Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and have the rest of the day free.
We make a transfer in the morning to Soroa, where our hotel is surrounded by a beautiful garden with tropical flowers and trees. We visit a local tabacco factory and we will see all the steps and care for making a cigar. After having lunch we make a short walk through the forest and climb to a viewpoint from where we can see the sea and the vultures balancing on the wind. We descend to a waterfall where we can swim and connect to the flow of water.
Today we walk through the tropical forest, pass through the remains of an old slave plantation, and we will have several meetings with local farmers and children at school. We will have coffee and enjoy fruits of the season with local people who live in an old historical mansion, and later on we will enjoy the typical Cuban food of the farmers in a coffee farm. We follow paths and trails and cross here and there very small and usually shallow rivers. This program was developed by a local guide together with us. It is very relaxed and takes about 7 hours including the breaks.
We make a transfer to the valley and mogotes of Vinales. The group will stay in casas particulares and will be divided over several houses. The Cuban families will give you a very warmhearted welcome and prepare all kind of food and drinks for you. In the midday you can relax on the veranda and let the Cuban life pass in front of you, we can rent bicycles and make a small tour or visit the botanical garden and stroll through the farmers village.
We start with a visit to a warehouse of tobacco leaves, smell the air, and experience another step in the amazing process of making a Cuban cigar. After that we continue for a mini-trekking in the valley of Vinales for two days. We will walk through the valley and be surprised by the rural life and hospitality of the Cuban farmers, the green fields with malanga and tabacco, the red earth and imposing mogote mountains of limestone. The mogotes are very dry and show a unique ecosystem which is very different from the ecosystem of the valley itself. We walk through a cave, have lunch in the countryside and will sleep in a tobacco house in hammocks near a farm, or if you prefer otherwise in a tent. The tabacco houses are used for drying tobacco leaves. We can swim in a lake as the farmers do and visit a cave under a mogote near the farm.
Today we continue our trekking through the wide landscape. Around lunchtime we enter a beautiful dead ending valley with impressive walls of rock around us. From here we find our passage across the forest of a mogote by a small trail and descend on the other side to a resort where we can take a dive in a swimming pool and have a drink. The trails and paths are easy for the whole trekking. This program was developed by a local guide together with us. It is very relaxed and takes about 7 hours for the first day including the breaks, and 6 to 7 hours for the second day. If the group prefers something different and more adventurous we can also find our way through a cave from this dead ending valley and come out at the other side of the mountain. This will make the program a little longer with one to two hours. This mini-trekking has been guided several times in different formats. Due to the fact that Cuban regulations are regularly changing, it is therefore not completely excluded that we have to make here and there changes in the program according to new regulations.
Today we make a long transfer from Vinales to Trinidad and make a small detour along the Bahio Cochinos or famous Pigs Bay. We take a dive in the sea and discover all kind of fishes in an enchanting sea cave while the lunch is prepared. We continue our trip and in the midday the mountains of Sierra Escambray will appear in the skyline. At the end of the midday we will arrive in Trinidad, one of the most beautiful colonial villages in Latin America. In the evenings you will be guided to enjoy dinner in all kind of restaurants with the typical colonial atmosphere of Trinidad.
A free day in Trinidad. A day to stroll through the colonial streets, visit the markets, climb a tower or a hill for a view, and experience the slow pace of Cuban life. In the midday, after lunch, we can go to the beach with our own bus. We bring you to a part of the beach where there are usually little people, enjoy the sea with small coral reefs, play, swim and snorkel a little bit.
We change from bus and make a transfer to the steep mountains of Sierra Escambray. The mountains are usually covered with clouds and show a great variety in subtropical vegetation. A completely sunny day is possible, but some raindrops in this Sierra are not unlikely too. When we arrive in the village Topes we descend and start walking to a botanical garden from where we continue to our Hacienda Codina by forest trails. On the way we can have a swim and a water excursion in an open cave. When we arrive in Hacienda Codina a typical Cuban lunch will be served on the veranda. After lunch we make a botanical walk of 1 to 2 hours to an orchid garden, through a cave to a viewpoint from where we can see Trinidad and the sea if it is beautiful weather. From here we continue to a bamboo botanical garden. Hacienda Codina is a very pleasant place to be. We sleep on matresses on the veranda or if people like under a huge wall of rock in the open air.
Today we make a small transfer with a Cuban truck and start walking in the morning to the Hacienda Gallegos. On the way we might visit a coffee farm and when we arrive we will have lunch here. After lunch we walk with as little as possible to a waterfall, take a swim and from here we descend by the river and the smoothly eroded rocks for one hour down the river. We arrive in a small lake and for those who prefer to swim only in the lake we can meet here again. When we have played enough, we walk back to the Hacienda Gallegos where we will be picked up and brought back to have dinner in the evening in Hacienda Codina. If there is interest we can make a night excursion, listen to all sounds and watch the stars.
