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Food

  • Cuba is not renowned for its culinary excellence and some ingredients are just not possible to get hold of (due in no small part to the long trade embargo implemented by the US). As such, flavours tend to be relatively simple, with most mealtimes consisting of meat or fish accompanied by rice and salad/vegetables. Seafood is widely available on the coast, including cheap and abundant lobster! Vegetarians will probably find they have the most limited choice. Snack food is not freely available in Cuba so you may wish to consider taking some with you. Paladares are likely to be a highlight of any visit to Cuba - they are one of the few types of private enterprise allowed (although still heavily regulated), where families can set up a restaurant in their own house selling authentic, Cuban food. The atmosphere this creates and opportunity to integrate with local Cubans will no doubt enhance your stay! We recommend that you allow CUC 30 per person per day for the lunches and evening meals on the days where food is not included. You may also spend money on bottled water, which will normally cost about CUC 1.50 per bottle if bought from the coach (less if you purchase from local shops). Please note that meal times can be different to what you may be used to. Breakfast will usually be served between 7 - 8am (according to the amount of walking on a particular day). Lunch is rarely served before 2pm, and can sometimes be as late as 4:30pm (depending on when the walks are completed), and evening meals are generally taken around 8:30 to 9pm.

Activities

  • Accom: camping
  • Accom: hotel/lodge
  • Culture & Discovery
  • Walking & Trekking
  • Guided Group
  • Food

    • Cuba is not renowned for its culinary excellence and some ingredients are just not possible to get hold of (due in no small part to the long trade embargo implemented by the US). As such, flavours tend to be relatively simple, with most mealtimes consisting of meat or fish accompanied by rice and salad/vegetables. Seafood is widely available on the coast, including cheap and abundant lobster! Vegetarians will probably find they have the most limited choice. Snack food is not freely available in Cuba so you may wish to consider taking some with you. Paladares are likely to be a highlight of any visit to Cuba - they are one of the few types of private enterprise allowed (although still heavily regulated), where families can set up a restaurant in their own house selling authentic, Cuban food. The atmosphere this creates and opportunity to integrate with local Cubans will no doubt enhance your stay! We recommend that you allow CUC 30 per person per day for the lunches and evening meals on the days where food is not included. You may also spend money on bottled water, which will normally cost about CUC 1.50 per bottle if bought from the coach (less if you purchase from local shops). Please note that meal times can be different to what you may be used to. Breakfast will usually be served between 7 - 8am (according to the amount of walking on a particular day). Lunch is served between 1 - 3pm, and evening meals are generally taken around 7 - 9pm.
  • 1

    Start Havana.

    The group flight arrives in the afternoon and we transfer to our hotel. Land only clients will meet the group at the start hotel in Havana.

  • 2

    Transfer to Vinales.

    This morning we drive to Vinales, nestled in the west of Cuba in the Pinar del Rio province. Vinales Valley is filled with palm trees, tobacco plantations and some of the most impressive scenery in Cuba. Huge limestone karsts (sheer-sided, flat-topped hills) rise from the valley floor, riddled with caves and covered in forest. Traditional farming methods are used in this area and it’s common to see farmers ploughing their fields with an ox and cart. Upon arrival we'll have a warm up walk along the 'Sendero de Maravillas' trail through farm land where locals grow yucca, maize and the world famous Cuban tobacco. Lunch will be taken in a typical Cuban restaurant either before or after the walk (depending on our arrival time in Vinales). We stay overnight in casa homestays within Vinales town for the next 2 nights. Walking approx. 6km.

  • 3

    Day walk in rural Vinales; visit Cueva del Indio; evening free to explore town.

    We leave this morning with a picnic lunch and head off on foot to the San Vicente area of Vinales. We will stretch our legs on a long walk that takes us along the Fogon de los Negros valley and through the Minas de Constancia mogote. The walk is reasonably challenging but we are rewarded throughout the day with beautiful views of the forests, valleys and a unique landscape of karsts. The we visit the Cueva del Indio, a cave with an underground river running through it. In the evening the bus is available to take you from the accommodation into the charming town of Vinales, as you may want to try out one of the local paladares for dinner. Walking approx. 13km.

  • 4

    Drive to Sierra del Escambray in central Cuba. Che Guevara Mausoleum.

    Today we depart early, as it is a travel day. We leave the Western part of the Island, and head to The Sierra del Escambray, the second highest mountain range in Cuba, dominating the central part of the island and spanning across three different provinces; Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Sancti Spiritus. Richly forested with pines. We drive to Santa Clara and visit Che Guevara’s Mausoleum and museum. This is the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution in December 1958, just before Fidel Castro took Havana. Che Guevara and his troops ambushed an armoured train carrying arms to Santiago de Cuba and this was a major turning point in the Revolution. We then head downtown in time for lunch and we visit the armoured train monument before heading for our mountain hotel for two nights. (approx. 6-7 hrs driving time)

  • 5

    Trek around Hanabanilla reservoir in the Sierra del Escambray Mountains.

    After breakfast we set off from the hotel by boat for our trek around Hanabanilla Reservoir. The hotel and reservoir are set high in the Escambray Mountains and this was formerly a favourite spot for high level Cuban leaders to come to rest, walk and fish. The hotel is basic but the surroundings are spectacular and provide a wonderful introduction to Cuban endemic flora and fauna. Expect to see the Cuban National Bird, the Tocororo, and many others who make their habitat in the lush tropical vegetation. We will have lunch included today at a restaurant, and the evening is free to relax at the hotel pool. Walking approx. 12km.

  • 6

    Trek in Topes de Collantes reserve.

    This morning we start the day with a boat ride across Lake Hanabanilla (approx. 30 minutes) to reach the start of our trek. We walk along the banks of the lake using a dirt track and reach Guanayara in time for lunch. After a light lunch in the farm house we continue towards El Rocio waterfall for a dip in the beautiful natural pools closeby. Return to Guanayara for dinner and then transfer (approx. 35 miutes) to our hotel for the night. Walking approx. 14km.

  • 7

    'Vegas Grandes' waterfall walk; to Trinidad.

    Today we transfer by truck to the starting point of the Caburni trail, which takes us to some magnificent waterfalls and a lovely swimming spot. We then continue on a steep path to visit the Vegas Grandes waterfalls where we can also enjoy a swim. We finish the trek at the village of the El Chorrito community and go for a typical country lunch at ‘Mi Retiro’ restaurant. After lunch, we descend by bus towards the Caribbean coast and our destination – the World Heritage Site town of Trinidad. We’ll be having another homestay for the next 2 nights in the heart of the old town. Dinner tonight will be a lovely experience as we all get together in one of the casas that has a restaurant/bar on its premises. Walking approx. 12km.

  • 8

    Free day to explore Trinidad.

    Trinidad is beautiful; a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988 and perhaps the best-preserved colonial town on the island. Exploring Trinidad can feel like entering a time warp, its colourful, cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisking us back to Colonial Times. There are many interesting museums housed in old colonial buildings and music drifts through the streets and plazas. Today is free to soak up the atmosphere of Trinidad, simply relax, or join an optional excursion to explore the surrounding areas. This evening we recommend a visit to Trinidad's Casa de la Trova (the House of Music) for traditional Cuban music and dancing.

  • 9

    To Sierra Maestra National Park.

    Today we have a long drive to the Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra, a spectacular national park within Cuba's highest mountain range. This region is well known as Fidel Castro's base of operations during the Cuban Revolutionary War. High in the Sierra is Comandancia La Plata, the secret mountain hideout of Castro and Che Guevara used for planning the war in the 1950's and as the base of Radio Rebelde, which provided information for the revolutionaries. Our first choice is to stay in a hotel in the Sierra Maestra, however due to the popularity of the area we may stay in Bayamo, a charming colonial city with a recently renovated boulevard where the locals love to congregate in the evenings. (approx. 8-9 hrs driving time)

  • 10

    Maravillas Trail.

    Today we will depart on foot towards the south of the Sierra Maestra to commence the Maravillas de Santo Domingo trail. (approx. 4-6 hrs walking). Along the trail you will be able to see some of the different species that inhabit the area. There will be an opportunity to stop for a refreshing swim in the Yara river and maybe some free time in the afternoon. Walking approx. 12km.

  • 11

    Trek to 'Comandancia de La Plata'; to Camaguey.

    After breakfast in the hotel we will begin our walk up to Comandancia de La Plata, Fidel's mountain headquarters within the Sierra Maestra. We are able to visit the revolutionary army hideout and learn how Fidel Castro orchestrated guerilla warfare on the Batista dictatorship, including the 'Radio Rebelde' site. At the end of the trail we descend to Santo Domingo in time for lunch. We then head from Santo Domingo to Camaguey (approx. 3 hrs), arriving late afternoon or early evening to our hotel. Walking approx. 7.5km.

  • 12

    Sightseeing in Camaguey; to Santa Clara.

    We visit Camaguey and have time to explore the historic city, characterised by tinajones - large, earthen jugs, found in the squares, churches and gardens, originally used to store water during the drought periods. This provincial capital was recently awarded World Heritage Site status. After sightseeing we have the long drive to Santa Clara. (approx. 4-5 hrs driving time)

  • 13

    To Havana; city tour including the old town and Plaza de la Revolucion.

    This morning we set off for Cuba’s Capital city, arriving in time for a city tour of old and new Havana, Cuba's capital and the largest city in the Caribbean. This is a busy and bustling, energetic capital. Old Havana is described as a living museum with its marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces; this is the finest surviving Spanish colonial complex in the Americas. Preserved by a combination of minimal war damage, post revolution restoration work and the millions of dollars invested since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. We also visit the Plaza de la Revolucion with its images of the Cuban Revolution. In the afternoon we check into our hotel in the Old town.

  • 14

    Free day in Havana.

    Today is free for you to discover the charms of Havana at your own pace, or join an optional excursion to Las Terrazas community.

  • 15

    Visit La Bodeguita del Medio; end Havana.

    Free morning for further sightseeing in Havana and before we meet for lunch in one of Hemingway's old haunts, La Bodeguita del Medio. Those on group flights will be taken to the airport for their return journey to London.

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Zondag 26 november DeFabrique, Utrecht

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