San-Tome and Principe
The Democratic Republic of San Tome and Principe is an island state in Central Africa. It is situated in the Guinea Gulf. It consists of the San Tome Island, the Principe Island and several smaller islands. The capital city is San Tome.
The climate in this island state is maritime equatorial. The annual average temperature is +23°C - +26°C. The best time for travelling is from June to September. This is a dry season and the temperature is quite comfortable.
The official language of San Tome and Principe is Portuguese. The majority of the population speaks Gulf of Guinea Creole Portuguese. About 80% of the population are the Catholics. The rest are the Protestants or practice local island beliefs.
The tourists have a unique opportunity to see the original wild beauty of the island and relax on the San Tome and Principe Beach. For active tourists, there are water entertainments, anyone can go trekking, hiking to the extinct volcano or go fishing.
In the capital city, there are the monuments of Colonial architecture. The travellers can visit the San Tome Botanical Gardens and see the rainforests.
There are no direct flights from CIS countries and many European countries to San Tome and Principe.
TAP Portugal is the only airline company which offers the flights to San Tome and Principe from Lisbon.
There are regular flights from Angola, one from the airport in Luanda and the other is from the airport in Gabon.
There is a ferry to San Tome and Principe from the port in Libreville.
The CIS and EU tourists need a visa.
The tourists can get a visa at the Consulate, at the border or online on the website of the San Tome and Principe Management Migration Service.
In Russia and CIS countries, there are no missions of San Tome and Principe. The nearest mission is in Brussels so the most reasonable alternative is to fill in a visa application form online on the site of the Migration Service Islands.
The normal time for processing the documents for a visa is 7 days. Then an applicant receives an e-mail with the results. If the result is positive, an applicant gets a bar code and an ID number.
A visa is valid for a month.
According to the Customs legislation, the tourists must pay an entry tax.
- 20 US dollars per an adult;
- 10 US dollars per a child under 12 years old;
- babies under 2 years old are not subject to a tax.
There are no restrictions concerning the import and export of any currency.
The tourists can bring in the following goods duty-free:
- tobacco and alcohol;
- personal belongings;
- one item of video, audio, and photo equipment per person.
To import and export jewellery and skins of wild animals a special permission is required.
The national cuisine of San Tome and Principe is a good reason for travelling to the islands.
The local cuisine is a unique mix of traditional Arabic dishes with locally grown foods. The staple food here is fish and seafood, breadfruit tree, and baked bananas.
The most popular meat dish is Tanjiya (beef marinated with lemon juice and hot spices). The meat lovers should definitely try a meat porridge Amadji with couscous and vegetables.
Fish and seafood are truly a king of the table in San Tome and Principe. The tourists will be offered flying fish roasted over the charcoal, snails marinated in lemon juice, coconut water and herbs. There is a great choice of crawfish, lobsters, and clams.
Alcoholic beverages are not produced in San Tome and Principe. In the restaurants and hotels, the tourists can order European wines, Scotch whisky, brandy of high quality, and other alcoholic beverages.
San Tome and Principe has a nickname of a chocolate country because of large cacao plantations. Those who have a sweet tooth will find themselves in a chocolate paradise.
The official currency of San Tome and Principe is the Dobra (STD).
The National Bank of San Tome and Principe issues the bank notes (5.000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000, and 100.000 STD) and coins (100, 250, 500, 1.000, 2.000 STD).
Many hotels accept US dollars, Euros, and West African francs. However, for their purchases the tourists should pay with the national money.
The foreigners can exchange the currency in hotels, exchange offices, and at banks.
One can cash the traveller’s checks only at Plaza Independencia in the Banco Internacional San Tome & Principe. To avoid additional commissions, we recommend having the checks in Euros or US dollars.
There are not ATMs on the islands.
Credit cards are accepted only in a few hotels and restaurants.
Details of interest
Customs and traditions in San Tome and Principe
The people on the islands have a very respectful attitude towards the tourists. Despite the fact that the Republic gets its main income from tourism, the locals do not cheat the tourists out of their money.
Right on the streets, the tourists will see the dancers and the singers of the traditional songs Fadu. The musical instruments they use are tam-tams and traditional guitars.
Sightseeing in San Tome and Principe
No doubt, the pride of the Republic is amazing nature and beautiful landscapes:
- The Agostino Neto is a must-visit. This is the largest cacao plantation on the islands. The tourists can also visit the plantation Agua Ize, Monte Cafe, and Ribeira Peixe.
- No one will be left indifferent when he or she sees the amazingly beautiful waterfall Hell’s Mouth. Not far from Pousada Boa Vista, you can take a picture of the Cascada San Nicolau Waterfall and on the south of San Tome, they can see the waterfall Turtledove Island.
- Anyone can enjoy underwater fishing on the Bom Bom Isla.
- Lagoa Azul or a Blue Lagoon is perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving. There are wonderful beaches with white and black sand. From July to October, you can watch the humpback whales migrating to the waters of San Tome and Principe.
- The lovers of extreme tourism can go trekking in the Pico de Principe and the Pico de San Tome.
- We also recommend visiting an old fishing village San Joze dos Angolares and San Sebastiao Fortress. Today there is the San Sebastiao Museum with a good exposition of colonial objects and items of religious art.
- The Praia das Sete-Ondes Beach near the Boca de Inferno Rock will impress you with it untouched beauty.
Souvenirs in San Tome and Principe
To remember your travel to San Tome and Principe buy a magnet with the national flag or the emblem of the Republic.
The tourists often buy small wooden figurines, masks, jewellery boxes and even the statues of the local idols.
In the capital city, you can buy beautiful commemorative stamps.