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Discovery Cuba

Plaza Mayor
Convento de San Francisco

Day 1

Arrival in Havana

Area Information: Havana 

Havana was founded in 1519 as an assembly point for ships taking silver to Spain and had a great strategic and commercial importance. The Old City (Havana Vieja), a Unesco world heritage site, is currently being restored to its former glory with beautiful baroque churches, palaces and convents lining its cobbled streets and squares. Classic American cars, glamorous cabaret shows, intoxicating Cuban music and even the state of decay of some of the colonial buildings, battling against the corrosive effects of the sea air, all add to the charm and character of this enigmatic city.

Accommodation: Iberostar Parque Central for 2 nights

The Iberostar Parque Central is located within a walking distance of all the main sights of Old Havana and is surrounded by numerous famous buildings, such as the Capitol, the Garcia Lorca Theatre and the Museum of Modern Arts. The main building, decorated in colonial style, offers classic rooms and is connected through an internal passage to a more contemporary Tower wing. Each part features a lobby bar, rooftop swimming pool and a terrace with panoramic views. Dining options include Mediterranean & Italian restaurants and an elegant Steak House. A choice of Classic or Contemporary room can be requested, but the hotel will not confirm a specific room prior to your arrival.

Meals: None except those served on the aircraft

Day 2

Excursion: Morning tour of Havana including a cigar factory.

The tour will start with a visit to a cigar factory where you will be able to see the process of hand-rolling the high-quality Havana cigars. Take a walking tour through the twisting streets of Old Havana including the restored Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city, the stately Plaza Vieja with its grand balconied buildings and the Cathedral.

Afternoon at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Excursion: Full-day tour to Viñales and Pinar del Rio with lunch.

This morning, drive out of the city towards the western tip of the island through unusual landscapes of mogotes, caves, mountains and tobacco plantations.

Visit Pinar del Rio, a lively small provincial town with neo-classical houses. Local vendors often gather under the pillars of these houses, selling a range of goods and snacks. At a small cigar factory, you will see the different processes involved in making the world famous Cuban cigars.

Continue to the Viñales Valley. Viñales is a charming old town in a valley in the Sierra de los Organos surrounded by the limestone hills called mogotes. After lunch, visit the Indian Cave, including a short boat ride past the beautiful rock formations.

Continue to Las Terrazas late this afternoon.

Area Information: Las Terrazas

Established as a sustainable rural development project in 1994, Las Terrazas takes its name from the forested hillside terraces at the eastern part of the Pinar del Rio province. Part of the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve, it comprises 5,000 hectares of lush forested hills with walks and waterfalls, ruins of old French coffee plantations and a local rural community. Initially aimed at environmental conservation and sustaining the local community, the area now provides a glimpse into Cuba's true rural landscape.

Accommodation: La Moka Hotel for 2 nights

La Moka Hotel is a simple hotel set amid the forested hills of Las Terrazas. It features 26 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, a multi-tiered atrium lobby built around a large tree, a restaurant and a small bar with beautiful views over the valley.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

Day at leisure or take optional excursions in to the surrounding countryside.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 5

Road Journey: Drive to Trinidad via Peninsula de Zapata and Cienfuegos, a journey time of approximately 10 hours.

Take a boat trip through the mangroves of the Peninsula de Zapata and drive past Playa Giron, site of the 1961 invasion.

Continue to Cienfuegos.

Area Information: Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos, known as the Pearl of the South, was founded by French settlers from Louisiana in 1819 and is located on a beautiful bay on the southern coast of Cuba, some 250 km east of Havana. One of the chief seaports of Cuba, it is a centre for the sugar trade and is surrounded by one of the most picturesque and fertile regions in the country.

Excursion: Short city tour.

Take a short tour of the centre of Cienfuegos, including the main square, where the main attraction is the ornate Tomas Terry Theatre, built by a rich sugar mill owner, which contains a marble lobby and frescoes.

Road Journey: Drive from Cienfuegos to Trinidad, a journey time of approximately 1.5 hours.

