Old and Modern Havana Tour
Enjoy a walking tour of the colonial district Havana Vieja (Old Havana) accompanied by your private local guide. Learn about the city’s nearly 500-year-old heart, now a pedestrian-only UNESCO World Heritage Site – with a local expert, and discuss the city’s architecture and historic restoration efforts. a genuine living museum, in which more than 144 buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries are conserved. This colonial and historic centre is a museum at open air of architecture, art and culture. See Havana’s beautiful Catedral de San Cristóbal, begun under the Jesuits in 1748 and completed by the Franciscans in 1777; learn about the cathedral’s ongoing preservation and restoration. Bask in a beautiful Classic Convertible Car for 1 hour, while you take in the highlights of modern Havana. Drive to the Museum of the Revolution, housed in the neo-Classical building in Habana Vieja that had served as Cuba’s Presidential Palace from 1920 through 1959, as well as other architectural highlights of Havana. Visit Central Havana, Cerro and Vedado neighbourhoods, making stops at diverse points of interest. Today’s tour is a real treat for history and culture enthusiasts.
Tips: Due to its preservation degree and architectural richness of its monuments and buildings, Old Havana was acknowledged in 1982 by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Dress appropriately for the weather, wear sunscreen, and good walking shoes.
Tropicana, a ‘Paradise Under the Starts’, as Cubans know it by, is host on its open-air stage to more than 200 first-rate dances, singers, performers and a magnificent orchestra. This activity includes transfers, the shows, preferential table on the cabaret, dinner and drinks. (other options are available) (For admission to the Cabaret formal costume is required, no entry is allowed in shorts, men must wear long pants. Cabaret access to children under 16 years of age is not admissible.)
El Cañonazo night tour
Visit the “Parque Morro – Cabaña”, a Spanish fortress (the biggest in the Americas) built in 1519 to protect the city against pirate attacks and the English. Enjoy dinner (included) at “La Divina Pastora” restaurant. Witness one of the city’s oldest traditions – El Cañonazo – the cannon firing at 21:00 hours (09.00 pm).
Cabaret Parisién in Hotel Nacional
Be astonished by the remarkable “Cubano, Cubano” show at the Cabaret Parisién, a fusion of Indo American, Latino and African cultures, the combination of which created modern Cuban culture.
Rum and Habano
Visit a cigar factory to learn about the globally renowned and iconic Cuban cigar production. Havana is the birthplace of premium cigars, and the city is dotted with cigar factories of all shapes and sizes. Walk through the doorway with the tropical heat following you inside, and step onto a cracked floor, wondering just how many shoes have walked this weathered path before you. The clamor of workers going about their business reaches your ears and grows in volume with every step: A shout in rapid-fire Cuban Spanish, a call to an amigo, a friendly laugh, the hearty baritone of a golden-throated lector reading the daily news. Shopping opportunity at the specialized cigar stores. Visit to the Rum Museum to learn about the origin and development of the rum production in the island and enjoy a Cuban cocktail. Shaped by Cuban climate, geography, history, and people, rum is an essential part of the nation’s culture. As its finest expression, the rum range represents this rich heritage. It contains the true spirit of Cuba.
Relive Hemingway’s steps in Havana by visiting the Nobel Prize’s favourite spots in the city. Ernest Hemingway loved Cuba so much that he considered himself a “Cubano Sato” – which translates to a garden variety Cuban. Hemingway felt a kinship with the Cuban people, and was inspired by many of his experiences while he was in Cuba and on the waters surrounding the island nation. In response, the Cuban people have showed equal admiration. Today a Hemingway industry flourishes in Havana – where his image is seen nearly as much as other famous Cuban icons. Visit where he lived at the “Finca La Vigia” and Room 511 at the Ambos Mundos Hotel. Stopover at La Bodeguita del Medio and El Floridita: the birthplace of the Daiquiry.
Art and Colour Tour
A tour that invites to visit and participate in the cultural projects of the Historical Centre. Enjoy the Cuban art at the Fine Art’s Museum. Visit to the art galleries on Obispo Street, visit to the Engraving Workshop at the Callejón del Chorro, visit to La Casona Cultural Centre (Naïve Art Diago Gallery) and the Centre for the Development of the Visual Arts in the Old Square, visit to the Hand-made Paper Workshop, visit to the studios of Ernesto Rancaño, Roberto Fabelo, Zaida del Río, Pedro Pablo Oliva, Ángel Ramírez, Nelson Domínguez, (The occurrence of these visits will be subject to the availability of the artists), visit to the studios of Carmen Montilla and Eduardo Roca (Choco).
Since the port of San Cristobal de La Habana Village was vital for all the trade between Spain and the New World, a system of fortresses was built for its defence: the Castle of the Royal Force, the Morro Castle, the San Salvador de la Punta Fort, the San Lázaro Tower, the Atarés Castle and the Santa Dorotea de la Chorrera Tower. These fortresses are part of the area that was granted the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO. An explanation of fortresses system outside Castle of the Royal Force, visit to San Carlos de la Cabaña Fort and visit to the Morro Castle.
Callejon de Hamel
Enjoy the life of Old Havana with a guided cultural walk around Callejon de Hamel, an interesting insight into Afro-Cuban culture with music and dancing in the street (Sundays only). Antiguo Almacenes San Jose, a huge nineteenth-century warehouse right on the harbourfront housing a huge arts and crafts market.
Take a drive out to Jaimanitas, where the renowned Cuban artist, José Fuster, has with the help of the locals turned his home neighbourhood into a working, living piece of artwork. The centre piece of this is Fuster’s own house, Taller-Estudio José Fuster, which is decorated and sculpted from the floor to the roof.
Visit to the Colon Cemetery
Cemetery of Colon was once defined as an ‘exercise in pious excesses,’. It is a national monument and one of the largest cemetery in Latin America. It is well-known for its prominent religious iconography and intricate marble statues. Far from being uncanny, a walk through the 56 sanctified hectares can be an instructive and emotive wander through the records of Cuban history.
Playas Del Este
A multiflavored beach strip situated 18km east of Habana. The beaches here are sublime. Perfect for those who dislike modern tourist development or are keen to see how Cubans get out and enjoy themselves, Playas del Este is a breath of fresh air.
Pinar del Rio and Viñales
Soroa is located in the western part of the Sierra del Rosario Mountains in the extreme south-east of the province. Surrounded by exuberant nature, Soroa owes its name to Frenchman Jean Paul Soroa who at the end of the 18th century was impressed by the splendour of the local vegetation, installing his coffee plantations and naming the place after himself. The area has a mountainous section made up of low and medium elevations with narrow valleys between the mountains developed along the rivers. The most famous attraction in Soroa is the Orchid Botanical Garden which contains more than 700 species from all over the world, of which 250 are endemic from Cuba.
Local Tobacco Plantation
Visit a local tobacco plantation in the area, where you will learn how Cuba’s world-famous cigars are made. The fertile land and favourable climate of this area make for perfect cigar tobacco growing conditions.
Viñales Prehistoric Mural
Visit to Mural de la Prehistoria, an outstanding natural and man-made site, which was given status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The mural is the work of the former Director of Mapping at the Cuban Academy of Sciences, Leovigildo González Morillo. A master of neo-caveman artistry. Morillo undertook the massive project of portraying world history up until the age of humans on a rock wall in the Viñales Valley. Spanning from early molluscs and other ancient sea-organisms, the rock face mural moves through the age of the dinosaurs, and ends with three giant red human figures.
Visit “La Cueva del Indio” (Indian Cave), with a boat trip through a subterranean river. It was here that the Guanajatabey Indians built their primitive homes in caves hollowed out of the limestone mogotes, where relics of this nomadic people have been found along with fossils of Pleistocene mammals embedded in the rock. Deep inside the caves, albino fish swim and butterfly bats flit.
