To Sao Tome and Principe

  • Flights from the UK to Sao Tome and Principe operate via Lisbon. From Lisbon the flight continues to Sao Tome, with a touchdown in Accra (Ghana) en route. A 35-minute domestic flight connects Sao Tome with the smaller island of Principe.

When To Go

When to go to Sao Tome and Principe

Whilst the temperature and daylight hours remain constant all-year, the archipelago has two distinct seasons: the wet season and the dry season (June to September and December to March). The wet season results in heavy tropical showers, quickly replaced by clear blue skies. The dry season has cooler temperatures and cloud cover. 

Walkers should choose to travel in the dry season if they wish to explore the inland trails.

Accommodation

Accommodation on Sao Tome and Principe

To launch our holiday programme, Sunvil has handpicked one property on Sao Tome and three differing hotels on Principe. Whether searching for a beach resort, to step back in time at a former plantation hotel or sleep amidst the forest in a luxury tented bungalow, we have a property for you. As always our programme is flexible and our holidays handcrafted to suit your requirements.

 

Activities

São Tomé and Principe activities 2020/21

 

São Tomé

São Tomé City Tour

Visit the capital of São Tomé to discover the wonders of Portuguese colonial architecture and to experience daily life in the city. The tour starts with a visit to the Fortress of Saint Sebastian (Forte De Sao Sebastião) which houses the national museum and where you will have an introduction to the colonial history of São Tomé and Principe. The tour then continues to the Cathedral, an important landmark in the history of Catholicism in Africa; Independence Square where independence was celebrated in 1975; the Municipal Market; important commercial houses in the city centre and other buildings dating from Colonial times. During the tour it is also possible to include some shopping, with assistance from your guide, to purchase local handicraft/products. The tour ends with a traditional Santomean lunch, after which you will be driven back to your hotel. 

  • Duration: 4½ hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 09:00
  • Price: £75.00 per person based on a minimum of 2 participants*

 

Notes:

  • Return transfer (car/minivan) included from/to Omali Hotel. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Included: Water and lunch (drinks not included) - please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, sun-screen, insect repellent and hat. Please take local currency with you in case you wish to purchase drinks at lunch or souvenirs (there is no ATM available on the island).
  • It is recommended to do the tour during the opening hours of the shops in the city.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • This tour can be done on the last day of your holiday on São Tomé and Principe, if arriving from Principe Island on the morning flight (which lands in São Tomé at 10:55) and departing the same day on the evening international flight to Lisbon. Please note that the city tour itinerary will be altered accordingly.
  • *Price for 1 participant - £116.00; 3 participants - £62.00pp; 4 participants - £55.00pp; 5 participants - £51.00pp; 6 participants - £48.00pp; 7 participants - £47.00pp and 8 participants - £44.00pp.

 

 

 

The Plantations of the North – Coffee and Cocoa Tour

One hundred years ago the island of São Tomé, along with the island of Principe, were the largest cocoa producers in the world. Numerous plantations were built to harvest the cocoa - the wealth of São Tomé, but were abandoned and reclaimed by nature over time. This tour visits the historical landmark of Fernão Dias, a sub division of the once grand Agostinho Neto plantation, after which you will visit the Boa Entrada plantation where you will see some of the most beautiful colonial architecture on the island. The tour then continues to the Agostinho Neto plantation to visit its botanical garden and to view the colonial architecture of this grand estate, before descending along the west coast to the historical point of Anambô where Portuguese discoverers set foot on Santomean ground for the first time. After a short break (refreshments and a snack) at Anambô, the tour finishes in the Monte Forte plantation, one of the last working plantations on São Tomé where people still work in agriculture, bringing you back to the present day and where a traditional lunch will be served. 

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:00
  • Price: £104.00 per person based on a minimum of 2 participants*

 

Notes:

  • Excursion by car/mini-van. Pick up and drop off at Omali Hotel. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Included: Rain cape, water, snack and a traditional lunch (excluding drinks) – please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing (paths will be wet and muddy), sun-screen, insect repellent and hat. Please take local currency with you in case you wish to purchase drinks at lunch (there is no ATM available on the island).
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • *Price for 1 participant - £173.00; 3 participants - £81.00pp; 4 participants - £70.00pp; 5 participants - £65.00pp; 6 participants - £61.00pp; 7 participants - £57.00pp and 8 participants - £55.00pp.

 

 

 

Monte Café Coffee Plantation Tour – High Altitude Coffee

This tour takes you up into the mountains, to an altitude of 800 metres above sea level, where the air is fresh and clean. From here, at Pousada de Boa Vista, you will enjoy a panoramic view (weather permitting) of the city of São Tomé before continuing to São Nicolau (Saint Nicholas) waterfall, where part of the journey to the waterfall will be on foot through the secondary rain forest (c.45 minutes). At the waterfall there will be a refreshment stop (coffee and local sweet), before descending to the coffee plantation of Monte Café. The plantation was the biggest and the most prosperous among all the coffee plantations on São Tomé and produced high quality coffee which was exported worldwide. At the plantation you will learn about the treatment process of the coffee in the traditional and modern way. 

