12 Days Grand Tour Cuba

1. Day
Arrival/Accommodation:  Havana
Arrival to Cuba in the afternoon. Meet & Greet at the airport, meeting the local tour guide and transfer to the hotel. Check in. Evening at leisure. Meals: Dinner is optional, price excluded.

2. day
Accommodation:  Santiago de Cuba
Havana – Rum Museum – Hemingway  After breakfast we start a full day sightseeing tour of Havana, one of the most beautiful cities of Latin America. Havana captivates everybody, this real Caribbean metropolis has a unique atmosphere, where a time travel tempt us, where the Colonial era, the mark of the ‘50s US mob’s mark and the retro, socialist present is simultaneously existing. We start a panoramic city tour of modern Havana, we cross Havana’s famous seaside promenade, the Malecon which is a favorite meeting place for locals, we can admire the mansions of the Paseo, then stop at the Revolution Square where the Jose Marti Memorial is located. On the way back to we drive next to the world-famous Colon cemetery that is one of the world’s richest cemeteries with more than 500 statues, and arrive to the old town. We visit the Havana Club Rum Museum where we get acquainted with the making of the world famous Cuban rum, the growing and processing steps of sugar cane to follow through the process until it has matured, barrel filling, bottling, and we close the visit with a tasting. We can purchase the original Havana Club memorabilia, as well as can taste the typical Cuban drink called Guarapo made from fresh sugar cane and the excellent Cuban cocktail, Guarabana. After it we start to explore the old town on foot with its rich cultural and historical attractions, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. Visit the Plaza de Armas, the “Arms’ Square”, the Governor’s palace, while we can hunt local antiques at the authentic antique market, walk through the Plaza San Francisco where we look at the old Stock Exchange Palace and St. Francis of Assis Church and the Cathedral Square. Then we visit La Plaza Vieja, the “Old Square”. Our optional lunch will be served in a typical local restaurant. After lunch we join in Hemingway’s footsteps: we visit the famous Hotel Ambos Mundos where the “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was born. We visit the hotel room and the thematic exhibition. Then stop at Hemingway’s favorite places, La Bodeguita del Medio and La Floridita bars, where the world famous “Mojito” and “Daiquiri” cocktails began their journey of conquest. Then visit the outdoor exhibition of the Revolutionary Museum, where the famous ship Granma is exhibited, we can see the boat, which Fidel and the other revolutionaries landed to launch the revolution. In the afternoon transfer to the airport, flight to Santiago de Cuba. Evening at leisure. Meal plan: breakfast

3. day
Accommodation:  Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba – Cayo Granma After breakfast in the hotel, tour of the second largest city of the country that is often called the music capital of Cuba. Santiago de Cuba is a unique legend, since it was the first capital of the country; many of the locals still regard Santiago de Cuba as today still as the capital city! Here we can find palaces, the oldest and richest museums of the country, and the famous Carnival of Santiago is held here in July each year. Cuba is world-famous for its hospitality, but the people of Santiago outperform even that with their kindness, gentleness, helpfulness that deserves special mention. We visit the Parque Cespedes, the main square, Cuba’s oldest square. Here you can visit the impressive cathedral that towers majestically over the square. Then we visit the house of the conquistador of Latin America, Diego Velazquez’s house, considered to be the oldest house of Cuba. Then we head towards the two famous squares: “Dolores” and “Marte”. Next attraction is the UNESCO world heritage site, the Castillo El Morro fortress that played an important role in the War of Independence, under its walls was decided the fate of Cuban independence, during the battle of the Spanish-American war ships. A Military History Museum is located in the fort showing memories of fight against the pirates and relics of the Revolutionary War. Optional lunch at the Morro fortress, with amazing views of the Caribbean Sea. After lunch, visit the Santa Ifigenia cemetery where the famous Cuban poet and national hero José Martí has its tomb. We will see the famous change of the guards that is made with of specially selected soldiers’ line-up. After the visit, we will take a boat ride to Cayo Granma, an old fishing community in the bay of Santiago. In the afternoon return to the hotel. Evening at leisure. It is worth visiting the Casa de la Trova where local musicians and dancers show their skills and even we can join them dancing and develop our dance skills perfected by great local artists.  Meal plan: Breakfast

4. day
Accommodation: Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba – El Cobre – Gran Piedra Breakfast at the hotel and we go on a pilgrimage and visit El Cobre where the famous La Caridad del Cobre can be found. El Cobre is a special, sacred place blessed with supernatural powers. All Cubans go on pilgrimage at least once during their life to El Cobre, where a statue of Mary, Cuba’s patron Saint is located. The place is connected with many spontaneous healings and miracle stories. We will know the story of the statue that was a miraculous event, also. This is the most valuable and the most interesting stop of our round trip. In the afternoon visit La Gran Piedra, a giant rock located 25 kilometers from Santiago de Cuba. The rock has a unique climate and excellent view from the viewpoint from the top.
Optional lunch in a Cuban farmhouse. In the afternoon return to the hotel. Evening at leisure. Meal plan: Breakfast

