Castro's Cuba

Castro's Cuba

15 Days
DEPARTS 20 May 2018 ,  9 September 2018

Price from$6,880

Trapped in a time warp as a result of the Cuban revolution in 1959 and subsequent economic embargo, there is nowhere else like Cuba. On this journey we visit the great historic cities of Havana and Santiago de Cuba, where 1950s Chevys cruise past in a range of vivid colours; a contrast to the pastel hued architecture of smaller colonial gems such as Trinidad and Camaguey. The stunning natural beauty and fascinating history is only outshone by the Cuban people, incredibly warm and friendly, opening up their homes and their hearts to visitors. Che Guevara and Fidel Castro are still venerated, but times are changing. The embargo has been lifted, it's time to visit before the old Cuba is gone forever!

On this journey you will enjoy the following special experiences •Cooking class and salsa lesson Dive into Cuban culture - take part in a hands-on cooking class followed by a fun dance class to learn the quintessential Cuban dance, the salsa.

•Dine at some of our favourite paladares Tucked away in side streets, we'll visit some of our favourite "paladares", traditional family run restaurants. They serve excellent seafood and delicious traditional Cuban/Spanish dishes.

•Be swept up in the rhythm of Cuba! Music pervades the island of Cuba! Jazz is very popular and live music often seeps out of town squares. Enjoy some wonderful evenings listening to Cuban music made famous by the renowned Buena Vista Social Club.

Welcome Back Offer If you have travelled on one of our Journeys before, we would like to offer you a saving of $400 per couple (or $200 per person) if you book this journey.

Book Early And Save Book any of the 2018 journeys and pay your deposit by 30 November 2017 to save $400 per couple (or $200 per person).

Castro's Cuba map

Day 1: Havana (D) On arrival you will be transferred to the iconic Hotel Nacional. This evening meet your group and enjoy a welcome dinner and a chance to meet our Cuban guide.

Day 2: Havana (B,L) Today we explore colourful Havana. Wander through pastel coloured boulevards, narrow cobbled streets and flaking Spanish colonial buildings, where faded colours bring charm rather than define age. Highlights include the Cathedral, Museum of the Revolution and the beautifully restored parts of the city. Enjoy a delicious lunch in a paladar (family-run restaurant) before being whisked away in a classic (pre 1959) American car. We'll drive along the 8km Malecon, a broad esplanade beside the Caribbean and a wonderful place to see the locals relaxing and playing music. The tour ends at the Hotel Nacional.

Day 3: Havana > Bay of Pigs > Cienfuegos (B) Today we drive to Cienfuegos, via the Bay of Pigs (Bahia de Cochinos), scene of the botched 1961 American invasion. In Cienfuegos, enjoy the seaside vibe with a walking tour through spruced-up colonial streets, past the Palacio de Valle, an architectural jewel with influences of Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Mudejar architecture - like something out of Arabian Nights. This evening is at leisure with your host on hand to offer suggestions.

Day 4: Cienfuegos > Santa Clara > Trinidad (B) We drive to Santa Clara, where history was made over 50 years ago. It was here that Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and a band of soldiers derailed a train carrying 350 heavily armed government troops. Using a borrowed bulldozer and some homemade Molotov cocktails, this action sealed the fate of the Batista dictatorship. We'll see the statue of Che guarding a museum and the mausoleum beneath it. On to UNESCO listed Trinidad, a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement. Enjoy a walking tour along the cobbled streets of the town and then visit the famous Casa de la Musica, popular with the locals for its live salsa band and delicious mojitos sipped under the Caribbean night sky.

Day 5: Trinidad (B,D) Today we learn how to make Cuban specialties in a cooking class, followed by a salsa lesson. Afterwards we visit an old sugar plantation in the picturesque Valle de los Ingenios about 10km outside Trinidad. The day ends with a barbeque dinner at the beach, accompanied by live music.

Day 6: Trinidad > Cayo Coco (B,L,D) Today we head for Cayo Coco, considered one of the finest beach resorts in Cuba. Relax in our beachside hotel and enjoy the warm Caribbean waters.

