Join Travel Buddies as we head to Cuba. A country that has to be seen to be believed, and a holiday here will enthral every type of traveller. As soon as we touch down at Havana Airport and breathe in the unmistakable aroma of tropical fruits and ocean breeze you’ll be itching to explore the city. Havana is known for its vibrant atmosphere, there is nowhere quite like this spicy, energetic city where salsa music plays from every open doorway and convertible 1950s car.
Cuba is like a prince in a poor man’s coat; behind the sometimes shabby facades, gold dust lingers. It’s these rich contrasts that make travel here the exciting, exhilarating roller-coaster ride it is. Trapped in a time warp and reeling from an economic embargo that has grated for more than half a century, this is a country where you can wave goodbye to everyday assumptions and expect the unexpected.
So who's ready to get exploring.....
ARRIVAL DAY - HAVANA
Arrive at Jose Marti International Airport Havana early evening and take a private transfer to Havana city for our first nights stay in Cuba. We will be staying in a Casa Particular, otherwise known as bed and breakfast Cuban style!! The casa experience is a great way to experience the traditional Cuban lifestyle by staying with a local family, eating Cuban food, smoking cigars should you fancy it, and learning about the nation's culture and history all from real Cuban people.
We will head out for dinner after getting settled in and sample our first taste of Cuban cuisine there is a vast array of restaurants to choose from so we can get to try all of the Cuban classic dishes....
DAY 2 - HAVANA
After breakfast we will step out to embark on our Free Walking Tour - The best way to discover Old Havana with a local expert guide. We will cover history, culture, people, landmarks and hear unique stories. We will visit some of the most important and historical places in the Old City and also venture out to areas that are not frequently visited by tourists, but provide a glimpse into everyday life in Havana.
The tour is 3 hours long and are usually really informative. At the end of the tour you just show your appreciation by tipping the guide whatever you think the tour was worth to you.
Perhaps one of the most popular things people think of when they think of Havana, is the fantastic sight of all those traditional old classic cars. So after lunch what better way to cruise round the streets of Havana in a classic 1950's convertible car!! We spend 3 hours driving around 4 districts seeing many sights such as Capitol, China Town, Carlos III street, Revolution Square, Vedado, Cristobal Colon Cemetery, John Lennon statue park, Nuevo Vedado, Habana Forest, Miramar, 5th avenue, Malecon avenue, Christ of Havana and Morro-Cabana fortress. We can stop on request to take photo's of all the many exciting sights that we shall see.
After all of today's excitement so far, we will finish our day off with some traditional and delicious Cuban food and possibly a salsa or two.
Accommodation - casa particular Havana
DAY 3 HAVANA
Free day to explore Havana or spend time relaxing.
The Travel Buddies trips work on the basis that as long as you are having a good time then that is what matters, if you don't feel like coming on one of the excursions or joining the rest of the group for dinner one evening then that is absolutely fine. This is an adventure for everyone and there is nothing worse than having to go somewhere/do something that you don't really fancy!
Accommodation - casa particular Havana
Day 4 HAVANA
Today it's up early for breakfast as we head out for a full day excursion to......
VINALES VALLEY - In Viñales Valley, clay mountains and “mogotes” (small top-rounded conic hills) get mixed to form a fantastic natural scenery, that is why UNESCO declared it World Cultural Landscape. Viñales is a site where plenty of attractions come together and that is why it is considered the emblem of the province. Here you find cigar’s plantations, crop fields, farmer’s huts, and exclusive flora and fauna. The best view of the Valley is obtained from the lookout of Los Jazmines.
We will arrive back in Havana in the evening
Accommodation - casa particular Havana
DAY 5 -HAVANA - TRINIDAD
Breakfast followed by a private transfer to Trinidad. Approx 7 hours drive.
Check in to our accommodation, casas particular Trinidad, followed by free time on arrival to relax or explore before our evening meal.
This evening, for those who fancy it, we could visit Casa de Trova, the home to live singers, bands and dancers.
DAY 6 - TRINIDAD
Breakfast followed by our private tour of Historical Trinidad.
The 5 hour tour starts after breakfast with a walking tour in the Historical Centre Trinidad followed by a trip to the Valle de los Ingenios sugar plantation area.
