Cuba
  • 8 days/7 nights
  • Next Departure: Oct 29, 2017
  • From $3,490 / person
  • ($500 single supplement) Children: $3,490

Cuba, at last

Experience The Real Cuba with our Cuba Family Vacation Package. This itinerary allows you to experience the culture and history of this beautiful country. Immerse yourself into the culture of Cuba its friendly people, time warped villages, and complex history, as you discover the realities of this fascinating country. Did you know that Cuba was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and was claimed for the Kingdom of Spain? (Columbus thought he had landed on India!) Were you aware that Cubans refer to their island as “El Cocodrilo” or “El Caiman” because it resembles the shape of a crocodile or an alligator? Explore such gems as the Revolution Square, Plaza de la Catedral, and Plaza Vieja in Havana, the capital of Cuba and the largest city in the Caribbean region. For the architecture buffs out there, Old Havana, the core of the original city of Havana, displays a city built in baroque and neoclassic style, with many of the buildings currently undergoing restoration after falling to ruin in the latter half of the twentieth century. Learn all about how tobacco leaves transform into cigars through the processes of curing, fermentation, sorting, and rolling through a knowledgeable local. Come discover “The Real Cuba” on our Cuba Family Vacation.

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  • Family Vacations
  • Cultural
  • Hiking
  • Snorkeling / Swimming

Activity Level: Moderately Easy

About
This Tour

Our Cuba Family Vacation Package is a one-of-a-kind walking tour, the first ever People-to-People tour of Cuba! Explore a country still off-limits to the average tourist - a country rich in colonial grandeur, revolutionary rigor, and Caribbean panache.

  • Walk the preserved Spanish colonial settlement of Trinidad, a city of old world charm that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Traverse otherworldly limestone mogotes and stalagmite-rich caves in the Valle de Viñales
  • Visit the Plaza de Armas and the Catedral de San Cristobal in Old Havana
  • Stroll the seductive streets of Cienfuegos, a city renowned for its French flair, Caribbean verve, and colonial charm
  • Swim at the base of a waterfall in Topes and bask in the warm waters of Playa Larga on the Bay of Pigs
  • Snorkel the exquisite coral reefs of Playa Giron and keep an eye out for crocodiles, iguanas, and flamingos in the wetlands of Ciénaga de Zapata
  • Explore Hemingway's former estate and the seaside village of Cojimar where he kept his boat, Pilar

Well organized, plenty of variety. We feel we saw a well rounded view of Cuba.

Karla M Dublin, CA

Fabulous. Perfect.

Ellen S Chicago, IL

Itinerary
& Map
Day 1: Cienfuegos
Valley Landscape
Meals Included:  D

Bienvenido a Cuba! • After arrival, we meet at our Cienfuegos hotel for an orientation meeting and then head to dinner • Cuba’s Pearl of the South—Cienfuegos has a French flair and Caribbean verve and is one of Cuba’s most seductive cities • A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the French-colonial town sits on the coast, and visitors are drawn to the glittering waters as well as the eclectic colonial architecture • After dinner we stroll the Malecon with views of the natural harbor and, as the night wears on, the main gathering point for the youth of Cienfuegos

About Hotel Union & Jagua
Hotel La Union: A mid-sized hotel with boutique style and service, La Union is housed in a beautiful example of a neoclassical, colonial building in the heart of Cienfuegos – a charming city known as the “Pearl of the South.”
Hotel Jagua: Built in the modernist style of the 1950’s, the hotel was recently renovated in a sophisticated contemporary style. The new lobby, with its contemporary art, avant-garde furniture and three sides of glass walls, is both colorful and exciting.

