INCLUDED IN THE ESSENTIAL CUBA TOUR:
- Two nights accommodation at a recommended Casa Particular, Havana on BB basis
- Two nights accommodation at the La Moka Hotel, Las Terrazas National Park on BB basis
- Two nights accommodation at a recommended Casa Particular, Trinidad on BB basis
- One night accommodation at a recommended Casa Particular, Havana on BB basis
TRANSPORTATION / GUIDE
- All transportation as required in the itinerary using fully air-conditioned transportation.
- The services of an English speaking guide throughout the itinerary
Restaurant Lunches / DINNERS
- TUESDAY, Lunch at La Imprenta Restaurant, Havana or similar / Dinner at La Fontana Restaurant, Havana
- WEDNESDAY, Lunch at Restaurant Farmers House, Las Terrazas / Dinner at La Fonda Mercedes Las Terrazas THURSDAY, Lunch at Organic Farm Restaurant, Vinales / Dinner at La Romero Organic Vegetarian Restaurant, Las Terrazas
- FRIDAY, Lunch at Club Cienfuegos, Cienfuegos or similar / Dinner at chosen Casa Particular Restaurant, Trinidad
- SATURDAY, Lunch at Plaza Mayor restaurant, Trinidad or similar / Dinner at Local Private Restaurant, Trinidad
- SUNDAY, Lunch at local restaurant, Santa Clara / Dinner at La Terraza de Asturias Restaurant, Havana
- TUESDAY, Museum of the Revolution, Havana
- TUESDAY, Cocktail making class
- TUESDAY, Old American Car Tour, Havana
- WEDNESDAY, Las Terrazas Nacional Park, Las Terrazas
- THURSDAY, Cigar Factory, Pinar del Rio
- THURSDAY, El Indio Limestone Cave System, Vinales Valley
- THURSDAY, Tobacco Drying House, Vinales Valley
- THURSDAY, Guided Walk, Vinales Valley
- SATURDAY, History Museum, Trinidad
- SATURDAY, Museum of the Fight Against the Bandits, Trinidad
- SATURDAY, La Canchanchara, Trinidad
- SUNDAY, Manaca Iznaga, Sugar Mill Valley, Trinidad
- SUNDAY, Entrance to Che Guevara’s Museum and Mausoleum, Santa Clara
- SUNDAY, Buena Vista Social Club Performance, Havana
ESSENTIAL CUBA TOUR ITINERARY
Monday – Day 1
On arrival into Havana airport, you will be welcomed and a transfer will take you to the accommodation confirmed for the tour, situated in an excellent location in central Havana.
Depending on the time of your arrival, there may be the chance to take a wander through the local area and sample Havana’s amazing street life before retiring to bed ready for the tour ahead.
Tuesday – Day 2
After breakfast, we will head to the Museum of the Revolution, housed in the former Presidential Palace, the museum offers a fascinating insight into Cuba’s revolutionary history. After our visit, there will be a fascinating, guided stroll through Old Havana, visiting the four famous historical squares, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de Armas. Absorb the atmosphere and amazing vibrancy of Old Havana and explore the narrow bustling streets which many have described as walking through a film set!
At the end of an interesting insight into Old Havana where the guide will ensure you have seen the sights and a number of hidden, but fascinating locations away from the normal tourist route, lunch will be served in one of our favourite restaurants in Old Havana. After lunch, we will visit a local bar and have the fun of making some of Cuba’s famous rum cocktails with the local bar staff and there will certainly be the chance to sample the cocktails if you wish. We will then spend a couple of hours exploring the other areas of central Havana in Old American cars!!! You will be chauffeur driven through the city in the most fantastic vehicles dating back to the 50s, a great way to enjoy this unique city!
The cars will take you to the impressive Revolution Square overlooked by the mural of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, through the downtown Vedado district of the city and past the elegant mansions and embassies in Miramar district before a spectacular drive along the “Malecon”, Havana’s seafront promenade. If time is available after the tour, the late afternoon will be free to enjoy Havana independently or relax back at your accommodation.
Dinner tonight will be taken at La Fontana, one of Havana’s famous private restaurants a perfect spot after a day exploring the city. With great food and service, it’s a fitting end to a fabulous day.
For those that might want to visit the famous Tropicana open air cabaret show that dates back to the 1930’s it would be possible to pre-book your tickets before leaving the UK or on arrival to Cuba subject to availability and after dinner you can head off to the show.
The guide can also recommend bars and music venues in the city for those that might want to head off independently.
Wednesday – Day 3
After breakfast, we leave Havana and head to Las Terrazas National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty which is protected as one of Cuba’s most important National Parks, we will visit the former coffee plantation houses where the guide will recount the history of Cuba’s coffee industry linked so closely to the slave trade.
