São Tome and Principe

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São Tome and Principe

Welcome to São Tome and Principe

There’s a reason visitors to São Tome proclaim that they’ve seen heaven on Earth. With its staggering display of unspoiled nature, from deep jungles to fantastic beaches, this two-island nation certainly conjures up images of Eden. Hike, dive, snorkel and trek. Tour coffee and cocoa plantations. Learn about the islands’ culture through public theater and colorful festivals.

Known as the “African Galapagos,” the islands are home to an amazing number of unique plants and species that evolved here over millions of years. Come enjoy nature at its most pristine.

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Need To Know

Unique Facts

  • São Tome and Principe are actually not within mainland Africa. They are volcanic islands off the coast of West Africa.
  • Cocoa beans have always been an important crop in São Tome and Principe, so much so that their nickname is the “Chocolate Islands.”
  • The world’s smallest ibis (a wading bird) and the world’s biggest sunbird (a nectar-feeding songbird) both reside on the islands.
  • São Tome (Saint Thomas in Portuguese) is one of Africa’s oldest colonial cities, dating back to the 15th century.
  • The islands have been independent since 1975 but were a Portuguese colony prior to that.

Language

Sao Tome and Principe’s official language is Portuguese.

When To Go

The best times to go to São Tome and Principe are May and October. The rainy season is from October to May.

Airports

São Tomé International Airport

Passport Validity

Passport must be valid for six months beyond arrival date.

Visa Required By US Citizen?

Yes for stays of over 15 days

Vaccinations

The CDC recommends the following vaccine for all travelers when visiting São Tome and Principe: Measles and routine vaccinations. Most travelers should receive Hepatitis A, Malaria and Typhoid vaccines. Depending on where you are traveling, you may also need Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever and Rabies vaccines.

Electrical Outlets

Power plugs and sockets: types C and F. Standard voltage: 220V. Frequency: 50Hz.

Currency

Official local currency: Dobra

Getting Around

Be aware that while the streets of São Tome and other major roadways are paved, there are large potholes. Secondary roads are unpaved and may share the roadway with animals and pedestrians. On Principe, there are only a few miles of paved roads.

Taxi service is available. Ask your hotel to call one for you.

Driver’s License

An international driving permit is required.

US Embassy Info

U.S. Embassy Libreville
B.P. 4000
Libreville, Gabon
Telephone: +(241) 01-45-71-00
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(241) 07-38-01-71
Fax: +(241) 01-45-71-05
LibrevilleACS@state.gov

Local Emergency Phone Numbers

General Emergency: 177

Safety and Security

The crime rate is moderate in São Tome and Principe. Pickpocketing occurs in the markets, on the street and near hotels.

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