Making travel plans to Sao Tome and Principe? Here is our hand-picked list of the top activities and attractions in Sao Tome and Principe so you can make the most of your time there. Scroll down for the best things to do in Sao Tome and Principe and the best places to visit in Sao Tome and Principe. We at Wondrous Drifter, a Web 3.0 travel startup, have big plans to shake things up in the travel business.
Table of Contents
- Praia Piscina
- Praia Jalé
- Malanza Mangroves
- Obô National Park
- Pico Cão Grande
- Roça São João dos Angolares
- Roça Água Izé
- Boca do Inferno
- São Tomé City
- Praia Banana, Praia Boi and Praia Macaco
- Roça Belo Monte
- Baía das Agulhas
- Cocoa Plantations
- Santo António
- Pico Papagaio
- Nova Estrela Viewpoint
- Roça Paciência
- Waste Recycling Centre
- Praia Grande Sea Turtles
- Praia Bom Bom Beach
This spot is wonderful, and it’s home to one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Sao Tome.
When paired with a day excursion on Sao Tome that includes stops at other attractions along the road, this beach, which is situated on the southernmost part of the island, is an absolute must-see!
Praia Piscina’s sheltered rock pools are crystal clear and excellent for swimming, offering a perfect alternative to the ocean.
Plus, it’s a great spot to chill out on a hot day.
In addition, there is a blow hole that will allow you to take some humorous photos of the area!
Due to its volcanic activity, the shoreline was built by rocks and boulders, not sand and water.
To top it all off, guests to the beach can relax in the shadow of tropical rainforest and palm trees, and there are a few rustic wooden seats placed along its shores.
If you want to experience perfect beach time, book your fun time at Praia Piscina!
Promise yourself that this place is part of your top goals of beaches to visit Sao Tome!
It’s fun to think yourself in the role of Robinson Crusoe on Jalé Beach, with its great lengths of deserted fine white sand, swaying coconut palms, and no other human distractions.
Located on the island’s south part, it’s just a short walk from Praia Piscina.
Nobody in Sao Tome and Principe can deny that Praia Jale is one of the country’s top tourist destinations.
If you want to travel to Sao Tome, here is the spot to go to see turtle nesting and hatching in Sao Tome.
At night around October and January, turtles, including the Hawksbill Leatherback, Olive Ridley, and Green, come to these coasts to lay their little eggs.
In February and April, you may be able to witness the hatching of turtle eggs and the wild dives of the baby turtles into the ocean for the first time.
You wouldn’t want to miss the chance to see turtle hatching on the beach’s sand of Praia Jalé!
A canoe trip along the Malanza River in the south of So Tomé, which passes through a mangrove forest, is one of the most soothing ways to see the area because it is so remote.
One of the island’s biggest mangrove forests, it is home to a wide variety of birds and primates.
Tours of the mangroves in traditional canoes, professionally guided by a local boatman, stand out from the rest of the island’s offerings.
On these excursions, you’ll float about for approximately two hours on a circular path through the dense foliage.
There are several local bird species, monkeys, and even pigs in the area!
If you want to take a unique trip, consider visiting Malanza Mangroves.
Obô National Park
Obô National Park, which is only a 30-minute drive from So Tomé City, is a beautiful destination for nature lovers.
Numerous plant and bird species call the islands home, including those unique to the archipelago only.
Protected areas feature lush forests, rushing waterfalls, and volcanic vistas on the island of Sao Tome.
Tourists can see kilometers around the island from the peak of Pico de So Tomé, the park’s highest mountain.
Lagoa Amelia, a volcanic crater with a spectacular view of the lagoon, is one of the most famous circular hikes in Obô National Park.
In the park, there are a number of circular pathways. However, having a guide might be helpful if you don’t already have one.
If you’re looking for a longer walk, you can also take the Roca So Joao dos Angolares, a two-day hike from Bom Successo.
Pico Cão Grande
Pico Cao Grande is a volcanic plug in the shape of a needle that rises 370 meters above a humid tropical forest in Obô National Park.
It is widely considered to be one of the park’s most impressive features.
One of the most famous landmarks in all of So Tomé is a mountain that is so steep that it is almost always shrouded in fog.
You don’t often get a clear view of the summit, which adds to the air of mystery surrounding it.
The mountain’s peak can be climbed by hikers who have sufficient expertise.
However, they should be warned that the ground is uneven and that snakes and scorpions are probably in the area.
Furthermore, the pinnacle of Pico Co Grande is clearly visible from this stretch of road, which is surrounded by plantations and forests, and guides are often willing to stop by and take your photos.
You can’t ignore it because it’s one of the most iconic activities offered to tourists in Sao Tome and Principe.
Roça São João dos Angolares
The fishing village of So Joo dos Angolares. During a day trip to So Tomé, a visit to the operating plantation serves up some of the island’s finest cuisine.
Dishes made with fish, seasonings, tropical fruits, and other delicious fresh ingredients are abundant.
A popular lunch option on So Tomé is a 7-course tasting menu that is a must-do while exploring the island.
An enjoyable way to spend a day is to dine outside on the home’s expansive deck, which offers amazing scenery of the forest and the water beyond.
