The islands may not be huge but there is enough rainforest here to be home to thousands of animal species. In fact, for their size, the islands are one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet. Their island nature has contributed to a unique and varied ecosystem that’s a joy to explore.
In the summer months, take a boat out and spot whales and turtles all around the islands. It’s little wonder that they’ve chosen to hang out here too. Drag yourself away from the palm lined beaches for a few more hours and you can discover a network of pathways taking you past hidden waterfalls and rock formations. Canoe through mangrove swamps, pass through fishing villages and stand on the equator which passes right through.
As well as the natural world, São Tomé also boasts a fascinating if turbulent history. There is a large number of historically important buildings here dating back to the colonial era. It’s also home to vast coffee and chocolate plantations, which produce some of the world’s finest varieties of each. Some of the old plantation estates are in themselves worthy of a visit.
Thankfully, São Tomé and Príncipe remain largely undeveloped and affected by mass tourism. There are no large-scale resorts and hotels. In fact, the little tourism trade that does exist is locally run and focused around eco lodges and sustainable tourism. This kind of industry fits perfectly with the prevailing mind set on the islands – that of being relaxed, laid back and letting the beautiful natural environment take care of the rest.