  • Duration: 4½ hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:00
  • Price: £83.00 per person based on a minimum of 2 participants*

 

Notes:

  • Excursion by car/mini-van. Pick up and drop off at Omali Hotel. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Included: Rain cape, water, coffee and typical local sweet - please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing (paths will be wet and muddy), snacks, sun-screen, insect repellent and hat. Please take local currency with you in case you wish to purchase some coffee at Monte Café plantation (there is no ATM available on the island).
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • To improve your chances of a view of São Tomé city from Pousada de Boa Vista it is recommended you set off as early as possible. If an earlier departure is required this must be requested at time of booking.
  • *Price for 1 participant - £127.00; 3 participants - £68.00pp; 4 participants - £61.00pp; 5 participants - £58.00pp; 6 participants - £55.00pp; 7 participants - £52.00pp and 8 participants - £44.00pp.
  • *It is possible to extend the coffee plantation tour with a 3-hour trek to the Amélia Lagoon where you will enjoy the views from its volcanic crater and discover the unique fauna and flora of the area. It is recommended that you are normally an active person. The additional price applicable is: 1 participant - £196.00; 2 participants - £170.00pp; 3 participants - £78.00pp; 4 participants - £63.00pp; 5 participants - £56.00pp; 6 participants - £50.00pp; 7 participants - £45.00pp and 8 participants - £42.00pp. Must be requested at time of booking.

 

 

 

The East Coast Tour – Down to the Angolares

Discover some of the most beautiful landscapes of São Tomé on this excursion. Travelling along the east coast you will pass by Santana, where you will be able to see the islet of Santana, before continuing to the highest point of Água Izé. After a short stop at the viewpoint you will visit the Água Izé plantation house to witness the treatment process of cocoa. From here the tour takes you to the famous natural blowhole of Boca do Inferno before passing by the village of Ribeira Afonso. A stop at 7 Ondas beach for a swim, before lunch, is included (weather permitting). A tropical fusion lunch will be served at São João plantation. After lunch there will be time to discover the installations which are in place at São João such as its art gallery and the equipment used for the treatment of different products found at the plantation such as jam and liquors (products may vary depending on the season and harvest). 

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:00
  • Price: £132.00 per person based on a minimum of 2 participants*

 

Notes:

  • Return transfer included from/to Omali Hotel. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Included: Water, snack and a traditional Fusion lunch (drinks not included) - please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, swimming costume, sun-screen, insect repellent, hat and towel (please ask at Omali Hotel reception for use of a beach towel). Please take local currency with you in case you wish to purchase any drinks at lunch and/or small change in €/USD if you wish to purchase products from the plantation house of São João (there is no ATM available on the island).
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • *Price for 1 participant - £193.00; 3 participants - £107.00pp; 4 participants - £97.00pp; 5 participants - £93.00pp; 6 participants - £88.00pp; 7 participants - £85.00pp and 8 participants - £83.00pp.

 

 

 

Bombaim Plantation Tour

This tour takes you in to the heart of the island, heading uphill away from the capital of São Tomé, to the village of Trindade. On arrival you will visit the church of Santissima Trindade and take a stroll around the village. Afterwards, passing by the plantation of Santa Adelaide, along a winding and muddy road, the tour continues to the plantation estate of Bombaim which is situated in the valley of Rio Abade, surrounded by mountains. The journey to the estate takes you partly through secondary forest, along the Manuel Jorge river, to the famous waterfall of Bombain from where, along with your guide, you will walk the rest of the way to the plantation house. Once at the plantation house you will visit its installations and enjoy a traditional Santomean meal in the administration building. After lunch there will be time for a walk around the estate before returning back to your hotel by car (4WD). 

  • Duration: 4½ hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 09:00
  • Price: £120.00 per person based on a minimum of 2 participants*

 

Notes:

  • Excursion by car (4WD). Pick up and drop off at Omali Hotel. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Included: Rain cape, water, snack and a traditional lunch (excluding drinks) – please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing (paths will be wet and muddy), sun-screen, insect repellent and hat. Please take local currency with you in case you wish to purchase drinks at lunch (there is no ATM available on the island).
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • *Price for 1 participant - £195.00; 3 participants - £95.00pp; 4 participants - £82.00pp; 5 participants - £77.00pp; 6 participants - £72.00pp; 7 participants - £68.00pp and 8 participants - £65.00pp.

 

 

 

The Southern Beaches Tour

Discover the desert beaches of São Tomé on a tour that will take you to two of the most beautiful and unique beaches of the island. Early in the morning you will be met by your guide and travel along the east coast to the village of Portalegre. The drive is approximately 3 hours and includes stops to take in the views of the river lô Grande, the peak of Cão Grande as well as the waterfall and plantation of Ribeira Peixe. On arrival in Portalegre you will visit the old mansion of Lama Porco before descending to Jalé beach, a beautiful beach with a long stretch of golden sand. From here it is possible to go by canoe to São Tomé’s largest mangrove. The tour continues to Praia Piscina, with a walk included (weather permitting). At Praia Piscina you will have the opportunity to swim at the beach before a picnic lunch is served. After lunch there will be time to relax before returning to the city. 

  • Duration: 10 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 07:00
  • Price: £123.00 per person based on a minimum of 2 participants*

 

Notes:

  • Excursion by car/mini-van. Pick up and drop off at Omali Hotel. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Included: Rain cape, water, snack and a traditional picnic lunch (excluding drinks) – please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, change of clothing, sun-screen, swimming costume, towel (please ask at Omali Hotel reception for use of a beach towel), insect repellent and hat.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Important: Swimming at Jalé beach is not recommended due to strong currents. The south of the island is the humid zone where it rains frequently.
  • *Price for 1 participant - £192.00; 3 participants - £97.00pp; 4 participants - £85.00pp; 5 participants - £79.00pp; 6 participants - £74.00pp; 7 participants - £71.00pp and 8 participants - £66.00pp.

 

 

Mountains and Beaches Tour – Leisure and Culture

Visit the main tourist attractions of the north of the island of São Tomé on this tour. First, you will visit the Monte Café plantation where you will learn about the treatment process of the coffee in the traditional and modern way. After, you will continue to São Nicolau (Saint Nicholas) waterfall, where part of the journey to the waterfall will be on foot through the secondary rain forest (c.45 minutes). At the waterfall there will be a refreshment stop (coffee), before descending the mountain to the Agostinho Neto plantation to visit its botanical garden and view the colonial architecture of this grand estate. Before lunch you will visit the beach of Conchas where there will be time to relax and enjoy a swim. En route to the Monteforte plantation, for lunch, you will pass by the Blue Lagoon of São Tomé. There will be time, after lunch, to have a look around the plantation before heading back to your hotel. 

