Havana, Santiago & Baracoa: 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 travelled 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 strongholds 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. 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. The following day you’ll be met by your private guide who will take you on 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. Visit Plaza de Armas, Plaza San Francisco de Assis, 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 head out of Havana east to Santiago de Cuba where you’ll be driven high into the Sierra Maestra mountains to 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, where the typical music of the region enraptures its listeners. 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 to admire the view over the farms and plantations. After a good rest, the following day you’ll embark on a 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. For dinner, you’ll visit De Brassa, one of our local favourites, before an after dinner drink at Casa de la Trova – one of the best live music venues in Cuba, specialising in Son music. 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 centre of the city, such as the Moncada Barracks and museum, the Revolution Square and other historical, religious and cultural sites.

Beautiful Baracoa

This morning you’ll head to Baracoa, a secluded town on the deserted eastern coast, that looks out towards Haiti and 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 kilometres north of Baracoa to Playa Maguana, probably the most isolated lodge in all of Cuba, where you’ll experience local coastal culture at it’s best. 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 before returning home.

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