Destination: Caribbean | Duration: 8 days | Call to Personalize your Custom Journey
An island expedition focused on history, art, architecture, nature and cultural exchanges with the local Cuban people. The tour has a very diverse itinerary featuring comfortable accommodations, understanding and supporting Cuban people and tasty Cuban cuisine. It’s all the reasons why travelers love Cuba.
Can Americans travel to Cuba? Yes. All Cuba tours are legally compliant with U.S. State Department requirements, proper paperwork is provided, and you are accompanied by a knowledgeable and experienced Cuban guide. Legal travel to Cuba has never been this easy!
Day 1: Bienvenidos a Habana!
Travel to Cuba begins with a warm welcome in Havana. Your concierge will greet you at Havana’s José Martí International Airport. He or she will take you through the immigration line, assist in locating your luggage and wait as you pass through an expedited customs lane. In the airport arrivals lobby, another warm welcome from your Cuban guide, North American tour leader and driver.
Relish in the views of one of the oldest and most stunning cities in the New World on the way to your hotel. In the heart of Havana’s cultural district, the hotel staff receives you with a welcome drink while your luggage is being delivered to your room. After settling in, enjoy your first taste of island cuisine at an arrival dinner prepared by the hotel’s restaurant chef.
Day 2: Old Havana and its Residents
Greet the day with a tasty breakfast. Then visit Cuba’s greatest visual masterpieces spanning three centuries at Havana’s museum of modern art – Palacio de Bellas Artes. Sections are devoted to landscape, religious subjects and narrative scenes of Cuban life. Together the exhibits account for the richness of the island’s Spanish, French, Chinese, African and Aboriginal cultural roots.
Afterwards, go on a walking tour of four historic plazas that make Havana unique. These plazas contain the largest collection of Spanish colonial-era architecture in the Americas. Enjoy lunch in Old Havana then participate in an open group discussion led by a longtime member of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba. The theme is “Cuban Society Today.” The workshop is a freewheeling opportunity to exchange ideas about Cuban culture and US-Cuba relations. American guests consider this close encounter a tour highlight.
Dinner at a Madrid-inspired menu offers a variety of international food with distinctly Cuban touches. Afterwards, attend the fabulous Buena Vista Social tour performance. Though the original social club shut down in the early 1960s, the Buena Vista Social Club’s influence in music still lives on to this day.
Day 3: Natural Splendor of Cuba Tour
Today’s highlight is an excursion to the amazing Las Terrazas region in the Sierra del Rosario mountain range. Las Terrazas is a vibrant self-sustaining eco-community. Learn about their successes in reforestation, historical preservation, environmental balance and a good life. Meet local artists and craft workers in their homes and studios. Visit a local school, walk the incredible ruins of a French Coffee Plantation, meet environmental scientists and learn the principles and practices that combined serve to sustain the region.
Enjoy lunch at an open-air restaurant on the freshwater shore of the Río San Juan, a lush tropical paradise with traditional country cuisine. This jungle-like forest area offers an opportunity for birding and plant identification.
Back in Havana, your guide will offer you recommendations for restaurants and entertainment to enjoy on your own.
Day 4: Organic Farm, Hemingway House
Visit the UBPC Vivero Organopónico Alamar today. It’s one of the most successful urban organic farms in Cuba raising ornamental plants, medicinal herbs, and sprouting millions of seedlings for neighboring private and collective farms. The Alamar cooperative has over 400 members who together supply a vast range of healthy, organic vegetables to nearby communities.
After lunch, visit Finca Vigía (Lookout Farm) where Ernest Hemingway spent much time writing. The house has been preserved just as it was when Hemingway lived there. You’ll see his personal objects, thousands of books and photographs, as well as some “trophies” bagged on his frequent safaris.
An important highlight of your trip to Cuba is meeting local Cubans. Head out for dinner on your own tonight and find out how easy it is to make conversation when you visit Cuba.
Day 5: Trinidad de Cuba and Cienfuegos
After breakfast, journey to Trinidad. Stop in beautiful Cienfuegos on the way. Founded by French immigrants it is renowned for its stunning historical buildings. Walk the main Plaza Martí where the ceremony of its foundation took place. Visit neoclassical buildings such as the Cathedral built with donations from wealthy slave owning families – enduring names like Lebranc, Albi, and Terry. The marvelously rendered stained glass mural of the Twelve Apostles imported from Paris will awe you.
After lunch, continue to the historic city of Trinidad. Following time to freshen up, the hotel will host a welcome dinner. This evening your guide will introduce you to locals at the Casa de la Música or Casa de la Trova – both great sound venues with opportunities to chat and dance with Cubans and your travel companions.
Day 6: Mountaintop Jungle Exploration
This morning, board Soviet Army trucks to climb the peaks of Topes de Collantes in the Escambray Mountains. The Escambrays comprise the island’s second highest range at 3,700 feet. Dramatic slopes are swathed in Caribbean pines, ancient tree ferns, bamboo and eucalyptus. It’s the perfect environment to spot the Cuban parakeet, Fernandina’s flicker, the Cuban parrot, the Cuban pygmy owl (about the size of a robin) and the Gundlach’s hawk.
Upon arrival at Hacienda Codina, an old Spanish coffee plantation, we’ll enjoy a traditional Cuban lunch. Take a walking tour of the area to admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape and the animals and plants it hosts. After some exploration by foot, descend the mountain and return to Trinidad. This evening is free to explore the sights and sounds of Trinidad, or entertainment options and amenities at your resort.
Day 7: Historic Trinidad de Cuba
Explore the historic central plaza of Trinidad de Cuba with its 16th century edifices that are the most pristine and unblemished on the island. Visit Plaza Mayor, Museum of Architecture, Museum of the Romantic Era, the main town parish and other amazing sites, some dating back centuries. We will wander the streets of Trinidad’s historical center and examine the oldest architecture in the Americas with local Cubans. You’ll immediately see why UNESCO declared the city a World Heritage Site in 1988.
Trinidad is well known for its pottery makers. We’ll meet a family that has been passing on the tradition for generations: the Santanders. We spend time talking with these artisans and perhaps learning some secrets of their craft. After lunch at a local paladar in Trinidad, we will drive back to our Havana, Cuba travel hotel and have some time to freshen up in preparation for a fabulous farewell group dinner the heart of Vedado.
Day 8: Farewell and Visit Cuba Again Soon
Breakfast at our hotel is followed by your transfer to Havana’s José Martí International airport.
Keep in touch with your new Cuban friends – exchange email addresses! Bring some business cards to pass out. Take pictures and keep a journal. We hope you will visit Cuba again soon!