Area Information: Trinidad

Trinidad was founded in 1518 by Diego Velazquez as a base for expeditions into the New World and it was from here that Hernan Cortes set out to conquer Mexico. The city became rich due to sugar exportation, however after the sugar price crashed in the 19th century many wealthy families left and the town fell in to decline. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an excellent example of the early days of the Spanish colonization, with preserved buildings, cobbled streets and hardly a trace of modern architecture. The centre is only accessible by foot, which makes it a great city to walk around.

Accommodation: Iberostar Grand Hotel for 3 nights

The Iberostar Grand Hotel is located on one of the charming plazas of Trinidad and is within walking distance of all the main sights in the old city. Ideal for the discerning traveler and situated in a recently restored colonial building, the hotel offers 40 tastefully decorated rooms and suites, an excellent restaurant serving Cuban specialities and international cuisine, and free internet access. The hotel does not have a swimming pool. The Ancon beaches are a 15 to 20-minute drive away.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

Excursion: Morning city tour.

Visit the Plaza Major, a small elegant square that contains the cathedral and the Museo Romantico. This museum was the family home of the Conde de Brunet family from 1830 to 1860, and contains a collection of frescos, porcelain, paintings and ornate furniture. Visit the Cathedral and wander through the cobblestone streets of Trinidad. The tour will finish at La Canchanchara, where you can hear live music.

Afternoon at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 7

Excursion: Morning visit to the Valley of the Sugar Mills.

Just outside Trinidad is a lookout with views over the Valley of the Sugar Mills, the Escambray mountains, and the sea. 15 kilometres further on stands the Tower of a Manaca Iznaga, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a 43-metre-high tower dating from 1845 that was built to keep a lookout over the slaves working in the sugar plantations.

Afternoon at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 8

Road Journey: Drive from Trinidad to Camaguey, a journey of approximately 5 hours.

Area Information: Camaguey

Founded in 1527, the Camaguey area became prosperous in the 17th century due at first to the large cattle ranches and then later, sugar plantations. Pirates attacked the town on many occasions, and the streets are laid out to create a maze effect designed to foil pirate attacks. This colonial city is also associated with many generations of revolutionaries.

Accommodation: Gran Hotel for 1 night

Situated in the colonial heart of Camaguey, the Gran Hotel is a simple hotel with 77 standard rooms, a rooftop restaurant with views over the city and a small swimming pool.

Excursion: Short city tour.

Visit Camaguey, where there is a mixture of architecture ranging from 17th to 19th centuries in the colonial centre and where some buildings are currently being restored.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 9

Road Journey: Travel to Santiago de Cuba, with a short visit to Bayamo en route. Total journey time is approximately 7 hours.

Area Information: Santiago de Cuba

Santiago is Cuba's second city, and it has more Afro-Caribbean roots than Havana, due to immigration from Haiti and also has some French flavour. The colonial buildings are often better preserved than those in Havana and the city is famous for traditional Cuban music. The city was founded by Diego Velazquez in 1516 and was, for a time, the capital city of Cuba. Attacked by British and French pirates, a castle and fort were built. It is also known as the heroic city as it has been a cradle of Cuban Revolution over the centuries, including Castro's Revolution of the 1950s.

Accommodation: Melia Santiago for 2 nights

The Melia Santiago is a large modern hotel in central Santiago. Modern rooms all have garden or city views and there is a good range of facilities including 3 swimming pools and a choice of 4 restaurants and bars.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10

Excursion: Morning Santiago de Cuba city tour

Visit the historical centre of Santiago de Cuba, including the Cathedral, the 16th century Casa de Diego Velazquez, the oldest house in Cuba, and the Moncada Barracks, which Castro attacked in 1953. It is now a museum containing exhibits from the revolution. Continue out of Santiago to the Castillo del Morro, a cliff top fort housing a museum of the sea, piracy and local history. Pirate tales here include those of the Frenchman Jacques de Sores and Englishman Henry Morgan. The fascinating fort has many levels and is an impressive construction.

