Beginning in Havana, a city that sways to the beat of salsa music and mojitos, with its classic American cars, faded pastel colonial mansions, cobbled streets, cigar factory and revolutionary monuments.
Then you move on to the more relaxed and traditional towns of Vinales and Cienfuegos – both surrounded by rich tropical countryside - before arriving at gaily painted Trinidad. Your Classic Cuba tour culminates in a trip to Che’s greatest battlefield, followed by chill out time on an immaculate white beach beside the inviting Caribbean.
Fly to the capital of Cuba – the Caribbean’s largest island – where you’ll be met and taken to your accommodation. You’ll be staying in a completely refurbished 1880s neo-classical mansion that echoes the charm of the period and the stylish 1930s. And you’ll be close to everything: the quaint cobbled streets lined with faded-but-genteel old buildings featuring decorated arches, balconies with ornate ironwork and washed out pastel paintwork.
Classic 50s and 60s American cars, plazas with gushing fountains, Baroque churches and grand state buildings, salsa and mojitos are all part of the Havana experience. As are tours of the Cigar Factory, art studios and the Hemingway Museum in a classic Yank tank and visits to Old Havana’s four historic plazas.
Stay: Three nights in a deluxe patio room at the Saratoga Hotel.
Say goodbye to Havana and head for the hills. A beautiful two hour drive brings you to the rolling countryside of Pinar de Rio. This is tobacco country so your tour will include harvesting an insight into the way tobacco is grown in the old fashioned way. Vinales itself is a spruce, traditional town with colourful houses and gardens full of farmyard animals.
You’ll be able to see the countryside by bike, go on picnics, ride horses through the valley, investigate local caves as well as take mud therapies, bathe in geothermic springs and relax in sulphurous baths.
Stay: Two nights in a double room at Rancho San Vicente.
Today you drive off to visit the ‘Pearl of the South’ – a city that overlooks the mighty Bahia de Cienfuegos where Columbus landed in 1494. You’ll be staying in a restored colonial mansion in the heart of the downtown area, so you’ll be able to explore in your own time as well as enjoying a city tour that includes delving into the history of Jose Marti Park and the local architecture, plus visits to the Tomas Terry Theatre, local markets and the Palacio del Valle.
Stay: One night in a double room at the Hotel La Union.
Trinidad is one of Cuba’s most charming towns with its characteristic painted houses and vast colonial mansions that once belonged to fabulously wealthy sugar plantation owners. You’ll be staying in one of the oldest houses in Trinidad, on the edge of the picturesque Santa Rosa Valley, so you’ll be admirably placed to enjoy a walking tour around this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s cobbled streets with an expert guide who will relate the region’s complex and highly colourful history.
You’ll also learn about the hardships and injustice of slavery when you tour a local sugar plantation. Then it’s time to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Topes de Collantes with its 200 sq km of phenomenal botanical, zoological and ecological features.
Stay: Three nights in a double room at Finca Kenia.
Cayo Santa Maria
On your way to Cayo Santa Maria you’ll stop off to visit the Che Guevara Memorial at Santa Clara – scene of his epic struggle to liberate Cuba. Then you journey on to another Cuban ‘unmissable’ – the fantastic white beaches and welcoming Caribbean for which the island is famed. It’s chill out time in the most superb beach setting; at a hotel with exceptional suites, spa and swimming pool.
Not to mention evening entertainment, salsa and Spanish classes, aqua gym and eco-trips into the surrounding countryside.
Stay: Four nights in a Royal Service junior suite at the Melia Buenavista.
A scenic, five hour trip takes you back to magical Havana for a final evening in a city that parties to the rhythms of salsa, in any number of interesting bars and clubs.
The next day you’ll fly out of Havana in the early evening, just as the party is starting, to arrive back home.
Stay: One night in a deluxe patio room at the Saratoga Hotel.