From the faded colonial architecture and 1950's flair of Havana to the endless tobacco plantations of Pinar del Rio you'll discover an intoxicating mix of culture, music and nature seldom found anywhere else in the world. This ten-day tailor-made tour is the perfect introduction to historic Cuba, taking in the capital Havana as well as the colonial town of Trinidad, the beautiful mountain scenery of Sierra Escambray and the city of Santiago - birthplace of the traditional Cuban music, Son Cubano.
Days 1-2: UK/Havana
Depart the UK on a day flight and spend two days exploring Havana and its surrounds, beginning with a American classic car tour of the city, giving you a real taste of 19th and early 20th century Havana. You'll explore the famous Malecon and legendary Hotel Nacional, as well as the Avenida de los Presidentes, Revolution Square, Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. Enjoy lunch at Santo Angel Restaurant, followed by a stroll through the narrow lanes of Havana's Old Town, visiting Plaza de Armas, Castillo de la Fuerza Real and Cathedral Square, stopping for a cocktail at Hemingway's Bodeguita. In the evening you'll have dinner at a private restaurant – the atmospheric La Casa is a favourite – before an optional Tropicana show charts the history of Cuban music from the Cha-Cha-Cha to the Mambo; it's a spectacular open air event with live orchestra and some 200 artists, dancers and musicians.
Stay: Superior character accommodation*
*Upgrade to Deluxe IBEROSTAR Parque Central for a supplement
Days 3-4: Viñales / Las Terrazas
Depart Havana this morning on a tour to the tobacco plantations at Viñales where you'll enjoy superb panoramic views and a visit to a tobacco farm where you'll learn how Cuba's best-known export is produced. After lunch you'll visit the Mural de la Prehistoria before heading on to Sierra del Rosario for a walk through the sustainable community Las Terrazas, Cuba’s first UNESCO-listed biosphere resort.
Stay: Hotel Moka (Superior)
Days 5-6: Trinidad
Drive to the city of Cienfuegos with its French-inspired colonial architecture and Terry Theatre . Spend some time exploring the streets of this picturesque town before enjoying a cocktail at the moorish-inspired Palacio de Valle, followed by lunch at Aché with its traditional decor, or Villa Lagarto where local dishes are accompanied by views of the bay. In the afternoon continue along the panoramic coastal road to UNESCO-listed Trinidad. On arrival check into your accommodation followed by dinner at a local restaurant.
The following morning you'll take a bus along scenic, winding road, through coffee plantations and into the Sierra Escambray mountains for a hiking tour among the vibrant flora and fauna of the Topes de Collantes National Park. As you make your way along scenic trails to stunning views, and enjoy a refreshing dip under a waterfall, you can look forward to a rustic lunch at Finca La Gallega. In the afternoon, return to Trinidad for a tour of the old town's cobblestone streets and faded sugar baron mansions, taking a break at Canchánchara Bar for a glass of honey liquor.
Stay: Hotel La Cuevas*
*Upgrade to Grand Hotel IBEROSTAR for a supplement
Day 7: Camaguey
This morning you'll depart Trinidad and head to Sugar Mill Valley, home to former sugar barons and the legendary slave tower. A panoramic tour of the region takes you to the romantic setting of Yayabo Bridge before lunch at Taberna Yayabo. In the afternoon you'll drive through sugar cane plantations to the town of Camaguey, home of national poet Nicholas Guillén. Then, enjoy a leisurely walk to Plaza Agramonte and the birth house of Ignacio Agramonte, a rebel killed in action while fighting against the Spanish.
Stay: Santa Maria hotel
Days 8-9: Santiago de Cuba
Continue your journey east to Bayamo for a ride in a traditional horse-drawn carriage and then on to El Cobre in the heart of the Sierra Maestra mountains. In the afternoon you'll arrive in Santiago de Cuba, birthplace of the Cuba Son - the country's most famous musical export. The following day you'll have the chance to explore Santiago on foot, visiting the city's rum museum and taking in the Casa Valazquez, Museum of Carneval, Plaza Dolores and the Santa Ifigenia cemetery - the burial place of the Bacardi dynasty and former Cuban president, Fidel Castro . A further tour takes you to Revolution Square and the Moncada Baracs, which were attacked by Castro in 1953. Later on you'll take a ferry across Santiago Bay to Cayo Granma Island where you'll visit the Fortress El Morro, a UNESCO World Heritage site with breathtaking views across the coast. This evening perhaps enjoy dinner at the Casa de la Trova (own expense), where some of the musicians from Buena Vista Social Club played before finding worldwide fame. Dinner is included on day seven only.
Stay: Hotel Meliá Santiago
Days 10-11: Santiago/Havana/UK
Transfer to Santiago airport for your flight to Havana and onward flight home, arriving on day 10. Alternatively, speak to one of our consultants about extending your stay in Cuba with a few days on the beach.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website