Overview

Introduction

A UNESCO biosphere reserve and measuring just 142km2, Principe is western Africa's Garden of Eden.

At a glance:

  • The island has a fascinating ecosystem and an enrapturing, laid-back and welcoming culture
  • The travelling experiences on offer are authentic and a voyage of discovery
  • No visit to the island is complete without a guided tour of, or stay at, a former plantation (Roca)
  • Explore the island's natural park on foot (with a guide). Marked trails will lead you through the thick vegetation to hidden waterfalls and will place you in the natural habitat of the kingfisher, Principe drongo, African grey parrot and more
  • Take a cruise along the island's north and west coast. The views are dramatic and the beaches you explore are deserted and palm-fringed
  • Visit the turtle beach at Praia Grande (nesting Oct-Jan and hatching Dec-Apr) and learn about the area's conservation and research projects

With phonolitic towers and lofty peaks, all carpeted with lush, green vegetation, the island’s backdrop would not be amiss on a Jurassic Park set. The waters are crystal clear and, below the surface, is a pristine underwater world.

Tourism is in its infancy here but, for those making the journey an authentic and sensory holiday awaits. Focus has been placed on sustainable development and an inclusive industry which will educate the residents of Principe, empowering them with the skills needed to become the hotel managers and service providers of the future. For those employed here, there appears to be sheer joy in the work and a sponge-like desire to learn and improve; their smiles and laughter attest to their enthusiasm.

Some 59% of Principe is inscribed as a natural park, with development largely along the northern and northeastern shores. Further south, the density of vegetation, the unforgiving terrain and lack of pathways leave the area largely unexplored except by boat.

Golden beaches surround the island and it is not unusual to find that you are alone on this stretch of paradise. Most bays are bordered by basalt rocks, protecting the beaches from swells and providing excellent snorkelling opportunities. Take a picnic and while-away the hours, dreaming you are on your own desert island.

Santo António, the island’s capital, is located on the east coast of the island. Picturesquely positioned on reclaimed marshland between two rivers, the city is a mix of colonial and traditional island architecture. Take a stroll around the central square  ‘Marcelo da Veiga’, named after the writer who was born on the island, and visit the island’s oldest church ‘Nossa Senhora da Conceiçâo’, which has undergone restoration several times, and the handicraft stores located here.

The island’s colonial and plantation history is still evident. Cocoa and coffee crops were introduced by the Portuguese, and bananas, coconuts, breadfruit and pineapples remain staples of the local diet. No visit to the island is complete without a guided tour of, or stay at, a former plantation (Roça); Roça Sundy, Roça Pacienca, Roça Porto Real are open for visitors.

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Getting There

Getting to Principe

  • A 35 minute flight connects Sao Tome with the island of Principe. Due to the schedules an overnight on Sao Tome is normally required and organised by Sunvil
  • A 15kg luggage allowance applies to the domestic flight plus one piece of hand luggage
  • Onward road transfers on Principe to Sunvil's featured accommodation take a further 25-40 minutes

Biosphere Reserve

Part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves

Principe Island is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, a global programme to foster the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, promoting economic and social development based on partnerships between people and nature, and encouraging green development options such as responsible tourism and training for eco-jobs. The aim is to contribute towards the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well-being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace and justice. Strong institutions
  17. Partnerships for the goals

A copy of the 2030 Sustainable development plan for the autonomous region of Principe can be found here

Useful information

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Get in touch

I fell in love with the island of Principe. Nature takes centre stage here, whether it is the unspoiled backdrop, the dramatic mountain peaks, dense rainforests, fruits and vegetables grown or the glistening turquoise waters. Every view and every beach will take your breath away. There is a relaxed and friendly vibe yet, the wide choice of experiences available ensure that, it is more than a 'beach destination'.

Yasmin Zaidi
Yasmin Zaidi
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT+0

Currency

Santomean Dobra

Language

Portuguese

Average flight times

8 hours via Lisbon and Accra

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Note: Map is for guidance purposes only.

Talk to our Principe expert

Yasmin Zaidi
Yasmin Zaidi

I fell in love with the island of Principe. Nature takes centre stage here, whether it is the unspoiled backdrop, the dramatic mountain peaks, dense rainforests, fruits and vegetables grown or the glistening turquoise waters. Every view and every beach will take your breath away. There is a relaxed and friendly vibe yet, the wide choice of experiences available ensure that, it is more than a 'beach destination'.

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

020 8758 4722

We're open tomorrow at 9:00 AM

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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).

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Principe, West Africa

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

Required Information

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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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