5. day
Accommodation: Baracoa
Santiago de Cuba – Guantanamo – Baracoa Breakfast at the hotel and departure to Baracoa, the country’s first settlement’s capital founded by Diego Velazquez. First we stop at Guantanamo city for a panoramic city tour. Optional lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon continue to Baracoa, this historical town is a jewel between the Atlantic and Caribbean. Accessible by sea only until the late 1960’s, this town‘s history is rich in aboriginal life, and successive waves of boom and bust economics. The surrounding mountains are clothed in forests with many plants seen only in its micro-ecosystems. Baracoa has an easy, small-town charm, complete with crumbling cathedral and revolutionary murals celebrating 50 years of Castro’s rule. Walk down the sea promenade and see the authentic Cuban life, taste fresh food and locally made chocolate. Evening for leisure. Meal plan: Breakfast

6. day
Accommodation: Holguin
Baracoa – Rio Toa – Finca Biran – Holguin
Breakfast at the hotel and departure to Holguin. First, stop at Rio Toa, the valley, through which Cuba’s biggest river, Rio Toa, meanders, was declared a nature reserve. On a boat trip on the river you can marvel at the majestic silhouette of the 575 m high El Yunque. Let us visit a cocoa plantation and discover the traditional process of making chocolate. Try the delicious  “Chorote” (chocolate with cocoa, prepared by the local farmers). On the hike, which is about 2.5 km long, discover the different forms of vegetation and the magnificent landscape. Get to know the country life on the plantations ― and if you have always wanted to know how tropical fruit really tastes, try the fruit offered by the farmers. After optional lunch, continue to the Finca Birán, where the revolution’s leaders were born, this is the birthplace of Fidel and Raul Castro. Although the two-story house isn’t open to visitors, you will get a special pass to enter the premises. Castro’s father leased land here from United Fruit Company and raised sugarcane. The property eventually encompassed 26,000 acres and includes a cattle farm, a repair shop, a store and other facilities. Afternoon we continue to Holguin. Evening for leisure. Meal plan: Breakfast

7. day
Accommodation: Camagüey  Holguin – Camagüey
In the morning city tour of Holguin, the city of parks, a unique city in Cuba. Aside from a few tour buses that pop in for an hour here and there, the city is crowded with locals. You may find yourself sitting side by side with locals when you sit down for a bowl of “helado” (ice cream) with all the toppings. Parque Calixto Garcia is the square in the center of town. Make your way through the other three major squares downtown for a good overview of what makes this city tick. You’ll see women getting their nails done inside a big store where items are priced in local pesos and not in the convertible pesos (CUC) reserved for travelers. Later visit La Loma de la Cruz: Climb up the 465 steps to reach the 275-metre-high peak of this historic hill. Or take the winding road around back that delivers you to the top where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city of Holguin. In 1790, a cross was put up in hopes that it would relieve a severe drought. Today, every May 3, there’s a pilgrimage to the top for a special Mass.  We enjoy our optional lunch here in an authentic local restaurant. After lunch departure to Camagüey. Arrival in the late afternoon, Check in. Evening at leisure. Meal plan: Breakfast

8. day
Accommodation:  Sancti Spiritus
Camagüey – Sancti Spiritus Breakfast in the hotel and then sightseeing in Camagüey, the country’s fourth-largest city reminding us to the colonial times. The specialties of the city are its winding streets that were built to protect against pirates attacking the city frequently. Almost impossible to navigate alone, except for the pirates, who of course easily solve it and robbed the entire city! Winding through the city’s streets, we visit the Cathedral and the monuments of city’s famous son, the military leader of the Revolutionary War, Ignacio Agramonte and Cuba’s national poet, Nicolas Guillen. Walk to the San Juan de Dios Square, where the buildings were preserved almost in its original state, for the colonial era movies this place is a live venue. We continue to Sancti Spiritus, towards the south of the country. Our journey passes through the country’s main agricultural areas which are packed with pineapple, citrus and sugar cane plantations. This part of the country, therefore, Ciego de Avila province is also known as the pantry of the country. Optional lunch on the way. Then in the afternoon arrival to the Sancti Spiritus, founded in 1514, a small colonial town that is famous for its almost originally preserved colonial downtown. Panoramic sightseeing: here is located Cuba’s oldest stone bridge, the bridge Yayabo that is within walking distance from our hotel. Check in. Evening for leisure. Not to be missed the nightlife venues of the small colonial city! The famous Casa de la Trova, where we can enjoy a real, authentic salsa party and dance together with the locals and can observe how the locals dance Cuban salsa and enjoy the local Cuban band playing Caribbean tunes. Meal plan: Breakfast

