Castro’s Cuba


    enquire now 20 Days From NZD $11,995 pp twinshare
    Small group
    Terms & Conditions apply

    Includes economy class airfares ex Auckland, departs 15 May 2020

    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! See our solo traveller offer on this journey.

    INCLUSIONS

    • Economy Class airfares ex Auckland
    • A World Journeys host
    • 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
    • Meals as indicated (B,L,D)
    • Gratuities
    • Cuban Tourist Card (visa)

    HIGHLIGHTS
    Cooking class and salsa lesson
    Dive in to 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.

    ITINERARY

    May 2020

    Fri 15: Auckland > Santiago > Lima
    We fly to Lima, Peru via Santiago, Chile.

    Sat 16: Lima (B)
    Enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of historic Lima.

    Sun 17: Lima > Havana (B,D)
    We transfer to the airport and then fly to Havana. On arrival we will be transferred to the iconic Hotel Nacional de Cuba. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner and a chance to meet our Cuban guide and discuss the tour ahead.

    Mon 18: 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, the Museum of the Revolution, and some 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 back at the Hotel Nacional.

    Tue 19: Havana > Bay of Pigs > Cienfuegos (B)
    Today, we drive to Cienfuegos via the Bay of Pigs (Bahia de Cochinos), the 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 del 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.

    Wed 20: 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.

    Thu 21: 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 barbecue dinner at the beach, accompanied by live music.

    Fri 22: 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.

    Sat 23 & Sun 24: Cayo Coco (B,L,D)
    Two days to soak up the sun and enjoy the facilities of this superb resort on a beautiful beach.

    Mon 25: 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.

    Tue 26: 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.

    Wed 27: 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.

    Thu 28: Santiago de Cuba > Havana  (B)
    Fly to Havana and transfer to your hotel.

    Fri 29: 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.

    Sat 30: Havana (B,D)
    Tour the colourful art district of Havana, Callejon de Hammel. Afternoon at leisure before a farewell dinner.

    Sun 31: Havana > Lima (B)
    Transfer to the airport and fly to Lima. Overnight at the airport hotel.

    Mon 01 June: Lima > Auckland (B)
    Depart Lima* and transit Santiago.

    Tue 03: In Flight

    Wed 03: Auckland

    *There are many options to extend your return journey in South America. We will be happy to assist you with suggestions such as a visit to Cuzco and Machu Picchu

    TRAVELLING SOLO
    The single occupancy price is $13,860.
    If you would like to share with another person of the same gender and pay the share twin price, please book and pay your deposit at least 6 months before departure.

    WELCOME BACK
    If you have travelled on one of our Hosted Journeys before, we would like to welcome you back with an extra saving of $400 per couple or $200 for a single traveller.

    WJ 2020
    Images courtesy of World Journeys