The Coffee & Cocoa Route - private jeep tour with guide / driver

    • Santiago de Cuba Province
    • Guantánamo
    • Baracoa
    • Santiago de Cuba City
    • La Gran Piedra
    • Historie
    • Natuur
    • Koffie en cacao
    • Outdoors
Coffee, cocoa and Cuba have many similarities. They are exciting and irresistible to many enthusiasts. They harmonize perfectly; coffee, chocolate and Cuba.
The Coffee & Cocoa Route takes you in a green loop through the East of Cuba, almost all protected areas around you on an isolated island full of rare indigenous and endemic species. With a jeep and a guide / driver from Ecotur you will follow the bay of Guantánamo. You will slide through the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, across the spectacular Farola pass, past coffee plantations and rivers, to the distant Baracoa.

Coffee, cocoa and Cuba have many similarities. They are exciting and irresistible to many enthusiasts. They harmonize perfectly; coffee, chocolate and Cuba.

The Coffee & Cocoa Route takes you in a green loop through the East of Cuba, almost all protected areas around you on an isolated island full of rare indigenous and endemic species.  With a jeep and a guide / driver from Ecotur you will follow the bay of Guantánamo. You will slide through the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, across the spectacular Farola pass, past coffee plantations and rivers, to the distant Baracoa.  You start and end in Santiago de Cuba, that sizzling port city, heroic, historical, so musical, so rhythmic, so dansant, perhaps the most beautiful city in the entire country.

Coffee and cocoa flourish best around the equator. At an altitude of 500 to 1000 meters, where the heat is milder, the air is more humid and the breeding ground perfect. Also, an ideal climate for the adventurous Cuba traveler. In the mountains, at coffee and cocoa heights, the heat is shaded and nice and cool.

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Why book with us
  • Your trip, your way
  • Booked and organised in Cuba
  • Our local roots, we live in Cuba
  • 24/7 support by our local hosts

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Recommended for
Historie, Koffie en cacao, Natuur, Outdoors
Departure time
Begins and ends in Santiago de Cuba - Daily
Privé tour
English, French, German, Italian, Nederlands, Other languages on request, Spanish
Activity level
Light (walking and light hiking)
Insider's tip
• The BAIC BJ40, a 4x4 (2-Door) jeep, accommodates three participants and their luggage (2 bags [75cmH]). Recommended for up to three adults of average size as well as for a family with (one) child. • A professional driver, and your guide at the same time, will drive the air-conditioned jeep. • All vehicles are insured. • Think also of packing swimwear (and towel), sturdy footwear, cap, insect repellent and sunblock. • Triple rooms are not bookable on this tour. In the case of an uneven number of participants, twin and single rooms will be booked. • Local circumstances may cause a change of accommodation. Think of overbooking or temporary closure. In that case accommodation of the same standard will be booked. • The program can be subject to changes due to local conditions (weather, road, unforeseen closures for repairs, etc).