9. day
Accommodation: Cienfuegos
Sancti Spiritus – Escambray Mountains – Sugar Mill Valley – Trinidad – Cienfuegos
Breakfast at the hotel. Today, a real “Cuban Day” is ahead of us. Departure of Cuba’s second largest mountain, the Escambray Mountain. The mountain is not only famous for its rich flora and fauna, but also has a special role of climate separation as well. While the North side of the hill has lush and humid subtropical vegetation, with coffee-growing countryside, while the southern side has a dry climate, and covered with bushes and many other dry zone plants like Agave. Our trip leads to the southern side of the mountain, to a Cuban Finca. At the Cuban farm the “real Cuba”, the everyday rural life can be observed. You can also ride horses on the farm. Here we will have optional lunch, taste the typical Cuban dishes. After a short Caribbean siesta we continue our trip to the famous valley of sugar mills that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Manaca Iznaga estate. It is possible to climb the seven stories tower that offers a beautiful panorama. Then continue our trip to Trinidad, a small colonial town founded more than 500 years ago that was once attributed by the abundance of its sugar cane plantations. Here, we discover another face of Cuba. Our journey is made not only on ground but in time, too. Trinidad preserves the uniqueness atmosphere of the colonial era. While walking along the small winding streets we have the feeling as if we would have flown back in time. Sightseeing in the UNESCO World Heritage city; visit the Plaza Mayor, The Tower of Contrabandido, the Cathedral, La Santissima Trinidad Square and the exhibition of the Romantic Museum. The museum is located in the palace of the town’s richest family with balustrade yard, marble floors, and neoclassical decoration; walking among the frescoes of the city’s wealthiest merchant family we can enjoy the assembled exhibition of articles. Later we walk in the old town and stop at the famous Canchanchara bar where you can sample the authentic drink of Trinidad, special cocktail still made from the original recipe of Aguardiente and honey, called Canchanchara. Later we start further to Cienfuegos, also a World Heritage Site city. We arrive at our hotel, check in. Evening at leisure. Meal plan: breakfast

10. day
Accommodation: Havana
Cienfuegos – Guama – Havana Breakfast at the hotel. Panoramic sightseeing tour of the famous Malecon, admire the beautiful seaside villas, stop at the Palacio del Valle, a unique palace with architectural richness. Then we head towards downtown Cienfuegos, where we continue a walking tour of the city of former aristocrats. Cienfuegos, founded by French settlers, has European-style architecture. Walk down the Boulevard of the city via the Prado, we visit the Jose Marti Square, the Governor’s palace, the Thomas Terry Theater famous for the excellent acoustics of the theater, and the Cathedral. Departure to one of Cuba’s most important nature reserves, the world famous Zapata Peninsula, a bird and animal sanctuary which is located in the Montemar National Park. The first stop is the famous Bay of Pigs where the famous US disembarkation took place. The rich historical past of the Bay of Pigs is still vivid while now the area is famous for its beaches and diving sites. Here you have opportunity for swimming and snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea. Then continue to Guama, the main attraction of the National Park. Speedboat tour of the natural lagoon, the Laguna de Tresoro, where the unspoiled nature can be observed, migrating and endemic birds and can be seen. Then visit the Aldea Taino, the reconstructed Taino Aboriginal Village where we learn about the customs of the ancient indigenous inhabitants. We arrive back to port by motor boat and visit the country’s largest crocodile breeding farm, where we can observe hundreds of these reptiles in their natural habitat. We visit the crocodile nursery; here the braves may hold the yet harmless infants in their hands. Optional lunch in a local restaurant, then we continue our trip to Havana. Arrival late afternoon. Check in. Evening for leisure.  Meal plan: breakfast

11. day
Accommodation: Havana
Havana – Viñales – Havana After breakfast we start a full day excursion to the western part of the country, the province of Pinar del Rio, 170 km from Havana, the picturesque Viñales Valley, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Pinar del Rio province is also called the country’s “green” side. Our way leads along the lush tobacco plantations. This excellent climate is the secret to the excellent Cuban tobacco, the raw material of the famous Cuban cigars. Today we will learn about the making of cigars, the tobacco production and processing through to wrapping cigars. We turn into the house of an authentic Cuban tobacco producer family, who lead us through the plantation, a tobacco drying barn and we can look at the process of tobacco step by step. We learn how we can recognize high-quality tobacco leafs; learn the art of wrapping cigars as one of the famous Cuban cigars is made before our eyes.  Next stop on our way is the exquisite valley of Viñales, stopping at a lookout point where we can enjoy the breathtaking panorama with the remote scenery of “Mogotes” and mountains make this place deservedly a World Heritage site. Then lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we start hiking the Indian cave, and river boating inside the cave. Closing the program we visit the famous wall painting, the “Mural de la Prehistoria” that fascinates us with its unique technology of gigantic size. Late afternoon return to Havana. Evening at leisure. Meal plan: breakfast

12. day
Free time in the morning. Check out until noon. You can use the hotel facilities until the transfer. For extra cost, you can buy „Late check-out” services on site. In the afternoon transfer to the airport, leaving to home country.

cuban-cars 3 santa-lucia-beach-cuba cuba cayo-coco-beach-cuba 5_ragioni_per_andare_a_Cuba_2