CUBA - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS

DESCRIPTION

This fascinating Cuba travel program allows you to delve into the island nation in depth…from Cienfuegos to Havana you will experience an unforgettable cultural interaction into this enchanting country. Learn about Cuba and its people firsthand via interchanges with Cuban artists, writers, museum curators, musicians, students, and locals. Savor flavorful, authentic Cuban recipes made with fresh farm to table local ingredients at privately owned paladar restaurants. Delve into Spanish-inspired Cuban colonial architecture as you stroll Old Havana’s four main squares on a guided walking tour. Get your dancing shoes on for a one-hour personalized Cuban dance lesson. Live the ingenuity of the locals touring Havana by classic American cars and taking in the vibrant sights, sounds, and pulse of the city. Visit a traditional tobacco plantation and farmhouse in Pinar Del Rio and see up-close how the world’s acclaimed Cuban cigars are made from growing and drying tobacco to rolling. Delve into Cienfuegos, known for its French architectural influences and seaside setting. Opt to extend your Cuban adventure and take time to explore the colonial town of Trinidad, a well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 1514. A program full of amazing activities, experiences, and culturally rich exchanges, memories you will cherish for a lifetime awaits you on this splendid trip to Cuba.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Experience Cuban Life
  • Cuban Culture
  • People-to-people discussions and interactions with Cuban nationals
  • Revolution Square
  • Havana
  • 1950’s Vintage Car Ride
  • Cigar Factory
  • Local Paladar Dinners
  • Hemingway’s Farm
  • Old Havana
  • Artist Studio Visits
  • Viñales
  • Pinar Del Rio
  • Tobacco Plantation and Farmhouse Visit
  • Dance School & Salsa Lessons
  • Zapata Biosphere National Park
  • Bay of Pigs Museum
  • Cienfuegos Tour
  • Choir of Cienfuegos
  • Colonial town of Trinidad and much, much more

Photo and Video



DAY BY DAY ITINERARY


Day 1 Depart USA - Arrive Cienfuegos, Cuba
Today, a short flight takes you from Miami to Cienfuegos - known as Cuba’s “Pearl of the South” due to its impressively beautiful bay. Founded in 1819 by French settlers, Cienfuegos is one of Cuba’s newest cities. In 2005, UNESCO inscribed the Urban Historic Center of Cienfuegos on the World Heritage List, citing Cienfuegos as the best extant example of the 19th century early Spanish enlightenment implementation in urban planning. The French influence is seen in many traits, particularly in architecture, including the city’s many mansions. Upon arrival and after clearing customs, you will be met by your professional, English-speaking Tour Director and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Enjoy your time today either with a quick rest or begin your exploration of Cuba’s “Pearl of the South”. This evening meet your Trinidad pre-trip travelers at a welcome dinner in a local paladar. Here you will have a cultural exchange with the restaurant’s staff and savor flavorful Cuban cuisine. (D)

Day 2 Cienfuegos
Start your day with breakfast at your hotel and head to Cienfuegos’s main square, Parque Marti, for a guided walking tour around the city’s historic center. There will be time at leisure for you to delve into the city at your own pace where you can opt for shopping in the craft market, checking out the local watering holes where music is sure to beckon, or exploring the city on your own. Next, it’s on to enjoy a performance by the Choir of Cienfuegos and the chance to meet with the artists after the performance. Delight in lunch at a local paladar before visiting a local art school and returning to your hotel. Tonight, we will gather for a special farewell dinner to Cienfuegos at a paladar. (B,L,D)

Day 3 Cienfuegos - Bay of Pigs - Havana
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing for Havana. Arrive in Playa Larga, where some of the invader troops disembarked during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Then have lunch at a paladar and take part in an exchange with a specialist at the Zapata Peninsula Biosphere Reserve and National Park. Visit the Bay of Pigs Museum, housed in an old sugar mill and used by Fidel Castro as his center of operations during the 1961 conflict. This afternoon you will arrive to the vibrant capital city of Cuba, Havana, where you will check into your hotel. Along the way, take in the iconic sights of the island nation’s capital including the Spanish colonial architecture and art deco mansions of the Vedado neighborhood, Revolution Square, the University of Havana, and the picture-perfect Malecon overlooking the sea. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local paladar. (B,L,D)

Day 4 Havana
Get your day started right with a buffet breakfast at your hotel before embarking on a day brimming with exciting culturally enriching exchanges and activities. The first stop on today’s itinerary is Havana’s historic center. Here you will be fascinated at every turn as your stroll through Old Havana’s four main plazas along her cobblestone streets, taking in the Spanish architecture and hearing the captivating history at every turn – from Plaza de Armas to Plaza de San Francisco to Plaza Vieja, and on to Plaza de la Catedral. Spend time interacting with the warm and welcoming locals and taking amazing photos along the way. Your insightful local guide will explain the challenges of renovating the city’s exquisite historic buildings and the future of these restorations. Relish lunch at a local paladar before visiting a cigar factory to learn about the manufacturing of fine Cuban cigars and enjoy a cigar rolling presentation. Towards the end of the day we will head into the world of Ernest Hemingway with a visit to Hemingway’s Farm, Finca La Vigia. The house where the Nobel Prize winner lived with his wife Martha for 21 years is situated on this beautiful property overlooking Havana. Tour the perfectly preserved home where many of Hemingway’s personal belongings remain today, as well as his wooden yacht “Pilar.” On this vessel, Hemmingway patrolled for Nazis and it was also featured in his novel “Islands in the Stream.” Tonight, you can tempt your taste buds with traditional Cuban eats at a local paladar. (B,L,D)

