My travel dates:
24 July – 06 August 2018
Flight Berlin -> STP: 5838 km
São Tomé -> 29.7 km Neves -> 15.9 km Santa Catarina -> 60.8 km São Tomé -> 53 km São João dos Angolares -> 32.7 km Praia Inhame Eco Lodge, Roca de Porto Alegre -> 72.8 km São Tome
Flight São Tomé -> Berlin: 5838 km
Altogether: 11,940.90 km
Flight: €1449.25 / $1686.55
Travel costs for 14 days: €1493.83 / $1738.43
Visa: you only need a visa if you stay longer than 15 days! But I heard the government is considering shortening that period.
Important Info: Bring cash and exchange it on the street! You can get money at the bank but will be charged an immense amount of fees and it will cost you time. If you exchange at the bank you’ll get less money – even if it sounds dodgy, exchange it on the street! Often you can also pay in Euros!
The ATMs do not accept foreign cards.
About São Tomé and Príncipe:
Capital: São Tomé
Hotel Albergria Porcelana, Lda
I had a single room, shared bathroom and a shared kitchen in a simple, centrally located hotel. When I booked, breakfast was not included, now it is. I paid an additional €3.80 /
$4.46 for an okay breakfast with bad coffee. The manager, who even spoke English, was really helpful and nice. He helped me exchange money on the street and get a phone card even though it was already 7:00 p.m. when I arrived. It’s an okay place to stay for a few nights.
Info: I got a pick-up for €15.00 / $17.62
I paid: €25.00 / $29.37 a night
Tips for São Tomé:
Restaurant Dona Tété
I met Dona Tété but didn’t have time to eat at the restaurant. In any case, the whole island talks about it so it must be good.
A Restaurant with an ocean view. I ate here. Good for a yummy lunch with fresh fish and local food. A little cheaper than Dona Tété, moderate prices at around €10.00 – 12.00 / $11.50 – 14.00 per person.
STP- OFFSHORE LOGISTIC & TOUR, LDA Travel Agency
I stayed 3 nights in the home of Gisela Bouças and her family. Her father José Bouças is the country’s most famous journalist. I also cooked with this family and it was one of my most beautiful encounters in this country – super amazing! I slept in a beautiful large room with a double bed, with my own balcony and bathroom. Unfortunately, there was no running water, but always a big bucket of water to shower with…:) If you stay with this family, you’ll experience the real STP and the real food. It might not be possible to stay at their private home like I did, but you can always ask…:) I paid €30.00 / $34.91 a night.
Gisela works in the travel agency and can help you plan your trip and organize a guide and a car for you, like she did for me.
She doesn’t speak English but she knows how to use google translator. With Edson, my guide and translator, we figured it out.
Their approach may seem improvised but for STP it’s normal. They organize everything in their own way and it all works out. She will give you tips about where to sleep, eat, and swim!
And I would recommend renting a car, otherwise you might have to wait a long time to get a ride somewhere… it’ll be an expensive part of traveling through this country (around € 35.00 / $41.12 a day). If you need help go to Gisela.
Real tour STP
If you need a car or a guide who speaks English: Edson helped me out. The cars have character and so does Edson. Such a sweet kid with a fun personality, he really grows on you:)
He will also tell you everything you need to know about where to eat and where to swim.
His daily rate is around €25.00 / $29.37.
Hotel Roça Monte Forte
Single room with a bathroom, simple, clean with a breathtaking view from my shower window. That is, of course, if the water is running…A big problem in STP that you’ll often encounter in simple guesthouses. In the morning I asked for water to flush the toilet and the young man working there turned around and said: „Hot or cold?“ I had to laugh so hard. In any case, when the water is off, you will always get a big bucket of water to use for whatever you need. You can eat a good lunch and dinner there, which costs around €8.00 – 10.00 / $9.40 – 11.75. But there are a few more places around where you can eat. Ask your guide. It’s a simple place, rustic and at night it can get cold, so ask for a blanket. Wifi is switched on for a few hours each day. The staff is really sweet and helpful but they don’t speak English. One of the staff members even helped me find a family to cook with in Santa Catarina. A really nice beach nearby to visit is the blue lagoon!
