Classic Sao Tome & Principe Escape
Venture off the coast of West Africa on this Classic Sao Tome & Principe Escape to find lush rainforests, sapphire seas and nature at its unique finest.
Sao Tome & Principe are two tropical islands separated by a short 35-minute flight, located on the equatorial line off the coast of West Africa. Perfect for those seeking an off-the-beaten-track beach break, with pristine landscapes and peaceful towns.
The country remains under-the-radar on the international tourist map, so you’ll never have to worry about crowded beaches, and there are host of otherworldly experiences to break from your norm. Learn to drum in the moonlight with villagers, hike through unspoiled rainforests to find endemic plants and animals, or taste chocolate at a restored cocoa plantation house in the rainforest interior.
Sao Tome is the larger island of the two and the main entry point, with the country’s only international airport. It’s a great place to relax and discover the rich history and agricultural fields of the country, with cocoa, coffee and copra plantations to explore.
You’ll then move on to the island of Principe, that’s small yet impressive in terms of rare wildlife and untamed wilderness. The entire island was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2012, and you’ll spend your days soaking up its phenomenal nature.
Go hiking in tropical rainforest, with eight hiking trails of various grades on Principe, or see the Pico Cao Grande, a remarkable finger-shaped mountain in south-central Sao Tome. It’s the world’s tallest volcanic plug and is listed as one of the world’s 200 most important sites of biological significance.
You can even venture up Pico de Sao Time, the highest point on Sao Tome at 2,024 metres. The highest point on Principe is just 948 metres but you can scale it along the Parrot Peak walk, a demanding yet rewarding trail.
Those interested in marine wildlife can enjoy Humpback or Sperm whale watching from July to August or September to October, or see turtles coming ashore to lay eggs around the end of the year. The turtles nest on beaches near Bom Bom Island Resort from as early as September, but normally from November to February each year. The eggs hatch 45 days later so the best time to see hatchlings return to sea is December, January, February and March.
Travel in Sao Tome & Principe has a dreamy laid-back quality, while touches of luxury are easily found in some of our hand-picked lodges. Sleep amidst lush rainforest, turquoise waters and towering mountain swirling in mist, or even discover the incredible Praia Sundry, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World.
Wayfairer’s selection of luxury Sao Tome & Principe itineraries are crafted to suit all travellers and can be easily customised to create the perfect Sao Tome & Principe holiday. The Classic Sao Tome & Principe Escape covers both islands for a week and is ideal for those who want to make the most of their short break. The Luxury Sao Tome & Principe Journey will take you to Principe Island for pampering and exploration in lavish beach lodges.
Experience secluded romance with our Sao Tome & Principe Honeymoon or opt for something more family oriented with a 3-bedroom villa and plantation houses on our Sao Tome & Principe Family holiday. Time your trip for turtle or whale watching or go hiking through the rainforest to waterfalls and private coves.
There are highlights all year round in Sao Tome & Principe. January and February tend to be the most popular because they are the hottest months, plus they are the best time for scuba diving and bird watching, with colourful mating plumage on show. The driest months are June to early September which is a good time for hiking and beach excursions. August to early October are also the best time to see Humpback and Sperm whales as they migrate to warmer waters.
March to May is the long, wet season, while October to December experience a short rainy season. Hiking becomes more difficult on muddy terrain and the climate can become more humid, though photography is best during the rains as the skies turn from dark clouds to bright blue skies. For travellers keen to see turtles nesting, travel from mid-November to early February to see mothers lay the eggs and spot the hatchlings return to sea 45 days later.
Explore both islands, either independently or with the help of English-speaking local guides who know all the hidden nooks of the islands. They’ll share stories with about their history and cultural traditions or talk about the wildlife of the islands. You will likely stay in the north of both islands, and you can head to explore the rainforest, waterfalls, secluded bays and surroundings islets on day trips by road or boat.