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:00
  • Price: £111.00 per person based on a minimum of 2 participants*

 

Notes:

  • Excursion by car/mini-van. Pick up and drop off at Omali Hotel. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Included: Water, snack and a traditional lunch (excluding drinks) – please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing (paths will be wet and muddy), sun-screen, swimming costume, towel (please ask at Omali Hotel reception for use of a beach towel), insect repellent and hat. Please take local currency with you in case you wish to purchase drinks at lunch (there is no ATM available on the island).
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Please note that the tour itinerary and departure time is subject to change due to weather and/or road conditions.
  • *Price for 1 participant - £198.00; 3 participants - £85.00pp; 4 participants - £70.00pp; 5 participants - £63.00pp; 6 participants - £60.00pp; 7 participants - £56.00pp and 8 participants - £53.00pp.

 

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Principe

 

Cooking Workshop at Sundy Praia Hotel

Try out your skills in the kitchen for a day, letting your imagination flow and learning how to cook like a 5-star chef. Using local ingredients, you will learn to cook dishes which are featured on the Sundy Praia’s own menu, after which you will have the opportunity to sample.

  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 11:30/12:00
  • Price: £54.00 per adult / £27.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • The cooking workshop, with English speaking chef, is located at the Sundy Praia Hotel.
  • Transfers are included to/from Roça Sundy and Bom Bom Resort (transfer time is approximately 20-30 minutes each way). Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Refreshment (water) is included during the workshop.
  • Cooked meal included – please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 6.
  • Free for children 5 years and under when accompanied by an adult.

 

 

Hiking

The raw and wild hiking trails on Príncipe are ideal for those who wish to scratch under the surface of the destination. Please note that due to uneven surfaces, muddy and wet terrain, a good level of fitness and suitable clothing is required (good walking/hiking shoes are essential). Due to the tropical climate of the islands, hiking is recommended during the dry season.

Santa Joaquina Trail

This hike takes you on a marked trail to the old lookout point for ships where you will enjoy the best view over the town of Santo António. En route you will visit the largest Roça (Plantation House) on Príncipe Island, with its Cape Verdean traces.

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:30 or 13:30
  • Price: £82.00 per adult / £41.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • Pick up and drop off at Bom Bom Resort, Roça Sundy and Sundy Praia. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Distance covered during the hike will be 8.69km.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, water, snacks, sun-screen, insect repellent and hat.
  • Included: Water and towel.
  • Level of difficulty: Medium – a good level of fitness is required.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 6.
  • Not recommended for children under 6 years.

 

 

Ribeira Izé Trail

This marked hiking trail takes you to the first capital of Principe, Ribeira Izé, where you will be able to see the ruins of its church and the house of Maria Correia, a famous historical figure of São Tomé and Príncipe.

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 09:00
  • Price: £32.00 per adult / £16.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • The hike will start from either Bom Bom Resort or Praia Sundy, on foot.
  • Transfers included for guests staying at Roça Sundy (transfer time is approximately 20 minutes). Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Distance covered during the hike will be 2.24km.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Recommended: comfortable walking shoes and clothing, snacks, sun-screen, insect repellent and hat.
  • Water and towel included.
  • Level of difficulty: Easy – it is recommended that you are normally an active person.
  • A bottle of water will be provided by your hotel.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 8.
  • Free for children 5 years and under when accompanied by an adult.

 

 

 

Roça Infante (Infante Plantation House) Trail

Roça Infante D. Henrique is an old plantation house abandoned by the colonials after the island’s independence in 1975. Today it is covered in vegetation and is situated about 18km from the capital, Santo António. On the way to the Roça Infante, you will also pass the plantation house Roça da Ribeira Fria where occasionally it is possible to visit Sr. Romão, a farmer in this part of the island, and try his fresh produce. Along the marked trail that leads to the Infante Estate there is the possibility to see monkeys, native birds, orchids, a variety of medicinal plants and rock formations typical of volcanic islands. The hike continues on to General Correia beach (praia), an old harbour used by the Roça to dispatch its produce, and from where a boat ride is included on your return journey.

  • Duration: 6-8 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:30
  • Price: £258.00 per person

 

Notes

  • Pick up and drop off at Bom Bom Resort, Roça Sundy and Sundy Praia. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Distance covered during the hike will be 19.08km.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, sun-screen, insect repellent and hat.
  • Included: Water, towel and a pack lunch (provided by your hotel) – please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • Level of difficulty: Hard/Difficult.
  • The boat journey from General Correia beach will take approximately 45 minutes. Guests will be dropped off at Bom Bom Resort and/or Sundy Praia depending on where they are staying. Guests staying at Roça Sundy will be dropped off at Sundy Praia before continuing by car to their accommodation.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 6.
  • Not recommended for children under 15 years.

 

 

Pico Papagaio (Parrot Mountain) Trail

Pico Papagaio, formed from volcanic basalt, is one of Príncipe Island’s most famous mountains, and at approximately 700m high it is visible from the town of Santo António, the capital of the island. The mountain, which lies within the boundaries of the National Park, is surrounded by secondary and primary rainforest. During this marked trail hike, which takes you to the top of Pico Papagaio, as well as a spectacular view of the island, you might see monkeys, native birds, orchids and medicinal plants.

  • Duration: 5 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:30
  • Price: £98.00 per person

 

Notes

  • Pick up and drop off at Bom Bom Resort, Roça Sundy and Sundy Praia. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Distance covered during the hike will be 7.18km.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, snacks, sun-screen, insect repellent and hat.
  • Included: Water and towel.
  • Level of difficulty: Hard/Difficult.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 6.
  • Not recommended for children under 15 years.

