Eastern Cuba

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Day 1: Arrive in Havana

Upon arrival in Havana, you are met and transferred to our centrally located hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore on your own or just relax.

In the evening, dinner is at your leisure at the hotel.

Overnight in Havana.

 

Day 2: Fly to Holguin, to Gibara, Sites & Cuba's Cine Pobre Film Festival

This morning after an early breakfast we head back to Havana's Jose Marti International airport and board our domestic flight to Holguin. Upon arrival, we will have a introductory city tour by bus of the city of Holguin with a stop at the "Loma de la Cruz" lookout. enjoy a delicious lunch before we continue to Gibara, where we visit the colonial sites on foot in the main square and also from a lookout with views of the city and sea. We can also learn about Cuba's Cine Pobre Film Festival from a local expert and see the remains of the cities fortification system.

Overnight in Gibara.

 

Day 3: Gibara Sites

After Breakfast we will enjoy a visit to a local cigar factory and a visit to a local art museum.

Afternoon at leisure

Overnight in Gibara.

 

Day 4: Jeep Adventure to a Local Home & Columbus' Landing in the New World in 1492

Today we need jeeps to really get off the beaten path as we visit the home of Rosita and her husband where we can see their home, farm and share some snacks and coffee with them. We also visit 3 significant sites related to Christopher Columbus, where he landed in the New World in 1492.

Overnight in Gibara.

 

Day 5: To Baracoa via Birán, Boatride on the Toa River.

Today after breakfast, we make our way to Baracoa via Moa.

Our first stop, is Birán (Fidel Castro's birth place) and the farm estate of the Castro family. This farm was also the first farm that was nationalized after the revolution. Enjoy the guided tour of the birthplace of both Fidel and his brother Raul, gaining further insight into who Fidel was and how he developed his revolutionary ideas.

After lunch at a local Finca, we take a boatride on the Toa river.

Transfer to Baracoa and enjoy a walking tour of the town before dinner.

Overnight in Baracoa

 

Day 6: Baracoa, Yumuri River, Cooking lesson

After breakfast we visit the Matachín Fort Municipal Museum dubbed "The Castle of the Damned’. This imposing military construction with a rectangular roof was part of the defensive system of Baracoa between the 18th and 19th centuries, protecting the beaches and the Miel cove.

We continue our day with an excursion to a nearby river where we can enjoy a short boat ride, hike and even swim in a beautiful lush setting surrounded by steep cliffs. This is also a great place for anyone interested in birding.

Lunch will be at a local "paladar" and we will enjoy a fabulous meal and have a cooking lesson.

After lunch back to the hotel for balance of afternoon at leisure

Overnight in Baracoa

 

Day 7: Humboldt National Park, Cacao Farm

We enjoy another excursion from Baracoa today as we take a dirt road to journey to Humboldt National Park. Humboldt has the distinction of being the most diverse park in the Caribbean, and home to the world's smallest humming bird and the world's smallest frog. We explore the park during our hike followed by lunch in the park.

In the afternoon, we enjoy a boat journey exploring the park from the water's edge. We can also keep an eye out for manatees, which call the park's natural bay home.

After our visit at Humboldt, we make another stop at "Finca Duaba" for a guided visit to this local cacao plantation and learn the process of making chocolate (a specialty of the region)

We return to Baracoa for dinner and overnight.

 

Day 8: To Santiago de Cuba traversing the Sierra Maestra Mtns, Casa del Changui, Guantanamo

This morning we depart Baracoa and once again traverse the mountains on our way to Santiago.
With stops at a beautiful lookout known as "La Gobernadora" with 360-degree vistas over the Sierra Maestra mountain range. After lunch we visit the world famous Casa del Changui and the provincial museum Guantanamo.

Overnight in Santiago de Cuba.

 

Day 9: Santa Ifigenia Cemetery & Colonial Santiago

Today, we visit one of Cuba's most impressive sites, the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery. Some of Cuba's most famous heroes, politicians, musicians and wealthy aristocrats are buried here, including the remains of Cuba's national hero, Jose Marti and the leader of the revolution, Fidel Castro. The crypts are often massive and opulent. Our visit to the cemetery will coincide with the changing of the guard that takes place at the monument of Cuba's national hero and founder, Jose Marti.

