Cuba Chévere

STYLE SMALL GROUP
DURATION 7 Days
BETWEEN Havana and Havana
COUNTRIES VISITED – 1 Cuba
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE 12
TRAVEL DATES
2019
November 14th – 20th Available
2020
February 27th – March 4th Available
November 5th – 11th Available
WHATS INCLUDED
All tour transportation All Accommodation
Entrance fees as listed All meals as listed in itinerary
WHATS NOT INCLUDED
International flights and taxes Travel Insurance
Cuba Tourist Card Single Supplement US$350

Trip Overview

Chévere means “cool” in Cuba and Cuba is one of the coolest places on the planet. Follow the rhythms of Cuba on this short 7 Day tour, exploring some of Cuba’s most iconic sites and discovering some hidden gems. Explore the history and architecture of old Havana on foot then jump in an American classic car for a panoramic city tour. Spend a night in Santa Clara, Cuba’s edgiest city and home to the Che Guevara memorial. UNESCO-listed colonial Trinidad is like a time warp with its cobblestone streets, brightly painted homes and musicians seemingly on every corner. Nearby is the Caribbean-kissed beach of Playa Ancon. We travel via elegant Cienfuegos to Playa Giron on the Bay of Pigs, known for the landing of the U.S. sponsored counter-revolutionaries in 1961 and now a diver’s and snorkeller’s paradise. We return to Havana to head home or extend our stay on this fascinating island.


NOTE: We also have a licensed 7 Day Cuba People to People tour that is in compliance with the current U.S. government OFAC regulations to allow American travelers to legally travel on a tour to Cuba. It is the same itinerary as this tour with full days of interactive activities, more meals included, a slightly higher accommodation level and any nationality is welcome to join.

Cuba Chévere

Overview

We start with two nights in bustling and vibrant Havana with time to adjust to arriving in Cuba and a full day to explore Havana. Instead of just doing the Che Guevara memorial, we think Santa Clara deserves more time so we stay the night to experience the youthful energy and revolutionary vibe of Cuba’s edgiest city. We make the visit to Che Guevara’s memorial the next day and then spend two nights in wonderful Trinidad with its colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, music everywhere and beautiful white sand beaches nearby. We do a city tour and have lunch in elegant Cienfuegos, with its neoclassical architecture and French influences before heading to the coast and the Bay of Pigs, famous for the attempted US Military led counter-revolutionary invasion. By staying the night in Playa Giron we have more time to learn the history, slow down, and enjoy the beaches of what is now a diving and snorkelling paradise. Returning to Havana, we end our tour or spend a last night together in the city.


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HIGHLIGHTS

  • The UNESCO listed cities of Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos
  • The youthful energy and revolutionary vibe of Santa Clara
  • Enjoy live Cuban rhythms from street corners to some of the Island’s best live venues
  • Caribbean beaches, historical bays and mountain scenery

1

Arrival in Havana

Bienvenidos a Cuba! On arrival look for your airport transfer driver who will take you into Havana. We will stay for two nights in the vibrant Havana district of Verdado, where there is a large concentration of nice restaurants, cool bars, majestic mansions, and historic (in)famous mafia-built hotels. The sweeping Malecón is nearby for sunset walks and people-watching as is Central Havana with the Capitolio Nacional and its collection of museums, including the Museo de la Revolucion. We will have a group meeting this evening at the Casa Nativity, your guide will leave you a note at reception with details about the meeting time. After the meeting we will head out together for an included welcome dinner.

Included
– Airport arrival transfer
– Welcome dinner

Accommodation – Casa Nativity
Meals Included – Dinner

2

Explore Havana

Havana has to be one of the most exciting, intriguing and unique cities in the world. We have a full day to explore Havana. After breakfast we will go down to the historic centre of Old Havana for a walking tour around the streets with your guide. The neighbourhoods of Old Havana and Central Havana are some of the places where you will feel Cuba at its most intense – narrow streets with old crumbling buildings and full of locals working, going to school, socialising, and going about their daily lives. Simply wandering the streets will give you a new perspective and fill you with many questions about how the country functions. It is hard to resist the allure of the old American classic cars parading the streets so we get the chance to take a ride in them for a unique panoramic tour of Havana.

Included Activities
– Walking tour of Old Havana
– Classic car tour of Havana

Accommodation – Casa Nativity
Meals Included – Breakfast

3

Havana to Santa Clara

Leaving Havana we drive east to Santa Clara, a key city in the Cuban Revolution. In the geographical centre of Cuba, Santa Clara is an unexpected gem that challenges your ideas of what a Cuban city might be like. Invariably linked with the legacy of Che Guevara and fall of the Batista regime, Santa Clara is proud of its revolutionary history and continues with this revolutionary spirit. Today’s Santa Clara with its almost Bohemian vibe, creative atmosphere and interesting nightlife is well worth spending the night in.

Accommodation – Standard Casa Particulares
Meals Included – Breakfast

4

Santa Clara to Trinidad


Leaving Santa Clara the next morning we will visit the huge statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara on the outskirts of town that commemorates his death and of the revolutionaries who died along with him in Bolivia. There is also a museum here dedicated to his amazing life.

Heading south we arrive in Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage listed city with beautiful colonial buildings and cobblestone streets and just a few miles inland from the sun-drenched Caribbean Sea. No other colonial city in Cuba is so well preserved, it is like a window into Cuba’s colonial past.

