A wonderful introduction to the many facets of Sao Tome, this excursion combines natural beauty and culinary delights with a cultural immersion.
Depart from the pier and drive south toward the center of the island, a land of tropical forests and volcanically formed mountains that are ideal for growing coffee. Here in the dense forest, you will find Sao Nicolau waterfall, an idyllic setting with an abundance of colorful endemic birds chirping and flitting among the trees.
Later, at the Monte Café Plantation, you will see how coffee is processed on Sao Tome and discover the factors that affect the taste, aroma and quality. It’s fascinating to understand the many steps involved as the green coffee beans are transported from the fields, dried, roasted and sorted before export. Following a coffee tasting and an enlightening folkloric show, you will drive to nearby Bombaim, a former plantation whose attraction is now natural beauty.
After a light lunch of traditional dishes at Bombaim, you will venture down to its namesake waterfall to sample several varieties of bananas. The surrounding forest is also the only place on the island where mangosteen trees grow. The Portuguese introduced the trees, which when mature bear fruit and provide a shady environment that’s perfect for growing vanilla.
Then, it’s on to a nearby church to watch a rousing choir performance, followed by a brief stop for photos in the fishing village of Pantufo and Melao Beach. Afterwards, you will transfer directly back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of moderate walking/standing that includes some steps, inclines, natural and uneven surfaces as well as the possibility of mud. The path to Bombaim waterfall is slippery in spots. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Light-weight clothing to include long sleeves and long pants; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; insect repellant; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes with a non-slip sole are recommended. Guests should be prepared for the possibility of rain and bring small change in either USD or EUR to purchase any additional drinks or local products. Restroom facilities on this tour are limited and basic in nature. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary and can be influenced by weather conditions.