Cuba is a land whose riches are found in the hearts of its people. With a written history that stretches back to the 15th Century, it has endured and thrived through times of colonial expansion, despotism, and revolution. This enduring spirit is expressed through art, music, and a dedication to the preservation of its natural environment. Here you will see how the largest swampland in the Caribbean is protected for future generations of Cubans and native species. You will experience how art and music play an integral part in creating and preserving community cohesion in towns throughout the island. This is an island where richness is not measured in the tinkle of coins, but in the beats of a heart.
Slightly Active. May involve some walking and climbing
Cuba’s climate is mild and subtropical. Temperatures range between 65 degrees and 95 degrees, making it a wonderful destination to visit particularly in the winter. The rainy season is May to October, but it does not rain every day or all day, although there can be torrential rain at times. The dry season is November through April.
Arrive in Miami today and meet with the rest of the group at your hotel. Get to know your fellow travelers tonight over dinner, and get any last-minute instructions and travel documents on your upcoming adventure to Cuba. MIAMI AIRPORT MARRIOTT HOTEL. (D)
Land in Jose Marti International airport. The first thing you’ll notice as you drive to Havana is that the streets are filled with colorful and bright vintage “Old Styler” American cars. Take an elevator ride to the top of a 357-foot tall tower, part of the Jose Marti memorial, for a panoramic view of Havana on your stop at the Revolution Square. Continue to the Museum of Natural History which is not only a repository for antiquities and wildlife specimens, but also an institution with strong ties to Cuba’s leading cultural and scientific institutions and the general population through its scientific and educational outreach work. After lunch, drive to the small town of San Francisco de Paula to visit Hemmingway’s legendary farm house, Finca Vigia. Newly restored, it now serves as a Hemingway museum. Tonight enjoy a special dinner in a local paladar (privately owned restaurant) to celebrate your arrival in Havana. HOTEL SARATOGA. (L,D)
This morning, explore with a historian Havana’s old quarter, Havana Vieja, declared a UNESCO Heritage of Mankind Site in 1982, known for some of the finest examples of Spanish colonial architecture in Latin America. See the Capitolio, Obispo Street, and the Cathedral Square and gain insight into how preservation occurs here with limited resources. After lunch, tour the Botanical Gardens of Havana with its considerable collection of indigenous palms and tropical plants, with a naturalist and garden staff for insight on conservation efforts focused on important native species. End your day with a visit to the unique Cuban National Zoo for a safari experience where many animals live in habitats that mimic their native environment. Tonight, antique cars will drop you off at your paladar for dinner, a truly unique experience. HOTEL SARATOGA. (B,L,D)
Head to Las Terrazas, a paradise for nature lovers, where Habaneros head for a breath of fresh mountain air. Hiking trails, small lakes, waterfalls, sulfurous springs and colonial-era coffee estates await exploration. Visit the former coffee plantations, reminders of the once flourishing coffee trade in the area. Walk around the town to meet the friendly locals and visit woodwork, pottery and artist studios such as Lester Campa’s. For the adventurous, there is also a zip line (at additional cost,) Canopy Las Terrazas, which crosses the lake into the trees. Birding is wonderful; you may see the Cuban Trogon (also called Tocororo) which is the national bird of Cuba because its colors mimic the colors of the Cuban flag, or the Yellow-headed Warbler, Red-legged Warbler and the Cuban Tody. Enjoy lunch at "Casa del Campesino” and coffee tasting at a local café. Back in Havana, a cultural visit introduces you to the Gaudi inspired neighborhood of a mosaic tile artist Jose Rodriguez Fuster, known as the Picasso of the Caribbean. HOTEL SARATOGA. (B,L,D)
Leave Havana and drive to the Criadero de Crocodilos, a crocodile farm dedicated to the preservation and study of Cuba’s largest reptile and a sanctuary for 16 other threatened reptilian species. Take a walk at Cienega de Zapata Natural Reserve, the largest swamp in the Caribbean area which is on the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve list, to experience one of the most important ecosystems in Cuba. Enjoy a typical Cuban lunch at Playa Largo in the Bay of Pigs at Enrique’s paladar and motor your way to Cienfuegos, in the Cuban highlands, known for its many domed buildings. HOTEL JAGUA. (B,L,D)
Explore El Cubano Park in the Escambray Mountain range on a hike and visit a local farmer. Continue on to Trinidad and visit Casa del Alfarero, where Chichi Santander and his family have been making pottery of national renown for generations. Later on take a walk at Trinidad's Historical Center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, for a feast of 18th and 19th Century architecture around Plaza Mayor and shop at the small artist owned galleries that help give the town its charm. HOTEL JAGUA. (B,L,D)
Discover one of the largest botanical gardens in Cuba, home to over 2000 species of plants. Next, the geographic heart of Cuba awaits you in the city of Santa Clara, fixed in Cuban memory as the location of the Battle of Santa Clara in 1958 which precipitated the end of the Batista regime. Stop at the Plaza de la Revolucion, the final resting place of Che Guevara, then visit a center for venerable Cubans and learn how to dance the Danzon. End your day further north for an island getaway on Cayo Santa Maria. HOTEL IBEROSTAR ENSENACHOS. (B,L,D)
Start your day with an exploratory hike on Ensenachos’ nature trail to discover iguanas, caves and sandy beaches, then drive to the fishing town of Caibarién and tour an old sugar mill to learn about how the sugar industry has changed over the last 50 years. Board a steam train and track your way to Remedios learning about the importance of the rail system during the height of the sugar boom. Visit a church to learn from the local priest about the many programs provided to the community to better their lives, not just through religion but through activities, sports and hobbies. Return to your island home in the evening and enjoy a farewell dinner. HOTEL IBEROSTAR ENSENACHOS. (B,L,D)
Enriched with the beauty and soul of Cuba and its people, you return to Santa Clara City for your flight back to Miami. (B)
Prices starting at $5,995. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
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