Havana-Viñales 7 Nights

Havana-Viñales 7 Nights

8 Days Tour

Day 1 - HAVANA CITY

ARRIVAL DAY

HAVANA CITY MEET & GREET AT Havana International Airport

The designated tour guide will be waiting for you at the airport to welcome you, pick you up, and take you to the hotel or private place where you will be staying.

WELCOME TO THE HOTEL OR  ‘BNB’ PLACE.

After checking in, the Tour guide will go over the Itinerary and answer any questions you may have about it

DINNER AT A SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY

Day 2 - HAVANA CITY

BREAKFAST

You will be met by your guide after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

THE FOUR PLAZAS OF OLD HAVANA - A FAVORITE PASTIME OF THE LOCALS!

The morning begins with a walking tour of the Four Plazas; a magical journey through five centuries of history and architecture that culminate to comprise Cuba’s first of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites  “La Habana Vieja” or Old Havana. 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 for centuries. You’ll see colonial fortresses and opulent palaces highlighting the majestic architecture spanning from Spanish Colonial to Neoclassical interspersed with a mix of Baroque. Old Havana is packed with churches, cathedrals and monuments, as well as a homogeneous ensemble of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought iron gates and internal courtyards -- many evocatively time-worn, but many restored to their original majesty.  The plazas host outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants where live music is always playing, as well as art galleries and quaint shops that can range from touristic items to handcrafted gourmet chocolates and exotic spices. You will want to return to explore La Habana Vieja on our own to explore and discover its magic and mystery for yourself.

LUNCH AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

ARTIST STUDIO & GALLERY VISITS

Rising from the restoration and revitalization of Old Havana, impressive art galleries have sprung up all over the colonial center of the city, exhibiting the work of Cuba’s top artists and often housing their private studios. As you stroll through Old Havana you will happen by many galleries and studios where you can view and purchase original art and support the local artists.

CALLEJÓN DE LOS PELUQUEROS COMMUNITY PROJECT

The Hairdressers' Alley has become an attractive proposal in just a few years. In this street, as its name indicates you can find barbershop and hairdresser, but you also services of Art, crafts and gastronomy. Nestled in the most historic part of Havana, near Avenida del Puerto is a sample of fusion between different knowledges among which highlight culture and history combined with a new look.

SALSA CLASSES

Learn all about the many traditional and modern Cuban dances such as the Cuban Salsa, Rumba, Son, Mambo, etc. Participate in a custom class based on your individual needs, considering your knowledge, capabilities and wishes.

DINNER AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

FABRICA DE ARTE CUBANO

Fabrica De Arte is probably Havana’s most exciting art and performance venue. FAC an old oil factory that’s now a thriving arts space in Vedado, one of Havana’s residential districts. The eclectic crowd includes the who’s who of the art and music world mixing it up with young people from all over the city who attend regularly to experience art and music. The cavernous space includes an art and photographic gallery, a dance space, a cinema and a very well-stocked bar. On any given night you can watch a fashion show and a live concert, enjoy a meal, see a film and generally hang out in the most creative scene on the island. It was Mick Jagger’s favorite hangout in Havana and it will probably be yours.

HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY

Day 3 - TERRAZAS -VIÑALES IN ARTEMISA AND PINAR DEL RIO PROVINCES

BREAKFAST

You will be met by your guide after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

TRIP TO LAS TERRAZAS COMMUNITY

Las Terrazas is a small community situated in Sierra del Rosario, one of Cuba’s natural strongholds, which was declared Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1985. Arriving in Las Terrazas is like penetrating the intensity of exquisite wild places where humans and nature become one. This is the impression that the evergreen forests, rivers and crystal clear waterfalls give. Entering the community is to have the certainty that such beautiful sites really exist and that human efforts to protect such natural environment will persist.
The village has a population of about 1,000 and a number of hotels and restaurants catering for tourists. The nature reserve includes 5000ha of secondary forest which was planted on the surrounding hills by building terraces to avoid erosion; hence the name (in Spanish, terrazas means terraces. The reserve is rich in flora and fauna, and includes lakes, rivers and waterfalls.

