If you are wanting to explore all that Cuba has to offer in the way of Culture and people in comfort and only have limited time, then this tour is for you. It is an upgraded version of our Original tour, but with better accomodation and in more comfort. In one short week, it's an optimised way to sample some of the most interesting areas of Cuba within a day's drive from Havana. The tour takes your from the bustling and vibrant Havana, to the historic Santa Clara, and gives you the chance to experience the more traditional and rural sides of Cuba, with stays in Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Viñales. A local Cuban tour guide accompanies the group throughout, and all accommodation is in guesthouses, which are small private businesses that are typically owned and run by local families.
WHATS NOT INCLUDED
Most of our adventure tours involve a local payment. Paying locally allows us to keep the overall cost of our tours competitive and pass the savings on to you. These funds are put towards local expenses. In some developing countries the transferring of funds is at times problematic so this is a way to help us serve you, whilst saving you money. Payment is to be made to your leader upon arrival in cash.
All prices are approximate and subject to currency fluctuations until final payment has been made.
Today is the arrival day of the tour, and tour participants will arrive throughout the day. The arrival point is La Gargola Guesthouse in Old Havana. Many of the tour participants will be staying here, while some will be staying a few blocks away in the charming Casa Azul Habana. If you arrive to Havana today, or if you arrange extra nights of accommodation in the Guesthouses with us before the tour, your included airport arrival transfer will take you from the Havana airport directly to your guesthouse. If are already in Havana for some other reason, we can arrange your included transfer to take you from your place of accommodation to your starting guesthouse for the tour.
Since it is quite common for some group participants to arrive later this evening, there are no included activities today. However you tour guide will be at La Gargola at 7pm to meet those group members who have already arrived. An optional group dinner with the guide in Old Havana will follow.
If you arrive early, the friendly staff members of La Gargola speak English and can help you with information and give you suggestions on things to see in Havana.
Today the tour takes us across the island of Cuba to the Caribbean coast and to the beautiful colonial city of Trinidad. Our transport is in a private tour bus.
On the way we will make a stop in Santa Clara and visit the Che Guevara Musuem and Mausoleum. Che is an extremely controversial figure in Latin America and an immensely imporant figure in Cuba's history. His remains were found in Bolivia and brought here to rest in 1990. There is a huge bronze statue of El Che, an eternal flame and many of his personal items as exhibits in the Museum.
We eventually reach Trinidad and its beautiful colonial buildings and cobblestone streets. Our Guesthouse for the next two days will be Hostal Vivian & Pablo or similar.
Trinidad is one of Cuba's most exciting cities. It's colonial hub has been impressively conserved and its small and compact size means that all of its attractions within the city can be visited on foot. It's wealth grew through sugar production using African slave labour in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the architecture of the buildings reflect that period.
Natalia's favourite excursion is a 3 hour return hike to a beautiful waterfall in the nearby mountains. She can arrange to take you there. However if you prefer to spend your time wandering around the streets of Trinidad visiting museums and sitting in bars listing to local musicans, Natalia can give you tips on the best places to go. Guided day tours can also be arranged.
Trinidad has a very lively nightlife. There are many open air restaurants, bars, and live music and dance shows. Your are welcome to join your guide and the rest of the group to explore the city at night, or otherwise explore on your own.
Today we head along the Caribbean coast and to the very different city of Cienfuegos. This port city is a lot more modern looking than Trinidad and was developed by the French who came here to settle. The French had a strong influence on the city layout, which features an expansive main square, and a very pretty boulevard that runs from the city centre, along the edge of the bay and to the end of the peninsula.
It's here at the end of Peninsula that you'll find the Palacio del Valle. This was a privately built mansion that was constructed by a wealthy businessman and merchant. The architecture of the building is a mixture of styles, but what is clear is that a great deal of expense and effort went into its construction and decoration, and the result is nothing short of spectacular.
Today we head further along the Carribean coast, then inland and all the way to Viñales.
We stop in the Bay of Pigs at an excellent site for snorkelling, which can be done straight off the coast. Snorkelling gear is available for hire at low cost. If water activities are not your thing, you can sit in the share of a sea grape tree and enjoy the natural scenery.