Day 7 & 8: Cayo Coco (B,L,D) Two days to soak up the sun and enjoy the facilities of this superb resort on a beautiful beach.

Day 9: Cayo Coco > Camaguey (B) A relaxing start to the day before continuing west, experiencing scenes of rural Cuba as we head to the charming town of Camaguey.

Day 10: Camaguey > Santiago de Cuba (B) Enjoy a bicycle taxi tour through the labyrinthian centre of Camaguey, a UNESCO Historic Site. The town was built that way to confuse pirates. Also famous for its gorgeous architecture and Cuban-baroque churches, Camaguey is a delight. After touring the town, we'll head to the epicentre of Afro-Cuban culture, the city of Santiago de Cuba.

Day 11: Santiago de Cuba (B) Explore this fascinating city with our guide. Diego Velazquez de Cuellar made Santiago his second capital, Fidel Castro used it to launch his nationalist Revolution, Don Facundo Bacardi based his first-ever rum factory here, and just about every Cuban music genre first emanated from somewhere in these dusty and rhythmic streets. Included is a visit to Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, the UNESCO listed fortress built to defend Santiago from an attack by pirates. Those interested may enjoy an optional guided evening excursion to visit some of the city's famous music venues.

Day 12: Santiago de Cuba > Havana (B) Fly to Havana and transfer to our hotel.

Day 13: Havana & Vinales (B,L) Today we visit the beautiful Pinar del Rio province, a UNESCO Heritage Site where we will see traditional plantations of tobacco, taro and bananas. We will visit a tobacco farm to learn about the entire production process, and tour an organic farming operation. Then visit the charming agricultural town of Vinales and enjoy lunch before returning to Havana late afternoon.

Day 14: Havana (B,D) Tour the colourful art district of Havana, Callejon de Hammel. Afternoon at leisure before a special farewell dinner.

Day 15: Havana (B) Check out of our hotel where our journey ends.

*Why not extend your journey and visit South America? We will be happy to assist you with suggestions such as a visit to Cuzco and Machu Picchu, or perhaps a cruise to the Galapagos Islands.

• A World Journeys host in addition to an expert local English speaking Cuban guide • Accommodation in 4 or 5 star hotels but in some places best available (hotels or superior guesthouses) • Transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary • Economy Class airfare Santiago de Cuba to Havana • Meals as indicated (B,L,D) • Gratuities • Cuban Tourist Card (visa) provided you are not flying into Cuba directly from the USA. In that case the Cuban Tourist card is issued by the airline in the USA.

Pricing (per person) $AUD

Type TWIN SINGLE

20 May 2018

9 September 2018

$6,880

$6,880

$8,570

$8,570

Travelling solo
Book and pay your deposit at least 6 months before departure and we will match you up with another same gender solo traveller to share at the share twin price. If we are unable to provide a share, accommodation will be provided on a single basis at no additional cost.

Departs

2018 20 May
9 September

Booking conditions

A non-refundable deposit of $1,500 per person is required, with the balance due 90 days prior to departure. As cancellation fees apply, travel insurance is mandatory.

Please refer to World Journeys terms & conditions.

Not included

• International airfares • Items of a personal nature • Travel insurance (mandatory) • Optional activities

Gratuity

In the countries we are visiting, tipping is customary. For a hassle-free journey, tipping is included and will be handled by the World Journeys host.

Can certainly recommend!

Thank you for all your hard work in getting my trip organised. I can certainly recommend World Journeys for Cuba. Yaniel the tour guide was so knowledgeable, Luis the busdriver was wonderful and the World Journeys host was just lovely. I loved the Bay of Pigs and visiting where Che's bones are. I was extremely moved. Just loved, loved, loved Cuba.

Susan

Life changing experience

I had a superlative journey being treated like a queen by guides Russell, Yaniel and driver 'Diamond'. For me my Cuban trip was a life changing experience.

Anon