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The Breath Of Cuba Travel

Western Cuba: A Cultural Heritage Tour

QET A QUOTE

Come on this Western Cuba tour and see UNESCO world heritage sites, Trinidad, Havana, and Cienfuegos while learning about Cuban agriculture, rural living, and of course, the music and dance that Cuba is famous for will entertain you nightly.

On this trip you will also get to experience the natural beauty of Cuba that this region is so famous for: lush mountain farms, sustainability and agricultural highlights, history, art and great music every night will make this an unforgettable adventure.

 

 

Tour highlights

  • Visit the Colonial Gem of Trinidad de Cuba
  • See the magnificent architecture of Cienfuegos
  • Explore the Escambray mountaintops
  • Tour Las Terrazas eco-community
  • Visit one of Cuba’s premiere organic farms
  • Get your groove on with the sexy hot rhythms of the Buena Vista Social Club live show
  • Walk Old Havana World Heritage sites
  • Visit Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban home
  • See the Museum of Modern Art
  • Dine in top paladors across Cuba

Itinerary

Day 1-Saturday / Welcome to Cuba!
• Arrive at Havana's José Martí International airport (HAV).

• Savor the sights and sounds of Havana as you are transported to your accomodations, learning interesting facts and sinking into the Havana experience as you travel to the heart of Havana Vieja.

• At your lodging, enjoy a welcome cocktail, freshen up, and get comfortable.

• Group arrival dinner with your guide and tourmates at your accommodations.

• Evening entertainment options: Groove to live jazz, relax in a lounge, or revel in a dicey dance show – all within walking distance of your lodging.
Day 2 – Sunday / The Culture and Majesty of Havana
• Greet the day with tasty breakfast in your casa.

• Set off for a day filled with history, art, architecture and all that Havana offers as your expert guide shows you around. You will visit Havana's famous scenic plazas, monuments, museums, galleries including the infamous Palacio de Bellas Artes and much more.

•Lunch is served at the private restaurant Mojito-Mojito. Ideally situated in Plaza Vieja, its friendly staff, quaint atmosphere, and delicious food ranks it tops on TripAdvisor. The restaurant’s slogan, “A single mojito is not enough.” We agree.

•Social Q and A: Cuban Salon style. A chance to rest from the heat, and sip a cool drink, this is a unique social event set in a relaxing salon with refreshments and snacks. An opportunity to learn Cuban culture and US-Cuban relations with island experts. Always a favorite with our American guests.

•Dinner at Barbra paladar. The Madrid-inspired menu offers a variety of international food with distinctly Cuban touches. You’ll enjoy the intimate bar sporting tasty Cuban cocktails, and live music played on a baby grand piano.

•Enjoy a performance of the world-renowned pre-Revolution symphonics of the Buena Vista Social Club.
Day 3 – Monday / Rural Cuba's Nostalgic Charm
•After your tasty breakfast in your casa, we will venture to the lush hills of Las Terrazas just one hour to the west of Havana in Artemisa province. Las Terrazas today is a vibrant, self-sustaining eco-community with rich coffee and an even richer history.

•Next stop is Rancho Curujey. Learn here about the community’s successes in reforestation, historical preservation, environmental balance, and healthy living. Take a walking meditation, and wander off to visit the ruins of a French Coffee Plantation built in 1801.

•Lunch will be served at a favorite for locals: La Casa del Campesino. This charming palador is an open-air restaurant specializing in traditional Cuban country cuisine. Located on the shore of the Río San Juan, you'll be dining in a lush tropical paradise.

•Return to your room to rest, freshen up and enjoy a night on your own with our guides expert recommendations for restaurants and nightlife. Your guide will accompany you or if you prefer a night on your own, recommend the best spots for you.
Day 4-Tuesday / Urban Agriculture and the Hemingway House
•After a leisurely delicious breakfast, we will venture to one of the most successful urban organic farms in Cuba. The UBPC Vivero Organopónico Alamar, 9 miles east of Havana has since the 1990's been raising ornamental plants, medicinal herbs, and sprouting millions of seedlings for neighboring private and collective farms. Originally started by 9 people, now the Alamar cooperative has over 400 members who together supply a vast range of healthy, organic vegetables to nearby communities. •Lunch at the Ajiaco paladar in the romantic coastal fishing village Cojimar. Cojimar is the setting for two timeless classics, The Old man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, and The Breath of Cuba by Cheri Shanti. Long considered one of the best private eateries in the country, it is amongst the top-rated eateries on TripAdvisor. It’s noted for its fantastic service, atmosphere, and food and features organic fresh produce from Vivero Organopónico Alamar.

