Linda Heyde

Chippewa Falls, WI
Cuba Small Group Specialist

My first trip to Cuba was not a vacation...it was so much more, an experience really. There are the classic cars of course, and rum and cigars, but there is so much more. From the moment I looked over the city of Havana there was a sense of wonder...
Learn more about me.

Day 1) Arrive – Havana (José Martí International Airport)

Private transfer from Airport to Casa Mily, located 4 blocks from the US embassy in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana.
 
At Casa Mily you will have a chance to get to know your guide, have a welcome rum and coke, receive a short tutorial on the different currencies of Cuba. Time to exchange your US $ for CUCs (exchange rate .91CUC to US$1.00 through your guide). Your guide will require your passport to record your stay (a government requirement); you will get this back almost immediately.
 
After settling in, enjoy the late afternoon and evening at the Plazas San Francisco and Vieja; which includes a private tour of the 2 squares. This tour allows for a stop for a beer, cocktail or coffee. At 9:00 pm, you will make your way across the harbor for a welcome dinner, cannon ceremony and tour of the Morro Cabaña Fortress located at the entrance to Havana harbor. Here are picture-worthy, nighttime views of the city of Havana across the water.
 
Included: Guide, Private transfers, welcome dinner and tip
Not included: Personal spending money for drinks and purchases

Day 2) Full tour day

7:00 am– Breakfast at Casa
8:00 am – Day begins

You will be picked up at Casa Mily by classic cars (convertibles, if weather permits) for a private guided tour of Old Havana; which includes a walking tour of the Plaza de la Catedral and Plaza de Armas.
 
Continue on your classic car tour to Fusterlandia, a magical wonderland of mosaic tile and recycled art just 20 minutes outside the city of Havana. The center of this is the home of the artist, Jose Fuster. As this is the home of the artist, there is a chance you will meet him or his son while you are there. You will have time to tour his fantastic home and neighborhood, where you are sure to feel Gaudi and Picasso, and maybe a hint of Dr. Seuss. Shop and enjoy an exclusive private lunch provided on the grounds.
 
Next, head to the Hotel Nacional where you will meet a university professor who also spent time as an ambassador. He will provide a look back to the days of the Mafia, prohibition and the cast of characters who enjoyed their time at the hotel in its heyday. You will have an opportunity to ask the professor questions while sipping a mojito in the famous Hall of Fame Bar.
 
Off to the heart of Old Havana for a private Salsa lesson, a highlight of past trips. Whether you think you want to learn or not, you will leave in such a happy mood, tapping your toes and counting steps in your head long after you have finished.
 
Working up a thirst from dancing, you will stop at one of the iconic bars where Hemmingway quenched his thirst; either the Floridita or Sloppy Joes and will end the guided portion of your day.
 
You can return to the casa or the Plaza Vieja on your own time for dinner and some fun. Your guide can provide you suggestions if you wish to stay in Vedado or if there is someplace you wish to go, she will arrange a taxi for you.
 
Not included: Dinner (about 20CUC), personal spending money and return taxi

Day 3) Day tour to Las Terrazas, evening at the Buenavista Social Club

8:00 am– Breakfast at Casa
9:00 am – Day begins

Today, your adventures will begin at Las Terrazas; a small community and nature reserve in the municipality of Candelaria, Artemisa Province, Cuba. Located in the Sierra del Rosario mountains, designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1984.
 
The story of this eco-village is interesting. You will stop at an artist’s shop where they make paper, see how they turn the paper into greeting cards, jewelry and such. This makes a great souvenir to bring home as you have seen it made in front of you. Enjoy a wonderful family style lunch in the town, stop at a coffee shop for an afternoon pick me up and tour an old coffee plantation.
 
We will include a stop by the river where lovely natural swimming pools with clear running water are great for dipping your feet. If it is a very hot day, bring your suit for a dip before you head back.
 
Included: Your transfer to Las Terrazas, all fees, lunch, coffee and guide
Not included: Personal spending money, art gallery shopping.  Tips for lunch, coffee, and guide
 
After returning to the Casa you will be picked up to enjoy an evening at the Buenavista Social Club including dinner and 3 drinks. This is a famous song and dance show and you may even get a chance to try out your new Salsa moves.
 
Not included: Personal spending money, drinks over the 3 included, purchases or tips
 

Day 4) School and beach day, Tropicana show

8:00 am – Breakfast at Casa
 
As you head to the beach you will make a morning stop at the school where Mily, our host's children, attend. You will get a short informational talk on how the children go through the school system of Cuba and meet some of the kids and teachers. Please, bring school supplies with you to donate to the school.
Then just a short distance to the beach where you will have the rest of the morning and early afternoon to yourself.
 
Cuba is known for its beautiful beaches and we will be going to Santa Maria del Mar, the largest of the beaches in Havana. It’s easy to rent umbrellas, chairs and sea kayaks. There’s a convenience store to buy rum, water and snacks. While not directly on the water, there are also small restaurants and bars to enjoy. NOTE, there are no changing rooms at the beach.
 
Return to the Casa will be in the afternoon and the rest of day is on your own to explore. Options include shopping and a visit to Calle Obispo, Centro Habana, the flea market or other areas you might wish to see on your own.
 
7:30 pm – Meet at Casa Mily to go to the famous Tropicana Show. Our evening includes preferred seating, a welcome drink, dinner, show and rum! 
 
Not included: Free time spending money, taxi and tip for the Tropicana Show (40CUC) and additional drinks
 

Day 5) Breakfast at the Casa then pack and transfer to the airport

End-of-tour gratuities for the Cuban guide are included. If you feel they provided exceptional service additional tipping would greatly appreciated but is left to your discretion.
 
If you have not been to Cuba before, patience is appreciated. Venues open and close without notice and adjustments may be made on a moment’s notice.
 
There is a good bit of walking; good walking shoes are a must! This tour is not recommended for those with mobility issues.
 
Not included: Visa, Flight and Insurance

 

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