Cultural Cuba Expedition
Cuba is a fascinating and unique country, with enough diversity to please all types of travelers. History buffs will feel as though time has stood still in Cuba’s charming colonial towns, rich with color and culture. Nature lovers and adventure seekers will enjoy hiking among the jungle covered mountains and lush valleys. Those looking for a little excitement will find it in Havana, Cuba’s lively capital city. If all you want is a little R&R, then Cuba’s sandy beaches and azure waters are the perfect place to spend your days. The countryside is beautiful and the beaches are stunning. The colonial architecture, history and music all add further to its appeal culminating in a unique holiday which you will never forget. Anyone visiting with an open mind, a sense of humor and an adventurous spirit will be more than rewarded by what they find.
Trip Summary: Cuba | 8 Days
Trip Dates: Year Round
Group Size: Max 8 Participants
Price From: $3600
Dates & Prices:
All inclusive package including accommodation for all nights, all in-country transport by bus and plane, private driver, expert local guides, and meals and activities as listed on the itinerary. *international airfare, visa fees, and gratuities are not included.
This Acanela Expedition © is an adventure with unique cultural interactions and beautiful accommodations in traditional colonial villas throughout Cuba. Embark on this small group exploration prepared to have many hands-on encounters with locals while experiencing all the historical & culinary highlights along the way.
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- Experience the culture, art, cuisine, and history of the Cuban people through unique city tours
- Have cooking lessons & dinners with some of the best chefs in Havana
- Take a tour of Trinidad, one of Cuba's best preserved colonial cities
- Snorkel in some of the Caribbean's most beautiful waters near Cayo Largo
- Visit the Historic Bay of Pigs and learn about the 1961 US-backed invasion & explore the home of Ernest Hemingway
Day 1, Havana, Cuba: Start your day with an excursion into the land of Cuba is a full adventure designed to create memories that will last a lifetime. Upon arrival at the Jose Marti Airport, you will be greeted by your trip guide. After a quick orientation of the city, you will enjoy a leisurely drive through the city to your colonial accommodations. Get to know artists, dancers, and musicians who have helped transform a downtrodden neighborhood into a living work of art. Be surrounded by music and dance—the pulsing undercurrent of life in Cuba. You’ll begin to understand why as we witness a lesson for gifted young musicians being tutored in violin at the Escuela de Arte in San Antonio de los Baños. Plus we’ll enjoy a thorough immersion in popular culture, from son and salsa to santería—the island’s syncretic religion fusing African and Catholic faiths. Accommodation: Old Havana Colonial Villa
Day 2, Vinales Cuba: You will visit the most beautiful places in Vinales, where you will discover your local guide and an endless of curious shapes of the mogotes and you will learn a lot about this blessed area, visiting natural lookouts and caves. You will learn about the fascinating world of the tobacco and of the local flora and fauna that help with it's production. Learn how the traditional Cuban Cigar is hand crafted and even have the opportunity to try one for yourself. Explore the Cave of the Indian by foot and by boat and ride through the tobacco plantations on horseback. In the evening return back to Havana to enjoy another beautiful relaxing evening. Take an optional salsa lesson class and learn to break out some new moves... Salsa is well spread across the whole of the Caribbean and each country adds their own twist to the original Cuban rhythms. In Cuba itself, a new quicker style of Salsa developed from an exciting and vibrant mix of Funk, Nueva Trova, Hip Hop, Jazz, called Timba. Accommodation: Old Havana Colonial Villa
Days 3-4, Havana Cuba: Begin your day touring Old Havana, which has many sights and sounds to captivate the inquisitive traveller. These include Plaza de Armas (the oldest square in Havana and the site of the city’s foundation), El Templete (the oldest neo-classical building in Havana), La Catedral San Cristobal de la Habana and the Museo de la Revolución. However for most visitors who join us on our Havana city tour it is the excitement of being part of the commotion of daily street-life is the number one highlight. So, put your walking shoes on and soak up the atmosphere of this lively, excitable city. End the day with a traditional Cuban dinner where you will learn the history of Cuban cooking and how to cook many traditional dishes in a professional and relaxing atmosphere. You will have the opportunity to taste some delicious dishes complete with meats, sauces, vegetables, beans, and rices. Share the food you prepare with your Cuban hosts and hear stories about Cuba's history while dining at the dinner table! Accommodation: Old Havana Colonial Villa
Day 5, Trinidad Cuba: Travel along the Caribbean coast to Trinidad, stopping in the Zapata Wetlands on the way to learn about some of the Caribbean's most important ecosystems. Continue on to charming Trinidad where you will explore Cuba's best preserved colonial city with a restoration expert. Set off along its cobblestoned streets, pausing at colorful houses along the way to meet artisans, antiques collectors, and longtime residents who have transformed their historic homes into guesthouses. On the way visit Hemingway's Cuba home - Finca Vigia, meaning "lookout house". Finca Vigia is located in the small, working-class town of San Francisco de Paula. The Cuban people have always respected famous writer's choice to live in a modest town, amongst the people he fished with. Read short stories from Hemingway and explore unique antiques throughout his home. Arrive in Trinidad in the late afternoon with just enough time to catch the sunset overtop of the terrae of your beautiful colonial villa. Accommodation: Trinidad Colonial Casa