•Hemingway’s home. We’re off to visit Finca Vigía [Lookout Farm] where Ernest Hemingway spent twenty-one of his most productive years as a writer.

•After you've had a chance to freshen up in your room, you're off for another night of rhythm, dance and great food in the heart of Havana. *Dinner not included in tour cost.* We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.
Day 5-Wednesday / Cienfuegos-Trinidad
•After breakfast, we will depart for a full day's adventure and bring you deeper into Cuba to see more of the countryside on our way to our destination Trinidad.

•First stop will be the "Pearl of the South," Cienfuegos, which was settled by French immigrants in 1819. Amongst other spots, we’ll visit a neoclassical Catholic Cathedral built with donations from wealthy slave-owning families, the Plaza Martí and beautiful Central Plaza. We will have lunch at Villa Lagarto, set on the water’s edge overlooking the bay of Cienfuegos before continuing on to Trinidad.

•After resting and refreshing in your room at Trinidad, we will rejoin for a nourishing and tasty welcome dinner at El Bolo Vista Gourmet private restaurant. One of Trinidad's top restaurants, Vista Gourmet boasts sweeping vistas of the city and mountains.

•After dinner, take your pick of visiting one of Trinidad's top music venues. We recommend Casa de la Música or Casa de la Trova for opportunities to chat and dance with Cubans and your tour companions.
Day 6-Thursday / Mountain Adventure
•After breakfast, pack your boots and water bottle for an adventure into the campesino culture. Board Soviet Army trucks to visit the peaks of Topes de Collantes in the Escambray Mountains. "The Escambrays comprise the island’s second-highest range, reaching to 3,700 feet atop Pico San Juan. The mountains harbor small villages and are a pure delight for birders and naturalists alike. Dramatic slopes are swathed in Caribbean pines, ancient tree ferns, bamboo, and eucalyptus. It’s the perfect environment to spot the Cuban parakeet, Fernandina’s flicker, the Cuban parrot, the Cuban pygmy owl (about the size of a robin), and the Gundlach’s hawk."

• Savor a traditional Cuban meal with fresh coffee at Hacienda Codina, an old Spanish coffee plantation. Next we’ll take a walking tour of the area to admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape and the animals and plants it hosts. After some exploration by foot, we’ll return to Trinidad.

•On the way back to Trinidad, we will stop off at a viewing point where you can see the sweeping Valle de los Ingenios [Sugar Mill Valley], also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll learn about the significance of sugar production, the history of this area, and have a chance to ask questions about how sugar and slavery affected the unique culture of Trinidad.

•After returning to your casa, you'll have time to refresh, and walk the center to enjoy the artisan markets and culture of Trinidad. Tonight is an occasion to sample Trinidad’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island’s distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers.
Day 7 / Unesco World Heritage Sites Tour
•After breakfast, we will explore a multitude of significant historical spots that contributed to making Trinidad a World Heritage Site with Unesco. You'll visit and learn about the Plazas, the pottery and art contributions, the museums of art and architecture, natural history, agriculture and much more. Along the way we will sample cocktails and coffees and enjoy lunch at Paladar Guitarra Mía.

•After lunch, we will return to Havana. Check-in to your hotel, enjoy a welcome cocktail, freshen up, and get comfortable for your final night in Havana.

•Farewell group dinner,in an elegant mansion, El Atelier. El Atelier has been among the city’s best eateries for years with Cubans and foreign guests. President Obama, First Lady Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha dined at El Atelier in 2016.

Day 8 / Farewell to Cuba (for now)
•Enjoy a leisurely morning with breakfast at your casa.

•Transport to Havana International Airport for your departure.

Want to extend your Cuba stay? We'll gladly assist. Just ask us!

Extras

Extra Name Price
Drum/Dance Classes $25 Ask us about learning music and dance in Cuba.
Shopping $200 Your budget as needed.
Excursions Unlisted $50+ Horseback, snorkeling, or other excursions available upon request as available.
Cell Phone Set up $100 Includes purchase of SIM, time and data availability for your phone.

