Get off the beaten track in Eastern Cuba

American traveling to Cuba?  Please have a read of this information.

Escape the crowds and embark on an 11 night cultural discovery to eastern Cuba, where you can explore the authentic and sizzling side this fascinating island nation. Unlike the city of Havana and the west, east Cuba remains relatively off the tourist trail and with cities such as Santiago de Cuba being physically closer to Kingston, Jamaica than to Havana, Cuba’s second city is the stronghold of Afro-Cuban culture with a strong musical, cultural and political heritage that’s just begging to be explored. Our Cuba travel experts have traveled the length of Cuba to unearth the most exclusive and immersive experiences to allow you access to the more laid back east that we’re loving right now. This trip, curated by our in-the-know team takes you from Havana, where you can get acquainted with Cuban life out to the wild east where you’ll discover revolutionary strong holds in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. We’ll then show you the best that charming Santiago de Cuba has to offer, before setting sail along the coast on a private luxury yacht to relax on discover hidden coves and to explore local fishing villages. Get ready to experience Cuba like never before.

Havana and Hemingway

Upon arrival in Havana you’ll be met by your driver who will transfer you to your base for the next two nights, Penthouse Ydalgo that’s perfectly situated in the heart of the arty Vedado neighbourhood. From your own Cuban casa you can explore the sights of Havana and local artist studios,or relax and take in the sights and sounds of the city from your private roof terrace, complete with a plunge pool to cool-off in. The following day you’ll be met by your private Black Tomato guide who will run through your tours for the day depending on your interests. We suggest a walking tour of the historical sites where you’ll walk in the footsteps of Havana´s colonial past visiting the four key squares of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit Plaza de Armas, Plaza San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de la Cathedral with our expert guide offering insightful history along the way. After a local lunch you’ll be whisked off for a private Hemingway tour in a classic car from the 1950’s with our expert guide, a retired professor of English literature at the University of Havana.

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Santiago de Cuba

Today you’ll be transferred to the airport for your short flight to the east. On arrival in Santiago de Cuba you’ll be driven high into the Sierra Maestra mountains to your accommodation for the night; Villa Santo Domingo. Situated along the Yara River, from here you can enjoy horseback riding, hikes and walks along trails of historical and natural interest and beauty. Santo Domingo is also the venue of lively guateques, (Cuban countryside fiestas) where the typical music of the region enraptures its listeners. Here you can also witness the traditions, way of life and customs of the farmers living in Cuba’s eastern mountains which is an extraordinary experience. With coffee growing being the main activity here you can trek along the banks of the Yara River or hike the Pico Real del Turquino the highest point in Cuba, 1,974 meters above sea level, accompanied by specialized guides to view farms and plantations. After a good rest, the following day you’ll embark on a 2-3 hour gentle trek through the Sierra Maestra mountains to reach Fidel’s hideout – the staging post for the Cuban revolution. Here you can see the completely preserved huts where Fidel and Che Guevara led the group of revolutionaries to ultimate victory in the Cuban revolution.

After your hike you’ll be driven to your base in the heart of Santiago de Cuba; The Imperial Hotel one of the most significant pieces of architecture of the city. For dinner you’ll visit De Brassa, one of our local favorites. After dinner your guide will take you for an after dinner drink at Casa de la Trova – one of the best music venues in Cuba, where you can hear Son music (the precursor to salsa) that’s played live by musicians who have lived through some fascinating times. The following day you’ll be taken on a city tour of Santiago – you’ll visit the main historical and cultural places of the urban historic center of the city, which was declared National Monument on October 10, 1978. You’ll  visit the Moncada Barracks and its museum of July 26, the Revolution Square and other historical, religious and cultural sites.

Set sail from Santiago

For an exclsuive experience you’ll spend the next two nights sailing along the coastline from Santiago de Cuba after sunrise towards Cayo Damas on board your private catamaran complete with skipper and chef. You’ll enjoy a leisurely day snorkeling along coral reefs that few travelers have had the chance to experience and finish dining at the restaurant of El Cayo. The next day you’ll set sail for Marea del Porillo, where you’ll navigate beaches and cliffs, anchoring in secluded bays for a dip. You’ll visit the fishing village of“ Marea del Porillo where you’ll finish the day with a seafood feast on board.

Beach time in Baracoa

This morning you’ll set sail back to Santiago de Cuba before being transferred to Baracoa, a secluded town on the deserted eastern coast, that looks out towards Haiti that only got its first road in the 1960s. This is a sleepy, otherworldly town, culturally hundreds of miles away from Havana which sits amid the most enchanted landscape of Cuba: palm-covered, wild, with virgin rivers and rugged coastline that make for the perfect natural escape. For total seclusion, head twenty kms north of Baracoa to Playa Maguana, a collection of 16 comfortable cabanas on the beach. This is probably the most isolated lodge in all of Cuba, and here you’ll experience local coastal culture at it’s best. You’ll check into Villa Maguana set on the white-sand beach of Maguana.  For your time in Baracoa you’ll explore the nearby Alejandro Humboldt Park with a local guide, a natural wonder that’s home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. We’ll then whisk you back to Havana for one last night and a chance to discover the emerging arts scene that’s found in the city.

American traveling to Cuba?  Please have a read of this information.

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