Cuba Yuma 10 Day

STYLE Cuba for US Citizens
DURATION 10 Days
BETWEEN Havana and Havana
COUNTRIES VISITED – 1 Cuba
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE 12
TRAVEL DATES
2019
November 7th – 16th Available
2020
February 13th – 22nd Available
November 12th – 21st Available
WHATS INCLUDED
All Accommodation All tour transportation
Entrance fees as listed All meals as listed
WHATS NOT INCLUDED
International flights and taxes Travel Insurance
Cuba Tourist Card Single Supplement US$540

Trip Overview

Yuma means “United States” in Cuban slang. Follow the rhythms of Cuba on this 10 Day SCP compliant tour, open to Americans, 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 cobblestoned 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 U.S. sponsored counter-revolutionaries in 1961 and now a diver’s and snorkeller’s paradise. Heading west to the rural valley of Viñales we explore the lush tobacco fields, have the chance to try a cigar or explore the mogotes, the steep sided hills in the valley just begging to be climbed. We return to Havana for a last night in Havana or extend our stay on this fascinating island.


NOTE: This tour is in compliance with the U.S. government OFAC regulations General License For Support For The Cuban People (SCP) (515.574) to allow American travelers to legally travel on a tour to Cuba although everyone is welcome. These tours have upgraded accommodation, more activities and meals included to comply with the SCP regulations. This is the same itinerary as our regular Cuba – Rum and Revolution tour, so this might be another option available to you.


Cuba Yuma 10 Day

Overview

This SCP tour is a day or two longer than most tours that run this itinerary, it has been designed to get you deeper into Cuba with more time to interact with the local people. 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, cobblestoned 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 snorkeling paradise. Traveling west back past the outskirts of Havana we arrive into the stunning mountainous scenery and sprawling tobacco fields of the Viñales Valley. This is a slice of real rural Cuba with friendly locals and a wonderfully relaxed feel. Returning to Havana, we spend a last night together with an included farewell dinner in the city.


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HIGHLIGHTS

  • The amazing history, culture and spirit of the Cuban people
  • The UNESCO World Heritage cities of Havana and Trinidad
  • The stunning rural scenery of the Viñales Valley
  • The youthful energy and revolutionary vibe of Santa Clara
  • Caribbean beaches, historical bays and mountain scenery

1

Arrival in Havana

Welcome to Cuba! On arrival look for your included airport transfer driver who will take you into Havana. We will stay for two nights in the vibrant Havana district of Vedado, 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 and there 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

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. We will also visit Hemingway’s home, Finca Vigia, and check out Cojimar, the town where the novel The Old Man and the Sea was set.

Included Activities
– Walking tour of Old Havana
– Panoramic Classic Car tour
– Hemmingway tour of Cojimar and Finca Vigia

Accommodation – Casa Nativity
Meals Included – Breakfast and Lunch

3

Havana to Santa Clara

Leaving Havana we drive to the town of Santa Clara, a key city in the Cuban Revolution. Practically 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. Today’s Santa Clara with its almost Bohemian vibe, creative atmosphere and interesting nightlife is well worth spending the night in.

Included Activities
– Walking tour of Santa Clara with guide

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 that 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, and the local residents are extremely friendly and festive.

Included Activities
– Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
– Cuban dance lesson

Accommodation – Premium Casa Particulares
Meals Included – Breakfast

5

Explore Trinidad

For many visitors to Cuba, Trinidad is often their favourite destination and it is easy to see why. Trinidad is one of Cuba’s most exciting cities. Its colonial hub has been impressively conserved and its small and compact size means that all of its attractions within the city can be visited on foot. Its wealth grew through sugar production using African slave labour in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the architecture of the buildings reflect that period.

Trinidad has great nightlife. There are no less than ten live music venues all within a short walking distance and you will often walk pass someone carrying a guitar or a double bass over their shoulder. Many of these have lovely outdoor settings, in courtyards, and within the walls of old colonial ruins.

Trinidad is also steeped in religiosity, none the least of which is Santeria, which is one of several Afro-Cuban religions.

Included today is a hike to Salto Javira waterfall and a visit to a campesino’s (farmer’s) home.

Just a ten minute drive or short bike ride away is the beautiful, calm Caribbean beach of Playa Ancón where we will have a dinner bbq here and witness the sunset over the ocean.

