Ultimate Guide: 13 Best Sao Tome and Principe Beaches
If you’re planning a Sao Tome and Principe holiday, one of the main reasons is probably the beaches! That’s for sure! This two-island paradise in Africa is well-known for its superb beaches where you can sunbathe, relax or even do some snorkelling and diving. Most of them are virgin tropical paradises!
There are various beaches on both islands and, although they all have sand and water, they’re pretty different from each other. I’ve searched everywhere on the web and, sadly, I couldn’t find a complete guide on Sao Tome and Principe beaches. So I decided to make my own! I visited some stunning beaches during my trip to the islands and I’m ready to share my knowledge with you all.
Are you ready to find out everything there is to know about the beaches in Sao Tome and Principe (STP) and which ones to visit? Btw, I’m also mentioning the closest hotels and bars to each beach mentioned down below. Awesome, right?
Useful facts before we get started
Here are a couple of useful things to know before diving (get it?) right into the subject and before you board the plane to Sao Tome and Principe:
- Most beaches on Sao Tome and Principe are, unfortunately, a bit hard to reach. There are some easily accessible beaches that I’m mentioning down below, but most of them require a bit of hiking. I recommend taking some sturdy shoes with you for this or rent a 4WD. No, seriously, some beaches are impossible to reach without a jeep! You can check for prices and available cars here.
- Although the island is smaller, the beaches on Principe are better than the ones in Sao Tome.
- The beaches on Sao Tome are oftentimes visited by locals; the ones on Principe are mostly remote and you’ll feel like you have the entire place to yourself.
- It is possible to visit several beaches in STP in one day if you book an organised excursion such as this Southern Excursion or this North STP Tour. Find more tours here.
- There are various activities to do on the Sao Tome e Principe beaches except for sunbathing and swimming. You can snorkel, dive, go kayaking and more.
- Some beaches don’t have any facilities, not even sunbeds (especially the more remote ones) so make sure you bring a towel and some water with you just in case.
- Last but not least, don’t forget your sunscreen! 😉
RELATED READ: 15 Best Things to Do in Sao Tome and Principe, Africa + Reasons to Visit
Best Sao Tome beaches
Sao Tome island is one of the two main islands of the country. It’s the place where the capital is located (Sao Tome City) and it hosts some pretty incredible beaches. The best beaches in Sao Tome are usually found in the Northern part of the island; if you go further to the South-West, you’ll find the best beaches for turtles and birdwatching. The beaches here are pretty varied with white, golden and even black sand and the ever-present turquoise waters.
My top recommendation for Sao Tome!
Praia Piscina is one of the best beaches in São Tomé, located in the Southern part of the island. It’s not very easy to reach it and you can only get there by car, but it’s totally worth it! Praia Piscina got its name thanks to its pool-like setting, with numerous natural rock pools filled with clear waters; there’s also a sandy part of this beach for a classic look, but the rocky shore is the main attraction. You can, of course, swim in these pools and enjoy the sun after a day of exploring the island. Oh, and there’s also a blowhole here, as well as palm trees and a bit of rainforest which I think is super cool!
Praia Jale is not far from Praia Piscina at all (both located in the South-East of Sao Tome) and it’s a perfect choice if you want a remote feel! It’s a long golden sand beach with coconut palms and you’ll feel like you have the entire place to yourself, as there are rarely any locals or tourists there. Just like Praia Piscina, it will be a small adventure getting there and you definitely need a 4×4 car for this.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Praia Jale between October to January, you may also see one of the 4 species of turtles hatching from their eggs. If you spend the night at the ecolodge on the beach, rest assured that the staff will let you know when the hatching happens and they can even wake you up so there’s no chance you’ll miss it! There are also biologists there when this happens so you’ll get to learn some interesting information as well.
Praia dos Tamarindos
Beautiful blue water, palm trees on the shore and a remote tropical paradise: this is what you’ll find at Praia dos Tamarindos! This one is located in the Northern part of Sao Tome, 18 km from Sao Tome City and you’ll definitely need a jeep/4×4 car to access it. This one doesn’t have a virgin feel like the other two above, as it’s pretty popular among locals but it really all depends on when you’re visiting (weekends are more crowded). Plus, it’s one of the cleanest on the island!
Praia Micondo is all about warm waters and beautiful sand. Compared to the other 3 beaches that I mentioned above, Praia Micondo is actually easily accessible and you won’t need a car; you just need to walk for a while. While you’re there, you can sit in the shade of a palm tree or swim in the water.
BONUS: Lagõa Azul
While not technically a beach, Lagoa Azul (the Blue Lagoon) is a super popular spot for both snorkelling with corals and swimming. The lagoon is actually a tiny bay with a rocky seashore and superb turquoise water. It’s located on the Northern side of Sao Tome and it’s actually a part of Obô Natural Park. There’s also a lighthouse uphill built in 1997 where you can get a wonderful view of the beach and the entire setting. Don’t forget your camera!