The roça also offers cooking classes taught by highly-trained chefs and also nature hikes nearby if you’d like to do something other than have lunch there every so often.
You can find out about island cuisine at Roça So Joo dos Angolares. It’s one of the most well-known sights in Sao Tome and Principe.
Roça Água Izé
This is the plantation must see in So Tomé unless you only have time for one.
As recently as 1850, the Roca gua Izé cocoa plantation was among the island’s biggest cocoa fields.
Angolan contract workers numbered in the thousands, as did the 50 miles of rail that connected the two sites.
Here in both So Tomé and Principe, the cocoa industry got its start with this!
Many island day cruises make stops at Roca Izé, which can be accessed by automobile in less than 30 minutes from Sotomé City.
Since the island earned independence in 1975, the full-scale industry has been suspended, and some citizens who were born and raised in Cape Verde have nothing else to do.
Consequently, they have settled in these decaying structures, gradually reclaimed by the forest.
The old hospital building in Sao Tome, built in 1928, is well-known among photographers as one of the finest spots to explore.
Boca do Inferno
A blowhole known as Boca does Inferno or Hell’s Mouth can be seen on the southern shore of So Tomé just south of town.
Nothing is more gorgeous than basalt inlets gushing water, yet it is a simple addition to any vehicle journey on this side of Hawaii.
In the winter, these shores are battered by enormous waves.
Archway extending out into the Atlantic Ocean, known as Boca do Inferno or “The Mouth of Hell,” is blasted out wide by the ocean’s waves.
If you’re lucky, you’ll only get to see this amazing vista and take in the gorgeous scenery from the exact same spot.
There is a restaurant and a few shops near the observation platform where travelers may purchase locally-made products.
São Tomé City
Sao Tomé’s colonial past may be experienced by roaming the city’s streets and chatting with the locals, who are always eager to share their stories.
National Museum, Presidential Palace, Independence Square, and Cathedral of Santo Tomas are some of the main attractions of So Tomé.
Moreover, Sao Tomé is a popular day trip destination for those who want to explore the city’s sights and sample the cuisine.
After independence, the island’s economy went into a tailspin, leaving many of the city’s beautiful landmarks in a state of decay around the city.
There’s so much to tour and see in and around the city of Sao Tome!
Praia Banana, Praia Boi and Praia Macaco
Praia Banana, which served as the backdrop for a 1990s Bacardi advertisement, is often praised as one of Principe’s greatest beaches.
Either take a boat excursion on the Principe or drive your 44 down a woodland route to the beach at Belo Monte Estate.
Visitors to the Belo Monte plantation hotel can still admire the scenery from the Belo Monte perspective, even if they are not staying there.
It seems smaller and less remote on the beach than you’d think, with just a few wooden chairs and a rustic cafe set among the coconut trees.
Visit Banana Beach in So Tomé and Principe; it’s one of the coolest things you can do there.
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Roça Belo Monte
If you don’t intend on staying at the Belo Monte estate’s newly rebuilt boutique plantation hotel, Praia Banana is the most significant reason to visit. This may be accomplished from the vantage point or by taking the wood’s path to the coast.
But the grounds of the hotel are lovely, and the sights from the main house terrace over Bom Bom and Santa Rita Bay are simply stunning. To top it all off, this plantation-style hotel is a great option if you’re looking to stay in Sao Tome.
In addition, a small museum on the premises charts both the natural history and the social history of Principe through a series of instructive displays. If you are in the neighborhood, you should set aside twenty minutes of your time to check it out because, to be honest, it’s very intriguing.
Around the plantation are a number of hiking routes, and there is also the possibility of going on quad bike adventures; however, it is preferable to go on these rides when it hasn’t been raining too much recently.
Baía das Agulhas
The breathtaking Bay of Spires is not only the most popular tourist destination on Principe but also on St. Thomas and Prince Rupert. It is best viewed from the ocean, where the postcard vista of the island’s world-class skyline sluggishly unfolds.
This perspective includes the phonolite turrets called (for obvious reasons) the Father, the Son, and the Grandson, together with Table Mountain. You keep waiting to hear the roar of a T-Rex from the prehistoric era at any second now. If you’ve traveled all the way here by plane, you definitely do not want to miss out on this.
When approaching the lake, you will notice the majestic phonolite towers rising out of the mist to create a stunning skyline over a little secluded village. The scene is eerily reminiscent of something that might have been seen in the fictional world of Jurassic Park, which transports one to another era.
To many tourists to Principe, one of the most pleasurable experiences is taking a tour of a cocoa plantation.
One of the world’s top chocolate producers, the plantations on So Tomé and Principe were once known as “The Chocolate Islands.”
To organize a tour while you’re on vacation, simply ask the front desk personnel at your hotel. They’ll be more than happy to provide a hand.
Visitors will get the chance to interact with plantation workers during a walk around the plantation, serving as the trip’s first segment.
You’ll learn about the different plant species that thrive there, as well as some which are used in cooking or those that have medicinal benefits.
A few more stops on your tour include a trip to a historic drying room and a chance to sample some of their delicious treats.