Day 2: Cienfuegos / Trinidad
Cienfuegos / Trinidad
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Overnight at Casas Particulares Trinidad

After breakfast we start with a walking tour of Cienfuegos’ urban historic center at Parqué Jose Martí, the site of many of Cienfuegos’ most impressive buildings, and then continue on to Paseo del Prado lined with colonial buildings and pastel-painted columns • Later in the morning we have a special People-to-People visit with the Cantores de Cienfuegos, a world-renown choir • Leaving Cienfuegos, we drive along the coast towards the historical town of Trinidad • We stop first at Parque El Cubano for a delightful hike and dip in a pool at the base of a tropical waterfall • By late afternoon we arrive in Trinidad, a city which has eschewed many modern enterprises in favor of old-world charm • We enjoy a walking tour of the preserved Spanish colonial settlement—now a UNESCO World Heritage Site—where the grand tastes of the past are very much sentient in the Italian frescoes, finely wrought chandeliers, and bone china still gracing the plantation-era mansions • After checking into our Casa Particulares, we dine at a local restaurant in Trinidad and after dinner, some may enjoy an outdoor concert and dancing at Casa de la Musica, on the city’s steps before retiring to our evening accommodations

About Casas Particulares in Local Towns

Casa particular (Spanish for "private house"; plural casas particulares) is a phrase meaning private accommodation or private homestays in Cuba, very similar to bed and breakfast. A casa particular is basically a private family establishment that provides paid lodging, usually on a short-term basis. Casas particulares can be recognized by a small sign on the door, with two blue triangles ('roofs') against a white background. Casas particulares have several advantages over other types of lodgings: Guests can quickly develop genuine Cuban relationships and become deeply involved in the culture of the country. Also they will enjoy a free and easy atmosphere and feel right at home.

Day 3: Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve / Trinidad
Cuba
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Overnight at Casas Particulares Trinidad

We drive a short distance outside of Trinidad and begin a trek into the Caribbean pine-coated Sierra Escambray mountains • Within the long stretch of mountains lies the Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes • We have several choices of hikes and your guide will help decide which hike best suits the group • We also visit a nearby coffee plantation with a small museum to learn about the role of coffee in Cuba, and the traditions surrounding it • We have lunch in the mountains before returning to Trinidad later in the afternoon with time to continue exploring the town’s historic center and sites • Our day culminates with a People-to-People meeting with Julio Munoz, an acclaimed photographer whose published work of Trinidad has brought a town evocative of the past into the public eye • There’s more time for exploring Trinidad’s music scene in the evening after dinner

Day 4: Playa Giron / Bay of Pigs / Zapata National Park / Playa Larga
Playa Giron / Bay of Pigs / Zapata National Park / Playa Larga
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Overnight at Casas Particulares Playa Larga or Playa Giron

We drive west along the coast to one of the most famous locations in all of Cuba – the Bay of Pigs or Bahia de Cochinos • It was here that the infamous 1960s CIA-sponsored invasion took place, but centuries earlier there had been other invasions, including one by the French pirate Gilbert Girón • The town of Playa Giron is home to an excellent museum we visit to learn about the 1961 invasion • We stop for a snorkel session to witness first hand some of the healthiest coral reefs in the world located here within the boundaries of the Zapata National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve • After a picnic lunch we continue to one of the nicer trails in the Park, the Enigma Las Rocas, which weaves through the forest among cenotes (sinkholes) common in this limestone geology • We arrive late in the afternoon to the small town of Playa Larga and check into our Casas Particulares • Before dinner, have an engaging People-to-People presentation from Frank Medina, Director of Zapata National Park, who discusses the joint pressures of tourism and conservation facing the park • He’s a lively speaker and after the informative discussion, we enjoy a festive dinner of delicious, authentic Cuban fare

Day 5: Hemingway’s House / Parque Lenin / Pinar del Rio
Hemingway’s House / Parque Lenin / Pinar del Rio
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Overnight at Villa Soroa

We rise early and drive northwest to the edge of Havana where we visit Hemingway’s former estate of Finca Vigia, home to the Museo de Ernesto Hemingway • While Hemingway lived here, he found inspiration for several of his books • We take a short walking tour of the estate to learn about this very interesting history and US-Cuba relationship • A short drive and we’re at Parque Lenin, one of Havana’s largest parks, constructed between 1969-72 under the direction of Celia Sanchez, long-time associate of Fidel • We stop to stretch our legs and have a picnic lunch and then continue driving west to a mountain resort called Soroa, where we check into our hotel and if there’s time, visit a local orchid garden • Soon it’s time for dinner and sharing memories of our days thus far

About Villa Soroa

Located in the western Sierra del Rosario Mountains over 600 feet above sea level, Villa Soroa is an idyllic, colorful place that is perfect for nature lovers. A mountain stream runs right through the grounds and the fabulous botanical garden next door has over 700 species of orchid alone. Horizontes Villa Soroa hotel is a fine choice for those seeking serenity in the sun, particularly bird-watchers and anyone who enjoys flowers, wildlife and beautiful mountain scenery.

Day 6: Viñales National Park / Soroa
Cuba sunset
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Villa Soroa

We breakfast at the hotel and then we’re on our way to one of Cuba’s finest national parks • Thrust into the rolling rows of the Sierra de los Órganos lies the Valle de Viñales, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the source of several stunningly unique habitats • We spend our day walking throughout the varied living landscapes the Valle de Viñales nurtures, giving us insight into Cuba’s signal crop, tobacco, as well as the geological forces that shaped the rare valley • This region is also the most famous in the world for fine tobacco • Like Burgundy is to wine, Viñales is to cigars • We meet with a cigar maker, visit a tobacco processing plant or despalillo, (not to be confused with a cigar factory), where we see the long, dried leaves hanging in lines and learn more of the curing and fermenting processes that follow the harvest and learn about the interesting and very involved process as a green tobacco leaf transforms to the final product • By late afternoon, satiated with fresh air and well-used legs, we return east to our tranquil resort where we enjoy dinner and rest

Day 7: Soroa / Havana
Cuba snorkeling
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Hotel Presidente, Riviera, Plaza, Havana Libre or similar

Leaving the countryside, we head to Havana and arrive to the old city for an eye-opening walking tour of Havana Vieja, also known as Colonial or Old Habana • We stroll down Obispo Street and visit historic sites of revolution and colonialism such as the Museo de la Cuidad, the Plaza de Armas, and the Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana • As we walk, we learn more of Havana’s turbulent past of plundering privates and affluent colonials as well as the Cubans of today, many who have come to the busy city with hopes for the future • After lunch in a scrumptious Paladar, we have more time to explore this fascinating city • There’s the large art and craft market of Mercado San Jose, the Museum of Belles Artes with an impressive collection from around the globe, lively neighborhoods, and the seafront Malecon where lovers wander • In the evening we celebrate our week together with a fine farewell dinner at one of Havana’s best paladars • If you’re worn out from our busy day, feel free to find your way to our evening’s accommodations • If, however, you’re feeling the infectious energy of the city, you might want to visit Fábrica des Artes, where the best of Cuba’s avant-garde art can be experienced, or for a more low-key experience, head to UNEAC (The Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba) for an evening bolero and other signing performances

About Hotel Presidente, Riviera, Plaza, Havana Libre or similar

Hotel Presidente: The Roc Presidente Hotel is located in the center of Cuba, 200 meters away from its famous pier and built in the once tallest building of the capital, with Cuban colonial inspiration and historical pieces of art in its interiors.
Hotel Riviera: The ‘Riviera’ as it’s known locally, is a veritable 50s museum. Its convenient location on Havana’s emblematic seafront promenade (Malecon), with the Miramar, Vedado and Old Havana neighborhoods within striking distance, speaks for itself.
Hotel Plaza: Surrounded by the Museum of Fine Arts, the Bar Floridita, the Capitolio, Central Park and more of Havana’s top sights, Hotel Plaza offers a wonderful accommodation in a location that can’t be beat. Hotel Havana Libre: The Hotel Habana Libre is one of the biggest hotels in Cuba and one of the more emblematic of Havana City; it’s located in 23 and L streets, Vedado, a few meters from the Malecón. This 4 star hotel is a jewel of the urban design and boasts the best view in Havana City.