Day 1: Day 1. Santiago de Cuba – La Gran Piedra

Santiago de Cuba has the most Caribbean character of all Cuban cities. Founded in 1515, Santiago was once the most important port for the slave trade and a bustling center for the export of sugar, coffee and tobacco.
At 9 am you will leave with a guide from the Parque de Céspedes, the heart of Santiago, to the Tivolí district, multi-ethnic as the world itself. Puerto Ricans, Jamaicans, but also Arabs and Chinese came, stayed and settled themselves here. The French influence is striking but explainable. French settlers, driven away by the Haitian slave revolution (1791), landed here but also in Baracoa and introduced the coffee and cocoa cultivation. Coffee in particular was ‘hot’ in Europe and the east of Cuba has just the right microclimate for this difficult agriculture.
Via Padre Pico, the robust stone staircase, you reach Casa Dranguet, a museum dedicated to the cultural value of coffee in Cuba. Taste this aromatic boost of body and soul on their terrace. 
They are picturesque, the streets of San Basilio, Heredia and Carnecería. Sometimes in their colorful pride, sometimes because of the beauty of past glory. Nowhere as many African roots as here. Your Ecotur guide will tell you about this proud city full of rhythm and movement. About the Rum museum, the Emilio Bacardi museum and the home of José María Heredia celebrated poet in Cuba and far beyond.
You have walked enough for now. The jeep will bring you to the rustic outdoor restaurant Las Terrazas La Caridad, the ambassador of coffee, that's how Cuban Heritage labels this special place. You will be served a Creole lunch.
An extensive coffee ritual comes next; a ceremonial that illustrates the hospitable selection of carefully prepared coffee. There are very few places where this tradition is still honored.
Around 2 pm the jeep heads to the foot of La Gran Piedra. Climb the 454 steps. The Gran Piedra is a crazy rock, also known as the ‘colossus under the clouds’, with 51 meters (167 ft) the highest rock in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records.
The microclimate favors the growth of the coffee plants, it is a protected nature area and many rare species grow here, only here! Ferns, mosses, orchids, the exuberant opulence of nature.
111 of the originally 171 coffee plantations can be found in this region, sometimes side by side, some of them in rather disrepair but, just like the landscape, they are particularly photogenic. 
Hacienda La Isabelica, the most intact, has been transformed into a garden with ornamental plants, such as the bird of paradise flower, a honey pot for the hummingbird. Just after the Cuban revolution, it was named a monument with museum as its destination. The country house is still there including the storeroom, kitchen, drying rooms, roasting area, everything restored in its original state.

At 6 pm Hotel Gran Piedra welcomes you with fruit and refreshing juices, followed by dinner and… a cup of coffee. The live music of La Caridad del Oriente provides the atmosphere. That stands for rhythm, that stands for soul. That stands for Santiago and its surrounding area.

• Meals: Lunch, dinner are included

    • Santiago de Cuba Province
    • La Gran Piedra
    • Maaltijden inbegrepen: lunch en diner

Have your breakfast on time, at 9 am the jeep will lead you to Hacienda Fraternidad, near the town of Nueva Isabel. It is in a rather modest condition, but it is an important site for historians and archaeologists. You can exchange ideas with one of them. We stop for a photo shoot on the Santa María del Loreto plateau.
A little further is Santa Paulina. Here you can see the French irrigation techniques of those times, the terraced construction to save rainwater. In La Fraternidad they had built a dyke to prevent valuable water from flowing into the sea. The neighbors further down, San Luis de Jacas, had another solution. They built an impressive aqueduct, resting on 28 arches, to provide the vulnerable cultivation with sufficient moisture. 
Climb a bit more in order to get to San Juan de Escocio coffee plantation, today's highest point, simply because it is so beautiful. The jeep will take you as far as possible. Then you choose, on foot or by mule, both relaxed.
Returning to the jeep will cost you almost 45 minutes downhill. Next, a panoramic tour to La Lucía where your well-deserved lunch with products from the region awaits you. 
After lunch, more natural wellness. A revitalizing swimming spot, a little further, washes away the tiredness. The river is called Baconao. 
You will arrive on time at your casa particular in Guantánamo. The aboriginal name of the town means ‘land between rivers’. The way towards it, is a beauty.
Often, when affirmed on time, you can have dinner in your casa. Consult your guide. The town, small but nice and surrounded by mountains, also offers culinary options.

The evening is yours.

• Meals: Breakfast, lunch are included

    • La Gran Piedra
    • Guantánamo
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch

Breakfast is already at 7.30 am. Cuban coffee helps to wake up. A spectacular trip is on today’s program, a road movie to Baracoa. A true challenge for the driver, a panoramic pleasure for you. First, La Gobernadora lookout. In the distance, through a telescope you can see dots of buildings. It is the Guantánamo Bay naval base, an American prison on Cuban soil, a sad sight.
You will be delighted by the beautiful coastal road and by La Farola; a 120 km (75 mi) long mountain pass through the Sierra Maestra, which connects Baracoa with the south coast. Until 1965 there was not even a road. Baracoa was isolated and only accessible by sea. The road is stunning and fascinating in all respects, up, down, winding, rough as the mountains, green as the rainforest.
You are in the ‘Far East’, the oldest city in Cuba (1514) and you will smell the sea. We begin with a city tour through the first, albeit for a short time, capital of the country. Baracoa is a native word and means ‘there is the sea’. Columbus would have landed here. He was speechless about the beauty and planted a cross. 
Finca Duaba is a rural restaurant, not far from the Duaba river, just outside Baracoa. No coffee here, but cocoa. Another delicacy favored by the Cuban mountain climate. Here you will lunch, surrounded by cocoa trees, which bear fruit almost all year round, strangely enough on the trunk.
Many rivers flow from the mountains to the sea and the Yumurí is one of the most beautiful. The canyon is particularly impressive. You walk for an hour along this special river landscape. Another paramount of natural phenomena, flora and fauna that you only see in Cuba. 
Return to Baracoa. Welcome home to your casa particular. Check-in, relax and unwind at dinner in the Buen Sabor restaurant; Creole cuisine, ancient recipes, spicy herbs, Haitian, Spanish, African influences and an abundance of fresh seafood, the tastiest fish, Tetí, crab, lobster, squid etc. The people of Baracoa have always lived by the sea since 1511. Because of the isolation, Baracoa has remained just Baracoa.
• Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included

    • Guantánamo
    • Baracoa
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch and dinner

Baracoa may seem like the end of the world, it is also the gateway to a paradise of rare beauty; Parque Alejandro de Humboldt.

Open your eyes to the most beautiful that Cuba has to offer in nature; vast, unspoiled, with an unprecedented number of endemic species that only endure here. This biosphere reserve is so unique that it was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 2001. In this heavenly nature we have set out two walking routes, the famous Balcón de Iberia trail and the relaxed version El Recreo, both wonderful and with a green guide. The difference between the two is mainly length and height. It’s your call.

Balcón de Iberia; over a 7-kilometer-long trail (approx. 4 miles) you will reach in about 5 hours and along the Río Santa María the highest point, Mount Iberia, 740 meters (2428 ft) above sea level. The rain-covered green forest includes fruit trees, coconut palms and exclusive tree species, including majagua, mahogany and cedar, many types of (medicinal) plants and the most colorful birds. The tocororo - Cuba's favorite bird - flies freely and cheerfully, but also the zunzún, carta cuba and ruiseñor cotorras. The waterfall at the origin of the Santa María river, 25 meters (82 ft) high, is a blessing from above.

El Recreo, the other hike, is 3 kilometers (approx. 2 miles) long. After a slightly rising road through an impressive pine forest (cubensis), you will cross the valley where the Río Taco flows, all in about 3 hours. Take a rest in the shade and take a natural shower under the El Majá waterfall.

After so many natural vitamins and a delicious lunch, the way back to Santiago de Cuba is waiting. It may be a long winding road; its beauty is unparalleled. Your destination is the most beautiful city in El Oriente, Santiago de Cuba. What else do you want?

Maybe you will fly home from here. If you are lucky there is still time for a further exploration of East Cuba. Questions? We advise you with Cuban pleasure.

Hasta Cuba siempre!

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch are included

    • Baracoa
    • Santiago de Cuba Province
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch

• Transportation per air-conditioned Jeep.
• Program (and entrance fees) according to description.
• Professional, multilingual driver/guide.
• 3 Nights in single or double room with private bathroom, 2 in a homestay and 1 in a hotel. 
• Described meals. 
Not included: 
• Other consumptions.
• Other transfers and additional stays before and after the tour, as well as flights. 
• Expenses of personal nature.
• Gratuities.

You can adapt this travel program to your personal wishes. You can add or remove destinations, you can extend or shorten the trip. Do you want to add activities or excursions? Do you want any other travel services? We are happy to help you.  

The Coffee & Cocoa Route is composed in such a way that the tour seamlessly connects with a previous stay in Santiago de Cuba and an extension afterwards at Santiago’s beaches e.g. or at one of the stunning beaches in the province of Holguin. 

You can make these arrangements yourself or contact us. With your specific wishes and our knowledge, together we create the perfect trip.