Central Cuba Adventure

Central Cuba Adventure

Central Cuba Adventure

Enjoy the sights and sounds of central Cuba on this week-long adventure to some of the famous sites that have drawn outsiders to this magical island over the last several decades. Journey through history-infused Havana and the cobblestone streets of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then head to Cienfuegos for some relaxing at the beach and a tour of its impressive bay. Visit monuments to the icons of the revolution and experience a side of Cuba few rarely get to see by foregoing your hotel a few nights for a local homestay.

What’s Included:

Day 1 Arrive Havana

Arrive in Havana at any time. There are no planned activities, so check into the hotel (check-in time is 3pm afternoon) and enjoy the city. In the late afternoon/evening you will meet your fellow group members to go over the details of your trip. Check the notice board (or ask reception) to see the exact time and location of this group meeting. After the meeting we will be heading out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant (optional). If you arrive late, no worries, the leader will leave you a message at the front desk.

One of the oldest cities in the western hemisphere, Havana was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. It contains a wealth of colonial architecture, and the old city and streets around the Malecon (ocean-side walkway) are best discovered on a walking tour.

In 1519 the Spaniard Diego Velázquez moved San Cristobal de la Habana from its original site to its present one. The city remained a port of relative obscurity, within the empire, until gold and silver began to flow from New World mines back to Spain. Havana became the gathering hub for shipments of treasure from the ports of Cartagena (Colombia) and Veracruz (Mexico).

Soon pirates turned their attention to the port and the city of Havana and its annual treasure trove became the number one target for the Dutch, English and French. Eventually the Spanish began construction of various forts and a protecting wall to repel the invaders. Nevertheless, the city was sacked in 1762 and held by the British under the command of Lord Albermale for nearly a year. Eventually, the Spanish exchanged the territory of Florida for the island.

The end of the British occupation also signalled the beginning of more economic freedom for the islanders, as they were given the right to trade with cities other than Cadiz in Spain. The ensuing economic boom translated into steady growth in population and material progress.

The main area of interest to visitors is La Habana Vieja (The Old City), where walking or bicycle taxis are the best modes of transportation. Points of interest in this part of town include La Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana, the Palacio de los Marqueses de Aguas Claras (which now houses a restaurant), the Museo de Arte Colonial and the Plaza de Armas, with its statue of Manuel de Céspedes (one of the leaders of the Cuban independence movement).

The Palacio de los Capitanes Generales is also located on the Plaza de Armas, which now houses the Museo de La Ciudad. You will find the oldest colonial fortress on the plaza’s northeast sector, the Castillo Real de la Fuerza, whose construction began in 1558.

The city is home to various museums, and depending on your area of interest, there is practically a museum for everyone. One of the city’s (and the island’s) most prominent attractions though, are its music and clubs. Everywhere you go you will hear and feel the music and see people freely dancing in the streets. The island literally pulses with the beat and blend of Afro-Hispanic rhythms and movement.

Day 2 Santa Clara (B)

Head east along the Carretera Central to the city of Santa Clara, a key location in the history of the Revolution. On your way into town visit three key historical sites, including the massive Che monument (Santa Clara is also the final resting place of Che Guevara) before settling in for the night.

Santa Clara was founded in 1689 by Spaniards hoping to evade the pirate raids on the coastal cities. Today it is a modern, industrial centre and holds a special place in the history of the revolution as the first large city to be liberated by the Revolutionary Forces in December 1958.

About 18 men, under the command of Comandante Ernesto (Ché) Guevara, fought against more than 400 heavily armed Batista government troops and captured an armoured train. Full of armaments, the train’s derailing was essential to the triumph of the revolution, and there is a large monument dedicated to the event; both the monument and the site are referred to as ‘Tren Blindado’. The Museo Histórico de la Revolución chronicles the Battle of Santa Clara, and it is here that a gargantuan statue of El Ché was erected to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the revolutionary hero’s murder in Bolivia.

Days 3-4 Trinidad

A trip south brings us through the beautiful Topes de Collantes region to the southern coastal city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad. We include a tour of the area to get your general bearings; the rest of the time is free to wander the cobblestone streets, shop and experience the great music scene that has made this city famous.