Visit this small ecotourism community and nature reserve founded in 1971 in the municipality of Candelaria, Artemisa Province, Cuba. It has many arts and crafts workshops and a beautifully restored 19th Century coffee plantation – Cafetal Buenavista it is located in the Sierra del Rosario mountains, which was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1984.
Cayo Levisa is a small paradisiacal island off the north coast of Pinar del Río. It’s an excellent choice for divers and those looking for a beach getaway. A pristine islet off Cuba’s north-western shore accessible only by boat (two daily departures 35 minutes’ trip), it is perfect for lovers of nature and water sports, especially scuba diving and snorkelling.
Matanzas, Varadero and Bay of Pigs
Travel to Playa Larga in Bay of Pigs. This is a cute, cosy little village. It’s small but lovely beach has casas particulares right on the beach in some instances. There are some restaurants too where you can have breakfast lunch or dinner with your toes in the sand. Very chill relaxed destination for those who want to mingle with locals. Playa Larga was one of two beaches invaded by US-backed exiles on April 17, 1961 (although Playa Girón, 35km further south, saw far bigger landings). Nowadays, it’s the best base for exploring the Zapata peninsula, Cuba’s largest wilderness area, and is also known for its diving.
Situated in the infamous Bay of Pigs, this beach was one of two landing sites for seaborne forces in April 1961, of about 1,500 armed Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, an American CIA-sponsored attempt to overthrow the new government of Fidel Castro. Over 72 hours, fighting took place in many parts of the Cienaga de Zapata, Playa Girón being the last remaining area occupied by the invaders. Today, the Museo Girón is a small museum dedicated to the historical conflict.
Playa Giron Museum
Visit the Giron Museum, featuring photos, weapons and the wreckage of aeroplanes used in the Anti-Castro invasion. Learn about the April 1961`s fight between Cuban militias and U.S. hired mercenaries. This museum with its gleaming glass display cases evokes a tangible sense of the history of the famous Cold War episode that unfolded within rifle-firing distance of this spot in 1961. Across the street from Villa Playa Girón, it offers two rooms of artifacts from the Bay of Pigs skirmish plus numerous photos. The mural of victims and their personal items is harrowing and the tactical genius of the Cuban forces comes through in the graphic depictions of how the battle unfolded. A British Hawker Sea Fury aircraft used by the Cuban Air Force is parked outside the museum; round the back are other vessels used in the battle. (Note: all information in the museum is in Spanish.)
Crocodile Farm, Playa Larga
The Criadero Cocodrilo, or crocodile farm, is halfway between Australia and Playa Larga. Every person likes it, but particularly the youngsters. You will have the opportunity not only to see lots of crocodiles but hold a baby crocodile, and even eat crocodile meat in the restaurant.
Guama river boat ride, Playa Larga
Another tourist attraction is the boat ride to Guamá which is an island in a lake: Treasure Lake (Laguna del Tesoro). Fidel Castro relished vacationing here and commissioned the building of a Taíno native village and sculptures portraying the native life.
Zapata Ciénaga Biosphere Reserve
One of Cuba’s six UNESCO biospheres, the Zapata reserve contains the largest wetlands in the Caribbean, and one of its most diverse ecosystems. Bring your binoculars: the world’s smallest bird, the bee hummingbird, makes its home here. Trek the Zapata Peninsula’s bird watching spots to make contact with over 150 species of birds including the zunzuncitos (Cuban bee hummingbird), a rare type of bandicoot, water hen and various species of parrots and herons.
Matanzas City Tour
Travel to Matanzas named Athens of Cuba, owed to its prominent movement in literature and art movement back in the XIX century. Others called the Cuban Venice, due to the five bridges that cross it at different streches of its Yumuri and San Juan rivers.Monumental buildings of neclassical features are a proof of the boom that this quiet city has experienced beginning in late 18th century. Matanzas is situated around a large bay, well protected by a solid network of fotresses the most important of which can still be visited and admired today. Walk along the main highlights of its colonial essence: old squares, Sauto theatre, bridges, the university, and the Old Pharmaceutical museum.
