Cuba Explorer

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Cuba Explorer

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Description

Lose yourself in the rhythm of vivacious Havana before setting out to explore Cuba’s stunning coastline and weathered historical villages. Discover the unique combination of Spanish and Caribbean influences that shaped this country on a visit to rambunctious Santiago de Cuba. Learn whether you do, in fact, have two left feet in a salsa class and then brush up on your Spanish under the tutelage of your learned leader. Wander through the purposefully labyrinthine streets of Camaguey or marvel at the views from atop Trinidad’s northern ranges. Whether you want to dance up a storm at one of Cuba’s plentiful nightclubs or simply lie on its idyliic beaches, this emerging Caribbean hotspot has something for everyone. 

Trip Name
Cuba Explorer
Last Updated
2019-09-18
Days
10
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Old-world charm, rich history, exciting nightlife - evocative Havana is like nowhere else on Earth. See the difference between city and coastal life on a guided walking tour of the old capital
  • Take inspiration from the locals and mix things up with a bicycle-taxi tour of the colonial city of Camaguey
  • Enjoy over two free days in Trinidad. Practice your Spanish in a language class, loll about on an unspoilt Caribbean beach or peddle through sugar plantations on a charmingly rickety bicycle
  • There's a lot more to the life of Che Guevara than what you'll learn from watching 'The Motorcycle Diaries'. Pay your respects to the famous revolutionary during an included visit to his mausoleum
  • After an informal salsa lesson, you'll be ready to hit the dance floor with the locals. With its vibrant music scene and Afro-Cuban roots, sultry Santiago de Cuba is a great place to practice your moves

