Work and Travel in Sao Tome and Principe

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Travel in Sao Tome and Principe is a rare venture for most. It’s a small island nation off the coast of Central Africa. Often forgotten and difficult to get to, this is one of the more difficult places to visit. If you want to challenge yourself and do something different, think about taking up some of the volunteering opportunities in Sao Tome and Principe.

But if you don’t know where to start you’re in the right place.

This travel guide to Sao Tome and Principe will introduce you to everything you need to know about this country.

1. Work in Cocoa Production in Sao Tome and Principe

Anyone who decides to work and travel in Sao Tome and Principe will soon see that it’s a relatively poor country. One of its main exports is cocoa production. Cocoa production has been the mainstay of the economy for decades and local farmers always need help from volunteers.

You’ll be able to work on these farms and support local growers as they support their families. There’s no better way to get to know the local culture and to see parts of the country that few foreigners ever visit.

There are no requirements for qualifications. Just have a strong work ethic and a positive attitude.

2. Install New Technology on Farms in Sao Tome and Principe

Another type of work in Sao Tome and Principe is to help charities deliver new technology to growers across the nation. You’ll work closely with charities and local communities in providing brand new pieces of technology and installing sustainable farming methods.

As well as knowing that you’re making a lasting difference in the country, you’re also learning about new types of farming methods. And if you love working with new technology you’ll have a fantastic time in the process.

3. Promote Health Awareness in Sao Tome and Principe

Like many poorer African countries, there’s a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS here. Efforts are being made by international charities to promote health awareness and to stop the continuing spread of the disease. These campaigns are in their early stages and often suffer from a lack of funding.

Volunteers are badly needed to work in Sao Tome and Principe. If you want to contribute to this country’s future, travel in Sao Tome and Principe and help raise awareness.

If you happen to be studying for a medical qualification, you’ll find even more opportunities to help.


Travel in Sao Tome and Principe is easy if you’re a conventional tourist. But the conventional visa system isn’t equipped for foreigners who want to stay for a longer period of time. Citizens of the European Union (EU), the UK, the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Russia, and New Zealand are able to enter the country without a visa for a total of 15 days.

Chinese citizens can get this same visa when they arrive in the country. All other countries can use the e-visa system to obtain a visa. Most applicants can get a decision on their application within seven days.

However, for anyone taking up volunteering opportunities in Sao Tome and Principe they will have to go through the formal visa procedure to obtain a permit to stay longer. This is bureaucratic and you’ll typically require visa support from a recognized organization to get it. For more info about the visa application process, click here.



The start of the spring season coincides with the tail end of the main rainy season. But most of spring is taken up by the dry season. This is the best time for most construction and farming projects. It’s when people are most in need and volunteers are welcome.

We recommend focusing on farming projects and anything to do with construction. You’ll find lots of work across the country if you want to work and travel in Sao Tome and Principe.


The summer season is merely the continuation of the spring dry season. You should look back at the previous section for more information on some of the options available to you at this time of year.

The only real seasonal skill you may want to look into is health awareness. There are big campaigns launched in summer to coincide with the desire for many Westerners to volunteer at this time of year.

However, make sure you apply to major international organisations a few months in advance so you don’t find yourself disappointed.


The autumn season is the beginning of the short wet season. It can be difficult to volunteer in the more remote parts of the country at this time of year. Accessing the smaller villages is often only possible by dirt roads that commonly get washed out during the rain showers.

One option for work and travel in Sao Tome and Principe in autumn is conservation. This country is famous for the different types of birds that inhabit the island. Conservation organisations are dedicated to protecting these bird populations from the continuing development of both the agricultural and petroleum industries.

If you want to get up close and personal with the colourful birds of the region, this is the way to do it.


The winter, following a short shoulder season, is the main rainy season. We wouldn’t recommend work in Sao Tome and Principe in winter.


Sao Tome and Principe is not a country used to receiving foreigners let alone tourists. It’s so off the beaten track that there’s practically no tourism industry. So expect to get a lot of attention during your time here. It’s not malicious and you shouldn’t expect to run into any problems.

Most locals are grateful for the help that the international community provides them. Despite the difficult conditions here, it’s a relatively simple affair to work and volunteer here, once you obtain your visa.

So if you want to work and travel in a place few others do, this is the place to be this year!

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