Principe Island travel guide
At Maraco Beach lies this abandoned resort. For more than a decade ago it was in competition with Bombom resort, but there is no doubt about who won. All bungalows stand either semi-demolished or burned and the swimming pool with a sit-in-bar is today a swamp. Macaco Beach and Boi Beach share the same dirt road half of the way. It's a bumpy ride with can get seriously muddy when it rains.
Banana Beach is a gorgeous golden sand beach with a gentle bend - like a banana. Though all beaches in Sao Tome and Principe are public, the palm filled shady grounds are runned by the Roca Belo Monte. There are pavilions, tables and even a bar. There is another and more local beach, Caju, a short walk through the trees.
The road to Boi Beach is really rough with mud and rocks, and the last bit is just an overgrown jungle track. But you will get rewarded with a wild and deserted beach with leaning slender coconut palms. Sea turtles come here to nest from October to April.
This long beach with golden sand runs in front of the Bombom resort. Luxury bungalows are scattered along the beach and on rocky outcrops under shady trees and slender palms. Since all beaches are public in Sao Tome and Principe, you can just enter the resort and use the beach. The small island Bombom of shore is connected with a long wooden walkway.
About 40% of Principe Island is a national park of virgin jungle. The other part is almost as lush and green with more jungle between the gardens of banana, coffee and cacao. Characteristic jungle covered pinnacles make up the skyline of the national park. There are several good hikes, including to the peak Pico Papagaio (700 m) and to O Que Pipi Waterfall.
Is probably one of the longest and most beautiful beaches in all of Sao Tome & Principe. Not only is it long with plenty of leaning coconut palms, but it's a major nesting site for three species of sea turtles (Green turtle, Hawksbill and Leatherback). There is a small simple museum (only open in turtle season from October to April) and that is it. The dirt road is really rough, but very pretty.
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.
This lovely old plantation has undergone a transformation and is now a luxury plantation hotel. The entrance gate is flanked with old cannons and the main mansion is well kept. You don't have to stay here to enjoy the vista from the porch. The view stretches over the top of the canopies, all the way down to Bombom Resort. There is also a small informative museum about Sao Tome in general.
This old plantation turned-hotel is not as big as Roca Belo Monte, but equal interesting. It was here Sir Arthur Eddington observed a solar eclipse in 1919 that proved Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. There is a memorial plate at the side of the manson. The grounds also has a lovely old overgrown ruin.
You start to understand why Bombom resort is so popular. Not only does it has a gorgeous beach, it has TWO. On the backside of the resort lies Santa Rita Beach. It's more wild and untidy than the palm lined Bombom beach, but some might even prefer that. You are welcome to use the beach, whether or not you stay at Bombom.