All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
— Martin Buber, 1878 - 1965
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São Tomé and Príncipe

Background

São Tomé and Príncipe

Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands' sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century - all grown with plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. While independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The country held its first free elections in 1991, but frequent internal wrangling between the various political parties precipitated repeated changes in leadership and two failed coup attempts in 1995 and 2003. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea promises to attract increased attention to the small island nation.

About

São Tomé and Príncipe (often called just "São Tomé" for short) is a small island nation off the Atlantic coast of Central Africa, located in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of Gabon. Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands' sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century -- all grown with plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. Although independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s, and the first free elections were held in 1991.

Read more about São Tomé and Príncipe in our São Tomé and Príncipe travel guide »

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São Tomé and Príncipe

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Featured hotels in

São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and PríncipePestana São Tomé 

Avenida Marginal 12 De Julho
Sao Tome Island 851
São Tomé and Príncipe

Price (US$): $248 - $261 / night

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Location. Pestana São Tomé is located near the beach in Sao Tome Island and close to Estadio Nacional 12 de Julho and Fort de Sao Sebastiao. Hotel Features. Pestana São Tomé's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 2 bars/lounges and a poolside bar are open for drinks. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a health club. This 5 star property offers small meeting rooms and audiovisual equipment. This Sao Tome Island property has 5 meeting rooms. The property offers a… more »

São Tomé and PríncipePestana Equador 

Ilheu Das Rolas
Sao Tome
Caue Ilheu Das Rolas 851
São Tomé and Príncipe

Price (US$): $238 - $318 / night

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Location. Located in central Caue Ilheu Das Rolas, Pestana Equador is steps from Ilheu das Rolas Beach. Hotel Features. Pestana Equador's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a spa tub. This Caue Ilheu Das Rolas property has 146 square meters of event space. Additional property amenities include tour/ticket assistance and audiovisual equipment. Guestrooms. 70 air… more »

São Tomé and PríncipeMiramar By Pestana 

Avenida Marginal 12 De Julho
Sao Tome Island 69
São Tomé and Príncipe

Price (US$): $153 - $215 / night

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Location. Miramar By Pestana is located in Sao Tome Island, close to Estadio Nacional 12 de Julho and Fort de Sao Sebastiao. Hotel Features. Dining options at Miramar By Pestana include a restaurant and a coffee shop/café. 2 bars/lounges are open for drinks. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. This 3 star property offers a meeting/conference room and audiovisual equipment. This Sao Tome Island property has 145 square meters of event space consisting of banquet facilities.… more »

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São Tomé and Príncipe

Capital
São Tomé
Location

Western Africa, islands in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of Gabon

Geographic coordinates

1 00 N, 7 00 E

Area comparative

more than five times the size of Washington, DC

Coastline

209 km

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; one rainy season (October to May)

Terrain

volcanic, mountainous

Lowest point

Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m

Natural resources

fish, hydropower

Population

175,808 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

mestico, angolares (descendants of Angolan slaves), forros (descendants of freed slaves), servicais (contract laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde), tongas (children of servicais born on the islands), Europeans (primarily Portuguese)

Religions

Catholic 70.3%, Evangelical 3.4%, New Apostolic 2%, Adventist 1.8%, other 3.1%, none 19.4% (2001 census)

Languages

Portuguese (official)

Government type

republic

Independence

12 July 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday

Independence Day, 12 July (1975)

Chief of state

President Fradique Bandiera Melo DE MENEZES (since 3 September 2001)

Head of government

Prime Minister Joachim Rafael BRANCO (since 22 June 2008)

Internet country code

.st

Internet users

26,700 (2009)

Airports

2 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Sao Tome

Other countries in the region