I paid: €30.00/ $35.25 a night, incl. breakfast
This could actually be a nice place if they renovated the terrace and made sure they have electricity and running water: both were missing on my two nights. The rooms are simple but nice but I had to shower with cold water from a big bucket and there wasn’t any electricity in the evening. They wanted an additional €3.00 / $3.52 a night in taxes but I negotiated that down because of the missing utilities. There is no wifi either! But dinner was delicious. The cook used to work at the famous restaurant / hotel I moved to after staying here for two nights. Costs: €10.00 / $11.75 per person for a candle light dinner, as there was no electricity. The staff was really nice, but it wouldn’t be my first choice to stay here again.
I paid: €20.00 / $23.50 a night, incl. breakfast
Hotel Roca, São João dos Angolares
This is the rainiest part of STP, so don’t expect bikini weather! The hotel is a family run business, with one of STP’s best and most famous cooks in the kitchen, João Carlos Silva. When I was there, the prime minister Patrice Trovoada visited and I took a photo with him! It’s cozy and traditionally decorated, I really liked it. The rooms are nice but don’t expect warm water until around 9:00 a.m. I had a frog showering with me, too – just couldn’t get it out of the bathroom. It’s not a luxury hotel but it has the basics. It’s quite expensive to eat here, so buy your water at the local store, you’ll save more than half your money. If you’re there for a few days, try the local restaurants, it’s a bit of an adventure but it’s yummy and way cheaper! Breakfast is cute, they keep bringing you little portions on different plates. Most of the people working there are young people from the village, super friendly but unfortunately almost none of them speak even a word of English. Trying to order scrambled eggs for breakfast was quite an interesting conversation.
Try the special seven course meal at lunch for €20.00 / $23.50 for hotel guests. For normal guests it’s around €25.00 / $29.40. The whole meal takes around three hours. I wasn’t feeling good that day and for me that was a bit long.
The restaurant has a beautiful view and 80 percent of what you eat is grown on their own property. On the property there is also a little gallery with artwork from local artists – some of it was really good! I got my laundry done, it was washed the old fashioned way, by hand. Unfortunately it wasn’t clean when I got it back. But the price of €4.00 / $4.70 that I negotiated directly with the cleaning lady was fair and I would have been surprised if it had been spot clean. I very much enjoyed talking to the son of the owner whose name I’ve sadly forgotten. He manages the hotel together with his sister. He speaks fluent English and is extremely intelligent and can tell you all sorts of interesting historical nuggets about the country and about Africa. I listened to him for a long time. I paid €35.00 / $41.15 a night but somehow they forgot to charge me taxes which would be around €3.00 / $3.52 a night. I would definitely stay here again.
I paid a special price: €35.00 / $41.15 a night, incl. breakfast
Hotel Praia Inhama
Getting here is a real challenge. The roads are so bad it was really scary. And when you’re there, you’ll need a guide or definitely your own car, otherwise you really won’t know what to do. The rooms are nice, the food is okay. I felt it was a bit overpriced for what it was in the end. I didn’t even go into the water because it was just too chilly. That is something you will not read about in most travel guides: STP is a cloudy island, you don’t get much sun.
It was a bit lonely in the hotel as well, it’s obvious that not many people travel alone here. I wanted to relax for a day but I was glad when that day was over. It’s a nice place to stay but I would think twice about coming here, for me it wasn’t really worth it. I’d rather stay around São Tomé and go to Monte Café where I also did a story, or go swimming in the blue lagoon…
I paid: €89.25 / $104.93 a night, incl. breakfast
Nguemú Beach Resort
I only ate lunch here (€17.00 / $20.00) which was quite expensive, it’s normal in this region, since there is nothing much around, prices are steep. The staff was really friendly and the food was good. I was very happy that at least I had a car to drive there. The view at the restaurant was amazing! And they have a beautiful beach, if it just wasn’t for the overcast weather. The bungalows were simpler than at my place but also a bit cheaper than Praia Inhame. It’s worth checking out.
*Please note that prices may differ or fluctuate. Please contact the Hotels/Lodges directly for more information.