Money and Costs
Budget: Less than €75
- Double room in a budget hotel: €40–50
- Beer: €2
- Sandwich: €3
- Shared cab: €1–2
- Double room in a midrange hotel: €60–85
- Lunch and dinner in local restaurants: €20
- Small 4WD rental €45–55
Top end: More than €150
- Double room in a resort: €125–340
- Lunch and dinner in resort restaurants: €40–50
- Large 4WD rental €65–90
Bargaining is common in markets and to some extent when changing money. You can also bargain when renting a car.
There are no international ATMs, and only certain high-end hotels accept credit cards, with two offering limited cash back, ie they run your credit card for a certain amount and hand it to you in cash. Bringing cash in euros is the best option.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Tipping is not customary, and at the customer's discretion. However, 5% goes a long way locally.
Bring cash denominated in euros, as the dollar is increasingly less common. The dobra can only be used in-country, so you must exchange euros for dobras after you arrive, and dobras for euros before you leave.
Foreign exchange is normally done through informal brokers (cheapest) or through a bank or a hotel. Don't be put off when approached by money changers on the street in São Tomé city, as this is the normal way of doing business, and entirely legal. Just agree on the rate, use your calculator, and count your money. In Príncipe you must use the bank.
The euro can be used almost anywhere, although you will often receive change in dobras, and only dobras. It is also generally more expensive to spend euros, as one way or another an exchange fee gets added in. If visiting for a week or so, and passing through São Tomé city, the best strategy is to bring 50 euro bills and then exchange them for a week's worth of dobras upon arrival, using a street broker.