Voyages Jules Verne

Hemingway's Cuba

A comprehensive tour of Western Cuba's most important cities and landscapes

There is a great deal to recommend a visit to the beautiful island of Cuba at present, political changes inciting the dawn of a new era in a country where the crumbling legacy of the heady pre-Revolution days still remains. Additionally, flying with Virgin Atlantic allows for a full 14 nights’ exploration of Western Cuba’s most important cities and stunning landscapes. However, early booking is advised due to the expected influx of tourists from Cuba’s largest neighbour once US restrictions are eased. 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.

Varadero is Cuba’s fashionable Caribbean resort, a 12-mile long slender strip of white sand on the island’s north coast in Matanzas province, also home to the Zapata Peninsula National Park, the largest wetlands in the Caribbean.

Hemingway's Cuba

A comprehensive tour of Western Cuba's most important cities and landscapes

Day 1 Fly from London Gatwick to Havana. Transfer to the Cuban 5-star Hotel Melia Cohiba for three nights. (D)

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

Day 3 Visit the local botanical gardens before continuing to 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 Los Jazmines or similar. (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 City tour of Pinar del Rio followed by visits to a cigar and rum factory. Later, 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. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 7 Day at leisure and dinner under own arrangement. (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 Travel to Sancti Spiritus for a panoramic tour. Continue to Santa Clara and view Ernesto Guevara Square and the Armoured Train before arriving in Remedios for two nights at the 3-star Mascotte or Barcelona hotel. (B, D)

Day 11 Sightseeing of colonial San Juan de los Remedios 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. Later, visit the Sugar Factory Museum including a steam train ride. (B, D)

Day 12 Travel to Varadero (3 hrs) for a three-night stay at the 4-star all-inclusive Melia Varadero. (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) may be replaced with an alternative visit due to closure at short notice.

Hemingway's Cuba

A comprehensive tour of Western Cuba's most important cities and landscapes

Melia Cohiba - Havana

Melia Cohiba - Havana

A 5-star hotel in the Vedado area of Havana (a short cab ride from old Havana), overlooking the ocean and well situated to stroll along the Malecon. The hotel has restaurants, bars, an outdoor pool and WiFi (chargeable). 462 air-conditioned rooms, all with private facilities, satellite TV, safe and mini-bar.

Los Jazmines - Vinales Valley

Los Jazmines - Vinales Valley

Located in peaceful surroundings with fantastic views of the Viñales Valley. A 3-star hotel with restaurants, bar, pool and 78 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, safe and satellite TV.

Hotel Parque Central - Havana

Hotel Parque Central - Havana

A 5-star hotel situated in the Old Town of Havana, just a short distance from the Capitol building. Restaurants, bars, rooftop pools, jacuzzi, WiFi (chargeable) and stunning city views. 427 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV. Accommodation is in the main building or the new Torre section.

Mascotte - Remedios

Mascotte - Remedios

Located in one of the oldest towns in Cuba , this small 3-star colonial hotel is centrally located and has a restaurant and bar. 10 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities and satellite TV.

Melia Varadero - Varadero

Melia Varadero - Varadero

Cuba’s most popular Caribbean resort, a long slender strip of sand overlooking the sea. The tastefully constructed 4-star all-inclusive hotel is surrounded by extensive tropical gardens and has restaurants, bars, coffee shop, boutiques, a large landscaped swimming pool with bar and WiFi (chargeable). There are 490 air-conditioned rooms, all with private facilities, satellite TV and mini-bar.

Iberostar Grand Hotel - Trinidad

Iberostar Grand Hotel - Trinidad

Located in the heart of the city, this boutique 5-star hotel offers Trinidad’s most sought-after accommodation. The colonial building houses a restaurant, lobby bar, WiFi (free) and 40 spacious air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV.

Barcelona - Remedios

Barcelona - Remedios

A special category hotel (3-star equivalent) located in front of Plaza Mayor in San Juan de los Remedios. Restaurant, bar and 24 air-conditioned rooms that all have private facilities, hairdryer, safe, satellite TV and mini-fridger.

Hemingway's Cuba

A comprehensive tour of Western Cuba's most important cities and landscapes

3 night - Varadero Beach Extension

3 night - Varadero Beach Extension

Spend three nights in Cuba’s most popular Caribbean resort, a long slender strip of sand overlooking the sea. The tastefully constructed 4-star all-inclusive Melia Varadero is surrounded by extensive tropical gardens and has restaurants, bars, coffee shop, boutiques and a large landscaped swimming pool with bar. There are 490 air-conditioned rooms, all with private facilities, satellite TV and mini-bar.

Day 1 Continue your stay at the 4-star all-inclusive Melia Varadero for three nights. (B, L, D)

Day 2 At leisure. (B, L, D)

Day 3 At leisure. (B, L, D)

Day 4 Transfer to the airport for the overnight flight to London. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner
4 night - Varadero Beach Extension

4 night - Varadero Beach Extension

Spend four nights in Cuba’s most popular Caribbean resort, a long slender strip of sand overlooking the sea. The tastefully constructed 4-star all-inclusive Melia Varadero is surrounded by extensive tropical gardens and has restaurants, bars, coffee shop, boutiques and a large landscaped swimming pool with bar. There are 490 air-conditioned rooms, all with private facilities, satellite TV and mini-bar.

Day 1 Spend an extra four nights at the4-star all-inclusive Melia Varadero. (B, L. D)

Day 2 At leisure. (B, L, D)

Day 3 At leisure. (B, L, D)

Day 4 At leisure. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Transfer to the airport for the overnight flight to London. (B)

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

 

Hemingway's Cuba

A comprehensive tour of Western Cuba's most important cities and landscapes

2016

Mondays/Thursdaysper person in a twin roomVirgin Atlantic from Gatwick
DatePrice

May 12 £2395
May 16 £2395
August 04 £2545
August 15 £2595
September 15 £2195
September 19 £2195
September 22 £2195
September 29 £2195
October 06 £2245
October 10 £2245
October 17 £2245
October 20 £2295
October 24 £2295
October 27 £2295
November 03 £2395
November 07 £2395
November 10 £2445
November 14 £2445
November 17 £2445
November 21 £2445
November 24 £2445
November 28 £2445
December 01 £2395
December 05 £2395

Supplements per person

Single supplement £395
(Apr/Nov/Dec £440)
Virgin Premium Economy from £645
Virgin Upper Class from £1845
Extension - Varadero (Mondays)
Hotel Melia Varadero - 3 nights £375 (Apr/Nov/Dec £445)
Single supplement £95
Extension - Varadero (Thursdays)
Hotel Melia Varadero - 4 nights £475 (Apr/Oct/Nov/Dec £575)
Single supplement £145
Price reduction £600
Arrival transfer add £15
Departure transfer add £55

Price Includes

Air travel, UK departure taxes, overseas departure tax, transfers, 14 nights' accommodation, breakfast daily, all inclusive in Varadero, half board elsewhere, 1 lunch, itinerary as described, services of guides and local representatives.

Not Included

Travel insurance, visa procurement, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.

Notes

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

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