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Flights to Sao Tome and Principe | Compare Low-Cost Fares at Skyscanner

São Tomé and Príncipe, a small country composed of two major islands and a smaller batch of isles scattered around in between, is located just off the western coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. It was made known to the world when João de Santarém and Pêro Escobar discovered it in 1470. They claimed it for Portugal, which started the colonisation of the island.

Later on in 1493, Portuguese citizens with 'undesirable' status such as Jews and Africans from the mainland were brought to São Tomé and Príncipe. They were made to work in the fertile lands to produce sugar in the 16th century. This crop was changed to coffee and cocoa by the onset of the 19th century due to the active competition of other sugar-producing colonies. By the middle of the 20th century, the movement for independence began to take root. It was, however, only in 1975 when the small country became officially free from Portuguese rule and was able to choose its own president.

A country known for its simple and laidback lifestyle, São Tomé and Príncipe is the country to be for travellers looking for peace and quiet. The country is also full of natural attractions, which makes ecotourism an enjoyable and absorbing activity to take part in. The Ôbo Natural Park, for instance, features virgin rainforests with a biologically diverse animal population. Before touring, it's best to find a local company who will advise on the preparation and guide travellers through safe trails. Enquiries can be made about exploring the ecological zone in Principe, which lies a bit far away from São Tomé.

For the thrill seekers, part of the itinerary should be devoted to climbing the Pico Cao Grande. It's a high volcanic tower measuring 300 metres and infested with snakes thriving in giant ferns. Slippery moss also covers the surface of this fascinating land attraction, making the climb difficult but not completely unmanageable. Sunny days make the best times to go up the mountain, due to slippery conditions during rainfall.

Tourists who want to learn more about the small island nation can go to Forte De Sao Sebastiao, a museum that displays religious artworks and artefacts dating back to the colonial era. There are five classifications of exhibits here, such as history, colonialism, agriculture, religion, and wildlife. One sight guests shouldn't miss is the Governor's dining room which includes a statue of the servant who used to attend to the governor's needs.

Once visitors have finished with their tour of the island, a sojourn to Ilhéu das Rolas can be the place to stop and relax for a while. It's an isle just a small distance away from the southern tip of the country. Tourists going here will find a nice beach to swim around in and enjoy a meal or two. Boat transport is available here to bring tourists back to the main island.

How to get around within Sao Tome and Principe

Tourists new to São Tomé and Principe can enquire in the airport about taxis leading the way to the accommodations within the city. For those who want to drive, an international driver's licence is required, with the traffic moving on the right side of the road. The rental vehicle to choose should also be well equipped to handle rough roads. This is a must, especially when going outside the city limits where lack of smooth roads can be found.

Bus service is minimal, especially in Principe where a red minibus plies the routes. Waiting for it to arrive can take a long time, which makes hitching preferred by some. This can be risky, however, so it's not recommended for travellers.

For those hopping between São Tomé and Principe, there are two options available. One is to get a flight or ride a ferry service going between the islands.

How to get there

Travellers going to the island country will most likely land on São Tomé International Airport. Airlines going to this part of the world are mainly composed of African companies such as African Aviation, Africa's Connection STP, CEIBA Intercontinental, Punto Azul, and TAAG Angola Airlines. Those coming from up North will have to book connecting flights via Portuguese airlines like STP Airways and TAP Portugal. 

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