Join this 8 day exploratory tour of Cuba. This Cuba vacation for Your Senses people to people program is packed with unique experiences! Throughout the tour, special presentations give a unique real perspective of today's Cuba as well as its past. Travel from Havana to Pinar del Rio and the fertile grounds of Vinales valley before ending in beautiful Varadero. A combination of modest hotels in Havana and Varadero paired with guest house lodging in the countryside make for an authentic and sustainable experience.
DAY 1 - U.S.A. / HAVANA, CUBAArrive to Terminal 2 at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. After customs our local representative CUBATUR SUNNY LAND TOURS welcome you to Cuba. We begin with a panoramic drive in Havana to 5th Avenue and The Old City along the Malecon where the U.S. Embassy is located for a stop before we continue for your first taste of Cuba's traditional cuisine and culture at the Algibe Restaurant. After lunch we will explore the classic cars of Cuba where members of A LO CUBANO CAR CLUB present their restored beauties. Sit back and relax while you enjoy a cool ride! Later, we transfer to our selected hotel for check in.
After settling in, meet in the lobby for a Welcome cocktail and People-to-People presentation which provides an overview of your itinerary, and your participation commitments a
with Msc. Eliodoro Hernandez , a graduate from the University of Havana. Enjoy a discussion based presentation on the economic situation in Cuba and the central bank's exchange rate. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight Havana Roc Presidente Hotel Meals LD
DAY 2 - OLD HAVANA UNESCO World Heritage Site After breakfast, we are off to explore this sprawling metropolis of 2 million inhabitants. Founded in 1519 Old Havana, by the 18th century, was the most important port of the region. Old Havana, whose walls define it's boundaries, retains an interesting mix of Baroque and Neoclassical monuments and an ensemble of private houses adorned with balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards. We will visit the Univesrity of Havana and stop at La Copelia Ice Cream Parlor before we begin our walk through Old Havana making our way to El Template. It is here where the City of Havana was founded in 1514. Nearby we'll encounter the Office of the City Historian and many historical Spanish plazas including the Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja and Plaza San Francisco. Lunch serve at Restaurant Templete. Continue to Havana's "Museo de Bellas Artes" and walk the famous Central Park where local Cubans discuss their favorite pastime, Baseball! You'll see the Bacardi Building, famous for its Art Deco architecture, Cathedral Square and La Bodeguita del Medio Bar-Restaurant, Hemingway's favorite stop for a Mojito Cocktail. (Mojito Cocktail included). Tonight at 9 PM, enjoy the ceremonial firing of the canon at El Canonazo. The world's longest cigar is on display in the fort's gift shop. Return to our hotel in Havana, Roc Presidente Meals BL
DAY 3 - HAVANA & THE ERNEST HEMINGWAY'S TRAIL
After breakfast, it's all about Hemingway! We visit Finca La Vigia former home of Ernest Hemingway where he wrote many of his novels. A visit to Alamar Community to meet the local leaders and discuss the historic Micro Brigades, organized in 1965 by local residents to build their own housing. Continue to Cojimar where Hemingway kept his boat Pilar, for daily fishing trips in the Caribbean where he found inspiration for his novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Lunch at Las Terrazas, Hemingway's preferred restaurant where he frequently sat for lunch after fishing on the Pilar. Continue to the monument honoring Hemingway built by local fisherman with their boat anchors. On our return to Havana, visit El Castillo del Morro, and Fort La Cabana. The tour continues with a walk up Obispo Street and a stop at the Ambos Mundos Hotel and the room, now a museum, where Ernest Hemingway wrote his famous novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. The walk continues through Havana's former banking district and on to famous El Floridita, Hemingway's favorite bar for his trademark drink, the Rum Daiquiri (Daiquiri included). Overnight Havana Roc Presidente Hotel Meals BL
DAY 4 - EL PARAISO FARM and VINALES VALLEY
After breakfast, depart Havana towards the Province of Pinar del Rio. The main highway goes along the Sierra and the beautiful landscape is quite stunning. On the way, we will visit the largest Maritime Port of Cuba, Marielos Port, to learn about the impact in Import and Export of goods. Continue to EL PARAISO AGROECOLOGICAL FARM to celebrate the local gastronomy with a traditional Cuban lunch. This organic family run farm initiative offers a combination of innovation and family tradition. The farm is terraced producing organic vegetables. Located along the hillside over looking Vinales Valley, this is a privately owned family farm, organized with others like it in a credit and service cooperative. Your hosts will share their experiences about the farm, entrepreneurial opportunities and challenges in starting a local business in this rural community. Mr. Norges