• Dates

    31 January – 14 Febraury 2020

  • Price Starting From

    €2275

CUBA

Timeworn but magnificent, dilapidated but dignified, fun yet maddeningly frustrating – Cuba is a country of indefinable magic.

Cuba is culture, nature, history, magic and traditions. The Pearl of the Antilles is the result of the blend of multiple cultures, fusion of races and customs that gave birth to one of the most unique and fascinating Caribbean destinations.

Your trip to Cuba will be characterized by its people. The Cubans are imaginative, joyful, unprejudiced, show their intelligence and are friends of joking and celebrating. And talking about celebrations, you won’t want to miss tasting the typical Cuban gastronomy made of Buñuelos, Tamales and Roasted Pork, always accompanied by a good coffee, a Cuba Libre, a Daiquiri, Mojito or Piña Colada drink.

The revolution marks a before and an after in the history of Cuba. The triumph of January 1st, 1959 meant a new beginning for Cuba and made its culture one of the most prolific ones in Latin America. Cuba excels at dancing, with the world-wide famous National Ballet of Cuba, in literature with authors like Jose Maria Heredia, Jose Marti, Jose Lezama Lima and Alejo Carpentier and practically in every single artistic manifestation, whether theatre, cinema or visual arts.

Friday 31st January

Meet at the airport at 18.00 for Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul.

Saturday 1st February – Havana

Bienvenido! Welcome to Cuba!

Upon arrival in Istanbul, at around 00.30 am transit to our direct flight to Havana where we are expected to land at 08.10 am. Immediate transfer to our accommodation in Havana to drop off the luggage, followed by lunch (extra), and a guided orientation walk of the local area (check-in will take place after the orientation walk). Overnight in Havana.

A NOTE ABOUT YOUR EVENINGS IN CUBA
Evenings are generally free time, allowing you to explore at your leisure. Our local guide will be available to organise reservations and accompany you out, if required with fantastic ideas and recommendations based on your tastes and preferences such as Havana Jazz Clubs, Casa de la Musica etc.

Sunday 2nd February Breakfast & Lunch included

Today you will really get to know Havana on an Old Havana Walking Tour. There’s an abundance of cultural riches on offer, and you’ll walk past the El Capitolio, the Museo de la Revolución, and the Gran Teatro Habana. This Old Havana Walking Tour also takes in some of the most stunning squares you will ever see – the Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza San Francisco de Asis and Plaza Vieja. After an engrossing morning of walking there will be a rather welcome break for lunch at an authentic Cuban Paladar.

In the afternoon we shall take a ride in one of those classic cars that parade through the streets of the city. This iconic method of transportation is synonymous with Cuba, and it sure gives your legs a rest! On a Convertible Classic Car Tour you’ll be whisked out of Old Havana and will be able to see the contrast with the newer parts of central Havana, Havana Vedado and the faded grandeur of Miramar. We will also go past the Colon Cemetery, Revolution Square and the iconic Malecon. At the end of the car tour you will be taken to the Hotel Nacional in Havana Vedado for a drink and a wonderful view of the Malecon for sunset. Overnight in Havana.

Monday 3rd February Breakfast & Lunch included

Travel to Vinales, via the fishing village of Jaimanitas transformed by the artist Jose Fuster into an artwork using tiles in mosaic forms. You will then proceed to Pinar del Rio province and the rural town of Viñales where the landscape is dotted with mogotes – steep rounded hills that contrast the flat plains around them. Many of Cuba’s trademark cigars are made from tobacco that is grown here. Life simply moves at a slower pace here, as farmers still use an ox and cart to transport crops. Lunch at an organic farm with stunning views of your surroundings. El Paraiso is a slice of paradise in the Valley of Silence, located in Viñales, Cuba. Walking or cycling tour of the Vinales township (everyone is free to make a choice) and surrounding farmlands visiting the many different plantations of the region: manioc, arrowroot, sweet potato, tobacco, tomato, banana, mango and pineapple. Four kilometres west of Viñales you will find the Mural de la Prehistoria, a 120 metre long painting designed in 1961 by Leovigildo González Morillo. To learn about the local tobacco-growing process we visit a tobacco plantation and see a fully operating secadero (drying house) where tobacco leaves are cured from February to May. The evocative scent that wafts out of the secadero will forever be associated with Cuba. Overnight in Vinales.