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Havana
Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba. Attend a welcome meeting at approximately 6 pm. Please expect a letter from your leader in the afternoon of Day 1 to confirm the place of your meeting (if by 5 pm you cannot locate this letter then please ask your guesthouse owner if one has been delivered, or ask to call our assistance line listed in the 'Problems and emergency contact information' section of this document). We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. The tour briefing is generally followed by an optional group dinner. As there's a great deal to do in Havana, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist. If you arrive early, please note most activities in Cuba can only be booked through the tourist desk in the lobbies of the larger hotels or direct with the venue. Otherwise, there are plenty of good museums to check out, including the Museo de la Revolucion and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Day 2 - Havana
Take a walking tour of Old Havana, a perfect first taste of the city. Your local guide will show you the cathedral, Plaza de Armas, San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Central Park. After the tour you will have an casual Spanish lesson to help with blend in with the locals. Then, enjoy your free afternoon exploring Havana further.
Day 3 - Santa Clara / Camaguey
After lunch, start heading to the East of the island which overall will take about 8 hours without stops. On the way (approximately 3 hours), stop in Santa Clara, one of the first major cities to be liberated by Castro's army in December 1958. Today a number of monuments commemorate this important period of Cuba's history, including the mausoleum of the legendary Che Guevara. After this stop you will have an casual Spanish lesson on the bus to help pass the time before the included dinner and to prepare you to blend in with the locals. After another four or so hours driving, arrive in Camaguey at approximately 9pm. This is simply a stop for you and the driver to rest before continuing on tomorrow; so don't stress as you'll have time to explore Camaguey on the way back. 
Day 4 - Santiago de Cuba
Stop somewhere along the way for breakfast before arriving in Santiago de Cuba (5-6 hours drive) around lunch, hopefully at check in time for your guesthouses. Head out for an orienation tour then enjoy some time for further exploration. Santiago is the cradle of the revolution and home of the traditional son music, a mix of Spanish guitar and African percussion. With a strong Afro-Cuban heritage it's no surprise that Santiago has a vibrant music scene that will entice the shyest, most left-footed dancer out to learn some salsa moves. The city is also well known for its vibrant and energetic Carnaval celebrations, and its lively Festival of Caribbean Culture. Later, discover whether you were born with two left feet in a salsa class.
Day 5 - Santiago de Cuba
Today your leader will take you on a three-hour city tour of Santiago. You'll visit El Morro Castle, Ifigenia cemetery and the Moncada barracks. For nearly a century, the city was the island's seat of power and it holds the title of ‘Hero City of the Republic of Cuba’ for its leading role in significant events during the Revolution. The people of Santiago were the first to rise up in arms against government troops in 1956, and it was in Santiago on January 1st 1959, that Fidel Castro declared the triumph of the revolution in a broadcast message to the country and the world. Santiago's half million residents are proud of their cultural traditions, so you'll find many museums and cultural clubs around the city. Enjoy a free afternoon to soak up the best that Santiago has to offer – explore the city's incredible contributions to music and literature at one of its many museums, or pop in at Barrita de Ron Havana Club to sample some authentic local rum. 
Day 6 - Camaguey
Today head east along the Carretera Central back to Camaguey. You will get a chance to stroll around Bayamo along with lunch to break it up. If there is time on arrival into Camaguey, you will be shown around the city by bicycle taxi, otherwise you'll do this tomorrow morning. Despite its size, Cuba's third largest city has managed to retain much of its colonial heritage, and exploring the city's winding streets is half the fun. The city was planned in a deliberately irregular and confusing pattern hoping to disorient any would-be assailants. As you walk through the city you may still see tinajones, large clay pots used for collecting water. On your explorations, stop by the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Soledad with its baroque frescoes. Camaguey is also home of the Ballet de Camaguey, the second most important dance company in Cuba.
Day 7 - Trinidad
Drive approximately six hours to Trinidad. Get accustomed to the slow pace of island living on an orientation walk. For most visitors to Cuba, the World Heritage site of Trinidad is their standout favourite destination. No other colonial city in Cuba is so well preserved, and the local residents are extremely friendly and festive. The town rose to prominence during the sugar boom and the wealth generated by the industry remains visible in the town's once grand mansions, colourful public buildings, wrought iron grill-work and cobble-stoned streets. 
Day 8 - Trinidad
Trinidad is also steeped in religion, such as Santeria, which is one of the Afro-Cuban religions (related to voodoo). In your free time today, why not pay a visit to a Santeria priest and learn more about this fascinating religion. Alternatively, soak up the sun in beautiful Playa Ancon, a postcard-perfect coastal spot. A hike to the northern mountains is also highly recommended.
Day 9 - Havana
Leave behind the pictureqesue beaches and mountains of Trinidad and return to Havana. There is still time to visit a cigar factory, learn more about Ernest Hemingway or simply to take the time to appreciate the city's diverse architecture. Perhaps celebrate the last night of the tour with a show at one of Havana's famous cabaret clubs such as Tropicana. Or show off your moves at one of the many salsa clubs.
Day 10 - Havana
Your trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Check-out time is 10 am.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
24-10-201902-11-2019AUD $ 1,492-
31-10-201909-11-2019AUD $ 1,549-
21-11-201930-11-2019AUD $ 2,065-
28-11-201907-12-2019AUD $ 2,065-
05-12-201914-12-2019AUD $ 2,145-
23-01-202001-02-2020AUD $ 2,015-
13-02-202022-02-2020AUD $ 2,015-
27-02-202007-03-2020AUD $ 2,015-
12-03-202021-03-2020AUD $ 1,940-
19-03-202028-03-2020AUD $ 2,035-
09-04-202018-04-2020AUD $ 1,940-
16-04-202025-04-2020AUD $ 1,940-
07-05-202016-05-2020AUD $ 1,865-
28-05-202006-06-2020AUD $ 1,865-
25-06-202004-07-2020AUD $ 1,865-
09-07-202018-07-2020AUD $ 1,865-
23-07-202001-08-2020AUD $ 1,865-
20-08-202029-08-2020AUD $ 1,865-
17-09-202026-09-2020AUD $ 1,865-
15-10-202024-10-2020AUD $ 1,865-
29-10-202007-11-2020AUD $ 1,940-
05-11-202014-11-2020AUD $ 1,940-
12-11-202021-11-2020AUD $ 1,940-
26-11-202005-12-2020AUD $ 1,940-
03-12-202012-12-2020AUD $ 2,015-
17-12-202026-12-2020AUD $ 2,015-
24-12-202002-01-2021AUD $ 2,015-
07-01-202116-01-2021AUD $ 1,865-
21-01-202130-01-2021AUD $ 1,865-
11-02-202120-02-2021AUD $ 1,865-
25-02-202106-03-2021AUD $ 1,865-
11-03-202120-03-2021AUD $ 1,865-
18-03-202127-03-2021AUD $ 1,865-
08-04-202117-04-2021AUD $ 1,865-
15-04-202124-04-2021AUD $ 1,865-
06-05-202115-05-2021AUD $ 1,865-
27-05-202105-06-2021AUD $ 1,865-
24-06-202103-07-2021AUD $ 1,865-
08-07-202117-07-2021AUD $ 1,865-
22-07-202131-07-2021AUD $ 1,865-
19-08-202128-08-2021AUD $ 1,865-
16-09-202125-09-2021AUD $ 1,865-
14-10-202123-10-2021AUD $ 1,865-
28-10-202106-11-2021AUD $ 1,865-
04-11-202113-11-2021AUD $ 1,865-
11-11-202120-11-2021AUD $ 1,865-
25-11-202104-12-2021AUD $ 1,865-
02-12-202111-12-2021AUD $ 1,865-
16-12-202125-12-2021AUD $ 1,865-
23-12-202101-01-2022AUD $ 1,865-

Accommodation

Standard guesthouse (9 nights)

Transport

Private vehicle

Map