Map Unavailable

Date/Time
Date(s) - 18/08/2017 - 27/08/2017
12:00 am

Categories No Categories


CUBA: THE TIMELESS "PEARL OF THE ANTILLES"

AUGUST 18-27, 2017

Cuba. A magical place. For the past 55 years it has been a land of mystery to Americans. But that is changing. And Essential History Expeditions’ Cuba tours enable guests to explore this jewel of the Caribbean.

From the revolutions of Jose Marti and Fidel Castro. To the writings of Reinaldo Arenas, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Alejo Carpentier and Ernest Hemingway. From the art of Wilfredo Lam, Manuel Mendive and Alberto Korda. From the hot music scene of Havana and Santiago with the son, mambo, salsa and more to classical guitar and piano. From white sandy beaches and the clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean to soaring green mountain jungles. From small hamlets to towns of still-perfect 18th century colonial architecture to modern metropolis. We will explore all this and much more.

Our Cuba tour includes eight days and seven nights of fully guided people-to-people contact filled with history, culture, music, food, in cities, towns and beautiful rugged countryside and pristine beaches.

Just a reminder: while the December 2014 announcements have made travel to Cuba easier than previous, the American traveler still cannot travel for pure tourism. For every Cuba expedition, Essential History Expeditions takes care of the travel affidavit and Cuban visa, and we have developed our itinerary in conjunction with the official Cuban office, Havanatur, as well as a longtime stateside Cuban agency in Miami.

cuba expeditions

CHECK OUT OUR RECENTLY PUBLISHED ARTICLE ON CUBA, INSPIRED BY OUR FIRST CUBA TOUR!

Essential History Expeditions partners Dr. Brian DeToy and Sheryl Rankin Shafer were recently published, along with several of Sheryl’s photos, in Destinations Travel Magazine! Check out the article entitled Founding Fathers: A Cuba Travelogue!

cuba expeditions

DISCOVER CUBA

The history of this island begins for us when the native peoples first met the Spaniards in the last decade of the 15th century. Over the next half-millennium, the island and people of Cuba would have much to say about what happened throughout the hemisphere. Spaniards, British, French, Americans and their allies all contested for control. The fates of empires hung in the balance as forces vied for Cuba. In the last half-century, the revolution led by Fidel Castro transformed the nation and people. Now, today, this emerald island is re-emerging as a destination for Americans seeking to explore its enormous riches in history, culture and geography.

On our Cuba tour, we will visit the birthplace of revolutions – Santiago de Cuba in the southeast of the island, where the Americans landed to aid the Cubans in their fight for independence in 1898, including Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders at Kettle Hill, and where Castro began his fight in 1953. In Havana, we will see the whole panoply of old and modern Cuba on display. Small groups can choose between scuba diving, snorkeling, or swimming. We’ll take a day trip to the stunning Vinales Valley and the Benito cigar plantation along with hiking and cave exploring at Santo Tomas. On our Cuba tour, we’ll also visit the beautiful French city of Cienfuegos and the nearby 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion beaches. Throughout the Cuba expedition, our guests will experience incredible Cuban meals and music, art and architecture, along with lessons in history that resonate down through the centuries and decades with us today.

ACTIVITIES & HIGHLIGHTS

cuba expeditions
Cuba tours, Playa del Este

Day 1

ARRIVE HOLGUIN FROM MIAMI: FOCUS ON HISTORY AND CULTURE

  • Arrive Holguin from Miami and drive through the verdant countryside to Bayamo. Visit sites in the Revolutionary City, from Cespedes’ freeing the slaves to the famed “Message to Garcia” from the US President McKinley to Fidel’s penultimate public appearance and speech. Walk the gorgeous pedestrian boulevard “shopping street”
  • Drive to Santiago de Cuba
  • Visit Parque Cespedes — one of Cuba’s oldest town squares with several of the country’s most important and iconic buildings, including the first Governor’s home (1515!), Cortes’ mayor’s office, cathedral and the Casa Granda Hotel of Graham Greene fame
  • Check in to the hotel in Santaigo; dinner at the hotel