After the Bay of Pigs we head back inland through a densely forested swap land area called La Cienega de Zapata. This is our longest travel day so you might want to take advantage of the drive along flat central part of the island past Havana, for a siesta in our comfortable bus. We eventually reach Viñales which is one of Cuba's most picturesque areas. The Valley of Viñales is surrounded by steep limestone hills, and the floor of the valley is a UNESCO hestiage site for rural landscape. It's here that the farmers employ traditional methods such as using oxen, or simply by hand, to till the earth. The main crops are rice, corn, root vegetables - such as yuca, boniato, and malanga, and most famously some of Cuba's best tobacco.
We've included a walk of the Viñales Valley this morning as this activity has been one of the most highly rated by our travellers for many years now. The walk takes you through the UNESCO area of the valley where you will see the different farming activities that take place here and we will visit some farm houses, include that of a tobacco farmer who will explain the process of producing tobacco for Cuba's world renowned cigars.
This evening we include a visit to an outstanding organic farm with a spectacular view of the valley. It's here that we will enjoy watching the sun set over the valley and dinner in the farmhouse.
We return to the capital for 2 nights in our VIP guesthouses in Old Havana - La Gargola and Casa Azul Habana.
Havana is one of the world's most interesting cities to visit and recently it has become more acessible. Restoration of the oldest buildings has been going on for over a decade while many others are still neglected and decaying. Apart from the individual buildings being impressive sights in themselves, this juxtaposition of decay and restoriation fuels the imagination and also a sense hope. Add to that the living and vibrant society that lives within, the city has a unique character that will forever be etched in your memory.
This afternoon your guide will take you on a walking tour of Old Havana. She will take you to the main attractions and also to some of her favourite hidden corners. There is a lot to see in Havana, so we can't cover everything in this half day tour. However your guide will give you tips and suggestions on places you can come and visit tomorrow, or in any extra days you decide to spend in Havana after the tour.
Today we take some classic old American cars on a tour to visit some of the interesting places outside of Old Havana. The neighbourhoods of Central Habana, Vedado, and Miramar have their own characterics and charms, and these are best seen in a slow riding open air car. This tour takes us to the Revolucion Square where we stop to appreciate the huge images of the revolutionary heroes Che Guevara andCamilo Cienfuegos, and the scene of many lengthy speeches by Fidel Castro.
Tonight is our final evening as a group, and Natalia will propose a few different dining options, as well as places to go out afterwards such as live music venues, bars, or dance venues. As always, you have the option to explore on your own with tips and ideas that they guide can help you with.
Today is the departure day of the tour and you are free to depart at anytime. Your guide will be around and available until at least midday. You can pre-book a departure transfer to the airport with us for an extra fee. Otherwise you can arrange your own, or ask your guesthouse to help you with this the day before.
We recommend a few extra nights in Havana after the tour to further explore this amazing city. We recommend you request this in our Guesthouses in Old Havana, however you are free to book your own, or otherwise we can help you book a hotel of your choice.
|Start Date||End Date||Spaces Available||Cost|
|5th Sep 2017||13th Sep 2017||US$1150|
|10th Oct 2017||18th Oct 2017||US$1150|
|7th Nov 2017||15th Nov 2017||US$1150|
|21st Nov 2017||29th Nov 2017||US$1150|
|5th Dec 2017||13th Dec 2017||US$1150|
|19th Dec 2017||27th Dec 2017||US$1150|
|2nd Jan 2018||10th Jan 2018||US$1150|
The Guide - Natalia is one of our most outstanding guides in Cuba, and has been so since she started working for us way back in 2006. Over this time she has developed an intimate knowledge of the people and the culture all around the island. Perhaps more importantly, this experience has given her the ability to deal with individual travellers and their diverse requirements and a sound understanding of the group dynamic. Being originally from Spain, Natalia has the empathy for the visitor to Cuba as well as the depth of knowledge that comes with having lived in Cuba for over 10 years. Her most valuable traits are her energy and enthusiasm toward her role as guide and tour leader, a determination to make sure her tours are a success, her friendliness, and her sense of enjoyment. All of this rolled together, apart from making her an outstanding guide for Cuba, makes her one of the most charming and fun people you will ever meet.
Please note: Natalia has been scheduled for all published departures of this tour. If for some reason, Natalia is not available for a particular departure, another of our most experienced and better performing guides will be assigned. We are not always able to advise you in advance of changes such as this. We ask for your understanding and flexibility in these cases.