We will be met at our casa and make visits to Jigue Squar, where the city was founded in 1514, we will then walk through the main street of the city, The Gutierrez Street, which divided the ancient from the modern. We will visit the Museum of Local History or Cantero Palace and Tower, from where we can see a panoramic view of the entire city. Make a visit to the Plaza Mayor, the historic centre of the city, visit the Churchof the Holy Trinity, the Architecture Museum. Take some refreshments in the bar The Canchanchara, here you can enjoy a drink of the same name. (drink included) Visit the Convent of San Francisco, now the National Museum of the Struggle against Bandits, then go to La Ermita de la Popa, located on the side of a mountain. Visit the Plaza de Santa Ana. We will now be ready for some lunch I'm sure, so this will be enjoyed at a top quality restaurant in Trinidad (lunch included).
After our lunch break we will then take private transfer to the train station which is more than a 100 years old and from there continue to The Valle de Los Ingenios. Take a visit to Mirador del Valle de los Ingenios where we can se a panoramic view of the valley which is now a World Heritage Site. We will learn about Cuba's sugar industry. The valley has 75 past sugar cane mills, plantation houses and barracks. Moving on, we shall visit San Isidro de los Destiladeros, this is probably the last example of the many archaeological sites in the valley. It was completely isolated and uninhabited for a long time while other sugar mills in the valley were just abandoned or demolished during the Independence War. Before making our way back to Trinidad we shall also visit the town, Manaca-Iznaga with it's famous tower and well. Once back in Trinidad we will visit the pottery workshop before returning back to our casa.
The remainder of the day will be at leisure to relax or explore Trinidad further before tonight's evening meal.
DAY 7 - TRINIDAD
Free day to spend in Trinidad.
There will be an option for an organised tour for those that fancy it... perhaps a visit to a Cuban cigar factory.
Perhaps this evening we can head to Plaza Mayor where we can drink a little Cuban rum and even book a professional dancer to dance with us for an hour, Around £10 for an hour lesson.
DAY 8 - TRINIDAD to VARADERO
Breakfast followed by a private transfer to Varadero. Approx 4 hours.
After all our previous busy days, I'm sure we will all now be ready for some well earned relaxation time at our 4* All Inclusive hotel in Varadero.
In Varadero we can do as little or as much as we want over the next few days before our journey ends and we travel back home. With it's gorgeous white sandy beaches to relax on, or the ever inviting sea to swim or snorkel in, or why not have a go on one of the many water sports in the area that's on offer, then we certainly won't be short on things to do. There is even the options to go scuba diving or take a catamaran cruise to some of the surrounding islands.
The hotel boasts daytime and evening entertainment pools and a Jacuzzi with dinner buffet and three on site restaurants
Please Note: Some of the Cuban style 4* All Inclusive hotels leave a little to be desired but we have really researched to try to find the best option for the group and believe this to be the best There are many great reviews and we have come to believe that Cuba still has a little work to do getting itself in line with other countries when it comes to top class hotels! If you would like a room to yourself there is an option to pay the supplement of £120 for the 4 nights.
DAYS 9 , 10 and 11 VARADERO
Free time to relax and enjoy Varadero, we will look at what there is to do in the area and can book an excursion if we feel that way inclined and spend time swimming, relaxing and perhaps even a spot of dancing!
DAY 12 - VARADERO to AIRPORT
Today we take our private transfer to the airport in the early evening for our return flight home back home.
Day 13 - Arrive UK
Flights are as follows
[masked] Depart LGW 11.30 Arrive HAV 17.40
[masked] Depart HAV 19.25 Arrive LGW 09.30+1
The cost of the trip is £1650 and includes the following.
• Return direct flights from London Gatwick with 23KG luggage allowance.
• 7 nights accommodation in Cuban casas sharing rooms with breakfast each morning
• 4 nights 4 * accommodation in Varadero on an all inclusive basis. (Room to yourself for a supplement of £120 for the 4 nights)
• All transfers within Cuba
• Walking tour of Havana
• Classic car tour Havana
• Full day trip to Vinhales
• Historical Trinidad tour with lunch
• Tourist cards
• Meals other than those stated above
• Other excursions or activities that you wish to partake in.
• Travel Insurance ( you will be required to show proof of this upon entry in to Cuba).
PLEASE NOTE YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHECKING IF YOU NEED ANY VACCINATIONS IN GOOD TIME WITH YOUR DOCTOR OR NURSE.
To RSVP to the trip you will need to pay a £250 deposit via PAYPAL.
Then the following payments need to be paid by the following dates.
£800 by November 30th
£600 By January 31st.
Payments need to be made to the following account.
Hope you will be joining us!