Travel to Varadero, covering Cuba’s narrow Hicacos Peninsula, is a popular beach resort town. Thousands of visitors come to Varadero every year to relax and enjoy the calm turquoise waters and warm sun of this Caribbean paradise but Varadero has much more to offer than just a glorious beach. Varadero provides a taste of the Cuban culture with its numerous art galleries, museums, cabarets, quaint bars and cafes, handicrafts markets, live music, cigar and rum shops, etc. Nature lovers can take a break from the beach to enjoy hiking trails, caves, ancient wall paintings, and the fauna and flora of the Varahicacos Ecological Reserve. Varadero is also home to one of the only two golf courses in the country, the other one is in Havana. Watersports, such as diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, catamaran cruise, kite surfing, glass-bottom boat, etc., is of course a predominant sector of activities offered all year long. Varadero will also appeal to people who are looking for a more festive nightlife-scene with its numerous bars, discotheques, cafes, and cabarets.
Varadero Resort Day Pass
(Part of a group tour provide by a 3rd party tour-provider): Varadero beach boasts plenty of seaside recreational activities. Lunch, snacks, and drink during the whole stay is provided as part of this pass, as well as the use of the nautical equipment (non-motorized) at the nautical centre of the hotel. (approx. 12-13 hours from and return to Havana).
Coliseo Town Tour
Visit the provincial town of Coliseo, passing by the city of Cardenas. Here you’ll observe village life firsthand, including the varied means of transportation that residents rely on, like handmade bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. Drive to the Coincidencia Farm, founded in 1987 by Héctor Correa, an agriculturist with an interest in preserving certain native species of fruit that he knew and loved as a child. With a cartful of seedlings, he began to plant his farm. In order to multiply the effort, he created a seed bank so that any interested farmer could also cultivate the plants. In addition to farming, Correa created the first ceramics workshop in Matanzas, blending art with nature, essential sources of inspiration for any artist. Correa’s children have kept the family tradition, studying and working hard both on the farm and in the workshop.
Cienfuegos City Tour
Continue to Cienfuegos, and enjoy a cultural tour of the city known as well as the Pearl of the South. Founded in 1819 by French settlers from Bordeaux and Louisiana, the city is arranged around the country’s most spectacular natural bay. Cienfuegos is a nautical city founded in 1819 by French émigrés, whose homogeneous grid of elegant classical architecture earned it a Unesco World Heritage Site listing in 2005. The city is split into two distinct parts: the colonnaded central zone with its stately Paseo del Prado and graceful park; and Punta Gorda, a thin knife of land slicing into the bay with a clutch of outrageously eclectic palaces built by the moneyed classes in the 1920s. Wander along the avenue to visit Beny Moré’s monument, one of Cuba’s most treasured musicians. Visit the Cathedral as well as one of Cuba’s oldest and most beautiful theatres: Thomas Terry.
Safari to El Nicho Waterfall
Venture into El Nicho Park through the winding roads of the Escambray Mountains, at 46 kilometres from the city of Cienfuegos. This tour will drive you to an amazing natural adventure featured by impressive waterfalls, natural pools, the beautiful mountainous landscapes, endemic birds and flora, caves and hiking.
Boat Trip at Cienfuegos Bay
(Part of a group tour provide by a 3rd party tour-provider). Sail across the magnificent Cienfuegos pocket bay in a boat departing from the local marina. Admire the city’s French styled buildings and the beautiful Malecon, where crowds of locals gather for celebration or strolling.
Santa Clara and Remedios
Che Guevara Mausoleum
This imposing memorial contains the remains of Che Guevara — and 29 other guerrillas who died with him in Bolivia. Standing high on a hill overlooking the city, a soaring bronze statue of Che Guevara bears witness to the status of Santa Clara, Cuba as the “city of Che.” Visitors are forbidden from bringing any personal effects into the complex. The museum includes Guevara’s gun, medical certificates, binoculars and water bottle, as well as pictures of the revolutionary smoking cigars and playing golf.
