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Luxury Small Group Departures IW-108

Departure Dates 2021:

Havana | Santiago | Torquino NP | Camaguey | Trinidad | Cienfuegos | Santa Clara

Apr 17 – 25
Dec 4 – 17

What’s included:

  • Visa processing and issuing (Support for the Cuban People itinerary)
  • Individual VIP arrival and departure transfers with an English-speaking driver
  • Accommodations in privately owned upscale properties
  • Transfers as per itinerary with a modern, luxury vehicle
  • Local flight from Havana to Santiago de Cuba
  • Professional tour manager throughout
  • Expert local guides for activities
  • Breakfast daily at the hotels
  • All meals as per program (lunch and dinner every day)
  • All described drinks as per program
  • All visits, experiences and entrance fees with expert guides – as described in the program
  • Entrance fees for all night clubs
  • Porterage at the hotels (one piece per person in and out)
  • 2 small bottles of water per person per day
  • All taxes and tourist fees

ACCOMODATIONS

CITY NIGHTS HOTELS
HAVANA 3 HOTEL ELEGANCIA SUITES OR SIMILAR
SANTIAGO DE CUBA 3 HOTEL EASTERN VILLA OR SIMILAR
CAMAGUEY 2 BIG HOUSE CAMAGUEY OR SIMILAR
TRINIDAD 3 FINCA KENYA FARMHOUSE OR SIMILAR
HAVANA 2 HOTEL ELEGANCIA SUITES OR SIMILAR
DAY 1
DAY 1 Saturday: ARRIVE HAVANA

Arrive at José Martí International Airport and meet your English-speaking driver who will transfer you to our lovely hotel in Old Havana. You will have some free time to rest after your flight. In the late afternoon we will gather in the lobby to meet your tour manager and your fellow travelers. We will then head out for a short walk in Old Havana, through the colonial past of this magnificent city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We will then enjoy a welcome drink and watch the sunset from a dreamy rooftop terrace of Ambos Mundos, the place where Hemingway lived for a while. Bici taxis will pick us up from there and take us through central Havana. We will stop for another drink before we arrive at a cool, retro 50s-style restaurant in Old Havana where we will enjoy a perfect meal and a live band performance. The last stop for today to wrap up this exhilarating first day will be a very special basement jazz club that we will enter through a red British-style telephone booth. We will return to our hotel in the late evening hours. (D)

DAY 2
DAY 2 Sunday: EXPLORE HAVANA

Today we explore Havana in a convertible vintage car, visiting all the main sites in style! We will see the Havana Almendares forest, Cristobal Colon Cemetery, and many legendary buildings and attractions. Afterward we will have lunch with stunning ocean views and superb specialties. Our next adventure today is a visit to a Salsa club, as no trip to Havana is complete without learning to move to the magical sounds of Salsa, the rhythm of Cuba. Cuba’s soul is in those 2 simple steps that you will learn today from our local Salsa expert and teacher. On our way back to the hotel we will visit the Callejon de Hamel, a unique place that is part community project, part art gallery. We will enjoy some time at leisure at the hotel. In the late afternoon, we will gather again and head out for another warm Havana night. First drinks at an exciting local bar and then dinner in one of the best restaurants in Havana. The crown jewel of the day will be a visit to the lively Casa de la Musica where you can put your salsa lesson to work and hit the dance floor, or just sit back and enjoy the atmosphere. (B, L, D)

DAY 3
DAY 3 Monday: EXPLORE HAVANA

This morning will be filled with the different tastes of Havana. First, we will visit the market and a local store to learn more about the life and rhythm of the city. Then, we will have lunch at a small funky restaurant in Old Havana. Here, we will also learn how to make a real Cuban mojito and feast on typical Cuban dishes with a twist! This place is one of the best kept secrets of Havana, with an interesting décor from salvaged pieces of Old Havana architecture. Just around the corner, you will be able to see one of the most spectacular churches in Havana. In the afternoon we will continue our immersion in this unique city and will have the chance to visit 2 Cuban artists and their studios and later on, we will also visit the Museum of Fine Arts. We will have some time at leisure at the hotel before we head out to dinner at La Guardia, a magical restaurant with an interesting history. A day as spectacular as today must end in style, so before returning to our hotel we will visit another iconic place, the Hotel National. Here we will indulge in Cuban life with a tasting of rum and cigars! (B, L, D)