Day 5 Havana - Viñales Valley - Havana
Power up with an early breakfast at your hotel and get ready for today’s exciting adventures. Today, we travel out of Havana and into the rural Cuban countryside to the Viñales Valley located in the western most mountainous range of Cuba and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This region, the western province of Pinar del Rio, is known for its stunning scenery, a landscape of prehistoric looking flattop mountains or “mogotes,” tobacco plantations, caves, and rivers. Stop at the viewpoint at Los Jazmines Hotel for spectacular vistas of the verdant valley. Visit Benito’s Tobacco Farm in Viñales to learn about tobacco production and the drying process. Revel in time at leisure to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and take pictures in the “downtown area” of Viñales. Savor an abundant country lunch overlooking the Viñales majestic mogotes at the local paladar. Interact with the family and workers of the farm during lunch and learn about organic farming practices in Cuba. Before returning to Havana, we will make a quick stop by the “Mural de la Prehistoria,” an immense mural created on the slope of a mogote painted by a famous Cuban muralist, Leovigildo González. Head back to your hotel in Havana and take time to delve into the lively colors of the city with dinner on your own this evening. (B,L)

Day 6 Havana
Rise and shine with breakfast at your hotel before departing to Old Havana for a morning of dance. The Kubasoy Dance Company greets you warmly and presents you with your very own professional instructor who will adapt instruction methods to teach you some Cuban dance steps, enabling you to learn at your own pace. After fun on the dance floor, enjoy a one-hour panoramic tour around Havana in American vintage cars. You will become part of the sights and sounds of Havana as you drive along the main drag called Prado, feel the ocean breezes along the Malecon, and cruise around the upscale Vedado and Miramar neighborhoods. There will also be a photo stop at Revolution Square. Have lunch at a local paladar before returning to the hotel for some time at leisure. Later in the day, we will visit the Santacana Art Gallery. Sip on a Cuba cocktail and see the artist Beatriz Sala Santacana’s ceramic sculptures, paintings, and drawings, murals, plates, vases, glazed tiles, and mosaics. After this fascinating interaction, enjoy dinner at a paladar. This evening an optional night of lively music and dance is available at the world-renowned Tropicana Show. (B,L,D)

Day 7 Havana to USA
Following breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your return flight home with incredible memories of the people, music, customs, art, and culture of Cuba. (B)

OPTIONAL PRE-TOUR TRINIDAD EXTENSION
Pre-trip Day 1 Depart Miami - Arrive Cienfuegos, Cuba/Trinidad
Depart Miami to Cienfuegos, Cuba. Upon arrival and after clearing customs, you will be met by your professional, English-speaking Tour Director and transferred to your hotel in the Trinidad area. Tonight’s dinner is at a local paladar. (D)

Pre-trip Day 2 Trinidad - El Cubano Natural Park - Trinidad
After breakfast at your hotel, depart for Topes de Collantes to visit El Cubano Park. Here, your local guide will take you on a slow-paced trek in the park. You will be in awe at the wondrous nature as well as the colorful, exotic birds chirping all around. Cross a hanging bridge and head along the path to reach the spectacular Javira waterfall. Along the way, visit a local farmer’s house and spend time learning about his daily life in this remote paradise. After a refreshing swim (optional) in the natural crystalline pool at the Javira waterfall, we will retrace our steps back and return to the city center for lunch on your own. The afternoon is yours at leisure to stroll, explore, shop, or pop-in to a local bar to hear some splendid live music. This evening’s fun begins with a visit to the famed La Casa de la Música to enjoy a cocktail and listen to Cuban music before sharing in a wonderful farewell dinner to Trinidad at a local paladar. (B,D)

Pre-trip Day 3/Main trip Day 1 Trinidad - Cienfuegos
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing for Cienfuegos, a UNESCO World Heritage city known as the “Pearl of the South. Continue on to the nearby Valley of the Sugar Mills, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988 together with the Historic Center of the City of Trinidad de Cuba. Stop at the Manaca Iznaga plantation and take time to go up the tower, and interact with the local artisans and vendors. Your guide will share his specialized knowledge on the importance of the sugar cane industry for the Cuban economy as this valley was considered the largest sugar-cane producer in the world during the 19th Century. Arrive to Cienfuegos and check in to your hotel. This evening meet your fellow travelers arriving from Miami on the main program at dinner in a local “paladar.” Here you will have a cultural exchange with the restaurant’s staff and savor flavorful Cuban cuisine. (B,D)


Hotel and itinerary are subject to change.

INCLUDES

  • ROUND TRIP AIR TRANSPORTATION - Air transportation from Miami
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 6 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 16 included meals consisting of 6 buffet breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners
  • TOUR PROGRAM - Touring, including local guide and all entrance fees as per the day to day itinerary
  • CULTURAL DISCOVERY SERIES - There are daily cultural discovery series discussions and interactions on unique Cuban events and issues
  • TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of an Aventura World Tour Director for the entire length of the tour upon arrival in Cuba
  • PROFESSIONAL CUBAN GUIDE - Assistance and guiding from a professional specialized bilingual Cuban guide
  • DELUXE MOTORCOACHES - Touring by private deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the airport

OPTIONAL TRINIDAD PRE-TRIP TOUR FEATURES
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 2 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 4 included meals consisting of 2 buffet breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • TOUR PROGRAM - Touring, including local guide and all entrance fees as per the day to day itinerary
  • PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of a professional Tour Director for the entire length of the tour
  • PROFESSIONAL CUBAN GUIDE - Assistance and guiding from a professional specialized bilingual Cuban guide
  • DELUXE MOTORCOACHES - Touring by private deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the airport

OTHER PROGRAMS

Peru

PERU & ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS

9 DAYS/8 NIGHTS

Argentina

BEST OF ARGENTINA & BRAZIL

10 DAYS/8 NIGHTS

Colombia

THE MAGIC OF COLOMBIA

8 DAYS/7 NIGHTS