São Tomé and Príncipe

The Obo national park (http://www.ecofac.org/Eco...) is a national reserve in the south-west part of the country. Local guides offer trips with bird-watching, observation of marine turtle nesting and ascension of Monte Pico.

Fort São Sebastião. The fort was built in 1575 and is now the São Tomé National Museum. The US Government donated money and services to refurbish the fort back in 2006, and now for a small fee anyone can be escorted around the Fort by a trained guide. The Fort has a working lighthouse and consecrated chapel, and is absolutely beautiful at night. The Fort is flanked by statues of three famous Portuguese explorers that nobody seems to remember.

Boca do Inferno Blowhole. A blowhole is a cavity formed in the ground at the inland end of a sea cave. When waves enter the mouth of the cave they will be funneled up towards the blowhole, which can become quite spectacular if the geometry and state of the weather is appropriate. The Boca do Inferno Mouth of Hell blowhole is spectacular at any time of the day but especially dramatic at high tide and during a full moon. Go with a good camera for dramatic shots. Just go past the VOA and coffee plantation, and take a left at the second basket stall.

Cascada Sao Nicolau. Drive up to Trindad and pass Café Monte. Bear left and keep going until the road washes out. In the middle of the jungle is a 100 foot high spring-fed waterfall named after Saint Nicolas. Absolutely beautiful and romantic. Pay no attention to the young couples lingering…

Roças. Café Monte in Trindad and Sao Joao dos Angolares are two well known and easily accessible roças. Café Monte has a new coffee museum set to open, and since it is in the mountains is cool and inviting. Sao Joao dos Angolares is run by a local art shop owner; the food served in the excellent restaurant is grown on the premises. Art and knicknacks are available for sale.

City market. Ah, to experience public life in Sao Tome. See, hear and…smell quotidian life. Just look for the yellow taxis in front of the recently-built City Market to experience the average Saotomense shopping experience. The taxi cabs are a experience in themselves, and are so numerous they have been photographed from space.

National Cathedral. Sao Tome has lots of churches, all of which are worth visiting. However, the National Cathedral adjacent to the Presidential Palace is the largest in the country and is beautiful and peaceful inside. It also has a sign as you enter: “You don’t need a cell phone to talk to God here. Please turn it off.”