African secret: Principe Island

Principe Island is a tropical paradise in the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. Located off the west coast of Africa, it is the northern major island of the country of São Tomé and Príncipe. Príncipe is covered in ancient rainforest, cocoa and coffee plantations, rivers and waterfalls.


Portuguese discovered this volcanic island around 1470. It was named “Príncipe” in honor of Afonso, Prince of Portugal. Príncipe’s economy has been based on plantation agriculture since the 1800s and above all, cocoa production represents 80 percent of the exports. The country has four official languages, the most prevalent of which is Portuguese. The main town is Santo António, a little village surrounded by mountains, water and above all with colonial architecture and artisanal markets.

In addition Príncipe has rainforest wildlife with Mona monkeys, exotic birds and African grey parrots. The island’s sand beaches, like Praia Banana or Praia Grande, have crystal-clear water. This area also has an incredible array of sea life, including surgeonfish, parrotfish, sea stars, corals, octopus, morays and sea turtles. Therefore travellers can discover this underwater world, by snorkelling and scuba diving. Some examples are volcanic rock and coral reefs like Pedra de Adalio, Pedra de Galle and Maria Coreo.

To preserve and increase awareness about the incredible nature of Principe Island, a non-profit organisation named Fundação Príncipe was created with the collaboration of Bom Bom Island Resort. They engage the local and international communities to conserve the biodiversity and to create social and economical opportunities.


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