Tuesday 4th February Breakfast included

Travel to Soroa and Las Terrazas. This region was once lush, then had its natural resources exploited, before returning to its former pristine state as the result of a project spearheaded by Fidel Castro himself in the 1960s. Time for a walk around Las Terrazas Township to meet the friendly locals and to admire the pretty San Juan mountain. Visit Cafetal Buenavista, Cuba’s oldest (now partially restored) coffee plantation, built in 1801 by refugees from Haiti and the small village of Soroa, often referred to as The Gate to The Garden of Eden and Salto Arco Iris, a magnificent waterfall that forms part of the Rio Manantiades, an utterly perfect spot for jumping in and cooling off. Overnight in Las Terrazas.

Optional: For those feeling adventurous, the Zip-line Canopy Tour in Las Terrazas is a unique adventure. The Canopy Tour is a nearly 2km aerial tour using steel cables to whiz above Las Terrazas’ fascinating scenery. Here, you will find highly trained personnel and professional equipment. This activity is weather dependent and can be paid for locally.

Wednesday 5th February Breakfast included

Today you will travel to the beautiful Zapata Peninsula to visit Playa Girón, Playa Larga and the Bay of Pigs, long associated with the USA’s first military failure in Latin America. Located in the southern part of the Matanzas province, you can swim in the open sea or in caves flooded with brackish water. The sandy arc of Playa Girón and Playa Larga nestles peacefully on the eastern side of the infamous Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs), backed by one of those gloriously old-fashioned Cuban villages where everyone knows everyone else. Overnight in Bay of Pigs.

Thursday 6th February Breakfast included

Free time in the morning in Playa de Giron for snorkelling. We proceed to Cienfuegos, regularly referred to as La Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South). Cienfuegos guided city walk. Overnight in Cienfuegos.

Friday 7th February Breakfast included

Free day. At the mountains of El Nicho you can hike through the caves, take a dip in natural pools beneath the falls or observe the mountain’s exotic flora and fauna. Those interested in another kind of wildlife can go bird-watching in a protected sanctuary. Overnight in Cienfuegos.

Saturday 8th February Breakfast included

We travel to Trinidad, considered a jewel in Cuban colonial architecture. On your guided walking tour, you will notice the town is sublimely beautiful and (much like Havana’s Old Town) the area has been maintained as a result of its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It really is like time has stood still here. While its former sugar industry is but a distant memory (and this is obviously a good thing), Trinidad has slowly found a new identity, much of which is based upon the number of visitors who are drawn to its narrow streets and preserved colonial architecture.
Your time in Trinidad would not be complete without at least one evening sitting on the steps outside the open-air Casa de la Musica. Every night the area beside the Cathedral in Plaza Mayor comes to life with a live salsa band. There is no cost (although tipping is generally encouraged), the drinks flow freely and inexpensively, and this all takes place under a beautiful, balmy, starry sky. Overnight in Trinidad

Sunday 9th & Monday 10th February Breakfast

Over the next two days you will explore Trinidad and will partake in the following three activities (the local guide will decide on the order of occurrence depending on the weather)

Explore the Valle de los Ingenios
The name of the area translates as the Valley of the Sugar Mills. It was here that the bulk of Cuba’s sugar production took place, although this came to an end around the time that slavery was outlawed in Cuba.

Explore the Sierra del Escambray Mountain Range
It wouldn’t be a valley without a border of mountains, and you will venture into these rugged, impressive peaks (Topes de Collantes). These are the Sierra del Escambray mountain range, which run for 90 kilometres. There are many ways to explore the Topes de Collantes, depending on your mobility and level of fitness.

Options include:
La Batata Trail (3km) to Casa de Café, Caves, underground rivers and a small waterfall and swimming pool. Not very physically demanding.
Alfombra Mágico Trail to Finca Codina, a former coffee estate and orchid garden. Not very physically demanding.
Centinelas del Río Melodioso Trail (3km) including coffee plantation, Río Melodioso (Melodic River) and El Rocío waterfall. Not very physically demanding.
– Salto Caburní trail (5 km) leads to a 200-foot (62-m) waterfall with swimming hole. Medium level of difficulty. Physically demanding.

Visit Playa Ancon
The white beach of Playa Ancon is one of the most beloved beaches in Cuba, considered to be the best on the southern coast. There are some resorts right on the beach, but the area has certainly not been overdeveloped. But if you’re craving an authentic beachside village, then we’ve got you covered. There is also the option to visit the sleepy old fishing port of Casilda, 6 kilometres due south of Trinidad, which offers a pace of life that is relaxed even by Cuban standards.

