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  • Departing from?Dublin + 3
  • Travelling to?Italy + 1
  • When?March 2015
  • How long for?7 nights
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Explore - Cuba
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Explore - Cuba

  • 10 Night Holiday
  • B&B
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With beautiful weather, friendly locals and a fascinating history, Cuba is a Caribbean destination like no other. Cut off from much international trade by the U.S. embargo, a visit to the island is almost like taking a trip back in time, in the best possible way.

Explore the colonial city of Havana by horse carriage and classic car, and experience the warmth of Cuban hospitality as you stay in a local Casa Particular, or homestay, in the capital. Wander the cobbled streets of Trinidad, a UNESCO world cultural heritage site that is the perfect place to observe the central importance of music and salsa in Cuba. Visit the port city of Cienfuegos, marvel at the spectacular limestone formations of the Viñales Valley, drive the “tobacco route” to Pinar del Rio and perhaps try a Habano, the famous Cuban cigars.

You will also learn some of the recent history of this incredible country with visits to the Bay of Pigs and the town of Santa Clara, where the famous Che Guevara fought one of the most important battles of the Cuban Revolution. Plus, you will have the opportunity to experience one of Cuba’s pristine beaches and snorkel in the salty Caribbean Sea on a full day catamaran cruise to the islet of Cayo Blanco. Finally, take a whistle-stop tour of Toronto as you enjoy a brief stop in Canada on your way home. 

 

Practical Information for this holiday

Currency
Cuban peso (CUC)
Local Time
Irish/UK time -5 hours
Passport & Visa
EU Citizens require a tourist visa to transit through Canada. Clients need to apply for an ETA. Clients complete this online for a fee of $7 Canadian dollars: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp, or 30 euro if completed by Travel Department.

 

EU citizens require a visa to enter Cuba. This visa is issued on board your flight with Air Canada and is free of charge. Other nationalities should contact Travel Department for further advice. Your passport should be valid for six months from your return date of travel.

 

Click here to find out more 

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be required before your departure - please consult with your GP or Tropical Medical Bureau.

Flight Duration
Approximately 12 hours. 
Climate

Tropical, moderated by the trade winds. Average temperatures are 30°C in May and 31°C in September. 

Food & Drink
Eating and drinking out is very affordable.  Try a Cuban sandwich (pulled pork, cheese, ham, pickle and mustard), beans and rice with beef, and spicy chicken.  Many tropical fruits are grown on the island, including pineapple, papaya, mango and avocado. Rum-based cocktails are the most popular type of drink. 
Average Prices for Region
  • Coffee: $1.10
  • Beer: $1.00
  • Glass of wine: $2.00
  • Meal: $7.00
  • Soft Drink: $.70
  • Bottled Water: $1.00
Packing List
  • Your valid passport
  • A Northern American plug adaptor
  • Sun cream, sunglasses and sun hat
  • A small backpack
  • A light jacket or raincoat
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera
Recommended Reading/Viewing

The Old Man & the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Holiday highlights

Havana

Crumbling, exotic and alive; Havana is a living microcosm of the country at large. From the resplendent Spanish colonial architecture of the Old Town, to the spectacular dilapidation of Havana Centro, a city of stalwart survivors and masterful musicians rocking tirelessly to the rumba beat.

Viñales Valley 

The Viñales valley is encircled by mountains and its landscape is interspersed with dramatic rocky outcrops. Traditional techniques are still in use for agricultural production, particularly of tobacco. The quality of this cultural landscape is enhanced by the vernacular architecture of its farms and villages, where a rich multi-ethnic society survives, illustrating the cultural development of the islands of the Caribbean, and of Cuba.

Trinidad 

Trinidad is one-of-a-kind, a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement, in the province of Sancti Spíritus, central Cuba. Together with the nearby Valle de los Ingenios, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988. The riches of the town's pre–War of Independence heyday are still very much in evidence in illustrious colonial-style mansions bedecked with Italian frescoes, Wedgwood china and French chandeliers.

Cienfuegos

Known in Cuba as ‘Plaza de la Revolución,’ it is one of the world’s largest city squares, measuring 72,000 square meters. Fidel Castro has addressed more than a million Cubans here on many important occasions.

Cayo Blanca 

Experience a cruise to islet Cayo Blanco. The rich seabed of Cuba´s waters reveals itself at the coral reef, Las Mulatas, where you can snorkel and explore the underwater treasures. This cay is located in the south-central region of the Cuban marine platform, south of Trinidad municipality. It is made up of recent marine deposits that form a flat, gently sloping relief. Among the fauna is the presence of different species, mainly birds, reptiles, crustaceans and insects, standing out the iguana (Cylura nubila) as a charismatic species, which has increased its population in recent years.

Practical Information for this holiday

Currency
Cuban peso (CUC)
Local Time
Irish/UK time -5 hours
Passport & Visa
EU Citizens require a tourist visa to transit through Canada. Clients need to apply for an ETA. Clients complete this online for a fee of $7 Canadian dollars: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp, or 30 euro if completed by Travel Department.

