Cuba Awakened - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021/22)

Cuba is bursting with colour, sound and culture, the cobbled streets of Havana home to breathtaking architecture, flavourful fare and some of the most inspired years of Ernst Hemingway.

Journey Overview

Cuba is bursting with colour, sound and culture, the cobbled streets of Havana home to breathtaking architecture, soulful music and some of the favourite haunts of Ernest Hemingway. Discover the history and delicate process behind the classic Cuban exports, cigars and rum, and lose yourself in the local ambience as you explore. A country steeped in revolutionary history, see the memorial of Che Guevara, and pay a visit to the Bay of Pigs, reliving revolutionary moments in time as you explore with local experts. With incredible architecture, intense flavourful fare and natural wonders aplenty Cuba is a country of indefinable magic.

Journey Highlights 

  • See the sites in quintessential Cuban style, on a classic car tour of Havana 
  • Discover the tastes of Cuba with some sporting conversation at lunch with a local baseball star
  • Immerse yourself in the history of the iconic Cuban cigar with an expert guide
  • Be enthralled by the natural wonders of Guanayara in Topes de Collantes
  • Understand why Cuban cigars are the best in the world on a lunchtime tobacco farm tour
  • Witness the legacy of musical artist Benny Moré with a guided arts school tour and choral performance
  • Typically features a small group size of 10–12 guests

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Havana, Cuba

Arrive into Havana to a warm A&K welcome and VIP assistance through the airport, followed by a transfer to your hotel.

A city trapped in time, Havana captures the imagination like no other. Faded glamour meets careful colonial-era reconstruction with a backdrop of irresistible colour. Come here to be mesmerised by the eclectic architecture, with a surprise around every corner; to sway to the Cuban rhythms as you stroll; to be inspired by cutting-edge contemporary art; and to taste the creative cuisine.
Hotel Saratoga

Day 2: Havana | Classic Cars & Historical Icons

Today, get a taste of Havana daily life on a walking tour of the colourful city. Since 1982 the key streets and plazas of old Havana have slowly returned to their former glory, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the afternoon, cruise around Havana enjoying the sights of the city from the perfect vantage point – a vintage convertible. Stunning baroque churches, Spanish colonial structures and neoclassical buildings line the narrow streets and charming squares, and historical treasures remain after more than 400 years of colonial rule.

This evening, savour a welcome dinner at La Guarida, widely acclaimed to be the best paladar in Cuba and, and the backdrop to the 1994 Oscar-winning film Strawberries and Chocolate, the perfect culinary start to your Cuban adventure.
Hotel Saratoga | Meals: BD

Day 3: Havana | Design Your Day

Today, start with a guided tour of a Havana cigar factory with your own personal cigar expert. Ask any cigar aficionado and they will tell you that Cuban cigars are undoubtedly the best in the world, the traditional skills passed down from generation to generation. 

Afterwards, be treated to lunch with a baseball star, baseball being by far the most popular sport in Cuba. Hear how this sport has become part of the lives of most Cubans as you savour deliciously flavourful local fare. This afternoon embark on a choose-your-own adventure with a selection of Design Your Day activities on offer:

  • A visit to the Rum Museum
    Discover the origins of one of Cuba´s most famous exports at the Havana Club Rum Museum. On your tour through the museum, you´ll gain an understanding of the rum-making process, from freshly cut sugar cane, to distilling techniques and the construction and preparation of the oak barrels used in the ageing process. Wrap up your historical education with a tasting. 
  • Follow in famous footsteps on a Hemingway tour
    Ernest Hemingway is possibly the only American to have achieved idol status amongst the Cuban locals. Join your expert guide as you drive around Havana and learn more about Hemingway´s life on the island that was his home for more than 20 years, from the bars and restaurants he frequented; to his former home on the outskirts of Havana and the small fishing village of Cojimar which inspired ´The Old Man and the Sea´.
  • Be immersed in the flavours of Cuba in a cooking class 
    Delve into the flavourful world of typical Cuban cuisine when taking a private cooking class with a Cuban chef, deeply passionate about preserving the tradition of la cocina criolla (creole cuisine) and teaching it others. During the class you´ll learn how African and Spanish culture influenced Cuban cuisine and cooking techniques.

The evening is yours to enjoy at leisure.
Hotel Saratoga | Meals: BL

Day 4: Viñales | Traditional Tobacco Farming

Travel to Viñales in western Cuba with its main street lined with colourful colonial-era wooded houses. It is the gateway to the Sierra de los Organos mountains and the Viñales Valley. 

Stop for lunch en route and take a tour of Finca Robaina, Cuba's most famous private tobacco farm which has been growing tobacco since 1845.

