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Sao Tome and Principe

Photo of Sao Tome and Principe

About Sao Tome and Principe

If you're looking for a tropical paradise full of stunning nature and free from tourists, head to Sao Tome and Principe. Located just off the West Coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea, most of the best places to stay in Sao Tome and Principe are ideal if you're looking for an eco friendly holiday with plenty of awesome nature, plus outstanding beaches and super-friendly locals.

Colonized by the Portuguese in 1470, the islands have now been independent since 1975. Sao Tome Island offers dramatic landscapes with torrents and waterfalls interspersed with secluded beaches, tropical forests, and cacao plantations.

Principe lies to the north east of Sao Tome, and is often referred to as Africa's answer to the Galapagos. It is almost entirely covered by dense lush rainforests, 20% of whose trees, orchids and birds are claimed to be endemic. It also boasts deserted beaches, and has become one of the best places to stay if you're looking for barefoot luxury or simply a romantic retreat.

Africa's second smallest nation (after the Seychelles), Sao Tome's attitude is to take everything slowly. Indeed, the vibe here is so laid back, it's almost horizontal!

Despite their tiny size, there is plenty to interest any visitor to Sao Tome and Principe. A rich cultural heritage will satisfy those who like a bit of sightseeing or for the more intrepid traveller we suggest you explore the rainforests, gawk at the wildlife, including exotic birds, whales off shore and at certain times of year the nesting turtles.

What Not To Miss

  • Praia de Banana is a stunning beach, with long stretches of golden sand, turquoise water and palm trees offering shade. This secluded spot even has its own bar if you fancy enjoying a libation! Plus, this is a great place to go snorkelling, boasting a wide array of marine life.
  • The Museu Nacional De Sao Tome & Principe, set in a former fort, is a great place to learn all about the islands' history and colonisation. Enjoy wonderful views of the area from the rooftop.
  • Be sure to see the Pico Cao Grande, the world's largest volcanic plug (around 300 metres tall) and made entirely out of magma! Spend an afternoon hiking around the luscious jungle surroundings of this breathtaking spot.

Use our guide to the best places to stay in Sao Tome and Principe and start to plan your holiday in one of Africa's hidden gems.

For Principe

  • Bom Bom Island Resort is a lovely tropical stay, right on the beach and boasting 20 chic individual bungalows. What's more, they offer big game fishing and the opportunity to land your very own Blue Marlin or Great Barracuda. Enjoy a cocktail on the beach and wonderful meals from the restaurant.

For Sao Tome

  • If you prefer the slightly larger Sao Tome island then one of the best places to stay is Omali Lodge. This eco friendly luxury property is perfectly situated for both exploring the Obo National Park (don't forget your binoculars if you're into birdwatching) and making the most of the colourful local scene - think dance, music, food and art! Plus, you're a mere stone's throw away from the beach.

For A Holiday Villa

  • If you'd rather the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, booking.com.

Travel Information

  • The best time to visit the islands is probably from June to September, the dry season, though be warned that the sky can often be cloudy even at this time of year. The temperature is pretty consistent year round at around 26°C, though in the winter there's a high chance of rainfall.
  • You can either fly to Sao Tome International Airport or Principe Airport, depending on which of the islands you're visiting. From the airport, hop in a cab to your final destination.
  • There are no direct flights from the UK to Sao Tome and Principe. You'll usually need to changeover twice, in Lisbon and in Accra.
  • For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.

Still Not Sure Where To Book?

Best Hotels in Sao Tome and Principe

  • Omali Lodge 30 rooms from $143

    Sao Tome and Principe

    Eco friendly luxury hotel ideally situated for exploring Sao Tome town and the Obo National park. Attractively decorated rooms and suites overlooking gardens and pool. Great for families, honeymooners or simply those looking for an off the beaten track tropical retreat.

    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor Pool
    On the beach  -  In front of the hotel.
    Check prices
  • Bom Bom Island Resort 21 rooms from $233

    Principe, Sao Tome and Principe

    Tropical island resort situated on an islet just off the north coast of Principe - Africa's answer to the Galapagos. A selection of luxury bungalows extending across two beaches with lush rainforest as a backdrop. Ideal for a beach holiday with plenty to do for those who prefer a bit more action.

    Exclusive offer  -  Birdwatching Package
    Swimming Pool  -  Lovely Outdoor Pool
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Birdwatching  -  Good birding near the hotel.
    Check prices