 

EU citizens require a visa to enter Cuba. This visa is issued on board your flight with Air Canada and is free of charge. Other nationalities should contact Travel Department for further advice. Your passport should be valid for six months from your return date of travel.

 

Click here to find out more 

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be required before your departure - please consult with your GP or Tropical Medical Bureau.

Flight Duration
Approximately 12 hours. 
Climate

Tropical, moderated by the trade winds. Average temperatures are 30°C in May and 31°C in September. 

Food & Drink
Eating and drinking out is very affordable.  Try a Cuban sandwich (pulled pork, cheese, ham, pickle and mustard), beans and rice with beef, and spicy chicken.  Many tropical fruits are grown on the island, including pineapple, papaya, mango and avocado. Rum-based cocktails are the most popular type of drink. 
Average Prices for Region
  • Coffee: $1.10
  • Beer: $1.00
  • Glass of wine: $2.00
  • Meal: $7.00
  • Soft Drink: $.70
  • Bottled Water: $1.00
Packing List
  • Your valid passport
  • A Northern American plug adaptor
  • Sun cream, sunglasses and sun hat
  • A small backpack
  • A light jacket or raincoat
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera
Recommended Reading/Viewing

The Old Man & the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Trip Itinerary - Day by day

Day 1 – Depart for Cuba

Afternoon

Depart for Cuba

Depart Dublin for your flight to Havana, Cuba. On arrival you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your “casa particular” (homestay) in Havana. A homestay is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the warmth of Cuban hospitality.

Overnight

Accommodation

Casa particular in Havana (4 nights)

Day 2 - Havana

Morning

Old Havana

Experience a panoramic horse carriage tour passing by the imposing Capitol, past the Gran Teatro and Bacardí house over the Prado to Cathedral Square. Afterwards, embark on a walking tour of the historic city centre, which was declared a world cultural heritage site in 1982, exploring the alleys and the squares of Old-Havana. You will also observe the process of cigar rolling during a cigar factory tour. (This factory tour is subject to change).

Afternoon

Panoramic tour

Experience a panoramic bus tour passing by the Malecón, Hotel Nacional, Avenida de los Presidentes, Plaza de la Revolución, Quinta Avenida to name a few. You will have the remainder of the day to spend as you wish. Your local guide will be happy to suggest activities to suit your taste. Why not soak up the authentic Cuban atmosphere in the historic centre as you sip on a rum cocktail? Or maybe try out salsa dancing to really get a feel for Cuban life?

Day 3 - Havana

Morning

American convertible classic car sightseeing tour

Explore Havana further in unique style during an American convertible classic car sightseeing tour. This is an absolute must for any visitor to Cuba! Havana is like stepping out of a time-machine and finding yourself back in the 50’s, so this is an unsurpassed way of seeing all the architecture and historic sites of this nostalgic city.

Afternoon

Havana at leisure

You will have the remainder of the day at leisure for further independent exploration. Your local guide will be happy to suggest activities to suit your taste.

Day 4 - Pinar del Rio, Vinales & Las Terrazas

Morning

Las Terrazas

Take the “tobacco route” to Las Terrazas, a UNESCO biosphere reserve located in the Sierra del Rosario Mountains, before continuing to Pinar del Rio, a province in western Cuba which is the centre of the country’s cigar industry. You will enjoy a guided tour of the local community at Las Terrazas, with insights to socio-cultural structures. Further along the route you will make a stop at Los Jazmines look out point, before continuing to lunch at a locally owned restaurant, where you will sample some authentic Cuban cuisine.

Afternoon

Viñales Valley

To the north lies the fertile Viñales Valley, with its striking rounded limestone hills, where you will enjoy a panoramic tour. Afterwards, visit “Cas del Veguero”, the house of a tobacco farmer for a tour of the tobacco fields and drying houses. En route back to Havana you will make a stop at the Mural de la Prehistoria, a mural that depicts the history of evolution.

Day 5 – Guamá, Bay of Pigs & Cienfuegos

Morning

Bay of Pigs

Enjoy an excursion to the legendary Bay of Pigs, the scene of the failed US Invasion in 1961, with a stop en route at "Fiesta Campesina", near Guamá. You will also Experience a train ride by steam locomotive during a visit to the ruins of an old Sugar Mill that dates back to the early 20th Century. Lunch is included at a restaurant situated near the Carribbean Sea, with the possibility to swim and go snorkelling (weather dependent).

Afternoon

Cienfuegos

Afterwards you will continue to Cienfuegos, a port city characterized by its French colonial architecture. Stroll over the Plaza Mayor to visit the nostalgic Terry Theater, which was built in 1887 and features a four-tiered stage hall. You will end your day with a visit to Palacio del Valle, an early 20th century building that features Gothic, Venetian and Moorish elements.

Overnight

Accommodation

3 star hotel in Cienfuegos (1 night)

Day 6 - Cienfuegos to Trinidad

Morning

Cienfuegos to Trinidad

Depart Cienfuegos in the early morning and drive along the panoramic coastal road to Trinidad. Trinidad is a town in central Cuba that is a UNESCO world cultural heritage site, with one of a kind architecture. It was built on the back of the 19th-century sugar and slave trade.

