Overview

Take your time and get under the skin of this tropical paradise with our Best of Sao Tome and Principe holiday.

Sao Tome feels like a genuine frontier of tourism, away from the crowds and mostly untouched. We’ve created an itinerary that allows you to truly explore these paradise islands. We’ll take you to the north, south, east and west of Sao Tome and then treat you to plenty time exploring the jewel in the crown – remote Principe island.

You’ll start near Sao Tome city and, accompanied by our guides, will be introduced to the charm and laid-back attitude of these islands. Your guided days will be private just for you and we’ll include a mix of island tours and guided walks taking you into the rainforest.

Next our guides will show you the east coast as you tour to the deserted and perfect southern beaches. Stay in an eco-lodge a stone’s throw from golden sands – slide through the fascinating mangroves on a boat tour – and there’s plenty of time available to lie on the beach, and snorkel in the warm, crystal clear waters.

On the way to the west coast you’ll tour the Rocas, former Portuguese colonial buildings now community-run as coffee or cacao co-operatives. Sao Tome coffee and chocolate are world-class and you’ll taste the goods at the source.

Finally you’ll fly to Principe to explore this special island. Sao Tome’s national motto is ‘leve-leve’ – translated as ‘slow-slow’. If anything Principe is more laid back! Join our guides on forest exploration, island jeep tours and snorkelling boat trips around the deserted north coast.

As you depart, you will really feel that you have experienced the Best of Sao Tome and Principe!

Itinerary

Your journey starts with an early flight from London to connect with the Sao Tome departure from Lisbon. Let us know if you'd prefer to stay overnight in Lisbon. On arrival at Sao Tome you'll be met for your transfer to your hotel. We've suggested Omali Lodge here - the itinerary also works with a stay at Club Santana or Pestana Sao Tome. The board basis depends on the hotel; Omali have a great restaurant which you can eat at, paying on the day, but don't take half-board bookings.
Today's a private walking tour of Sao Tome city with your English-speaking guide. You'll visit the bustling old and new markets and tour the former Portuguese colonial buildings that make up the city centre. Your guide will take you to lunch at a restaurant to sample the local cuisine of fish, seafood, beans, maize, cooked banana and the many tropical fruits that grow abundantly here.
You'll be taken on a guided trek through the primary and secondary rainforest, exploring the paths of locals and visiting spectacular waterfalls. Your guide will bring a packed lunch. On the way you'll visit local communities and experience how people live here in the jungle.
Your guides will collect you for a tour of the East Coast of Sao Tome. Along the way you'll visit the fascinating community of Roca Agua-Ize, a co=operatve carving life out from a former roca and hospital. You'll see deserted beaches, the blowhole of Boca do Inferno and then travel on to Sao Joao Angolares. Here at the Roca, celebrity chef Joao Carlos Silva has created a destination tasting experience and you'll have a 9-course tasting lunch cooked by Joao and his team. After lunch your journey continues south and you'll cross to Rolas islet on a boat for your stay at Pestana Equador.
Rolas islet is blessed with many idyllic and deserted beaches. There's time to stretch out today, perhaps swim and snorkel, perhaps visit the Equator mark. If you are here between November and March you may be lucky and able to watch turtles nesting or hatching, accompanied by the local guardians.
You'll cross to the mainland for a stay at Praia Inhame on the southern tip of Sao Tome. On arrival, embrace the pace of life and explore Praia Inhame's perfect beach, a sweep of sand overhung by fronds of tropical trees.
Into the mangroves - on a boat tour of the watery world. Glide through the trees and roots, watching for mudskippers rushing from your boat and listening for the calls of tropical birds.
Free day to relax and explore the deserted beaches of southern Sao Tome.
You'll be collected by your guide for your tour to the north west coast of Sao Tome. During your day you'll visit the Plantations of the North - seeing cacao collection and processing and visiting the community of Agostinho Neto. You'll be staying in a lodge at the lovely Mucumbli, overlooking the canopy and west coast of Sao Tome.
The Angolares waterfall is deep in the forest, accessible via paths that link to a levada passing the entrance to the waterfall gorge. You'll join your guide on a ride through the jungle to the start of the walk - then leave the jeep behind and follow a levada through the trees. Keep your wits about you as there are times where the levada path is uneven and unprotected. You'll pass through tunnels - some containing bats - before emerging at the spectacular falls.
We've included bike and helmet hire so that you can self-explore the west coast to the road end at Santa Catarina.
An early transfer for your flight to Principe island. Viewed from the air, Principe appears to be uninhabited and untouched but as you get closer you'll spot the few houses of the sparse population. You'll be met and transferred to your accommodation. Here we've suggested the Roca Belo Monte but this itinerary also works with a stay at the Bom Bom resort, or at the exclusive Sundy Praia. Let us know your preference and we can tailor and cost the trip for you. This afternoon perhaps spend time at the private Banana Beach - made famous by the Bacardi advert of the early 90's.
It's best not to have a strict schedule on Principe but we'll outline what's possible here! Today you might like to join our Principe Explorer jeep tour visiting the Sundy Plantation, Pacîencia, Abade fishing village and Nova Estrela viewpoint. The jeep tours are a great way to see real life on the island, as well as its interesting geology.
The north of the island holds many hidden secrets including deserted tropical beaches. Join a snorkelling boat tour and weave in and out of sandy bays, with plenty of chance to swim with the tropical sea life.
Take a guided walk through the jungle to ascend Pico Papagaio - one of Príncipe’s most famous mountains. Visible from the town of Santo António, it is approximately 700 metres high and is formed from volcanic basalt. It's surrounded by secondary and primary rainforest, within the boundaries of the National Park. The challenging trek takes you to the top of the mountain and you’ll see monkeys, native birds, orchids and medicinal plants along the way. The views along the way and from the top are spectacular!
Perhaps you might like to join your local guide on a bird watching walk through the forest. Principe is remarkably untouched, and its wildlife flourishes undisturbed in the primary and secondary rainforest that covers the island. You'll spend 2-3 hours looking for the beautiful tropical birds that are endemic to this special environment. Sao Tome and Principe have the highest density of endemic birds worldwide and of the 75 species that regularly occur on the islands, 8 are endemic to Principe. Time spent looking for these birds is unforgettable.
You'll return to Sao Tome for one last night at Omali Lodge.
Your day is free until your late afternoon transfer and overnight flight home. We'll include a day room so that you can use all the facilities until you depart.
Change flights in Lisbon and return to London, head swimming with memories of this special trip.

Guide price £5,450 per person

We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.

Please contact us for a personalised itinerary showing inclusions and exclusions. As a general guide, our itinerary includes * International flights from London to Sao Tome and back * Inter island flights * Accommodation at Omali Lodge on a bed and breakfast basis * Accommodation at Pestana Equador and Praia Inhame on a full board basis * Accommodation at Mucumbli and Belo Monte on a half board basis * Tours on Sao Tome as described * All necessary transfers as described. As a general guide, our itinerary excludes * Tours on Principe if staying at Belo Monte (pay direct on the day) * Meals not specified above * Insurance * Additional excursions on free days.