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Cuba: Colours & Flavours

Cuba: Colours & Flavours Cuba: Colours & Flavours
£ 5980

This fascinating tour is designed as an introduction to one of the Caribbean’s most colourful and vibrant islands. It encompasses some of the major sights of the island to give you a taste of its beauty, vitality and magic.

During our stay we explore Havana, a vibrant city steeped in myth and legend, viewing its fine colonial and neo-classical buildings, seeking out the haunts of Hemingway and soaking up the city’s blossoming culture with visits to the National Museum of Fine Arts, local artists’ studios and private collections. Cuba has a long tradition of dance – the rhumba and cha- cha-cha to name but two – but more recently the island has also given us ballet dancers of international repute.

In the Central Provinces, we see the neo-classical treasures of Cienfuegos, and the beautifully preserved colonial towns of Viñales and Trinidad, before ending our tour back in Havana once again.

During the trip Chris will be giving a rolling travel photography workshop for those that wish to partake. Food always plays a big part of Chris’s trips and he will be happy to give an introduction to the traditional local Cuban cuisine, an eclectic mix of Spanish, African and Caribbean influences.

View detailed itinerary >>

16 days from
per person
Tour Date:
30th January 2022 -
14th February 2022
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    Detailed Itinerary
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    Day 1 London / Havana
    London / Havana

    Suggested flight (not included in the cost of the tour) Virgin Atlantic VS 147 departing London Heathrow at 12.25 hrs arriving Havana at 17.50 hrs. Transfer to 5-star Iberostar Parque Central Hotel, located in the historic centre of Havana, and where four nights are spent. Dinner at a local restaurant.

    Day 2 Havana
    Havana

    This morning enjoy a city tour in an open top vintage car taking in all the main sites including the Parque Almendares, the riverside city park; Cristobal Colon Cemetery, noted for its many elaborately sculpted memorials; and the historical Hotel Riviera and Hotel Nacional overlooking the Malecon, built in the 1920s and frequented by movie stars such as Errol Flynn, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner and Clark Gable.

    Lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon meet the famous photographer, Robert Salas, in his home and enjoy his private collection of extraordinary images. Dinner at a local paladar.

    Day 3 Havana
    Havana

    This morning drive in famous 1950s classic cars to visit the Hemingway Museum and Cojima, the fishing community where Hemingway
    based his novel The Old Man and the Sea with a specialist guide. Enjoy spectacular views of the city from the El Morro fort across the harbour from Havana.

    Lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon enjoy a contemporary photography tour of Havana with the curator, Cristina Figueroa, covering cutting edge photography studios including El Local, Seis Seis Studio and El Apartamento. Dinner at a local paladar. After dinner there will be the option (to be paid for locally) to enjoy live music at La Zorra el Cuervo, a basement jazz club.

    Day 4 Havana
    Havana

    Enjoy a half day food tour including a visit to a local market and lunch of Cuban food with a twist at one of Havana’s best kept secrets with a specialist chef. You will also learn to make a real Cuban mojito.

    This afternoon visit the spectacular Baroque style 19th century church of Iglesia de Mercedes decorated by renowned Cuban artists including Esteban Chartrand, Miguel Melero, Pidier Petit and Juan Crosa, among others.

    Optional (to be paid for locally) early evening ballet performance at Havana Theatre (subject to ballet performance schedule). Dinner at a local restaurant followed by the option to enjoy live music at Fabrica del Arte VIP lounge.

    Day 5 Havana / Viñales
    Havana / Viñales

    Morning transfer (with luggage) to Viñales, a gateway to the Sierra de los Organos mountains and the Viñales Valley. Its main street is lined with colourful colonial-era wooden houses, including the Municipal Museum, which explores the region’s history, and where orchids and palms fill the sprawling Casa de Caridad Botanical Gardens.

    Lunch at a local restaurant. Enjoy a tobacco tour with a specialist guide at a tobacco plantation, where they still plough with oxen, and see the famous drying houses and learn how to roll a cigar. Continue to Hotel Encanto Central, located in the heart of Viñales and where two nights are spent. Dinner under own arrangements.

    Day 6 Havana / Viñales
    Havana / Viñales

    This morning enjoy a trekking tour (weather permitting) including lunch to Los Aquaticos (the water people) to see the dramatic landscape of this stunning natural area declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999. The rich red earth of the Viñales countryside is also home to the local farming population who lovingly tend the surrounding landscape to grow tobacco crops from which Cuba’s world famous cigars are made. Rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner at a local tapas restaurant.

