Secrets of the East

Secrets of the East

Self Drive 10 days / 9 nights , Cuba tour from/to Holguin

Destinations

  • Holguin
  • Bayamo
  • Granma
  • Santiago de Cuba
  • Baracoa
  • Gibara
  • Cayo Saetía
  • Guardalavaca

 

Main attractions:                                  

  • Explore the 4 most beautiful provinces of “Oriente”.   
  • Get far away from the tourist streams.   
  • Enjoy the most beautiful and remote regions of Cuba.
  • Witness spectacular coastal roads with dream views.
  • Know more about Cuban Revolution.                           

Day 1: Arrival in Holguin

Welcome by the Caribbean Tours employee who helps by receiving the rental car.

Included meals today: -

Included services: Stay at Hotel E Caballeriza *** or similar - Standard, 1 night

Total km today: -

Total driving time today: -

 

Day 2: Holguín - Bayamo - Santo Domingo (136 km)

Suggestion for today's program:

Begin your day at Loma de la Cruz for a panoramic view of the city of Holguin, the “City of Parks”, which is home to popular festivities like Romerías de Mayo. Continue to Bayamo, second villa founded by the Spanish and first to be free from its colonial founders. This historic city is the cradle of the Cuban nationality. Visit the Plaza del Himno (Anthem Square), where the national anthem was sang for the first time just after the Cuban troops took the city from the Spanish territorial army. Enjoy a tour on a typical horse-drawn carriage, a mode of transportation largely used by locals. Proceed to Santo Domingo, a small town at the border of Turquino National Park.

 

Included meals today: -

Included services: Caribbean tours Car Rental Assistance.

Total km today: 136 km

Total driving time today: 2 h 30 min

 

Day 3: Santo Domingo - Excursión a la Comandancia de La Plata (10 km)

Suggestion for today's program:

Today, set out on a jeep excursion Alto del Naranjo, followed by a 4 km trek to Fidel Castro’s headquarters up until the triumph of the Cuban revolution. At the beginning of the year 1958, Fidel decides to establish this operation base out of reach from Batista’s forces. La Plata turned out to be the ideal place as it was hardly accessible and the few inhabitants in the village were supportive farmers who were loyal to the revolutionary movement. Also, the various facilities built were sheltered under the trees, which prevented them from being recognized from the air, hence stopping the otherwise constant airstrikes. A guide will take you through the compound, showing personal objects of Fidel Castro that are preserved in the premises of the Comandancia. Lunch at the house of a local farmer. Return to your hotel. Rest of the afternoon at leisure to walk in the nature.

 

Included meals today: breakfast

Included services: -

Total km today: 10 km

Total driving time today: 25 min

 

 

Day 4: Santo Domingo - Marea del Portillo (110 km)

Suggestion for today's program:

Early in the morning, head for Manzanillo. In the early 20th century, the órgano oriental became very popular in this town. This is a musical instrument very similar to the French organ, which was adapted to play Cuban traditional music. Ever since, it has been a staple in popular festivities in the eastern region and was recognized as Cultural Heritage of the Cuba Nation in 2017. Continue for a visit to La Demajagua, former sugar mill property of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, who freed his slaves the 10th of October, 1868, initiating the struggle for Cuba’s independence.

 

Included meals today: breakfast, all inclusive

Included services: -

Total km today: 110 km

Total driving time today: 2 h 30 min

 

Day 5: Marea del Portillo - Santiago de Cuba (190 km)

Suggestion for today's program:

Today’s program is one of the highlights of the tour. It is recommended to bring a sandwich, fruits and water from the hotel before leaving for Santiago de Cuba, as there are very scarce food options along the away. The journey though is a true visual spectacle and there are parts where the road is the only separation between the Sierra Maestra and the Caribbean Sea. Get your camera ready to capture the unique perspective of the mountains, women washing clothes in the river and hardly holding bridges. Enjoy the feeling of remoteness for long stretches and the close sight of the Pico Turquino, the highest elevation in Cuba. In the afternoon, arrive at Santiago de Cuba.

 

Included meals today: breakfast, all inclusive

Included services: -

Total km today: 190 km

Total driving time today: 5 h - 6 h

 

Important: The road is in bad condition, please note that sometimes it must be driven slowly. It is one of the most beautiful routes of the Island, off the beaten track. However, there is no alternative if one wants to get to know this very scenic, interesting and very typical part of Cuba.

 

Day 6: Santiago de Cuba

Suggestion for today's program:

In the morning, visit the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, final resting place of Cuban greats, such as the national hero Jose Martí, the Bacardí family and the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. Later, visit Santiago de Cuba’s Morro Castle, UNESCO Heritage Site, where you can enjoy a stunning view of the bay. Take a ferry to Cayo Granma, a small island on the bay, where you will have your lunch. In the afternoon, learn about the history of the Cubans’ favourite spirit in a visit to the Rum Museum. Continue for a tour of the Céspedes Park, Heredia Street, Plaza de Marte and Padre Pico Street. End your day with authentic santiaguera music at Casa de la Trova, cradle of the Cuban Rhythm Son, where Buena Vista Social Club’s Compay Segundo started his career.

 

Included meals today: breakfast

Included services: -

Total km today: -

Total driving time today: -

 

Day 7: Santiago de Cuba - Guantánamo - Baracoa (240 km)

Suggestion for today's program:

Depart early in direction of Guantánamo, a province with deep Afro-Cuban roots and home to the infamous US naval base. Cruise eastbound through an arid, cactus-dotted landscape before turning north onto the gorgeous intramontane viaduct, La Farola. Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy the stunning view at the lookout Alto de Cotilla, one of the highest points in Cuba that is accessible by road. In the afternoon, arrive at Baracoa, the first villa founded in Cuba. Visit icons, such as the Matachín Fort and the Nuestra Señora de Asunción Church, where you will be able to appreciate the Vine Cross, the oldest catholic relic in the new world, brought by Christopher Columbus.

 

Included meals today: breakfast

Included services: -

Total km today: 240 km

Total driving time today: 4 h - 5 h

 

Day 8: Baracoa (60 km)

Suggestion for today's program:

Amidst the lush vegetation of Baracoa, drive to the mouth of the Yumurí River. Rent a boat to sail upstream and take a refreshing dip before returning to the city. Stop at the villages along the road to strike up conversations with locals and purchase delicious tropical fruits from street vendors. Visit Finca Duaba, at the opposite end of the city, to learn everything about the cocoa and the various stages of the crop. Enjoy a traditional lunch at Rancho Toa restaurant.

 

Included meals today: breakfast

Included services: -

Total km today: 60 km

Total driving time today: 1 h

 

Day 9: Baracoa - Cayo Saetía (182 km)

Suggestion for today's program:

Leave early along the seaside road, bordering the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park. The trip will be slow, as there are some stretches in bad shape. All the same, the experience will be unforgettable. Enjoy the delicious cucurruchos, a local delicacy made of coconut with orange, pineapple, guava or papaya, wrapped in palm tree tissue. Admire the bird-sheltering bays and the spectacular view of the Yunque de Baracoa from a different angle. Cruise through Moa, a very important nickel area. Arrive at Cayo Saetía, a heavenly island, where you will be lured to refresh in the beautiful bay and appreciate the exotic animal species brought from Africa.

 

Important: These routes are in bad condition, please note that sometimes the roads must be driven slowly. The route from Marea del Portillo to Santiago is one of the most beautiful routes of the island, off the beaten track. If one wants to get to know this very scenic, interesting and typical part of Cuba, there is no alternative. The route between Baracoa and Cayo Saetía takes aproximately 5 - 6 hours. In case of bad weather conditions, the bridge to cross Río Toa could be blocked and an alternative route over Santiago de Cuba will be taken.

 

Included meals today: breakfast

Included services: -

Total km today: 165 km / 200 km

Total driving time today: 4 h - 5 h

 

Day 10: Cayo Saetía - Holguín/Guardalavaca (155 km)

Suggestion for today's program:

Return to Holguín or Guardalavaca. Drop off your car at the Via car rental agency before 4:00 pm.  

 

Included meals today: breakfast

Included services: -

Total km today: 155 km

Total driving time today: 2 h

 

Services Included:

  • Caribbean Tours Car Rental Assistance (see Caribbean Tours Rental Car manual)
  • 9 overnight stays at the mentioned accommodation (according to availability)
  • 9x breakfast, 1x lunch, 1x All-Inclusive
  • 8 days’ rental car "JEEP Suzuki Jimmy TD", 3-door, manual gear shift, unlimited kilometers, return fee included
  • Excursion with lunch in the Comandancia de la Plata

 

Services not included

  • Meals and drinks (except for the Hotel Club Amigo Marea del Portillo), entrance-fees, sightseeing, guide & driver (the mentioned programs are only a proposal).
  • Insurance (compulsory), fuel, drop off charges (where necessary), deposit, 2nd driver have to paid on the spot.
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Holguin ⇢ Bayamo ⇢ Santo Domingo ⇢ Marea del Portillo ⇢ Santiago de Cuba ⇢ Guantanamo ⇢ Baracoa ⇢ Cayo Saetia ⇢ Holguin/Guardalavaca