La Villa de la Santísima Trinidad was founded in 1514 by Velásquez; the defender of indigenous rights in the Americas, Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, attended over the settlement’s first mass. The future conqueror of Mexico, Hernán Cortés recruited sailors here for his future expedition into that land. It is a charming, small town with the green mountains of the Sierra del Escambray in the background, and the turquoise waters and pure white sand beaches of the Caribbean Sea just a short distance away. The area saw a lot of action during and following the triumph of the Revolution, as gangs of counter revolutionaries hid out and struck from the nearby safety of the mountains. The Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra los Bandidos and the Casa de los Mártires de Trinidad chronicles the struggles of this period in the town’s history.

Trinidad is a musical hub (and in Cuba this is saying a lot), and you are never out of earshot from a group of musicians playing local salsa or son. The town has the requisite Casa de la Trova, a mainstay of Cuban musical culture in every town, and most nights of the week you can find locals and tourists alike dancing and enjoying live music in front of the Casa de la Musica, on the corner of the main plaza.

Those visitors looking for outdoor activities will find Trinidad a haven for horseback or bicycle riding (don’t expect any modern mountain bikes though!). If an unspoiled, white sand beach sounds like what you’re looking for, try snorkelling or diving in nearby Playa Ancón, just 12km (7.5 miles) from town.

The nearby Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of Sugarmills), also a World Heritage site, is dotted with remains of the island’s vast sugar cane plantations. Valle de los Ingenios was fairly inactive until the 1800s, when French refugees fleeing a slave revolt in Haiti landed here en masse and brought with them sugar cane cultivation. The new residents settled and farmed in the valley, and wealth flowed into the local economy; at one point the area produced one third of the country’s sugar. The sugar boom ended with the two wars of independence, but the wealth generated by the industry remains visible in the town’s once grand mansions, colourful public buildings, wrought iron grill work and cobblestone streets.

Indeed, the last three centuries have both changed the landscape and left over 70 architectural and archaeological sites to be explored: the boiler house, dregs house, manor house, slave quarters, warehouses, stables, distilleries, tile factories, bell towers, as well as other masonry works to dam and conduct the water of brooks and cisterns used in the collection of rain water, among others.

Day 5-6 Cienfuegos (B)

Travel west along the coast to Cienfuegos, a delightful and interesting city with a history largely different to that of the rest of the country.
It is a pleasant city which, because of its role as an important port, both domestically and internationally, has a slightly more cosmopolitan feel about it than most other areas in the south. The streets are straight and wide with the Paseo del Prado, which dissects the city and extends out to the peninsula’s end, being the most important street. The street extends south through the Punta Gorda area and north along the bay, where there are some spectacular views, especially at sunset when the bay takes on a quiet and brooding appearance.

This important port has many sights clustered around Parque Jose Marti, including the Casa de la Cultura Benjamin Duarte, where it’s possible to climb a tower for stunning coastal views. Visit the Palacio del Valle, the architectural pride of Cienfuegos. The botanical gardens is perhaps the most famed botanical garden in the country, housing over 2000 tropical and sub-tropical plants. Among the impressive collection of plant species are more than 200 types of palm trees of araceae, there is also a collection of different types of palm trees indigenous to Cuba.

While you’re here, enjoy an included boat ride around the Bay of Cienfuegos, which is nearly 90 square km.

Day 7 Havana (B)

Travel back to the north coast and to Havana for one final night on the town.

Day 8 Depart Havana (B)

All taxes are included. If you are a single person we will find someone for you to share with. If you prefer to have your own room the single supplement is $219 Cdn.
Taxes are included in the pricing.

December 05, 2015$999 Cdn. ($439 Cdn. for own room)
January 16, 2016$1149 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
January 23, 2016$1149 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
February 20 , 2016$1149 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
March 5, 2016$1149 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
March 12, 2016$1149 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
March 19, 2016$1149 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
March 26, 2016$1199 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
April 2, 2016$1199 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
April 9, 2016$1199 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
April 16, 2016$1199 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
April 23,2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
April 30, 2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
May 14,2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
May 21, 2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
June 11, 2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
June 25 , 2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
July 2 , 2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
July 16, 2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
July 30 , 2016$1149Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
August 13, 2016$1149Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
September 10, 2016$1149Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
October 8 , 2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
November 5, 2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
November 12, 2916$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
November 19, 2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
November 26, 2016$999 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
December 3, 2016$1199 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)
December 10, 2016$1199 Cdn.($439 Cdn. My own room)