Sao Tome and Principe travel guide
When the condition of the sea is right, water is pressed through the natural rock channel and through a hole, which sends a fountain of sea water many meters into the air. In less perfect conditions, Hell's Mouth (Boca do Inferno) is still a beautiful spot with great views of the Sao Tomian coastline. Usually there will be some young boys selling refeshing coconuts, but they don't take it too seriously.
A wonderful long and wild beach with lots of picturesque leaning coconut palms. The beach is a prime nesting site for sea turtles (Green turle, Hawksbill and the rare Leatherback) from October to April. There are three bungalows belonging to Jale Eco Resort - else the beach is totally deserted.
A beautiful lagoon with baobab trees and azure blue waters. There is a viewpoint with a small lighthouse. Lagoa Azul is popular in the weekends, when locals come to picnic.
A short bumpy dirt track leads down to this beautiful bay encircled by black cliffs. The beach is long and wide with grey sand. It's one of the few beaches where the palm trees are outnumbered by other kinds of trees.
The west coast of Sao Tome Island doesn't have that many villages, but Neves is one of them. It's a normal fishing village with ramshackle houses and a stone beach full of wooden canoes. The locals are used to blancos, so not many are batting a eyelit when you walk around - maybe except the kids.
As you approach Principe's Ecological Zone, you will see O Que Pipi Waterfall plunge out of the jungle in the distance. To reach the pool, you will need to hike uphill for about an hour through dense jungle. It's not a difficult hike, but the trail can get dangerous slippery when wet, so wear sturdy footwear. As you finally get to the base, you will get soaked in the spray. As this is Principe, nobody knows the exact height, but about 30 m. The natural pool offers a refreshing dip before you head back the same way. Though locals will tell you different, you don't need a guide, but you do need a ride to the trail start. There are signs and even a rope for the tricky section. If going with a guide, you will also need to pay 5 euro per pax for the national park fee.
Pool beach (Praia Piscina) is named after the natural rock pools. You can safely take a dip in the pool on the beach side. There is a viewpoint overlooking both the beach and the wild coastline, where waves crash against the black lava rocks.
The further south you go on Sao Tome Island, the less villages there are. Porto Alegre is the last village on the east coast. From the distance it looks like a beautiful fishing village framed by tall coconut palms, however up close it's a bit more grim - but not necessarily less interesting. The people are easy going and used to nosy blancos as there are several resorts in the area.
Clothes washing in the countryside in Sao Tome is mostly done in the rivers - along with dishwashing and sometimes bathing. Then all the materials are laid out to dry in the sun. This is not an unusual practice in Africa, but the clean rivers and lack of garbage is. Sao Tome is great - also in this regard.
Driving in Sao Tome is really spectacular and the northwest road isn't any different. For long sections, the road follows the wild coastline and offers unmatched views of stone beach after stone beach. Near the very end, at the village of Santa Catarina, is what probably is the only tunnel in Sao Tome. The tunnel is another popular photo opportunity.