Tour introduction and overview of activities

A Cuba expedition focused on people-to-people education, nature and cultural exchanges. The program is geared to naturalists, and lovers of the arts, history and architecture. The tour has a very diverse itinerary and features comfortable accommodations and tasty Cuban cuisine.

Cuba’s big! Its land mass is 42,426 square miles – about 80 percent the size of Alabama. Cuba is nearly as large as Louisiana, and larger than Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ohio or Indiana. Altogether it’s bigger than Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont combined.

Day 1 – Saturday :: Arrival and Hello Cuba

  • Arrive at Havana’s José Martí International Airport. Collect your bags and go through customs. You’re welcomed into the airport lobby by your Cuba Explorer Tour guide.
  • Transfer to your hotel located in the heart of Havana’s entertainment district.
  • Check-in privately with assistance from your guide.
  • Time to settle in and rest up at your hotel.
  • Enjoy a welcome dinner at private restaurant Los Naranjos. Located in the heart of Vedado in an expansive 1930s mansion, its Chef Ernesto specializes in fusion style dishes combining Cuban, Italian and Spanish influences. It’s a favorite among TripAdvisor

Day 2 – Sunday :: Exploring Havana, our common heritage

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • Get ready for an American vintage cars tour of Havana. You will tour of the most important sites of Modern Havana such as the Capitol building, the Grand Theatre, Central Park and Prado promenade. Also, you will discover the Revolution Square, Coppelia Ice Cream Park, Plaza José Martí (in front of US Embassy), Malecón seawall, Monument to the Battleship Maine, and Hotel Nacional.  You will come to know University of Havana, Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón, and the Miramar, Central Havana and Vedado neighborhoods.
  • Enjoy a walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll visit four of the five historic plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere. It contains the most extensive collection of remaining colonial-era architecture. This is a private tour led by your Cuba Education Tours guide.
  • Cathedral Square, the most beautiful and private 18th-century colonial plaza on the island. Named after the masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture: the Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana built by the Jesuit order.
  • Square of Arms, an ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers, surrounded by impressive buildings such as:
  • We continue onto San Francisco Square, one of the oldest plazas in the historical quarter. The square was named after magnificent Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco de Asís dating from the 16th century. The basilica is a striking example of Cuba baroque architecture.
  • And then on to Plaza Vieja, the only civic square of colonial times. Absent are churches and government buildings and is in contrast surrounded by opulent aristocratic 17th-century residences. We’ll visit a vital center for the visual arts.
  • Lunch at the private restaurant Mojito-Mojito. Ideally situated in Plaza Vieja, its friendly atmosphere, and delicious food makes it rank high on TripAdvisor. The restaurant's slogan: "A single mojito is not enough."
  • Return to hotel
  • Rest of the afternoon is free to meet with new Cuban friends.
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. An occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island's distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers.

Day 3 – Monday :: Viñales Valley, land of the gods

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • Early departure to Viñales Valley, an idyllic mountaintop hamlet in the heart of Cuba's premier tobacco growing region. The town sits in the center of an expansive valley surrounded by stunning karst hills formations known locally as mogotes. Mogotes are irregularly shaped steep-sided hills that can rise as a thousand feet, and have bases ranging from just a few hundred yards in diameter to as much as a couple of kilometers in width.
  • Lunch at an organic farm known as Finca Paraiso. All of its menu item ingredients are organic and farm fresh.
  • We’ll hike the fields of this organic farm and learn how the family reclaimed a rocky mountainside to grow vegetables, herbs, and exotic fruit trees.
  • Tour a privately owned small tobacco farm that produces rarified leaves for Cuban’s world-renowned cigars. Meet the owners, a third generation women who operate the farm using horses and oxen. They’ll give a personal demonstration of how hand rolled Habano cigars are created.
  • Return to Havana
  • Dinner not included

Day 4 – Tuesday :: Havana and Hemingway haunts

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • We’re off to visit Finca la Vigía [Lookout Farm] where North America’s literary titan Ernest Hemingway spent twenty-one of his most important and productive years adding to the building blocks of English literature. Claimed by both the United States and Cuba as a native son, it was Hemingway himself who declared Cuba to be his true home. His house has been preserved just as it was when he lived in it. You’ll see his eclectic personal objects, thousands of books, manuscripts and photographs, as well as some animal trophies he bagged on his safaris to deepest Africa
  • Tour highlight: We have a special lunch arranged for you by our friends at Ajiaco paladar [private restaurant]. It’s considered the best in Cuba. It’s a mandatory dining stop located off the beaten path in the romantic coastal fishing village of Cojímar. Ajiaco is noted for fantastic service, atmosphere and scrumptilicious country Cuban cuisine. All their ingredients are fresh and organic, supplied by nearby private gardens to give every dish a delightfully aromatic flavor you’ll never forget
  • We’ll visit the village of Cojímar, the setting for Ernest Hemingway’s "The Old Man and the Sea.” Here adoring local fishers cast a bronze bust from old anchors, props and tools. They had no money for new materials. Its inscription reads, "In loving memory of the people of Cojímar to the immortal author of Old Man and the Sea." A plaque below the bust reads: Sculpted with the contributions of the Fishermen Cooperative of Cojímar
  • Rest of the afternoon is free to meet new Cuban friends.
  • Dinner at El Atelier private restaurant. It is ranked tops by TripAdvisor and the London Guardian. Reviewers describe it as a “best meal in Cuba,” with “excellent service and atmosphere.” Its entrées are so fresh the menu is handwritten daily. Set in an elegant mansion in Vedado, its chef’s specialize in Cuban dishes with a modern flair.

