Beautiful: 7 Saotomean Beaches — How to Make Your Choice

 

Praia das Conchas - São Tomé e Príncipe

Praia das Conchas. Photo by José Augusto

As a country of tropical islands, Sao Tome e Principe is pretty much surrounded by beaches. On the island of Sao Tome, your basic decision is this – to either head North, or South?

Once you go in one direction, it’s hard to get back to the other side. There’s one single road and you’ll end up backtracking because there’s no way to around the island by car.

Capital

If you’re really lazy, then within the capital there’s the Praia Lagarto which is not bad, but you’re much better off driving a bit outside of the city.

North Coast

If you decide North, then you’ll need your own transport of a taxi. Or you can take a long half-a-day walk. Or rent a bicycle from the capital. It’s not always easy to find a beach because the coast if forested and you have to take small roads turning right towards the sea.

Praia Tamarinos - Sao Tome e Principe

Praia Tamarinos. Photo by Karbone

One – the first beaches you’ll encounter are the sandy palm-fringed Praia Micolo, Praia dos Governadores, and  Praia da Juventude huddled together 15kms out of the capital – right next to the Micolo fishing village. Up the road about a kilometer further is Praia dos Tamarinos with lots of sand and playing kids.

praia conchas5

Praia das Conchas. Photo by Saotomean Consulate in Marseille

Two – next up is Praia das Conchas 20km or some 30 minutes driving. This is a snorkeling beach, and magnet for expatriates living in Sao Tome e Principe. Here lava tidepools harbor sea creatures, there’s rocky formations under the water, and the water itself is colored like in Lagoa Azul – but there’s also sand, so you might as well stay here. The beach is a small inlet along the northwest coast, maybe one kilometer long in total. The water is clear and calm.

Lagoa Azul

Lagoa Azul. Photo by Isaac Alfonso

Three – the most famous beach by far is Lagoa Azul with magical ambiance and pure, incredibly blue water. There’s no sand here, it’s all lava rock. For nature lovers, this is a great place for birding, with a number of first sights made right here. If you want to see what’s under that magnificent blue water, Club Maxel offers diving expeditions. Also note, that a resort is being built here and there’s talk of making the beach private so be sure to enjoy it before they do.

South Road

If you decide South, you’ll certainly need a rental car or a taxi – there’s no way you’re going to walk to any of these beaches.

 

praia piscina

Praia Piscina. Photo by Saotomean Consulate in Marseille

One – Praia Piscina (90km) close to Roca Porto Alegre plantation and Jalé Ecologe Resort. Just around the corner from Praia Piscina is a lava cave that opens horizontally to the sea. Lava almost closes off the beach from the sea, but for a small part at far end. With high tide waves start pouring over the lava, and the unprotected beach. In the lava pool water is placid, safe from the violent waves battering the other side of the barrier. However when rough seas surge into the cave, mist is forcefully ejected straight out from the small air space above the water line.

Jalé Ecolodge

Jalé Ecolodge. Photo by António Sousa

Two – one of the last beaches is Praia Jalé (95km) with pools and an ecolodge. Ecologe is a number of small huts without electricity. In front of the Jalé Ecolodge Resort. Good place to watch sea turtles.

Threethe last Beach – Praia Xixi. The beach at the end of the road is Praia Xixi (100km). There’s a site by Clara with some tips. This is probably the most exclusive beach on the island, and very few people get here.

More Beaches

So that’s our seven favorite beaches – one in the capital, three in the North, three in the South. If you’re more adventurous, there are many unnamed beaches where the coast is not that easily accessible – and even though there’s a beach – you’ll need machete to get there.

While this time we wrote about the island of Sao Tome, if you’re going to Principe, you’ll also encounter are a number of very beautiful beaches – one of which was even used for a Bacardi ad – these we will cover in the future.

Have you been to any beach on Sao Tome e Principe. Or are You planning to? When you do, let us know it the comments.

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  • sergiorebelo

    Great List!
    When in São Tomé, I go often to Praia Lagarto as it is close to the capital (you can even go there walking) and I like very much the calm sea. My favourite beach until last year was Lagoa Azul on the North as it is so beautiful, but last December I discovered the south through Praia Piscina and I felt immediately in love. I still need to discover Praia Jalé and Praia Xixi though.

  • Thanks. Have you been to Principe? Banana beach is spectacular!

  • sergiorebelo

    Hi Kris, never had the opportunity to go to Principe. I hope it will be possible on my next visit.

  • Luís

    My top 3 beaches at STP:
    1) Praia Café – Ilhéu das Rolas
    2) Praia Boi – Príncipe
    3) Praia Jalé – São Tomé
    By the way, lovely blog. 😀
    Luís

  • Thanks. Seems we've left out Ilhéu das Rolas entirely – perhaps we'll do a feature 😉

  • Bastien

    Kris,
    To access Praia Xixi, you actually need to take another road on the right after you pass Vila Malanza, then through Alto Douro and Santa Josefina. The beach after Praia Jalé on the same road is called praia Vanha. It's also a nice beach with an amazing view on the island's west coast, and fresh water cascades right on the beach (nice to refresh after bathing in salt water). The beach is quite secluded and very few people go there, for one good reason… the area is plagued with Fire Ants (formiga aliança), so don't leave your towel hanging on trees and bring long sleeves!!!

    Other than that, I highly recomend people who go to Principe to try Praia Iola, downhill from Jean Claude's pousada at Ponta do Sol. There's also a fantastic beach further south on the same coast, with a breathtaking viea on teh Baia das Agulhas. It takes a 45 minutes walk to get there, but it's really worth the trip! And don't forget to visit the ruins of the oldest church on the island, located on Praia Ribeira Izé, next beach West of Bom Bom.
    There are plenty of tiny beaches much nicer than Banana or Boi on Principe, but those I won't tell…

    Awesome blog, by the way!

    Cheers,
    Bastien

  • Bastien, that's a very useful comment. I will update the article with your suggestions.