Immersion in Cuban soil from Havana to Santiago

Trip description

Three full weeks on the Isla de la Revolucion is an ideal time to discover the country and its riches. You will have time to walk the island from one end to the other without rushing. From Havana, urban and full of life, you will attack the territory to Santiago, 1,000 km away, alternating between visits to the architectural heritage, walks and hikes in the heart of a lush and wild nature, long afternoons under the Caribbean sun and gastronomic discoveries. Without forgetting a few crazy nights spent to the sound of salsa and Cuban sound!

Day 1: Arrival in Havana

Day 2: Havana - day 1

Day 3: Havana - day 2

Day 4: Viñales

Day 5: Viñales Park

Day 6: Varadero

Day 7: Santa Clara

Day 8: Trinidad and Playa Ancon

Day 9: Trinidad - Valley of Los Ingenios

Day 10: Los Jardines del Rey Archipelago - day 1

Day 11: Los Jardines del Rey Archipelago - day 2

Day 12: Los Jardines del Rey Archipelago - day 3

Day 13: Santiago de Cuba - Day 1

Day 14: Santiago de Cuba - day 2

Day 15: Santiago de Cuba - day 3

Day 16: Baracoa

Day 17: The surroundings of Baracoa

Day 18: Hiking in the Sierra Maestra

Day 19: Bayamo

Day 20: Gibara

Day 21: Return to Havana

Day 1 : Arrival in Havana

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Once the luggage has been dropped off at the hotel or in your particular casa, head for Le Malecón for a short walk at sunset to soak up the unique atmosphere of Havana, so sensual at dusk time. We continue with a mojito tasting in a trendy bar in the Vedado, before choosing one of the very good restaurants in the area for dinner. A good night's rest will then be welcome!

Day 2 : Havana - day 1

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We will start our stay with a visit to Habana Vieja: discovery of the old historic centre classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, a walk through the picturesque cobbled streets, a visit to the Baroque palaces, museums, and the unmissable monumental squares of Plaza Vieja, Plaza de Armas and Plaza de la Catedral. We can plan a lunch on the latter, in a superb historical setting. Relaxing afternoon, on the terrace, before venturing into "Havana nocturna"!

Day 3 : Havana - day 2

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Visit of the Museo de la Revolución and the Plaza de la Revolución. Discover the Centro Habana district, less touristy than the others, and lunch in the picturesque Chinese barrio, Chinatown. Evening in a Vedado paladar and outings to a trendy bar in the Miramar district

Day 4 : Viñales

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Departure for Viñales in the morning. Discover the village and meet its inhabitants, before enjoying a Cuban bocadillo with a cold beer. At the end of the day, you will enjoy a moment of relaxation on the terrace of a special casa to admire the play of light on the sublime mountains at nightfall.

Day 5 : Viñales Park

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A day trip, on horseback or on foot, through the Viñales Park, a UNESCO natural heritage site, and its famous mogotes, these immense limestone hills, rounded and covered with lush vegetation. We will take this opportunity to discover the tobacco plantations and learn more about the Cuban art of cigar rolling. Night in Viñales or return to Havana at the end of the day.

Day 6 : Varadero

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We will spend the day on this paradisiacal beach to recharge our batteries, before attacking a big fiesta in the evening in one of the many bars or clubs of the seaside resort

Day 7 : Santa Clara

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Direction Santa Clara, which is joined by the central highway to visit, among other things, the memorial dedicated to Ernesto Che Guevara before stopping at the Florida center for a lobster grilled or an excellent vieja ropa (cooked beef). We will take advantage of the afternoon to stroll through Vidal Park and visit the Museum of Decorative Arts.

Day 8 : Trinidad and Playa Ancon

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Wake up at dawn to take the road to Trinidad, which we will reach in a short half-day from Santa Clara. Lunch then visit the colonial historic centre classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The afternoon will be dedicated to idleness and sunbathing on the pretty wild beach of Playa Ancon.

Day 9 : Trinidad - Valley of Los Ingenios

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After a good breakfast in the picturesque centre of Trinidad, you will take the road to the valley of Los Ingenios. This vast area, located 30 minutes east of Trinidad, was the home of Cuban sugar production in the th century. You can cross the valley on horseback through the ruins of over 70 sweets.