In the evening. You will have some free time to make the most of Trinidad’s lively nightlife. You might wish to sample the delights of Palenque de los Congos Reales. A must for rumba fans, this open patio on Trinidad’s music alley has an eclectic menu incorporating salsa, son (Cuban popular music) and trova (traditional poetic singing). The highlight, however, is the 10pm rumba drums with soulful African rhythms and energetic fire-eating dancers. You might also be perfectly content to simply sit in Trinidad’s main plaza and watch the city life unfold around you.

Overnights in Trinidad.

Tuesday 11th February Breakfast included

Today you will make your way back to Havana via Santa Clara. Rather unsurprisingly, there are many tributes to the Cuban Revolution in Santa Clara, and while it’s a troubled past, the events here are what led to the ultimate victory in the struggle and to the formation of post-revolution Cuba. The city is often called The City of the Heroic Guerrilla. It is probably best known as the resting place of Che Guevara. It was Che Guevara who led the revolutionary forces in that final victorious battle. You will visit the Che Guevera Museum. Santa Clara is a beautifully maintained city, and while its existence is hardly a secret, it’s not a place that all that many visitors to Cuba get to experience. Its history might be dark, but its present is bright. Visit the Tren Blindado, attacked in the decisive moments of Cuban Revolution followed by a panoramic walk around the city of Santa Clara. In the evening you will have some free time in Havana’s lively nightlife. Overnight in Havana.

Wednesday 12th February Breakfast included

Today is a free day to rest or to further explore Havana with the support of our local guide. The following optional activities can take place on this day, as one excursion .

Havana Rum Museum
If you think this museum looks palatial, you are correct since it’s housed in a converted old palace. Naturally you will have the chance to learn about the rum making process and even do some tastings.

Partagas Cigar Factory
At the Partagas Cigar Factory the mystique behind cigar making will be revealed, allowing you to gain a sense of the significance of these beauties. You will also witness first-hand the amount of effort, care and tradition that goes into making these Cuban treasures (even non-smokers will find this tour very interesting).

Havana’s Museum of the Revolution
It’s time to be rapturously occupied by Havana’s Museum of the Revolution, and even the building in which it’s housed has a story to tell. This grand building was the Presidential Palace prior to the Cuban Revolution.
The small psychedelic alleyway of Callejon de Hamel in the central city is a wonderful place to experience day-to-day Cuban life, albeit with an artistic twist. The art has quite literally spilled out of the studios and onto the street.

Mojito Making Lesson
We’ll take you to a rooftop bar in Havana’s Old Town for a mojito making lesson. You’ll be taught how to make a classic Cuban cocktail with an unbeatable view over the rooftops of the city

Thursday 13th February Breakfast

Early breakfast and departure to the airport for Turkish Airlines flight departing to Istanbul at 09.30 am.

Friday 14th February

We are expected to land in Istanbul at approximately 10.00 am. Our connecting flight to Malta departs at 6.40 pm.

Prices per Adult

Normal Price
TRIPLE€ 2195
TWIN€ 2275
SINGLE€ 2655

Price includes

  • Flights with Turkish Airlines to Havana via Istanbul
  • Air taxes
  • 12 nights accommodation in superior/Boutique Casa’s/B&B’s (always inclusive of air-conditioning and en-suite bathroom facilities)
  • Private air-conditioned transportation between destinations
  • The excursions and activities mentioned in the above program
  • Meals as indicated in the program
  • English-speaking local guide
  • Maltese Tour Leader

Extras

  • Insurance
  • Optional Activities on 12th February – €80 per person
  • Visa

Notes

Visa: EU nationals require a visa for Cuba. The process is very simple and you can just purchase it online via www.cubavisas.com. Please ask one of our travel specialists for assistance.

Meals: You could eat on a budget from 10-15CUC (€9-€13) per person per night by eating at the Casa’s/B&B’s. A nice 3 course meal and one drink can cost around 25-30CUC (€22-€27) per person per night.

Travel insurance is not included and needs to be taken out. Covered by the Insolvency Fund

Booking terms and conditions listed at the end of our brochure apply and are taken as being read and consented to. Please read them carefully before booking.