CASA DE MARIA FOR COFFEE

Ideal to share with friends and family, the result of the rescue of a tradition. Its origin goes back to the locality of Cusco where Maria's house was located next to the food store, you could taste a cup of the infusion prepared in Creole style with the grain grown in the mountains of the area. After building the Las Terrazas Community, the ritual continued: go to María's house to taste a good Cuban coffee. Today hospitality extends to visitors and onlookers, who opt to drink coffee "María" or "Las Terrazas" and try to discover the secret, well kept by María and her children, of each one of her recipes.

MOKA HOTEL

The hotel Moka crown community development "Las Terrazas" with an excellent adaptation to the topography and respect for nature. Bold design, taking elements of traditional Cuban and local architecture. Nature itself is the protagonist of which is complemented by the combination of materials, colors and textures. On the other hand, and because of the topography in which the hotel is located, some of the disabled facilities are not met.
The management of human scale and its public areas achieves a cozy and homely atmosphere which, together with the magnificent beauty of the environment and the surrounding landscape with a careful study of every detail, make the hotel an intimate, stylish, ideal for relaxing with excellent comfort especially aimed at tourists with ecological vocation crave contact with nature, characterized by a personalized, simple, familiar and respectful treatment.

VISIT TO LOCAL ARTISTS

Enjoy visiting local artists’ studios and knowing about their amazing work and the places where they produce most of their work. They turns objects of nature into animals and curious objects, or deal with the topic of landscapes inspired of the area of Las Terrazas with an environmental interpretation using Acrylic and cloth and watercolor as  main technics, or deal with masterpieces engraved in wood. Painter recreating with his arts landscapes and animals trough engraving and paint.

LUNCH AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

ENJOY THE RIVER

Among the natural values in Las Terrazas, you´ll find the beautiful rivers Bayate and San Juan. These places are surrounded by a varied vegetation, a clean and cozy environment; complemented with a charming and functional design of constructions harmoniously integrated into the environment. This allows the visitor a special staying with varied gastronomic offers. A great way to kill a day with friends and family. Water is very cold but most people jump in anyways.

TRANSFER TO VINALES

CHECK IN AT THE HOTEL OR BNB PLACE

DINNER AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

TERRAZAS -VIÑALES IN ARTEMISA AND PINAR DEL RIO PROVINCES TERRAZAS -VIÑALES IN ARTEMISA AND PINAR DEL RIO PROVINCES

Day 4 - VINALES VALLEY, PINAR DEL RIO

BREAKFAST

You will be met by your guide after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

VINALES VALLEY AND TOWN

Boasting the most spectacular scenery in all of Cuba, the Vinales Valley dates back to the Jurassic period and is, geologically speaking, the oldest region of the island. While looking out across 51 square miles of majestic nature, you can almost sense the prehistoric creatures and humans making their way across the enormous valley and around the “Mogotes” rising dramatically from the ground, up to 1300 ft. high, dating back to when the ocean floor gave way to giant limestone formations.  The valley is home to one of the largest cave systems in the Americas making these limestone formations navigable.  In watery caves, there are still remnants of prehistoric man in the form of ancient cave drawings. The town of Vinales, founded in 1607, frozen in time offers a window into Cuba’s charming rural past. The Vinales Valley was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the late 1990s and is as heavenly a place on Earth as there will ever be.

JARDIN DE LA CARIDAD

Just opposite the Servi-Cupet gas station as Cisneros swings north out of town, you'll spot an outlandish, vine-choked gate beckoning you in. This is the entrance to a sprawling garden, work on which began in 1918. Cascades of orchids bloom alongside plastic doll heads, thickets of orange lilies grow in soft groves and turkeys run amok. Knock on the door of the Little Red Riding Hood cottage and someone will probably emerge to show you around.

The Charity Garden, named after the two sisters who own it, is a beautiful place, although it is very visited by tourists. In it you can see endemic Cuban tree species, a small orchid garden and a collection of exotic of plants.

CUEVA DEL INDIO

Just north of the village of Vinales, is an ancient indigenous dwelling that was rediscovered in 1920.  Here, below the ground and traversed by an underground river, is a network of caves believed to have been used by the Guanahatabey Amerindians as a hiding place to take refuge from the Spaniards, as well as a burial site judging from the human remains that have been found here.  You can explore the beginning of the tunnel’s jagged, damp interior by foot until where the stone steps lead to the underground river where a guided motorboat will actually steer you the rest of the way to the cave’s exit.

