25 October 2016
Walking through the pincushion hills, wandering among orchids and lush mountain coffee plantations . . . you see another side of the island of Cuba on this week long tour through its 'Garden Province'. Visit a tobacco plantation, snorkel in crystal clear waters full of colourful coral, hear stories of pirates along the Guanahacabibes Peninsula and soak up the culture while staying overnight in a country home - an experience that travellers rarely get to know. Let our experienced guide lead you off the beaten track and discover the cultural treasures of Cuba. Blissing out on beautiful beaches, true Cuban hospitality, a visit to a factory that produces world-famous cigars - you'll experience all this and more over the next eight days.
After arriving in the capital of Cuba check into your hotel and enjoy this wonderful city. As your fellow travellers are arriving at various times, there are no planned activities other than a group dinner and info session. Havana is one of the oldest cities in the western hemisphere and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. It contains a wealth of colonial architecture, and the old city and streets around the malecon (ocean-side walkway) are best discovered on foot. The city is home to various museums but perhaps its biggest attractions are its music and clubs. Everywhere you go you'll hear and feel the music and see people dancing in the streets.
Today you travel into Pinar del Rio province to the small town of Viñales, beautifully located in a fertile valley surrounded by the unusual mogotes, or limestone pincushion hills. Arguably one of the prettiest natural areas in Cuba, you have many opportunities here to enjoy the area, whether it be horseback riding, hiking, or simply sitting back and enjoying the view. While you're here, visit a "vega" or cigar factory, to see how the famous Cuban cigars are made.
On Viñales’ main plaza there’s a cultural centre as well as a municipal museum, however most visitors to the area come for the views and the nearby outdoor activities. The region has many extensive cave systems, as a result of the slow deterioration of the limestone bedrock by underground rivers, also creating the striking mogotes, reminiscent of the hills of Quilin in southern China. A full day to explore.
Isolated and serene, María La Gorda is located in western Cuba, on the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, which Unesco declared an International Biosphere Reserve in 1999. The area is filled with legends of pirates, and old cannons and other treasures lie on the bottom of the sea around peaceful Corrientes Cove. En route to Maria La Gorda, your group can opt to stop and tour the world-famous Robaina Tobacco Plantation.
Maria La Gorda's location on the Northwestern tip of Cuba offers some of the best sunsets, beaches and marine life you will find on the island. It is an ideal place for water sports. Considered to be one of the richest in Cuba in biological terms, Maria La Gorda is famed for its clear seabed where you see many species of coral, gardens of gorgonians, sponges and tropical fish. From Maria La Gorda, you have an included excursion to Cabo San Antonio, a protected area famous for the sea turtles that lay their eggs on the beach there.
On your way back to Havana, just off the Carretera Central, you stop at the lush mountain resort of Soroa. Known as the “rainbow of Cuba,” the area receives a lot of rainfall resulting in the growth of tall trees and orchids. Enjoy a relaxing day here or go exploring in the surrounding countryside. Overnight Soroa.
More time today to enjoy all that beautiful Soroa has to offer. There are nearby coffee plantations, tobacco plantations waterfalls and hot springs for the passing visitors to enjoy. After having a great day in Soroa, you are driven back to Havana to have one last night and maybe one last dance with the group in this unique city.
Today your wonderful tour of Cuba comes to an end where it began in Havana. You may wish to spend more time exploring this unique city seeing the colourful old American cars parked in every street and listing to more music before extending your trip by staying at a luxury beach side hotel in nearby Varadero or making plans for your journey home.
Standard Rate fr £541pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated