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The Coffee Route: A One-of-a-Kind Tourist Option

The Cuban archipelago, a tourist destination par excellence in the Caribbean region, offers one-of-a-kind attractions for leisure that are based on the country's traditions and history.

In that regard, eastern Cuba, where there are dozens of ruins of French-Haitian coffee farms from the late 18th and the early 19th centuries, is a major destination for holidaymakers.

Santiago de Cuba province is a singular destination in the Coffee Route, with a rich culture linked to the French presence in the country and slavery.

About 100 of those farms are located in Santiago de Cuba, as reminiscent of a period when the French landowners settled on the island, bringing their costumes and culture.

Thirty-two of those ancient coffee farms, developed by the French settlers who fled from neighboring Haiti in 1789, after the revolution in that country, are in Guantanamo province, also in eastern Cuba.

The rest, which are a majority, are in the zones of Gran Piedra, El Cobre, Dos Palmas and Contramaestre.

Ruins of coffee farms. House
Ruins of coffee farm. House
Ruins of coffee farms. Museum on Slavery.

Coffee, which is native to Ethiopia and was initially known as Kahwe or Kahwa, is considered a ritualistic beverage in Afro-Cuban religions and a traditional offer to the dead in their ceremonies.

Coffee arrived in Cuba in 1748, it was imported by traders from Santo Domingo, although it was only 50 years later that it was produced at commercial scale, when the French settlers arrived in the country.

The most cultivated species in Cuba is Arabic, which consists of nearly 12 varieties that are commercialized under the brands Turquino, Cristal Mountain, Serrano, Cubita and Caracolillo, among others, and whose flavor and aroma are unique.

Coffee, along with Cuban rum and the world-famous cigars make up a trilogy that cannot be resisted, especially by those who come to the Caribbean island looking for leisure.

Faraway zones in the eastern Cuban mountains protect the testimonies of the development of the French-Haitian coffee farms, which have been preserved despite the negative effect of nature and the passing of time.

The French settlers' experience was accompanied by a rich cultural treasure that evolved into expressions like literature, music, dance, religion and gastronomy in eastern Cuba, and even spread to the Caribbean, outside the country's borders.

Those interested in history can visit the ruins of the coffee farm known as Santa Sofía, which had more than 600 slaves, Kentucky and La Isabelica. The latter is in a perfect state of preservation and is the venue of the Museum of Ethnology.

The Coffee Route involves the so-called Gran Piedra, as well as the farms La Isabelica, Fraternidad, Santa Paulina, San Juan de Escocia and San Luis de Jacas.

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