LUNCH AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT
VISIT TO A TOBACCO PLANTATION AND INTERACT WITH THE FARMERS

The best black tobacco in the world is cultivated from the soil of this rich and fertile land.  When visiting Pinar del Rio province you will pass acre after acre of lush, verdant tobacco plantations.  The soil in Pinar del Rio is the best soil with just the right conditions to grow and harvest the leaves to elaborate the best cigar in the world - the Habano.  No trip to Cuba is complete without visiting a tobacco farm and seeing form your own eyes the majestically beautiful lands where tobacco grows and meet the farmers of this valuable crop.  This is Cuba in all of its natural glory.

RETURN TO HAVANA
CHECK IN AT THE HOTEL OR BNB PLACE

DINNER AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

VINALES VALLEY, PINAR DEL RIO VINALES VALLEY, PINAR DEL RIO

Day 5 - HAVANA CITY

BREAKFAST

You will be met by your guide after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

EL PRADO – CAPITOLIO, PARQUE CENTRAL, PASEO AND MORE...

El Prado is one of the most exquisitely designed and splendid major avenues in all of the Americas and home to the quintessential structures that define Havana, ranging from Colonial to Baroque to Neoclassical to Art Deco. Designed in 1772 by French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier,

El Prado runs for many blocks from the dramatic fountain, La Fuente de la India, 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 was recently chosen by the House of Chanel for one of the most dramatic runway shows in the history of fashion. El Prado encompasses all of the mystery and magic, all of the historic and cultural wealth that Havana has offered from the 17th to the 21st century.

MUSEO DE BELLAS ARTES CUBAN ART COLLECTION

National Museum of Fine Arts, Cuban Art Branch. Brief introductory lecture by curator Aylet Ojeda. Walking tour of Museum on your own with a prepared guide sheet by Aylet or Rosa detailing highlights to see and why.

LUNCH AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

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.  The great cemetery is 140 acres in size and is noted primarily for the elaborately sculpted memorials and the opulence and majesty of the mausoleums and statues. There are more than 500 major mausoleums, chapels and family vaults.  Among the most notable figures buried here are many of Cuba’s greatest cultural figures including Jose Lezama Lima, Alejo Carpentier, Dulce Maria Loynaz, to name only a few; and since the 19th century, Jose Miguel Gomez, president of Cuba and many generals and dignitaries. With 800,000 graves and one million interments, there may not be a more beautiful place to be interred than Havana’s “city of the dead”.

FUSTERLANDIA COMMUNITY PROJECT

Fuster - Artist Studio Visit & Jaimanitas Fishing Village
An intimate discussion with Fuster, the fishermen from Jaimanitas and townspeople offers an opportunity for a meaningful encounter with Cubans off the beaten path of the bustling city and an insight to a tightly knit and thriving community. Fuster has made a major contribution over 10 years of work of 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 neighbours, 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.

EXPLORE HAVANA - LIVE LIKE A CUBAN

The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore. The group’s transportation will drop you in the Parque Central area and will return those who wish to the hotel.  You might want to stay near El Prado and walk the beautiful marble promenade traversed daily by locals living their day to day life in Havana, sit among the royal palms in the Parque Central (Central Park) or just enjoy wandering among the locals and making new friends.  Perhaps you’d rather return to a spot that you saw or already visited that drew your attention.  By day four in Havana, a welcoming and engaging city full of wonderfully communicative Cubans, you should be able to find your way around and live just like a Cuban for the afternoon.  And as always, your guide will help you make your plans.

DINNER AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

TROPICANA NIGHTCLUB

Founded in 1939, the Tropicana was once the most famous nightclub in the world, featuring the musical extravaganzas of choreographer Rodney and the talents of Celia Cruz, Nat King Cole, Carmen Miranda, and a host of other international performers. The nightclub continues to be the most visited music and dance revue in Cuba and its buildings are considered the finest examples of International-style modernism in the Caribbean.

