Small Group Tours and Holidays in São Tomé & Príncipe

São Tomé Explorer

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 8 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Tour Rating

Fitness ●●●○○ (mainly for Lake Amelia)| Off the Beaten Track ●●●●○ | Culture ●●●○○ | History ●●●○○ | Wildlife ●●●○○

Tour Pace


Tour Highlights

  • Discover a largely undiscovered, uniquely rewarding and safe destination with an exciting blend
    of African, Portuguese and Caribbean cultures
  • Walk in the rainforest in search of hidden waterfalls and endemic birds
  • A relaxing and laid back holiday in a truly undiscovered destination

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Comfortable hotel accommodation and basic ‘Roças’ (plantation houses)
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum of 12
Start Point: São Tomé
End Point: São Tomé
Transport: 4WD or minibuses
Countries: São Tomé

Tour Itinerary Notes 

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used. 

Tour Guide 

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour. 


Day 1 – Arrive São Tomé

Arrive in São Tomé and transfer to your hotel with the rest of the evening free to relax after your flight. Overnight Hotel Miramar or similar

Please note that a compulsory hotel tax of 3 Euros per person per night is levied by many hotels and must be paid in person when checking out.

Day 2 – Lake Amelia

São Tomé is famous for its coffee and this morning we will travel to Lagoa Amelia (Lake Amelia) up in the mountains to discover more about this important crop. Lake Amelia is set 800m above sea level where the air is delightfully fresh. We drive to Bom Sucesso (approx. 45 mins) where we begin the hike to Lake Amelia (hike is approx. 2-2.5 hours depending on the group and weather conditions). After spending some time at Lake Amelia, we descend back to Bom Sucesso (approx. 1.5 hours depending on group and weather conditions) and drive to the waterfall of Saint Nicolas (approx. 15 mins), where we will stop for a taste of the sweet local coffee. We then descend to the nearby coffee plantation (approx. 15 mins drive). From here, coffee of the highest quality has been exported all over the world. We return to our hotel (approx. 45 mins) and the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Overnight Hotel Miramar or similar (BLD)

Note: The hike to Lake Amelia can take approx. 2 – 2.5 hours depending on pace and weather conditions. The hike is uphill with uneven ground and is steep at times. The trail can also be slippery and depending on weather conditions. Walking boots are strongly recommended. There are 2 stops along the way for drinks/snacks/picnic.

Day 3 - São Tomé Town - Porto Alegre

Early in the morning, we drive down along the East Coast to the village of Port Alegre.The drive is about 3 hours and we stop off to take in the views of the River Iô Grande, the peak of Cão Grande as well as the waterfall and plantation of Ribeira Peixe. On arrival at Portalegre, we will visit the old mansion of Lama Porco before descending to Jalé Beach. From here we explore the long-stretched desert southern beaches and we may go by canoe in to the mangrove. We continue to Praia Piscina along the beach (walking if the weather permits). At Praia Piscina we can take a swim at the beach before it is time for our picnic lunch before we make our way back to our accommodation at Port Alegre. Overnight Praia Inhame or similar (BLD)      

Day 4 - São João dos Angolares

Transfer by 4WD to São João, on the island’s east coast. Once we arrive there is time to explore the local area on foot, perhaps venturing down to the beach or checking out the tiny but relaxed town. We stay in a plantation house, near some of the most famous beaches of the island, this is a cultural centre and working ecological plantation in one. Overnight at the Roça de São João or similar (BLD)

São João dos Angolares

The tiny settlement of São João dos Angolares sits on the east coast of the island, bordered by Obo National Park, takes its name from the Angolan slaves who were shipwrecked here in the 16th century, and whose descendants live here now. The inhabitants speak Angolar, a unique Creole dialect found nowhere else.

Day 5 – Northern Plantations

We head to the north of the Island this morning and our first stop is at the northern most point of Fernão Dias. Our tour will then continue to the estate of Boa Entrada where we will be able to view the colonial architecture before heading to the Plantation estate of Agostinho Neto to visit the botanic garden. Overnight at Mucumbli Ponta Figo or similar (BLD)


São Tomé’s initial raison d’etre was as a depot for slaves on their way from the African interior, and as effectively an enormous plantation. Portuguese traders imported unfortunate souls from the mainland, setting them to work on vast sugar cane plantations, and the island soon became the most important producer of the commodity in Africa, fuelled by slave labour under brutal conditions. Sugar cultivation declined from the 16th century onwards under competition from better quality cane from the New World, and in the 19th century São Tomé’s plantation owners turned to coffee and cocoa, establishing themselves as a serious presence on the world market. The Portuguese abolition of slavery in the late 19th century did little to improve conditions for workers, but pressure from international buyers eventually meant that minor changes were made to the plantations, which had schools and hospitals built on each property. After independence the plantations were nationalised and production declined enormously, and now, although re-privatised, they are a shadow of their former selves. Many of the old plantation guesthouses now allow tourists to stay, giving a unique insight into the history of this tiny country.

Day 6 – Plantations and Beaches

We have another day to explore the beaches and plantations of northern São Tomé. Witness the different processes of treatment of coffee as well as the rest of the installations at the plantation of Monte Café and relax on the beach a Conchas. A traditional lunch is served at plantation of Monteforte. Overnight at Mucumbli Ponta Figo or similar (BLD)

Day 7 - São Tomé Town

Transfer back to the city and along the east Coast to São Tomé Town where there will be a city tour. Overnight Hotel Miramar or similar. (BLD)

São Tomé Town

São Tomé Town has to be the sleepiest capital city anywhere in the world. Founded in the 15th century by Portuguese slavers, the small town is full of fading colonial buildings, giving it a charming ambience and making it a great place to wander round, especially in the late hours of the afternoon. The town has a handful of good restaurants, many overlooking the water, which make for a scenic and relaxing place to grab some food and a beer and watch the fishermen bring in their catches.

Day 8 - São Tomé Town

A day at leisure to relax without any pre-paid sightseeing or activities included until it is time for your transfer to the airport late this afternoon (B)

Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation
Services of English-speaking guides / driver for transfers and excursions – otherwise this tour is unescorted
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

International flights
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance