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Cuba Tour
 
Our Cuba trip is packed with adventure and variety, much like the country itself. Experience the unique architectures and cultures of colorful Old Town Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos, three of Cuba’s cities. Swim in turquoise ocean bays and waterfall pools. Learn about sustainable farming, and eat a freshly harvested meal at an organic farm. Learn how Cuban cigars are made and rolled; how to cook platos típicos (typical Cuban fare), and how to dance salsa! You’ll also learn about the political history and climate of this still-relatively-unknown island.
Designed to fulfill all the requirements of a People to People trip to Cuba for U.S. travelers, our Cuba tour gives you the chance to meet and learn about the Cuban people and their rich culture first-hand.  This Cuban tour has it all and in a short period of time.  With local Cuban guides you are sure to expereince an insiders perspective and explore all the island has to offer. 
Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Havana
Your driver will meet you at the airport to take you to your accommodations, a casa particular (Bed and Breakfast) where you will meet your local tour leader. You’ll enjoy dinner together at a local paladar, a privately owned Cuban restaurant. (D)
Day 2: Old Town Walking Tour & Classic Car Tour
Your Cuba trip guide will meet you in the B&B after breakfast to begin your tour. The day starts with a guided walking tour of Old Havana. You’ll have the chance to explore historical sites and learn about the dual-currency economy. You’ll visit commercial centers where CUC are used, and ration and peso stores, where locals buy goods in CUP.
The day ends with a trip to Jaimanitas, a local fishing village. The village is home to Jose Fuster, an artist who has converted his home and neighborhood into a work of art using mosaic tiles. (B,L)
Day 3: Havana to Viñales (via Las Terrazas)
Your Cuba tour guide will meet you at your accommodations after breakfast to take you and your luggage to Viñales, one of the most beautiful parts of Cuba. Situated in the Pinar del Río province, the area is known for its limestone pincushion hills, or mogotes.
On the way to Viñales, the tour will stop in Las Terrazas. You’ll meet a local guide, a community leader who will explain how the local society functions.
The arrival to Viñales coincides with a tour of a local organic farm. The farmer and his family will explain how sustainable farms are run in Cuba, including the alternatives to pesticides they use to protect their crops.
By sunset, you will be enjoying a dinner made by the farmer and his family with produce from their fields – a true farm to fork experience. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Viñales
The second day in Viñales, you’ll learn the traditional way to make Cuban cigars Your guide will meet you after breakfast and take you to meet a local farmer and cigar maker. He’ll walk you through the entire process, from growing tobacco to rolling Cuba’s world-famous cigars. You’ll also get a chance to learn more about how the communist system works in Cuba and how it applies directly to the cigar trade: how much the farmer keeps; how much they give to the government; and how farmers make their money.
In the afternoon you’ll learn how to cook Cuban cuisine, including some of the platos típicos de Cuba – typical Cuban dishes –including congri, potaje, garbanzo soup, ajiaco and flan. (B,L)
Day 5: Viñales to Cienfuegos (via Bay of Pigs)
Today you’ll head to Cienfuegos. Meet your driver after breakfast and be sure to keep your swimsuit handy. On the way, you’ll get a chance visit to the Bay of Pigs. Enjoy the views of this picturesque bay with a famous history. You’ll visit a museum that explains the conflict that happened in the Bay of Pigs that led to the first defeat of a U.S.-backed takeover in Latin America. If there’s time, you’ll be able to swim in a natural sinkhole that looks like a tropical fish tank.
You’ll stay overnight in Cienfuegos, also called “The Pearl of the South.” Founded by the French, the city has a decidedly European feel, with elegant boulevards and colonnades reminiscent of Paris. (B)
Day 6: Cienfuegos to Trinidad
Today you’ll meet your guide after breakfast and head to Trinidad, a colonial city with a wealth of historic churches and colonial-style buildings. The day will start with a cultural tour of the city, including visits to several museums. You will also get to visit an Afro-Cuban temple dedicated to Yemaya. Learn first hand about the deities and traditions of this religion from Israel, a local caretaker and priest.
In the afternoon, you’ll meet members of an Afro-Cuban folkloric dance group, and learn the importance of dance to the local culture and society. Learn to salsa at Club Palenque, where the dance group trains and performs. Later you’ll be able to take your new moves out on the town. Trinidad has a rich nightlife and dance scene, with performances and live music every day of the week. (B,L)
Day 7: Trinidad
On your second day in Trinidad, you’ll learn about the local industry and the biodiversity of the area with a trip outside the city. After breakfast, your guide will meet you to take you to the humble home of a local campesino to see how Cubans live in rural areas. Next, take a short hike to a waterfall and get a chance to cool off in the natural pools at its base. Afterward you’ll head back to Trinidad and have the afternoon to explore and relax.
For dinner, enjoy a special meal – possibly on the beach – including delicious Cuban specialties and live music. (B,D)
Day 8: Trinidad to Havana (via Santa Clara)
After breakfast your guide will collect you and your luggage for the trip back to Havana. On the way back you’ll learn about Cuba’s slave trade at Manaca-Iznaga, a plantation in the Valle de los Ingenios. The plantation has a 147-foot tower originally built to observe the slaves as they worked.
Enjoy a stop at Santa Clara, one of the cities that played an important role in the Cuban Revolution. See the statue built at the city’s entrance commemorating Ernesto Ché Guevara and his fellow revolutionaries who died in Bolivia.
Enjoy lunch at a small family farm outside of Santa Clara before heading back to Havana to prepare for a farewell dinner, including music and dancing. (B,L,D) 

