São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe is one nation consisting of two remote volcanic islands marooned 140 miles off the coast of Gabon. Never connected to the mainland and uninhabited until Portuguese explorers arrived in the 15th century, they present an isolated biosphere of unique creatures completely unafraid of humans and found nowhere else on earth. New species are still regularly being discovered and others await categorisation. The landscape is a lost world of dense jungle, spires of primordial rock and deserted beaches. São Tomé is the busier of the two islands while Príncipe is a UNESCO listed biosphere peppered with steep mountains blanketed in thick primary rainforest.

The Portuguese colonised the islands with immense cacao plantations and slaves, the descendants of whom remain today as modern ‘Príncipeans’. The legacy is a handful of beautiful plantation houses, which have been sympathetically converted into exclusive boutique hotels. Activities focus around the natural world with plenty of snorkelling, wreck diving, turtle watching and hiking to keep you occupied, but you will find equal pleasure in wandering the islands interacting with the friendly locals in a relaxed and genuine way. The history of this forgotten land is astonishing and the people here have some fascinating stories to tell.

 

Why we like it

  • A lost paradise
  • Safe, relaxed and very friendly
  • The fascinating stories of modern ‘Príncipeans’ and their ancestors
  • Beautiful plantation house hotels
  • New species waiting to be discovered
  • Plane wreck diving
 
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