Mojito’s are delicious. And available in abundance in Cuba. Yesssss. Start and finish in Havana, swing through Santa Clara (aka Che Guevara town), Trinidad (aka beach, markets, fun time town), and Vinales (aka tobacco town). How to make a mojito: crush mint leaves, caster sugar and lime in a glass; fill with ice; pour white rum over the top and add soda. Alternatively, come here and ask a local to make it for you.
Travel Dates: From 24/01/2017 to 01/01/2019
Duration: 8 days
- There’s a world of difference between Cuban life in the city and in the country, and you’ll learn all about it with a walking tour of Havana and strolls down the rural dirt roads of Vinales, watching the tractors, vintage cars and horse drawn carriages pass by
Discover the man behind the t-shirt with a visit to revolutionary Che Gevara’s Mausoleum and Museum
Music’s the fuel that makes Cuba move, so fill up on the rhythm and learn to move like a local
Get a hands-on experience with one of the country’s most famous exports; a tobacco farmer will teach you how to roll a cigar with his prestigious harvest
Standard guesthouse (7 nights)
Group Size: 1 - 16
Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
Havana - Boxing circuit training session
Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion
Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
Santa Clara - Derailed train
Santa Clara - Orientation walk
Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
Trinidad - Orientation walk
Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
Vinales - Informal Spanish lesson
Vinales - Orientation Walk
Welcome to Havana. A complimentary transfer is included with your trip. Kick off your adventure in Cuba’s gloriously old-school capital. There'll be a Welcome Meeting tonight at 6pm where you'll get all the info you need and when we'll collect your insurance and next of kin details. Please look for a note in your room or ask the guesthouse owner where the leader has left it for you (otherwise the leader will call you at the guesthouse to advise details). Until then you'll be dodging ’50s Cadillacs as you stroll the Melancon and smile at every local you pass. Random facts about Cuba: one in four cars on the road is a Russian Lada, there are no poisonous snakes, sex-change operations are free and legal. Practical stuff: there are two types of currency here; you'll use convertibles (CUC), while the locals use pesos (CUP). Hola, Havana!
Today you will drive inland (approximately 3.5-4 hours) to the historic city of Santa Clara. You've seen his face on so many t-shirts and posters, but what do you really know about Che Guevara? Well it'll be a lot more after today, as Santa Clara is home to his mausoleum and museum. Stand in the shadow of his statue in Revolutionary Plaza and look through his letters, firearms and photos on display. You will also have an orientation tour around the town and visit a de-railed train that was crucial for the revolution. Next, head south to touch down in Trinidad (approximately 2 hours). This city is everything you imagine Cuba to be – horses trot down cobblestone streets, old men strum guitars on doorsteps and stretches of white sand are ripe for exploring. Set off on your own exploration of Trinidad - maybe climb the bell tower of Central Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos for epic views of this well-preserved colonial city, or sip on a canchanchara (Trinidad's signature drink of lemon juice, honey and Santero Cuban rum served in a glazed ceramic pot). You'll have two days here to explore, so there's time to take it easy.
Today's a free day in Trinidad so you can get busy with some optional activities, or just get your chilled beach fix, (maybe with some snorkelling at Playa Ancon too). Just be careful you don't stand on a sea urchin! There are some great Spanish-style churches to check out in town, loads of local markets to browse, and treks to make in the nearby Sierra del Escambray mountains. You can also hire a bike to discover the local area but be careful, Cuba's bicycles, like its cars, are vintage! Maybe throw yourself into the local culture with an informal Spanish or music lesson, a casual salsa class, or a folklore show at one of the town's numerous open-air venues.
Today get prepared for a long day of travel to Vinales (approximately 7 hours total). On the way you'll get a chance to walk around Cienfuegos, plus you’ll stop at the peaceful sandy arc of Playa Giron (approximately 2.5 hours), better known as the Bay of Pigs. It was famously here that the CIA sponsored a failed invasion by exile forces in 1961. Today you’ll discover the story of the Cuban victory at the Museo Giron, which holds displays of various military equipment and photos of the men who fought here. It’s not just the history that’s the attraction here – with crystal clear Caribbean waters, a deep underwater wall, and an outstanding variety of coral and fish, it’s a haven for snorkelers. Strap on a mask and some flippers and take a dive into sapphire-coloured water teeming with tropical marine life. Next, on to Vinales which is in one of the most scenic parts of the country, where tobacco and sugarcane fields lie side by side, locals chill in their porches, and the mojitos are made with honey. If you like your cigars, then practice blowing smoke rings from your porch seat overlooking the giant bubbles of limestone that cover the landscape.
Today a local guide will take you around the farmlands and crops of the area to learn more about the tobacco industry. You will see the starting point of origin of tobacco that will become world famous cigars. A farmer will swiftly roll one up fresh for you as well! Later, you will have an informal Spanish lesson. Then enjoy a free afternoon in Vinales. Stroll to the main square and the 19th century Casa de la Cultura, the museum, and the next door Galeria de Arte with a collection of paintings by local artists. There are also many other optional activities on offer here. There's a beach excursion to Cayo Jutias, a visit to the Santo Tomas cave complex (one of the biggest in all of the Americas), and the Cueva del Indio cave walk and boat trip. Or maybe jump on a bicycle and do some exploring of your own.
Take the free day to explore the stunning landscapes of the valley of Vinales. The valley feels remote, like something out of Jurassic Park, with huge mounds of rock covered in vegetation thrusting out of the earth at random spots. Take advantage of one the many optional activities to help you enjoy this picturesque location - hike though tobacco fields or up into the mountains and to Cueva de San Miguel and El Palenque de los Cimarrones.
It's time to head back to the capital today (approximately 2 hours). On the way back in you will stop by Revolution square with an option to climb the Jose Marti Tower for a better view of the city. Then it is time to hit the pavement with a walking tour of old Havana. You will finish the tour in one of the original open air boxing gyms in old Havana. Cuba is well renowned for their fighting skills and technique so get involved for a boxing circuit training session with some of the best. No contact of course! Later tonight maybe drop by the legendary Buena Vista Social Club and take the chance to toast the end of your trip with a mojito. You can also join the hundreds of locals lining up to eat a Coppelia ice-cream, and then shake the night away with one last salsa lesson at Casa de la Musica.
Today is departure day. As there are no activities planned for today, you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Check-out time from the guesthouse is by 10 am.
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