 

 

Hike Cascata O Qué Pipi (O Qué Pipi Waterfall) Trail

Following a trail through the Natural Park of Principe, this hike takes you to one of the island’s most beautiful waterfalls - the O Qué Pipi. In the dense vegetation you will experience peace and quiet, only disturbed by the rustling of leaves and birdsong. Following a natural path, you will climb uphill over fallen trees, roots and rocks to the waterfall. Along the way your guide will share knowledge and information with you about the fruit and plants you will encounter and even cut down some fruit to sample and show you how to get water from a tree – a good survival skill. Time is allowed for a refreshing dip in the waterfall pool before you start your trek back along the same path.

  • Duration: Approximately 3 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:30 or 13:30
  • Price: £72.00 per adult / £36.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • Pick up and drop off at Bom Bom Resort, Roça Sundy and Sundy Praia. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Distance covered during the hike will be 2.27km.
  • Walk Grading: Easy to Medium – it is recommended that you are normally an active person.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, swimming costume, towel, snacks, sun-screen, insect repellent and hat.
  • Included: Water and towel.
  • Due to the natural surroundings of the waterfall you will be required to clamber over rocks to access the natural pool.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 6.
  • Not recommended for children under 6 years.

 

 

Turtle Watching

In the early evening, you will be transferred to a nearby turtle conservation area where you will get to learn about the three species of turtle who nest on the island - green turtle, hawksbill and leatherback. You will learn about the work being undertaken locally to preserve their habitats for generations to come and to educate residents as to their role in the protection of the species. If you are lucky enough to watch a female laying her eggs or her young being hatched, it is certainly an unforgettable experience.

  • Duration: 2 to 4 hours
  • When: Daily (between September and April) from 16:30 to 19:00 and 20:30 to 23:30
  • Price: £78.00 per adult / £39.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • Pick up and drop off at Bom Bom Resort, Roça Sundy and Sundy Praia. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 15 (5 guests per hotel).
  • Recommended: Long-sleeve shirt, long trousers and insect repellent.
  • Included: Water, towel and red light.
  • Not recommended for children under 6 years.

 

 

Birdwatching

Birdlife on São Tomé and Príncipe is exceptional, boasting no less than 21 endemic species of birds, more per km2 than the Galapagos archipelago. The abundance of forest and lack of development ensure a pristine environment in which these birds can thrive, separate from their human neighbours. With a local guide, and armed with a pair of binoculars you will venture out to discover a variety of birds including the kingfisher, the Principe drongo, the African grey parrot and the black kite which can often be seen soaring above.

  • Duration: 2 to 4 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:30
  • Price: £52.00 per adult / £26.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • Guests staying at Sundy Praia will walk to ‘Oque Daniel’ which is a 2-hour walk. The length of the walk and the difficulty level can be adapted according to guest ability.
  • Guests staying at Bom Bom Resort and Roça Sundy will explore in the area or at ‘Oque Daniel’.
  • Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • Recommended: Binoculars, comfortable walking shoes and clothing, snacks, sun-screen, insect repellent and hat.
  • Included: Water, binoculars (subject to availability) and an ID book. Note: It is recommended to bring your own binoculars.
  • January to mid-February (the short dry season) is a good time for birdwatching due to it being mating season when the birds display their breeding plumage, mostly colourful and bright.
  • It is possible to depart earlier than 08:30 if preferred – this must be requested at time of booking.
  • Terrain Jeeps (hotel vehicles) are used during the activity.
  • Minimum number of participants is 1 and the maximum is 6.
  • Not recommended for children under 6 years.

 

 

Explore the South Island Tour (Half Day)

This excursion will take you around the south of Príncipe Island, beginning with the traditional fishing village of Praia Abade. From here you continue your journey, stopping at the Nova Estrela (New Star) view point where you will enjoy a panoramic view of the island of Boné do Jóquei (Jockey’s Cap). You will also visit the Terreiro Velho view point where you will appreciate further spectacular views of the national park to the east, and São Joaquim, to the west.

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:30 or 13:30 from Sundy Praia and 09:00 or 14:00 from Bom Bom Resort and Roça Sundy
  • Price: £62.00 per adult / £31.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • Pick up and drop off at Bom Bom Resort, Roça Sundy and Sundy Praia. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, snacks, sun-screen and insect repellent.
  • Included: Water and towel.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 6.
  • Free for children 5 years and under when accompanied by an adult.

 

 

Plantation Tour (Half Day)

Learn all about the secrets of organic farming at the plantation house, Roça Paciência. Savour the different aromas and tastes of Príncipe Island’s aromatic herbs and medicinal plants, visit the gardens and see how the products are transformed into delicious jams, tropical muesli, toiletries and beauty products.

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:30 or 13:30 from Sundy Praia and 09:00 or 14:00 from Bom Bom Resort and Roça Sundy
  • Price: £62.00 per adult / £31.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • Pick up and drop off at Bom Bom Resort, Roça Sundy and Sundy Praia. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, water, snacks, sun-screen and insect repellent.
  • Included: Water and towel.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 6.
  • Free for children 5 years and under when accompanied by an adult.

 

 

Explore Principe Tour (Full Day)

The cultural history of Príncipe is fascinating and this excursion is a great way of getting to know about the island’s culture and its outstanding scenery in one day. This guided tour will lead you on an exploration of the island, its former plantations, its charming capital (the smallest capital in the world) and its rural communities. It is a tour that will excite your senses - savour the aromas of herbs and medicinal plants, taste the local food products (jams, tropical muesli, chocolate, grilled fish, breadfruit and bananas for example), and take in the breath-taking views of mountain peaks and colourful harbours. During the tour you will also visit the waste recycling co-operative in Roça Porto Real, which was set up in 2016 with the aim of transforming glass into jewellery. Here you will meet Bela and her team and learn about the process, gaining an understanding of this social project.

