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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.
Transfer: You will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Saratoga for 4 nights (Junior Suite Saratoga Room).
Located on the corner of Prado and Dragones Avenues in Old Havana, the carefully restored Hotel Saratoga is a historic five-star hotel built in neoclassical style, with views over the city's Gran Teatro and Prado. The original hotel of the same name was a fixture on the 1930s social scene, famed for its house orchestra and cocktail parties. Today the hotel continues this tradition and offers 96 rooms and suites with elegant decor in a traditional style with stylish modern twists. It offers discreet service and excellent dining, along with a spectacular rooftop swimming pool.
Remainder of the day at leisure.
Meals:None other than those served on board your flight.
Excursion:Morning walking tour of Havana.
Take a walking tour through the twisting streets of old Havana, visiting the restored Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city, the stately Plaza Vieja with its grand balconied buildings and the cathedral. Finally, learn about the process of making original Cuban rum at the Rum Museum housed in an old colonial mansion declared a cultural patrimony of Havana by Unesco in 1982.
Excursion: Afternoon classic car tour of modern Havana.
Your classic car tour will first take you along the Malecon, Havana's seaside promenade stretching for more than 10km between the city and the sea. Although its beautiful buildings have been relentlessly affected by the sea breezes, the drive is still a popular place for festive parades, car rallies and evening walks. Drive past the exclusive neighbourhood of Miramar with its private mansions and embassies and the Christopher Columbus Cemetery to reach Revolution Square, surrounded by the headquarters of the Cuban Revolutionary Forces, the Communist Party Central Committee and several ministries. Take a short stroll around and see the national hero Jose Marti's marble statue before returning to the centre, past the university and the park adjacent to the Capitolio building.
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.
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.
Return to Havana late this afternoon.
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch.
Day at leisure.
Excursion: Dinner and performance by members of the Buena Vista Social Club.
You will be taken to a local venue for a dinner and evening performance by members of the Buena Vista Social Club. The Buena Vista Social Club was a members club in Havana that held dances and musical activities, becoming a popular location for musicians to meet and play during the 1940s. In the 1990s, nearly 40 years after the club was closed, it inspired composer and guitarist Ry Cooder to gather together a group of Cuban musicians, some of whom were veterans performing at the club during the height of its popularity. The recording and the documentary film that followed, both named the Buena Vista Social Club after the Havana institution, became an international success and sparked a revival of international interest in traditional Cuban music. Nowadays the performances of different musicians under the umbrella of the Buena Vista Social Club still manage to captivate.
Buena Vista Social Club performances are subject to change.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner.
Road Journey: You will be collected at your hotel and driven to Cayo Santa Maria, a journey of approximately 5 hours. This journey is with a Spanish-speaking driver only; you will not be accompanied by a guide.
Area Information: Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Santa Maria is part of a tropical archipelago of small keys linked to the northern coast of Central Cuba by a 50 km long causeway called "El Padraplen". The beautiful island is characterised by crystal clear waters, soft white sand beaches and offshore reefs teaming with marine life.
Accommodation: Melia Buenavista for 5 nights (Junior Suite Royal Service Ocean View Prime Room).
Melia Buenavista is a luxury all-inclusive resort with direct access to three beautiful beaches and coves on Cayo Santa Maria. This adults-only resort offers 104 elegantly decorated Junior Suites and Suites, with garden or ocean views, and is perfect for those looking for an exclusive and intimate retreat. Relax by one of the pools or by the crystal clear water of the Caribbean, or unwind with a treatment at the YHI spa. The resort offers three a la carte restaurants and three bars, while additional facilities include a fitness centre, tennis courts and internet access. Guests can also dine and use the facilities of the other Sol Melia properties located on Cayo Santa Maria.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 6 to Day 9
Days at leisure.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Road Journey: You will be collected at your hotel and driven to Havana, a journey of approximately 5 hours. This journey is with a driver only; you will not be accompanied by a guide.
Accommodation:Hotel Saratoga for 1 night (Junior Suite Saratoga Room).
Transfer: You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.
Meals: Breakfast and those served on board your flight.
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