Cuba

Cuba

A captivating and complex jewel

Renowned as being one of the last bastions of Communism, in many ways Cuba is stuck in a 1950s time warp. Any sense of modernity stagnated following the Cuban Revolution, as evidenced by its iconic vintage cars, abundance of horses and carts, absence of advertising and lack of globalised corporations. Whilst a recent ease in restrictions to travellers means that it’s easier than ever to explore this remarkable island, it still holds a unique charm.

Truly a country of contradictions, this is in essence what makes Cuba so captivating. Lively, yet laid back, this is a place where colonial mansions and Art Deco elegance lie side by side with Brutalist tower blocks; decaying heirlooms nevertheless exude a sense of grandiosity; music and dance reveal a diverse cultural melting pot. A plethora of pastel colours dominates the architecture in many of the ramshackle towns, which feel magical and theatrical despite their faded grandeur.

Cuba’s exuberance extends beyond its complexity and culture, however. Lush natural landscapes burst forth with fecundity, harbouring sparkling waterfalls amongst verdant valleys. Its coastal scenery is nothing short of spectacular: idyllic cays and pristine bays abound, where bright white sand contrasts with startlingly turquoise waters.

HIGHLIGHTS OF CUBA

Cuba’s history, culture and landscapes are a step back in time

  • Havana – absorb this intriguing and unique Latin city
  • Viñales Valley – explore the El Indio caves and Cuba's tobacco plantations
  • Las Terrazas – enjoy Cuba’s outstanding natural beauty
  • Santa Clara – discover the story of the Cuban Revolution
  • Trinidad – step back in time in this colourful colonial town
  • El Nicho National Park – wonder at the beautiful forests dotted with waterfalls
  • Cienfuegos – relax in Cuba’s ‘Pearl of the South’
  • Bay of Pigs – learn about the history of the failed CIA invasion
  • Guamá – see how the island’s earliest settlers lived
  • Return flights included
  • 5 nights accommodation in a selection of suitable hotels
  • 2 nights accommodation in a casa particular
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner included at a variety of restaurants and hotels

From £2,499
per person

based on two sharing in a twin/double room, with a minimum of 25 passengers travelling in a specific month

Best time to go

January, February, March

Suggested Hotel

A varied selection of suitable accommodation

As this tour takes in several locations, the accommodation is spread across the island to avoid excessive travel times. The cost of this itinerary includes:

  • 2 nights in a hotel in Havana
  • 1 night in an eco-hotel in Las Terrazas
  • 2 nights at a casa particular in Trinidad
  • 1 night at a hotel in Cienfuegos
  • 1 further night at a hotel in Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included each day, in a combination of the hotels and local restaurants (with the exception of dinner on the first night)

Attractions:

  • Old Havana
    Street sidelined by decaying buildings in Old Havana with a big cuban flag

    Explore the iconic sights of Havana’s old town – known as La Habana Viejo – on a tour with a local guide who knows the city’s secrets. UNESCO-listed, this neighbourhood is a seductive combination of audacious, grand palaces and a sense of deterioration. Vivid with street life, wrought-iron curlicues frame this ravaged yet beautiful district which feels both intimate and atmospheric.

  • Cigar Factory
    Cigars rich smith z E3 K2 V Wy N Rk unsplash

    Synonymous with Havana, Cuban cigars are a premium product uniquely crafted by hand to this day. Earthy and intoxicating, a factory visit is a fascinating insight into this historic Cuban industry.

  • Museum of the Revolution
    Cienfuegos elcarito qs Jw XIF1 N Pw unsplash

    The Museo de la Revolucion presents a view of the events leading up to and following the Cuban Revolution, and harbours scars and relics from this period. Housed in the former Presidential Palace, this early 20th century construction evokes the grandeur of Versailles and the glamour of Tiffany’s, particularly in its glimmering Hall of Mirrors.

  • Vintage Car Tour
    Malecon Havana flo p af P2 E Eotwv I unsplash

    Enjoy a chauffeur-driven excursion through the city in one of its beautiful 1950s motors. After seeing the enormous image of Che Guevara overlooking Revolution Square, allow these vintage American icons to sweep you down the Malecón – Havana’s quintessential seafront promenade – as well as visiting the elegant Miramar district and the Bosque de la Havana, an incredible tropical park known as the ‘lungs of Havana’.

  • Viñales Valley
    Vinales simon matzinger a Zjw7x I3 QAA unsplash

    The enchanting Viñales Valley is a vision of agricultural tranquillity. Dramatic limestone monoliths, known as mogotes, rise evocatively from the mist of this picturesque and prehistoric landscape. A sleepy pace of life exists amongst the tobacco fields, where the richly russet-coloured earth is still ploughed by plodding oxen.

  • Las Terrazas

    Teeming tropical forests and early coffee plantations make up this Biosphere Reserve, which is lush with rushing waterfalls and glistening pools. An area of outstanding natural beauty, birds and orchids flourish in this important ecological area.

  • Santa Clara

    A creative and cultural town with a colonial centre, Santa Clara is also an important location in terms of the history of the Revolution. The liberation of the city marked the turning point against the Basista regime, and today it is home to a stark memorial, mausoleum and museum which is the resting place of Che Guevara and several of his comrades, as well as the Tren Blindado – the in situ remains of the derailed government train overthrown by the Revolutionaries.

  • Manaca Iznaga Tower

    This bold lookout neighbouring an hacienda dates back to the mid-18th century, when it was used to watch over the slaves who were put to work in the sugar mill here. Today, it affords wonderful views and stands witness to the history of slavery in this region.

  • Trinidad
    Trinidad de Cuba a travelling landmark in the Caribbean Aerial view of Trinidad skyline including the Convent of Saint Assisi which is currently used as the Museum of the Fight Against Bandits

    Beautiful Trinidad, like Havana, also feels frozen in time – but a little further back, to the 1800s. Trinidad’s colourful, cobbled streets were once the home of wealthy sugar barons. Explore its historic centre on a walking tour, and learn about 19th century family life in this UNESCO site’s history museum. Trinidad is also known for its vibrant live music.

  • El Nicho National Park
    El Nicho oscar ardevol t Kn B30 F EN0 unsplash

    The idyllic park of El Nicho is a pristine gem, secluded amongst dense forest and looming mountains. Small cascades and sparkling pools are surrounded by abundant wildlife and an unspoilt sense of tranquillity.

  • Cienfuegos
    Cienfuegos flo p 4j W Jl Cve Cqw unsplash

    Known as the ‘Pearl of the South’, this graceful coastal city has a French influence. Lavish, classical buildings enjoy a location by a glorious natural bay. Tour the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens: one of the largest in the Americas, these extensive tropical gardens are home to over 2,000 species.

  • Bay of Pigs

    Now an aquatic paradise, this bay was the site of the ill-fated invasion of Cuba backed by the CIA. Visit the Museo Girón, whose exhibits present the details of the skirmish and give an insight into one of the major world events of the 1960s.

  • Guamá

    Not far from the lovely beach town of Playa Larga, Guamá is a replica of a traditional village of the Taíno, who were the original settlers of the island. Located inland on a string of tiny islands amongst the mangroves, this replica village depicting the lives of early settlers is reached by an exhilarating boat journey.

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