    Day 7 Viñales / Havana
    Viñales / Havana

    This morning drive back to Havana (with luggage).

    Lunch a local restaurant. Afternoon guided tour of the Museo de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) which contains Latin America’s largest collection of antiquities as well as works by Goya, Rubens, Velázquez, Turner, Gainsborough
    and Canaletto. Check in to Iberostar Parque Central Hotel where one night is spent. Dinner at a local restaurant with live music.

    Day 8 Havana / Cienfuegos / Trinidad
    Havana / Cienfuegos / Trinidad

    Depart (with luggage) to Cienfuegos, the ‘Pearl of the South’ and enjoy a city tour by boat.

    Fresh seafood lunch in a fishing village. Continue along the panoramic coastal road to the beautifully preserved colonial town of Trinidad. The elegant town grew extremely prosperous in the 19th century sugar boom but was then hit hard by competition from sugar beet. Its fine palaces and family mansions, preserved following a gradual economic decline that continued for more than a century, still stand monument to the town’s past glory. The town was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. Check into the centrally located colonial Hotel Iberostar where five nights are spent. Dinner at a local restaurant. Optional (to be paid locally) visit to Casa de la Trova for an evening of live traditional Cuban music.

    Day 9 Trinidad
    Trinidad

    Morning departure to Finca La Lima in the Escambray Mountains, a wonderful rural farm, to enjoy trekking, horse riding and swimming in waterfalls.

    Lunch at Finca La Lima. Return to Trinidad and enjoy an afternoon photography tour of this beautifully preserved colonial town with its elegant colour-washed palaces and mansions such as the 18th-century Palacio Brunet and the Palacio Cantero which contains the Museo Municipal de Historia, along with the churches of San Francisco and Santisima Trinidad. Dinner under own arrangements.

    Day 10 Trinidad
    Trinidad

    Morning departure for a day trip by boat to Cayo Macho, a small Caribbean gem with beautiful clear turquoise waters and beautiful beaches to enjoy swimming and snorkelling in coral reefs with colourful tropical fish and turtles.

    Enjoy cocktails and a seafood lunch on board before returning back to shore. Dinner at a local restaurant.

    Day 11 Trinidad
    Trinidad

    Morning tour to Sancti Spiritus, one of the original seven Cuban cities founded by the Spanish in 1514. Its colonial origins are evident in the town’s buildings and layout, and during the Revolution of 1959, Sancti Spiritus aided Che Guevara’s division of the rebel army with hundreds of volunteer fighters. Visit the museum of La Guayabera, the traditional shirt of Cuba and originally from this area.

    Light lunch at a local paladar in Sancti Spiritus. Return to Trinidad and remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner under own arrangements.

    Day 12 Trinidad
    Trinidad

    Morning departure into the countryside to the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) to see the ruins of the local sugar plantations and learn about the slave history. Also visit the plantation homes of the sugar barons some of which have been exquisitely restored. Return to Trinidad.

    Lunch under own arrangements. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at a local paladar.

    Day 13 Trinidad / Havana

    Morning departure (with luggage) for Havana. Stop en route at Santa Clara – site of a major revolutionary battle in 1958 and final resting place of Che Guevara. Visit the Che Guevara Mausoleum.

    Enjoy a private culinary experience at a beautifully restored colonial house. Continue to Havana and check into Iberostar Parque Central Hotel where two nights are spent. Dinner under own arrangements.

    Day 14 Havana

    Morning at leisure. Lunch under own arrangements.

    This afternoon enjoy a tour of the private collection at the home of Alberto Korda, Cuba’s most famous photographer, where his daughter, Alex Korda, will talk about her later father’s celebrated photos including those of Che Guevara and the early years of the Cuban Revolution.

    Dinner and Rumba party at a local paladar followed by (optional and to be paid for locally) live music at Casa de la Musica de Miramar.

    Day 15-16 Havana / London

    Morning at leisure for shopping and exploring before checking out of the hotel.

    Lunch at a local paladar. Continue (with luggage) to Havana airport for suggested flight (not included in the cost of the tour) Virgin Atlantic VS 148 departing Havana at 21.50 hrs.

    Arrive London Heathrow at 12.00 hrs.

    • From beginning to end the service I have received has been exceptional. A company that can be trusted to treat customers fairly, coupled with outstanding and personable service means that I would not hesitate to recommend them.

      -
      KM, August 2020