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:30 from Sundy Praia and 09:00 from Bom Bom Resort and Roça Sundy
  • Price: £98.00 per adult / £49.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • Pick up and drop off at Bom Bom Resort, Roça Sundy and Sundy Praia. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, snacks, sun-screen and insect repellent.
  • Included: Water, towel and a traditional local meal – please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 6.
  • Free for children 5 years and under when accompanied by an adult.

 

 

Cocoa Route Tour (Half Day)

One hundred years ago the island of São Tomé, along with the island of Principe, were the largest cocoa producers in the world. This excursion is perfect for all chocolate lovers and is a great experience for anyone who wants to learn about the cocoa transformation process, from tree to table. Embrace a journey that will take you through the plantations and old dryers, ending with a tasting of the cocoa product.

  • Duration: 3-4 hours (half day)
  • When: Daily (all year) at 09:00 or 14:00
  • Price: £78.00 per adult / £39.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • Pick up and drop off at Bom Bom Resort, Roça Sundy and Sundy Praia. Please meet in reception 10 minutes prior to the excursion time.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Recommended: Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, snacks, sun-screen and insect repellent.
  • Included: Water, towel and cocoa product tasting.
  • Maximum number of participants is 6-8.
  • Free for children 5 years and under when accompanied by an adult.

 

 

Boat Trip to the Bay of Needles (Baia das Agulhas)

To truly appreciate the beauty and drama of Príncipe island you need to observe the land from the sea. During this 3-hour trip you will enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the west side of the National Park. The Bay of Needles, so called because of the phonolite towers rising up out of the skyline, will give you an experience of nature in its purest state. With local guides onboard you can gain an authentic insight into the destination.

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 08:30 or 13:30 from Sundy Praia and 09:00 or 14:00 from Bom Bom Resort and Roça Sundy
  • Price: £128.00 per adult / £64.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • Departure from either Sundy Praia or Bom Bom Resort for guests staying at those properties. Guests staying at Roça Sundy can choose to depart from either Sundy Praia or Bom Bom Resort.
  • Transfers are included for guests staying at Roça Sundy (c.20 minutes transfer each way to Sundy Praia or c.40 minutes transfer each way to Bom Bom Resort).
  • Recommended: Shorts or loose trousers (rather than a skirt), flat shoes/trainers or sandals, cap or hair-band, water, sun-screen, insect repellent and swimming costume.
  • Sundy Praia will provide water, snacks (sandwich, fruit and juice – please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking), towel and snorkelling gear (on request at time of booking).
  • Bom Bom Resort will provide water, towel and snorkelling gear (on request at time of booking).
  • Rigid, double hull or single hull boats seating a maximum of 8 or 16 people are used. There are no facilities onboard.
  • Lifejackets will be provided.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 16.
  • Free for children 5 years and under when accompanied by an adult.
  • Important: Pregnant women or any person suffering from back problems are not allowed on the boats. The boat trip will operate subject to weather and sea conditions. In the event that the excursion is cancelled, if it is not possible to re-book locally, a full refund will be given on your return to the UK.
  • If you would like to arrange a fish picnic on the beach, an additional supplement of £52.00 per person will be applicable.

 

 

Boat Trip along the Northeast Coast

Enjoy a boat trip along the golden sand beaches of the northeast coast of the island. This trip is designed for sea and beach lovers, to discover the beautiful beaches that can be found on Principe and to enjoy a swim and some snorkelling in the emerald green waters that surround the island.

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 09:00 or 14:00
  • Price: £98.00 per adult / £49.00 per child (age 6 to 12 years)

 

Notes

  • Departure from either Sundy Praia or Bom Bom Resort for guests staying at those properties. Guests staying at Roça Sundy will have a transfer included to either Bom Bom Resort (c.40 minutes’ drive) or Praia Sundy (c.20 minutes’ drive).
  • Recommended: Swimming costume, towel, snacks, sun-screen, insect repellent, sunglasses and hat.
  • Included: Towel, water, snorkelling gear and snack (sandwich, fruit and juice) – please advise of any dietary requirements at time of booking.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Rigid, double hull or single hull boats seating a maximum of 8 or 16 people are used. There are no facilities onboard.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 16.
  • Free for children 5 years and under when accompanied by an adult.
  • Important: Pregnant women or any person suffering from back problems are not allowed on the boats. The boat trip will operate subject to weather and sea conditions. In the event that the excursion is cancelled, if it is not possible to re-book locally, a full refund will be given on your return to the UK.
  • If you would like to arrange a fish picnic on the beach, an additional supplement of £52.00 per person will be applicable.

 

 

Private Boat Tour (Half Day or Full Day)

Take a half day private boat tour to visit the spectacular beaches of Banana, Macaco and Boi on the northeast of the island; or head to the prehistoric Bay of Needles which is only accessible by boat. A full day private boat tour sailing around the whole of Principe Island can also be arranged and includes several stops for swimming and snorkelling.

  • Duration: 4 hours (half day) or 8 hours (full day)
  • When: Daily all year from Bom Bom Resort or Sundy Praia
  • Price: £410.00 per boat for 4 hours (Half Day) / £615.00 per boat for 8 hours (Full Day) / SADA Principe Island Tour (6-8 hours) £615.00 per boat

 

Notes

  • Half Day Tour departs at 09:00 or 14:00 and the Full Day Tour departs at 09:00.
  • Departure from either Sundy Praia or Bom Bom Resort for guests staying at those properties. Guests staying at Roça Sundy will have a transfer included to either Bom Bom Resort (c.40 minutes’ drive) or Praia Sundy (c.20 minutes’ drive).
  • Recommended: Swimming costume, towel, sun-screen, insect repellent, water, snacks, sunglasses and hat.
  • Included: Towel, water and snorkelling gear.
  • A traditional boat or rigid, double hull or single hull boats seating a maximum of 6 to 8 people are used. There are no facilities onboard.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • The maximum number of participants is 6-8.
  • There is no minimum age.
  • Please note that for sustainable and conservation reasons, fishing is not an activity that can be offered.
  • Important: Pregnant women or any person suffering from back problems are not allowed on the boats. The boat trip will operate subject to weather and sea conditions. In the event that the excursion is cancelled, it will be re-booked locally for the following day.

