São Tomé & Príncipe

April 7, 2013

Boca do Inferno, a natural blowhole, in São Tomé.

São Tomé and Príncipe is one of the world's smallest countries and is about one-fourth the size of Rhode Island. It's also the world's smallest Portuguese-speaking country with fewer than 170,000 residents
living on its two main (once volcanic) islands. Like Angola and Guinea-Bissau, it was a Portuguese colony until 1975.

We visited both islands and were especially impressed by the friendly people as well as the great natural beauty of the coasts.

São Tomé
This island get top billing because it has more land, more people, and the capital city of the same name.


Bathing and washing clothes in a beautiful clear stream.
A fishing village on the east coast.


With Gualter, an outstanding guide for the day, at a restored
plantation house that is now also a guest house and restaurant.
Women working at a cocoa plantation
Cocoa workers taking a break in front of a centuries-old plantation building.

Definitely precious pre-schoolers seemed happy to sing for visitors;
basically this seemed to be day care for children of cocoa workers.

Grupo Tempo is a São Tomé band that merges traditional musical styles from this region of Africa with some modern sounds. Got a chance to hear them one evening and they were fresh, creative, and clever. See below and also here.




Príncipe
The smaller island is about 20 miles long and 4 mile wide. I hiked about seven miles, but the heat, humidity and hills deterred me from doing more. One small corner of the island is home to the boutique Bom Bom Resort where we spent part of the day after hiking.


Bom Bom Resort