Ian Coates

Please call me to discuss any aspect of your holiday. Always happy to help in any way.

Travel has always been a big part of my life and the mould was set on my first Cub Scout camp when I was 8 years old. Just 4 miles down the road, if felt like an epic journey into the unknown….and it was; with mid-night feasts, jungle treks and secret raids on islands fortresses! In my late teens, and before we all had the personal computer, I was organising trips around the UK and across Europe for groups of friends, using nothing more than a notepad and photocopier.

I grew up the great-grandson, grandson, and son of a butcher and life was pretty much mapped out before me. From the age of 14, I was working in my father’s butcher’s shop and there wasn’t much need for an education. But I always knew there was another world beyond this one and through books, magazines and Private Eye I found my escape. Throwing off the shackles of expectation I started to travel the world, initially for 6 months, then a year and then for 4 years.

The journey to Archipelago Choice has been full of challenges, danger, adventures, fun and stories to tell. I’m now married with two children and a company that at times feels like a third. Running your own business, for me, is one of life’s great pleasures. We have a fantastic team and a strong ethos to do the “right thing” by protecting the environment, creating inspiring jobs, looking after our clients and helping our friends and colleagues to prosper on their island Archipelagos.

You can go on holiday, or better still you can come on a journey with us.


Ian Coates
Destination Specialist
01768 721040

My favourite part of São Tomé & Príncipe


Príncipe is the smaller, northern island of the country of São Tomé and Príncipe lying off the west coast of Africa. The island is a heavily eroded volcano said to be over three million years old, surrounded by smaller islands including Ilheu Bom Bom, Ilhéu Caroço, Tinhosa Grande and Tinhosa Pequena.

Príncipe is trying to be different and sustainability is at the heart of all travel to the island. It has the support of an organisation called ‘Príncipe HBD – Here Be Dragons’, which promotes responsible, sustainable development through quality tourism. There are some amazing projects underway which aim to benefit all who live on and visit this wonderful island.

Population: 7500

Highest Point: Pico de Príncipe (984m)

Area: 142km (sq)

Capital City: Santo Antonio (population: 3000)

Have a look at our Sao Tome and Principe holidays ideas for some inspiration or contact us and our team, using our years of experience and wealth of contacts, will put together a tailor-made holiday experience just for you.

My favourite activity in São Tomé & Príncipe

Witness the magical moment when turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on one of our turtle watching holidays. It is an unforgettable experience to see these massive pre-historic reptiles haul themselves onto the beach, dig their nests, get into a trance, lay their eggs, cover them up and return to sea again.

Four different endangered turtle species (Olive Ridley, Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback) can be spotted on both the southern and northern beaches of São Tomé. On Principe, the best beaches to find them are in the north and north east.

Don’t worry about falling asleep, the guard at the Praia Inhame Eco Lodge on São Tomé will wake you up at night if he spots turtles.

You can read more about what to expect from a turtle watching trip, and how we make sure turtle watching is low impact and sustainable here.



My favourite accommodation in São Tomé & Príncipe

The beautiful Bom Bom Island Eco Lodge is owned by Mark Shuttleworth, the first South African to travel into space. Through his HBD foundation (Here Be Dragons) he helped turn part of this spectacular island into a Bioreserve and aims to promote sustainable and responsible travel to the islands through higher end tourism.

Bom Bom has 25 spacious, tastefully furnished chalets equipped with A/C, telephone, private bathroom, flat screen TV (satellite channels), fridge and free WIFI. Meals are taken on BomBom island, which is a short walk over the turquoise sea along a charming walkway. As well as eating in the restaurant, the friendly staff can also arrange a table on the marina pier or a romantic meal on your own private beach.

You’re free to use the snorkelling equipment, paddle boards and kayaks while you’re staying and a highlight is meeting Chaplin the African Grey parrot who patrols the hotel and loves to have his tummy tickled!