São Tomé: coffee flavoured paradise
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São Tomé: coffee flavoured paradise

© Creative Commons / Joao Maximo

São Tomé e Príncipe Travel Guide

Key Facts

1,001 sq km (386.5 sq miles).


190,428 (2014).

Population density

190.2 per sq km.


São Tomé.



Head of state

President Manuel Pinto da Costa since 2011.

Head of government

Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada since 2014.


220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.

The little-discovered islands of São Tomé e Príncipe provide unspoiled beauty and isolation from the world now rarely found anywhere else. The islands lie on an alignment of once-active volcanoes, with rugged landscapes, dense forests and palm-fringed beaches, 250km (155 miles) off the coast of West Africa.

Exotic birds inhabit tropical jungles on islands that form Africa's smallest country. The picturesque town of São Tomé lies exactly on the equator, with colonial Portuguese architecture and attractive parks. The history of the islands is dominated by the slave trade and slave-worked plantations. The islands form one of the smallest countries in Africa.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 28 November 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime rates are generally low, but burglaries and armed robberies do occur. Safeguard valuables and cash, particularly at the beach. Use a hotel safe where practical, and keep copies of important documents, including your passport.  

Road travel

You should bring a valid International Driving Permit if you wish to hire a car. Traffic is light but the majority of roads are in poor condition, particularly outside the capital. Most roads are unlit. You should avoid being on the road at night (there are animals on the roads) and during periods of heavy rainfall (landslips and mudslides can occur).

There are shared taxis on Sao Tome, but no other public transport in Sao Tome and Principe.

Air travel

The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community.

Seats on the small aircraft that operate between the main island of Sao Tome and the smaller island of Príncipe need to be booked well in advance or there is a risk that you could become stranded.

Political Situation

Sao Tome and Principe is generally peaceful. Economic difficulties and political rows over the handling of investments in the islands’ development occasionally lead to civil unrest. You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings.