Top shopping malls in Sao Tome & Principe 2023 | Must-visit malls

Sao Tome & Principe, a beautiful island nation off the west coast of Africa, is not only known for its stunning beaches and rich cultural heritage, but also for its emerging shopping scene. As we look ahead to 2023, this article aims to explore the top shopping malls in Sao Tome & Principe, providing insights into the retail landscape and highlighting the must-visit destinations for shopaholics.

Are you planning a trip to Sao Tome & Principe in 2023? If shopping is on your agenda, you’re in for a treat. The island nation is witnessing a rapid growth in its retail industry, with several modern shopping malls popping up across the country. These malls not only offer a wide range of local and international brands but also provide a unique shopping experience infused with the vibrant culture of Sao Tome & Principe.

Sao Tome & Principe’s shopping scene is evolving, and the year 2023 promises to bring forth exciting shopping destinations. So without further ado let get started.

Top shopping malls in Sao Tome & Principe

What is the history of shopping malls in Sao Tome and Principe?

The history of shopping malls in São Tomé and Príncipe is relatively short due to the country’s small size and historical background. The islands were colonized by Portugal in the late 15th century, relying mainly on agriculture and trade. The history includes the sugar industry’s decline in the 17th century, the introduction of coffee and cocoa in the 19th century, and the exploitation of African workers on large plantations.

São Tomé and Príncipe gained independence from Portugal in 1975 after a liberation struggle. The country faced political and economic challenges, including coups, civil unrest, corruption, and environmental issues. In recent years, there have been efforts to diversify the economy and attract tourists, investors, and development partners. Some modern shopping centers, such as Pica Pau in the Agua Grande district of São Tomé, offer various products and services. Specialty shops like Quá Téla and Ossobô EcoSocial also sell unique products and support social projects.

While São Tomé and Príncipe do not have a long history of shopping malls, these modern centers and specialty shops contribute to the country’s retail landscape.

Top shopping malls in Sao Tome & Principe 2023

If you are looking for some shopping opportunities, here are some of the top shopping malls in Sao Tome and Principe in 2023:

1. Mercado Municipal:

The largest market in São Tomé, open daily from 7 am to 6 pm, offers a diverse range of products, including fresh produce, clothing, souvenirs, and handicrafts. Immerse yourself in local culture and enjoy bargaining for the best prices.

2. Pica Pau:

Located in Agua Grande district, this modern shopping center opens every day from 9 am to 10 pm. It houses shops, restaurants, cafes, a cinema, a bowling alley, and a children’s playground. You can find local and international brands, as well as specialty stores offering chocolate, coffee, and wine.

3. Quá Téla:

A boutique in São João dos Angolares district that sells high-quality clothing and accessories made from African fabrics. Open from Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm. You can even order custom-made items or participate in clothing-making workshops.

4. Ossobô EcoSocial:

This social enterprise in the Riboque district supports sustainable development and environmental conservation. They sell organic and fair trade products like honey, cocoa, coffee, spices, and cosmetics, sourced from local farmers and cooperatives. The shop is open from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

How much does it cost to shop at these malls?

Shopping costs in São Tomé and Príncipe vary, and it’s influenced by your preferences and budget. Here’s a glimpse of average prices in 2023:

  1. Inexpensive restaurant meal: Around 17.50 euros.
  2. Mid-range bottle of wine: Approximately 6 euros.
  3. Mid-range Nike running shoes: About 25 euros.
  4. 1 lb of fresh white bread: Around 1.20 euros.
  5. A dozen eggs: Approximately 2.81 euros.
  6. 1.5-liter bottle of water: About 0.77 euros.
  7. Pack of Marlboro cigarettes: Around 2 euros.
  8. Cinema ticket for an international release: About 18 euros.

Keep in mind that prices can fluctuate based on location, product quality, and seasonal factors. Bargains and discounts might be available, especially if you’re skilled at haggling. Unique local products like crafts, chocolate, coffee, cocoa, and spices are also worth considering. Your shopping expenses will depend on your choices, budget, currency, and other travel costs.

Can you recommend a good hotel near the mall?

There are several hotels that are close to the Praia Shopping, which is the first modern shopping mall in the country. Some of the most popular and highly-rated hotels are:

1. Omali São Tomé:

This is a 4-star hotel located by the beach on Sao Tome Island, about 3 km from the Praia Shopping. It offers elegant rooms, free WiFi access, an outdoor pool, a spa, a restaurant, and a bar. It also provides free airport shuttle service and car rental service. The price per night is about 200 euros.

2. Hotel Central:

This is a 3-star hotel located in the city center of Sao Tome, about 1 km from the Praia Shopping. It offers clean and comfortable rooms, free WiFi access, luggage storage space, and a paid airport shuttle service. The price per night is about 50 euros.