Included Activities
– Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum

Accommodation – Standard Casa Particulares
Meals Included – Breakfast

5

Explore Trinidad

For many visitors to Cuba, Trinidad is their favourite destination and it is easy to see why. Trinidad is one of Cuba’s most charming cities and a great walking city. Its colonial hub has been impressively conserved and its compact size means that all of its attractions within the city can be visited on foot. Trinidad’s wealth grew through sugar production in the 18th and 19th centuries in the nearby Valle de los Ingenios and the architecture of the buildings reflect the huge fortunes made in that period.

Trinidad has great nightlife with music wafting around the corners of the cobbled streets. You will often walk pass someone carrying a guitar or a double bass over their shoulder on their way to perform at the many live music venues around the city, often lovely outdoor settings, in courtyards, or within the walls of old colonial ruins. Just a ten minute drive or a short bike ride away is the beautiful, calm beach of Playa Ancón on the Caribbean. If the weather is good, we could do a BBQ dinner dinner watching the sunset over the ocean. Other optional activities in Trinidad are snorkeling, scuba diving, and a popular trek to a waterfall where you can swim in the fresh clear water spring.

Included Activities
– Walking tour of Trinidad

Accommodation – Standard Casa Particulares
Meals Included – Breakfast

6

Trinidad to Bay of Pigs via Cienfuegos

We have a short drive to the French founded city of Cienfuegos. Cienfuegos appeal lies partly in the European flavour of its colonial hub, with a wide Parisian-style boulevard and elegant colonnades. The sophisticated and ambience inspired one of Cuba’s most celebrated singers Benny More to write the words “Cienfuegos is the city I like best”. We will do a walking tour of the city and visit the Castillo del Valle.

After lunch we will travel to the Bay of Pigs to spend the night at Playa Giron, the major landing site of the U.S led counter-revolutionaries in what is known as the Bay of Pigs invasion. There is a museum here that recounts the “first defeat of US imperialism in the Americas”. Now a low-key beach town with some of the best diving, snorkelling and beaches in all of Cuba, it is a great place to see a different side of Cuba, dive into its history or dive into the Caribbean.

Included Activities
– Cienfuegos walking tour including entry to Castillo del Valle

Accommodation – Standard Casa Particulares
Meals Included – Breakfast

7

Playa Giron to Havana

After the Bay of Pigs we head back inland through a densely forested swampland area called La Cienega de Zapata, before heading back to Havana. If you are leaving Cuba today we can arrange your airport departure transfer. If staying longer we can arrange extra nights in Havana or the resorts of Varadero or anywhere else you might like to go.

Meals Included – Breakfast

HASTA LUEGO CUBA!


Tour Dossier Notes

Who can travel on this tour? – Technically, everyone. This tour is based on the same itinerary as our People to People tour without all the required P2P bells and whistles to meet US government regulations.

Pre and post tour accommodation in Havana is available
US$90 for a Single Room per night
US$50 per person for a double/twin room per night
Contact us for triples etc

Airport transfers – Available for $65 on arrival and $50 for departure

Group Size – Minimum number is typically 4 people and maximum is 12. We can make arrangements to run tour if less than 4 people, contact us for more details.

Local Guides and Tour Leader – We use wonderful local guides who love Cuba as their home.

Single Supplement – Not compulsory if you are traveling on your own. If you are willing to share with another single traveler in the group of the same gender you can pay the twin share rate and share a room. Or you can pay the US$350 single supplement to guarantee having your own room each night.

Accommodation – All accommodation is in casas particulares, private homes or guesthouses that are typically owned and run by local families, which gives us a unique insight into the real Cuba and Cuban family life.

Many travellers find that the guesthouse accommodation is a major highlight of their visit to Cuba. This is not because of comfort levels, but typically because the casas are run by local families and located in residential neigbourhoods, so they provide a great opportunity for travellers to interact with everyday Cubans. They are usually not as roomy as typical hotel rooms, however the casas are consistently rated by travellers as more enjoyable than staying in hotels and about the same comfort level as perhaps a 3 star Cuban hotel. It’s the level of service and personal attention in the casas that is generally far superior to the hotels in Cuba. This is because the casas are privately run, profit-making enterprises that rely on word-of-mouth recommendations among travellers, so the owners and staff are highly motivated to provide the best service they possibly can. They take pride in their work. This is in contrast to government-run hotels where the staff are poorly paid – the consequence of which is low staff morale, poor maintenance, inefficiencies, and generally poor service.

While every family and every casa in Cuba is unique, with slightly different levels of comfort, the guesthouses we use in Cuba on our tours are much nicer than the average Cuban dwelling. Our guesthouses are more likely to be run by a family, where the family members provide the services to the guests. Guesthouse rooms are generally quite basic but reasonably comfortable and very clean, and the families in Cuba will try to make you feel at home as much as possible.

The casas particulares are a form of accommodation for foreigners in Cuba that is legal and formalised, and the rooms for guests are required to meet a certain standard of comfort for the house to obtain a license to rent. The owners pay a fee to the government for this license and they also pay tax on their income.

Transport – Using private transport, a local Cuban tour guide accompanies the group throughout. Transport is comfortable air conditioned mini bus with a capacity of 20 people but we cap out groups at a maximum of 12 people so there is plenty of room to spread out.

Guides – Local Cuban guides on every tour.

Meals –Breakfast is included every day except the arrival day. No lunches or dinners included. However for a small fee dinners can be bought at your casa particular with advance notice to the hosts, which is a great way to help supplement their income.

Entrance fees – Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. There are also often optional extras available at your own expense.

Visas – For most travellers a Tourist Card can be obtained at the connecting airport on the way to Havana. Or we can make arrangements in advance for you , contact us to help you with this.

Airport taxes – If there are any departure taxes to pay that are not included within the cost of your ticket, you’ll need to pay these yourself.