Perez Santos, Government Representative in Pinar del Rio for Tourism Development, will explain with firsthand visits to new local private enterprises. This is a great opportunity to share with the locals their experiences. Drive to the Vinalles Valley National Park UNESCO World Landscape Heritage Site and an important tourist attraction with spectacular limestone Mogotes rising 900 feet above surrounding farmland. There are numerous caves scattered on the slopes inhabited for many centuries before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors. We being our exploration of the cave formations of Cueva del Indio by boat. Next, we stop at the Prehistory Mural Project before we arrive to our guesthouse lodging in Vinales. Check in to Casa de Hospedae where you will learn about this new literally "home grown" form of tourism business in Cuba offering a great opportunity for the locals. Casa de Hospedaje for overnight. Meals BLD
DAY 5 - PINAR DEL RIO TOBACCO'S MASTERS HERITAGE Today we drive to San Juan Martinez in Pinar del Rio. If you've ever wondered where the world's finest cigars start out, it's here in the lovingly cultivated tobacco plantations of Cuba's Pinar del Río province. The plantations and landscape are part of the area's magical sense. We will follow Tobacco Road and have the unique experience to meet with the Tobacco Masters to learn how the world's best tobacco is cultivated into the finest cigars. Learn about the main markets for exporting these unique cigars. Visit the tobacco plantation to meet and discuss with Hector Luis Prieto, the youngest to hold the prestigious Governmental award, Hombre Habano de Cuba, in 2007 and noted as Cuba's Cigar Man for the quality of tobacco he grows in Finca Quemado de Rubi, San Juan and Martinez in Pinar del Rio. Learn about important changes in the tobacco industry in Cuba and the role this industry has in economy of the local community. Continue to Pinar del Rio's City Central Quarter to learn about the history of this quaint town and to visit Guabina Cuban Pinto Horse Ranch and Farm for a Cuban Creol inspired lunch. After lunch enjoy a presentation by the General Manager about the ranch and farms activities. Next, we will visit a local public clinic for health services in the City of Pinar del Rio and learn about health care in this region.
Overnight at Casa de Hospedaje. Meals BLD
DAY 6 - PINAR DEL RIO- MATANZAS - VARADEROAfter breakfast drive to Varadero with a stop for presentation of MARDIDAJE of Tobacco & Cuban Rum. Our lunch at 1830 Restaurant by the ocean side in the exclusive Vedado Neighborhood . To enjoy the taste of fresh fish or shrimp and also see how the Tobacco comes to the City in the shape of a Cigar and matches with an aromatic glass of Cuban Rum ( Maridaje, a ceremony conducted by an specialist , that will explain everything regarding the way cigars should be lit and smoked, combined with Rum at the end of any Gourmet meal in Cuba) a tradition in Cuba. After lunch continue driving to the picturesque city of Matanzas situated along Matanzas Bay. The old city buildings are mostly from XVIII and XIX centuries, while in other areas buildings are modern. The first stop will be the visit to the Pharmaceutical Museum National Monument , a French drug store from XIX century, it is the only one that remains in the world, and it preserves the original tools, instruments, furniture and building along the Matanzas Bay continue to the Varadero Peninsula for check in at Roc Arenas Doradas Hotel. Hotel Overnight Varadero. Meals BLD
DAY 7 - CARDENAS SUGAR & LOCOMOTIVE MUSEUM -VARADEROAfter breakfast a short drive will take us to the City of Cardenas a very important Sugar Cane center in Cuba. We'll learn about the second railway station built in Cuba and the museum of the sugar industry & steam locomotives used in the transportation of sugar cane. Take a short ride with the local engineer on one of those ancient engines and learn how they are still in use and maintained. Return for lunch at the hotel. Afternoon visit the City of Varadero, Cuba's foremost tourist resort town, boasting more than 20 km of white sandy beaches. The first tourists visited Varadero as early as the 1870s, and for years it was considered an elite resort. In 1910 the annual rowing regatta was started and five years later the first hotel, named Varadero and later Club Nautico, was built. Tourism grew in the early 1930s as Irénée du Pont Nemours, an American millionaire, built his estate on the peninsula. Continue to Museo Municipal for a presentation by the Museum curator. Visit "Taller de Cerámica Artística" to meet with local Cuban potters and learn about their great artworks. All art works are of high quality and perfect to bring back home. We end our days visit in the private business district in Varadero said to be home to the largest growing number of entrepeneurs in the country. Overnight Roc Arenas Doradas in Varadero. Meals BLD
DAY 8 - VARADERO- HAVANA-U.S.Today we drive to the International Airport Jose Marti in Havana in time for your departure flight to the U.S. Meals B
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* Sequence of visits may be subject to change