Cuba… Caribbean’s largest and most fascinating island
Is culture, nature, history, magic and traditions. The Pearl of the Antilles is the result of the blend of multiple cultures, fusion of races and customs that gave birth to one of the most unique and fascinating Caribbean destinations.
The Cubans are imaginative, joyful, unprejudiced, show their intelligence and are friends of joking and celebrating.
The revolution marks a before and an after in the history of Cuba. The triumph of January 1st, 1959 meant a new beginning for Cuba and made its culture one of the most prolific ones in Latin America. Cuba excels at dancing, with the world-wide famous National Ballet of Cuba, in literature with authors like Jose Maria Heredia, Jose Marti, Jose Lezama Lima and Alejo Carpentier and practically in every single artistic manifestation, whether theatre, cinema or visual arts.
Havana, the capital, is a lovely mix of pre-revolutionary buildings, arts and culture and exciting nightlife. We will start our visit here to learn about the nation’s past and continue our trip to Varadero that offers the delights of a purely relaxing vacation on glorious white-sand beaches.
Havana is not an ordinary city; as a result of a unique combination of colonization processes, migration influxes, plus artistic and political movements, it stands out in Latin America and the world as a very peculiar place.
It is the capital city, largest city, province, major port, and leading commercial center of Cuba. The city has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of 728.26 km2 (281.18 sq mi) – making it the largest city by area, the most populous city, and the fourth largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean region.
Seen from a distance, Havana looks spectacular. Waves crash over the city’s famous promenade, the Malecón, where people stroll past pastel-colored buildings. Stone fortresses turn golden in the Caribbean light, recalling the days when Havana was the jewel in the Spanish Crown.
Hotel Nacional de Cuba our home during our staying in Havana
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is considered a symbol of history, culture and Cuban identity. The guns that made up the old Santa Clara Battery are on exhibition at the garden, they were declared part of the World Heritage Site. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba was declared a National Monument and it was inscribed in the World Memory Register.
With its privileged location in the middle of Vedado, the center of Havana, it stands on a hill just a few meters from the sea, and offers a great view of the Havana Harbor; the seawall and the city.
The Hotel stands out due to its refined elegance and its ancient splendor, which since 1930 has attracted a large number of personalities from the arts, science and politcs, such as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, artists Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Johnny Weismuller, Maria Félix, Jorge Negrete, and scientist Alexander Flemming.
Old Havana a place where time stand still, get lost on its maze of history and feel its energy
Studded with architectural jewels spanning five centuries, Habana Vieja (Old Havana) enchants visitors with one of the finest ensembles of urban edifices in the Americas. At a conservative estimate, Old Havana contains over 900 buildings of historical importance, with myriad examples of illustrious architecture ranging from intricate 17th-century baroque and 19th-century neoclassical to glitzy Art Deco.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982, as is Havana’s grand El Morro-Cabaña fortress complex, Habana Vieja is usually the first stop on the tourist trail and the main focus of exploration. It’s easy to see why: With its 500 years of rich architectural heritage and an impressive and eclectic concentration of museums and galleries, there’s an enormous amount to do and see as you explore cobbled plazas and streets throbbing with everyday life. The most important plazas and buildings gleam afresh like confections of stone thanks to a huge restoration project centered, thus far, on the four principal colonial squares and the cobbled streets in-between. The streets are made more colorful by mulattas dressed Carmen Miranda-style in traditional colonial costume. Heavily rouged, they’re eager to plant a thickly lipsticked kiss on men’s cheeks—for a CUC1 tip, of course!
Tropicana the most famous entertainment cabaret in Havana, enjoy the cuban salsa music and dances while having a Cuba Libre
Cabaret Tropicana was built in 1939 in the Havana neighborhood of Marianao. Once considered a risk taken by an entrepreneur who decided to open a restaurant with night club entertainment with a capacity for at least 300 visitors. At the time many considered his idea unfeasible yet today Cabaret Tropicana is on of Havana’s most popular tourism venues.
It is located in vibrant forest with large majestic trees, such as Royal Palms, Mamoncillos, Mango trees, Cedar and many others, giving the theater its cool tropical feeling. Nat King Cole, Josephine Baker, Libertad Lamarque, Cheo Feliciano, Rita Montaner, Elena Burke and Bola de Nieve and many other celebrities were amongst the many stars who have appeared on Tropicana’s illustrious stage. Performances are conducted right under the stars of Havana’s night sky.
In 1992, the American Academy of Restaurant Industry bestowed Tropicana with an honorable award as the “Best of the Five Stars Diamond” for being the best cabaret in the Americas, recognized for its quality and appreciated for its rich history of eighty years
Tropicana, The most spectacular of the cabarets to open sky. A unique place in the world to enjoy the music and the Cuban and Caribbean folklore in all their color, musicality and rhythm. An art extravaganza to multiply the Cuban happiness of a true tropical night.
Enjoy the nature and admire the beautiful landscape of the Viñales Valley
Viñales is sometimes said to be the favorite place of Fidel Castro, it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful spots in Cuba.
The Vinales valley is located west of Havana, and is best known as the place where the Cuban cigar is made. Tobacco and coffee plantations stretch for miles on end and in the background you will always see the mountainous scenery.