RELATED READ: 11 Best Sao Tome and Principe Hotels For Your Stay
Best Principe beaches
As I mentioned above, the beaches in Principe are generally better than the ones in Sao Tome. They have a unique, remote vibe and you’ll often feel like you have the entire beach to yourself. Plus, Principe hosts one of THE most popular beaches in the entire country, which is the first one below:
Banana Beach Sao Tome e Principe is hands-down the most popular beach in all of STP! It’s mostly famous because it was featured in a Bacardi advert from the 90s (this one) and because it’s simply gorgeous. And yes, it’s shaped like a banana! Like most good things in life, this beach is not that easy to reach either, so you’ll need a jeep car for this in case you’re not up for the 20 minute-long walk. Just follow the forest trail at Roça Belo Monte (don’t worry, you can use it on foot or with a car even if you’re not staying at this plantation hotel). Or you can visit it during a tour/boat tour! The beach is public. While you’re here you can either swim, snorkel or do some kayaking. Time to leave your worries away and completely relax – after all, you’re on an island paradise!
Praia Grande is THE best spot for watching turtles hatching from their eggs on Principe island! It’s the largest beach on the island and it’s located in the North-Eastern part of Principe. The amazing phenomenon of turtle hatching can be seen from September to April. The beach is also the place where the Sea Turtle Conservation Area in Principe is located, so it’s hands-down the best spot for action. Plus, the biologists there can also offer you lots of fun info about the turtles, an endangered species in this part of the world. Don’t miss the Turtle Museum as well on this beach (Kaxí Tetuga Museum).
A tropical paradise tucked away behind palm trees! Praia Boi is the kind of beach that you’ll have all to yourself, as it’s not that popular among tourists. It has beautiful turquoise water and extremely soft sand and I think it’s the perfect spot for a beach picnic. Just like most beaches on the island, it can only be accessed with a 4×4 car/jeep. By the way, it’s located close to Praia Macaco too (next on this list), so you can visit both in one day!
Very similar to the one above and extremely close to it as well. Praia Macaco is a beautiful golden sand beach with palm trees and lots of spots for sunbathing and relaxation. But make sure you bring your own towel and food as well, as there are no commodities here. Instead, you’ll find the ruins of a hotel that never opened. A fun sight to see!
Praia Bom Bom & Praia Santa Rita
Praia Bom Bom and Praia Santa Rita, belonging to a popular hotel resort, are actually located on a separate tiny islet from Principe called Bom Bom Islet (Ilhéu Bombom). These two beaches can only be visited if you’re staying at Bom Bom Resort. Both beaches are wonderful options if you want to relax on the golden sand or do some world-class diving. Praia Bom Bom and Santa Rita are located in the Northern part of Principe island and, luckily for us travellers, both of them are easily accessible.
By the way, if you’re staying at this islet’s resort, you’ll benefit from complimentary airport transfer from Principe Airport and you can also arrange a private driver for the stay to take you around all the islands’ beaches and sites!
Best Ilhéu Das Rolas beaches
Rolas Islet (Ilhéu Das Rolas) is a tiny island located in the South of Sao Tome island, super close to Praia Piscina. Although it’s a separate island, it’s very easily accessible by boat and it hosts some incredible beaches as well, so I couldn’t omit to mention it in this article. If you want to discover the island with a local guide, I recommend this tour. And below are the best beaches on Rolas Island!
NOTE: All 3 of the beaches below are located very close to Pestana Equador, the only accommodation on the islet. There’s also Bar Equator on the islet, the only bar around.
Small but extremely charming beach with a strip of sand nestled between some rocky walls. It’s secluded and very pretty, you’ll definitely feel like the place is all for you. I recommend it as a romantic getaway for a couple, I think it’s super romantic!
This is probably the most popular beach on Rolas Island! It’s very pretty, with fine golden sand and it’s a perfect spot for a picnic. It’s located around 10 minutes walking from Equador Resort.
Praia de Santo Antonio
Praia de Santo Antonio is only 15 minutes by foot from the resort and it’s very beautiful, lined with pretty palm trees. You can visit it regardless if you’re staying at the resort or not and it’s empty most of the time; you’ll feel like you have the entire place to yourself!
This was my complete guide to the best beaches on Sao Tome and Principe islands! I created this article because I felt there’s no complete guide to the STP beaches anywhere on the web, so I decided to write about the best spots for swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing on each island for the BEST Sao Tome and Principe holidays! This post contains 5 of the best beaches for Sao Tome, 5 for Principe and also 3 charming beaches on Rolas islet. You’ll find everything beach-related here and more!
The beaches are one of the top Sao Tome and Principe attractions, so at least one day of lazing on the beach and swimming is a total must during your trip here!
In case you want to read more about Sao Tome and Principe, I recommend clicking here to find all my articles about this unique and underexplored country.