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HAVANA VARADERO

5 DAYS

Experience the best that Havana and Varadero have to offer.  On this 5-day trip, you will explore both Old and Modern Havana your guide will share with you the history and culture of the city. You will travel to Varadero Cuba's world-renowned beach considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

What's Included


  • Tourist Visa
  • Support for the Cuban People OFAC License
  • 4 Nights accommodations in a Casa Particular
  • Daily breakfast
  • Transfers in and out
  • Car for 6 hours 3 days
  • Guide for 6 hours 3 days
  • Day trip to Varadero
  • Health Insurance
  • Professional trip management




What's not included


  • Air to Havana
  • Gratuities to Guide and Driver
  • Suggested meals and activities on your own




Lodging


  • Deluxe Casa Particular Havana
  • 4 night(s)





ITINERARY

Day 1


Arrive at Jose Marti International Airport Arrive Jose Marti Airport where you will be met by your guide and driver and your adventure will begin. Guide for 6 hrs Today you will have a guide for 6 hours. Visit Revolution Square (Plaza de la Revolución) One of the most dramatic examples of modern architecture in Havana, is the Plaza de la Revolución José Martí surrounded by modern construction and featuring the enormous obelisk monument to Jose Marti, built on the highest ground in Havana. Lunch at Lo de Monik
SUGGESTED This place is essential in the warm Havana, delicious dishes, fresh and healthy drinks. From the moment you enter you can breathe tranquility, relaxation and good energy. All very well managed by its hosts. Tour El Prado – Capitolio, Parque Central , Paseo and more... El Prado runs for many blocks from the dramatic fountain, La Fuente de la India, past the Gran Teatro and Parque Central to the iconic Malecon, marking the boundary between Habana Vieja and Centro Habana. El Paseo, a marble promenade lined with a natural canopy of trees, marble benches, and bronze lions. Dinner on your own You may be guided or suggested to a private restaurant where you will eat 'a la carte" and pay for your own meal and drinks. Dinner at Mojito Mojito SUGGESTED Enjoy dinner at this top-rated Paladar located near the Plaza Vieja. Buena Vista Social Club at the Taberna Benny More SUGGESTED Located on the Plaza Vieja Taberna Benny More is where you'll enjoy a live concert featuring musicians performing tunes that span from the 1940s to contemporary rhythms.




Day 2


Breakfast at Casa Particular Enjoy breakfast at your Casa Particular Guide for 6 hrs Today you will have a guide for 6 hours. Walking tour of the Four Plazas The Four Plazas; The tour takes you on a stroll through the four main plazas, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco de Asis and Plaza de la Catedral, giving you an insight to the truly magnificent and powerful place Cuba held in the Caribbean. Lunch at Doña Eutimia SUGGESTED Enjoy Lunch in a small place a few steps from the Cathedral Square, on the Callejon del Chorro and beside the Graphics Workshop. Doña Eutimia that offers exquisite creole food, unforgettable black beans accompanied with fried pork chops, makes this small space an experience you will not forget. Dinner on your own You may be guided or suggested to a private restaurant where you will eat 'a la carte" and pay for your own meal and drinks. Dinner at 5 Sentidos SUGGESTED 5 Sentidos is a Cuban restaurant that offers international cuisine located in Havana in a central corner of Old Havana with an open space and open kitchen for the enjoyment of the 5 Sentidos. La Zorra y el Cuervo Jazz Club SUGGESTED Listen to the finest jazz performers in Cuba. This famous jazz club is considered one of the best in town. You can't miss the location on La Rampa, the entrance is a replica of a red English telephone box and leads you to the basement where the club with a capacity of 120 people is situated.




