DAY 1: AUCKLAND - LIMA, PERU ...¡The City of Kings!
D, B (on plane)
We leave Auckland 4:15pm and fly to Santiago de Chile. After a short transit we continue on and arrive in Lima, the capital of Peru the same day at 4:55 pm. We will be transferred to our Hotel. Let’s enjoy an evening meal in the heart of the city!
DAY 2: H A V A N A ...¡Vamos a Cuba!
B,L on the plane - D
Leaving Lima at 8:50am we travel to Havana, arriving 3:50pm. Transfer to our Casa Particular. Havana is one of the most impressive surviving colonial cities in the Americas, a real mixture of restored and crumbling architectural marvels. We can take an evening stroll through ‘La Habana Vieja’ if you can’t wait to acquaint yourself with this fascinating city.
DAY 3: H A V A N A ...Put on your walking shoes!
Cuba's vibrant capital is one of the oldest, grandest and safest cities in the Americas. Our walking tour will take us on a wander around the UNESCO heritage old quarter - a definite highlight with the superb colonial architecture offering a perfect backdrop to Cuban everyday street scenes. We will include other gems, like the Capitolo, Calle Mercaderes, La Plaza Vieja, the Fort, and of course an Ernest Hemmingway bar to sample the famous Mojitos or Daquiri. In the afternoon we can stroll along Havana’s Malecón, the seaside promenade, and enjoy the afternoon breezes. After dinner we can take a stroll to enjoy the buzz of Cuba’s night life.
DAY 4: H A V A N A ...Let’s get serious.
We will start the day with a visit the Patacas Cigar factory. The factory was founded in 1845 and even if you are not a smoker this is the most fascinating experience from the selection process, the hand rolling of cigars to the loudspeaker broadcasting recordings of book passages, music and news to the workers. We will visit the ‘Museo de la Revolución’ which was once dictator president Batista’s palace. Since 1965 it has been dedicated to the Cuban revolution. Decorated by Tiffany of New York it is crammed with work of Cuban sculptors, a spectacular staircase and a hall of mirrors. In the afternoon there is time to visit a rum museum, explore a craft market, take a siesta or enjoy a pick-me-up mojito before our evening meal.
DAY 5: B A R A C O A ...Step back in time!
A Car will take us to Havana airport this morning for our flight to Baracoa, Cuba’s oldest town at its easternmost tip. This little hidden gem was founded in 1511 beside a bay discovered by Christopher Columbus 20 years earlier. We will take a walking tour of Baracoa this afternoon finishing with a stroll along Baracoa’s own seaside promenade, the Malecón.
DAY 6: B A R A C O A ...Relax and enjoy the flow!
B, L, D
Our tour will take us up the Rio Toa, Cuba’s biggest river which runs through another UNESCO protected reserve! We will see the production of Chocolate, a local speciality and enjoy a lovely lunch. In the evening, music lovers can visit the local music club known as La Casa de la Música.
DAY 7: BARACOA – SANTIAGO DE CUBA ...Ritmo Africano
Today will start with a spectacular drive over La Farola where we can appreciate wonderful views of the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Our trip to Santiago de Cuba takes about 5 hours and we will be taken to our Casa Particular on arrival. In the afternoon let’s take a walking tour of the central city.
DAY 8: SANTIAGO DE CUBA ... ¡Viva la revolución!
Santiago is known as the cradle of the revolution and it is said to have a real feel of Africa. Our full day will take us to the Moncada Barracks, which in 1953 was attacked by Fidel Castro and a few rebels. The attack failed but was a crucial part of the revolution. We will also visit the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery where José Marti has a tomb, El Cobre and La Forteleza del Moro, a 17th century fortress which guards the entrance to the bay of Santiago. Back in the city the central square Parque Cespedes is a wonderful lively space with the magnificent 16th century mansion which was the residence of Diego Velazquez. This is believed to be the oldest home in Cuba.
DAY 9: T R I N I D A D ...¡Encantadora! Charming!
Today we will travel by private car to Trinidad. This is a long journey but we can stop on the way to stroll the streets of Camagüey which has a simple and discreet charm. This is a day to relax and enjoy the views and we will arrive in Trinidad in the late afternoon.
DAY 10: T R I N I D A D ...Un poco de historia.
Trinidad was founded by Spaniards led by Diego Velazquez in the 16th century, a time of pirate raids, so the town is a confusing labyrinth of streets which was deliberately built this way to confuse the pirates! Known for its superb colonial atmosphere we will explore Trinidad on foot during a leisurely walking tour. An afternoon tour will take us to the picturesque Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the sugar mills), with its rich collection of buildings connected to the 19th century sugar industry. The evenings in Trinidad are perfect for enjoying some of the famous outdoor music and a few mojitos!
DAY 11: T R I N I D A D ...¡Estás en el Caribe!
Time to take some time off!! Today let’s take a catamaran to a beautiful island, Cayo Blanco. Here you can do some snorkelling, swim in the turquoise water, search for iguanas or just relax on the beach before we return after lunch.
DAY 12: T R I N I D A D ...¡Relájate!
This a day off to just wander, relax, do some washing, take a salsa lesson…or visit the lovely little beach community of La Boca only 5 kilometres from Trinidad!
DAY 13 TRINIDAD – CIENFUEGOS – HAVANA ...La Perla del Sur
Cienfuegos, known as ‘The Pearl of the South’ was founded in the early 19th century and today it retains a unique flavour with its intriguing combination of Gothic, Venetian and Neo-Moorish styles in a rainbow of pastel colours. We can visit the Palacio de Valle, a grand mansion built between 1913-17. It was once a Batista-era casino. Our trip to Cienfuegos can include a visit to the ‘Jardín Botánico Soledad’, one of the largest Botanical gardens in Latin America. We will arrive back in Havana in the late afternoon.
DAY 14: VIÑALES ...Chevrolet time!
B, L, D
This morning we will travel by car to wonderful Viñales. In the afternoon we will walk through this fascinating landscape of tobacco plantations, with Mogotes towering over us, visit a cave and enjoy being in this beautiful valley. The colourful verandas, rocking chairs and the horse and carts are a very laid back change of scene
DAY 15: VIÑALES ... ¡Vamos a la playa!
Today is a real treasure for beach lovers! We will travel to Cayo Jutias and enjoy the white sands and crystal clear water of this small island. In the afternoon on return to Viñales you can stroll around the town enjoying the unique flavour of this special place.
DAY 16: HAVANA TO LIMA ...¡Adiós Cuba!
B, L, D on plane
Viñales was declared a National Natural monument for its remarkable landscape so today is a chance to explore more of it. Our morning tour will take us to La Cueva del Indio, a cave which the San Vicente River runs through and take a boat ride through the caves that abound in this area.
In the afternoon we will return to Havana.
Depart Havana 5:40pm – Arrive Lima 10:05pm
Anyone travelling back to New Zealand can join me, I will spend one day in Lima before returning to NZ