With palm fringed beaches, huge expanses of lush rainforest and towering volcanic mountains you might be forgiven for thinking you are in the Caribbean, not just off the Atlantic coast of Africa.
This small island nation seems to intoxicate you with its Creole-Portuguese flavour, relaxed vibes and sense of escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Journey to Africa’s second-smallest country and you’ll find friendly locals, a dizzying array of sea life and ecology so fascinating that it has been dubbed “the Galapagos of Africa”.
São Tomé is the larger of the two islands, but Príncipe is the jewel. The entire island is a Unesco biosphere and something of a forgotten realm where giant leatherback turtles come to nest on its shores and humpback whales frolic off the coast. Tourism is still low-key and ecologically minded, so exploring this tropical hideaway feels like a privilege.