Included Activities
– Walking tour of Trinidad
– Hike to Salto Javira Waterfall
– Visit to a Campesino’s home
– Beach picnic with live music (if available)

Accommodation – Premium Casa Particulares
Meals Included – Breakfast and Dinner

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. It’s sophisticated ambience inspired one of Cuba’s most celebrated singers Benny Moré 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. We will visit the 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, snorkeling 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
– Museum of the Invasion in Play Giron

Accommodation – Standard Casa Particulares
Meals Included – Breakfast

7

Playa Giron to Viñales

After the Bay of Pigs we head back inland through a densely forested swampland area called La Cienega de Zapata. This is our longest travel day so you might want to take advantage of the drive along the flat central parts of the island for a siesta in our comfortable bus. Passing the outskirts of Havana we stop for lunch at the eco-village of Las Terrazas and learn more about the artist community here. Heading further west we eventually reach Viñales which is one of Cuba’s most picturesque areas. The Valley of Viñales is surrounded by steep limestone hills, and the floor of the valley is a UNESCO heritage site for rural landscape. It’s here that the farmers employ traditional methods such as using oxen, or simply by hand, to till the earth. The main crops are rice, corn, root vegetables – such as yuca, boniato, and malanga, and most famously some of Cuba’s best tobacco.

Included Activities
– Las Terrazas entry
– Visit to artist community
– Walking tour of Viñales

Accommodation – Standard Casa Particulares
Meals Included – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

8

Explore Viñales

Surrounded by picturesque limestone pincushion hills (“mogotes”), Viñales is a small and culturally rich village, with friendly and welcoming residents and wide variety of outdoor activities available. Exploring caves, hiking, biking, horseback riding or simply enjoying the views of the valley and sprawling tobacco fields below are all options. Viñales is one of the more agriculturally productive areas and we will visit one of the nearby tobacco plantations. There is an abundance of local seasonal fruit and vegetables always on offer such as enormous avocados and mangoes, pineapples, papaya, guava, and a several varieties of sweet potatoes. It’s one of the cooler areas of Cuba, so it’s also a nice escape from the hotter parts of the country. After a Cuban cooking demonstration we can check out the nightlife which is very active with the local residents more than willing participants in dancing to the local live music.

Included Activities
– Tobacco farm visit
– Free time for people to people interaction
– Evening cooking demonstration

Accommodation – Standard Casa Particulares
Meals Included – Breakfast and Dinner

9

Vinales to Havana

Today we turn back towards Havana taking in some of Cuba’s more colourful street art. On the fringes of Havana is Fursterlandia, a street-art extravaganza where Cuban artist José Fuster has turned his home neighborhood into a masterpiece of intricate tile-work and kaleidoscopic colors. From here we head to the psychedelic art shops and funky street murals of Callejón de Hamel, Havana’s high temple of Afro-Cuban culture where there is also a chance of some frenetic rhumba music being played. This evening we have a final farewell dinner before heading to the La Cabana Fortress to witness the nightly 9pm Cannon Ceremony. As we head back into the city to decide to sleep or party on, our final night in Havana will go out with a bang either way.

Included Activities
– Visit to Fusterlandia
– Visit to Callejon de Hamel
– Cannon Ceremony

Accommodation – Premium Casa Particulares
Meals Included – Breakfast and Dinner

10

Tour ends in Havana

The tour ends today after breakfast. If you are leaving Cuba today we can arrange your airport departure transfer. If staying longer contact us for other options in Cuba we can arrange.

Meals Included – Breakfast


Tour Dossier Notes

People to People – This tour is based on the same itinerary as our Cuba – Rum and Revolution tour. However, it is also designed to be in compliance with the U.S, government’s OFAC rules so we can offer a more inclusive licensed SCP tour for everyone to join, including Americans legally.

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. People to People tours also require a “chaperon” who will also accompany the group throughout the tour.

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 USD540 single supplement to guarantee having your own room each night.

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

Accommodation – All accommodation is in casa 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 discover 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 licence to rent. The owners pay a fee to the government for this licence and they also pay tax on their income.

Transport – Using private transport, a local Cuban tour guide accompanies the group throughout.

Guides – Local Cuban guides on every tour

Meals – Breakfast is included every day except the arrival day. 2 lunches and 5 dinners are included. For a small fee dinners can be bought at your casa particular with advance notice to the hosts, which is also a great way to help supplement their income.

Entrance fees – Entrance fees are listed for those sites included in the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be 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 for you in advance, contact us to help 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.