Western Cuba

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Western Cuba

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Description

The largest island in the Caribbean is widely known for its abundance of classic cars, cigars and rum, but there is so much more to see when you scratch beneath the surface and venture into the countryside. Begin and end your Cuban tour in the capital Havana and – in the days in between – visit farms and waterfalls in Soroa and Las Terrazas. Learn salsa (and then try out your new skills) in the picturesque town of Vinales and spend some serious beach time relaxing and swimming at Cayo Jutias. The tumbledown 1950s streets of the capital certainly also need a look in, so spend an evening in Havana soaking up the culture, tastes, sights and sounds of this beautiful city. You’ll gain a huge appreciation for Cuba, a land where time has long slowed its pace.

Trip Name
Western Cuba
Last Updated
2019-09-18
Days
7
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Life in Cuba's countryside evokes a bygone time. Stroll along rural dirt roads and watch as tractors, vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages roll by
  • Fading colonial charm, rich history, sultry nightlife - it's easy to see why Ernest Hemingway spent so much time in dreamy Havana. See the difference between city and country life on a guided orientation tour of the old capital
  • The lush Soroa valley is known as the 'Rainbow of Cuba'. Explore an orchid garden, learn the medicinal secrets of wild Cuban herbs on a farm, then venture to a gorgeous nearby eco-village en route to Vinales
  • Make like Castro and roll a cigar with a tobacco farmer in Pinar del Rio Province. The newly harvested tobacco will be used to produce some of the most prestigious and expensive cigars in the world

