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.
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. In the beginning of the 20th century São Tomé was the world’s largest cacao exporter. The plantations were grouped into larger estates - the so-called ‘roças’. The larger roças had their own hospitals, churches, schools and carpentry shops.
After independence in 1975 many of the roças stopped operating. Nowadays the islands are producing cacao at lower quantities but of extremely high quality.
At 31 million years old Príncipe is the oldest volcanic island in the Gulf of Guinea. Tropical rainforests covers the basaltic peaks and slopes of the island, cascading down to some of the most idyllic beaches in the world. 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 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 coffee and cacao plantation, but is now an elegant heritage hotel, renovated and furnished in authentic classical Portuguese style. Many of the people that used to live in Belo Monte are now working in and around the hotel.
Standing guard over five beautiful beaches, including the gorgeous Banana Beach, aptly named for its shape, which formed the backdrop for the world famous 1991 Bacardi Rum commercial. Belo Monte provides a unique gateway to this undiscovered island destination.
With its authentic service and style, classical architecture and elegant designs Belo Monte provides a perfect starting point to numerous excursions and expeditions to explore the unique nature and culture of Príncipe.
Our friendly and professional service, true heart-warming hospitality and a practical yet passionate conservation approach will ensure an unforgettable and life enriching experience in one of the most unique places in the world.
Your journey starts here.