Cuba Libre

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Relax on the beautiful Caribbean beaches, experience Cuban hospitality during a homestay, visit a factory that produces world-famous Cuban cigars

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Walking through the pincushion hills, wandering amongst orchids and lush mountain coffee plantations—see another side of the island on this week-long tour through the ‘Garden Province’ of Cuba. Tour a tobacco plantation, snorkel crystal-clear waters full of colourful coral and search for the pirates of lore along the Guanahacabibes Peninsula. Soak up local culture in a homestay for an immersive experience that travellers rarely get to know. Let our experienced CEO lead you off the beaten path and discover the cultural treasures of Cuba.


Day 1 Arrive Havana
Arrive in Havana at any time. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. As your fellow travellers are arriving at various times throughout the day, there are no planned activities other than a group dinner and info session. Look in the hotel lobby for notices on when/where the group meeting will occur. One of the oldest cities in the western hemisphere, Havana was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. It contains a wealth of colonial architecture, and the old city and streets around the malecon (ocean-side walkway) are best discovered on a walking tour. The Spaniard Diego Velázquez moved San Cristobal de la Habana in 1519 from its original site to its present one and the city remained a port of relative obscurity, within the empire, until gold and silver began to flow from New World mines back to Spain. Havana became the gathering hub for shipments of treasure from the ports of Cartagena (Colombia) and Veracruz (Mexico). Soon pirates turned their attention to the port and the city of Havana and its annual treasure trove became the number one target for the Dutch, English and French. Eventually the Spanish began construction of various forts and a protecting wall to repel the invaders. Nevertheless, the city was sacked in 1762 and held by the British under the command of Lord Albermale for nearly a year. Eventually, the Spanish exchanged the Florida territory in trade for the island. The end of the British occupation also signalled the beginning of more economic freedom for the islanders, as they were given the right to trade with cities other than Cadiz in Spain. The ensuing economic boom translated into steady growth in population and material progress. The main area of interest to visitors is La Habana Vieja (The Old City), where walking or a bicycle taxi tour are, the best modes of transportation. Points of interest in this part of town include La Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana, the Palacio de los Marqueses de Aguas Claras (which now houses a restaurant), the Museo de Arte Colonial and the Plaza de Armas, with its statue of Manuel de Céspedes (one of the leaders of the Cuban independence movement). The Palacio de los Capitanes Generales is also located on the Plaza de Armas, which now houses the Museo de La Ciudad. You will find the oldest colonial fortress on the plaza’s northeast sector, the Castillo Real de la Fuerza, whose construction began in 1558. The city is home to various museums, and depending on your area of interest, there is practically a museum for everyone. One of the city’s (and the island’s) most prominent attractions though, are its music and clubs. Everywhere you go you will hear and feel the music and see people freely dancing in the streets. The island literally pulses with the beat and blend of Afro-Hispanic rhythms and movement.
Day 2-3 Viñales (1B)
We travel into Pinar del Rio province to the small town of Viñales, beautifully located in a fertile valley surrounded by the unusual mogotes, or limestone pincushion hills. Arguably one of the prettiest natural areas in Cuba, we have many opportunities here to enjoy the area, whether it be horseback riding, hiking, or simply sitting back and enjoying the view. While you're here, visit a "vega" or cigar factory, to see how the famous Cuban cigars are made. On Viñales’ main plaza there’s a cultural centre as well as a municipal museum, however most visitors to the area come for the views and the nearby outdoor activities. The region has many extensive cave systems, as a result of the slow deterioration of the limestone bedrock by underground rivers, also creating the striking mogotes, reminiscent of the hills of Quilin in southern China. There are plenty of opportunities here for the outdoor enthusiast, such as horseback riding, and hiking which allow for incredible views of the valley and the sprawling tobacco fields. Estimated Travel Time: 4 hours Approximate Distance: 190 km
Day 4-5 Maria La Gorda (1B)
Isolated and serene, María La Gorda is located in western Cuba, on the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, which UNESCO declared an International Biosphere Reserve in 1999. The area is filled with legends of pirates, old cannons and other treasures that lie on the bottom of the sea around peaceful Corrientes Cove. The beach here is named for a legendary Venezuelan beauty who was marooned here by pirates. María allegedly gained quite a reputation for her fleshy charms. En route to Maria La Gorda, the group can opt to stop and tour the world-famous Robaina Tobacco Plantation. "Vegas Robaina" cigars bear the name of the property of the best Cuban tobacco grower, Don Alejandro Robaina, whose family of tobacco growers set up in the tobacco region of San Luis during the middle of the last century. This area has the finest tobacco plantations and wrapper tobacco of the Vuelta Abajo region. Don Alejandro's father, Maruto Robaina, was considered the finest tobacco grower in the country. In 1950, upon the death of Maruto Robaina, Don Alejandro took charge of the plantations, which have produced and continue to produce the wrapper used to manufacture Habanos cigars. Approximately 30% of the tobacco exported from Pinar del Rio province uses Vegas Robaina (Robaina Tobacco plantation) wrapper, making the plantation a tobacco legend. Furthermore it is the only brand of Cuban cigars that bear the name of a real person! Alejandro Robaina passed away in 2010, leaving his grandson HIroshi to run his tobacco farm. Maria La Gorda's location on the Northwestern tip of Cuba offers some of the best sunsets, beaches and marine life you will find in Cuba, an ideal place for water sports. Considered to be one of the richest in Cuba in biological terms, Maria La Gorda is famed for its clear seabed where you may see many species of coral, including the largest colony of Black Coral in Cuban water, gardens of gorgonians; sponges; and Barracudas, Dog Snappers, Snappers and many more tropical fish. From Maria La Gorda, you have an included excursion to Cabo San Antonio, a protected area famous for the sea turtles that lay their eggs on the beach there. After an explanation of the region, visit the Roncali Lighthouse before some free time to enjoy the beach. Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours Approximate Distance: 170 km
Day 6 San Diego/Soroa (1B)
On our way to San Diego, just off the Carretera Central, we stop at the lush mountain resort of Soroa. Known as the “rainbow of Cuba,” the area receives a lot of rainfall resulting in the growth of tall trees and orchids. There are nearby coffee plantations, waterfalls and hot springs for the passing visitor. head to San Diego for the evening. Maria La Gorda to San Diego: Estimated Travel Time: 6 hours Approximate Distance: 230 km
Day 7 Havana (1B)
Transfer back to Havana, stopping at lush Las Terrazas en route. San Diego to Havana: Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours Approximate Distance: 90 km
Day 8 Havana (1B)
Depart at any time.