Surfing in São Tomé e Principe
São Tomé and Principe is an archipelago consisting of 3 islands located 270km away from the western coast of Africa. The largest one is São Tome followed by Principe and finally the small islet of Rolas. The country is known as “chocolate islands” due to their large cocoa plantations dating the colonial time. São Tomé and Principe offer a unique mix of tropical vibes and native culture. The islands have a huge potential for unexplored surf spots and are rarely visited by any traveling surfer. The best surf spots are found in the east coast of the main island of Sao Tome. Radiation Point is definitely the best surf spot in the country, with long peeling right-handers that will surely conquer your heart. The lack of infrastructure on the west coast of Sao Tome makes it hard to explore that side of the island. That leaves space for hidden gems to be found. The best time to surf in the islands is during the dry season, from April to October and the most consistent months are from June until September. The water is warm all year round and perfect to surf just wearing board shorts. The surf potential of São Tomé and Principe is undeniable. The upcoming tourism of this island nation is nurtured in an eco friendly way that values the local people and the exotic natural attractions. With uncrowded point breaks and amazing wildlife, it's just a matter of time until this archipelago becomes one of Africa’s best surf destinations.
Climate in São Tome and Principe
The climate in the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is tropical with hot and humid weather throughout the year. Maximum temperatures are around 30 °C (86 °F) from January to April and slightly cooler from June to August. The best time to surf in São Tomé and Príncipe is during the dry season, from April to October and the most consistent months are from June until September. The water is warm all year round so don’t worry about bringing your wetsuit.
Best surf spots in São Tome and Principe
Most of the surf spots in the archipelago are located along the east coast. The west coast also has potential but doesn’t offer very easy access. Here are the best surf spots in the archipelago: Point Zero Lefts, Praia de Algés (Radiation Point), Lavadouro, Ecolodge, Dona Augusta, Porto Alegre, Batismo (Praia das Pombas), Dique (Santana Village), Beach Club, Água Izé, Lo Grande, Praia Pombo, Praia São Tomé, Baía Coqueiro e Praia Pestana.
Meal price range
Simple meals start at $6 USD. Mid-range meals start at $20 USD. Dining & drinking at high-end restaurants can cost anywhere from $50-80 USD
There is one place where you can rent, but it’s probably best if you bring your own gear.
Prepaid SIM cards
CST is a good choice. SIM cards can be purchased from the providers in Sao Tome city and in Santo Antonio (on Principe). Registration is mandatory and it can take up to 3 hours for the SIM to activate after registration.
Prepaid packages start at $5 USD.
There’s not a whole lot of public transport on these islands.
Most of the locals use shared yellow taxis or motorcycle taxis.
It’s a short flight between the islands in a two-propeller plane and flights run most days. There is no real regular, reliable boat service between the two islands. Travellers are advised not to use the intermittent ferry service between the islands. The six-hour, open-ocean voyage is both uncomfortable and dangerous.
Renting a car is possible on Sao Tome. Rentals start at around $35 USD a day.
$0.97 USD a liter.
Types of risks
Not many hazards on these laid-back islands.
How to prepare
Citizens from 55 countries, including EU, US, and UK, can enter Sao Tome and Principe without a visa for up to 15 days. Most other tourist will need to apply for an eVisa before they travel.
Although it's not mandatory, it’s recommended that you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A & B, yellow fever, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, Tdap, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza, measles, mumps and rubella. You may be asked to show proof of your yellow fever vaccination if you come from a country with a risk of yellow fever.
Things to know
Language & Currency
Portuguese in the official language. You’ll find a few English speakers on the islands.
The currency is Dobra (Db).
Best time to go
April to October.
Checking Surf forecast
Checking the forecast about a week before your trip is always a good idea. Understanding what the waves will be like and knowing what gear to pack is essential. You can check the forecast for the waves here.
Do I need pack a pharmacy kit
You should bring a basic kit. Including ear drops, eye drops, bandaids, ear plugs, gaze, alcohol, mosquito repellent and broad spectrum antibiotic ointment.
World Nomads has great travel insurance packages that are not super expensive and they cover surfing.
Check surf pictures of São Tomé e Principe at #surfsaotome.