San Juan de los Remedios, is a small village located in the center of the island 3 miles from the northern coast of Cuba. It is the oldest Spanish settlement in the former Las Villas province – It was declared a City by Isabella II of Spain when the Island was still a Spanish colony. This tour will give you insight into the local life in Remedios as well as the traditions upheld within this town such as “Las Parrandas de Remedios,” a local festivity.
Trinidad and Sancti Spiritus
Trinidad City Tour
Enjoy a Cultural tour of Trinidad city. The “Villa de la Santisima Trinidad” was the third village founded by the Spanish Crown in Cuba in early 1514. The conservation and restoration work undertaken by specialists has made Trinidad one of the best preserved colonial cities not only in Cuba but also of South America. Trinidad possesses a strong colonial architecture, which dates from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. The oldest part of the city (55 blocks in size, with 1211 buildings) is one of its greatest attractions. It contains beautiful churches (such as the Great Parish Church, a neoclassical edifice built in 1892) and public squares, the most important of which is Main Square-surrounded by buildings of great beauty and historic and architectural interest and considered the second most important square in the country, after Havana’s Cathedral Square.
Valle de los Ingenios (Sugar Mill Valley)
Travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Valle de los Ingenios” (Sugar Mill Valley) and climb to the top of the Manaca-Iznaga tower to delight in some of the best country views in Cuba. The “Valle de los Ingenios” is a notable evidence to the growth of the sugar industry and living museum of the sugar production in Cuba. The valley comprises 75 past sugar cane mills, plantation houses, barracks and other facilities related to this susceptible industry, which has observed a continuing decline.
Topes de Collantes
(Part of a group tour provide by a 3rd party tour-provider): Participants will be picked up in a Russian truck (sometimes by 4×4 jeep) and driven the 18 kilometres to the nature park. This mountain climate benefits in the coffee production and you will pass plantations during the walk. At the Casa del Café, you can judge for yourself whether they brew a delicious coffee here. The trek leaves from this coffeehouse towards Salto del Caburni (a waterfall). It is a fair trail considering that you will have to descend 3 kilometres, as well as climb 3 kilometres. You will pass the already mentioned coffee plantations and will get a picture of the rural life in this region and its fauna and lush flora. With fairly good physical condition, a pair of sturdy shoes and a bottle of drinking water, the hike is feasible and worthwhile. The waterfall has a height of 62 meter, splattering into natural pools where you can swim and cool off. After walking back from the waterfall, your body, and especially your feet, can rest. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant, aptly named “Mi Retiro”, meaning “My Retirement”, then return to Trinidad. Hike is above average difficulty. (approx. 7-8 hours)
Playa Ancon Excursion
Playa Ancón is often touted as the best beach on Cuba’s south coast and it’s easy to see why: it’s one of the longest in the area and boasts a dazzling sweep of sand that arcs around glittering turquoise waters. The beach may have put the area on the tourist map, but it has managed to keep a natural feel, with trees and shrubs creeping down to the shoreline. It’s a good jumping off point for snorkelling and diving in the reefs around the shoreline.
Seafari to Cayo Blanco
(Part of a group tour provide by a 3rd party tour-provider): The Marlin Marina Trinidad is located about 15 km south of Trinidad on the Peninsula Ancon. Make sure you arrive at the marina before 09.00 hours (09.00am) to board either a catamaran (60 seats) or a sailing boat (up to 10 places), depending on the number of participants. Soon the town of Trinidad and the small fishing community of Casilda and its bay become smaller as the ship heads off towards Cayo Blanco (not to be confused with other keys with a similar name, such as the one near Varadero). The bar on board is open and drinks are included. The rich seabed of Cuba´s waters reveals itself at the coral reef, Las Mulatas, where you can snorkel and explore the underwater treasures. Snorkel equipment is on board and is included. A lunch of seafood is served on the island, Cayo Blanco, and it would be a real punishment not to laze at this pristine beach, after lunch. At the end of the afternoon, you will sail back to the marina. (approx. 7-8 hours).
