Príncipe Island, considered by many as one of the last hidden gems, is situated off the coast of West Central Africa and forms part of the twin island state of São Tomé and Príncipe – Africa’s second smallest country. It is a fascinating island. At 142 km² with only around 7000 inhabitants and a melting pot of influences from diverse countries it has a unique and authentic character in language, culture, gastronomy and traditions.
At 31 million years old Príncipe is the oldest volcanic island in the Gulf of Guinea. Tropical rainforest covers the basaltic peaks and slopes of the island, cascading down to spectacular deserted beaches. Because of the high number of endemic plant and animal species – species that exist nowhere else in the world – the islands are also known as "Africa’s Galapagos".
In 1471 Portuguese explorers discovered this uninhabited island. It became a ‘trading hub’ between mainland Africa and the Americas. Sugar cane and coffee were introduced and in the 19th century large cacao plantations were established. The plantations were grouped into larger estates - the so-called ‘roças’. The larger roças had their own hospitals, churches, schools and carpentry shops. In the beginning of the 20th century São Tomé was the world’s largest cacao exporter. After independence in 1975 many of the roças stopped operating and were reclaimed by the jungle. Nowadays the islands are producing cacao at lower quantities but of extremely high quality.
In 2012 Príncipe and its surrounding islets were proclaimed a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. As the closest tropical paradise to Europe, this safe and unspoilt island with its small, charming population and unique culture, has rich history and breathtakingly beautiful surroundings to share with the discerning traveller.
Belo Monte was founded in 1922 as a small roça but stopped functioning after independence. In 2011 a small village was built close the iconic Belo Monte gate for the people living in the old buildings and many of them started to work for the hotel. The buildings were renovated and furnished in authentic classical Portuguese style and in 2014 Belo Monte Hotel opened its doors. It is situated on one of the most beautiful spots of Príncipe on a hill surrounded by rainforest, overlooking the flame trees and jungle canopy to the ocean. It is only a walk away from a few of the most idyllic beaches in the world including the gorgeous Banana Beach, aptly named for its shape, which formed the backdrop for the world famous 1991 Bacardi Rum commercial.
Well-known for its authentic hospitality this elegant heritage hotel has the rare and precious sense of unhurried time that defines Príncipe. The hotel has twenty rooms in different buildings, a bar and restaurant with terraces under the almond trees with beautiful views over the ocean and bar and restaurant services at Praia Banana and the swimming pool.
Belo Montes museum is the perfect starting point to the numerous excursions that the hotel offers to explore the unique nature and culture of Príncipe.
The friendly and professional service, heart-warming hospitality and passionate conservation approach will ensure an unforgettable and life enriching experience in one of the most unique places in the world.
We hope to welcome you soon.