Local Living - From West to East

Discover Cuba from West to East interacting with locals and enjoying its historical, natural and cultural attractions.


Description

Experience the authentic Cuba and its everyday life from a very Cuban perspective: The colourful, lively Havana, the picturesque valley of Viñales, Cienfuegos, the pearl of the south, Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Camagüey, city of Tinajones, and Santiago, capital of Cuban rhythms. In addition to this exceptionally distinct tour where you will stay with Cuban families in their private homes, there is the possibility to extend your trip at a hotel on a dream beach in Guardalavaca.


Places visited during this trip

Day
Place
Place
Activities:
  • Reception at the airport in Havana and transfer to the hotel. Dinner at own expense.

    Included services:

    *Transfer

    Included meals today: -

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Havana

Activities:
  • In the morning, visit to one of the largest farmer´s markets in Havana. Amidst the bustling life, you can buy fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat and spices. Continue by bicitaxi to Centro-Habana, a part of the city barely touched by tourism. Visit different shops, which give an insight into the real life of the Habaneros far away from tourism.

  • Take the local the ferry Lancha de Regla, primarily used by locals, across the bay to the Christ statue; a beautiful spot for panoramic photos of the city.

  • Later, enjoy a tour in classic American cars along the legendary Malecón, through the modern district of Vedado, and along Quinta Avenida to the upper class district of Miramar with its splendid mansions. Enjoy lunch in a local paladar downtown. In the afternoon, continue walking through the streets and over the squares of the colonial Old Havana while visiting the main sights. Dinner at own expense.

    Included services:

    • Ferry ride,
    • Visit to the statue of Christ,
    • Drive in vintage car,
    • Visit to a farmer's market,
    • Bicitaxi ride,
    • Visit of various shops,
    • Entrance to Cámara Oscura

    Included meals today: breakfast, lunch

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Havana

Activities:
  • Today gain insights into the state-run agricultural system and into countryside life in Cuba. In the morning, take the public train to the south-west of Havana, to El Cano, a place still untouched by tourism, which will become apparent during a walk through the village and a visit to a ceramics workshop. The discovery tour continues with visits to a center for research and development of medicinal plants, to a garden of decorative plants and finally a factory workshop for the preservation of agricultural products. The tour ends with the visit to a finca, on which bananas, avocados, lettuce, mint and much more are grown. These products are sold daily at one of the many farmers markets in the city. On a walkabout tour, an employee of the finca will provide explanations and insights into the state-run agricultural system. End the day with a small “Fiesta Campesina” and delicious Creole food with mojitos and soft drinks.

    Included services:

    • Visit of a ceramics workshop,
    • Visit of two fincas,
    • Guateque event

    Included meals today: breakfast, lunch

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Havana

Activities:
  • In the morning, drive along the tobacco route to Pinar del Río, the greenest of all Cuban provinces with the best tobacco soil in the world. Visit Patio Pelegrín, an aid program of the artist Mario Pelegrín especially dedicated to kids and teenagers. With the access to artistic creation, not only the development of their own creativity is stimulated but also, they are offered meaningful recreational activities. While the visitors learn more about the program, fresh fruits and coffee are served.

  • Continue on to Viñales village where time seems to stand still. Panoramic tour through Viñales valley with its imposing limestone rocks (Mogotes), passing e.g. the prehistoric wall and a photo stop at the viewpoint Los Jazmines. In the evening, you will learn how to make the famous Cuban cocktails. Dinner and exclusive cocktail class with a Cuban bartender.

    Included services:

    • Visit to Patio Pelegrín,
    • Panoramic tour through Viñales valley,
    • Cocktail class

    Included meals today: breakfast, dinner

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Viñales

Activities:
  • In the morning hike through the unique landscape of the Viñales valley with a high biodiversity of flora and fauna. The valley is a real mosaic of ecosystems. The path passes by typically local vegetation, tobacco cultivation and limestone rocks. On the way encounter with farmers during their field work, as well as visit to a Casa de Veguero (tobacco drying house). Enjoy lunch with Alberto Vitamina at his very special paladar. The amicable owner gained his fame by selling fruit; he thoroughly enjoys chatting to his guests. Back in the village of Viñales, visit Caridad’s small botanic garden, a beautiful, very well kept private garden with a large number of different plants. Rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner at own expense.

