Thursday, October 20, 2022

Sao Tome & Principe

Sao Tome & Principe Flag

Why visit Sao Tome & Principe?
Ideal for the adventurous travelers seeking off-the-beaten tropical destination to enjoy enjoy beaches, birdwatching, camp on isolated beaches, deep-sea fishing, mountains, natural tropical scenery, rain forests, scuba diving, snorkeling, and waterfalls.

At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Bead necklaces, postage stamps, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Bobofrito (fried snack). Calulu (fish dish). Canjica (porridge). Estufa de Morcego (bat stew). Feijoada (fish stew). Moleo de Peixe (fish dish).
  • Local Drink to Try: Aquadente (distilled). Criollo (beer). Gravana (rum). 

Fun Facts
  • Islands formed approximately 30 million years ago.
  • Volcanic soil dates back to 3 million years ago.
  • Uninhabited until 1470.
  • Home to the rare bird, São Tomé fisca.
  • A part of the Cameroon Volcanic Mountain line.
  • São Tomé is the most mountainous island.
  • Pico Cão Grande (Great Dog Peak) is 2,175 ft above sea level (São Tomé).
  • Largely exports cocoa and coffee.
  • Coffee is often used as a seasoning or spice.

Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Holidays: New Year, Day of King Amador, Commemoration of the Batepá Massacre, Labour Day, Independence Day, Armed Forces' Day, Nationalization of the Roças, São Tomé Day, and Christmas Day.

Good to Know
  • Portuguese is the official language.
  • Requires patience and time to get to the islands.
  • Not considered touristy islands.
  • Few carriers serve Sao Tome Airport (TMS).
  • Prearranged transfers are highly recommended from Sao Tome Airport (TMS).
  • Departure tax applies. Estimates around $20USD.
  • Pick-pocketing is known to occur in tourist areas.
  • Sanitization is considered below western standards.
  • Avoid tap water consumption.
  • Eastern Atlantic waters offer barracuda, black marlin, blue marlin, sailfish, and yellow-fin tuna.
  • Due to precipitation the southwestern region of the islands is the greenest.
  • Medical care is limited.
  • Prevalent Diseases: Malaria, Rabies, Schistosomiasis, Tuberculosis, and Yellow Fever. 
  • Medication and pharmacies are limited.
  • Strictly forbidden is photographing government buildings, military, or the Presidential Palace.
  • Flights best connect the two islands.
  • Avoid swimming or wading in freshwater due to Bilharzia (parasite).
  • English is not spoken nor understood.
  • Year-round humidity is approximately 80% - 90%.
  • Rainy Season is October - May.
  • Possession, trafficking, or use of illegal drugs is severe punishment.
  • Evenings may require a sweater.
  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Backroads require four-wheel-drive vehicles. 
  • Hospital Central Ayres de Menezes (São Tomé) is the only island hospital (São Tomé).
  • Credit cards are not widely accepted.
  • Legacy of Portuguese rule is visible in the country's culture, cuisine, customs, and music.
  • ATMs only accept cards from local banks.
  • Domestic Violence is a punishable crime with up to eight years in prison.
  • Ferry Service between Sao Tome and Principe islands is limited

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required for longer than 15 days.
  • Yellow Fever vaccination required. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: 10,000EUR.

Prone to droughts, flash floods, high humidity, hurricanes, landslides, and strong winds.

  • Best Time to Visit: October - May
  • Coolest Months: June - September
  • Hottest Months: January - April
  • Peak Season: April, June, & October - November

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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.   

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