 

 

Diving

With your guide you will dive in some of the best spots around the coast of Principe.

  • Duration: between 1½ and 3 hours
  • When: Daily (all year) at 09:00 or 14:00
  • Price: £77.00 per person for 1 dive / £133.00 per person for 2 dives
  • Baptism Dive (DSD – Discover Scuba Diving): £87.00 per person

 

Notes

  • Transfers are included to Bom Bom Resort PADI Dive Centre for guests staying at Roça Sundy and Sundy Praia.
  • A dive certificate is required and must be shown to the excursion provider prior to diving.
  • Included: Diving equipment, wetsuit, water and towel.
  • Clients are recommended to bring their own mask and dive computer.
  • You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
  • Minimum number of participants is 2 and the maximum is 5 people per guide.
  • The minimum age is 13 years.
  • Important: Diving will operate subject to weather and sea conditions. In the event that the diving is cancelled, if it is not possible to re-book locally, a full refund will be given on your return.
  • December to March is said to be a good time for diving, offering the best visibility for divers.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations for Sao Tome and Principe

It is recommended that any traveller to Sao Tome and Principe consults with a travel healthcare practitioner 6-8 weeks prior to departure. Immunisations for Hepatitus A, Tetanus and Malaria are usually advised. Yellow Fever is also recommended as the flight operates via a country of risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the local currency?
Euros are accepted locally and can be exchanged in resort into Dobra (STD), the local currency.  Please note that if paying in Euros, any change due is normally given in Dobra.  The hotels accept VISA, MasterCard and AMEX.  If making a purchase elsewhere, you should check with the restaurant, shop etc that they will accept your card as these are accepted in a very limited number of places around the island.  There are no ATM machines on either island.  Cash is available from the main bank in São Tomé using a Visa card.  Travellers’ cheques are not accepted on São Tomé and Principe.

What is the official language?
Portuguese is the official language of both islands.  There are also several Creole languages in use, three of them are indigenous - Santome (the language of São Tomé); Angolar (language of Angolares) and Lung'lé (the language on Principe).  English is also spoken but lesser so if visiting areas outside of the hotel resorts.

Do you need any vaccinations when travelling to São Tomé and Principe?

Yes please see the following link.

Do I need a visa?
No visa is required for British passport holders travelling, in transit only, via Accra (Ghana) to São Tomé nor for British Nationals staying up to 15 days.  

For longer stays a visa is required before travel – please contact the São Tomé and Principe Diplomatic Mission in Brussels: Square Montgomery, 175 Avenue de Tervuren, 1150 Brussels; Tel: +32 2 734 89 66; e-mail: Ambassade@saotomeeprincipe.be.  São Tomé and Príncipe have no diplomatic representation in the UK.

Other passport holders should contact the São Tomé and Principe Diplomatic Mission in Brussels for visa requirements.

Travellers’ require a passport with at least 6 months remaining after the date of your return.

Please note that on occasion you may be required to complete landing cards onboard the flight from Lisbon to Accra.  This is due to the airline crew not being aware until landing whether passengers travelling on to São Tomé will be required to remain on the aircraft or whether they will need to disembark.  Completing the forms prior to landing will assist with the speed of process if you are required to disembark.  

What’s the time difference between São Tomé and Principe with the UK?

São Tomé and Principe are on GMT+0, so there is no time difference during the winter.  Between March and October, whilst the UK is on British Summer Time, São Tomé and Principe are one hour behind the UK.  Due to the similar time zones this means no jet lag.
 
When is the best time to go to São Tomé and Principe?
The dry season is the best time to travel for walkers especially if exploring inland trails.  Whilst the temperature and daylight hours remain constant all-year, the archipelago has two distinct seasons: the wet season and the dry season (June to September and January to February).  The wet season results in heavy tropical showers, quickly replaced by clear blue skies.  The dry season can be more humid with cloud cover.

How do you get to São Tomé and Príncipe?
For details please see the following link.

How much luggage allowance is included on the flights?
Hold luggage allowance with TAP Portugal is 23kg per person and 1 piece of hand baggage up to 8kg / 115cm (55x40x20 cm / 22x16x8 in) plus 1 personal item up to 2 Kg / 85 cm (40x30x15 cm / 16x12x5 in) for economy class. 

Hold luggage allowance with STP Airways is 15kg per person.  Excess baggage is payable at the airport – the fee is c.10 Euros per kilo each way.  Please note that excess/extra luggage acceptance on the flight is subject to space availability and there is no guarantee of transportation.  There is no hand luggage allowance on domestic flights between São Tomé and Príncipe therefore it is recommended that guests only take onboard a small backpack or a handbag.  Guests can leave luggage, which they do not wish to take with them to Principe, at the Omali at no extra cost.

It is possible to pre-book seats?

It is possible to pre-book seats with TAP Portugal and Sunvil would recommend selecting the same seat on both legs of the journey - from Lisbon to Accra and then from Accra to São Tomé.  In the event of not having to disembark at Accra Airport, having the same seat reserved ensures that you are seated in your correct seat.  Often you will find that where passengers have disembarked, ending their journey at Accra, others have taken their seat believing it to now be a free seat. 

What should I pack?
Light-weight waterproof rain jacket; comfortable shoes; trousers and long-sleeved shirt if hiking; light jumper for early morning/late evening; sun hat/cap; binoculars; small torch; insect repellent (DEET 50 minimum); insect bite cream and/or allergy relief cream; sunscreen and adaptor plugs.

Due to the climate and humidity of the islands loose fitting clothing (cotton or linen) is preferable.  The dress code on both São Tomé and Príncipe is easy-going and informal but it is preferred that you do not wear shorts or skirts in government buildings and churches.  It is acceptable to wear shorts and t-shirts whilst on an excursion but most hotel restaurants require more appropriate clothing during the evening.

Are there any mosquitoes?
Due to the climate of São Tomé and Principe mosquitoes are common and most active during dawn and dusk.  There are non-usual cases of malaria on Principe.  Insect repellent (DEET 50) and antimalarials are recommended.  Insects, especially in hot climates, are a part of life and although the hotels do their best to keep them at bay it is not possible to completely avoid them.  In many cases, what looks scary to us may in fact be more scared of humans, so if in doubt please speak to hotel reception.

What is the voltage in São Tomé and Principe?
The standard voltage on São Tomé and Principe is 220V, with a frequency of 50hz and is more or less the same as in the United Kingdom (230V).  Two pin (round) plugs and sockets are used therefore an adaptor plug is essential.

Occasionally the islands can experience problems with the mains electric supply, especially Principe whose combustion, for the electricity, is transported over from São Tomé by boat.  During these times hotels will operate on back-up generators and have pre-planned periods of black outs (normally overnight) to conserve fuel, however please note that this will affect air-conditioning and hot water.
 
Is there a local tourist tax?
There is a tourism levy of 3 Euros per adult per night payable locally at the end of your stay.  There is no charge for children aged 2 to 12 years.

What time can you check-in and check-out of the hotels?
Please note that the hotels operate an early check-out, normally between 08:30 and 09:00 on day of departure.  Late check-out is available locally for an additional charge and is subject to availability.  Check-in is normally around 11:00 with the exception of the Omali which is 14:00. 

Do the hotels provide tea and coffee making facilities in the room?
All accommodation featured by Sunvil have an in-room coffee and tea station.

Can you drink the local water?

It is not advisable to drink the tap water only bottled water.

Are airport transfers included?
Shared airport transfers are included to and from all accommodation booked with Sunvil.  Private transfers are available at a supplement on request.  The transfer time ranges between 5 minutes and 25 minutes depending on the hotel.

Is there a hospital on the islands?
There is a hospital on both islands and if required the hotel reception will be able to assist by taking you to the hospital or calling a doctor to your room.  Medical facilities on São Tomé and Principe are limited and many health conditions require evacuation to Europe, South Africa, Ghana or Gabon for treatment.  Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Are there any walking / hiking trails on the islands?
Guided walking/hiking excursions can be arranged on both islands and can be pre-booked by Sunvil – details on request.  If you are leaving the hotel on your own, for safety reasons please let the hotel reception know.  Walkers should choose to travel in the dry season if they wish to explore the inland trails.  Suitable clothing is essential (comfortable trousers, long-sleeved shirt and a good pair of walking shoes).  Please note that hiking trails are raw and wild, often through thick vegetation, with uneven surfaces therefore a good level of fitness is also required.

Are there any good beaches on the islands?
Both islands are great destinations for anyone looking for a beach holiday and many of the beaches are uncrowded and sometimes you may find you have the beach to yourself (with the exception of a crab here and there – the small decorator crabs are fascinating to watch).  Sunday’s tend to be busier, when locals visit the beach for family time on their day off.  There are some beaches which form part of a fishing community so these will be busier than others and it is not uncommon to see families, along with their animals (mainly dogs and pigs) living in accommodation (wooden shacks) on the beach.

Please note that whilst some beaches are easily reached on foot, there are many which can only be accessed by boat.  On Principe Island, the best beaches, many only accessible by boat, are on the north coast.  The majority of beaches do not have facilities just lovely golden sand, clear emerald waters, palm trees and the odd fallen coconut, so if you are planning a day at the beach then it would be advisable to take a picnic with you.

Please take care during windy tides on Principe when jellyfish can appear on beaches.  None of the beaches on either island are protected by lifeguards therefore children must be accompanied at all times.

Here are some of the beaches that can be found on each island…

São Tomé


Praia Museu – located on the north-east coast of the island, this beach takes its name from the nearby national museum.  The beach is within the city of São Tomé and on weekends and holidays is a good place to meet locals.
Praia Café – located on the south coast of the island on Ilhéu das Rolas, this beach is a popular spot for picnics.  It is also considered by many as the best beach of the island.
Praia Messias Alves – located on the east coast, the beach is popular for diving and snorkelling.  It is a family friendly beach with facilities and is located in Santana, just in front of Club Santana Beach and Resorts (not featured by Sunvil).
Praia Joana – a quiet beach located on the south coast which is good for swimming.
Praia Pombo – located on the south coast this is a good spot for snorkelling.
Praia Sete Ondas – found on the south coast of the island, this beach (Seven Waves Beach) is popular with surfers.
Praia de Moro Peixe – a popular beach on the north coast for snorkelling.
Praia Micondó – found on the south east of São Tomé.  Some refer to it as absolute paradise.

