What To Do In São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe (often called just "São Tomé" for short) is a small island nation off the Atlantic coast of Central Africa, located in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of Gabon. Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands' sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century -- all grown with plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. Although independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s, and the first free elections were held in 1991.
Safety is not an issue in São Tomé and Príncipe, though the roadway traffic is hazardous as in other parts of Africa. Violent crime in public is almost unheard of. However, with an increase in tourism, there has been an increase in crime against tourists. Road blocks near Santana have been reported, as well as scams targetting tourists in the main city.
Malaria is extremely common and sometimes lethal, making malaria prophylaxis, bed netting, and mosquito repellent essential for the traveler. Water must be boiled before drinking, or purchased and consumed from bottles.