Day 6-7, Cienfuegos & Santa Clara Cuba: Today, head to the historic Bay of Pigs. Trace the dramatic events that occurred here at a small museum, and then step foot on the Playa Girón, one of two landing sites for the 1961 U.S.–backed invasion. On our way back to Havana, pay a visit to Finca Vigía, the former home of Ernest Hemingway. A museum expert joins us to share a Cuban perspective on Hemingway’s strong connection to the Cuban people. Then we will go near Cienfuegos, explore Cuba's oldest botanical garden with a botany expert, who will educate us about Cuba's efforts to maintain the rich biodiversity of its extraordinary plant life. Then stop in a former sugar mill town and meet with the town's present-day inhabitants. Get the chance to snorkel through the reefs along the coastline, where a formation of coral columns known as Notre Dame provides an undersea maze to explore. The region’s calm waters are also ideal for sailing, boating and kayaking. End the night with a traditional Trinidad dinner From noodles to a Napoleon along with doubles and roti – enjoy some of Trinidad’s best traditional meals. There is a variety of food in Tobago. Trinbagonian cuisine is a rich mix of African, Indian, Chinese, European and Middle Eastern influences. Dine on the best cuisine with the best chefs in Trinidad and experience their culture through delicious food. Also, learn about each cuisine in certain regions of Trinidad. Accommodation: Trinidad Colonial Casa
Day 8, Havana Cuba (or continue on to Santiago De Cuba): Wake up this morning and enjoy a morning at your leisure to dine on a delicious breakfast. Depart for the Havana airport to catch your international flight home - or continue on to Cayo Coco (Jardin de Reyes) for the opportunity to embark on a snorkeling or diving adventure in one of the most beautiful coral systems in Cuba before traveling onwards to Santiago De Cuba for a wonderful 4 days on the Eastern part of the Island.
4 - Day Extension to Eastern Cuba
Explore the Heart and Soul of the Cuban Revolution and the dynamic society and culture it has brought into existence. Visit historic Santiago de Cuba and learn about its 500 year history. You will see amazing art, hear incredible music, and experience the Cuban countryside and nature at its best.
Day 1, Santiago de Cuba: After a long drive from the west (roughly 8 hours, with an opportunity to arrive in the jardin De Reyes) - arrive in Santiago de Cuba – a city built in the early 16th century by Spanish conquistadors and is known as the “cradle of the Revolution”, as it served as the battleground during the Spanish-American war. Today you will visit many of those sights including the UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Citadel San Pedro de la Roca. Eastern Cuba is rich with museums, history, cultural performances, beautiful beaches, and much more. After an afternoon full of history, your evening will transition into a cultural exploration as you experience Santiago de Cuba’s very vibrant traditional music scene, which will entice even the shyest dancers or singers. Learn about the unique rhythm of Cuba that comes as a result of French speaking slaves from Haiti and its proximity to Jamaica. Accommodation: Traditional Casa Particulare
Day 2 - Santiago de Cuba: After a delicious breakfast, you will have the opportunity to embark on a journey into the countryside where you will first visit the Cemeterio Santa Ifigenia – one of Latin America’s most preserved cemetaries where Cuban national heroes and presidents were buried. Here you will learn about the history of much of Cuba’s past. After your morning visit to the national cemetery, you will spend the afternoon meeting & learning from Cuban Artisans. Try your hand at cooking a Cuban dish, learning how Cuban sculptors perfect their art, and even observe a painting class. Accommodation: Traditional Casa Particulare
Day 3 - Baracoa: Today you will continue on to Baracoa, the first Spanish settlement on the Cuban Island. When Christopher Columbus first encountered Cuba, he landed in Baracoa Bay and named it the most beautiful land that human eyes could set upon. Your drive from Santiago de Cuba to Baracoa is beautiful – as you drive past Guantanamo Bay along the coast of Cuba and through the beautiful lush mountains. Depending on the season, you may even have the opportunity to visit Humboldt National Park, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Baracoa only became accessible by land in 1965 – as before then it was only accessible by sea. Today you will take a walking tour of Baracoa and learn about the local Taino people who live in the surrounding villages. In the evening enjoy a delicious dinner with locals and participate in traditional music and dance with some of the best instructors in the region. Accommodation: Traditional Casa Particulare
Day 4 - Baracoa - Santiago De Cuba: After another delicious breakfast you will continue your exploration of Baracoa as you explore it’s beautiful mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and beaches. Visit a local fishing community and learn how the fishing industry and produce markets operate on such a remote part of the island. Explore a cacao farm and learn how to make chocolate straight from the Cacao beans! In the afternoon enjoy another traditional food experience with a local family during a farewell reception before embarking to the Santiago De Cuba airport to catch your flight flight back to Havana, and onwards to home.