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! A complimentary arrival transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. There will be a welcome meeting at approximately 6pm this evening. Please expect a letter from your leader in the afternoon of Day 1 to confirm the place of your meeting (if by 5pm 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 - Soroa
Spend the morning enjoying a short tour around Old Havana. This well-preserved part of the city was designated a World Heritage Site in 1982. The streets are lined with colonial architecture, 16th-century fortresses and many beautiful churches. Next head to Callejon de Hamel, an alley located in Havana's working class Cayo Hueso quarter. Adorned with the evocative Santeria murals of local artist Salvador Gonzalez, this lively street is Havana's centre of Afro-Cuban culture. Every Sunday afternoon it plays host to famous Afro-Cuban rumbas.  Continue on to the community of Las Terrazas, the pioneering ecovillage dates back to a reforestation project in 1968. Meet some of the residents and learn how they work together to support their neighbours, as well as showcasing their open studios, woodwork and pottery workshops. Utilise some of the Spanish phrases to interact with the locals that your leader has taught you on the bus.  Finally head to Soroa, heavily forested Sierra del Rosario to check in to your guesthouse for the night. 
Day 3 - Vinales
In the morning, enjoy a tour of an orchid garden, which boasts 700 species of orchid. You'll also have the option to take a stiff one-kilometre climb up a mountain path to a lookout, and a short hike to a nearby waterfall. Head towards Vinales, stopping in at a Finca de Plantas Medicinales (A Herb Farm) to learn about local herbs and their medicinal properties. Because of international sanctions against Cuba, the island nation has had to find ways to be self-sufficient. One of these is to develop its own medicines, many of which are herbal. You'll see how herbs are grown, dried and crushed before being sent to a factory to be processed into medicines.  Then, drive the short distance to the final destination of the day, the small town of Vinales in Pinar del Rio Province. Surrounded by limestone cliffs, the scenery around Vinales is some of the most picturesque in Cuba. On arrival, your leader will take you on a short orientation walk of the town.
Day 4 - Vinales
This morning your leader and a local guide will take you on a half-day walking tour. Visit a local farm where you'll have the opportunity to experience the 'guajiro's' way of life. Depending on the season, while at the farm you can choose to relax or help out with daily farm activities, such as toasting and grinding coffee or harvesting yuca, corn or tobacco. This is also your opportunity to marvel at the speed and skill of the locals cigar rolling technique.  In the afternoon, you could even visit a bodega in town, where Cuban families collect their government-appointed rations. Vinales is a great place to mix with the locals, who love nothing better than to drink rum and dance the night away.  In the evening, enjoy an informal salsa lesson. We recommend you eat dinner at a local eco-farm – the leader will assist with this if it interests you. Afterwards, perhaps practice your new moves to some live music on some of the dance floors in town.
Day 5 - Vinales / Cayo Jutias / Vinales
This morning make an early start. Leave the mainland and cross the water over a short causeway to Cayo Jutias, a tiny mangrove-covered key situated approximately 65 kilometres northwest of Vinales. Your destination is Pinar del Rio's most 'undiscovered' beach, a long stretch of sand at the key's northern tip. Paddle about in the water or soak up the sun on the sandy shore.
Day 6 - Havana
Today travel back to Havana, passing by the neighbourhood of Jaimanitas in Havana's outer western suburbs, also known as Fusterlandia. The artist Jose Fuster has brightened up the area by rebuilding and decorating over 80 houses (including his own) with ornate murals and domes. The project includes a park with giant chess boards and an Artists’ Wall, which has been compared to Antonio Gaudi's mosaic wall in Barcelona. Unfortunately there isn't time to enter Fuster's house but the area is still well worth a visit. You have a free afternoon to take a tour or simply stroll the streets or malecon. In the evening, head out on the town with your new travel friends. Havana's nightlife is varied and lively. Put your new salsa skills into practice at its many bars and clubs or perhaps check out a cabaret show.
Day 7 - Havana
Your trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Check-out time is 10 am.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
20-10-201926-10-2019AUD $ 1,106-
03-11-201909-11-2019AUD $ 1,106-
10-11-201916-11-2019AUD $ 1,364-
24-11-201930-11-2019AUD $ 1,475-
08-12-201914-12-2019AUD $ 1,454-
15-12-201921-12-2019AUD $ 1,530-
22-12-201928-12-2019AUD $ 1,530-
29-12-201904-01-2020AUD $ 1,560-
19-01-202024-01-2020AUD $ 1,290-
09-02-202014-02-2020AUD $ 1,290-
23-02-202028-02-2020AUD $ 1,240-
01-03-202006-03-2020AUD $ 1,240-
15-03-202020-03-2020AUD $ 1,240-
22-03-202027-03-2020AUD $ 1,275-
05-04-202010-04-2020AUD $ 1,240-
19-04-202024-04-2020AUD $ 1,195-
26-04-202001-05-2020AUD $ 1,230-
10-05-202015-05-2020AUD $ 1,195-
24-05-202029-05-2020AUD $ 1,195-
07-06-202012-06-2020AUD $ 1,195-
14-06-202019-06-2020AUD $ 1,195-
12-07-202017-07-2020AUD $ 1,195-
26-07-202031-07-2020AUD $ 1,195-
09-08-202014-08-2020AUD $ 1,195-
23-08-202028-08-2020AUD $ 1,195-
06-09-202011-09-2020AUD $ 1,195-
20-09-202025-09-2020AUD $ 1,195-
04-10-202009-10-2020AUD $ 1,195-
25-10-202030-10-2020AUD $ 1,240-
01-11-202006-11-2020AUD $ 1,240-
08-11-202013-11-2020AUD $ 1,240-
15-11-202020-11-2020AUD $ 1,240-
22-11-202027-11-2020AUD $ 1,240-
29-11-202004-12-2020AUD $ 1,290-
06-12-202011-12-2020AUD $ 1,290-
13-12-202018-12-2020AUD $ 1,290-
20-12-202025-12-2020AUD $ 1,290-
27-12-202001-01-2021AUD $ 1,315-
03-01-202108-01-2021AUD $ 1,195-
10-01-202115-01-2021AUD $ 1,195-
17-01-202122-01-2021AUD $ 1,195-
24-01-202129-01-2021AUD $ 1,195-
31-01-202105-02-2021AUD $ 1,195-
07-02-202112-02-2021AUD $ 1,195-
21-02-202126-02-2021AUD $ 1,195-
28-02-202105-03-2021AUD $ 1,195-
14-03-202119-03-2021AUD $ 1,195-
21-03-202126-03-2021AUD $ 1,195-
04-04-202109-04-2021AUD $ 1,195-
18-04-202123-04-2021AUD $ 1,195-
25-04-202130-04-2021AUD $ 1,195-
09-05-202114-05-2021AUD $ 1,195-
23-05-202128-05-2021AUD $ 1,195-
06-06-202111-06-2021AUD $ 1,195-
13-06-202118-06-2021AUD $ 1,195-
11-07-202116-07-2021AUD $ 1,195-
25-07-202130-07-2021AUD $ 1,195-
08-08-202113-08-2021AUD $ 1,195-
22-08-202127-08-2021AUD $ 1,195-
05-09-202110-09-2021AUD $ 1,195-
19-09-202124-09-2021AUD $ 1,195-
03-10-202108-10-2021AUD $ 1,195-
24-10-202129-10-2021AUD $ 1,195-
31-10-202105-11-2021AUD $ 1,195-
07-11-202112-11-2021AUD $ 1,195-
14-11-202119-11-2021AUD $ 1,195-
21-11-202126-11-2021AUD $ 1,195-
28-11-202103-12-2021AUD $ 1,195-
05-12-202110-12-2021AUD $ 1,195-
12-12-202117-12-2021AUD $ 1,195-
19-12-202124-12-2021AUD $ 1,195-
26-12-202131-12-2021AUD $ 1,195-

Accommodation

Standard guesthouse (6 nights)

Transport

Private vehicle

Map