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Your trip

When is the best time to plan your visit to  São Tomé and Príncipe?

The best time to visit São Tomé and Príncipe is from June to September, during the dry season. From October to May, São Tomé and Príncipe experiences its rainy season, peaking between March and May. Both seasons can be a great time to visit, it all depends on your interests and preferences.

Do I need insurance for my trip to  São Tomé and Príncipe?

Everyone must take out travel and health insurance before leaving for São Tomé and Príncipe. Whether São Tomé and Príncipe is covered by your policy differs per insurance policy. In most cases this will not be a problem. At CultureRoad we recommend: IATI Travel Insurance, a reliable company that has different insurance options that fits your personal needs. Book now to get a 5% discount!

Do I need a visa for São Tomé and Príncipe?

Yes, you do need a visa to visit São Tomé and Príncipe.

What is the time zone in São Tomé and Príncipe?

São Tomé and Príncipe uses the time zone UTC +0.
São Tomé and Príncipe has no difference between summer and winter time.

How can I pay and how much will I spend in São Tomé and Príncipe?

Santomean pay with the São Tomé and Príncipe dobra. ATMs are not always available or reliable and we therefore recommend that you bring enough Euros or USD for the trip. You can exchange money with the guide at a similar rate that you see at the bank. For the most recent exchange rate, visit www.xchange.com.
Of course it mainly depends on yourself how much you actually spend, but as a guideline we advise about € 50 per day, with which you should be able to save. However, if you would like to buy souvenirs, it is best to bring some extra. Soda is generally around € 1. For a meal you pay between € 5 and € 15.
Tipping local guides is always encouraged. They don’t earn much in this part of the world and it often makes a big difference to them. Of course this is according to your own preference.

Do I have to arrange my international flight to São Tomé and Príncipe myself?

We are always available to advise you when booking a flight. However, most customers prefer to book the flight themselves. Often this is cheaper in terms of price and you can pick your own preferences. For flight options to Gabon you can take a look here.

Practical information

What is the voltage and which plug should I use in São Tomé and Príncipe?

The complete electricity supply in São Tomé and Príncipe is 220 Volt / 50 Hz. Power plugs and sockets of type C and type F are used. However, you may occasionally need adapter plugs, so we recommend to bring a universal plug. There is also regular power outages, so make sure to charge everything as soon as there is power in your hotel.

Is there internet access and can I make calls in São Tomé and Príncipe?

Internet is available at most accommodations (if it works). However, don’t expect a fast and stable connection. There is mobile coverage around the towns and cities that we visit. You can choose to buy a local SIM card. If you wish, the guide will be happy to assist.

Local culture

What are the local customs in São Tomé and Príncipe?

São Tomé and Príncipe is generally an open and accessible country. In terms of customs, there are few differences with Western countries. Most of the people are Catholic in São Tomé and Príncipe.
A few rules to keep in mind:
– Wear simple clothes (t-shirt with pants / skirt).
– Don’t just drink alcohol in public.        
– Many Santomean are not used to seeing tourists, which sometimes gives some suspicious looks but are meant well.

Is it safe in São Tomé and Príncipe?

São Tomé and Príncipe is generally known as a safe country. The areas in São Tomé and Príncipe that we visit are places where we feel comfortable and where we feel are safe to bring people. If the situation changes, we will also respond immediately. We therefore ask for a certain flexibility from our travellers. 
Some measures that we do pass on to our travellers;
– If you want to set off by yourself in the big cities, discuss this with the guide first.
– Don’t show off your most beautiful jewellery and watches, leave them at home.
– We do not discuss the itinerary or the name of the hotel with anyone. While it will of course only be out of curiosity that someone asks, we don’t share this information with others purely as a precaution.

Can I take pictures in São Tomé and Príncipe?

In general, you can take photos freely (including with drones). However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
– Always ask permission before taking a photo of a person.
– Do not take pictures of military personnel, military installations, police officers or government buildings.

Food and drinks in São Tomé and Príncipe

In São Tomése cuisine, staple foods like fish, seafood, beans, maize, and cooked banana form the foundation of meals. Tropical fruits such as pineapple, avocado, and bananas add a delightful freshness. Hot spices are a common feature, and coffee is creatively incorporated into various dishes for added flavor. São Tomé and Príncipe is not an easy country for vegetarians. There are vegetarian options and the guide will certainly help you with it. Alcohol is readily available in São Tomé and Príncipe.

What should I wear in São Tomé and Príncipe?

Since we mainly deal with warm temperatures, we recommend that you bring comfortable clothes. During the rainy season, we advise you to also bring rain gear (or clothes that may get wet). It is also useful to bring good walking shoes , as many roads are unpaved. In most hotels in the big cities you will be able to do laundry if there is time.

Health and hygiene

São Tomé and Príncipe is a developing country with a very turbulent recent history. Healthcare is therefore very limited. Also in terms of hygiene, the standard is much lower than in the Western world. Make sure you have enough disinfection gel, sunscreen and insect repellent.

We advise you always to the last (health) risk programs for the region where you’re going to visit. Check with your own government for the latest info about your destination.

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