Arrive in Viñales for dinner, set at the foot of a stunning mogote.
Hotel E Central Viñales | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Viñales | Discovering the Valley of Penance

Today you´ll explore the spectacular Valle de la Penitencia (Valley of Penance), with picturesque rounded hills that dot the dramatic landscape as far as the eye can see. These mogotes, generally found in the Far East and the Caribbean are made up of residual limestone and house the largest caving system in Cuba. The flat land around these mogotes is used primarily for tobacco farming, but coffee crops and root vegetables also flourish.

Afterwards, visit a tobacco stripping house (despalillo), to see one of the fundamental stages in the cigar production process. Here local women moisten, smooth and strip the leaves which will be used for filling, binding, or wrapping the cigars.

Return to the city with your evening at leisure.
Hotel E Central Viñales | Meals: BL

Day 6: Cienfuegos | Immersed in Military History

Today you will travel to Cienfuegos via the Bay of Pigs. En route, stop for lunch at Casa Ronel for a freshly prepared seafood feast by proprietor Ronel and his wife Evette, featuring fish and shellfish caught only meters away from the house.

Visit the Bay of Pigs Museum at Playa Girón and discover the history behind one the biggest military missteps of the Kennedy administration.

Upon arrival in Cienfuegos, sip sundowners at the Palacio del Valle, a historic villa, with the rest of the night at your leisure.

Cienfuegos is known for its colonial-era buildings, with its historic urban centre a heritage listed wonder.
Boutique La Union | Meals: BL

Day 7: Cienfuegos | The Pearl of the South

Today, discover Cienfuegos, the ‘Pearl of the South’ on a guided city walking tour. Explore Jose Marti Park, the lavish 950 seat Tomas Terry Theatre which is embellished with Carrara marble, hand-carved Cuban hardwoods and whimsical ceiling frescoes.

This afternoon visit Cienfuegos’ Benny Moré School of Arts. Singer and composer Benny Moré is considered one of the most influential musical talents the island has ever produced. Explore with a guided tour and witness a choir performance by students of the school.

Enjoy delicious local fare for dinner with your group.
Boutique La Union | Meals: BD

Day 8: Trinidad | Sugar Barons & Seaside Views

Travel to Trinidad and discover the hidden secrets of this heritage listed city on a guided tour. Your local expert will take you back in time, from the colonial days of the sugar barons and slave plantations through to the complex years leading up to and after the Revolution. Keep a camera at the ready as you stroll through this charming city – witness pastel coloured houses, quaint cobbled streets, stunning squares and the panoramic views of Sierra Escambray mountains and the Caribbean Sea.

Visit the Manaca Iznaga estate outside of Trinidad with a specialised local guide. Sugar and slavery were intertwined in the 18th and 19th centuries in Cuba and this tour aims to give you an insight into both. Take a short drive to the heritage listed Valley of the Sugar Mills, known locally as the Valle de los Ingenios, stopping first at a look-out point for some magnificent views of the valley, the mountain range and the Caribbean Sea. From there you´ll visit San Isidro de los Destiladores where you will even see the ruins of the distillery, the slave barracks and the mill and mansion of the plantation owner.

Enjoy dinner at Los Conspiradores in the heart of the historic district, a simple yet charming building which is part gallery space on the ground floor to local ceramic artist Yami Martinez and part restaurant, spread out over two floors.
Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad | Meals: BD

Day 9: Trinidad | Design Your Day

This morning you can choose your own adventure, with three Design Your Day activities on offer: 

  • Feel the Cuban rhythm with a salsa lesson
    Put your best foot forward in an hour-long salsa lesson led by a professional local dancer, who will teach you the basic Cuban salsa steps and have you moving to the local rhythms in no time. The lesson will be provided in a private residence, immersing you in the local atmosphere. 
  • Drink in coastal views on a cycling tour 
    Cycle to La Boca and Ancon beaches, a picturesque ride. Accompanied by a cycling guide learn you will about life in the fishing village where Spanish conquistador Diego Velazquez founded Trinidad more than 500 years ago, enjoy the expanse of white sand beach and warm turquoise seas, and visit the port village of Casilda (4-5 hours and 30 kilometres total). 
  • Visit a Trinidad Museum for a look at local history 
    History buffs can indulge in a visit to one of the local museums in Trinidad. You may explore Museo de Historia Municipal, a grandiose mansion showcasing regional history, Trinidad Architecture Museum highlighting the history of local buildings, or the Romantic Museum, exhibiting a wide variety of furniture and other decorative arts owned by the bourgeoisie of Trinidad during the 19th century.