    Included services:

    • Hike through Viñales valley,
    • Visit to a Casa de Veguero,
    • Visit to botanic garden

    Included meals today: breakfast, lunch

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Viñales

Activities:
  • Drive towards the center of the island to Cienfuegos, characterized by French colonial architecture. Arrival in Cienfuegos and stroll through the city center, see the main square Parque Martí with the nostalgic Tomás Terry theatre. Visit to the Casa de la Cultura Benjamin Duarte. This cultural center in a palatial building organizes out-of-school activities such as dance and music lessons for local pupils.

  • After this interesting visit, enjoy a cocktail on the roof terrace of the Moorish “Palacio de Valle” on the peninsula Punta Gorda. Drive along the coastal road to Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with unique colonial architecture. Dinner at the Casa Particular.

    Included services:

    • City tour of Cienfuegos,
    • Visit to the Tomás Terry theatre,
    • Visit to Casa de la Cultura Benjamin Duarte,
    • Bicitaxi tour,
    • Cocktail

    Included meals today: breakfast, dinner

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Trinidad

Activities:
  • Stroll to the main square surrounded by the splendid mansions of the former sugar barons. Visit to one of the museums e.g. Museo Municipal where visitors can enjoy a beautiful view from its tower. Stop at the quaint bar “Canchánchara” and enjoy the local honey cocktail. In the afternoon, time at leisure and lunch at own expense. Spend some time at beach Ancón or feel the rhythm of Cuba during a typical dance lesson with a local professional. Dinner at own expense. In the evening, stroll through the romantic nightlife of Trinidad by listening to traditional music and dancing e.g. at “Casa de la Música” near the main square.

    Included services:

    • City tour of Trinidad,
    • Visit to a museum,
    • Cocktail

    Included meals today: breakfast

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Trinidad

Activities:
  • In the morning drive through the Sugar Mill Valley. Visit of hacienda Iznaga, home of the former sugar barons Iznaga with its legendary slave tower.

  • Afterwards, through Sierra Escambray to Sancti Spiritus. Panoramic tour and visit of Yayabo - Bridge followed by lunch. Continue through green sugar cane fields to Camagüey. Dinner at the casa.

    Important: Climbing the slave tower at own risk.

    Included services:

    • Visit to the slave tower,
    • City tour through Sancti Spíritus

    Included meals today: breakfast, lunch, dinner

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Camagüey

Activities:
  • After breakfast, city tour and ride by bicitaxi through the city center. Visit of the gallery of Martha Jiménez Pérez at Plaza del Carmen. Later, visit the Swiss non-profit organization Camaquito and gain insight into an interesting cultural development aimed mainly at children. Depending on the day, one of their many projects will be visited: e.g. the Café Literario, which serves as a gallery for young artists and a place for various cultural activities, or the Ignacio Agramonte arts center in the old part of the town. Lunch at a private restaurant. Dinner at own expense.

    Included services:

    • City tour through Camagüey,
    • Ride by bicitaxi,
    • Visit to the gallery of Martha Jiménez,
    • Visit to Camaquito

    Included meals today: breakfast, lunch

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Camagüey

Activities:
  • In the morning, drive to Bayamo, where the fight for independence from the Spanish crown started and the national anthem “La Bayamesa” was composed. Ride in one of the typical horse-drawn carriages through Bayamo.

  • Continue through the Sierra Maestra to the pilgrimage site El Cobre. Visit the impressively situated basilica with the patroness of Cuba. Late in the afternoon arrival in Santiago de Cuba, city of the revolution and cradle of Cuban son. Dinner at the Casa.

