A Taste of Cuba
A lively cultural week featuring the Island’s must-see highlights and
Reviews 23 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Leisurely
Group Size Small Group
Beginning and ending in the vibrant city of Havana, this trip visits four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in one week. The Vinales Valley, Old Havana and the colourful colonial towns of Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Along the way discover Cuba’s fascinating history, learn how to dance Cuban salsa like a local and have a go at making the perfect mojito!
* All breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
* Arrival and departure transfers (if booking incl. flights)
* Tourist card visa for UK residents
Land only clients will meet the group at the start hotel.*Standard Hotel*
To Vinales Valley; walk through tobacco plantations.
Today we travel to Vinales Valley, in the west of Cuba. Famous for its rolling tobacco plantations and collection of limestone karsts dotted along the valley, it’s not hard to see why Vinales was awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status. Joined by a local resident we walk through the ‘Valley of Silence’ to soak up rural Cuban life as farmers tend to their crops using traditional farming methods. We’ll also visit a tobacco farm to learn about one of the island’s most famous exports and meet with a local tobacco farmer to help understand the growing process. After checking into our overnight accommodation in Casa Particulares, we visit an organic farm in the hills of Viñales for a sunset dinner overlooking the valley.*Casas Particulares*
To Cienfuegos via the Bay of Pigs.
This morning we set off on a long drive eastward to Cienfuegos. We stop for lunch at the Bay of Pigs at a small beachfront restaurant with a large Cuban welcome. The speciality here is fresh fish caught by local fisherman just off the coast. Time permitting, you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the sea. This region of the Zapata Peninsula is a National Park and swamp providing a habitat for some of the most important bird species in Cuba. We are joined by a local nature expert who will introduce us to the natural landscape and characteristics of the area. We will also have some time to explore the Giron Museum, which exhibits items from the failed invasion by CIA-backed Cuban Americans. Afterwards we will carry on our transfer to Cienfuegos. The city of Cienfuegos is full of architectural delights and Cuban spirit, with a beautiful main square and restored buildings. One of the best ways to get around is by Bici Taxi, a fun tour using Cuba’s eco-friendly and typical city transport. Each Bici Taxi can accommodate two people and will be pedalled by a local resident (most of whom like to introduce their guests to reggaeton music!) The Bici Taxi tour is a great time to talk to local Cienfuegos residents and have a go at practising your Spanish. Afterwards we check into our casas for the night. There are some great paladares in town and the ‘malecon’ is usually a lively place to soak up the atmosphere with locals.Today’s travel time is approx. 7 hours.*Casas Particulares*
To Trinidad UNESCO World Heritage Site via La Vega Community; walking tour of
This morning we depart Cienfuegos and drive down the coast to Trinidad, stopping at La Vega community en route. During our visit we’ll discover some of the communal services such as the ration shop, a farm and a medical facility.Trinidad has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988 and is perhaps the best-preserved colonial town on the island. Exploring Trinidad can feel like entering a time warp, its colourful, cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisking us back. There are many interesting museums housed in old colonial buildings and music drifts through the streets and plazas, bringing the town to life. We have a walking tour with a local resident who will give us an insider perspective of what it’s like to live in Trinidad, before visiting the Santander Family and their artisan pottery workshop. There will be the opportunity to have a go under the direction of this skilled Cuban family.We’ll stay overnight in charming Casa Particulares, private Bed and Breakfast accommodation in local Cuban houses. Our dinner this evening will be at a private paladar where a local collective of musicians will perform interpretations of classic Cuban trova songs. This is sure to be a lively evening and a wonderful opportunity to enjoy Cuban music with its distinct rhythms.*Casas Particulares*
Discover Topes de Collantes N.P.; cocktail and salsa class in Trinidad.
Today we visit Topes de Collantes National Park in the Escambray Mountains, with its stunning waterfalls, nature and scenery. We are joined by a local Cuban who will teach us about the ecology of the national park and lead us on a short walk to a viewpoint with wonderful views. Afterwards we have an authentic Cuban lunch prepared for us. Back in Trinidad we meet a Cuban barman who is an expert at making the perfect mojito! They will give a mojito making lesson and everyone in the group will have a go at mixing their own in the authentic Cuban way. Afterwards we’ll take part in a salsa class with Cuban dance partners. There will be one dance partner for each member of the group, to assist with teaching the correct salsa moves. Trinidad is known for its nightlife, so after we’ve learnt the basics of salsa we’ll go to the town’s ‘Casa de la Trova’ live music venue to listen to local musicians playing authentic Cuban music. This venue is always lively and sociable, with plenty of local Cuban’s keen to let us practice our dancing with them! *Casa Particulares*
To Manaca Iznaga and Che Guevara's Mausoleum in Santa Clara; to Havana.
As we have a long transfer today, we will bring packed lunches with us from the hotel. Leaving Trinidad we head to Manaca Iznaga, where we learn about the sugar growing history surrounding the Valle de los Ingenios, a hugely important industry for Cuba during the 18th and 19th centuries. There is an artisanal market to wander around which showcases typical handmade crafts in the region, and in nearby Condado we’ll visit the homes of two Cubans who make textiles and produce honey for the Manaca Iznaga Artisan Market.Our next stop is Santa Clara, the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution in December 1958, just before Fidel Castro took Havana. Che Guevara and his troops ambushed an armoured train carrying arms to Santiago de Cuba and this was a major turning point in the Revolution. We visit the Mausoleum of Che Guevara and his comrades who died in Bolivia before driving back to Havana for dinner at a private paladar.Today’s travel time is approx. 5 hours*Standard Hotel*
Havana city tour on foot and by classic car.
This morning we set off for a walking tour of old and new Havana, Cuba’s capital and the largest city in the Caribbean. Havana is a busy, bustling, energetic capital. The area of Old Havana is often described as a living museum, with its marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces. This is the finest surviving Spanish colonial complex in the Americas. Preserved by a combination of minimal war damage, post-revolution restoration work and the millions of dollars invested since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. During our tour we visit a ration store, food market and artisan market.There is no better way to see Havana than by classic car, and so in the early evening we continue our tour of the capital in style, travelling in immaculately looked after classic cars in vibrant colours. Visiting both the old and new areas of the city, we discover the distinct neighbourhoods of the capital, stopping at points of interest for explanations and stories. Feel free to ask questions about why the streets of Cuba are filled with classic American cars manufactured in the 1950’s and how on earth the owners manage to maintain them!*Standard Hotel*
This morning is free to relax or do some last minute sightseeing in Havana’s old town before those on group flights transfer to the airport in the afternoon.**