We arrive in Havana and transfer to our hotel. Land only clients will meet the group at the hotel in Havana.
Today we take a day trip to Vinales Valley, in the west of Cuba, famous for it's rolling tobacco plantations and limestone karsts dotted along the valley. A local guide will take us on a walk through the tobacco plantations and we will visit a cigar factory to learn about the industry that Cuba is so famous for. Spending the day in Vinales gives us the opportunity to see rural Cuban life as farmers tend to their crops using traditional farming methods. In the late afternoon we return to Havana, where an optional trip to either the Parisien or Tropicana nightclub is available.
This morning we drive to Cienfuegos, via the Bay of Pigs. We will have time to admire the main square and restored municipal buildings of Cienfuegos, and time permitting, have our first swim stop. Later on we drive to Guajimico, for our first taste of the beach and the Caribbean coast, where we stay for the night.
Your morning is free to swim or enjoy one of the many walking trails. We then depart in the late morning for the short drive to Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988 and perhaps the best-preserved colonial town on the island. We have some time sightseeing here. Exploring Trinidad can feel like entering a time warp, its colourful, cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisking us back to Colonial Times. There are many interesting museums housed in old colonial buildings and music drifts through the streets and plazas. This evening we recommend a visit to Trinidad's Casa de la Trova (the House of Music) for traditional Cuban music and dancing.
Today is free to soak up the atmosphere of Trinidad, relax by the hotel pool, or join an optional excursion to explore the surrounding areas. We offer the option to join a Catamaran trip, embarking from the beach of Playa Ancon and sailing the Caribbean to the small island of Cayo Macho (or Cayo Blanco depending on availability) to lunch on fresh seafood amongst tame iguanas and tree rats. Alternatively we can walk the 'El Cubano' trail in the nearby national park.
Leaving Trinidad we head inland to Santa Clara, the site of the last battle of the Cuban revolution in December 1958, just before Fidel Castro took Havana. Che Guevara and his troops ambushed an armoured train carrying arms to Santiago de Cuba and this was a major turning point in the Revolution. We visit the armoured train museum and the Mausoleum of Che Guevara and his comrades who died in Bolivia before driving back to Havana for the night.
This morning we set off for a city tour of old and new Havana, Cuba's capital and the largest city in the Caribbean. Havana is a busy, bustling, energetic capital. The area of Old Havana is often described as a living museum, with its marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces. This is the finest surviving Spanish colonial complex in the Americas. Preserved by a combination of minimal war damage, post-revolution restoration work and the millions of dollars invested since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. During our tour we also visit the glitzier Miramar district and the Plaza de la Revolution with its images of the Cuban Revolution. We'll stop for lunch at one of Hemingway's old haunts, La Bodeguita del Medio, where traditional food, drink and music give us a typically warm Cuban welcome. In the early evening we will have a demonstration on how to make the perfect Mojito! With a cocktail to loosen us up we take our salsa class. Salsa is integral to the Cuban way of life and during this lesson, where each person will be partnered with a local Cuban, we get the opportunity to perfect some of the basic moves for our final night in Havana.
This morning is free to relax or do some last minute sightseeing in Havana before those on group flights transfer to the airport in the afternoon.