Wander through the lakeside village, meet the local community and have a coffee in Maria’s coffee shop whilst the more adventurous can take an exhilarating zip wire ride through the tree tops and across the lake, quite an experience! (optional activity to be paid locally)
A short walk will take you along the San Juan River to an area of natural pools where it’s possible to swim, relax by the river, sunbathe or take a walk along the river banks.
After lunch at the Farmers House restaurant, in a lovely setting within the National Reserve and still the home of a local farmer, the remainder of the afternoon will be free to relax at the hotel or you can take a wander into the local community.
This evening dinner will be taken at a local restaurant specialising in local Cuba cuisine situated in the community below the hotel.
Thursday – Day 4
After breakfast, we head west stopping firstly at the provincial capital of Pinar Del Rio to visit a small working cigar factory that is involved in the production of many world famous Cigar brands in Cuba. There will be a tour of the factory to see the process where the cigars are still hand made by local experts. We then head to the immensely picturesque Vinales Valley, an area protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site for its outstanding natural beauty dominated by strange limestone mountain formations called “Mogotes”. The valley is also the home of Cuba’s tobacco plantations and during your time in Vinales, there will be a subterranean boat ride through the El Indio cave system, a visit to a typical tobacco drying house to see how the tobacco crops are turned into the world’s best cigars. Take a short-guided walk through the valley stopping off at a farmer’s house for coffee and explore the picturesque Vinales village.
A fabulous and unique organic lunch will be served at a local organic farm affording wonderful views across the valley and there will be a chance to learn a little more about the farm and its organic methods which attracted the attention of President Obama.
Leaving Vinales in the late afternoon we head back to Las Terrazas, before another unique dinner tonight in the organic vegetarian restaurant in the village. The fascinating menu with the ingredients sourced locally will make it an interesting evening.
Friday – Day 5
After breakfast, we will leave Las Terrazas and head past Havana and down the very “quiet” motorway towards the south coast of the island where our first stop will be to explore the French influenced small colonial city of Cienfuegos. Overlooking a picturesque bay on arrival we will take lunch and then take a stroll through the colonial centre and along the seafront “malecon” promenade.
Leaving Cienfuegos, we will head along the picturesque coast road to Trinidad, preserved by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, for a two night stay and dinner will await in one of our chosen Casa Particular restaurants!
Saturday – Day 6
After breakfast, we will enjoy a comprehensive tour of the center of Trinidad including visit the Museum of the Fight Against the Bandits, which covers the revolutionary battles in the nearby Escambray mountains. Here, you can climb the bell tower for the very best views across Trinidad. The tour will also visit the History Museum focusing on a family’s life in Cuba in the 1800s and the you can sample the unique Trinidad rum and sugar cane cocktail at La Canchanchara, an old house dating back to the 18th Century, beware its lovely, but very strong!
After lunch in a local restaurant, the remainder of the afternoon will be free to relax in the city or perhaps take a taxi to the nearby Caribbean beach at Playa Ancon and enjoy the beach and even the sunset there.
Dinner tonight will be at a local private restaurant, it’s the final evening in Trinidad and also the weekend, therefore dancing to local live music is a must so feel free to visit one of Trinidad’s growing number of bars and listen to some excellent live music!
Sunday – Day 7
This morning we head to Sugar Mill valley where the 145ft Manaca Iznaga Tower stands as a silent witness to Cuba’s history of slavery where over 30.000 slaves worked in the sugar plantations overlooked by the tower! A ghostly visit!
Continuing the day, we take a picturesque road through the Escambray mountains and reach Santa Clara, a city of major historical significance in Cuba. We will visit the final resting place of Che Guevara at the very symbolic Mausoleum with time to visit the museum dedicated to his life before having lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, perhaps have a snooze as we head back towards Havana for our last night on the tour.
In the evening, we will have a farewell dinner in a carefully chosen private restaurant in Old Havana before heading to a performance by the world famous Buena Vista Social Club in their home city Havana where dancing is guaranteed and the evening is a fitting finale to an unforgettable week exploring Cuba.
Monday – Day 8
Today is free for you to explore Havana independently, relax or leave Havana for your beach extension in Varadero, the Cayos or eastern Cuba.
For those leaving Cuba today, a transfer will collect you from the hotel and take you to the airport for your departure flight home.
1399.00 USD – 1899.00 CAD per person based on two adults in one room including taxes (Land only).
SUGGESTED ADD ON: TROPICANA SHOW OFFER #2: 99.00 per adult
Enjoy the World famous Tropicana Show with preferred seating, welcome cocktail, ¼ bottle of Havana Club Rum and snacks. (Transportation to and from the show not included, voucher will be provided locally)
ADD ON: VARADERO AIRPORT – HAVANA HOTEL – VARADERO AIRPORT SHARED LAND TRANSFER: 50.00 per person