3. Gombela Ecolodge and Farming:

This is an eco-friendly lodge located in Agua-Coco, about 5 km from the Praia Shopping. It offers cozy and rustic rooms, free private parking, a garden, a terrace, and a restaurant. It also organizes tours and activities such as hiking, fishing, and farming. The price per night is about 40 euros.

Where to buy local souvenirs and crafts in Sao Tome and Principe?

There are several places where you can buy local souvenirs and crafts in Sao Tome and Principe, depending on what you are looking for. Here are some suggestions:

  1. For artisanal chocolate made from local cocoa beans, visit Claudio Corallo Chocolate factory and Chocolateria Diogo Vaz.
  2. Mama Africa offers African-inspired clothing, furniture, lamps, and more, with options for custom tailoring.
  3. Ossobô EcoSocial Crafts is a shop promoting fair trade and offers products made from natural materials like clothing, beverages, textiles, woodwork, paintings, and jewelry. They also have organic coffee, cocoa, and spices.
  4. Explore the variety of products at Mercado Municipal, the main market in São Tomé, which includes fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and some handicrafts like baskets, pottery, masks, and wood carvings. Be prepared to haggle with the vendors.

How to get to Mercado Municipal in Sao Tome?

To get to Mercado Municipal in Sao Tome, you have a few options depending on where you are coming from and what mode of transportation you prefer

  1. From the airport, take a 15-minute taxi ride for about 10 euros or a bus for about 0.5 euros to the city center. Ask the driver to drop you near the market on Avenida Marginal 12 de Julho, next to the National Assembly building.
  2. If you’re coming from another part of the island, consider taking a taxi or bus to the city center. Taxi fares vary, but they’re usually cheaper than renting a car. Buses are affordable but can be crowded and irregular. Look for Sao Tome or Centro signs at bus stops and ask for guidance from the driver or passengers on when to get off near the market.
  3. If you’re already in the city center, it’s a 1 km walk from Praça da Independência. Follow signs or look for the large yellow building with a red roof. The market is open from Monday to Saturday, 7 am to 6 pm.

What is the best chocolate shop in Sao Tome and Principe?

The best chocolate shop in São Tomé and Príncipe is Claudio Corallo Chocolate, known for producing exceptional chocolate. They offer various artisanal chocolates made from local cocoa beans. You can taste and purchase different chocolate varieties, learn about chocolate’s history and production on the islands, and even visit cocoa plantations.

The shop is located at Avenida Marginal 12 de Julho, 978, São Tomé, and is open from Monday to Saturday, 9:30 am to 8:00 pm. It has received positive reviews from travelers and locals, making it a highly recommended attraction in São Tomé and Príncipe

How to plan a shopping trip in Sao Tome and Principe?

If you want to plan a shopping trip in Sao Tome and Principe, you might find the following tips helpful:

  1. Decide what products you’re interested in, like local crafts, coffee, cocoa, spices, or African-inspired clothing and home decor.
  2. Choose your shopping locations based on your preferences and budget. Popular places include Mercado Municipal, Claudio Corallo, Ursotigre na Praia Lagarto, LEAO Laboratorio, and Fun Top Fun. You can find reviews and information on Tripadvisor. Don’t forget to explore the local market for a variety of products.
  3. Plan your transportation by taking a taxi or bus to the city center from the airport or other parts of the island. Taxis cost about 10 euros, and buses around 0.5 euros. Make sure to check opening hours, as they vary by day and season.

Enjoy your shopping trip, experience local culture, and support artisans and businesses in São Tomé and Príncipe. Have a great time

Must-visit shopping destinations in Sao Tome & Principe

São Tomé and Príncipe, with its rich culture and history, offers several unique shopping destinations:

1. Mercado Municipal:

The main market in São Tomé, where you can explore fruits, vegetables, fish, crafts like baskets and wood carvings. Experience local life, but remember to haggle with vendors.

2. Claudio Corallo Chocolate:

A must-visit for chocolate enthusiasts, offering artisanal chocolate made from local cocoa beans. Explore the history and cocoa plantations.

3. Mama Africa:

Find tailor-made apparel and African-inspired home decor, including vibrant clothing, furniture, lamps, and more.

4. Ursotigre na Praia Lagarto:

Discover locally handmade products, including jewelry, accessories, clothing, and support social projects like Missão Dimix.

5. Fun Top Fun São Tomé and Príncipe:

Enjoy beer tastings, coffee and tea tours, chocolate workshops, and cooking classes. Immerse yourself in local specialties and traditions while having fun.

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