Afternoon

Trinidad at leisure

You will have the remainder of the day at leisure in Trinidad where you can undertake some independent exploration. Walk over the main square, surrounded by the magnificent manors of the sugar barons, to get a feel for local life.

Overnight

Accommodation

3 star hotel in Trinidad (3 nights)

Day 7 - Trinidad at leisure

Full day

Trinidad at leisure

Enjoy a full day at leisure to experience Trinidad at your own pace. Trinidad is a town in central Cuba, known for its colonial old town and cobblestone streets. Its neo-baroque main square, Plaza Mayor, is surrounded by grand colonial buildings. Explore the downtown area, take a trip to the beach or chat to your local guide the day before about optional activities to suit your taste.

Day 8 – Cayo Blanco

Full day

Cayo Blanco

Experience a catamaran (or similar) cruise to islet Cayo Blanco. An open bar for soft drinks, beer and rum will be included on board. The rich seabed of Cuba´s waters reveals itself at the coral reef, Las Mulatas, where you can snorkel and explore the underwater treasures. Upon arrival in Cayo Blanco you will have some free time to explore what this small cay has to offer. Enjoy a seafood lunch before sailing back to the marina. You will arrive back at your hotel in the late afternoon, where the rest of the evening will be at leisure. Please note you should bring a photocopy of your passport to board the cruise.

Day 9 – Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus & Santa Clara

Morning

Trinidad to Sancti Spíritus

Depart Trinidad as you drive through the offshoots of the Escambray Mountains to Sancti Spíritus, a colonial town not yet discovered by the touristic mainstream. En route you will enjoy a visit to Torre Manaca Iznaga, a slave tower that gives wonderful panoramic view over the Valley of the Sugar Cane Mills. Once in Sancti Spíritus, embark on a stroll through the city to visit the Yayabo Bridge before enjoying a typical Cuban lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon

Santa Clara

Continue from Sancti Spíritus to the historic Santa Clara, where Ché Guevara celebrated his biggest victory and found his last rest. The impressive monument of Che Guevara, one of the most famous guerrillas worldwide, was erected en 1988 and finished in 1997 with the transfer of Che Guevaras remains from Bolivia to Santa Clara. You can visit the main monument with the statue of Che, the mausoleum and a small museum which collects details of Che´s life and death before continuing on towards Havana, arriving in the evening.

Overnight

Accommodation

Casa particular in Havana (1 night)

Day 10 – Return home via Toronto

Morning

Return home via Toronto

Say goodbye to Cuba as you depart in the early morning for your return flight to Dublin (via Toronto). On arrival in Toronto, you will be met by our guide who will accompany you on a tour by coach, giving an overview of some of the city's most famous landmarks. Time permitting, there will also be free time for independent sightseeing and shopping in the city before transferring back to the airport for your overnight flight to Dublin.

Day 11 – Arrive home

Morning

Arrive home

Arrive home in Dublin following your once in a lifetime trip to Cuba.

* Please note that the order of your excursions on the itinerary above is provisional and subject to change

Customer reviews

Hotel & accommodation available for this trip

Casa Particular Homestay

This Casa Particular is a homestay located in the city district of Miramar/Playa. Guests can relax in the sun on the property's terrace. This stay offers an authentic Cuban experience and guests can explore nearby attractions including Gallery Fuster, Gallery Santacana, Club Hava... read more read more read more

This Casa Particular is a homestay located in the city district of Miramar/Playa. Guests can relax in the sun on the property's terrace. This stay offers an authentic Cuban experience and guests can explore nearby attractions including Gallery Fuster, Gallery Santacana, Club Havana and Casa Compay Segundo.

Hotel address
Casa Particular



Havana
View available dates for this hotel

Hotel La Union 3

Hotel La Union is located in the charming, sea-side city of Cienfuegos. There are several inviting areas to relax here including two patios, an open-air bar & courtyard.. Hotel La Unión’s "Venus Negra" terrace offers amazing views over the city and bay.... read more read more read more

Hotel La Union is located in the charming, sea-side city of Cienfuegos. There are several inviting areas to relax here including two patios, an open-air bar & courtyard.. Hotel La Unión’s "Venus Negra" terrace offers amazing views over the city and bay.

Hotel address
Hotel La Union
Calle 31 esquina A-54, Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos
Cuba
View available dates for this hotel

Hotel Las Cuevas 3

Located on a hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Hotel Las Cuevas enjoys one of Trinidad’s best views of the city of Trinidad. With the town nearby there are many museums to be explored during your stay. In addition the beaches of Playa Ancón can be found just 13km away.... read more read more read more

Located on a hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Hotel Las Cuevas enjoys one of Trinidad’s best views of the city of Trinidad. With the town nearby there are many museums to be explored during your stay. In addition the beaches of Playa Ancón can be found just 13km away.

Hotel address
Hotel Las Cuevas
Finca Santa Ana
Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus
Trinidad 62600
View available dates for this hotel

*Some hotel facilities are seasonally operated and may not be available at the time of your stay. Charges may apply for certain facilities.

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