Principe & São Tomé

Nestled in equatorial waters in the shadow of West Africa is a tiny island nation that is home to monolithic rock formations, nesting turtles and rambling cocoa plantations. If there was a Galapagos in the Atlantic Ocean, this would be it. Take the opportunity to go back in time and learn to make artisanal chocolate in atmospheric plantations amidst the remnants of crumbling Portuguese colonial rule. The surrounding waters offer steep drop-offs where diving with benign nurse sharks and all manner of marine life is best in show. There is no compromise on luxury as boutique lodges offer world class design, organic dining and private plunges pools on remote coves. The islands are easily combined with a trip to former colonialist Portugal, which provides for an excellent compare and contrast travel experience.