Day 3


Day trip to Varadero On the northern coast of Cuba in Matanzas Province there a long thin peninsula named for a rare type of cactus, the Hicacos Peninsula. Lying between the Bay of Cardenas and the Caribbean Sea, this thin strip of land offers some of the most coveted beaches in the world and the quintessential beach resort town of Varadero at its eastern tip. Varadero has many unique, historical sites within the city limits offering a peek into a luxurious past where this town was the definitive Caribbean playground for wealthy Americans until 1959. You can still play 18 holes and have cocktails and the oceanfront mansion built by the American industrialist, Henri Dupont, in the 1920’s. Varadero is home to a world-class, state-of-the-art marina for luxury and recreational boating primed for the near future when Varadero will again become the resort destination for affluent visitors from the North. For the adventurous in spirit the stalagmite and limestone caves, some not even miles away from town, feature clear, fresh-water swimming holes and you can experience an open ocean wild dolphin swim at the dolphin center that is just off-shore. When anyone imagines the glory of Cuban beaches, the clear turquoise Caribbean and absolute paradise, it is Varadero that they conjure in their imagination. El Cocinero SUGGESTED The open space at El Cocinero is a cool and trendy bar located in Vedado in the building close to the iron bridge with the big chimney. One can have a full meal at El Cocinero, but the place is better for tapas and drinks. Don’t miss it! Fábrica de Arte Cubano SUGGESTED This is a new artist space in the Vedado district of Havana created by well-known musician X Alfonso and his band Synthesis. This giant space which is adjacent to a fine restaurant is an all-purpose art space that hosts visual art projects and concerts for Cuba’s most adventurous artists.




Day 4


Guide for 6 hrs Today you will have a guide for 6 hours. Vedado and Havana Moderna visits The morning starts with a visit to the Vedado district which highlights the architecture of the area, drive by the Mane monument and the Malecon, Coppelia park, the Havana Libre hotel and the Rampa district. Other places of interest in Havana are included in the visits where the guests will have the opportunity to interact with the Cuban people. Visit Fusterlandia Community Project Fuster has made a major contribution over 10 years of work rebuilding and decorating the fishing town of Jaimanitas in the outskirts of Havana, where he lives. Jaimanitas is now a unique work of public art where Fuster has decorated over 80 houses with ornate murals and domes to suit the personality of his neighbors. Lunch at El Mediterraneo SUGGESTED
A true “farm to table” and “sea to table” restaurant, Mediterraneo Havana features fresh plant and protein from their own two private, organic farms and fresh catch and seafood fished every other day from their own fishing boat. Dinner on your own You may be guided or suggested to a private restaurant where you will eat 'a la carte" and pay for your own meal and drinks. Dinner at Casa Mia SUGGESTED Casa Mia is a small family restaurant that had a dream and it came true. With a great view of the Malecon, they offer great food and one of the best customer service in Havana. Cabaret Parisien SUGGESTED Parisien Cabaret offers a great show "Cuban, Cubano. It is a fusion of Indoamerican, Hispanic and African cultures, that led to the Cuban culture. Every day from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. the show starts at 10:00 p.m. and afterwards from 12:00 a.m. you can learn how to dance.




Day 5


Transfer to Airport Your driver will transfer you to the airport you need to arrive 2.hrs prior to departure.




Optional Activities


Below are optional activities that can be included in your itinerary some are free and others have a cost. Visit to Finca Vigia - Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum Your transportation will await you at Regla for the short drive to Ernest Hemingway’s home in the rural village of San Francisco de Paula, also just east of Havana. Named Finca Vigia or “Lookout Farm”, the home was built in 1866 and purchased by Hemingway in 1940. This property, emerging from a lush tropical flora and fauna, was his primary home from 1940 until his death in 1961. Hemingway loved Cuba and according to close sources, he spent more time there during those two decades that any of his homes around the world. Here, Hemingway wrote his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “The Old Man and the Sea”, and his famous fishing boat, El Pilar, is also on display here. In 1962, Finca Vigia was turned into a museum making it the first institution in the world devoted to Ernest Hemingway and his work. Recently, the feature film, “Papa” was filmed on location in Cuba and much of it at Finca Vigia. Visit to Bellas Artes Museum- Cuban Art Collection Very near El Prado, still in the heart of Havana’s urban center where La Habana Vieja meets Centro Habana, is a notoriously modern structure, housing the largest permanent collection of Cuban art in the world dating from the 16th Century to present. The collection boasts extensive works of the Cuban masters from the 1920s through the post-modernists of the 1980s who influenced a worldwide movement and hang in museums and private collections worldwide. Arts & Crafts Market - Almacenes San Jose in Old Havana Almacenes San Jose, the vast craft market right on the docks at the Port of Havana, offers an impressive diversity of goods and artwork crafted by artists and artisans in Cuba. You can walk up and down the aisles between stands, while the vendors play their maracas and claves in the morning breeze coming off the bay, and find everything from traditional souvenirs, original paintings, . Cigar Factory Tour A guided tour of one of Cuba's cigar factories, will give you a first-hand look at the manufacturing of the Habano. You will also have the opportunity to meet and speak with the master rollers that have inherited and will pass down the fine art of rolling the best cigars in the world. Visit to Christopher Columbus Cemetery - Necropolis Cristobal Colon Founded in 1876, the Colon Cemetery is one of the great historical cemeteries of the world, and is held to be the most important in Latin America in historical and architectural terms. Located in the Vedado district, it was built by the Galician architect Calixto Arellano de Loira y Cardoso, who became Colón’s first occupant when he died before his work was completed. Salsa Lessons Learn all about the many traditional and modern Cuban dances such as the Cuban Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Son, Mambo, etc. Participate in a custom class based on your skills, we provide the classes at the beginning so that you may practice your new steps throughout your trip. Tropicana Night Club The Tropicana was the most famous nightclub in the world from 1939 to 1959. Built in the gardens of an early 20th-century residence, it contains one of Cuba’s most significant modern buildings, the Arcos de Cristal (1952), a thin-shell concrete structure by architect Max Borges Recio. The club continues to operate and is the only one of Havana’s famed clubs to survive the revolution. El Cañonazo Ceremony Visit the cabaña fortress where you will see a recreation of the Cañonazo Ceremony. During the colonial period when La Habana was a walled city the ceremony at 9PM every night would announce the closing of the city gates. Visit to El Capitolio The Capitol of Havana is located in the center of the capital, between the streets Prado, Dragoons, Industria and San José. It is an important building constructed in 1929 under the direction of architect Eugenio Raynieri Stone, intended to house and host of the two chambers of Congress or legislative body of the Republic of Cuba. Inspired by the classic Roman Capitol, the building has a neoclassical facade and a columnar dome reaches 91.73 m high. El Capitolio was recently renovated. Visit to City Museum-Old Havana Located in the Capitan Generales Building in Plaza de Armas, this museum chronicles the history of La Habana, from Spanish colonial times into the 20th century. Furniture, uniforms, weapons, photographs and paintings are exhibited. Visit to Beth Shalom Synagogue Known as the Patronato, Cuba’s major Jewish community center, which was founded in 1953 and maintains its beautiful facade with the symbols of the twelve tribes of Israel and modernist arch rising to the heavens. Artist Studio & Gallery Visits Impressive art galleries have sprung up all over the colonial center of the city, in Modern Havana, where you can see the work of Cuba’s top artists and often housing their private studios. As you stroll through Havana you will happen by many galleries and studios where you can view and purchase original art. Bacardi Building The Bacardí building is located on the Avenue of Belgium No. 261, Stoned San Juan de Dios, in the historical center of Havana. It is an excellent example of the decorative arts, the first building built in Art Deco Havana. The work was completed in 1930 and at the time was the tallest structure in the city. This building was erected in order to establish in it the offices of the company Bacardi in Havana. Barrio Habana (Community Organization/Social Project) BarrioHabana.Org is a community organization based in Old Havana that is dedicated to the betterment of the quality of life of children, teens and the elderly. They are extremely active in the community and will do anything from clean up and put to use an empty lot for exhibitions and performances, food drives for the elderly or developing opportunities for kids to engage in workshops with famous athletes, artists and musicians. Cabaret Parisien Parisien Cabaret offers a great show "Cuban, Cubano. It is a fusion of Indoamerican, Hispanic and African cultures, that led to the Cuban culture. Every day from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. the show starts at 10:00 p.m. and afterwards from 12:00 a.m. you can learn how to dance. Cooking Class at Ajiaco Café Ajiaco Cafe offers one of the best cooking classes in Havana. The morning begins by visiting the organic garden, where you learn about the fresh ingredients that go into Cuban cooking. Then you will go into the kitchen and learn the preparation of Cuban cuisine and learn how to prepare a couple of dishes. you will also learn how to make the perfect mojito. Finally, you will enjoy a feast consisting of the food you helped prepare. El Morro Castle & Lighthouse Built on the high rock entrance to the Bay and completed in the early 1600s, El Morro Castle guards the Port of Havana, complete with dungeons, cannons, and the iconic lighthouse. The group will stop here for a brief visit to take in the breathtaking views of Havana from across the mouth of the harbor. Visit to Colonial Art Museum -Havana It is the former house of Count Casa Bayona, built by 1720 and located in a privileged area across from The Havana Cathedral. This museum has an important representation of the decoration and furniture of the biggest colonial mansions of Havana from the l7th to the 19th centuries, Furniture, Glassware, Porcelain and Grille. Visit to Decorative Art Museum Havana Since 1964 this magnificent eclectic-style Havana mansion, once owned by María Luisa Gómez Mena, countess of Revilla Camargo has been home to a collection of over thirty thousand works of art, including Louis XV and XVI period furniture; 17th to 19th-century Chinese decorative arts, Chantilly, Meissen, Sevres, Limoge, Staffordshire, Wedgwood and Faenza porcelains, and numerous clocks, precious metals, paintings, and tapestries. Visit to Havana Club Rum Museum-Havana The Rum Museum is a symbol in the historical heart of Havana. The museum is situated in an elegant eighteenth-century colonial house, totally renovated some years ago. The rooms used by the museum are built around a spectacular courtyard decorated in authentic and classic style. The guided tour in the museum shows each step in the development of the Havana Club rum with a reconstruction of the original Havana Club distillery and aging vessels. The tour ends with a tasting of the rum. Visit to John Lennon Park He John Lennon Park is a park located in El Vedado , Havana , Cuba , exactly on 17th Street, between 6th and 8th streets, so renamed from the placement of a life -size statue of the famous English composer. member of the legendary quartet The Beatles . The statue is the work of the Cuban sculptor José Ramón Villa Soberón . Ernest Hemingway Room at Ambos Mundos Hotel. The room is triangular in shape and the corner is covered by windows that look out onto the rooftops of Old Havana through to Castillo Morro Fort on the other side of the harbor. The breeze brings with it sounds of the streets below and the not-so-distant smell of the ocean. In front of the window, in the center of the room, is a small table and chair and upon the table, ensconced in a glass box, lies Hemingway’s typewriter. The view from the windows is breath taken but maybe the sight of the typewriter makes your heart stop. It is magnificent. A writer’s weapon has never before been so gloriously displayed. Ferry Ride Across Havana Bay to Regla When driving or strolling along Havana’s “malecon”, the coastal avenue that hugs the city of Havana along its majestic port and iconic sea, you have a constant view of the iconic lighthouse that stands proud atop a cliff guarding Havana’s spectacular natural harbor. The towns of Casa Blanca sits at the end of the promontory, across the harbor from La Habana Vieja and home to the famous statue of Christ, the Blanco Cristo. Fidel Castro Suite in Havana Libre Following the entry of Fidel Castro into Havana, on January 8, 1959, the Hotel Habana Hilton became his headquarters for 3 months. He took the suite 2324 as his central office. you will have the opportunity to visit Fidel's suite just as it was when he stayed there. Fusterlandia Community Project Fuster has made a major contribution over 10 years of work rebuilding and decorating the fishing town of Jaimanitas in the outskirts of Havana, where he lives. Jaimanitas is now a unique work of public art where Fuster has decorated over 80 houses with ornate murals and domes to suit the personality of his neighbors, he has built a chess park with giant boards and tables, The Artists’ Wall composed of a quilt of dozens of tiles signed and donated by other Cuban artists, a theatre and public swimming pools. Hotel Nacional Visit Prior to 1959, Cuba was a favorite destination for the “mob”. The Hotel was the favorite hotel of the era, founded in 1924 and located high on a coral rock bluff looking out over the Caribbean and the opening of Havana Harbor. Jewish Cementeries in Guanabacoa and Holocaust Memorial The cemetery is arranged as required by the Jewish tradition. At the entrance there is a building used to wash the body of the deceased. Just outside the door there is a tap for visitors to wash their hands after a visit. The tombstones, known as matzevots in Hebrew, are aligned to look directly east or west. We note inscriptions in Hebrew, Yiddish, Spanish, English and Russian. The universal Jewish symbols, the Star of David, the menorah, the lion and the lampstand were observed, to name a few. Many stones have in peace desonse or rest in peace carved in them. La Bodeguita del Medio La Bodeguita del Medio is a famous tourist destination because of the personalities which have patronized it: Salvador Allende, the poet Pablo Neruda, the artist Josignacio and many others. Visit to Museo del Automóvil One block east of the plaza, the State-run Museum of Automobiles, previously known as the Depósito del Automóvil, showcases a collection of almost 50 vehicles from 1905 to 1989, includes cars, trucks, special-purpose vehicles, and classic American autos once owned by famous personalities. VIsit to Museo del Ferrocarril (Train Museum) Opened on November 19, 2002, the Railway Museum is housed in the former Cristina railway station, headquarters of the Western Railway of Havana. Cuba was the sixth country in the world to develop a railway network–the first in Spanish America and second in the American continent, only after the railway in the United Stated. Highlights in the museum include several locomotives, passenger coaches and freight cars used for public transportation and in the sugar industry. Visit to Museum of the Revolution The Museum of the Revolution, located in the former Presidential Palace, chronicles the history of the Revolution from its beginning at the University of Havana to the modern period. Many artifacts from the process, including the Granma Boat which brought Fidel Castro and his forces from Mexico to begin the major offensive of the Revolution, can be seen in this building located at the heart of La Habana Vieja. Visit to Casa de Africa (Africa Museum house) It exhibits sub-Saharan and African people cultures and unique elements of the wide variety of Afro Cuban religions. Visit to The Camara Oscura Located on the top floor of the eclectic-style early 20th-century Edificio Gómez Vila—the plaza’s tallest building (35 meters/115 feet)—on the northeast corner, the Cámara Oscura provides a 360-degree panoramic view of much of Old Havana in real time, projected at 30X magnification through a peephole camera onto a pitch-dark screen. Visit Callejon de Hamel This Alley is located in the working class Cayo Hueso quarter that serves as an open-air Afro-Cuban Religion Sanctuary, the work of local artist Salvador Gonzalez who has adorned its walls with evocative Santeria murals paying homage to religious cults and currents of African origin. It hosts the famous Afro-Cuban rumbas that take place every Sunday afternoon. Visit Christ of Havana This majestic representation of Jesus Christ, only four decades old, is part of the landscape that characterizes the entrance to the Havana harbor. It is 20 meters tall, weighs 320 tons and consists of 67 different pieces, and made in white Carrara marble, contrasts with the gray rocks around it. The monument was made in Italy by Cuban artist Jilma Madera, who didn’t use any male model and instead based her work on her masculine beauty ideal. Visit Farmers Market Cuba is known for its fertile lands, diversity of ecosystems and its agricultural productivity. The local farmer's markets are strategically located throughout the towns and cities are the source of this spectacular selection of products for the Cuban population. Daily, folks purchase their fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and other produce at the local market in local currency. Your guide will escort you to one of the best of these markets in the heart of the Vedado district on 19th St. and B. Pick up some fresh fruit for your room or just feast your eyes on the tropical delights that grow on the island. Visit Muraleando community project When local artists Manuel (Manolo) Diaz Baldrich and Ernesto Quirch Paz began teaching art workshops in the neighborhood school in 2001, they had no thoughts of starting a community development project. They quickly moved the workshops into the streets, and there the seeds of Muraleando (literally "muraling" or mural-making) were sown. The murals that started springing up throughout the neighborhood were a natural outgrowth of the art classes.





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