DAY 1 - HAVANA
You will arrive at Havana airport be transferred privately to your hotel. The evening is free for you to relax and settle into your surroundings. Overnight at Colonial Hotel del Tejadillo.
The city of Havana is the capital of the Republic of Cuba and was founded in 1515. Due to its geographical position and the excellent characteristics of its bay it was given the name Llave del Mundo (Key to the World) and for centuries it was an obligatory stop for Spanish fleets, conquerors and adventurers. During the Wars of Independence in the latter half of the 18th century the city was untouched, making today’s Havana the finest surviving Spanish Complex in the Americas . During US prohibition Havana became a haven for anyone seeking good rum, good company and a fine cigar. This all ended in 1959 when rebels, led by Fidel Castro, marched into town, declared most things illegal and implemented an old-fashioned Soviet Socialism.
Hotel del Tejadillo
An excellent location for exploring Old Havana, the Hotel del Tejadillo was created from three colonial mansions dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. With quiet courtyards and spacious rooms, this charming establishment is ideally located in the heart of Old Havana, close to the cathedral square and 'Hemingway’s Bodeguita'.
DAY 2 – HAVANA
After breakfast you will take a morning walking tour of the old colonial town including all the squares of Old Havana, the main buildings and monuments, the Museum of Capitanes Generales and 'Hemingway's Bodeguita', a bar famous for its Mojito cocktails. After a local lunch with a drink and some live music you will take a tour in a classic American car. The rest of the afternoon and the evening are free for you to explore independently. Overnight at Hotel del Tejadillo. (B,L)
DAY 3 - HAVANA
Today after breakfast you have a 4 hour Panoramic Tour of Modern Havana, mainly focusing on the Vedado area including the Revolution Square, the Colombus Cemetery, the University of Havana, the Rampa on 23 Street and L Street, close to Habana Librre Tryp (former Hilton), followed by the Malecón, Miramar and Siboney section.
For lunch you are free to eat where you wish – perhaps you could visit the flagship hotel of Cuba, Hotel Nacional, or simply to take a drink to have a great view over the ocean and the malecon habanero (sea walk). The afternoon is then free for you to make your own way back to your hotel and spend the evening at leisure. Overnight at Hotel del Tejadillo. (B)
DAY 4 – HAVANA – VINALES VALLEY
Today after breakfast you have an early morning start as we journey along the Tobacco Road to the province of Pinar del Rio in the western part of Cuba. You will visit a cigar factory on the way to the picturesque village of Viñales, where time seems to stand still. Visit the house of a tobacco farmer and the Prehistoric Wall, a huge artwork painted on rock by the Cuban Painter Gonzalez Morillo in the1960s. You will also go into the Indian Caves and take a boat ride inside the cave.
Lunch will be at the Palenque of Cimarrones restauraunt with a local drink. Continuing on this afternoon you will check in at Hotel Los Jazmines for the night. In the evening you have the chance to go on an optional visit to the town of Viñales, where you can go inside the Casa de la Música Polo Montañez. Overnight at Los Jazmines with splendid valley views. (B,L)
The Viñales Valley is extraordinarily picturesque, with fields of tobacco, coffee and other crops interspersed with the round-topped hills that are typical of a karst landscape. Aside from its natural beauty, the region is also renowned for the traditional methods of agriculture which are still used today and which have survived unchanged for several centuries.
Los Jazmines Hotel
This Spanish-style hotel offers breathtaking views over the expanse of the Vinales valley floor and provides an ideal base for exploring the area. The hotel has two bars, a swimming pool overlooking the valley and a range of facilities including massage and horse riding.
DAY 5 – VINALES VALLEY – LAS TERRAZAS
Drive to Soroa for a visit to the orchid garden and the Arco Iris waterfall. Continue to Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve. Overnight at Hotel La Moka. (B)
Las Terrazas is an eco-resort which is internationally renowned for its success and for the changes it has brought about for the local community. The landscape in this part of Cuba was significantly damaged during the 19th century by French coffee plantation owners, who cut down thousands of trees to make way for their plantations. This degradation of the eco-system was compounded by poor agricultural techniques and fire. In the 1960s the area was therefore targeted by Castro’s government for a major reforestation programme; over time funds began to dwindle so the community developed an eco-tourism resort to provide additional employment and income. This has been hugely successful and the resort is a fascinating (and stunningly beautiful) place to visit.
Hotel La Moka
Built on a hill in the San Juan Valley in an impressive natural setting, this hotel is in the heart of the Las Terrazas reserve and is the ideal base for exploring it. Its colonial style blends harmoniously with the surroundings and the atmosphere is intimate and welcoming, with wonderfully personalized service.
DAY 6 – LAS TERRAZAS – CIENFUEGOS
After a tour of the Las Terrazas area we leave around 11am for a drive through the plains to the picturesque colonial city of Cienfuegos. We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant along the way. Overnight at Hotel La Union. (B,L)
Cienfuegos was founded by French colonists in 1819 on the edge of a magnificent bay that had obvious merit as an international port. Its tranquil atmosphere and attractive colonial architecture make this one of the most appealing towns in Cuba . There are a large number of mansions, decorated with cupolas, imposing public squares and refined neoclassical public buildings.
Hotel La Union
The hotel offers comfortable accommodation in a traditional colonial setting in the heart of Cienfuegos. There are gorgeous views of the bay and the city and a large pool situated in an attractive courtyard.
DAY 7 – CIENFUEGOS – TRINIDAD
After breakfast at 9am we will take you on a panoramic tour of Cienfuegos for approximately 3 hours before leaving the city. In the afternoon we drive through panoramic scenery to Trinidad, arriving at around 2:30pm. You will have tonight’s dinner at Las Cuevas hotel, which is where you will also be staying overnight. (B,D)
Trinidad was founded in 1514 by Cuba’s first governor, Diego Velazquez, as the island’s third settlement. During the 17th and 18th centuries Trinidad’s economy depended on trading contraband with pirates from the ‘Puerto de Casilda’. Later the merchants began to import goods from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, and tobacco became the region's most important crop, cultivated using slave labour. In the early 19th century colonists from Haiti began to cultivate sugarcane and it was the profits from this that laid the foundations for the colonial splendour of Trinidad today.
The historic centre of Trinidad is charming, with restored colonial villas and shaded courtyards. Combined with its naturally spectacular setting between the mountains and the sea, it is not difficult to see why the town has become one of Cuba’s most popular attractions. The Plaza Mayor is the historical core of the town, overlooked by the Church of the True Cross, as well as several museums.
Las Cuevas Hotel
Located high on a hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea and a few steps away from the historical centre of Trinidad, this hotel has stunning views of the Caribbean. Villa-style bungalows are interspersed across the hillside, allowing a feeling of isolation and peace.
DAY 8 – TRINIDAD
Today is a free day to explore this UNESCO World Heritage town with its unique colonial architecture. You have time to wander along the cobblestone lanes to the main square, surrounded by the mansions of former sugar barons. We are pleased to include your entrance to the Romantic Museum and to the Canchanchara Bar for a welcome drink. This evening you return to your hotel for an inclusive dinner. Overnight at Las Cuevas Hotel. (B,D)
DAY 9 – TRINIDAD – CAYO LAS BRUJAS
In the morning discover the Sugarmill Valley in the Sierra Escambray, one of the most beautiful landscapes in Cuba. Then continue to the colonial town of Sancti Spiritus, barely touched by tourism, and the charming town of Remedios en route to the coast. Dinner is included this evening at your hotel. Overnight at Villa Las Brujas. (B,D)
Hotel Villas Las Brujas
This unique, inn-like hotel is tucked into a small headland amongst the mangroves, overlooking a wonderful little beach. There are 24 individual bungalows and a restaurant which has great views over the sea. Apart from a handful of sun loungers and thatched beach umbrellas below the restaurant, the beach is pure, untouched and spotlessly clean.
DAY 10 TO DAY 12 - CAYO LAS BRUJAS
You have three days to relax on the picture-perfect beach of Caye Las Brujas, the most unspoilt and beautiful in Cuba. 3 nights at Villa Las Brujas. (B,D)
DAY 13 – CAYO LAS BRUJAS – HAVANA
After breakfast drive to the historical city of Santa Clara, a buzzing provincial town that was the first major city to be liberated by the communists. We will take you on a panoramic tour which covers Vidal Park, entrance to the Memorial Che and visiting the Derail Train Monument. Once our tour is over we will return to Havana for your last night in Cuba. Overnight at Hotel Del Tejadillo. (B)
Santa Clara occupies an important place in the history of the revolution – it was seized by the communists under the command of Che Guevara, which started the chain of events that ultimately toppled the Batista regime. As a result the town is favoured with abundant iconography, the most notable being the monument to Che Guevara and the adjacent museum.
DAY 14 – HAVANA – DEPARTURE
Your trip comes to an end today, and we will transfer you to Jose Marti International Airport for your flight home. (B)
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