Around Cascadas da Sao Nicolau there are plenty of cacao farms. My favourite was - apparently not running any more - the one after the waterfall of Cascadas da Sao Nicolau (see another Must see).
Just keep on the road after the waterfall. The path start to climb up a bit, and the landscape change less dense. After some hundreds meters of walking, you will see abandoned (in my point of view), but inhabitated plantation main building.
When we were at the waterfall of Cascadas da Sao Nicolau at July, it was quite narrow stream, but it is said to be quite powerful.
For me, much more interesting was the path leading to semijungle and cocoa farm after the waterfall. See another Off the track: cacao farms.
You can reach the waterfall adter some 1 km forward jungle road starting from the top of the hill of Cascadas da Sao Nicolau.
The most decent beaches lie in the north, where the sun is partially showing herself. On the south is reported good ones, but during our 2-week trip at July, the southern part was cloudy whole time.
The amount of easily accessible beach coast is only some kilometers together, so the Sao Tome is not designed for hordes of suntanners. The is only one moderate snorkling area: Praia das Conchas.
The longest strip of sandy beach - some kilometers - is Praia da Micolo (image 1). Practically only ways to reach it are walking, own vehicle or taxi. It is some 10 kilometers from capital.
To the west of Praia da Micolo there is some 2-3 km basically proper beach coastal line, but it is very difficult to access without machete or from the sea.
Further on west, after this nearly unhabitat area, comes maybe 1 km long Praia das Conchas (image 2), which I personally liked most. Unlike Micolo, Conchas has some rocky formations underneath the sea, which means some corals, shells and fishes to snorkle - the only decent snorkling area I found from the whole Sao Tome island.
You have to walk to Conchas from the northern main road less than 1 km. I recommend jeep for daily visiting, because Conchas is some 30 min driving from the capital.
In the northwest edge of the island is Lagoa Azul (image 3). The overall of the area is nice, but the beach itself has a one major disadvantage: the sand of the beach is under the large stones, which are very bumpy for professional suntanning. Anyway, the cape is good place for half-day trip. There is fresh breeze from sea, views from the cape hill are pleasant and there are fishermen and harpoonists catching seafood - without any restaurant, though.
Lagoa Azul is reached same route than Conchas; only some 300 meters after. The road / path from the main road is very, very steep and bumpy. Consider letting your vehicle to the main road walking to the actual Lagoa Azul *or* at least check in advance that you have 4WD *and* the driving route back to the main route.
Plantation, maybe sao nicolao? When you are on that waterfall, walk on ahead about 400 meters and this lovely plantation will appear suddenly without warning. Just a beauty!
There still live peoples even it looks abonned, so behave yourself.
Minor jungle and savannah adventure
On the north very end the beaches you have decent playground to practise your skills to drive a jeep in off-road, savannah and jungle. From the area from Praia da Micolo (village and beach) to village of Guadalupe there is a huge local path system not mentioned or described in any map. You can drive from decent pathway to entire savannah with some aanimals.
Just take compass or rely on your sense of direction. It is quite easy because the sea is on the north.
The only drawback is that there is no lion, giraffe or antilope at Sao Tome. So justt take take area as a practise for Kenya or Virgin Falls in Africa.
Waterfall is on the way to Sao Nicolao plantation. Cant miss it.
We were there on july, so there wasnt so much water. At winter it should be much more beutiful, i have been told.