|Aktivitets nivå :||Kultur & Tema reiser (standard)|
A lively cultural week featuring the Island's must-see highlights and traditional homestays
The group flight arrives in the afternoon and we transfer to our hotel in the Miramar district of Havana. Land only clients will meet the group at the start hotel. *Standard Hotel*
Today we travel to Vinales Valley, in the west of Cuba. Famous for its rolling tobacco plantations and collection of limestone karsts dotted along the valley, it's not hard to see why Vinales was awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status. We'll visit a cigar factory to learn about one of the island's most famous exports (when this is closed we instead visit an alternative cigar factory in Cienfuegos on the morning of day 4). After lunch, a local guide will take us for a light walk through the 'Valley of Silence' where we will be able to soak up rural Cuban life as farmers tend to their crops using traditional farming methods. After checking into our overnight accommodation in Casa Particulares, we will visit an organic farm in the hills of Vinales for a sunset dinner overlooking the valley. *Casa*
This morning we set off on a long drive eastwards to Cienfuegos. We will make a stop for a picnic lunch on the Bay of Pigs where, time permitting, we may also have a dip. In Cienfuegos we have time to admire the main square and restored municipal buildings before checking into our casa for the night. Casas may be located in the town centre or close to the coastal road. There are some great paladares in the town and the coastal road 'malecon' is usually a lively place to soak up the atmosphere with locals. Today's travel time is approx. 7 hours. *Casa*
This morning we'll depart Cienfuegos and continue by taking a short drive down the coast to Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988 and perhaps the best-preserved colonial town on the island. Exploring Trinidad can feel like entering a time warp, its colourful, cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisking us back. There are many interesting museums housed in old colonial buildings and music drifts through the streets and plazas, bringing the town to life. We'll stay overnight in charming Casa Particulares, private Bed and Breakfast accommodation in local Cuban houses. We'll enjoy an introductory salsa class with local teachers in a nearby Cuban home, and later on in the evening we recommend a visit to Trinidad's Casa de la Trova (the famous 'House of Music') for traditional Cuban music and dancing. *Casa*
Today is free to soak up the atmosphere of Trinidad, simply relax, or join an optional excursion to explore the surrounding areas. For example you can walk the 'El Cubano' trail in the nearby national park. *Casa*
Leaving Trinidad we head inland to Santa Clara, the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution in December 1958, just before Fidel Castro took Havana. Che Guevara and his troops ambushed an armoured train carrying arms to Santiago de Cuba and this was a major turning point in the Revolution. We visit the armoured train museum and the Mausoleum of Che Guevara and his comrades who died in Bolivia before driving back to Havana. An optional trip to either the Parisien or Tropicana Cabaret is available this evening. Today's travel time is approx. 5 hours. *Standard Hotel*
This morning we set off for a city tour of old and new Havana, Cuba's capital and the largest city in the Caribbean. Havana is a busy, bustling, energetic capital. The area of Old Havana is often described as a living museum, with its marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces. This is the finest surviving Spanish colonial complex in the Americas. Preserved by a combination of minimal war damage, post-revolution restoration work and the millions of dollars invested since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. During our tour we also visit the glitzier Miramar district and the Plaza de la Revolution with its images of the Cuban Revolution. We'll stop for lunch at one of the many great local restaurants in Old Havana. In the early evening we will have a demonstration on how to make the perfect Mojito! With a cocktail to loosen us up, we can put the new salsa moves witnessed during the course of the week into practice during a salsa session with a local Cuban dance partner. Salsa is integral to the Cuban way of life and this evening in Havana will be a dance and music filled ending to an incredible week in Cuba. *Standard Hotel*
This morning is free to relax or do some last minute sightseeing in Havana's old town before those on group flights transfer to the airport in the afternoon. **
* 4 nights Casas Particulares and 3 nights hotels (including 2 nights in Old Havana) * Travel by comfortable air-conditioned private coach * Some long journeys
All breakfasts, 2 lunch and 2 dinners included. Cuba is not renowned for its culinary excellence and some ingredients are just not possible to get hold of (due in no small part to the long trade embargo implemented by the US). As such, flavours tend to be relatively simple, with most mealtimes consisting of meat or fish accompanied by rice and salad/vegetables. Seafood is widely available on the coast, including cheap and abundant lobster! Vegetarians will probably find they have the most limited choice. Snack food is not freely available in Cuba so you may wish to consider taking some with you. Paladares are likely to be a highlight of any visit to Cuba - they are one of the few types of private enterprise allowed (although still heavily regulated), where families are allowed to set up a restaurant selling authentic, Cuban food. The atmosphere this creates and opportunity to integrate with local Cubans will no doubt enhance your stay! The hotel that we use in Trinidad includes evening meals for all guests, however, Trinidad is a great place to experience a local paladar or state run restaurant. There will be the option to do this (at your own expense) rather than eating at the hotel. We recommend that you allow CUC 30 pp per day for the lunches and evening meals on the days where food is not included. You may also spend money on bottled water, which will normally cost about CUC 1.50 per bottle if bought from the coach (less if you purchase from local shops).
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