Included

  • Cuban Tourist Visa and delivery, up to a $100 value
  • Certificate of Legal Cuba Travel ensuring compliance with US regulations
  • Small group size – ten guests or fewer
  • Knowledgeable, fun, attentive Cuban guides from arrival to departure
  • Flexible tour payment options, you decide payment schedule
  • Quality accommodations as listed in this itinerary Air conditioned/hot water
  • Air-conditioned transport, professional chauffeur, and bottled water daily
  • Airport-accommodation transfers on tour start and end days
  • All activities and fees listed unless noted as optional or suggested
  • Emergency telephone and internet access from Cuba to America
  • Cash advances for participants caught short of funds in Cuba
  • Ongoing support from our US and Cuban staff before, during and after travel
  • Upon Registration with The Breath of Cuba Travel All Participants become BOC alumni and receive future tour discounts

Not Included

  • Airfare tickets
  • Trip Cancellation and Hazard Insurance: Highly Recommended
  • Tips and Gratuities for Cuban Service Team: Please take good care of them!

Video

Tour Map

 

QET A QUOTE

Testimonials

  • “What made this trip so special, beyond all of the beauty of Cuba, was Cheri’s personal connections with the people and the insights that she shared on the cultural distinctions.  I learned how much Cuba can teach us about our own humanity.”

     

    Corazón Kilgo
  • “So many memories. Cheri customized this experience for my daughter, my best friend and I for a get away girls trip.  I can’t imagine seeing Cuba without Cheri’s guidance.  She gave us intimate connections with the people, her friends and even some of the characters in her books.  The people are so lovely, and Cuba is gorgeous.  I definitely want to go back as soon as I can, and my daughter, well she fell in love with Cuba’s art as an artist herself and she too can’t wait to go back.”

     

    Stephanie Lowry
  • “Thank you for a fantastic time in Cuba, your guidance was essential and we could not have done it without your help.  You were patient with all of our questions, and having your Spanish along made it so much easier to get to know the people and understand what was going on.  You made magic happen even in challenging situations, and you made it so fun!  I will be back. Thank you for the lifetime unforgettable memories, we all had a blast!”

    Ellen Bussi
  • “Absolutely perfect, seamless trip.  Cheri met us in Havana and set us up with a beautiful apartment in Havana. We had an excellent tour of Havana with her and learned a lot about the history, the architecture, and most importantly, the people.  We went with her to Trinidad where she knows everyone it seems.  We were intrigued the whole time with her knowledge and passion for the country and the Cuban people.  Totally authentic once in a lifetime experience and it would not have been the same without Cheri by our side.”

    Olivia Singleton-Sanford
  • “Cuba brought me home to my childhood.  Seeing people outside and being together sharing life was a nostalgic reminder of the way I grew up.  Everything about this trip was awesome.  Cheri is a great guide. She even got me dancing salsa. The music in Trinidad was incredible and she knew all the musicians which made it that much more special for me as a pianist to get to really share with the people so intimately.  Go with her, hire her to be your guide, it’s worth far more than what she charges. I want to go again and bring my son next time with her.”

    Toby Klusmeyer
  • “I went to Cuba with a few friends in February of 2020.  I had a terrific trip. The energy and experience you created for us made it a flawless journey. I loved seeing the art and so appreciate the care you took in the special touches to really cater to our requests. The Santeria experience with Cheri’s friends in Cojimar, and meeting the characters in her book made it all the more special for us.  I highly recommend Cheri as a guide. Her love of the culture shines and makes the trip magical.”

    Liz Durfree
  • “Cheri is a fantastic guide. She did an exceptional job with our itinerary, took us to the places we most wanted to see and had exceptional drivers and guides.  If you’re looking for a truly authentic tour to have experiences you could never have with a larger group, let Cheri be your go to.  Our trip was seamless and well organized from A-Z.”

     

    Nancy Arata
  • “Cheri took me to places we never would have seen and we did things I never could have done without her. If you want an authentic Cuban experience, use her services, and have her travel with you.  You will learn so much, have so much fun and be dancing and laughing the entire time you are in Cuba.  She knows Cuba and her spanish is a Godsend.”

    Raquel Renner