It is a beautiful peaceful and romantic village, the main street with small houses all painted in different colors, located in one of the most beautiful areas of Cuba, in specific for people who love nature and a quiet peaceful atmosphere is Vinales a must see. One of Cuba’s greatest natural attractions, was declared a National Natural Monument for its remarkable landscapes. The valley has a surface area of 132 km2 and is a part of Sierra de los Organos, in Pinar del Río province. It is the finest example of a karst valley in Cuba, where mogotes, knolls with rounded tops and steep slopes, contrast harmoniously with the flat surface of the valley where they stand.
Deep in the valley bottom you find cultivated lands-mainly tobacco, taro and bananas-and scattered peasant houses, all forming a rural landscape of great beauty.
The Hicacos Peninsula, better known as Varadero, is considered, due to its consistent tropical light, its exotic, exuberant vegetation and the warmth of its waters, as one of the main touristic attractions. The transparency of its waters, the blue tones of the sea, its white and fine sands, its warm climate, its vegetation and natural landscapes, make it one of the most outstanding beaches of the world. Doubtless, it is the most beautiful in the entire Cuban archipelago.
One of the most dramatic examples of modern architecture in Havana, if not the world, is the Plaza de la Revolución Jose Martí. The Plaza is among the largest civic plazas in the world, measuring nearly 24,000 sq. ft., surrounded by modern construction and featuring the enormous obelisk monument to Jose Marti, built on the highest ground in Havana. The plaza was constructed prior to 1959 during the government of Fulgencio Batista, but gained popularity afterward as the center of public celebration and demonstration in Cuba. Two of the government buildings in the square, both mid-century modern (1958), are best known for the iron sculptures of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos that cover their facades, both by Cuban artist Enrique Avila. This grand plaza is also home to the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, built in 1979. This plaza is another one of those magical locations in Havana that throw you back in time but simultaneously offer you a great vision and hope for the future.
The National Capitol
El Capitolio (National Capitol Building) is a landmark Havana building and symbol of parliamentary power. Appreciate its beautiful architecture, which took over 3 years to complete and called upon the efforts of over 5,000 workers.
Established in 1926, the El Capitolio was the seat of the Cuban government until 1959. Within its halls, laws were proposed, debated, agreed upon and passed. Now it houses the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the National Library of Science and Technology.
Do as Ernest Hemingway; have your Mojito in la Bodeguita and your Daiquirí in El Floridita
Cool and sweet, Cuban mixed drinks have earned a special place in the world of cocktails. Havana is home to the mojito, the daiquiri, and of course, the Cuba libre. It’s always a good time for a toast.
Ernest Hemingway used to frequent La Bodeguita del Medio, his favorite thing to drink was the Mojito. One night he wrote “My mojito in La Bodeguita, My daiquiri in El Floridita.” on the wall of the bar, you can still read it today.
You have probably heard of a “Cuba libre” at some point in your life. This mixed drink was a favorite of mothers and fathers in the 1990s and it continues to be renowned on the island. According to legend, it was created in the beginning of the 20th century, after the Cuban War of Independence. The Americans stationed at the military base in Havana came up with the idea of mixing one of their own drinks, cola, with Cuban rum and lime, and they toasted to the island’s liberation with the words “Viva Cuba libre!”
Cigars & Rum: Cuba’s Signature Products
Cuba is the mecca of cigar production. From planting and picking to rolling, cutting and packaging – it’s all done in Cuba. So going to Cuba and not buying Cuban cigars would be like visiting the moon and not taking a rock. It’s just got to be done.
Even if you don’t like cigars, it’s worth trying one or two to see if your mind can be changed.
And…Cuban rum is one of the main reasons why the country is known worldwide. It has a very good reputation internationally as one of the best rums in the world. Some suppose that the reason for it is that the Cuban soil is perfect for growing sugar cane from which rum is made. Others say that after centuries of elaborating the beverage Cuban people have found the secrets to creating the best rum, which they pass onto next generations as a part of the rum-making tradition
During the last two centuries, both rum and cigars have stood as genuine symbols of the Cuban culture and idiosyncrasy.
This beautiful Havana seawall is the place to stroll, socialize and meet the locals.
The Malecón, Havana’s evocative, 7km-long sea drive, is one of the city’s most soulful and quintessentially Cuban thoroughfares, and long a favored meeting place for assorted lovers, philosophers, poets, traveling minstrels, fishers and wistful Florida-gazers. The Malecón’s atmosphere is most potent at sunset, when the weak yellow light from creamy Vedado filters like a dim torch onto the buildings of Centro Habana, lending their dilapidated facades a distinctly ethereal quality.
» Round trip airfare from Guadalajara to Havana
» Airport taxes
» Cuban Visa
» Hotel accommodation
– 5 Nights in Havana 4* Hotel
– 2 Nights in Varadero 5* Hotel
» Transfer airport-Htl in Havana/Htl Varadero/airport
» Daily buffet breakfast in Havana
» 1 meal in Havana
» All inclusive in Varadero
» Travel insurance and assistance
» Entrance fees to the museums included in the itinerary
» Transportation in Havana during the tours
» Guided tour to Viñales
» Lunch in Viñales
» Specialized guide throughout the tour in Havana
» Walking tour in Old Havana
» Capitanes Generales Museum
» Castle of the Royal Force
» Visit to the Capitol
» Visit to the memorial of Jose Marti
» Visit to Revolution square
» Sightseeing through Havana old residential neighborhoods
» Cannon shot ceremony
» Cabaret Tropicana show
» Visit to a cigar factory in Pinar del Rio
» Visit to the house of the Veguero
» Visit to the prehistory mural