The adventure begins in Cuba’s lively capital, Havana, the largest city in the Caribbean. We explore this living museum in vintage American cars, driving in style past Revolution Square and along the coastal boulevard to the famous old town which is bursting with energy, history and culture. Away from the city and into Cuba’s beautiful countryside, we visit Vinales, where a boat will take us through a spectacular system of Jurassic caves, and Las Terrazas, a valley full of migrating birds, waterfalls and natural pools in which to swim. On reaching Trinidad we’ll be able to hear live Cuban music filling the narrow cobbled streets as we search for local handicrafts and souvenirs. Our final few days are spent at the beach, where the warm waters provide the perfect backdrop and some great snorkelling opportunities.
Its beautifully adorned churches and vintage cars to its world-renowned cigars and lush tropical climate, Cuba will transport you to a bygone era. You’ll discover a place filled with friendly people, eager to share their heritage and culture with you… and equally curious to hear about the customs and traditions in the neighboring United States. Globus invites you to join us on these special people-to-people educational exchange programs designed around daily interactions with local residents that deliver insight into past, present, and future. Through open-minded conversations and a respectful exchange of ideas with the Cuban people, you’ll experience the trip of a lifetime during the educational, cultural, and personal encounters that await you.
Santiago de Cuba, Havana is in a class by itself. Nowhere else are the contradictions which have come to characterize Cuba – particularly since the advent of mass tourism and the introduction of a dual currency system – as pronounced as they are in the capital. The emerging middle class, most of whom have made their money through the latest wave of tourism, drift around the brand-new shopping malls, while just down the road long queues of people clutching ration books form outside the local bodega. There is a sense that Havana is on the move, with tourist money pouring in, new nightspots appearing regularly and an increasing variety of products in shops that not long ago either didn't exist or stood empty. Yet on the other hand, time stands still, or even goes backwards, in a city where 1950s Chevrolets, Buicks and Oldsmobiles ply the roads, locals fish from tyres floating near the ageing seawall and many people seem to spend most of the day in the street or on their crumbling nineteenth-century doorsteps.
You will find several sites for scuba diving and snorkelling on Cayo Levisa off the coast of Pinar del Rio in Cuba. Otherwise there really isn't much to do apart from kicking off your shoes, reading a book, sipping mojitos or just swimming and enjoying your Cuban vacation in the Caribbean waters. The tourist island of Cayo Levisa is mostly mangroves but there is a great beach on the north side which is where the scuba diving resort is located. That area is also good for snorkeling.
Arrival & start from Havana.
Vintage cars take us on part of our city tour; afternoon visit chocolate museum
This morning with the first part of our city tour taking place in Vintage American cars! The Cars will take you to Revolution Square where you can get off and take pictures before continuing in style down the famous ‘malecon’ to the centre of the Old Town. We say goodbye to our Vintage cars and continue by foot, taking in the Cathedral and scale model of Havana before carrying on to Plaza de Armas for lunch in La Mina, open air and with peacocks wandering around in the courtyard! There’s live music and a typical Cuban lunch of rice, black beans and either chicken or pork or fish. Vegetarians can try their specialty tamal en cazuela. In the afternoon we carry on to Plaza Vieja with a mandatory stop at the small but very popular Museo del Chocolate! No prizes for guessing what’s good there. Look for the queues and you.ll know you’ve got there. Finish the day in Plaza Vieja, bring your football so you can have an impromptu game with local school kids while Mum and Dad try out the draft beer in Havana’s only microbrewery!
Today we have a bit of a drive but it’s worth it? we head off early towards the centre of Cuba and to crocodile country. The Cocodrilus Rhombifer is now no longer an endangered species thanks to the Cuban Government breeding programme set up in the 60’s. There’s a breeding centre to visit where you can see – literally – thousands of crocs of all different ages and sizes. We then get onto a boat and visit the Taino village in Treasure Lake. The tainos were the local indigenous people who lived in Cuba before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived. The village is a model but gives us an idea of how people used to live. After time for lunch we head to Playa Larga where we’ll spend the night tonight.
