Overview

Havana - 3 nights
Viñales Valley - 2 nights
Havana - 2 nights
Trinidad - 2 nights
Santa Clara - 2 nights
Varadero - 3 nights
Flight - 1 night

HEMINGWAY'S CUBA

A comprehensive tour of Western Cuba with improved value, discovering Cuba’s rich colonial history and natural beauty

The expected influx of US tourists to Cuba has not materialised and given recent US policy alterations, tourism is unlikely to change in the near future as predicted. Much of Cuba's infrastructure was built to cater for the American elite in the heady pre-revolutionary days before Castro, and the island is still redolent with imagery of the 1940s and 50s, whether it be Hemingway's old haunts, museums to the exploits of the revolutionaries, the Tropicana Night Club, which still somehow echoes to the sound of Nat King Cole, the hotels run by 'Long Legs Diamond' and the events of the Bay of Pigs.

However, Cuba is not just about tourist clichés since there is much to see not only in UNESCO World Heritage site Havana, with its baroque cathedral, many forts and Old Town, but also the provincial cities and towns. Port city Cienfuegos, known as the 'Pearl of the South' was built around a stunning bay and its pastel-coloured buildings are a striking example of Spanish colonial architecture; UNESCO World Heritage site Trinidad is sometimes referred to as a living museum, with its preserved squares, and San Juan de los Remedios, officially recognised as the oldest city in Cuba, is home to beautifully restored colonial mansions surrounding the main square.

An island of contrasts, outside of the main cities, Cuba's countryside is surprisingly varied. Pinar del Rio province's Viñales Valley, home to a unique flora and fauna and over 17 endemic species, has been declared a National Natural Monument for its remarkable landscapes. Large limestone formations dating from the Jurassic period contrast with the lush greenery of the valley where the world's finest tobacco is grown.

Key Features

Cultural & Countryside Tour

Jules Verne Sightseeing 

5 UNESCO Heritage Sites

No Single Supplement

Group Size: 5 - 25

Special Event

Hemingway's Haunt

Visit the bar frequented by Ernest Hemingway in Havana, El Floridita, and enjoy a cocktail.

Day 1 Fly from London Gatwick to Havana. Transfer to the 4-star Riviera Hotel. (D)

Day 2 A city tour exploring both old and modern Havana. (B, D)

Day 3 Visit the local botanical gardens, then enjoy a Cuban cocktail and dance lesson. Visit Hemingway's House at San Francisco de Paula where Hemingway wrote 'The Old Man and the Sea'. (B, D)

Day 4 Travel to Viñales in Pinar del Rio, Cuba's most westerly province, 178kms from Havana and crossed by two spectacular mountain ranges. En route, visit the rural community of Las Terrazas. Spend two nights at the 3-star La Ermita or Los Jazmines. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Visit the unique area of Viñales Valley, with its pincushion shaped hills and Indian's Cave. Also visit Veguero House, a drying house for tobacco leaves. (B, D)

Day 6 Pinar del Rio city tour, then visit a cigar and rum factory. Continue to Soroa to view the botanical gardens, home to over 700 different types of orchids, and the waterfall. Return to Havana for two nights at the 5-star Hotel Parque Central, located in old Havana. (B, D)

Day 7 Day at leisure. Evening Hemingway’s Haunt Special Event at El Floridita. (B, D)

Day 8 Travel to Cienfuegos (4 hrs) for a city tour including the old town, Palacio de Valle and a boat trip around the bay (weather permitting). Continue to Trinidad for two nights at the 5-star Iberostar Grand Hotel. (B, D)

Day 9 An orientation tour of Trinidad. Admire its beautiful colonial architecture, many squares and cobbled streets. Visit the city's museum and La Canchanchara Bar, named after a local rum drink made with water and honey. Later, visit the local sugar plantation at Manaca Iznaga. (B, D)

Day 10 Morning at leisure. Travel to Sancti Spiritus for a panoramic tour. Continue to Santa Clara for two nights at the 3-star El Central Hotel. (B, D)

Day 11 Santa Clara city tour includes Ernesto Guevara Square, museum and mausoleum. Continue to colonial San Juan de los Remedios. Sightseeing includes Plaza Marti, a beautiful square surrounded by colonial mansions, and the town's main church, Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, built in 1570 and one of Cuba's oldest churches. Optional visit to the Sugar Factory Museum including a steam train ride. (B, D)

Day 12 Visit the Armoured Train. Travel to Varadero visiting Matanzas en route. Three nights at the 4-star all-inclusive Iberostar Tainos Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 13 At leisure. (B, L, D)

Day 14 At leisure. (B, L, D)

Day 15 Transfer to the airport for the overnight flight to London. (B)

Day 16 Arrive Gatwick in the early morning.

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner
 

Notes

On occasion, the cigar and rum factory (Day 6) and steam train ride (Day 11) may be replaced with an alternative visit due to closure at short notice.

Travelling in Cuba is a unique experience, however, tourism is still under state control and on occasion hotels of a similar standard to those listed in the itinerary may be used. Advance notification of this is not always possible.

Half board is included in most hotels on the tour and food can be quite basic, consisting of rice, beans, pork, chicken and fish, although international cuisine is available in Varadero (all inclusive basis) and Havana. All vehicles are air-conditioned and the highways are reasonable, whereas minor roads can be in poor repair.

Notes

Tourism is still under state control and on occasion hotels of a similar standard to those listed in the itinerary may be used. Advance notification of this is not always possible. Half board is included in some hotels on the tour and local restaurants where food can be quite basic, consisting of rice, beans, pork, chicken and fish, although international cuisine is available in Varadero, (all-inclusive basis) and Havana. In the rest of Cuba, especially in the west and centre of the island (excluding Trinidad), accommodation options are more limited and often simple so we have selected the most suitable hotels, a basic 2 and 3-star standard.

2019

Thursdays
per person in a twin/double room

Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick
(Sep & Oct 10 operate on Air Europa airlines)

Date Price
March 28 £2845
April 4 £3195
April 25 £2695
May 9 £2345
September 19 £2345
October 10 £2345
October 24 £2345
November 7 £2595
November 14 £2595
November 28 £2545

2020

Thursdays
per person in a twin/double room

Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick

Date Price
January 23 £2695
February 6 £2745
February 20 £2745
February 27 £2745
March 5 £2645
March 12 £2645
March 26 £2845
No Single Supplement

(limited dates/availability)

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
Limited availability, on these dates:

2019: May 9, Sep 19, Oct 10 & 24

Single supplement £445

Flight Options

Virgin Premium Economy from £545
Virgin Upper Class from £1845

Extension Options

Extension - Varadero
Iberostar Bella Vista 
(4 nights Jan-14 Mar)
£445
Single supplement £145
Iberostar Bella Vista 
(3 nights Mar 28 onwards)
£265 
(Jan-Mar 2020 £345)
Single supplement £110

Independent Arrival

Save £700 
Arrival transfer add £15
Departure transfer add £75

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 14 nights' accommodation, breakfast daily, 4 lunches & 14 dinners, itinerary as described, services of guides and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.

Not Included
Travel insurance, visa procurement, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.

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Hemingway's Cuba

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