The smaller island by far, Principe is nevertheless beautifully formed. The rainforest is denser than São Tomé, the beaches more isolated, everything more virgin and purer still, the island magic even stronger – as is the degree of isolation from the world. About a century ago (in 1919) a British astronomer, Sir Arthur Eddington, proved Einstein’s Theory of Relativity during an eclipse observed from the island’s biggest plantation (or roça). Today, Roça Sundy’s main house has been restored to its former beauty and can be part of a longer stay on Príncipe, in combination with Sundy Praia, a world class boutique resort by the coast. Conservation is key to the success of the island’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with its own half-dozen endemic birds: eco-investors are renovating crumbling plantation houses and the people of Príncipe, mainly descendants of Cape Verde contract workers, have a real pride in their simple homes and villages. The island’s capital, Santo António, is in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s smallest capital, and the delights of the natural world are never far away.
Highlights of São Tomé & Príncipe