Excursion: Afternoon visit to the Sierra Maestra Mountains.

The Sierra Maestra mountain range surrounds the city and from the mountain slopes there are views to the hills and the sea. Ascend a winding road to the top, with viewpoints on the way. The Gran Piedra is one of the largest rocks in the world, and from here it is possible to see the whole mountain range and sometimes Jamaica and Haiti. The climb to the top is 456 stairs and is quite arduous.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11

Road Journey: Drive to Mayari, a journey of approximately 2 hours.

Area Information: Mayari

The small town of Mayari lies on the river of the same name.  It is close to the Jardin de Pinares National Park, an area of natural beauty with pine forests, mountains and valleys, rivers and waterfalls. It is an ideal place to discover Cuba's lush interior.

Excursion: Short walking tour.

Your guide will take you for a walk in this particularly diverse and unusual part of Cuba, which is less humid than the rest of the country due to its altitude. There is a variety of vegetation, flowers and birdlife to encounter.

An optional visit to the small village of Biran to see Fidel Castro’s family estate can be arranged locally. Please arrange with your guide.

Road Journey: Transfer to Holguin, a journey of approximately 2 hours.

Area Information: Holguin

Holguin is located on Cuba's north-east coast, with lovely long beaches next to azure blue seas. There are a number of international style beach resorts in the province.

Accommodation: Villa Mirador de Mayabe for 1 night

Located on a hilltop outside the city of Holguin, Villa Mirador de Mayabe is a 3-star hotel with nice views of the surrounding lush valley. There are 24 rooms with modern conveniences and set amongst abundant vegetation. Facilities include a restaurant, barbeque area, two bars and a swimming pool with panoramic views.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 12

Road Journey: Travel from Holguin to Sancti Spiritus, a journey of approximately 5 hours.

Area Information: Sancti Spiritus

Sancti Spiritus is a small colonial town dating back to 1514. The Parroquial Mayor del Espiritu Santo church is among the oldest buildings, but the most splendid is the Museum of Colonial Art, a great mansion that once belonged to the Valle-Iznaga clan and has original furniture and paintings on display. Another attraction in town is the Yayabo Bridge, which was built of stone in Romanesque style in 1825 over the river Yayabo.

Accommodation: Hostal el Rijo for 1 night

Hostal El Rijo is a small hotel located in a restored, light-blue colonial mansion on Plaza Honorato del Castillo. The two-storey structure, decorated with old photos of Sancti Spiritus, houses 16 spacious rooms, some of which have balconies overlooking the square and the church tower. There is a lovely internal courtyard with fountain and a small restaurant, and the bar and lounge area open on to the plaza.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 13

Road Journey: Travel to Havana, visiting Santa Clara en route.

Drive to Santa Clara, a journey of approximately 1.5 hours.

The provincial capital of Santa Clara is famous for being the scene of a dramatic turning point in the Cuban revolution. On 29 December 1958, a small guerrilla force under the command of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara descended from the Sierra del Escambray mountains to Santa Clara and fought troops loyal to Batista. Although outnumbered 10 to one, the rebels took control of a heavy armoured train sent to reinforce the troops and set in motion the defeat of Batista, who fled the country shortly afterwards. You will visit the site of the derailed armoured train, which has lain here since the battle of Santa Clara. You will also visit the Monumento Ernesto Che Guevara, a monument, mausoleum and museum dedicated to Che’s life and the battle of Santa Clara (museum and mausoleum are closed on Mondays).

After your visit, continue to Havana, a journey of approximately 3.5 hours.

Accommodation: Iberostar Parque Central for 2 nights

Meals: Breakfast

Day 14

At leisure or take an optional excursion, such as a panoramic tour in a classic American car.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 15

Morning at leisure.  Please note check-out is at 12:00.

Transfer: You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.

Meals: Breakfast

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Reservation Details

Personal Information

Should any of the above conditions not match your criteria, please get in contact with Antonio (London) or Alisont (Havana)

London: (T) +44 20 7265 2025

Havana: (T) +53 7 866 7598