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A two-island nation floating off the west coast of Africa, São Tomé and Príncipe is one of those places where nature has begun to reclaim land once lost to human activity. Think dense, steamy rainforest advancing over old plantations, and thick jungle weeds coiling round the walls of crumbling Portuguese architecture. You can find hidden sights like these on both islands. São Tomé, the biggest and most developed, is home to Obo National Park. Amidst the lush forest, rare orchids and fabulous waterfalls found here is a precipitous, fang-like rock, known as Pico Cão Grande – thought to have been climbed only twice in its 31 million-year lifespan. Meanwhile, on the island’s southside, great gushes of water shoot up through a large blowhole, creating a spectacular show. Hire a local guide to help you navigate the park, and show you more of its hidden treasures. Roughly 100 km away lies Príncipe. Boasting pristine beaches, exquisite coral reefs and more wild jungle, this island is even more forgotten. Take a boat trip from São Tomé to experience this lost world. Accommodation on both islands is aplenty, though thankfully – and sensibly – limited to the coastal roads and does not overlap with national parks. Expect a range of hotels, guesthouses and eco-lodges.
The 12 best places to stay in São Tomé and Príncipe: Top hotels, B&Bs, inns, and vacation rentals — Based on real reviews from real guests