Day 2

GUANTANAMO BAY AND SANTIAGO: FOCUS ON HISTORY AND CULTURE

  • Drive through the beautiful Sierra Maestre mountains to an overlook where we will observe Guantanamo Bay and the American base of the same name
  • Lunch in the town of Guantanamo
  • Visit Sta Ifigenia Cemetery, resting place of Cuba’s most famous men, from Fidel Castro to Jose Marti “the Apostle of Freedom” to Carlos Manuel de Cespedes “the Father of the Nation” to the Bacardi Family plot to Compay Segundo, the inimitable leader of the Buena Vista Social Club and many more
  • Visit one of the most iconic sites of the Cuban revolution of 1950s where it all began with Fidel Castro, the Moncada Barracks. Moncada was the Batista army garrison that Castro’s band failed to seize. But in their failure they ignited a revolution and a movement.
  • Dinner at a local paladar, a locally owned restaurant

Day 3

SANTIAGO AND BAYAMO: FOCUS ON MUSIC, HISTORY AND CULTURE

  • Visit numerous sites of the 1898 Spanish-American War, including Playa Siboney, Siboney Granjita Ranch, Las Guasimas, El Caney, Kettle Hill/San Juan Heights, and the Peace Tree – Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders!
  • Visit the castle fortress of El Morro, which has stood at the entrance of Santiago Bay for 400 years, to discuss pirates and America’s naval victory in 1898
  • Enjoy lunch on an open balcony overlooking the blue Caribbean
  • Depart Santiago Antonio Maceo Airport for a flight to Havana
  • Arrive Havana and check-in to hotel in Old Havana
  • Dinner in Havana

Day 4

HAVANA: FOCUS ON ART, MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE AND HISTORY

  • Visit Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s sprawling home and grounds for 20 years and where he did much of the writing that earned him the Nobel prize
  • Walking tour of Old Havana (Habana Vieja) – the 4 Plazas, the Prado, Plaza Central – the heart of the City for 500 years! We will also pop in to some of Hemingway’s favorite haunts, including La Floridita, La Bodeguita and Sloppy Joe’s to sample the drinks he made famous: the daiquiri and mojito.
  • Lunch on your own in Plaza Vieja
  • Enjoy rooftop dinner at paladar La Moneda Cubana and watch Fortress night gun firing

Day 5

HAVANA: FOCUS ON HISTORY AND CULTURE

  • Visit the Plaza de la Revolucion, site of the government and large gatherings for 60 years
  • Tour one of the four main cigar factories, to see how the world’s finest are hand-made
  • Enjoy rooftop views and lunch at paladar Cafe Laurent in Vedado, today Havana’s “downtown”
  • Explore the Hotel Nacional, the country’s most iconic hotel, where we will discuss American involvement in Cuba from the 1920s through the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, including the intact bunker system on the grounds
  • View all of Havana from above the harbor at the statue of Christ near the Cabana Fortress
  • Dinner at Divina Pastora near the Fortress
  • Watch the Gun Firing Ceremony in the Fortress, one of Spain’s largest and most important in the entire Americas

Day 6

PINAR DEL RIO: FOCUS ON BEAUTY AND THE COUNTRYSIDE

  • Drive through the western province of Pinar del Rio, the tabacco capital of the world!
  • Marvel at the beauty fo the Vinales Valley, the UNESCO-world heritage site filled with mogotes, the remains of a vast limestone karst landscape, from the Los Jazmines overlook
  • Visit Benito Cigar farm to witness the drying and rolling of cigar leaves directly from the source
  • Walk through the lovely country town of Vinales
  • Feast on the incredibly fresh array of vegetables and meats served family style at Finca Paraiso, a private eco farm-to-table paladar where you can also explore the extensive gardens
  • Arrive back at Hotel in Havana
  • Dinner on own (as you likely won’t want much after the filling late lunch!)

