11-Day | The Grand Tour of Cuba

The Grand Tour of Cuba

The "Grand Tour in Cuba" travels throughout the country and provides such a diverse knowledge of the country as a whole. A special feature is that ranging from the capital of the eastern part, Santiago de Cuba it tours across the country to Pinar del Rio province. The program is exceptionally rich, but the tour pace is not stretched. Travel to Santiago de Cuba with a domestic flight. The round trip extended optionally with holiday package is an excellent choice to know "the real Cuba" and relax afterward. We recommend this tour to those who are interested in the culture and history of the country and want to see a rich, full Cuba program.

THE ROUND TRIP CAN BE EXTENDED WITH ALL INCLUSIVE HOLIDAY IN HOLGYIN, VARADERO, OR IN CAYO LARGO UPON REQUEST!

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Day 1: Havana

Arrival to Cuba in the afternoon. Meet & Greet at the airport, meeting with the local English/German speaking tour guide and transfer to the hotel. Check in. Evening at leisure. Meals: Dinner is optional, price excluded.

Day 2: Havana – Rum Museum – Hemingway – Santiago de Cuba

After breakfast we start a full day sightseeing tour of Havana, also called the Paris of Latin America. Havana captivates everybody, this real Caribbean metropolis has a unique atmosphere, where a time travel tempt us, where the Colonial era, the mark of the '50s US mob's mark and the retro, socialist present is simultaneously existing. We start a panoramic city tour of modern Havana, we cross Havana's famous seaside promenade, the Malecon which is a favorite meeting place for locals, we can admire the mansions of the Paseo, then stop at the Revolution Square where the Jose Marti Memorial is located.

On the way back to we drive next to the world-famous Colon cemetery that is the world's richest cemetery with more than 500 statues, and arrive to the old town. We visit the Havana Club Rum Museum where we get acquainted with the making of the world famous Cuban rum, the growing and processing steps of sugar cane to follow through the process until it has matured, barrel filling, bottling, and we close the visit with a tasting. We can purchase the original Havana Club memorabilia, as well as can taste the typical Cuban drink called Guarapo made from fresh sugar cane and the excellent Cuban cocktail, Guarabana. After it we start to explore the old town on foot with its rich cultural and historical attractions, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. Visit the Plaza de Armas, the "Arms' Square", the Governor's palace, while we can hunt local antiques at the authentic antique market, walk through the Plaza San Francisco where we look at the old Stock Exchange Palace and St. Francis of Assis Church and the Cathedral Square. Then we visit La Plaza Vieja, the "Old Square". Our lunch will be served in a typical local restaurant.

After lunch we join in Hemingway's footsteps: we visit the famous Hotel Ambos Mundos where the "Whom the Bell Tolls" was born. We visit the hotel room and the thematic exhibition. Then stop at Hemingway's favorite places, La Bodeguita del Medio and La Floridita bars, where the world famous "Mojito" and "Daiquiri" cocktails began their journey of conquest. Then visit the outdoor exhibition of the Revolutionary Museum, where the famous ship Granma is exhibited, we can see where Fidel and the other revolutionaries landed to launch the revolution.

In the afternoon transfer to the airport, flight to Santiago de Cuba. Evening at leisure.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 3: Santiago de Cuba

After breakfast in the hotel tour of the second largest city of the country that is often called the music capital of Cuba. Santiago de Cuba is a unique legend, since it was the first capital of the country, many of the locals still regard Santiago de Cuba as today still as the capital city! Here we can find palaces, the oldest and richest museums of the country, and the famous Carnival of Santiago is held here in July each year. Cuba is world-famous for its hospitality, but the people of Santiago outperform even that with their kindness, gentleness, helpfulness that deserve special mention. We visit the Parque Cespedes that is the main square, Cuba's oldest square. Here you can visit the impressive cathedral that towers majestically over the square. Then we visit the house of the conquistador of Latin America, Diego Velazquez's house that is considered to be the oldest house of Cuba. Then we head to downtown of Santiago de Cuba, the two famous squares: "Dolores" and "Marte". Next attraction is the UNESCO world heritage site, the Castillo El Morro fortress that played an important role in the War of Independence, under its walls was decided fate of Cuban independence, during the battle of the Spanish-American war ships. A Military History Museum is located in the fort showing memories of fight against the pirates and relics of the Revolutionary War. Lunch at the Morro fortress, with amazing views of the Caribbean Sea. After lunch, visit the Santa Ifigenia cemetery where the famous Cuban poet and national hero José Martí has its tomb. We will see the famous change of the guards that is made with of specially selected soldiers line-up. In the afternoon return to the hotel. Evening at leisure. It is worth visiting the Casa de la Trova where local musicians and dancers show their skills and even we can join them dancing and develop our dance skills perfected by great local artists.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 4: Santiago de Cuba – El Cobre - Bayamo - Camagüey

