8 Day Cuban Explorer (Varadero & Beyond)

8 Day Cuban Explorer (Varadero & Beyond)

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Day 1

YOU HAVE NOW ARRIVED IN CUBA!

In Cuba Upon arrival in Havana, pass through customs individually, gather bags and TRANSFER as a group to our hotel. Afternoon to settle in and/or explore the area around Hotel Habana Libre

8.30 PM: WELCOME DINNER and TRANSFER to Restaurante Santo Angel, famous for its open-air atmosphere and delicious creole cooking (enjoy the Pollo Asado, delicious roast chicken in citrus juice).

10.30 PM: TRANSFER back to hotel by bus.

Accommodations: Habana Libre Hotel

 

Day 2

09.00 AM: ORIENTATION TOUR BY BUS FOLLOWED BY GUIDED WALKING TOUR of Old Havana, a.k.a.

Habana Vieja. This is a great opportunity to meet and interact with local Cubans going about their everyday lives on the city streets.

In 1982 Old Havana was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s brimming with a variety of historical landmarks and interesting things to do. Just walking the streets in this area is a favorite pastime and will surely result in an unforgettable experience with plenty of chances to meet the locals and to take advantage of myriad photo ops.

1.00 PM: LUNCH at the infamous La Bodeguita del Medio restaurant. Considered to be the most famous restaurant in Havana, and the place where Hemingway enjoyed not just a few mojitos, La Bodeguita del Medio (“the little store in the middle of the block”) is just off the Plaza de Catedral, and a must for any visit to Havana.

3.00 PM: Dinner on your own (Suggestion: dine at a “paladar,” which is a small, private restaurant with limited seating, often in the home of its owner)

Paladar recommendations:

La Guarida: Considered to be one of the best paladars in Havana, where you can enjoy an excellent and varied menu and fine wines. Located where the Oscar-nominated “Fresa y Chocolate” was filmed in the back

streets of Centro Habana located just west of Habana Vieja.

La Casa de Lilian: Another private restaurant/paladar in a stunning garden setting with excellent food – this is where President Carter ate when he visited Cuba.

       Accommodations: Habana Libre Hotel

 

Day 3

09.00: TRANSFER by bus to Morro Cabana, a.k.a. Castillo del Morro, to explore and photograph, including access for panoramic views of the harbor and the skyline of Havana. Construction of the fortress was begun in 1589 by Italian architect Giovanni Battista Antonelli, and its purpose was to detect approaching enemy ships attempting to enter the harbor of Havana. Entry fee to fortress not included but offers great views from outside for free. We’ll also enjoy an interesting visit to Che Guevara’s former office in Havana and additional stunning views of the city from across the harbor.

 

11.00 AM: TRANSFER to an area of Havana known as Vedado and on to the gran dame Hotel Nacional, located right on the Malecon, the seawall that runs along the waterfront. Sit down with some locals and enjoy a drink with a commanding view of the sea and experience the wonderful history that can be felt throughout the hotel. We’ll also visit La Torre (The Tower), a bar/restaurant on the 30th floor of the Focsa building, from which we can enjoy and photograph even more beautiful views of Havana.

1.00 PM: Lunch at Restaurante Cuba 54. Try the “pulpo” (octopus) appetizer, it’s delicious.

2.30 PM: Visit to “El Callejon de Hamel.” Funky street murals, psychedelic art shops and frenetic rumba music, can be enjoyed in this narrow street which could be considered a high temple of Afro-Cuban culture. A good place to get in contact with common Cuban people. Weekends is when this place comes to life!

4.00 PM: TRANSFER back to the hotel and dinner.

Accommodations: Habana Libre Hotel

 

Day 4

07.30 AM TRANSFER for day trip to Viñales for landscape and village exploration. Viñales was founded in 1607 and has an economy based on agriculture, mainly tobacco farming, and its soil is considered to be some of the richest in the world.    In the Viñales Valley, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, we’ll see mountainous “mogotes,” made of hard limestone left over after millennia of erosion, as well as rural

farmland vistas. We’ll also plan to visit and meet with local tobacco farmers working in their fields and in their storehouses.

First we’ll stop at “Mirador del Valle de Viñales” (at Hotel Los Jazmines). Here we’ll have commanding views of the mogotes and the valley below. Then we’ll take a boat ride through the “Cueva del Indio,” a river system that’s inside a mogote.

1.00 PM: LUNCH at Restaurant “El Palenque.”

2.00 PM: Continued exploration of this gorgeous part of western Cuba where we’ll stop in the town of Viñales where we can walk around and visit with the locals. We’ll also visit “Casa del Veguero,” a working tobacco farm where we’ll get inside their storehouses and have a brief introduction to tobacco farming and the interesting process of tobacco production.   5.00p: TRANSFER back in Havana, dinner on your own.

 

           Accommodations: Habana Libre Hotel

Day 5

09.00: Visit to Ernest Hemingway’s former home, Finca La Vigia, near Cojimar, a quaint fisherman's village. With your entry fee (not included) to the museum you’ll be able to observe Hemingway’s personal belongings, trophies, firearms and see the room where he used to write, as well as his fishing souvenirs and the other remembrances of his life in Cuba. This is where Hemingway celebrated his Pulitzer prize in 1953 with his fishermen buddies and the now legendary boat skipper, Gregorio Fuentes, captain of his yacht El Pilar, and the main character of his book, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, which was set in this area. We’ll also have a chance to see El Pilar which is now conveniently located in a corner of the property.

12.00 PM: Lunch on your own.4.00 PM: TRANSFER to hotel and dinner on your own.

 

Day 6

Get ready to transfer to the one of a kind Varadero beach.

Enjoy free time to explore these beautiful beaches and experience the surroundings!

Accommodations: Sol Palmeras (All-inclusive Resort)

Day 7

Free day to enjoy your beautiful surroundings!

 

Accommodation: Sol Palmeras (All-inclusive Resort)

 

Day 8

  • Breakfast in hotel.
  • Check-out of hotel.
  • Transfer to José Martí International Airport for flights home.