Day 7

HAVANA AND BEACH: FOCUS ON RELAXATION AND CULTURE

  • Take the morning in Old Havana to visit museums, shop, walk and relax
  • Relax by the crystal-blue Caribbean waters with its white-sand beach at Havana’s eastern beach, the Playas del Este with activities such as sailing and snorkeling
  • Lunch on your own either in Havana or at the beach
  • Dinner at El Templete in Old Havana overlooking the harbor
  • Climb aboard beautiful 1950s convertibles for the scenic drive down the Malecon to the famed Tropicana Nightclub, which has played to great crowds since 1939

Day 8

CIENFUEGOS AND TRINIDAD: FOCUS ON ARCHITECTURE, MUSIC, HISTORY, CULTURE

  • Depart for Bahia dos Cochinos (Bay of Pigs); after time in Havana, note the difference in the way of life in the small villages and countryside
  • Explore the Bay of Pigs Museum (Playa Giron) and 1961 Invasion beaches, where American-backed Cuban expatriates attempted to initiate a counter-revolution and topple Castro. It failed. Spectacularly!
  • Walk through downtown to the beautiful central square in Cienfuegos, a French-inspired colonial town founded by American-French from New Orleans and Philadelphia
  • Lunch at the Yacht Club in Cienfuegos
  • Visit the amazingly ornate Palacio de Valle on Punta Gorda peninsula, with cocktails overlooking the gorgeous bay
  • Drive along the Caribbean coast to Trinidad
  • Dinner in Old Town Trinidad at Los Conspiradores, overlooking the Plaza Mayor
  • Hotel night in Trinidad

Day 9

TRINIDAD: FOCUS ON RELAXATION AND HISTORY

  • Enjoy a final relaxing morning at Playa Ancon beach for snorkeling, catamarans, etc
  • Explore Trinidad’s historical town center – one of the oldest in the entire New World, perfectly maintained over hundreds of years
  • Sit atop a hillside rooftop paladar for a final delicious dinner at Vista Gourmet
  • Hotel night in Trinidad

Day 10

Santa Clara: Focus on History and Departure

  • Morning drive through Mirador de La Loma del Puerto to Manaca Iznaga in the Valle de los Ingenios
  • Visit the sugar mill museum and grounds and enjoy a final Cuban lunch
  • Depart for Santa Clara
  • Visit Che sculpture/mausoleum and drive by Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado where Castro’s forces had their final victory in the Revolution
  • Arrive Santa Clara Airport for departure to Miami
cuba tours
cuba tours
cuba tours
cuba expeditions
cuba tour
cuba tours
cuba tours

THIS CUBA EXPEDITION INCLUDES

  • Flight from Miami to Holguin
  • Flight from Holguin to Havana
  • Flight from Cienfuegos to Miami
  • Transportation by luxury bus throughout trip
  • In-depth guided Cuba tour with both American historian and Cuban tour guide
  • Optional opportunity to role-play an important character in Cuban history
  • Nine nights luxury accommodations
  • Majority of all meals, many at fantastic entrepreneurial paladars
  • Typically, two drinks with each meal, many including rum drinks and beer
  • Two bottles of water per day per person
  • All entrance fees for group activities
  • Visa for entry to Cuba
  • Certification of travel to Cuba under the U.S. Department of Treasury general license
  • Gratuities for Cuban guide, driver, docents and restaurants
  • Medical insurance while in Cuba
  • Personalized tour support

NOT INCLUDED

  • Hotel in Miami
  • Optional activities of diving, snorkeling (EHE will make arrangements)
cuba expeditions

READY TO DISCOVER HISTORY?

  • SALE! For a limited time, receive a $750 discount, double occupancy!
  • Pricing for August 2017: $5,950 per person double occupancy; $910* supplement for single single occupancy (pass-through supplement from the company in Cuba).
  • Down payment: $1,000 per guest due upon registration; see Terms & Conditions for payment schedule and cancellation policy.
  • Active duty and career retired military, current and career retired educators, and students all receive an automatic 10 percent discount on this Cuba tour.
  • All repeat Essential History Expeditions guests receive a 10 percent discount on this expedition.
  • We require a minimum of 10 guests to run an expedition or Essential History Expeditions discretion if fewer guests.