    Included services:

    • Ride in a horse - drawn carriage,
    • Visit to El Cobre

    Included meals today: breakfast, dinner

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Santiago de Cuba

Activities:
  • In the morning, panoramic tour past the Revolution Square and tour of the Moncada Barracks where, in 1953 Fidel and his men attacked, marking the beginning of the Cuban revolution. Visit to Santa Ifigenia, a cemetery with the graves of the Bacardi dynasty and the national hero José Martí and ex-president Fidel Castro. Drive to Cayo Granma and lunch in the restaurant. Visit the El Morro fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with stunning views over the bay. Subsequently, drive through the former villa and residential area and visit the Vista Alegre and San Juan Hill from the Spanish - American - Cuban War of Independence. Stroll through the historic center past Parque Céspedes, Calle Heredia, Plaza Dolores, and stairway Padre Pico and Casa Velázquez - the oldest house in the city. Tour of the rum museum. Encased in a beautiful colonial house, this museum counts the history of Cuban rum. You can view old machinery and barrels, examples of bottling, bottles and etiquettes throughout the last century. Dinner at La Fondita de Compay Ramon. The Creole food, usually prepared by the owner together with his wife, tastes excellent and the ambience is warmly familiar. If his guests wish, he shows them his famous coffee ceremony, in which he conjures up a delicious coffee and offers amusing entertainment.

    Important: If Casa Velázquez is closed another museum one will be visited.

    Included services:

    • City tour of Santiago de Cuba,
    • Visit to cemetery Santa Ifigenia,
    • Ride by a ferry,
    • Visit to fortress El Morro,
    • Visit to Casa Velázquez,
    • Visit to rum museum

    Included meals today: breakfast, lunch, dinner

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Santiago de Cuba

Activities:
  • In the morning, drive towards Guantánamo - the stronghold of the Afro-Cuban Santeria and Haitian voodoo cult, also known for its proximity to the U.S. Navy base.

  • Continue through a desert-like landscape with cacti spread across tropical green mountainsides, along the breath-taking pass road La Farola down to Baracoa, where Columbus once landed. In the late afternoon, visit the city museum Matachín and walk over the main square where the church of Nuestra Señora de Asunción and the Columbus cross stand. Dinner at the casa in Baracoa.

    Included services:

    • City tour of Guantánamo,
    • City tour of Baracoa,
    • Visit to museum Matachín

    Included meals today: breakfast, dinner

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Baracoa

Activities:
  • Baracoa is located in front of the picturesque backdrop of El Yunque, nestled in a lush tropical landscape with coffee, cocoa and banana plantations – a Caribbean bliss. Excursion to the magnificent surroundings of Baracoa. Drive to the mouth of the Río Yumuri. Hike (about two hours) and learn about the diverse flora and fauna of this area; later enjoy the possibility to take a break and have swim in the river. Afterwards drive to the Finca Duaba and stroll through the surroundings while receiving a small introduction to the world of cocoa. Enjoy a rustic lunch on the finca and take a short boat ride on the Rio Toa. In the afternoon, time at leisure.

    Included services:

    • Excursion to Río Yumuri incl. hike,
    • Boat ride at Río Toa,
    • Visit to Finca Duaba

    Included meals today: breakfast, lunch

  • Accommodation:

    Casa Particular in Baracoa

Activities:
  • In the morning along the coastal road with hidden tropical bays towards Moa and Holguín.

  • For guests flying to Havana, flight to Havana and private transfer to the separately booked hotel in Havana. For guests who make beach holiday in the region of Holguín - Guardalavaca, transfer to the hotel.

    Important: Please note: The road between Baracoa and Moa is partly in bad condition. Thus, it must be driven slowly and the journey can take up to 4 - 5 hours. However, there is no alternative route if one wants to get to know this very scenic, interesting and very typical part of Cuba off the beaten track. Due to bad weather, the bridge over Río Toa might be flooded and closed. In this case, the route would be via Santiago de Cuba.

    Included services:

    • Transfer Baracoa to Holguin,
    • Domestic flight to Havana

    Included meals today: breakfast

Additional information

Minimum number of participants: 2 persons

Maximum number of participants: 12 persons

Services not included:

  • All meals and drinks not mentioned in the program
  • Personal expenses and tips
  • Extending nights e.g. in Varadero or Guardalavaca
  • Transfer to Havana airport after the extending nights