"2011-SaoTome-35" by Helena Van Eykeren via Flickr Creative Commons

Adventure-seekers, but particularly those who are interested in water sports, will love the outdoor things to do in São Tomé. Travelers would be remiss not to take advantage of the fact that the country is completely surrounded by water. Whether lazing on stunning beaches, delving into the deep blue, or simply embarking on a fishing excursion, São Tomé’s beautiful coast has much to offer.

There are also activities which require a minimal amount of perspiration and often call on travelers to tap into their indulgent side. If exploring the outdoors seems like too much trouble, travelers can always visit the many plantations and factories in the country. The most appealing part of such visits is often the tasting sessions that take place at the end of most tours. Whether sampling coffee, sugar, or chocolate, tasting the country’s exports is a fun way to spend a day.

Some of the most popular excursions in São Tomé are, unsurprisingly, diving and snorkeling trips. The west coast of Africa is home to some of the clearest waters in the region, making for a perfect environment in which to explore the depths of the ocean. Travelers have the chance to come up close to dolphins, swim among majestic sea creatures, and marvel at stunning coral. There are many tour operators offering comprehensive trips catering for all abilities and needs. One such company is Club Maxal, which also has professional instructors on hand to help out first-timers.

If snorkeling doesn’t tickle your fancy, why not engage in something a bit more adrenaline-pumping, like deep-sea fishing? The best place is Bom Bom Island, just off the coast of Príncipe Island. Travelers could get the opportunity to catch their own sea bounty at a foot long. The well-known Bom Bom Island Resort arranges great deep-sea fishing trips in São Tomé.

June to October marks the start of whale mating season, which makes for great whale watching opportunities. The local humpback whales are often most prolific around São Tomé Island as well as the popular Bom Bom Island. During this period, the whales swim close to the surface, often releasing spray from their blowholes and raising their fins to the sky. Bom Bom Island Resort is the go-to agent for organizing such magical excursions.

For travelers who have had enough of the water, there are always the country’s gorgeous forests and national parks to keep them occupied. Obo National Park, located in central São Tomé Island, is a great place for hiking and trekking. Here, travelers can climb to the top of Pico de São Tomé, do some bird watching, and smell the flowers – literally, as there are over 100 different orchid species to be found in the park. Hiking trips can be arranged through Obo National Park itself.

Perhaps one of the most decadent outings on offer in the country is the chance to tour a chocolate factory. All of those Charlie and the Chocolate Factory dreams can become a reality at Claudio Corallo Chocolate. Tours are given on request only by either the owner or one of his family members. Travelers have the chance to see how this product is made, from start to finish. And don’t worry; chocolate samples are given out abundantly throughout the tour.

Click here for Attractions in São Tomé e Príncipe