A country excluded from most world maps, located in West Africa, São Tomé island has incredible coffee, landscapes and great weather year round.
The sightseeing attractions on the island can be split into 3 different day tours. in this blog post you will find detailed information on the São Tomé Central day trip.
You will discover more in depth how important the cocoa and coffee plantations were and still are for the inhabitants of the island. This day tour is the most cultural out of the three. Infrastructure on the island isn’t well developed, so be prepared for a bumpy and scenic ride! (4×4 is a must).
The ideal order of the trips is to first do the southern, then central and finally northern day tour.
If you haven’t read my previous article about the Southern day trip tour I recommend you start there as there is a short overview about why you need a car on the island and why this is the best order for the day tours.
São Tomé Central day trip
The first stop of the day will be Trinidade, not far away from São Tomé. The small town has some colourful streets. You can walk around the main street to get feeling for the little town or just drive straight through.
The next stop in the Sao Tomé central day trip is another small town. Our stop here was very short, as there is a main crossroad with colourful decoration and a shop. I’m always drawn to colourful facades and that crossroad had colours everywhere.
3. Monte Café
Monte Café is one of the few restored coffee and cocoa plantations on the island. Long ago it was the most important coffee and cocoa plantation in São Tomé and Príncipe.
They have now created a cooperative that runs the place. You can ask for a guided tour around the different buildings of the plantation and visit the museum too. You will be able to taste the two main coffee variations, Italian and Arabic, at the end of your visit.
I definitely recommend the visit as it gives one insight into the way the island worked and still works for some. The installations are in a good state to visit but they could make it much more attractive if they restored and cleaned some of the areas… there is a lot of litter around….
4. Sao Nicolau waterfall
You will have to drive on a gravel road for some minutes to get there. It is very pretty and a change of scenery after spending the day in the mountains.
Check out this Cinematic Travel video about São Tomé and Príncipe
5. Jardim botanico de Bom Sucesso
The entrance per person is free but you can get a guide for 5€ per person. It is a small garden but the flora, especially the trees are very stunning.
The garden is famous for having more than 100 varieties of orchids endemic to the island.
If you are just eager to see the different flowers and trees, but don’t really care about the explanation, ask to walk without a guide.
6. Visit São Tomé the city
The city is pretty small and can be walked. The buildings haven’t been taken care of, so don’t expect a pretty city… more like the opposite. We visited the Cathedral and independence square.
All government buildings in Sao Tome are pink, making them easier to spot.
After that we decided that it was a rather depressing and dirty city – so we went to a high point to enjoy the views while having a beer.
The national museum, San Sebastian Fort, is in a deplorable state, the inside of the building was dirty and in poor repair. We visited the different rooms and didn’t like it very much.
My favourite part of the day during our São Tomé central day trip was the hour long visit in the Monte Café plantation and the waterfall of Sao Nicolau.
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