Day 10 : Los Jardines del Rey Archipelago - day 1

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From Trinidad we will reach Morón, the ideal gateway to reach the cayos - rocky islets - in the north of the island, connected to the mainland by pedraplen, road platforms. The first day will be devoted to Cayo Coco, one of the leading Cuban tourist destinations: in addition to a colony of 30,000 flamingos, 158 species of birds and mammals thrive on the paradisiacal beaches bathed in turquoise water

Day 11 : Los Jardines del Rey Archipelago - day 2

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Cayo Guillermo and its 5 km of white sandy beaches bordered by transparent waters is connected to Cayo Coco by a road median. The only beach in Pilar, a real natural treasure coiled at the very end of the islet, would be worth a trip to Cuba on its own! We can push the walk to Cayo Ensenacho and Santa Maria, better preserved.

Day 12 : Los Jardines del Rey Archipelago - day 3

We will take advantage of this little corner of paradise to stroll around, toes fanned, or to indulge in birdwatching.

Day 13 : Santiago de Cuba - Day 1

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Direction Santiago de Cuba in the early morning. Arrival at the end of the day due to the long journey from Morón. Stroll around the Parque Céspedes and then aperitif on the panoramic terrace of the nearby Casa Granda hotel to get a global view of the city and take pictures of the mythical Sierra Maestra on the horizon.

Day 14 : Santiago de Cuba - day 2

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Visit of the city and its casco histórico. Discover the different squares - Plaza Marte and Plaza de Dolores - to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Santiago. At the end of July, the carnival broke out in the city. Huge fiesta guaranteed! If you visit the city the rest of the year, visit the Carnival Museum which is very well done.

Day 15 : Santiago de Cuba - day 3

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A second day in Santiago is not too much to grasp the various facets and to visit its remarkable buildings. The Panoramico bus stopping at the various key points of the city is an interesting option for exploring Santiago. The evening can be dedicated to a show at Cabaret San Pedro del Mar or at the Tropicana.

Day 16 : Baracoa

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Early morning wake-up to take the road to Baracoa, which is located in the far west of the island, in Guantánamo province. After eating crab and other grilled fish at the table of Hotel El Castillo, overlooking the city with the ocean in the background, head for the newly restored Malecón de Baracoa. Along this seaside promenade you will discover the mountainous bays and foothills surrounding the city, the statue of Christopher Columbus who landed here on 27 October 1492, as well as the La Rusa hotel which welcomed Fidel Castro and Che during the guerrillas and after the Revolution, before reaching Honey Beach.

Day 17 : The surroundings of Baracoa

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We will take the opportunity to visit Baracoa and its surroundings, starting with El Yunque, this anvil-shaped mountain. Two options here: a 1h30 walk to the waterfall, or a 5h hike to the top and back. In the afternoon, you can either visit the Alejandro de Humbolt Park, a tropical treasure, or relax by the beach in Playa Duaba or Playa Maguana.

Day 18 : Hiking in the Sierra Maestra

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Change of course, heading west towards the province of Granma and its capital Bayamo, at the foot of the Sierra Maestra and the Turquino peak, the highest peak in the country (1,972 m). Hiking day in the mythical and lush Sierra Maestra, following in the footsteps of Cuban revolutionaries. The night is spent in the Aguada de Joaquin refuge at an altitude of 1,750 m.

Day 19 : Bayamo

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Once back from the heights, visit Bayamo starting with the birthplace of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, Father of the Fatherland, settled in a splendid colonial residence. After a refreshing stopover at the restaurant of the Hotel Telégrafo, a stroll in the Plaza de la Revolución, the nerve centre of Bayamo, to finish at the piano bar sipping a few cocktails.

Day 20 : Gibara

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In the province of Holguín, there is the very picturesque port of Gibara, a pretty white village with a Mediterranean style and enchanting atmosphere. Most tour operators do not include it in their programmes, so there are few tourists there. If you are there at that time, don't miss the Festival Internacional del Cine Pobre in the second half of April.

Day 21 : Return to Havana

Return to Havana. Day dedicated to the trip (15 hours by bus or about 10 hours by car) if you do not fly from Santiago or Holguín. Those arriving by air can go shopping for souvenirs at La Habana Vieja or Vedado. Last minute shopping option at the airport for others

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