The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore the city. 
Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad | Meals: B

Day 10: Santa Clara | Natural Wonders & Revolutionary Icons

This morning you´ll head out of Trinidad with your local guide, taking a short drive to the entrance of Topes de Collantes National Park. Walk to reach Guanayara, the beginning of your adventure. Admire the natural beauty of the scenery around you as you walk, your journey culminating in the chance to swim in a natural pool and stunning waterfall, before completing your circuit and returning to your park entry point. 

Following your walk, transfer by road to Santa Clara. On arrival, discover Santa Clara with a city tour. A city steeped in history and culture, you will start the tour at Revolution Square. From here you will continue to Leoncio Vidal Square. Enjoy a refreshing drink at a local café before continuing your tour to visit Foundation Square and the city´s most important religious building, the Santa Clara Cathedral with its spectacular collection of stained-glass windows.

Your day comes to an end with a group dinner, boasting a flavourful creole menu with a modern touch.
Hotel E Central Santa Clara | Meals: BLD

Day 11: Santa Clara | The History of Che Guevara

No trip to Cuba is complete without a trip to the Che Guevara Mausoleum, located in Plaza Che Guevara. This is the location of one of the final victorious battles of the Cuban Revolution lead by Guevara on 29th December 1958. The mausoleum houses the remains of the revolutionary hero and twenty-nine of his fellow combatants and the museum, although small, showcases the highlights of the icon’s life. The area, known as the Ernesto Guevara Sculptural complex also contains an impressive bronze statue of Guevara.

Afterwards, pay a visit to Fabrica de Tabacos Costantino Perez Carrodegua, Santa Clara's main tobacco factory producing some of the best cigars in the country. The rest of the day is your own to explore at your leisure.
Hotel E Central Santa Clara | Meals: B

Day 12: Havana | Farewell to the Caribbean

Your last full day in island paradise, travel to Havana. Visit Los Almacenes de San Jose, an iconic souvenir market with a 3 year restoration project transforming  the warehouses into a cultural and recreational hub hosting art exhibitions, activities for children and the largest display of souvenirs. Explore the leather goods, ceramics, jewellery and more on offer.

Finish your day with a farewell dinner enjoying the rooftop terrace and retro-style interior.
Hotel Saratoga | Meals: BD

Day 13: Depart Havana

Depart Havana, with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Meals: B

Journey Details

Maximum Group Size: 18
Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Tour Inclusions

  • All accommodation as detailed with private facilities
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including welcome and farewell dinners
  • Services of English speaking A&K Resident Tour Director
  • Airport welcome with VIP Assistance
  • Porterage
  • Group transportation by private air-conditioned vehicle
  • Bottled water during transfers and touring
  • Wine & beer during lunches and dinners (selected by Resident Tour Director)
  • All entrance fees
  • Planning, handling, operational and communication charges
  • All tipping

Tour Exclusions

  • International flights to the tour start point and from the tour end point
  • Visas and other border fees
  • Insurance coverage of personal loss, injury, illness or damages incurred during your trip
  • Items of a purely personal nature such as drinks (unless specified), laundry, dry cleaning, internet, fax or phone charges
  • Transfers, sightseeing or meals not specified in itinerary
  • Excess baggage charges

Tailor-Made Travel with A&K

If scheduled departure dates don’t work for you, or you would prefer to travel privately, please talk to one of our expert Journey Designers or your travel agent about creating the perfect bespoke tailor-made journey for you, or your own small group with family or friends.

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Preferred Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

This journey features the following Preferred Accommodations:

Hotel Saratoga, Havana

Cuba Awakened - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021/22)

Located in the centre of captivating Havana, Hotel Saratoga offers a luxurious retreat to relax after a day of exploring the city. With 9 ... Read more

Hotel E Central Vinales

Cuba Awakened - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021/22)

Located centrally within Vinales, Hotel E Central Vinales put you steps away from sights such as the main square, art gallery, Valle de V ... Read more

Hotel La Union, Cienfuegos

Cuba Awakened - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021/22)

A privately-owned mansion built in 1869, Hotel La Union has been painstakingly restored. Located just one block from the main square, a r ... Read more

Iberostar Grand Hotel, Trinidad

Cuba Awakened - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2021/22)

In the heart of Trinidad, Iberostar Grand Hotel offers boutique-style accommodation in the UNESCO World Heritage city. This attractive ho ... Read more

Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Feb 6, 2022 - Feb 18, 2022
Price AU$8,795pp Single Supplement AU$2,525 Internal Air (From) AU$0 Availability Available Enquire

* You must be a Qantas Frequent Flyer member to earn points. Membership and points are subject to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program terms and conditions, available at Eligible Product(s) means any new International and Domestic private tour land itinerary or Limited Edition Small Group Journey with a land itinerary of seven nights or more* created by Abercrombie & Kent Australia.

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  • Small Group Journeys 2021-22