There is so much to discover on this fascinating Caribbean island, with characterful colonial cities and tropical beaches to enjoy.
- Return flights from Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic
- 14 nights in hotels of a good standard plus 1 night in flight
- 27 meals: 14 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 8 dinners
- Travelsphere Tour Manager and Local Guide
- Overseas transfers and other transportation
- Day 1 UK/Havana
- Depart on your scheduled flight to Havana, Cuba's intoxicating capital. On arrival we'll transfer you to your overnight hotel.
- Day 2 Cienfuegos
- Leaving Havana behind, our journey by road takes us to the Zapata peninsula. This mangrove estuary, declared a Biosphere Reserve, is home to millions of birds, mammals and reptiles. Later we head to the beautiful port of Cienfuegos, which retains a strong French influence thanks to the 19th century migrants from Louisiana. Before arrival at our hotel, we'll visit the Botanical Gardens to see a staggering array of plants.
- Day 3 Cienfuegos
- You can spend today just as you please. If you head off to explore Cienfuegos at your own pace, the former Gothic mansion Palacio de Valle is highly recommended. If you would like to join an optional excursion, a bay cruise and a visit to Che Guevara's memorial at Santa Clara are two possibilities.
- Day 4 Camaguey
- We're heading for Camaguey this morning on a journey which takes us through rural Cuba's traditional villages and farming communities. We'll stop at the city of Ciego de Avila, where if you wish you can take lunch. On arrival in Camaguey, we'll head off on a sightseeing tour as we discover a maze of streets in its UNESCO-listed centre, which is home to hidden plazas, Baroque churches and pastel-hued buildings. Enjoy a free afternoon before we gather for dinner at the hotel.
- Day 5 Santiago de Cuba
- Our journey continues as we call at Bayamo, an ancient city known as the 'city of horsecarts' – half the population here still travels by horse. A stronghold of early revolutionary Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, who freed his slaves and declared war against Spain, it's also often referred to as 'the cradle of Cuban revolution'. We now set our sights on Santiago de Cuba, where we'll enjoy lunch together before you've an afternoon at leisure.
- Day 6 Santiago de Cuba
- Named the 'Heroic City', Santiago de Cuba was instrumental in the success of the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s. We'll begin our day with a visit to Baconao National Park, where one highlight is Granjita Siboney, the farmhouse from which Fidel Castro launched his attack on the city. You've free time to head off for lunch before joining an included tour of Santiago de Cuba, with the tomb of Cuban hero Jos Marti just one highlight. Later, come with us to Casa de la Trova, one of the country's best-known music venues, where you can join in the salsa dancing if you like.
- Day 7 Guardalavaca
- Rest and relaxation is on the cards as we head to the idyllic beach resort of Guardalavaca for a two-night stay. Once you've settled in at your hotel, enjoy the facilities or simply head to the beach with a good book.
- Day 8 Guardalavaca
- Today is free for to to spend it how you wish. The white-sand beaches are perfect for soaking up the sun and with crystal-clear waters, you might also be tempted to don a snorkel and have a swim. If you'd like to take an optional excursion, there's the chance to explore a nearby Indian village.
- Day 9 Trinidad
- Today's journey takes us to Trinidad, with a stop en route to stretch our legs in Camaguey, where you might choose to enjoy lunch.
- Day 10 Trinidad
- The picturesque colonial architecture of Trinidad is the star of your morning tour, with cobblestone streets and pastel-coloured houses all part of the town's charm. How you spend the afternoon is entirely up to you, the pristine sands of Trinidad's beaches may prove tempting.
- Day 11 Havana
- Today we are going to make our way back to Havana, where we'll stay for four more nights. As we journey by road, we'll make a stop at the splendid colonial city of Sancti Spiritus for a tour. Founded in 1514, it was moved to its present site in 1522, and amongst its sightseeing highlights are a 16th century church and the picturesque stone bridge which crosses the Yayabo River. On arrival at our hotel, take time to settle in before gathering with your travelling companions for dinner this evening.
- Day 12 Vinales Valley
- There's a feast for the eyes on offer as we head out for a day of discovery in the beautiful Vinales Valley. Surrounded by mountains and rocky outcrops that rise up to 300 metres, its fertile soil produces crops including tobacco, cultivated using traditional farming methods. Amidst this rural landscape many species of birds thrive, especially hummingbirds and mockingbirds. Around lovely Pinar del Rio, which we'll also visit, look for the rare microcycas calocoma – a type of palm. This ancient species, which has been growing on Earth unchanged since the Jurassic period, is only found in this area.
- Day 13 Havana
Cuba's capital is the biggest city in the Caribbean, and with its grand architecture and the classic American cars that roll through its streets, it's a delight to discover. Come with us to La Habana Vieja, or Old Havana, for a tour of its highlights. They include the Plaza de Armas, the former Presidential Palace and Cathedral Square. During a free afternoon and evening, you can explore Havana further at your own pace and mingle with the locals, or Habaneros.
- Day 14 Havana
- Cuba is famous for its cigars, and from the planting and picking of the tobacco leaves to rolling and cutting of the end product, the process is fascinating. This morning we're going to visit a tobacco factory and watch as the cigars are rolled by hand – in the same way it's been done for hundreds of years. After returning to the hotel this afternoon, spend time at leisure before gathering with your travelling companions this evening for a farewell dinner. After your farewell dinner there is an optional visit to the world-famous Tropicana nightclub.
- Day 15 Havana/UK
- Enjoy a free morning before we transfer you to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
- Day 16 UK
- You'll arrive in the UK today.