Year-round Length: 6 days/5 nights
A journey into the Western provinces of Cuba offers a taste of both Cuba's rural and urban life with some spectacular scenery along the way. We visit some community art projects in Havana and then the mountain communities of Las Terrazas and Soroa, that surrounded by some lush forest. Viñales offers a charming village atmosphere, and some stunning mountainous scenery, sprawling tobacco fields and friendly locals. We include a visit to a tobacco farmer's house and learn how to roll the perfect cigar. There are also opportunities to experience Cuba's famous white sand beaches of Cayo Levisa and Cayo Jutias near to Vinales.
Group Size: Minimum 2 / Maximum 12 / Average 7
- A4 nights B&B Homestays and 1-night hotel in Las Terrazas
- Land transport along the route
- Guide service throughout
- 5 breakfasts
- International Flights
- Visa and passport fees
- All meals (except for breakfasts)
- Optional activities/day-tours/excursions
- Departure taxes (25CUC/person) and excess baggage fees
- Day 1 - Arrive Havana
Arrive in Havana at any time. Today is the arrival day of the tour so there are no planned activities and you can check into the arrival homestay and relax or go and explore the city. One of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere, Havana was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Adventure among the splendorous crumbling architecture of the streets of old Havana and sit on the famous sea wall (El Malecon) to take in the view and some fresh air, and to socialize with the colourful and friendly 'Habaneros'.
- Day 2 -Las Terrazas - via Jaimanitas
On the way to Las Terrazas we stop by at a couple of community art projects. Firstly to Callejon de Hammel where local resident Salvador Gonzáles Escalona has painted and decorated a pedestrian alleyway with scrap objects like bathtubs, hand pumps, and pin wheels, with many works being dedicated to various Afro-Cuban deities. It has now become a cultural focal point with workshops for young Cuban children to learn painting.
Callejon de Hammel, Havana, Cuba Next in the outskirts of Havana we visit the fishing village of Jaimanitas and the home of the famous artist Jose Fuster. Fuster has made his entire home, and much of the surrounding neighbourhood, into an artwork using tiles in mosaic forms. Now referred to as Fusterlandia, it is a unique work of public art with over 80 houses decorated with ornate murals and domes to suit the personality of each of Fuster's neighbours. He has built a chess park with giant boards and tables, a theatre, and public swimming pools. Nowadays, Fuster’s art is a cherished part of Cuban culture and joins the rank of other public artworks such as that of Gaudi in Barcelona or that of Brâncuși in the Romanian city of Targu Jiu.
Finally, we reach the mountain community of Las Terrazas which was built as a reforestation project in the 1960s and is now a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. We have time in the afternoon for a walk around the town to meet the friendly locals and for a swim in the pretty San Juan mountain stream. In Las Terrazas, there are also art, woodwork and pottery studios that are open to the public.
- Day 3 - Viñales - via Soroa
Leaving Las Terrazas, we stop at the nearby mountain resort town of Soroa. There are quite a few attractions around this heavily forested area including a short trek to a waterfall, a steep walk to a lookout, and an orchid garden.
Reaching Viñales we find ourselves surrounded by picturesque limestone pincushion hills - called (“mogotes”). Vinales is one of the more agriculturally productive areas, so an abundance of local seasonal fruit and vegetables is always on offer such as enormous avocados and mangoes, pineapples, papaya, guava, and several varieties of sweet potatoes. Its one of the cooler areas of Cuba, so it's also a nice escape from the hotter parts of the country. The nightlife is very active in this village with the local residents more than willing participants in dancing to the local live music.
This afternoon we include a visit to a tobacco farmers house to learn how to roll a perfect Cuban cigar.
- Day 4 - Viñales
Heading back to Havana we stop for the night at the mountain resort town of Today is a free day to choose your own adventure in Vinales. There are plenty of outdoor activities on offer, such as exploring caves, hiking in the valley, biking, horseback riding or simply enjoying the views of the valley and sprawling tobacco fields.
There are also the options of doing some voluntary work in a local organic farm (and staying for dinner!), or heading to one of the beautiful beaches nearby - Cayo Levisa or Cayo Jutias.
- Day 5 Havana
We return to Havana. In the afternoon the guide will take you on a walking tour of Old Havana. In Havana, there are plenty of restaurant and bar options to celebrate this last night of tour with your guide.
- Day 6 Depart Havana
Today you are free to depart at any time. We recommend you spend a couple extra nights in our B&B Homestays in Havana to further explore this unique city.
Deposit: A deposit of US$200 (or equivalent) is accepted as an initial payment to reserve a place on a tour, and full payment is due 60 days before tour departure day.
Travel Insurance: Trip Cancellation/Interruption Travel Insurance is recommended and should be taken out at the time the deposit is paid. A comprehensive insurance package is also available which covers trip cancellation/interruption, excess hospital/medical benefits, baggage and travel accident insurance. Some exclusions for pre-existing conditions do apply. Please ask for details.
Additional Comments: We estimate you will need between US$300 and US$500 for local expenses during the tour, such food and optional activities (but not including the Local Payment).
All prices are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated and may be subject to change. Great Expeditions reserves the right to make changes in itinerary if it is deemed necessary.
B.C. Reg. 2622-4