Overview

Introduction

An explosion of the senses and a kaleidoscope of colour await travellers to the lush, tropical island of Sao Tome in the Gulf of Guinea.

At a glance:

  • Blessed with a fertile soil, thanks to its volcanic make-up, Sao Tome is enshrouded by dense rainforest. You will find the world's largest begonia here, bamboo, rubiaceae and tree ferns
  • The Obo National Park covers 195km2 of the island. At its centre is the Pico de Sao Tome, the island's highest point measuring 2024m
  • Sao Tome is a vibrant capital with a maze of cobbled streets and colonial buildings. It has a distinct Caribbean feel and, aside from Sundays when many locals can be found on the beach, always has a buzz and plenty to see and do
  • Whilst Claudio Corallo's plantation is on the neighbouring island of Principe, it is on Sao Tome where you can visit his chocolate factory and taste 'the best chocolate in the world'
  • Fishing villages alternate with sandy shores along the island's coast
  • Visit former plantation houses and learn about Sao Tome's history and its colonial legacy

Sheltered in the Gulf of Guinea, Sao Tome is the largest island of western Africa's two-island nation-state. It is a fabulous array of verdant landscape, unexplored rainforests, colourful communities, crumbling colonial buildings and some of the most picturesque palm-fringed beaches in the world. It is a destination that richly-rewards those who visit and a dream isle for those who appreciate undiscovered corners.

The first port of call should be the island's capital, Sao Tome. Bordered by the Bay of Ana Chaves to the north, the city sits proudly looking out to the ocean. There is an exciting vibe to the city, which feels almost Caribbean. Explore the artisan shops and tantalise your tastebuds at the food markets and with the local street vendors - try fried banana, grilled corn, the daily catch and spicy creole dishes. 

Along Sao Tome's north coast you'll find the island's best, and most accessible, beaches, fringed by tamarinds and coconut palms. Take a picnic and find your own private stretch of shore - with limited visitor numbers it is not hard. You'll find yourself joined on the waters edge by an abundance of seabirds also enjoying the crystal-clear, warm and nutrient rich waters. It is easy to understand why snorkelling is one of the most popular activities for visitors.

Other popular experiences include hiking, boat excursions to the surrounding islets, diving, bird watching and visits to the island's atmospheric, former plantation houses.

 

 

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Getting There

Getting to Sao Tome

  • Flights to Sao Tome operate via Lisbon and Accra (Ghana)
  • On arrival it is a 5 minute road transfer to Sunvil's featured hotel, the Omali

Activities

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.

 

 

Useful information

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Get in touch

Sao Tome is an island that rewards exploration. The more that you see, the more it enraptures. Do not miss the beaches along the north coast, the former plantations inland and the vibrant capital. Guided tours are available but car rental is available and allows for sightseeing at leisure.

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 Sao Tome expert

Yasmin Zaidi
Yasmin Zaidi

Sao Tome is an island that rewards exploration. The more that you see, the more it enraptures. Do not miss the beaches along the north coast, the former plantations inland and the vibrant capital. Guided tours are available but car rental is available and allows for sightseeing at leisure.

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

020 8758 4722

We're open on Monday at 9:15 AM

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Sao Tome

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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
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  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

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