Day 8: Adios Cuba!
Adios Cuba!
Meals Included:  B

This morning we offer one airport transfer at a time that matches the departure time of the majority of the group • For flights that don’t match up well, we recommend you take a taxi to the airport at your convenience

Dates, Rates
& Details

Stop daydreaming and start planning your adventure today. Confirmed departure dates and rates are listed below. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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  • 8 days/7 nights
  • Next Departure: Oct 29, 2017
  • From $3,490 / person
  • ($500 single supplement) Children: $3,490

Confirmed Departures

  • Oct 29, 2017
  • Nov 19, 2017
  • Dec 10, 2017
  • Dec 17, 2017
  • Dec 24, 2017
  • Jan 7, 2018
  • Jan 21, 2018
  • Jan 28, 2018
  • Feb 4, 2018
  • Feb 11, 2018
  • Feb 18, 2018
  • Feb 25, 2018
  • Mar 4, 2018
  • Mar 11, 2018
  • Mar 18, 2018
  • Mar 25, 2018
  • Apr 1, 2018
  • Apr 8, 2018
  • Apr 15, 2018
  • Apr 22, 2018
  • Apr 29, 2018

Additional Trip Information

Arrival
  • Commercial flights from the United States to Cuba began in Fall 2016. We now ask that our guests book their own travel between the U.S. and Cuba. This tour begins in Cienfuegos, currently served daily by American Airlines and twice-weekly by Silver Airways. We meet the late afternoon American Airlines flight on arrival. We are happy to offer guidance with scheduling your travel to and from Cuba, and our office staff is ready to answer any questions you may have.
Departure
  • On departure day, we offer one morning airport transfer at a time that matches the departure time of the majority of the group. For flights that don’t match up well, we recommend you take a taxi to the airport at your convenience (not included.)
Activities
  • Walking/hiking: 1-8 miles, easy to moderate terrain.
  • Other activities: Swimming, snorkeling
Meals

All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.

Included in Trip Price
  • Accommodations as noted in itinerary.
  • All meals as noted in itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Fully trained, professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
  • Any necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained. • Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
  • Certification of travel to Cuba under the U.S. Department of Treasury general license.
  • All entrance fees to included events and activities.
  • Gratuities for specialized guides and presenters, drivers, porters, restaurant staff and activities during tour.
  • Austin Adventures T-shirt and luggage tags.
  • Pre-departure and packing information.
Not Included in Trip Price
  • Guide gratuities.
  • Round trip air to/from Cuba.
  • Cuba Tourist Visa Fee (Ranges from $20-$100 depending on where you buy it).
  • Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
  • Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
  • All types of personal insurance.
  • Personal expenses.
Testimonials
Testimonials

With over 20-years of experience in the adventure travel industry, we've perfected the recipe for crafting award-winning small group trips and custom itineraries on all seven continents. On every departure, we aim to exceed your expectations with best-in-class service, expert guides and the finest in regional cuisine and accommodations. From first-time travelers to seasoned alumni, our guests agree that on each Austin Adventures journey , the hardest part truly is going home. We're happy to share that 99.26% of these travelers say they'd join us again...and again...and again. But don't take our word for it. Our guests say it best:

This was my third trip with you and all have been excellent the trip was amazing, went without any glitches- great leadership ”

Leslie B, Deerfield, IL,

We all enjoyed the trip immensely. Everything perfectly arranged and timed. ”

Lorraine S, Saratoga, NY,
View More Testimonials

Regions we visit in : , , ...

A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
  • 1. All Year Beach Weather: No need for a winter coat with this Cuba Family Vacation Package. The only recorded snow was on March 12, 1857.
  • 2. Just the Classics: Due to an import ban in place until 2011, the majority of cars on the road are from the 1950's.
  • 3. Bring your Binoculars: Cuba is home to the smallest bird in the world, the Bee Hummingbird, which only grows to 2 inches in length.
  • 4. Culinary Mysteries: enjoy the mix of Spanish and Caribbean inspired dishes, whose recipes are passed from generation to generation and rarely written down.
  • 5. In-the-field expertise: As they lead you on a culturally rich walking tour of the country, our guides keep their eyes on the details, ensuring that the toughest part of your vacation truly is going home from this Cuba Family Vacation.
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