Breakfast at the hotel and departure to Camagüey, the country's fourth largest city. First, we go on a pilgrimage and visit El Cobre where the famous shrine of Mary can be found. El Cobre is a special, sacred place blessed with supernatural powers. All Cubans go on pilgrimage at least once during their life to El Cobre, where a statue of Mary, Cuba's patron Saint is located. The place is connected with many spontaneous healings and miracle stories. We can know the story of the statue that was a miraculous event, also. This is the most valuable and the most interesting stop of our round trip. Later we continue towards to our next stop: Bayamo, birthplace of the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban nation. The city is famous for its hero, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, a national hero of Cuba was born here. He initiated the Cuban War of Independence. Also, Cuba's national anthem was born here, in Bayamo. We visit the monuments of these two important bayameses at the city's main square. Lunch in the city's famous hotel, in Royalton. After lunch departure to Camagüey. Arrival in the late afternoon, Check in. Evening at leisure.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 5: Camagüey – Sancti Spiritus

Breakfast in the hotel and then sightseeing in Camagüey, the country's third-largest city reminding us to the colonial times. The specialty of the city are its winding streets that were built to protect against pirates attacking the city frequently. Almost impossible to navigate alone, except for the pirates, who of course easily solve it and robbed the entire city! Winding through the city's streets, we visit the Cathedral and the monuments of city's famous son, the military leader of the Revolutionary War, Ignacio Agramonte and Cuba's national poet, Nicolas Guillen. Walk to the San Juan de Dios Square, where the buildings were preserved almost in its original state, for the colonial era movies this place is a live venue. We continue to Sancti Spiritus, towards the south of the country. Our journey passes through the country's main agricultural areas which are packed with pineapple, citrus and sugar cane plantations. This part of the country, therefore, Ciego de Avila province is also known as the pantry of the country. Lunch on the way. Then in the afternoon arrival to the Sancti Spiritus, founded in 1514, a small colonial town, that is famous for its almost originally preserved colonial downtown. Panoramic sightseeing: here is locates Cuba's oldest stone bridge, the bridge Yayabo that is within walking distance from our hotel. Check in. Evening for leisure. Not to be missed the nightlife venues of the small colonial city! The famous Casa de la Trova, where we can enjoy a real, authentic salsa party and dance together with the locals and can observe how the locals dance Cuban salsa and enjoy the local Cuban band playing Caribbean tunes.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 6: Sancti Spiritus – Escambray Mountains - Sugar Mill Valley – Trinidad

Breakfast at the hotel. Today, a real "Cuban Day" is ahead of us. Departure of Cuba's second largest mountain, the Escambray Mountain. The mountain is not only famous for its rich flora and fauna, but also has a special role of climate separation as well. While the North side of the hill has lush and humid subtropical vegetation, with coffee-growing countryside, while the southern side has a dry climate, and covered with bushes and many other dry zone plants like Agave. Our trip leads to the southern side of the mountain, to a Cuban Finca. At the Cuban farm the "real Cuba", the everyday rural life can be observed. You can also ride horses on the farm. Here we will have lunch, taste the typical Cuban dishes. After a short Caribbean siesta we continue our trip to the famous valley of sugar mills that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Manaca Iznaga estate. It is possible to climb the seven stories tower that offers a beautiful panorama. Then continue our trip to Trinidad, a small colonial town founded more than 500 years ago that was once attributed by the abundance of its sugar cane plantations. Here, we discover another face of Cuba. Our journey is made not only on ground but in time, too. Trinidad preserves the uniqueness atmosphere of the colonial era. While walking along the small winding streets we have the feeling as if we would have flown back in time. Sightseeing in the UNESCO World Heritage city; visit the Plaza Mayor, The Tower of Contrabandido, the Cathedral, La Santissima Trinidad Square and the exhibition of the Romantic Museum. The museum is located in the palace of the town's richest family with balustrade yard, marble floors, and neoclassical decoration; walking among the frescoes of the city's wealthiest merchant family we can enjoy the assembled exhibition of articles. Later we walk in the old town and stop at the famous Canchanchara bar where you can sample the authentic drink of Trinidad, special cocktail still made from the original recipe of Aguardiente and honey, called Canchanchara. Later we start further to Cienfuegos, also a World Heritage Site city. We arrive at our hotel, check in. Dinner at the hotel included, evening at leisure.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 7: Trinidad

