Belo Monte is no run of the mill normal hotel. It is a remote laid back peaceful place that only has a few guests to enjoy with you the lush tropical rain forest, the Atlantic Ocean where it meets the equator and one of the world's best beaches.
And yes it is as the Portuguese name; Belo Monte would imply a very beautiful hilltop farm and guest house indeed. Belo Monte located at the end of a small dirt road on the island of Principe, the smaller half of Africa's smallest country. The estate's Portuguese colonial buildings are being rescued from the tropical forest by its wonderful friendly Portuguese owners, Victor and Paula. They bought it about 5 ago and have turned it into a organic farm/eco-tourism center on the on a remote but beautiful island.
The real pearl of this place is the Beach, Praia Banana. This is as close to heaven as you can get on a Banana shaped beach which is right at the boarder of the farm. It is a perfect beach of palms, rocks, pure white sand and vodka-clear water, with thick tropical Jungle running down the hillside to the beach. On most days the beach is your to yourself Principe 's isolation is as good a reason to go as any for a VTer like me can you find it on the Map?? Almost nobody I ask has a clue.
This wonderful place is right on the Equator you can even see the photo the proves it and it is a little paradise. Pestana Equador, on the Ilheu das Rolas, which is about 65 km from Soa Tome City at the very southern tip of Sao Tome. It is another sort of gated camp for the European crowd who want to go to Africa but well not really. It is so so beautiful thought with diving, snorkling, swimming and water so clear it will make you cry.
For about $30 a night you can stay in a lovely eco-lodge run by the local eco-club with the support of the ONG Marapa Organisation to encourage responsible ecological and social management it is about 90 Km from São Tomé city on the southern tip of the Island it has 3 bungalows with twin beds but it is very cute and well run. There is no electricity and common dining facility and bathrooms with cold and cold running rainwater.
Jale Ecolodge is a great spot to explore the Rocos plantations that were abandoned in the 1970s by the 4,000 or so Portuguese. The place is on a beautiful beach in a supper lush tropical equatorial forest. The staff can help you understand the local endemic species of Sao Tome. Also, the very slow and low keyed life of the small port village of Porto Alegre at the Southern tip of the island of Sao Tome.
The Hotel Miramar managed by a really nice German guy named Manfred Galland. The upgraded hotel is a very real positive addition in São Tomé. It was completely rebuilt in the late 1990s. It has air conditioning , good pool, good restaurant with a Portuguese chief. Cost is about $80 to 100 USA dollars a night and for those who are on a longer stay like diplomats they have a monthly rate. It is downtown São Tomé and on the waterfront.
Very good value, as we found out after a week frustrating search around the town.
They also have a www page and online reservation system, which i used to book.
Double room is 55 USD.
Clean rooms(no cockroaches found!!!!), a/c, big rooms, tv, bar, restaurant, very near city center and almost next door is a shop where to buy drinks, snacks, doods and all the other things you need.
130 USD per night. Highly over priced, but we need to get some rest before long flight to Portugal.
There are armed guard 24 hours a day, so its pretty safe.
Swimming pool, fence around(safe), tax-free shop, restaurant, english spoken, bar, big rooms, patios,...
Even it costed do much, there were still cockroaches and little crawling things. And i really hate cockroaches, yack!
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