Cuba: Music & Culture

Cuba is like no other place. 

Despite it’s relative isolation from the rest of the world,  or perhaps because of it, Cuba retains its old fashioned charm.  In Cuba you will experience a time before globalisation and mass consumption.  When music and dancing was the social glue.

Peeling paint; gleaming 60 year old cars that look like they just drove out of the showroom; music eminating from every laneway. Cuba is like no other place.

SOME HISTORY:

In 1514, San Cristóbal de la Habana was founded by the conquistador and Cuba’s first governor, Diego Velázquez.

Originally one of the seven settlements built by the Spanish, no one envisioned Havana would be the country’s capital. But after the Spanish conquests in Peru and Mexico, La Habana Vieja provided the perfect site for the Spanish fleets, especially with the harbour and accessibility to the Gulf of Mexico.

By 1556, Havana replaced Santiago de Cuba as an important site for the Spanish conquistadors and by 1607, Havana was declared the capital of the colony.

Havana is the most densely inhabited region in the country, even though it’s the smallest of the Cuban provinces and is the country’s administrative, political, cultural and scientific core.

Havana city is popular amongst tourists and has a distinct cosmopolitan flavour. It’s love affair with tourists dates back to the 19th century when regular sailings between the United States and Havana occurred. Tourists stayed at opulent hotels scattered around the harbour and revealed in the charm of the wide avenues, famous promenades and diverse architecture.

A typical night out in Havana >>

You will be met on arrival in Havana at Jose Martí International Airport and transferred to your hotel.

Your guide will meet you at your hotel this morning for a guided walking tour through the historic centre of La Habana Vieja.

Havana is one of the world’s most beautiful and charming cities; from its eclectic architecture to the colourful vintage cars it is a photographers dream.

Your tour will take you to Havana Vieja’s four central plazas and through the charming streets that link them. We’ll visit the stunning Plaza de Armas, where you can browse the second hand books and revolutionary memorabilia and enjoy the shady central park. The sprawling Plaza San Francisco de Asis is dominated by the baroque basilica of the same name. A short distance away is the Plaza Vieja, surrounded by lovingly restored buildings; black and white photos on the exterior of these buildings display ‘before-and-after’ shots which show just how much work has gone into the restoration of Old Havana.

In the Plaza de la Catedral you’ll see the city’s baroque cathedral constructed in 1748 and hear local musicians serenading diners on the plazas café terraces. Your tour will finish in time for you to enjoy a lunch in an Old Havana Restaurant.

You have the rest of the afternoon free to explore this wonderful city. This evening, you will be collected from your hotel and taken to Café Taberna Beny Moré in the heart of the old town to enjoy a night out listening to the music of a great band reminiscent of the 1950’s music. Excellent dancers accompany the band to give you a glimpse into Cubans’ great dancing skills.

Todays’ panoramic city tour in a vintage style car will take you to the modern districts of Havana, giving you the chance to appreciate the city’s eclectic architecture and visit some of the less touristy areas.

You’ll travel through the neighbourhoods of Vedado and Miramar, and visit the Capitol Building, Revolution Plaza and the famous Hotel Nacional.

Your tour will include a visit to the Museum de Revolucion. Formally a Presidential Palace and site of an unsuccessful assassination attempt against Fulgencio Batista in 1957. Today it houses a permanent exhibition which provides a complete documentary and photographic account of the Cuban Revolution.

Located next door to the Museum is Pavillion Granma, which houses the 18 metre motor vessel Granma that carried Fidel Castro and 82 others from Tuxpan in Mexico to Cuba in 1956. Today this glass encased memorial is one of the holiest shrines of Cuban Communism.

You have the rest of the afternoon at your leisure to explore The Cuban Capital.

Today, you will depart Havana on a full day tour visiting to Las Terrazas before being transferred to your home stay accommodation in Viñales.

Upon arrival in Las Terrazas, enjoy a welcome cocktail at Rancho Curujey and a short explanation of the Community Project before visiting Las Terrazas Community.

Stroll along the Callejon La Moka and taste a Cuban cup of coffee. Visit the 19th Century Buenavista Coffee Plantation. Continue on to La Moka Hotel. Have lunch in one of the restaurants of the complex with the exception of La Casa del Campesino and El Romero which are not included.

