Principe Island, Sao Tome and Principe Cruise Port
Near Africa's west coast in the Gulf of Guinea is the island cruise port of Principe, belonging to the Portuguese-speaking nation and dual islands of São Tomé and Príncipe. Principe Island or Ilha do Principe ("Prince's Island") is the more northern and smaller of the two islands, named as such for Afonso, the Prince of Portugal, in 1502. Most of the island is made up of a heavily eroded volcano and surrounded by smaller islands. It was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese and quickly developed into sugar, coffee, and cocoa plantations. Chocoholics, here's a bit of trivia: Principe was once the world's greatest cocoa producer (although most of the plantations are now forest). The island has one main town, Santo António, and several smaller villages, making up the population of around 5,000 residents. Here are some of our favorite experiences while cruising to Principe Island, São Tomé and Príncipe:
Banana Beach or Praia Banana is Principe's most famous beach, known for its clean, white sands and clear waters. The name comes from the curved shape of the beach around the bay, and is an excellent place for snorkeling as well as swimming. It's also more secluded, perfect for those who want a bit of quiet.
While most of Obo National Park is on São Tomé, you'll find the rest of it on Principe. Containing the mountain called Pico de Príncipe and a thick area of rainforest, it's known for its diverse plant and bird life.
Principe is famous among the scientific community. In 1919, English astronomer and physicist Arthur Stanley Eddington came here to test Einstein's Theory of Relativity. A plaque marks the spot where a solar eclipse helped prove the theory.
If you want to experience what some consider the world’s best chocolate, take a tour of Claudio Corallo. Claudio himself describes in great detail what makes his product superior to others; he not only manufactures the chocolate, but grows the pods himself on his Principe plantation called Terreiro Velho (where they also produce coffee and pepper).