Day 5 – Wednesday :: Varadero

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • Now we depart to Varadero located ninety minutes east of Havana on the Hicacos peninsula. It’s renowned for the unparalleled beauty of its beach, pristine warm sea, and its outgoing kind people. Varadero began as an 18th century village of fishers and farmers. They lived in "bohíos" (dirt floor huts made of royal palm planks and fronds). In 1926 American millionaire Irénée du Pont came to Varadero and purchased most of the area. He constructed his residential architectural masterpiece called Xanadu in 1930, then rigorously promoted Varadero’s paradisiacal attributes as a global tourist destination. Varadero wins the hearts of all who visit. It’s stunning blue waters inspired Christian Dior’s "Azul Varadero," his defining color line in the 1950s. For more than 100 years, it’s been visited by kings, princesses, presidents, celebrities, poets, artists and writers. Today Varadero, with 51 luxury resort hotels, hosts more than a million foreign visitors annually
  • Check-in to your all-inclusive resort with assistance from your guide
  • Dinner at your all-inclusive resort. It offers an expensive buffet open to and many specialty restaurants requiring a reservation.

Day 6 – Thursday :: Varadero and organic farm

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • This morning we’ll visit Finca la Coincidencia, a model organic farm in a hamlet called Guasimal del Toro. Initiated in the 1990s by the Correa family of artisans and agriculturalists, Coincidencia has become an important social and cultural project for members of the community. In addition to cultivating many species of tropical fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants, it is home to a ceramic school and gallery, and small cheese workshop. Since 2002 Finca la Coincidencia hosts a global Arte del Fuego ceramics event
  • We’ll feast on a delicious lunch prepared entirely from produce raised on Finca la Coincidencia and neighboring. This idyllic plantation’s meals beautifully blurs the lines between art and agriculture. Their service exudes joy and compassion. Many describe this meal as their favorite meal in Cuba
  • Return to hotel, kick back and smell the fresh sea
  • Dinner at your resort.
  • Fabulous fun evening entertainment at your all-inclusive resort, or perhaps explore happenings in the city of Varadero.

Day 7 – Friday :: Varadero and Havana

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • Examine coastal marine life with your tourmates and new Cuban friends.
  • Check-out of your resort.
  • Buffet lunch at your resort.
  • Departure to Havana.
  • We’ll stop at the Bacunayagua bridge lookout spanning the deep canyon over the beautiful Yumurí Valley. It’s the highest bridge in Cuba and divides the provinces of Mayabeque and Matanzas. This popular stopover hosts a bar that serves delicious Piña Coladas in fresh coconut shells
  • Return to Havana.
  • Hotel check-in and time to freshen up
  • Farewell dinner at Havana’s most famous private restaurant La Guarida, where the 1997 Cuban blockbuster “Strawberry and Chocolate” was filmed
  • Time to explore Havana's vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 8 – Saturday :: Havana and home

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • Check-out of hotel.
  • Transfer to José Martí International Airport for flight home.
  • Memories of a wonderful visit to the Pearl of the Antilles: Cuba, included!
While in Cuba, our attentive island team ensures your trip is magical and memorable.
Tour date Cost Comments Availability
Oct 10 to Oct 17, 2020 $ 2055
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Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
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Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
  • All taxes. Prices listed are the total amounts you pay. All amounts are quoted in US dollars.
  • Airport transfers: We meet you at José Martí Int’l Airport in Havana and take you to your hotel upon arrival. We return you to José Martí Airport for departure.
  • Hotels as listed in tour itinerary or similar.
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners as per itinerary.
  • All activities, services, speakers, meetings and meals as described in tour itinerary except those noted as “optional” or “not included in cost.”
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach transportation and a full-time professional driver.
  • An expert Cuban English-speaking guide and translator whose background matches tour content throughout the program.
  • Ongoing support from Cuba Explorer Tours staff in North America and Cuba before, during and after your stay.
  • Emergency collect call access to our North American staff while in Cuba.
  • Emergency cash advances for our tour participants who face complications accessing funds from aboard while in Cuba.
  • Airfare. See Air Flights to Cuba for U.S. commercial flights.
  • Cuban Tourist Visa. See Buy Cuban Visas for best prices.
  • Mandatory Cuban Medical Insurance. Provided by and included in ticket price by U.S. airlines.
  • Gratuities. Tips for Cuban tour guide, bus driver, chambermaids, restaurant staff, porters, etc.
  • Trip interruption and cancellation protection insurance. We suggest TravelInsurance.com for most options and best costs.