Walking in the Zapata Swamp Park; snorkelling at Caleta Buena; to Cienfuegos
This morning we get up early and head into the Zapata Swamp Park for some birdwatching. There are lots of birds to see in this area, including the world’s smallest (Bee Hummingbird), the Cuban National Bird (very colourful Tocororo) and a colony of pink flamingos! We then continue along the Bay of Pigs Coastline and have lunch in Caleta Buena. It’s a beautiful spot, a place where an underground river meets the sea and a great place to have a go at snorkelling. There’s a natural pool to swim in filled with tropical fish. Have lunch, soak up the sun then carry on to Cienfuegos where we stop for a quick visit before continuing to Cienfuegos for overnight.
El Cubano nature walk; city tour in Trinidad
We have an orientation tour of Cienfuegos before setting off for El Cubano, a nature walk to see the birds, flora and fauna particular to this wonderful region. There is also the chance to take a dip in a crystal clear natural pool under a waterfall. We then head for Trinidad where we check into our casas particulares and enjoy a typical Cuban lunch on arrival. After relaxing a bit we enjoy an orientation tour of Trinidad in the afternoon. Visiting this time capsule city. It’s like going back in time, seeing the way people lived in the olden days. Once the capital of Cuba’s sugar production, it’s now a sleepy backwater with cobble stoned streets and pretty pastel coloured colonial buildings. A great place to stock up on souvenirs in the handicrafts markets. We’ll visit Museo Romantico to see the way people lived 200 years ago.
Free day in Trinidad to explore
Today you have a free day to enjoy all that Trinidad has to offer. Wander through the cobbled streets, enjoy live music, explore the handicrafts market or take a Catamaran trip.
Morning nature walk to see frogs, birds and plants; afternoon to Santa Clara
Today we drive into the Escambray Mountains and enjoy another nature trail in Topes de Collante. Part of the fun is the way we reach the start point…on a Russian Truck! We walk along the River Melodioso and reach a beautiful waterfall where we can have a swim. Return to Guanayara and enjoy a Cuban country lunch before getting back on the bus and heading for Santa Clara, the city which was liberated by Che Guevara. We visit his Mausoleum before checking into our hotel for the night.
To Las Terrazas; optional zip-line, swimming and boating
Head for Las Terrazas this morning, 4 hours away by bus. When you arrive, have a look round this amazing community, built after the Revolution to reforest the area which had suffered badly from overforesting. The area is now a haven for migrating birds from the North because the reforestation has been so successful. There’s a lake where you can go boating, there’s a fabulously clean river – complete with waterfalls and natural pools where you can go swimming. It’s a day to get back to nature! One of the real highlights here is an 800m zip wiring course which stretches through the trees, across the community and over the lake.
Explore the rural farmland of Vinales Valley
After a walk to the viewpoint and a visit of the orchid farm, we head back onto the highway and head for Pinar del Rio where we make a stop for lunch and visit the cigar factory. From there we head for Vinales, a World Heritage Site for the spectacular landscapes and careful farming. Vinales is the World capital for growing tobacco and the finest cigars in the world are made from tobacco grown here. We check into our casas particulares on arrival. Dinner will be in a local paladar and will give us the chance to explore a bit of the town.
Boat tour of Cueva del Indio; visit organic farm
Our first stop today is Cueva del Indio, a natural cave which takes us deep into the mountain. There is an underground river and we take a short boat ride to admire the stalagmites and stalactites before emerging back into daylight. Once we’ve visited the cave we take a walk in the Cuban country side, stopping to meet local farmers and discover firsthand how they grown tobacco and other crops in this area. Lunch in Wilfredo’s farm and organic farm with great views over the valley!
Boat to Cayo Levisa; relax on the beach
We check out of our casas this morning and head for Palma Rubia jetty about 1 hour from Vinales. A boat will take us over the water to Cayo Levisa, a tropical island 30 minutes off the coast of Cuba. There are no roads here and no cars, just a simple hotel with huts dotted along the spectacular beach. This is a place to truly relax and unwind. All your meals are included so you’ll only have to buy drinks. Cabins all have en suite bathrooms and air conditioning. But the real appeal of Cayo Levisa is the beach! The Hotel has a dive shop and offers diving/snorkelling excursions every morning. You can arrange fishing excursions too. There are salsa classes, you can hire pedalos, Hobie cats and there is a masseur on site.
Enjoy the beautiful island of Cayo Levisa at your own leisure.
Return to Havana; Morning departure for Havana & free afternoon.
Fly to your preferred destination.