DAY 4
DAY 4 Tuesday: HAVANA – SANTIAGO DE CUBA

This morning we will head to the airport and board a local flight that will take us across this gorgeous island country to Santiago De Cuba, capital of the southeastern Santiago Cuba Province, founded by the Spanish in the early 16th century. A stronghold of Afro-Cuban culture, this area has a fearsome musical, cultural and political heritage. Upon arrival, we will transfer to our accommodation and settle in. Afterwards, we will head out for lunch and enjoy a delicious barbeque, specialty of a family-owned casual restaurant in the outskirts of Santiago. The dessert is the star of this meal: a rich zapote and coconut ice cream served in a special way. After lunch, we will explore the main historical and cultural places of the historic center of Santiago. This part of the city is not only gorgeous and full of history, but also officially a National Monument. We will visit the Moncada Barracks and its museum, the Revolution Square and many other historical, religious and cultural sites. We will enjoy some time at leisure before we gather again to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant while we learn more about Creole cuisine, and swing to Casa de la Trova to hear the city’s legendary rumba. (B, L, D)

DAY 5
DAY 5 Wednesday: EXPLORE SANTIAGO DE CUBA

This morning we will continue to explore Santiago. We will visit Villa Blanca and hear a lecture about the Revolution times in Santiago by a local historian to deepen our understanding of this complex part of Cuban history. Later, we will enjoy a seafood lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the square and the cathedral. We will relax a bit after lunch and gather again in the in the afternoon to visit the Morro Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The castle, which is really a fortress, is often called the San Pedro de la Roca Castle. It is the world’s best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, rooted in Italian Renaissance styles. This constituted the defensive system of the eastern part of the country against corsairs and pirates. We will enjoy the sunset and a panoramic view of the Bay of Santiago on our way to dinner at St. Pauli, a unique restaurant with a wonderful mural and a glass-wall kitchen. (B, L, D)

DAY 6
DAY 6 Thursday: SANTIAGO DE CUBA – LA GRAN PIEDRA – SANTIAGO DE CUBA

Today is the day for adventure—a jeep safari to La Gran Piedra, located in the Sierra Maestra mountains, a fascinating place 3,900 feet above sea level with natural beauty, endemic species, and lush vegetation. Besides enjoying the surroundings, we will also learn about the influence of the French immigrants to this area, its coffee culture, and rich legacy of traditions. We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and visit La Isabelica museum, the botanical garden located at the highest point of the Caribbean! We will return to Santiago with some time at leisure before we head out for our Caribbean dinner. (B, L, D)

DAY 7
DAY 7 Friday: SANTIAGO DE CUBA – TOURQUINO NATIONAL PARK – CAMAGUEY

We bid farewell to Santiago and head to the Tourquino National Park in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, where we visit Comandancia de la Plata – Fidel’s hideout and staging post of the Cuban Revolution. We will enjoy an easy hike to admire the spectacular scenery and breathe in the fresh mountain air. We recommend comfortable footwear, so you can really enjoy the nature trails of the Sierra Maestra Mountains! Later on, we will have lunch at a local restaurant and continue on our way, with a stop in Camaguey, where we arrive in the early evening. Dinner tonight at a local restaurant where Chef Miguel will tempt you with his Cuban style tapas and other specialties.  (B, L, D)

DAY 8
DAY 8 Saturday: CAMAGUEY

Today we tour Camaguey, the third largest city of Cuba. It is a labyrinthine trail of blind alleys and forked streets, built this way deliberately for the rampaging pirates who dogged the town from the 16th century onwards. It is very well kept, compared to other Cuban cities, with a clutch of decorative facades, elaborate churches and romantic squares. Camaguey is truly the original Cuba, not a town that caters to tourists’ desires, but a place where people carry on their family-focused lives and have fun at street parties, park events and communal family meals. We will enjoy a walking tour of the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, considered the largest as well as the best preserved on the island. We will be delighted and intrigued by the many lavish churches and the twisted maze of streets! It’s full of charming cobblestone plazas, historic statues and interesting museums. After discovering Camaguey, it will be time for lunch in the Plaza del Carmen at El Paso, a nice paladar in the historic center where we enjoy traditional Cuban food. We will rest in our accommodation for a few hours before we head out for dinner at La Isabella, an amazing restaurant with a great story and a fabulous menu! (B, L, D)

DAY 9
DAY 9 Sunday: CAMAGUEY – TRINIDAD

Today we find our way back toward the central part of the country, to discover yet another Cuban jewel, Trinidad—well known for its colonial cobblestoned old town and neo-baroque main square. Upon arrival we will discover another UNESCO World Heritage site, during a walking tour of the most interesting city areas. Known as the most handsome town in Cuba, Trinidad will seduce you with its multicolored pastel-hued terraces and rust-red rooftops. The fertile land of mountain and sea has always brought wealth to lucky locals. You will marvel at the gorgeous mansions and buildings around Trinidad’s main square and streets.

