Despite being Africa's second smallest nation, São Tomé & Príncipe are home to diverse endemic animal species, overgrown jungles and palm-lined beaches. Accessible only by means of flight via Air Portugal, the tropical islands see very few visitors each year – ideal for a peaceful holiday experience.
So, when is the best time to visit São Tomé & Príncipe?
With two dry seasons and two rainy seasons, you must plan your travels wisely. Beach lovers will enjoy the tropical climate, while nature enthusiasts can spot local flora and fauna no matter the weather. So, our Travel Specialists have detailed exactly when to visit these pint-sized islands and how best to experience them...
Best Time to Visit São Tomé & Príncipe for Beach Lovers
The best time to visit São Tomé & Príncipe for ideal weather is between June to early October and December to early March. With an average of 12.1 hours of sunshine per day, you have the perfect conditions for São Tomé & Príncipe beach holidays.
Be sure to avoid the wettest months of April and November, but also look out for the beaches with warmer waters and better day temperatures. From São Tomé to Príncipe, here are our favourites...
Characterised by its soft golden sands, swaying palm trees and serene atmosphere, Jalé Beach is a secluded paradise. Not only can you relax beside the blue waters, but the beach is also where giant sea turtles lay their eggs. Divided into two seasons, you can watch in awe as the beach guards release the rescued hatchlings into the sea – a true bucket list experience.
Based on the larger island, the small huts feature no electricity so you can fully disconnect from the outside world. As you immerse yourself in your sun-drenched surroundings, you'll have the opportunity to learn about the ecological importance of the area for the turtles' survival chances.
Over on Príncipe island, you'll discover the quiet palm-fringed tropical haven that is Praia Banana. Just a 15-minute walk from the front gate of Roça Belo Monte, the pristine beach gets its name from its peculiar banana-like shape. From snorkelling with shoals of fish underneath the turquoise waters to kayaking across the glistening surface, your time here will be full of incredible activities and experiences alike.
In addition to this, you can simply take a moment to relax after your adventures and bask in the glory of your surroundings. Watch as the African grey parrots swoop overhead and through the trees, listen to the sound of the waves drawing in closer and feel the warmness of the sun-kissed sands down below.
Featuring a relaxed restaurant and bar at the Eco Lodge, serving the finest delicacies sourced from natural ingredients on the island, Praia Inhame is a beach well worth visiting. At the Eco Lodge, you'll discover a spacious turtle hatchery with its very own nest markers while surfing lessons, mountain biking, guided forest hiking, fishing and boat trips are also available.
Not only that, but with the lush tropical rainforest in the surrounding area, there are endless opportunities for exploration which lead to memorable encounters with the endemic species of bird. Expect pleasant temperatures and conditions that are perfect for an active adventure.
Best Time to Visit São Tomé & Príncipe for Nature Enthusiasts
The best time to visit São Tomé & Príncipe for nature experiences depends on what you're looking to encounter. However, you're likely to spot a wide range of flora and fauna – from endemic birds to butterflies, marine life and botany – any time of year.
São Tomé & Príncipe wildlife experiences are available during the warmest months and wettest months. So, here's what our Travel Specialists believe you should have on your radar all throughout...
Magical, mesmerising, marvellous - the various turtle species of São Tomé & Príncipe can be spotted between November and March. Olive Ridley, Green, Hawksbill and Leatherback turtle species arrive to the tropical paradise in November, where they lay their eggs through to February. Then, until the middle/end of March, the baby turtle hatching season takes place.
You can learn more about the fascinating marine turtle diversity and conservation efforts at Praia Grande, Príncipe, on a Wild São Tomé & Principe Tour. Watch as the magnificent animals make their way to the ocean. Or, if you're fortunate enough, you can assist in their efforts to swim in their natural habitat.
São Tomé & Príncipe is also home to endemic birds, from the extraordinary giant sunbird of São Tomé to the melodious Dohrn's warbler of Príncipe. Throughout October to March, bird watchers can spot these native birds in the lush rainforests and other birding sites such as Lagoa Amelia on São Tomé or Bela Vista near Santo Antonio. With an impressive 28 species of bird between the two islands, you'll experience many memorable encounters.
Largely unexplored and unexploited by tourism, the islands offer the perfect grounds for bird watchers to go birding. There's little disturbance due to no noise pollution, allowing the native birds to thrive. Observing their behaviour makes for many special memories.
Stretching from July to September, magnificent humpback whales migrate to the warm tropical waters of São Tomé & Príncipe to mate and calve. As they emerge from the surface, their skin simply glistens in the shining sun before they come crashing back down into the depths of the deep blue ocean. And, if you're lucky enough, you may even spot them from the shores surrounding Bom Bom Island Resort.
Humpback whales typically eat up to a ton of krill, shrimp and fish a day. But when they migrate to tropical waters, they almost exclusively live off fat reserves while breeding. In the colder polar regions, they blow bubbles into giant circles to herd schools of fish and can even use their pectoral fins to gather and steer their prey. Every aspect is fascinating, from their magical songs to their impressive behaviour.
Explore São Tomé & Príncipe
São Tomé & Príncipe are two individually stunning islands with their own qualities. From Santo Antonio to São Tomé city and the biodiverse rainforests, beaches and volcanic areas that make up these landscapes, there's so much beauty to discover. For help with exploring this all for yourself, speak to our Travel Specialists and they'll help craft your entire island experience.