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Essential Cuba

9 Days FROM USD 3,095

Overview

Book and save up to 10% OFF* on selected 2019 & 2020 departures.

Book and save up to 10% OFF* on selected 2019 & 2020 departures.

Whispers of change have surrounded Cuba for the past few years, elevating its status as a country to visit now. This small group itinerary will take you to Havana, Vinales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santa Clara on a short but exciting 9-day adventure of exploration and cultural discovery. Your journey starts in glorious and tumbledown Havana before the pace is slowed a notch or two in the rural valleys of Vinales. Absorb the French atmosphere of coastal Cienfuegos and revel in the steamy heat and beats of colonial Trinidad. Trace the history of the Cuban Revolution and the iconic Che Guevara.

Trip Code: CUTSECU

Travel Style: Small Group Tour 

Location: Cuba

Flights: We offer a range of flight options to meet your tour. Contact us today to discuss.

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba! Arrive at Havana's Jose Marti International airport, where you'll be transferred to your hotel. 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. After checking in please look for a collection of folders opposite reception where companies can leave communication for their travellers. The folder should be named "Peregrine Adventures" and inside there will be a copy of the welcome letter for you to read.

The welcome letter will detail where the pre-tour briefing will take place. If by 5pm you cannot locate this letter then please ask reception, or ask to call our assistance line listed in the "Problems and emergency contact information" section of this document. Please come to this meeting with your passport, travel insurance and next of kin information. The briefing is usually 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.

Havana

This morning at 9am you will be picked up from the infamous Hotel Nacional to see outer-Havana in a convoy of classic American vintage cars (1 hour urban adventure) that cruises via points of intrerest such as the Malecon, Revolucion Square, Vedado and ending in Old Havana. Next, your leader will take you on a walking tour of the lovely Old Havana (approximately 2.5 hours). Go to the cathedral, Plaza de Armas, San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Central Park.

Now that you are orientated in Old Havana you have the rest of the afternoon to lunch at leisure and explore futher. Your leader can assist you to take a taxi if you wish to return to the hotel

Havana

This morning drive west to Soroa (1 hour) to tour the beautiful orchid garden. A local expert will take you on a private tour of the gardens to identify the bird and plant species of this diverse area (approximately 45 minutes). You will easily see why the valley is known as the rainbow of Cuba.

There will be time for lunch before continuing on to Vinales (1.5 hours), where tobacco and sugarcane fields lie side by side and limestone outcrops dot the landscape. Use this bus time to take part in an informal Spanish lesson so you can converse with the friendly locals throughout the rest of your trip.

Check in to the guesthouses, leaving enough time to undertake a quick orientation walk. Later, perhaps enjoy the porch rocking chair and soak up the slow, old-world pace of rural Cuba as oxen plod gracefully along the streets.

Vinales

At 9am go on a guided walk through the farm lands of Vinales (approximately 3 hours), which you'll soon see is home to some extraordinary scenery – some of Cuba's best. Learn more about the tobacco industry and see a farmer whip a world class cigar in seconds.
Take some time to find a local place for lunch, then regroup around 4:30pm to embrace the rhythm and learn a few steps in a salsa dancing class. Next, head to the top of the valley for dinner at an Eco-Farm. Everything is grown organically on the farm itself so get ready for one of the freshest dinner experiences in Cuba!

Vinales

Prepare for a long travel day as you board the comfortable bus at 8am towards Cienfuegos. Drive back through Havana before stopping in the Bay of Pigs for lunch (approximately 5 hours).

After lunch, go for a dip in the crystal clear water or simply sit back and try to imagine the battle, that you will soon learn about, played out in this monumental bay. From here you aren't far from the Giron Museum for insight into the botched US Military counter-revolutionary invasion in the Bay of Pigs.

Then it is just a short drive to Cienfuegos (approximately 1 hour), one of Cuba's prettiest coastal spots. Arrive some time after 5pm and take a short orientation walk before visiting the Palacio del Valle, Cienfuegos' architectural pride and joy. Its grandiose carvings in Venetian alabaster strike an impressive pose in this beautiful seaside city.

Vinales / Cienfuegos

Enjoy a free morning to explore. Then complete the two hour drive to Trindad. During a guided walk of the town (1 hour), take in its eye-catching combination of cobblestone streets, colourful houses and old-fashioned locals. It's a great town to explore on foot, and almost every scene offers superb photographic opportunities – from residents relaxing with huge cigars on their doorsteps to old Chevrolets cruising by.

In the evening take a trip out of town to a local house for a homely and festive dinner. Be welcomed with the local drink; Canchanchara made from 'fire water', local honey and lime juice. There will even be a musician or two serenading you and your fellow travellers as you dine.

Trinidad

Today is a free day in Trinidad. For some beachside fun and perhaps a little snorkelling, head down to Playa Ancon. Just be careful you don't stand on a sea urchin. At some point while you're here, a great activity is to go to a folklore show at one of the town's numerous open-air venues. Cuba has a rich and varied music and dance tradition that draws roots from Spain, Africa and France, and this is your chance to experience it all first-hand, from the Mambo to the rumba.

Trinidad

Head inland to Santa Clara (approximately 1.5 hours) to lunch then visit the Che Guevara mausoleum. Here you'll see the statue of the iconic revolutionary leader looming. In the museum that accompanies the mausoleum, you'll find an intriguing spread of photos and other ephemera related to Che – letters, medical devices, firearms.
Return to the capital (3 hours) for your final night to enjoy Havana.

Trinidad / Santa Clara / Havana

Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning as there are no activities planned for today.

Havana
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Pricing & date

Essential Cuba from USD 3,095
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Important Information

  • Accommodation in hotels and guesthouses
    Meals as specified in itinerary
    Transportation by private vehicle 
    Arrival transfer on Day 1 only 
    Sightseeing tours as specified in itinerary
    Services of local guide 

    EXCLUSIONS: 
    International flights
    Visas 
    Travel Insurance
    Beverages
    Personal Expenses
    Gratuities for tour guides/drivers
    Any items not mentioned as included

  • Available upon request

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:

1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.

2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.

3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.

4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.

5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.