We also explore Santiago's colonial past up until Cuban independence from Spain and a short occupation by the U.S. Our day's explorations will take us to Santiago's most impressive colonial sites including Cespedes Square (cathedral, Casa De Diego Velazquez) and San Juan Hill (site of the battle, and present day memorial of the Spanish American War 1895-1898).

In the late afternoon we take a short drive to the impressive San Pedro de la Roca castle. Built in 1638, this fortress has guarded the entrance to Santiago de Cuba Bay from pirates as well as the English and French. Enjoy a (typically) beautiful sunset, gazing out over the sea, land and mountains. San Pedro de la Roca castle was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, cited as the best preserved and most complete example of Spanish-American military architecture.


We return to Santiago for dinner and a special visit to the world famous Case De La Trova, for authentic music and a beverage.

Overnight In Santiago de Cuba

 

Day 10: Fidel Castro's Revolution, El Cobre, Granjita Siboney to Moncada Barracks in Vintage Cars

Today we learn about Fidel Castro's revolution, which is generally regarded to have begun on July 26, 1953. This is when Castro and and a small group of rebels attacked the Moncada military barracks outside of Santiago de Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the Batista government. The attack failed and Castro was captured, tried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

While incarcerated, Castro renamed his group the "26th of July Movement" and continued to coordinate its activities through correspondence. He and his compatriots were ultimately released in 1955 under an amnesty deal with the Batista government. Fidel traveled with Raul to Mexico, where they met the infamous Che Guevara, and continued to plan their revolution.

On November 25, 1956, Fidel, Raul, Che and 80 insurgents left Mexico aboard the ship Granma and landed in Orient province, Eastern Cuba. The 'surviving rebels' fled to the Sierra Maestra mountains to hide from Batista's forces. The revolution gained support, particularly in Eastern Cuba and gradually had successful campaigns including the rebel attack on Santa Clara, led by Che Guevara in December 1958. Cienfuegos finally led the revolutionary army into Havana, seizing power on Dec 31, 1958. Batista fled Cuba and Fidel Castro ruled Cuba for almost 5 decades until he relinquished power to his brother Raul due to poor health in 2008.

We start our revolutionary day with a drive to Granjita Siboney museum, the farmhouse used as the starting point for the failed assault on Moncado barracks. We depart from Granjita Siboney in vintage cars, just as the rebels did in 1953, for our drive to Moncado barracks. Feel free to shoot as much as you want (with your camera that is) at the barracks which today has the dual roles of revolutionary museum and school. The exterior of the barracks still bares the bullet holes from the 1953 assault.

Overnight in Santiago de Cuba

 

Day 11: To Havana, Colonial Havana Tour

This morning after an early breakfast we head back to Holguin airport for our morning flight back to Havana. We then proceed to the historic centre of Havana for lunch and a walking tour of the colonial centre.

After lunch we head back to our hotel to check in and have free time until dinner at a local paladar.

Overnight in Havana

 

Day 12: Cuban Rum, Urban Organic Food Production, Farewell Dinner

This morning we start our day with a visit to a farmer's market to learn about both the local diet
and dual currency (including some of differences between CUC and CUP). Afterwards we continue to the organic garden "Organoponico Vivero de Alamar" where we will learn about the reality of Cuban urban and suburban agriculture. This Organoponico is a project that was started by a group of former agronomists who left office life to pursue a dream by converting a former garbage dump site into a productive 24 acre farm. Today they employ nearly 400 workers who supply fresh food to their 100 000 neighbors in the nearby community of Alamar.

From here, we have a guided tour of the Habana Club Rum factory, especially known for its prized 11 year old Añjeo Especial Rum.

After lunch, we will have free time in Havana before our farewell dinner in Old Havana in one of the beautiful outdoor squares.

Overnight in Havana.

 

Day 13: Depart Havana

Our Cuban adventure concludes with a transfer to Havana Airport.

 
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