African secret: Principe Island

A tropical paradise in the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean, Principe Island is the northern major island of the country of São Tomé and Príncipe, off the west coast of Africa. Príncipe is covered in ancient rainforest, cocoa and coffee plantations, rivers and waterfalls.

Discovered by the Portuguese around 1470, this volcanic island was named “Príncipe” in honor of Afonso, Prince of Portugal. Príncipe’s economy has been based on plantation agriculture since the 1800s and cocoa production represents 80 percent of the exports. The country has four official languages, the most prevalent of which is Portuguese. The main town is Santo António, is a little village surrounded by mountains and water, with colonial architecture and artisanal markets.

Rainforest wildlife includes Mona monkeys, exotic birds and African grey parrots; the island’s sand beaches, like Praia Banana or Praia Grande, have crystal-clear water with an incredible array of sea life, including surgeonfish, parrotfish, sea stars, corals, octopus, morays and sea turtles. Visitors can discover this underwater world, by snorkeling and scuba diving the volcanic rock and coral reefs (Pedra de Adalio, Pedra de Galle and Maria Coreo).

Info: http://www.saotomeislands.com/http://www.bombomprincipe.com

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