Cuba is a very special country and any visit will leave you with so many wonderful memories. And on this amazing 15 day tour you will see so many of the highlights. Beginining and ending in the pulsating capital Havana you will visit Santiago de Cuba, stay at a beach resort at lovely Baracoa, spend time in Camaguey and colourful colonial Trinidad as well as historic Santa Clara. Now is a great time to visit Cuba and this journey around the country will leave you with lots of great memories.
After arriving in Havana check into your hotel and prepare for a day's exploration. Possibly begin with a visit to old Colonial Havana in the morning, which includes a stop at the City’s Palace Museum - the former house of the Spanish Colonial ruler. Enjoy a meal at a typical Old Havana restaurant at lunchtime before touring modern Havana in the afternoon. And in the evening stroll along the Malecon, the five mile long sea boulevard, which shows so much of the city's soul.
Havana to Santiago de Cuba
This morning after breakfast see more of the sights before taking the short flight to Santiago de Cuba for an orientation walk which includes a visit to Castillo del Morro. Cuba's cultural capital, Santiago is a frenetic, passionate and noisy city and a fun place any time of the day or night. Situated closer to Haiti and the Dominican Republic than Havana, it leans to the east rather than the west, which has been a crucial factor in shaping its unique identity which is steeped in Afro-Caribbean, entrepreneurial and rebel influences.
Santiago de Cuba
Enjoy a free day in the city where you can listen to live music at the Casa de la Trova and visit revolutionary sites like the Moncada Barracks. Trail blazing characters and a resounding sense of historical destiny define the city. Diego Valazquez de Cuellar made Santiago his second capital, Fidel Castro used it to launch his revolution and Don Facundo Bacardi based his first-ever rum factory here. And most of the Cuban music genre emanated from its dusty, rhythmic and sensuous streets.
Santiago to Baracoa
After some more sightseeing this morning say farewell to Santiago de Cuba and head north to Baracoa for three days of relaxing on beautiful beaches. Beguiling, outlandish and surreal, the essence of Baracoa is addictive and it is one of the island's best kept secrets. Lying on the wet and windy side of the Cuchillos del Toa mountains, this is Cuba's most isolated town and it exudes lots of original atmosphere making it a great base for a longer stay.
A full day to enjoy the delights of Baracoa which is home to great museums and a good spot to go hiking from. Here you can feast your eyes on deep green foliage that is wonderfully abundant after the stark arid area's of Guantanamo's south coast. Here you can delve into fantastical legends and take a hike to El Yunque but the breathtaking beaches are never far away and this is a great place to chill out during your tour around the island.
Your last day at this paradise location so make the most of it. Now may be a good time to acquaint yourself with the unorthodox cast of local characters and hear about their stories. There's Cayamba, the self-styled 'Guerrilla troubadour' who once claimed he was the man with the ugliest voice in the world, La Rusa, an aristocratic Russian emigre who inspired a novel and Enriqueta Faber, a French woman who passed herself off as a man to practice as a doctor and marry a local heiress in Baracoa's cathedral in 1891.
Baracoa to Santiago de Cuba
Spend your final morning on the beach here or possibly shopping for souvenirs of seeing more of the sights before heading back to Santiago de Cuba for one more night. This city is often regarded as the root of the Cuban revoloution and the many museums retrace key events. Santiago mixes modern architecture and industrial developments with its colourful colonial gems and historic fort and being home to the country's most prominent universities it has a young and vibrant edge.
Santiago to Camaguey
Spend some more time seeing the sights in Santiago before leaving and heading west arriving in the town of Camagüey in the afternoon. Here you can opt for a guided tour to get to know the place. Cuba's third largest city is easily the suavest and most sophisticated after Havana. The arts shine bright here and it is also the bastion of the Catholic church on the island. Camaguey's pastel colonial buildings and warren-like streets are inspiring and it is great to explore the hidden plazas.
Camaguey to Trinidad
Make time this morning to explore Camaguey's well preserved historical centre which was made Cuba's ninth Unesco World Heritage Site in 2014. Then it's time to leave and head for colourful Trinidad where you can take part in a walking orientation tour and enjoy an exclusive hands-on salsa lesson. Trinidad is one of a kind - a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement where the clocks seemed to have stopped in 1850 and have yet to restart.
A full day to relish the delights of Trinidad. Huge sugar fortunes were amassed in the nearby Valle de los Ingenios during the early 19th century which created the illustrious colonial-style mansions bedecked with Italian frescoes, Wedgwood china and French chandeliers. Declared a world heritage site by Unesco in 1988, Cuba's oldest and most enchanting 'outdoor museum' attracts busloads of tourists daily to walk its cobblestone streets. Tonight you have dinner as a group hosted by one of the homestay families.
Another day to enjoy free time exploring Trinidad and its surrounds. Opt to hike in nearby Topes de Collantes National Park to see the Salto del Caburni waterfall, or visit Ancón Beach for diving, snorkelling and swimming. This is undoubtedly the finest beach on the south coast of Cuba and a great place to relax. It is also worth taking a short trip out of town to the surrounding misty mountains where the views over the countryside and sea are spectacular.
Trinidad to Santa Clara
Today you leave Trinidad but make time for some more sightseeing or shopping for souvenirs before heading to your next destination of the tour, Santa Clara. Here you can visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and museum and find out everything there is to know about the incredible life and death of one of the world's most famous guerrilla fighters who became a legend after helping Castro's revolution. Tonight dine out in one of Santa Clara's fine restaurants.
Santa Clara to Havana
After breakfast spend some more time this morning seeing the sights in Santa Clara before beginning the journey back to the capital to enjoy a walking tour of Old Havana seeing lots of the famous sights and all those marvellous faded colonial buildings. Tonight it's well worth taking another stroll along the Malecon to see the fantastic 'parade' of colourful old American cars and have a cocktail or two in one of Ernest Hemmingway's favourite watering holes.
You final full day of the tour is spent in Havana so make the most of this wonderful city and see more of the sights. Today you can hire one of those vintage cars and go for a spin or sit at one of the street-side cafes, listen to local bands playing and watch the world go by and visit more of those haunts made famous by Hemmingway. And tonight why not finish in style by attending a cabaret performance at the famous Tropicana nightclub.
End of tour
Today your wonderful tour around Colonial Cuba comes to an end. Possibly time for some last minute sightseeing or souvenir shopping before you head to the airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey back home. But if, after all this touring, you fancy a truly relaxing break you could always stay on for a few days more at one of the luxury hotels at Varadero, a short drive from Havana, where you can soak up the tropical sun.