Central & South America
Central & South America
Experience the dilapidated colonial grandeur of Old Havana, the lively nightlife of Santiago and the restored splendour of Trinidad, whilst taking time out to relax in Baracoa, a lively coastal town surrounded by rainforest and lush cocoa plantations.
This morning we have a panoramic tour of Old Havana including the Capitolio building and Revolution Square. We then drive to Santa Clara, the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution. We visit the train museum and the Mausoleum of Che Guevara and his comrades who died in Bolivia.
Today is a long driving day as we head to Bayamo in the south of the island. We pass through agricultural towns and sugar cane plantations, learning about the importance of sugar in Cuba’s history. We stop for lunch in Camaguey, Cuba’s fourth largest city, to break up the journey.
After breakfast we leave Bayamo and drive east, passing Guantanamo and stopping for a swim on the south coast before continuing to our destination – Baracoa. Surrounding the quaint town are lush, tropical mountains and golden sand beaches. This area is renowned for cocoa growing and chocolate production. The Malecon on the northeast side of the town is known as the Caribbean’s first ocean drive. There is still a strong Indian influence here and the El Yunque Mountain, (the anvil shaped mountain described by Christopher Columbus in his diaries) used to be the site of various aboriginal communities.
Explore Santiago de Cuba, visiting the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, where Fidel Castro is buried, Revolution Square, El Morro Castle and Moncada Barracks – where the opening shots of the Revolution were fired on 26 July 1953, when Castro and his men attacked the barracks.
Leaving the city behind we drive towards the green mountains of the Sierra Maestra, stopping to visit El Cobre, the most sacred pilgrimage site in Cuba.
Explore this historic city, characterised more recently by ‘tinajones’ – large, earthen jugs found in the squares, churches and gardens that were originally used to store water during drought periods. We then continue to Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988 and perhaps the best-preserved colonial town on the island. Exploring Trinidad is like stepping back in time, the cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisks you back to colonial times.
After breakfast we set off for ‘El Cubano’ Nature Park, a reserve nestled in countryside on the outskirts of Trinidad. We’ll walk through tropical forest to reach a waterfall where we can stop to take a refreshing dip. We then carry on to colonial Cienfuegos where we have a city tour of the main plazas and spend the night. Casas may be located in the town centre or close to the coastal road
Today we visit the Bay of Pigs, site of the attempted US invasion in 1961 and drive through the Zapata Peninsula back to Havana. We visit the museum at Playa Giron and stop for lunch and to swim at Caleta Buena, a protected cove that is great for snorkelling. On arrival in Havana we have a short walking tour of Old Havana’s plazas before checking into your hotel/casa.
Free time to enjoy Havana, Cuba’s capital and the largest city in the Caribbean. This is a busy and bustling, energetic capital. Old Havana is often described as a living museum with its marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces. It is the finest surviving Spanish colonial complex in the Americas, preserved by a combination of minimal war damage, post Revolution restoration work and the millions of dollars invested since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982.