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba Tour
Discover Santiago de Cuba and their genuine and welcoming people in a cultural panoramic tour of the city. Visit Céspedes Square, a lively park named for Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, a Cuban planter who freed his slaves and declared Cuban independence in 1868. Parque Céspedes is the spiritual centre of Santiago. On the south side of Parque Céspedes is the handsome Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. The first cathedral in Santiago was built on this site in 1522, but repeated run-ins with earthquakes and pirates – in 1606 English privateer Christopher Myngs even stole the church bells after blowing the roof off – made their mark, and Santiagueros started work on a second cathedral on the site in 1674, only to see the building demolished by an earthquake just three years later. A third cathedral was erected in 1690 but was wiped out by another earthquake in 1766.
History and Habano Tour
Visit the Moncada Barracks, a building that acquired historical significance on 1953 when a group of anti-Batista made the assault to it marking the beginning of the Cuban Revolution. Nowadays functions as a primary school. Continue this tour by visiting the House of Habano providing you an opportunity to enjoy the genuine Habanos´s flavour and smell and where you will receive a personalised and professional attention.
Excursion to Parque Baconao
Parque Baconao covers around 800 sq km between Santiago de Cuba and the Río Baconao. It is amazing and peculiar. Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it also encompasses an outdoor car museum and a rather unusual gathering of 240 life-sized dinosaur sculptures. It airs an historically banished Jurassic Park, however acts as an important harbor for a whole ecosystem of flora and fauna. It is not unexpected the UNESCO tag wasn’t earned for a museum full of old cars or for a field full of concrete dinosaurs. According to biological experts, Baconao hosts more than 1800 endemic species of flora and abundant types of endangered species of bats and spiders. Enclosed in a low crater with the magnificent Sierra Maestra on one side and the mild Caribbean on the other, the biodiversity of the area (which contains everything from craning royal palms to prickly cliffside cacti) is nothing short of notable.
Excursion to Granjita Siboney
If the Revolution would have been unsuccessful, this humble red and white farmhouse, situated 2km inland from Playa Siboney and on the road to Santiago de Cuba, would be the forgotten site of a rather fruitless insurrection. Granjita Siboney is another monument to the wonderful national episode that is Moncada. From here, at 5:15am on July 26, 1953, 26 cars under the command of Fidel Castro left to assault the military barracks in Santiago de Cuba. It still holds many of its original details. There are also exhibitions of weapons, interesting documents, photos and personal effects related to the outbreak. Sight the well alongside the building, where weapons were concealed preceding the attack.
Jeep Safari to Comandancia La Plata
(Part of a group tour provide by a 3rd party tour-provider): On this tour you’ll travel to the very heart of the Sierra Maestra, Cuba’s highest mountain range and birthplace of the Cuban Revolution, to visit the Comandancia La Plata. The majestic nature and unique history on this tour give participants a genuine sense of rebel life during the hard-fought revolution. Traveling deep into the mountains along roads less travelled, with the treasures of Mother Nature all around, is an unforgettable experience. This panoramic tour takes you: Through the provincial cities of Contramaestre and Bayamo, and past small, country towns before reaching Bartolome Masó municipality. Arrival at Flora & Fauna Information Centre. Hike to Comandancia La Plata, tour around the historic site. Return to starting point Alto del Naranjo. Arrival at Alto del Naranjo and departure for Villa Santo Domingo. Lunch time, followed by rest and relaxation on the banks of the river. Departure to the city. (approx. 12 hours).
El Castillo del Morro San Pedro de la Roca (El Morro)
One of Santiago’s most dramatic sights, a fortress perched high on the cliffs that guard the entrance to Bahia de Santiago de Cuba. Built between 1633 and 1639 to ward off pirates and even though it has an indomitable appearance it was taken in 1662 by a British Pirate, Christopher Myngs when he came across it unguarded. Now home to the Museo de la Pirateria, it is a vast structure and even has daily cannon firings at dusk.
Just 2km offshore this diminutive Island is a lovely change to the bustle of Santiago City. It has a peaceful rural village and is home to just some two thousand people, some of which live in quite attractive wooden buildings…a good place for lunch!
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