Enjoy two vastly different plantation experiences, observing traditional cocoa processing at one plantation, and then seeing how the other has evolved from its agricultural roots.
Depart from the pier and begin driving down the picturesque eastern side of Sao Tome. Along the way, you will pass several colorful villages such as Santana, although much of the rocky, heavily forested coastline is undeveloped.
Upon arriving at the working cocoa plantation Roca Aqua Ize, you will watch how the raw product is processed. The Portuguese introduced cocoa around 1822 and by the turn of the century Sao Tome had become the world’s largest producer, earning the nickname “The Chocolate Islands.” Although the island no longer produces huge volumes of cocoa, the crop still dwarfs every other agricultural export, so it’s vital to the economy.
Sao Tome is also known for its natural beauty in places such as the seaside Blow Hole, where you will stop to drink coconut water before continuing to the Sao Joao Plantation. Here, you’ll discover the history of the plantation, referred to locally as a “roca,” on an enlightening walking tour given by Isaura Cavalho, who teaches and co-manages the property.
Unlike plantations such as Roca Aqua Ize that grow a single crop, Sao Joao has diversified into raising cattle, culinary endeavors, and promoting local artists. To enhance your understanding of the Santomean culture, you will be treated to a Bulawe drum performance. Afterwards, you will return to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 3/4 hours of moderate walking/standing that includes some steps, natural and uneven surfaces as well as the possibility of mud. 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. The only restroom facility on this tour is at Sao Joao Plantation. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary and can be influenced by weather conditions.