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Day 6 - HAVANA CITY

BREAKFAST

You will be met by your guide after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

FERRY RIDE ACROSS HAVANA BAY TO CASA BLANCA

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 proudly 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.  From the ferry landing on the port side of Old Havana, you will board the ferry and enjoy the views for the 10-minute crossing to Casablanca or Regla. Most locals who live and/or work in portside towns travel across the harbor on a pedestrian ferry boat which crosses to the landings in Regla and Casablanca all day long at 10-minute intervals.

COOKING CLASS

Welcome cocktail and  Brief Introduction to the history of the Cuban cuisine and its relation to our nationality. Elaboration, along with the chef,  5 different Cuban dishes. The chef will be interacting with the group all the time giving explanations about the history and the elaboration of each dish. After the finish their cooking, they will try all the dishes and will have a drink. After dinner talk. Lighting of a real Habano in the traditional way and the explanation by a Habano expert and the presence of coffee, chocolate, and a fine Cuban rum to enjoy the cigar. Giveaway Certificate recognition for their participation signed by the chef with the name of the client.

LUNCH AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

FINCA VIGIA - ERNEST HEMINGWAY'S HOME & MUSEUM

Your transportation will await you at Casa Blanca 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.

EL MORRO CASTLE AND 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.  Known as “El Morro”, the castle is actually The Castle of the Three Kings, named for the biblical Magi. The lighthouse stands on the end of a promontory strongly fortified with huge walls and battlements built by the Spanish Conquistadors to defend the city against pirates and bounty seekers.  You will make a brief stop here for photo opportunities of the colonial fort and the magnificent panoramic views of Havana.

ARTS & CRAFTS MARKET - ALMACENES SAN JOSE IN OLD HAVANA

Your last free morning in Havana is a perfect opportunity to catch a taxi at the hotel for one last visit to Habana Vieja and a quick shopping trip for that last minute gift or souvenir.  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, an impressive array of fashion, leather goods and accessories, all designed and handmade by local talent.  Your last stroll through the picturesque, narrow streets of Old Havana and farewell ride up the Malecon will leave the indelible mark on your memory that Havana inevitably leaves on all who have made her acquaintance and dream of returning to explore the rest of this island paradise.

DRINKS AT EL FLORIDITA

Ernest Hemingway was known to say, “My mojito at La Bodeguita; my daiquiri at Floridita”, the world-famous bar and one of Papa’s favorites where it is rumored he invented the “daiquiri” with his regular bartender.  The venue opened in 1817 under the name “La Pina de Plata” or The Silver Pineapple in English, and almost 100 years later the name was changed to “El Florida”, but in time became known as “El Floridita”.  One the famed Old Havana corner of Obispo and Monserrate, the bar was not only frequented by Hemingway, but was a regular haunt for generations of Cuban and foreign intellectuals and artists including Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos and British novelist, Graham Greene.  The Bar, complete with the bronze bust of Hemingway (2003), still preserves much of the atmosphere of the 1940s and 1950s and no trip to Havana would be complete with a visit to this iconic location.

CLASSIC CAR RIDE

Enjoy an amazing driven tour of Miramar’s Quinta Avenida and Havana’s “Malecon” in beautifully restored vintage 1950s convertibles.  Spending an hour with the owner/operators of these classic cars promotes the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities and offers the US traveler the chance to learn about and support the entrepreneurial efforts. This drive is a retrospective, nostalgic journey through time and you can feel you’re in the 1950s with the backdrop of the Cuban skyline, nearly frozen in time.

DINNER AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

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Day 7 - DEPARTURE DAY

BREAKFAST  

CHECK OUT
TRANSFER FROM A HAVANA HOTEL OR B&B TO JOSE MARTI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

You’ll be met by your guide and transportation for your airport transfer from the hotel to Jose Marti International Airport.  Your guide will remain with you at the airport, assisting with check-in and to see you off, ensuring a smooth departure.

DEPARTURE DAY DEPARTURE DAY

Day 8 - HAVANA CITY

BREAKFAST

You will be met by your guide after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

CIGAR FACTORY

You will learn about the past and present of one of the Cuban cigar factory., founded in 1845 by “Don” Jaime Partagas y Ravell, 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. Located in the historic colonial district of La Habana Vieja, the factory also has a VIP lounge and a store, offering the US connoisseur the rare opportunity to purchase and smoke a Cuban cigar at the source made by the master rollers at Partagas.