Loving the cocoa vibe? Get a dose of cocoa goodness at Cocoa Plantation!
There are few places in the world where you can drive through a large metropolis in just a few minutes, encountering just two other cars and not hesitating for any traffic signals.
Santo António in the east of Principe is also the world’s smallest capital city.
Santo António, the island’s most prominent settlement, is regularly visited by tourists on Principe during a single day of exploration.
Walking the Papagaio River, often called the Parrot River, is about all there is to do in this sleepy little hamlet.
Aside from taking a stroll along its banks, visitors may dine on authentic African food at each neighborhood eateries.
It’s hard to see past the decaying houses, faded pastel hues, and laid-back ambiance, even if both the cathedral and the central marketplace are definitely worth a quick look.
Suppose you’re planning a trip to a conservation area. In that case, you’ll need an experienced guide to ensure you don’t get lost or confused on any hiking routes.
From Santo Antonio, you can see Pico Papagaio, commonly known as Parrot Mountain, one of the islands’ most famous volcanic peaks.
It’s also the starting point for one of Principe’s best hikes.
Moreover, it is one of the best things to do in Sao Tome and Principe if you’re adventurous and enjoy being outside.
A majestic 700-meter-tall mountain, Pico Papagaio, can be viewed from a distance amid the national park’s tropical rainforest.
On the trail, you may encounter various wildlife, including monkeys, orchids, and unusual birds. From the summit, one is treated to breathtaking vistas.
Nova Estrela Viewpoint
If you continue down the road from Santo Antonio, you’ll arrive across one of Principe’s most iconic views.
Because it’s so near to the island’s southernmost tip, it’s certainly worth the extra drive to see it.
It genuinely seems like you’re standing on the world’s edge, and it’s one of the most thrilling activities to do and see in Principe!
Views of Bone do Joquei, also called Jockey’s Cap, and the tropical almond tree forest can be had from the vantage point at Nova Estrela.
You may hear African parrots chirping from the treetops, so keep an eye out for them.
The bulk of what you’ll discover on the islands is made on the islands themselves, rather than being shipped in, which is more expensive and has a negative impact on the environment.
A journey to Roca Paciência is an excellent place to spend an hour on a Principe trip.
A tour of Roca Paciência will satisfy your interest in the processes and sources of the goods in your hotel.
Moreover, this organic farm is owned by HBD, the creative agency behind hotels, including Roca Sundy and Sundy Praia.
Anything you use on a daily basis, such as toothpaste, deodorant, or the muesli and jam you have for breakfast, may be traced back to its many manufacturing phases.
In addition, you’ll learn about everything from the planting and care of the seedlings through the growing and drying of the finished product.
It’s one of the best things to do in So Tomé and Principe, and you are strongly recommended to see it for yourself!
Waste Recycling Centre
Isn’t it strange to do anything like this on Principe? This, however, is not your typical recycling facility. The center, which opened in 2016, recycles glass into jewelry and organic waste onto compost to ensure that the area’s growth is as environmentally friendly as possible.
There is a place where you may meet the remarkable women who started the project, empowering themselves financially and turning trash into jewels. I love that you can shop for souvenirs here as well!
At this point, you’re probably asking why Sao Tome & Principe attracts such a small number of tourists. We’re a little perplexed, too, because the islands truly do seem as beautiful as they do. However, because of its isolated position and lack of development, Sao Tome and Principe will likely remain a destination for daring tourists and, of course, delightful residents for the foreseeable future. Visit right now before everything changes.
Thank you for reading my guide to the top things to do in So Tomé and Principe. We plan to return to the islands in the near future to see and do even more of what they have to offer.
Praia Grande Sea Turtles
Interested in seeing marine turtles on Principe?
Catch the sea turtles preparing to lay their eggs on the beach at night, you can visit Praia Grande in the northeast of Principe during September and April.
When it comes to sea turtles, this is the happiest time of year.
Spend some time learning about this threatened species, and you could be lucky enough to watch the first hatching of the young turtles.
In addition to being the island’s largest beach, Praia Grande’s development of a sea turtle preservation site makes it the perfect location to see turtles in their native environment.
Principe’s most extensive and best beach is Praia Grande, however, it is the most isolated and unsuitable for swimming.
Overall, it is the finest spot on Africa’s Atlantic coast for nesting sea turtles because of the vast beaches and deep sand.
Praia Bom Bom Beach
A beach in Principe is recommended not only owing to its natural features but also due to the amenities provided by the Bom Bom resort, which include a bar, restaurant, bathrooms, a road that is in great shape, and free use to equipment for diving, snorkeling, and paddling.
Prior to HBD’s entrance, it was known by its previous name, Praia Coco. It’s a decent length beach with excellent water quality and plenty of space for swimming. Take caution around the coconuts, and try not to stroll or, more specifically, stand under the palm trees that bear coconuts.
While there are no private beaches in Principe, this beach actually accessible if you stay at the beautiful Bom Bom resort (which we strongly suggest), and we felt they were much more amazing than Praia Banana!
These extensive stretches of golden beach and the gently lapping surf are ideal for sunset strolls, afternoon swims, and picnics because there are rarely any people in sight.
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