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Cuba

Havana, The West & Colonial South
12 Day Trip

Itinerary:

Day 1
Arrival in the City of  Havana – Transfer from airport to our centrally located Hotel Sevilla - 1st night  B/B

Day 2
Our first whole day exploring Havana.   The very name has a magical ring to it.   Habana Vieja – Old Havana was built by the Spanish in the 16th & 17th centuries. The city is addictive and stimulating and its fine colonial-style architecture exudes an elegant charm.  It’s a city of great character, which should be explored at a leisurely pace. The main street of Prado runs between Centro Havana and Havan Viejo all the way down to the Malecon, a fabulous place to be for sunset  - 2nd night Hotel Sevilla B/B

Day 3
Second full day exploring and shooting the City of Havana – 3rd night  Hotel Sevilla B/B

Day 4
After Breakfast we travel to the west and the Vinales Valley region, beautiful and peaceful, it is equally interesting from a geographical point of view.  In the Jurassic era the area was topped by a limestone sheet that was eaten away by the rainwater seeping into the crevices in the rock.  Vast caverns formed, their roofs supported by huge columns of rock that were slightly more resistant to the water.  In time the roofs collapsed, leaving the columns behind.  Erosion turned the rubble to a rich soil and flattened the columns, creating mogates, flat-topped stumps of rock that exist in only a handful of places on earth.

Vinales, the town of the valley is as pretty as the surrounding country, with rows of neat, freshly painted houses shaded by pine trees and a fine colonial church.  Much of the surrounding land is planted with tobacco.   1st night Hotel Los Jazmines H/B

Day 5
Whole day to explore and enjoy the Vinales Valley – 2nd night Hotel Loz Jazmines H/B

Day 6
After shooting at dawn from the balconies of our hotel rooms, we leave the west of Cuba and head eastwards to Central Cuba and then south to the city of Ceinfeugos.  This harbour city is known as the ‘Pearl of the South’.  We’ll arrive for the late afternoon light in this picturesque bay .  The City has a distinct French Neo-Classical influence with its shaded squares and tree-lined boulevards.  1st Night – La Union Hotel B/B

Day 7
Whole Day to enjoy and explore Cienfeugos – 2nd Night La Union Hotel B/B

Day 8
After breakfast we make the short journey along the southern coast to the small town of Trinidad.  The city was founded by Diego Velezques in 1514, and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.  The original cobblestone streets and pastel-coloured houses give the impression that time has scarcely moved on since Colonial times.   From the 1600s-1800s, the city was a major centre for trade in sugar and slaves, and the buildings around the Plaza Mayor, the heart of Trinidad, bear witness to the wealth of the land-owners of the time.   A long period of isolation from the 1850s to the 1950s protected the city from any radical new building and the original town layout has been left largely unchanged.   In the evenings the houses glow in the warm hues of sunset, and music fills the streets.  1st night Hotel (H/B)

Day 9
Whole day to explore and relax in Trinidad 2nd night Hotel (H/B)

Day 10
We make the journey inland to the central City of Santa Clara.   The provincial capital was once an Indian settlement and the Spanish did not arrive here until 1689.   The town may well have remained a backwater had not the Revolution fated it to be otherwise.  Here, at the end of December in 1958, Che Guevara and 17 of his men ambushed an armoured train carrying Batista’s troops.  The rebels won the battle and the dictator fled from Cuba.     In the Plaza de la Revolucion is a bronze statue of Che and the Mausoleo where Che’s remains were brought in December 1997. 1 night Hotel (H/B)

Day  11
After a morning in Santa Clara we make the drive back to the City of Havana - Hotel Sevilla B/B

Day 12
A last morning in Havana re-visiting some favourite spots before heading out to the airport for evening flights home.

N.B Flights
Virgin Atlantic operate a twice weekly direct service between Gatwick and Havana.  On a Sunday and a Thursday. 
Air-France and Iberia fly daily to Havana, via Paris and Madrid respectively
Links to Airlines