REVOLUTION SQUARE ( PLAZA DE LA REVOLUCION)

One of the most dramatic examples of modern architecture in Havana, if not the world, is the Plaza de la Revolución José Martí. The Plaza is among the largest civic plazas in the world, measuring nearly 24,000 sq. ft., surrounded by modern construction and featuring the enormous obelisk monument to Jose Marti, built on the highest ground in Havana. It is major attraction for visitors of all walks of life, world leaders and dignitaries, including Pope Francis who held mass there recently and Pope John Paul II who visited in 1998. The plaza was constructed prior to 1959 during the government of Fulgencio Batista, but gained popularity afterward as the center of public celebration and demonstration in Cuba. Two of the government buildings in the square, both mid-century modern (1958), is best known for the iron sculptures of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos that cover their facades, both by Cuban artist Enrique Avila. This grand plaza is also home to the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, built in 1979. This plaza is another one of those magical locations in Havana that throw you back in time but simultaneously offer you a great vision and hope for the future.

CALLEJON DE HAMEL COMMUNITY PROJECT

Callejon de Hamel is a unique tourist attraction in Havana Centro, the venue is known for its Afro Cuban art and Santeria rituals with rumba dance sessions.
The narrow two-block long alley between Aramburu and Hospital streets in Centro Habana has over the years become a shrine to Afro-Cuban religions through the art created by Salvador González. The buildings are lined with brightly-colored paintings, murals, sculptures and objects, which depict rituals and deities. Also, rumba groups play here every Sunday.

LUNCH AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

COPPELIA ICE CREAM PARLOR ( FOR DESSERT)

Havana's Coppelia is a Cuban Revolution modernist building from 1966. Features five white granite discs annexed to one great helicoidal staircase, with wood and tinted glass division panels, all inside one big round roof supported by twelve reinforced concrete arachnid columns. The flying-saucer-shaped building that represents a UFO that has landed in Havana and is one of the largest ice cream parlors in the world. Holding 1000 guests, it is located on the part of Calle 23 known as La Rampa in the Vedado district, and occupies the entire city block between Calles 23 and 21, and Calles K and L. Coppelia has been a major city landmark for both locals and visitors since its opening in 1966, but acquired additional fame when it was featured in one of the most widely viewed Cuban films, Strawberry and Chocolate

VISIT TO FIDEL CASTRO SUITE AT HAVANA LIBRE HOTEL

Havana Hilton (now the Hotel Habana Libre), designed by Los Angeles architect Welton Becket. Opened in March 1958, it was Latin America’s tallest and largest hotel, financed by the pension fund of the union of Cuban restaurant workers but operated by Hilton Hotels. On January 8, 1959, Fidel Castro arrived at Havana and the hotel served as his headquarters, even as it continued operating as a Hilton (until October 1960, when all American hotels in Cuba were nationalized). In 1996 the Spanish Sol Melià chain assumed management of the hotel and restored the enormous original mural by artist Amelia Peláez over the main entrance which had spent decades hidden from public view.

EXPLORE THE MALECON LIKE A CUBAN

If you would rather walk off the calories from your delicious lunch, your guide can drop you on Havana’s Malecon, the seaside avenue that borders the Caribbean Seas through Centro Havana and Vedado.  A quintessential seawall is a gathering place for Cubans from all walks of life. Strolling the Malecon as the waves break on the rocks below, you might hang out on the seawall with friends and enjoy a cigar or a sip of rum, run into musicians playing to the rhythm of the city and tides, pass a couple in love or a whole bunch of local kids swimming in the pools created waves on the rocks.  The Malecon is the city’s artery and the heart of social interaction in Havana and there, you are truly living a Cuban experience like a real “Habanero”.

DINNER AT SUGGESTED RESTAURANT

LA ZORRA Y EL CUERVO

The nightclub (The Fox and the Crow) is located on La Rampa (23th street) between N and O street close to the Habana Libre hotel. This famous jazz club is considered as 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 lead you to the basement where the club with a capacity of 120 people is situated.
The venue is popular among Cubans and tourists, many renowned names like ROBERTO FONSECA and CHUCHO VALDES have given performances in the jazz club.

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