Principe Island

Praia Banana – found on the north-east coast of Principe and probably the most famous beach on the island, made famous by the 1990’s Bacardi advert which was filmed there.
Praia Margarida – located about 20 minutes’ walk through the forest from Praia Sundy, on the north west of the island.  The waters on this beach are emerald green.
Praia Boi – considered by many as the island’s loveliest beaches along with Banana and Margarida.  The texture of the sand at Praia Boi, on the north-east coast, is unlike any other on the island.
Praia Macaco – found on the north-east coast of Principe, this is a good beach for swimming. 
Praia Grande – Principe’s largest beach, on the north-east coast, where the project to protect and preserve sea turtles is based.
Praia Sundy – located by the property of the same name (featured by Sunvil), on the north-west coast.  This long stretch of sandy beach is great for watching sunsets.
Bom Bom Beach – found at the Bom Bom Resort (featured by Sunvil) on the north coast of the island.
Praia Ribeira Izé – located next to Bom Bom beach but more of a trek to get to.  It is about a 90 minute walk along a hiking trail to get to the beach that was once the first capital of the island and where you can still see some ruins from those times.

Is it safe to travel to São Tomé and Príncipe?
Crime rates on São Tomé and Príncipe are generally low, but like many other destinations in the world theft can occur.  Travellers are advised to safeguard valuables and cash, particularly at the beach and to use a hotel safe where practical.

The islands are generally peaceful and the locals friendly and welcoming, proud of their country and only too happy to share this beautiful destination with you.  If you wish to take photos locally you are free to do so, but please ask first if you would like to photograph a local resident as not everyone likes to have their photo taken and you may be asked for payment.  Police, military or government officials should not be photographed.

The standard of living is much lower than in the UK so it is not uncommon to see poverty and begging.  If you want to take gifts, please do not take sweets.  Visitors to the islands wishing to donate gifts are encouraged to take clothes and school supplies but please do not hand these out in the streets yourself.  Please deliver your donations to a local organisation, the church or community elders as they will ensure that they are distributed fairly.  As they say on the islands, leave nothing but your footprint and take nothing away but your memories.

Consular support is not available from the British government on São Tomé and Príncipe as there is no British Embassy.  However, the British Embassy in Luanda, Angola can provide consular support to British nationals.

Is it easy to travel around São Tomé and Príncipe?
Most of the main roads have tarmac and many, outside the capital, are in poor condition.  If going off the beaten track the roads become dirt tracks, often filled with large muddy puddles.  Most roads are unlit and you should avoid being on the road at night, when there is more likely to be animals on the road, and particularly during heavy periods of rainfall when landslips and mudslides can occur. 

Excursions and activities can be arranged in advance and these will normally include transportation therefore car rental is not required.

On São Tomé, if taking a taxi, it is common practice for these to be shared with other passengers.  Taxi’s and motorbike taxi’s (motoqueiros) are the only forms of public transport on the islands.

Is there any wildlife?

São Tomé and Príncipe do not have the large animals you will find on mainland Africa (giraffes, wildebeest, lions, zebras etc) and therefore do not offer any safari expeditions. 

How much daylight do the islands get?
São Tomé and Principe enjoy an average of 12 hours daylight all year round with sunrise around 05:30 and sunset around 17:30.

What are the local airports like?
São Tomé Airport is small in size and Principe Airport even smaller.  Check-in opens one hour prior to departure for the inter-island flights and only passengers with a flight reservation are allowed to enter the terminal.  São Tomé Airport has a small snack bar and gift shop in the departures lounge.  Whilst São Tomé Airport has a luggage carousel, Principe Airport is more manual with the luggage collection process.  Please note that there is no luggage screening equipment at Principe Airport, therefore your suitcase will need to be manually checked so Sunvil advise keeping any padlock keys close to hand.  On arrival at Principe Airport please be prepared to have your forehead temperature taken as you enter the airport building as this is a requirement for entry on the island.

What is the procedure regarding departures from Principe?
When flying from Principe Island back to São Tomé, to connect with the international flight to Lisbon, Sunvil would recommend that you pre-book day use of the Omali Hotel where you will have use of the hotel facilities and room access prior to departure of your next flight.  Shared return airport transfers are also included.  Day use at the Omali must be pre-booked and pre-paid, please contact Sunvil for a price.  Sunvil do not recommend waiting outside the airport due to lack of facilities.

What sort of excursions can you book?
Sunvil offer a variety of excursions and activities on both São Tomé and Príncipe which include dance workshops, island and plantation tours, diving, cooking classes, hiking, bird and turtle watching, boat trips and whale and dolphin watching.  Pre-booking is recommended.  Please visit our website www.sunvil.co.uk 

Useful information

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A destination like no-other on Sunvil's portfolio. Sao Tome and Principe has immense appeal for nature lovers - especially those who appreciate lesser-known destinations and have explored the densely forested regions of Latin America; bird watchers, divers, visitors wishing to observe humpback whales in their natural habitat and those wishing to relax and unwind in an unspoiled and uncommercialised setting.

Yasmin Zaidi
Yasmin Zaidi
Best time to go
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Time Difference

GMT+0

Currency

Santomean Dobra

Language

Portuguese

Average flight times

8 hours via Lisbon and Accra

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Talk to our Sao Tome and Principe expert

Yasmin Zaidi
Yasmin Zaidi

A destination like no-other on Sunvil's portfolio. Sao Tome and Principe has immense appeal for nature lovers - especially those who appreciate lesser-known destinations and have explored the densely forested regions of Latin America; bird watchers, divers, visitors wishing to observe humpback whales in their natural habitat and those wishing to relax and unwind in an unspoiled and uncommercialised setting.

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Sao Tome and Principe

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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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Thank you for your enquiry

Thank you for your enquiry. A member of our specialist reservation teams will be in touch shortly.

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, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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Feel free to continue to browse the site and add to your enquiry. Don't forget to send the enquiry before you leave!

My Suitcase

We understand that so much choice can be overwhelming which is why we have developed 'My Suitcase'. This facility allows you to save and compare your favourite holidays, and even allows you to return to your selection at a later stage.

Why not use 'My Suitcase' to compile a wish list of your future Sunvil holidays?

 

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