Approximately 270km from the western shores of Africa, São Tomé and Príncipe Archipelago are composed of 3 islands: São Tomé is the largest, followed by Príncipe which is 30min away by plane, and finally the tiny islet of Rolas (3km/sq). São Tomé and Príncipe is a developing country, with an economy based on coffee, cocoa, small-scale agriculture and fishing. Principe was the first island where cocoa trees were planted in 1822 by the Portuguese, hence the nickname of the 'Chocolate Islands'. Many plantations were abandoned after independence in 1975, which wreaked havoc with the economy of the country for decades. The islands are still in reconstruction, but war is history and oil and tourism have taken over as the new way to give a better future for this secluded paradise. Besides Australian and American surfers, who visited as early as the '70s, and the odd French surfer from Gabon or the Ivory Coast, the first media surf trip to this area was in August 2000, when John Callahan gathered a small crew including Randy Rarick, Sam George, Nuno Jonet and Tiago Oliveira, but travelling surfers remain rare.