Castro's Cuba - CUB
Number of Days: 15
Trapped in a time warp as a result of the Cuban revolution in 1959 and subsequent economic embargo, there is nowhere else like Cuba. On this tour we visit the great historic cities of Havana and Santiago de Cuba, where 1950s Chevys cruise past in a range of vivid colours; a contrast to the pastel hued architecture of smaller colonial gems such as Trinidad and Camaguey. The stunning natural beauty and fascinating history is only outshone by the Cuban people, incredibly warm and friendly, opening up their homes and their hearts to visitors. Che Guevara and Fidel Castro are still venerated, but times are changing. The embargo has been lifted, it’s time to visit before the old Cuba is gone forever! See our solo traveller offer on this journey.
Day 1: Arrive Havana On arrival you will be transferred to the Iberostar Parque Central Hotel, situated in the heart of the old city – Havana Vieja. Meet your tour group and host for a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Havana Today we explore colourful Havana. Wander through pastel coloured boulevards, narrow cobbled streets and flaking Spanish colonial buildings, where faded colours bring charm rather than define age. Highlights include the Cathedral, Museum of the Revolution and beautifully restored parts of the city. Enjoy a delicious lunch in a paladar before being whisked away in a classic (pre 1959) American car, we’ll drive along the 8km Malecon, a broad esplanade beside the Caribbean. End up at the iconic Nacional Hotel to sip a cocktail and stroll through the gardens, which display two guns from the old Santa Clara Battery.
Day 3: Havana & Vinales Today we visit the beautiful Pinar del Rio province, a UNESCO heritage listed site where we will see traditional plantations of tobacco, taro and bananas. We’ll visit a tobacco farm to learn about the entire production process and we’ll tour an organic farming operation. Then visit the charming town of Vinales and enjoy lunch before returning to Havana late afternoon.
Day 4: Havana > Bay of Pigs > Cienfuegos Today, we drive to Cienfuegos, via the Bay of Pigs (Bahia de Cochinos), scene of the botched 1961 American invasion. In Cienfuegos, enjoy the seaside vibe with a walking tour through spruced up colonial streets, past the Palacio de Valle, an architectural jewel with influences of Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Mudejar architecture, like something out of Arabian Nights. This evening is at leisure with your host on hand to offer suggestions.
Day 5: Cienfuegos > Santa Clara > Trinidad We drive to Santa Clara, where history was made over 50 years ago. It was here, that Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and a band of soldiers derailed a train carrying 350 heavily armed government troops. Using a borrowed bulldozer and some homemade Molotov cocktails, this action sealed the fate of the Batista dictatorship. We’ll see the statue of Che guarding an excellent museum and mausoleum beneath it. On to UNESCO listed Trinidad, a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement. Enjoy a walking tour along the cobbled streets of the town and in the evening visit the famous Casa de la Musica, popular with the locals for its live salsa band and delicious mojitos sipped under the warm Carribean night sky.
Day 6: Trinidad Today we learn how to make Cuban specialties in a cooking class, followed by a salsa lesson. Afterwards we visit an old sugar plantation in the picturesque Valle de los Ingenios abut 10km outside of Trinidad. The day ends with a barbeque dinner at the beach, accompanied by live music.
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7: Trinidad > Remedios > Cayo Santa Maria Today we stop at Remedios for a tour of this lesser-glimpsed colonial jewel. Then we head for Cayo Santa Maria, considered one of the finest beach resorts in Cuba. Relax and enjoy your beautiful beachside hotel and the warm Caribbean waters.
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Days 8 & 9: Cayo Santa Maria Two days to soak up the sun and enjoy the facilities of this superb resort on a beautiful beach.
(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10: Cayo Santa Maria > Camaguey A relaxing start to the day before continuing west, experiencing scenes of rural Cuba as we head to the charming town of Camaguey.
Day 11: Camaguey > Santiago De Cuba This morning enjoy a bicycle taxi tour through the labyrinthian centre of Camaguey, a UNESCO historic site. The town was built that way to confuse pirates. Also famous for the gorgeous architecture and Cuban-baroque churches, Camaguey is a delight. After touring the town, we’ll head to the epicentre of Afro-Cuban culture, the city of Santiago de Cuba.
Day 12: Santiago De Cuba Today is spent exploring this fascinating city with your guide. Diego Velazquez de Cuellar made Santiago his second capital, Fidel Castro used it to launch his embryonic nationalist Revolution, Don Facundo Bacardi based his first-ever rum factory here, and just about every Cuban music genre first emanated from somewhere in these dusty, rhythmic and sensuous streets. Included is a visit to Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, the UNESCO listed fortress built to defend Santiago from an attack by pirates. Those interested may enjoy an optional guided evening excursion to visit some of the city’s famous music venues.
Day 13: Santiago De Cuba > Havana A morning at leisure before a flight to Havana and transfer back to the heart of the old city.
Day 14: Havana Tour the colourful art district of Havana, Callejon de Hammel. The afternoon is yours to explore before a special farewell dinner, followed by a visit to the world famous open air cabaret show at the Tropicana nightclub where little has changed since pre-Revolutionary times. You will be delighted by the colourful costumes and Latin salsa dancing.
Day 15: Depart Havana We transfer to the airport where our journey ends.
- Accommodation in 4 or 5 star hotels but in some places best available (3 star)
- Transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary
- Meals as indicated
- Cuban Tourist Card (visa)
- $6785 per person. Dates on application email: firstname.lastname@example.org