São Tomé and Príncipe travel guide

São Tomé and Príncipe Tourism | São Tomé and Príncipe Guide

You're Going to Love São Tomé and Príncipe

Formed of two main islands and a few islets around them, São Tomé and Príncipe offers fascinating history, natural wonders and local delicacies.

What to do in São Tomé and Príncipe

1. Marvel at the Bay of Spires

By far one of the main attractions of the country, the Bay of Spires is located on the Príncipe island and is characterized by volcanic rock towers. The best way to see them is to get on a boat tour that enables passengers to see the full bay from the sea.

2. Visit a Cocoa Plantation

Chocolate is one of the delicacies here, thanks to volcanic soil that creates ideal conditions for growing cocoa. Only a few of the plantations still operate today, such as Roça Água-Izé, which is located on São Tomé island. Alternatively, visit a chocolate lab, such as that of Claudio Corallo, a renowned chocolatier, to learn about the making process and buy some quality chocolate.

3. Relax on Picture Perfect Beaches

São Tomé and Príncipe is home to some of the most stunning beaches, and one of the most famous among them is Praia Banana located on the Príncipe Island. Characterized by golden sand, palm trees and turquoise water, this is beach paradise at its best.

4. Explore the Marine Life of the Gulf of Guinea

A trip to São Tomé and Príncipe is incomplete without a snorkeling or diving session to see the diverse marine life of the area. Creatures that can be seen include nurse sharks, triggerfish, eels, barracuda and a colorful display of corals.

5. Shop at Mercado Grande

This market located on in São Tomé is what island life is all about. An array of local and exotic fruits and vegetables, colorful fabric with African print as well as locally made baskets will have visitors marveling from one stall to another.

When to visit São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe in
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São Tomé and Príncipe in
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The islands have two different dry seasons, one being from June to September, and the other from December to February. The latter is perfect for those who like bird watching as they can be seen best between October and March.

How to Get to São Tomé and Príncipe

Entry requirements

Citizens of about 60 countries, including most European and African countries, can enter São Tomé and Príncipe without a visa for up to 14 days. Chinese citizens can get a visa on arrival, and anyone else needs to apply for a visa prior to arrival.


Flying is the only way to arrive on the islands, with the main airport being São Tomé International Airport. A variety of airlines operate flights to and from the country, including local airline STP Airways and Portuguese airline TAP Air Portugal, both of which operate flights from Lisbon, as well as Angolan airline TAAG, which flies there from Luanda.

Popular airports in São Tomé and Príncipe

Popular airlines serving São Tomé and Príncipe

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Where to stay in São Tomé and Príncipe

Hotels, bed & breakfasts and island resorts can be found in São Tomé and Príncipe, with the majority on the upper quality and price side. A few of the cocoa plantations offer accommodation as well, but make sure to only book with one that is still operating.

Where to stay in popular areas of São Tomé and Príncipe

How to Get Around São Tomé and Príncipe

Public Transportation

Local transportation is available through shared taxis, which are yellow in color. A one-way trip usually costs around €3-5 ($3.30-5.50). It is possible to hire a taxi without sharing by paying for the rest of the seats.


Renting a vehicle is only available in São Tomé, and it is the best way to explore the island. Cars are available from around €50 ($55) a day, but scooters are also a great option starting at approximately €15 ($16.50) a day. It is also possible to rent a car with a driver for an extra fee.


Local airline STP Airways operates flights between the São Tomé and Príncipe islands every day except Sundays. The flight takes about 45min and typically costs around €165 ($182).

The Cost of Living in São Tomé and Príncipe

An average meal on the islands costs around €20 ($22) per person, buying a water bottle will cost around €1 ($1.10), and a gallon of gasoline costs around €3.50 ($3.85). Credit cards are only accepted in some major hotels and establishments.