After breakfast we go on a walking tour of Trinidad with a local historian starting at the Plaza Mayor in the city's historic district including the Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad church, which is known locally as La Parroquíal Mayor, Palacio Brunet Museum of Colonial Architecture and the Municipal Museum. Hopefully experience local Cubans performing authentic salsa dancing somewhere in the city while enjoying dinner at a local paladar

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8: Trinidad - Cienfuegos – Guama – Havana

Breakfast at the hotel. Before driving on along the "Bay of Pigs" into Cienfuegos. Panoramic sightseeing tour of the famous Malecon, admire the beautiful seaside villas, stop at the Palacio del Valle, a unique palace with architectural richness. Then we head towards downtown Cienfuegos, where we continue a walking tour of the city of former aristocrats. Cienfuegos, founded by French settlers, has European-style architecture that is unique in Cuba. Walk down the Boulevard of the city via the Prado, we visit the Jose Marti Square, the Governor's palace, the Thomas Terry Theater famous for the excellent acoustics of the theater, and the Cathedral.

Lunch in a local restaurant, then we continue our trip to Havana. Arrival late afternoon. Check in. Evening for leisure.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 9: Havana – Viñales - Havana

After breakfast we start a full day excursion to the western part of the country, the province of Pinar del Rio, 170 km from Havana, the picturesque Viñales Valley, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Pinar del Rio province is also called the country's "green" part. Our way leads along the lush tobacco plantations. This excellent climate is the secret to the excellent Cuban tobacco, the raw material of the famous Cuban cigars. Today we will learn about the making of cigars, the tobacco production and processing through to wrapping cigars. We turn into the house of an authentic Cuban tobacco producer family, who lead us through the plantation, a tobacco drying barn and we can look at the process of tobacco step by step. We learn how we can recognize high-quality tobacco leafs; learn the art of wrapping cigars as one of the famous Cuban cigars is made before our eyes.

Next stop on our way is the exquisite valley of Viñales, stopping at a lookout point where we can enjoy the breathtaking panorama with the remote scenery of "Mogotes" and mountains make this place deservedly a World Heritage site. Then lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we start hiking the Indian cave, and river boating inside the cave. Closing the program we visit the famous wall painting, the "Mural de la Prehistoria" that fascinates us with its unique technology of gigantic size. Late afternoon return to Havana.

Evening do Havana by night, Listen to Jazz and Blues at The Art Factory in Verdado, or take in a show in Tropicana and places with entertainment and learn about freedom to operate such private clubs.

Overnight at your Hotel

Day 10: Havana

After breakfast, a guide shall meet at the hotel for a city tour. Visit to Colonial Havana declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1982, walking tour in the historic center including main squares, fortresses and buildings built by the Spaniards during the XVI and XIX centuries. Visit to La Bodeguita del Medio; main streets and avenues in Old Havana.

Stop at the Capitol. Continue the tour with a panoramic view of Havana's University and the visit to the Revolution Square. Visit to El Cristo de La Habana part of an architecture that serves as the entrance to the old Carenas Port.

driver to continue to visit to the Rum Museum to know about the origin and development of the rum production in the island and enjoy a Cuban cocktail.
An evening visit to one of the many historic Hemmingway's bars Perhaps Café Taverna where the Buena Vista Social Club performs regularly.

Day 11: Havana - Departure

After breakfast and a leisurely morning, prepare to transfer to the airport for return trip home.

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Optional extension:

Note for individual travelers, minimum 2 persons required

It is possible to add 4 day/3 nights pre or post tour, by adjusting and reversing the itinerary.

For instance, program can start in Havana and go by car to Varadero and from there to Holguin, which boasts the most beautiful serene beach and historic center. From there continue by car to Santiago. Then pick up the above-mentioned program.

Alternative is to reverse program, and end in Santiago, then add Holguin and Varadero, doing the entire journey by car.

This will make it a 15 Day 14 night program.

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