Enjoy some time swimming in the refreshing waters of Rio San Juan.

2 Nights in homestay accommodation in a Twin/Double room with dinner (1st Night Only) & Breakfast

Early morning transfer to the Plaza where your Conectando Cuba bus Service departs at 07:00am. The bus will take you to Cienfuegos arriving at 14:00pm. You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel, with afternoon free to explore.

The kiosk at the very end of Punta Gorda serves a mean mojito and is a lovely place to enjoy the sunset and relax at the end of a day’s exploration. Later this evening you may like to visit the Teatro Thomas Terry and enjoy some live music.

You will be collected from your hotel after breakfast for a half day city tour of Cienfuegos with lunch.

Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Listed city of Cienfuegos, known as the Pearl of the South, on today’s city tour. Enjoy a panoramic tour of the historic centre, packed with colonial architectural gems such as the Cathedral and Teatro Thomas Terry. You’ll visit the Punta Gorda area and see the impossibly ornate Palacio del Valle. Stroll along the Paseo del Prado which connects the historic centre to Punta Gorda and visit the monument to Cuba’s treasures musician Benny More.

Following the tour of Cienfuegos, you will be transported by private transfer to the UNESCO World Heritage Listed city of Trinidad where you will spend 2 nights in a Local Cuban Homestay.

This evening after dinner at your homestay accommodation, your local guide will show you the vibrant nightlife of Trinidad.
The city is home to some of the country’s best musicians, artists and dancers. Please note that entrance fees and drinks are not included; depending on local schedules you may visit the Casa de la Musica, Casa de la Trova or the Palenque de los Congos Reales.

Live music is also often presented in the Plaza Mayor. Ask your guide to show you a few basic salsa steps and dance the night away!

2 Night in homestay in a Double/Twin room with 1 x dinner (1st Night) & 2 x Breakfast

Trinidad is perhaps Cuba’s loveliest city.

You’ll explore the UNESCO Heritage Listed historic centre on today’s walking tour.

Visit the Plaza Mayor and the Museo Romantico and stroll the cobbled city streets, admiring beautiful colonial architecture. Your guide will take you to La Canchanchara bar where you’ll taste a Cuban cocktail.

Continue to the ceramic workshop La Casa de Alfarero to admire the locally produced pottery and enjoy some time to wander the local crafts market.

Beat the heat this afternoon with a visit to the stunning Playa Ancon, a beautiful white-sand Caribbean beach located about 10km from the city centre.

A coco taxi will take you there and wait for you to return for around USD$4-6 each way.

Depart Trinidad this morning in your private car with driver, travelling north to the city of Santa Clara.

Situated in Central Cuba, Santa Clara is the ideal place to learn about the legacy of the Cuban Revolution and the legend of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. Your tour will take you to the memorial to Che Guevara and the Tren Blindado Museum & Monument, created in memory of the events of 29 December 1958, during the Battle of Santa Clara.

You will also see the Plaza Leoncio Vidal and the Boulevard de la Ciudad.

After lunch in a local restaurant you’ll continue by private car with driver to the Cuban Capital

Free day to explore Havana.

As it is your last night in Cuba, you may wish to hit the town and explore some of the live music venues.

After breakfast you will be transferred from your hotel to the airport for your onward flight

Price

AU$2934 p/p twin share
Single supplement – AU$910 p/p

We can assist with Cuban Visas  and can issue these directly when we book the land arrangements. No application forms required, just a copy of your passport. The visa will be with your travel documents.

Inclusions

  • 6 Nights – Hotel accommodation in double/twin rooms with breakfast, private facilities including all hotel Taxes, fees and charges
  • 4 Nights – Homestay accommodation – Double rooms with Breakfast daily and dinner on the first night in Trinidad
  • Private transfers in Havana to/from hotels & Airport provided by local English-speaking guide
  •  Private transfers between all cities/destinations
  •  Tourist bus service – Viñales to Cienfuegos
  •  All touring with English speaking guides in private service (as per itinerary)
  • Entrance fees to sites visited
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • 24 hours emergency assistance provided by our local representative offices
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information.

NOT INCLUDED:

  • costs of entertainment and drinks