Day 9: Havana - Home
Say goodbye to your Cuba guide and driver, who will take you to the airport to catch your flight home. (B)

Cuba Highlights

Pricing
Per Person
$3,250
Included in tour cost
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)

Cuba Highlights

Trip Dates
Weekly Departures. Contact us to arrange your private departure.
Sunday, January 1, 2017 to Thursday, December 31, 2020
Available
My two friends and I just recently returned from our trip to Colombia. This is our third trip to South America in recent years and was without question our best trip directly because of our guide Nicolas Mejia. He was outstanding and incredible in every way and made our 11 day excursion a trip of a lifetime. From his expert knowledge about all aspects of Colombia to taking us to the most amazing restaurants, Nicolas fully immersed us in all aspects of Columbian lifestyle and culture. He helped create one of most authentic experiences we have ever had and even introduced us to his entire family. He always took the time to answer every question we had and always went the extra mile to create the most perfect experience wherever we were. Whether we were was hiking El Pueblito and the Lost City of the Tayrona People or mountain biking the Santa Fe Antioquia or white water rafting down the Cauca River, the totality of experiences were both exhilarating and serene. The famous philosopher Confucius once said, “Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand forever”. Thanks to Nicholas we have more of an understanding of Colombia and all its beauty than we could have ever hoped for. Thanks again for an amazing and unforgettable experience. Very truly yours, Mark Mailman (Colombia Trip).

Our deepest gratitude to Nicolas Mejia for his hospitality, generosity, kindness, and his commitment to excellence in all aspects of our discovery of Colombia.  His passion for Colombia and the outdoors was contagious. He managed masterfully for our 10 days exploration to be  an unforgettable experience with in times presentations of the Colombian history and culture, other days great hikes in Iguaque and Tayrona National Parks, with emphasis on breathtaking views of unique Andean and Caribbean landscapes; mixing the discovery of master pieces of Fernando Botero  and stunning street art, unforgettable gratifies  in Bogota. In terms of food culture, we got to experience different variety of Colombian cuisine, local fruits and vegetables, coffee but also the unique cacao of Colombia with the best dark chocolate ever. Great conversations while traveling between different regions about traditions, Colombian cinema, music... In terms of organizing our stay in Colombia (arrival, transfers, hotels, restaurants, departure..) it was a seamless and pleasant experience for the entire trip. Nicolas discretely monitored the safety for both of us in terms of hiking in altitude and yet making sure the thrill and excitement were there. He introduced us to fine restaurants in every town we visited. The icing on the cake was discovering the night life in Cartagena, the salsa clubs and helping my husband with organizing the best birthday party!!  Finally a great way of ending each day was getting every night the pictures of the day. It was too short of a visit to a vast country with such a rich culture, yet it was a magical experience. Merci Nicolas! - Massy Safai (Colombia Tour)

Thank you Southern Explorations for organizing our trip to Bogota & Medellin Colombia.  The personalized service exceeded our expectations.  All of our guides were very friendly, knowledgeable and a true joy to be around. The hotels were comfy and located in just the right spot for us to really experience the cities and towns on our tour.  Everything went so smoothly we were able to really relax and enjoy the trip.  We can’t wait to book another trip with SE. - Cecilia Uribe (Bogota & Medellin Tour)

 
This is the second time we have travelled to South America using Southern Explorations as our tour organizer. This second trip was as fantastic and well-run as the first. We had no issues at all and saw and did everything we had contracted for. Our guide, Alfredo Meneses, was always a gentleman while at the same time knowledgeable and well-informed about the places we were visiting. We also had local guides, Christian Rojas and Nicolas Mejia, were kind, sensitive, equally knowledgeable, and endlessly patient!! This was a truly memorable trip, thanks to the work of Southern Explorations but also because Colombia is such a spectacular and as yet generally undiscovered country! - Fred & Karen Leitner (Colombia) 

Hi Justin,
What a fabulous trip!!!!!  We absolutely loved everything about it!!!  Your itinerary was perfection and having Alfredo as our guide was so important to the success of our trip!  Alfredo is by far the best guide we've ever had anywhere!!!  His knowledge is encyclopedic and his enthusiasm for traveling and exploration is addicting!  It also helps that he's a world class athlete!  All of the people who were added to the trip for our benefit were terrific!  So fun, knowledgeable, thoughtful and kind, just wonderful people trying to help us have a great time!  Thank you so very much for another perfect trip!!!!!  We wouldn't have changed anything!  We love Colombia and had such an amazing time!!!
 
Hugs,
Carol & Rick Abrams (Colombia Multi Sport)

 

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