We will check into our stylish Farmhouse and rest for a few hours before going out for another memorable evening. First, we’ll have dinner at a restaurant inside a colonial house dating from the 1,800’s. Here we will taste fresh food and produce from the nearby farms with rum-infused drinks and a band that will make us want to dance before and after dinner. Later in the evening we will visit yet another iconic place where you can dance if you wish! (B, L, D)

DAY 10
DAY 10 Monday: TRINIDAD

Adventure time again! Make sure to have your beach gear and sunscreen with you today, because our first stop will be snorkeling in Guajimico, considered one of the best places for snorkeling and diving. Guajimico means ‘place of the fishes’ in the language of indigenous tribes that once lived here. We will snorkel with a guide in this colorful coral ridge and come back hungry to enjoy our Cuban-Fusion meal at the latest paladar in Trinidad. After lunch, we will ride up to the Escambray mountains, all the way up to Guanavra where we will have an easy hike through the tropical forest of Topes. This place is ideal for bird watching, and if you’ve ever dreamt of jumping into crystal clear lakes and chasing waterfalls, today is the day your dream comes true! We will have time to enjoy a swim at a beautiful waterfall in the middle of this tropical paradise. Here, we will also learn about the endemic species as well as the connection of this area to the history of the Cuban revolution. We will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure by the beach, sunbathing and relaxing at The Grill. Dinner tonight will be a homecooked meal at our accommodation. (B, L, D)

DAY 11
DAY 11 Tuesday: TRINIDAD – CIENFUEGOS – TRINIDAD

This morning we will drive from Trinidad to Cienfuegos, a colonial city on Cuba’s south coast. Upon arrival we will embark on a boat that will take us around the harbor of Cienfuegos for fantastic views of the Caribbean waters. A delicious fresh seafood lunch will be served, giving you the most memorable experience of Cuba seen from the sea. After lunch we will enjoy a walking tour and see the Cathedral de la Purisima as well as the magical Botanical Gardens. We will return to Trinidad later in the afternoon with time at leisure before going out for more fun with Cuban music and an amazing dinner at a local restaurant. (B, L, D)

DAY 12
DAY 12 Wednesday: TRINIDAD – SANTA CLARA – HAVANA

Today we go to Santa Clara, the capital of the central Cuban province and famous for its revolutionary landmarks. Our first visit will be to the Che Guevara memorial and later we will have lunch in a local restaurant that pays respects to the Santa Clara history through its décor and many interesting photos, as well as unique uniforms. Afterward, we continue on our way to Havana and check into our hotel. Later tonight, we’ll have dinner with modern Cuban cuisine and a late-night drink with dancing at the VIP lounge of the Fabrica del Arte. (B, L, D)

DAY 13
DAY 13 Thursday: EXPLORE HAVANA

Our last day in Cuba will be dedicated to walking in the footsteps of Hemmingway. We will visit his villa in the outskirts of Havana, untouched since Hemingway left in 1960. We will see hundreds of personal belongings, his large swimming pool, the Wheeler boat he used to fish, the three-story tower with a spectacular view, and much more. We will learn about the writer’s life in Cuba and Cuba’s history at the time he lived here. On the way back, we will visit Cojimar, a small, picturesque fishing village that actually inspired Hemingway to write the famous novel “The Old Man and the Sea” and to whose fishermen he dedicated his Nobel Prize. As we finalize the Hemingway tour, we will have an opportunity to see some of the most spectacular views of the city from the El Morro fort across the harbor from Havana! Our next stop will be lunch at Ajicao Café for a special meal before returning to our hotel with time at leisure. We will gather in the evening one last time and head to our restaurant where we have a fabulous farewell dinner with amazing dishes, Cuban music, rum and cigars! (B, L, D)

DAY 14
DAY 14 Friday: DEPART HAVANA

Today you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport in time for your flight. (B)

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