We leave in the morning to the Valle de los Ingenios. We drive to a Hacienda where saddled horses will be waiting for us to make a trip in the countryside as the Cuban farmers do. You do not need to have experience. The horses are experienced and we show you the way how to drive. However if you prefer not to drive alone you can join with a Cuban horseman. We stroll into the Valle de los Ingenios, drive through the sugarcanes, cross small rivers and depending on the wishes we may follow a river a little upstream. If we are lucky we may come across an old steam train stopping near our point of return. Here we will have an abundant late lunch in a typical Hacienda surrounded by the silence of the countryside. After the lunch we go back to Trinidad and on the way back we may visit a Hacienda and bell tower from which the slaves working in the sugar fields could be watched.
Whatever we have chosen to do the night before, we have to leave Trinidad around nine o’clock to the harbour Ancona to get on board of a big catamaran. We make a daytrip to a small tropical island called Cayo Leguano. We can lie on the deck and enjoy the sun or sit in the shade. After three hours of sailing and navigating with motor we arrive to the island and have the possibility to plunge in the water to visit the coral reefs. This is an entrance in another world. We see all kind of small tropical colored fishes and might even see some local barracudas watching the reef. The clarity of the water is usually good but is also a little variable depending on if there have been recent storms. After snorkeling we get on the island and will have our lunch under the eyes of many legions who form large colonies here. We enjoy a coffee and discover the small island by walking. Mangrove trees alternating with white coral sand beaches, the sun, the play of the clouds and the sea make your day complete. We return to Trinidad in the late midday.
Today we spend our last day in Trinidad and make a very relaxed horse drive starting in the morning from the old center to the waterfall near Trinidad. We drive to the entrance of the National park from where we make a beautiful walk of around half an hour to a waterfall and cave. We can stay here a few hours and return in the late midday with the soft sunlight to the colorful streets of Trinidad.
From Trinidad and the mountains of the Sierra Escambray we make a long transfer to a hotel on the beach near Santiago.
One day will be completely dedicated to rest, discover, to meditate, to share and feel complete. The other day we visit Santiago, make a city walk together or everybody on its own, experience the dynamics and energy of the afro-Cuban city, visit a beach or Cayo Granma in the early afternoon and have dinner in the evening together with Cuban friends of us. After dinner we can visit a dance show a la Tropicana, and from here continue in the small hours to our hotel.
From Santiago we continue our travel to Baracoa, one of the most enchanting places of Cuba. This is what Columbus must have felt too when he sat his first footsteps here on Cuban land. We travel along the arid Caribbean coastline, take a dive in the Caribbean Sea from a desolated beach and cross the mountains of eastern Cuba to the Atlantic side. We arrive in the early midday and have time to discover the picturesque colonial village, the people and the tropical surroundings.
Today we prepare us for a climb of the highest mountain of Baracoa El Yunque, if the weather conditions have been and are favorable. We make a lovely tour by open van into the area to a camp field. From there we cross a river and start first slowly ascending through cacao, coconut and banana plantations. Then the trail starts getting steeper and we are going to feel how humid and hot the Cuban climate actually is. We try to find or arrange refreshments on the way in the form of fruits. When we are finally on the top after 2 to 3 hours, with enough breaks in between, we have a splendid view on the Atlantic coast, the beaches and the rivers of Baracoa. And after descending El Yunque, a refreshing dive in a deeper part of the river is waiting for us as a very big reward. After the water joy we drive with the open van to a resort in the tropical forest to have a late lunch. From here we go back to Baracoa.
This day is reserved to visit the national parque Humboldt. This is a little further from Baracoa and takes about one and a half hour to reach. We will have a guided tour here and enjoy the original vegetation and beauty in all its splendour and magnificence. If the group prefers to do something else, we can always adapt the program and remake it in a beach day or go for a walk on the west side of Baracoa and is a little bit more near.
Our last day in Baracoa. As we have said before we can change the follow up of the days. This day we would like to dedicate to a walk crossing one of the lower slopes of El Yunque. We will see and meet local people making their living in the forest and cross a few schools. Around lunchtime we go by open van to a resort where we have a buffet lunch along the river. From here we go by rowing boats to the sea, make a walk under the palms to the next river mouth where we can take a swim in the sea and in the sweet waters of the Toa.
Transfer back to our Hotel near Santiago. We travel back the same way as we went and have a swim along the way in the waves of the Caribbean Sea.
This is the last morning to share all together on the beach. To feel and express our gratitude for all the experiences we have had. In the afternoon or early evening we will have our flight to Havana. Depending on the flight schedule we may share a lunch & merienda together in or near Santiago or have a dinner in Havana.
Depart to international airport and take your flight back home.
Memorable Havana Tour:10-Day, Havana - Santiago - Havana - Pinar del Rio
Havana City Travel: 8-Day, Havana - Vinales - Santa Clara - Trinidad
Essence of Cuba:12-Day, Pinar Del Rio - Cienfuegos - Trinidad - Santa Clara - Cayo Santa Maria - Camaguey - Santiago de Cuba