“Visitors to these islands often say that they’ve found paradise on earth. They work hard to preserve their spectacular natural landscapes, with its untouched equatorial forests, unique tropical vegetation, wide variety of orchids, and all the ocean fauna and bird species which live on the islands and in the crystal clear seas which surround them. Schools of whales and pods of dolphins can be seen from excursion boats, and five strictly protected species of turtle lay their eggs on the islands’ beaches in September, for them to hatch the following April. It’s an amazing experience to watch these baby turtles emerge from their nests and instinctively make for the water.
Diving enthusiasts can indulge their hobby in pleasantly temperate waters, and discover the rich ocean wildlife. Last but not least, the weather there is always good.
“First impressions often have a decisive impact on your opinion of a place. Here, people are cheerful, kind, and welcoming, as has always been the case throughout the country's history. They preserve their culture and are proud of their music and dance. They welcome visitors in a friendly and solicitous manner, and their attitude can be characterized by a local expression, ‘Leve leve’, which means both cordiality and peace, and this can be experienced by all who have the good fortune to meet the locals.”
“Sao Tome is a truly beautiful and friendly island nation, close to the Congolese coast. When it comes to the usual hurdles of visiting a tropical country, here they are minimal: no visa is required, and only the airfare price can be daunting. Otherwise, the whole island is incredibly green (with a large jungle) and full of amazingly psychedelic volcanic formations (e.g. Pico Cao Grande). Its pristine beaches remind me of Pirates of the Caribbean, from the days when the area was plundered only by a few pirates, instead of endless hotel chains and crowds of tourists... In São Tomé, 5-6 people for each kilometer of the beach already counts as crowded! (Adam, 2018)
“The island of São Tomé is surrounded by a single enormous, free beach. The northern part of the island is in a rain shadow, so it’s much sunnier (e.g. Praia dos Governadores) while the southern part is cloudier, and gets a lot of showers (e.g. Praia Piscina). It’s worth renting a car (€40-50 per day) and driving around the island – it’s easy to find a deserted stretch of beach, between the virgin rainforest and the ocean…
The easiest attraction to reach in Obo National Park is the Lagoa Amelia Crater Lake, which can most easily be reached from the botanical garden (Bom Sucesso) – it’s also possible to hire a driver there for about €30. Reaching the crater on foot means a 1-1.5 walk through the rainforest. The trail can get steep in some places, but it’s worth the sweat! Along the way, you’ll see plants and animals you certainly won’t see elsewhere (e.g. the flowering giant begonias that grow up to three meters tall, and colorful birds). A raincoat (or a big banana leaf) are strongly recommended…
For coffee lovers, the Monte Café Coffee Museum is unmissable. This former colonial plantation has been transformed, and now offers shows, tasting sessions… You can get really good local, specialty varieties of coffee that you won’t find anywhere at home, even in the most exclusive cafés! Meanwhile, chocoholics should type this name into your google search: “Claudio Corallo”… (a.j., 2019)