Highlights of Cuba
A wonderful introduction to this island nation, our small group tour Highlights of Cuba provides an insight into Cuba’s captivating history and culture. Explore and experience the vibrant capital Havana before venturing into the island’s fascinating colonial heartland and see a nation that’s in a state of rapid transition yet still retaining its unique charm.
This is a great tour for anyone wanting to experience one of the newest, most unique holiday destinations in the world.
- Visit the El Morro Castle and explore the city of Havana
- Follow the Hemingway Trail and finish up at La Cabana fortress
- Discover how cigars are made at a factory in Cienfuegos
- Spend a full day in the UNESCO-listed town of Trinidad
- Visit the Che Guevara Monument and Mausoleum, whilst sight-seeing around Santa Clara
Itinerary in Brief
- Havana – 3 nights
- Trinidad – 2 nights
- Remedios – 1 night
- Varadero – 1 night
Day 1: UK to Havana: Depart from the UK on your daytime flight to Havana. On arrival in Cuba’s capital you will transfer to your hotel where you will stay three nights. Stay: Iberostar Parque Central or similar.
Day 2: Havana: Today you will begin your exploration of Cuba with a full day city tour old part of the city. The tour begins at the El Morro Castle. This 16th-Century fortress was built atop a rocky out-crop at the entrance of the harbour by the Spanish to protect the city and its bay from attack by the other colonising forces in the Caribbean. From here you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city skyline and the famous waterfront Malecon across the harbour, and explore the ramparts and fortifications before heading back to the city. You will continue on to the Old Town where you can walk around the city’s main squares – Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza de Armas and Plaza de la Cathedral. You will then head to a local restaurant for your welcome lunch before heading down the main roads of Old Havana – Obispo Street and Prado Street – ending up at the striking Capitol Building. This evening you’ll travel through the city by classic car, arriving at El Tocororo restaurant where you will dine as jazz music plays. Stay: Iberostar Parque Central or similar. (B, L, D).
Day 3: Havana: Follow the city’s ‘Hemingway trail’ starting in the small fishing town of Cojimar which is located to the east of Havana. It is here that Hemingway joined his best friend Don Gregorio on fishing trips. While here you can taste the famed Don Gregorio cocktail which consists of maraschino and blue curacao served over crushed ice. Continue on to the Hemingway’s House Museum, where the famous author wrote the best-selling novel The Old Man and the Sea. Wander around the grounds and take a peek through the open windows and doors in to the house while gaining a fascinating insight into the life of one of America’s most famous authors. Following lunch at a local restaurant, your group will visit the modern portion of the city to see Revolution Square. Your time exploring Havana comes to an end with a visit to La Cabana fortress for the Nine Canon Ceremony, which once signalled the closing of the city gates. Stay: Iberostar Parque Central or similar. (B, L, D).
Day 4: Havana to Trinidad: Depart Havana and journey to the south coast and the elegant bay-side city of Cienfuegos. Enjoy a city tour taking in many of the most popular sites, including the 19th-Century Teatro Tomas Terry and the ornate Palacio de Valle. Cigars are one of the island’s most iconic exports, and during your time in the city you will visit a factory to discover how they are produced. Following lunch at a local restaurant take to the water on a boat trip on Cienfuegos Bay to see the city and the surrounding landscapes from a different perspective. Continue along the coast to Trinidad, your home for the next two nights. Approx. journey time: 4 hours, 196 miles. Stay: Iberostar Trinidad or similar. (B, L, D).
Day 5: Trinidad: A full days’ exploration of the UNESCO-listed town of Trinidad and its surrounding countryside awaits today. A charming town full of well-preserved historical buildings and cobbled streets, Trinidad is one of the nation’s true gems and it has been dubbed the ‘museum city of Cuba’. A short introductory tour will include visits to La Canchanchara Bar – which is housed in one of the city’s oldest buildings – a local museum and the charming Plaza Mayor, which is the town’s main square. Surrounding the town there were once 70 working sugar mills, however today the landscape is scattered with the ruins of this once prosperous industry. Known as the Valle de los Ingenios, or the Valley of the Sugar Mills, this region is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site alongside the colonial centre of Trinidad. During a trip into the valley you will visit the view point and witness the baroque-style tower of Manaca Iznaga which overlooks a plantation once owned by one of the region’s wealthiest families. Return to Trinidad for dinner and an evening free to relax. Stay: Iberostar Trinidad or similar. (B, L, D).
Day 6: Trinidad to Remedios: Travel onwards to the town of Remedios, stopping in the beautiful city of Sancti Spiritus en route. Enjoy a short walking tour here, taking in the colonial buildings that line the streets, and witnessing every day Cuban life. Later you will arrive in the historic settlement of Remedios. Founded in the 16th-Century, this town features beautiful colonial architecture, has a laid-back and authentic ambience, and it is less frequently visited than Trinidad. This afternoon there will be a city tour which includes a visit to the 18th-Century church Parroquia de San Juan Bautista de Remedios and the Las Parrandas museum which showcases the history and traditions of the town’s lively Christmas Eve festival. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before heading to the Museum of Sugar Industry, located in an old sugar mill, to learn about the importance of this industry in Cuba’s history. Later take a 15 minute steam train ride along the sugar mill’s own railway. Approx. journey time: 2 hours, 71 miles. Stay: Hotel Mascotte or Hotel Barcelona or similar. (B, L, D).
Day 7: Remidios to Varadero: The first stop of the day will be in the city of Santa Clara which is the capital of the Villa Clara province and synonymous with the revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. Here you will take a tour of the city’s main sights which include the armoured train, which Che and his contemporaries derailed during the Cuban Revolution’s Battle of Santa Clara in the process of taking the city. The tour concludes with a visit to the Che Guevara Monument and Mausoleum which provide a fitting tribute to this man who has become a revolutionary icon around the world. The final leg of your tour takes you to the beach resort of Varadero where you will stay one night at the all-inclusive Iberostar Bella Vista hotel or similar. If you have opted to extend your Cuba holiday with a few nights on the beach you will transfer straight to your chosen hotel this afternoon. Approx. journey time: 3¾ hours, 153 miles. Stay: IBEROSTAR Varadero (Jan to Mar 2017), IBEROSTAR Bella Vista (Mar 2017 onwards) or similar. (B, L, D).
Day 8: Varadero to UK: The tour concludes in Varadero this morning as you transfer back to Havana airport for flight back to the UK, arriving the following day. Approx. journey time: 2¼ hours, 92 miles. (B).
Beaches of Cuba 3 nights: Varadero’s beautiful beaches are ideal for a relaxing post-tour escape. A superb selection of all-inclusive resorts await, each boasting a fantastic array of facilities and an enviable setting.
Need to Know
An ideal choice if you are a first time visitor to Cuba and are looking to explore the must see sights of the island. At just eight nights, the tour is perfectly combined with a beach stay.
- All departures are guaranteed
- For guests over 16
- Average group size of 14 guests
- A maximum of 16 guests
The island’s infrastructure is not as developed as other Caribbean countries and as a result delays and disruptions may occur. Cuban food and service may not be to the same standard as experienced elsewhere and there are limited choices for vegetarians. Due to demand often outstripping supply for accommodation in Cuba there are often last minute changes of hotels that are beyond our control. With unprecedented numbers of visitors travelling to Cuba we highly recommend that if you wish to travel on a tour you book early to avoid disappointment.