Trip Type : N/A

Undiscovered Cuba

Alexander + Roberts
4.8 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: N/A
Physical Level: N/A
  • N/A
  • Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
    12 days
    From: $ 6,499 $ 542 / day
    Checking price

    Overview

    Trip Type N/A
    Array
    Itinerary Focus N/A
    Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
    Lodging Level Value (3*)
    Flight & Transport Inclusions N/A
    Start City N/A
    End City N/A

    Travel Theme

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    Destinations

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    Attractions & Cities Visited

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    Activities & Interests

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    Itinerary

    : Day 1 - Welcome to Havana, Cuba

    Upon arrival at José Martí International Airport, you’ll be met and escorted to the inviting and comfortable Meliá Cohiba Hotel in the heart of the city. An informative tour orientation and welcome dinner set the stage for your Cuban adventure.  Meals D

    : Day 2 - Discover Havana #WHS#

    Havana was founded in 1519 and within a hundred years it had emerged as one of the Caribbean’s wealthiest ports and an important ship-building center. Although it’s now a vibrant capital with more than two million residents, its historical core still retains a wonderful mix of Baroque and Neoclassical architecture - including colorful old buildings with arcades, balconies and delicate wrought-iron gates. With our engaging and in-the-know guide, our walking tour takes you along Old Havana’s narrow streets and through impressive centuries-old plazas that embody both the city’s ancient legacy as well as its modern-day vibrancy. This morning, we’ll also visit a cigar factory to watch as the workers skillfully and quickly hand-roll cigars in the traditional method that has long earned Cuban cigars their global reputation. In addition, we’ll spend time today at UNEAC, the National Union of Writers and Artists for our first People-to-People activity. Lively and informal discussion with their creative, well-versed members gives us a great chance to learn about the social, political and economic challenges facing the island and its people. Our day ends with dinner at one of Havana’s many fine privately-owned paladares.  Meals B+L+D

    : Day 3 - Life + Culture in the Capital

    After breakfast, our day starts at a local farmers market. Joining residents as they shop for produce and other essentials offers an intimate look into daily life and some of the challenges they face. Next up is a People-to-People activity with some of the artists now involved with Muraleando, a unique community project that started in 2001 when two local artists began teaching painting and sculpture to neighborhood children. Encompassing both traditional wall paintings with modern found-object sculptures, the artwork depicts fanciful celebrations of Cuban life. After lunch, we’ll enjoy a congenial and informative discussion with leaders from Cuba’s film industry. We’ll finish the day at Finca Vigia. Built in 1886, Ernest Hemingway purchased this handsome hilltop residence in 1940 and lived here for nearly 20 years. It was here at Finca Vigia that Hemingway wrote two of his most famous works – For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. This evening, you’ll dine on your own at one of the city’s paladares, privately owned restaurants that can now be found across the island. Of course, our in-the-know guide is well versed in Havana’s dining scene and will be happy to make recommendations.  Meals B+L

    : Day 4 - Journey to Santa Clara

    We’ll depart the city after breakfast, traveling by motorcoach deeper into the heart of the island to the handsome colonial town of Santa Clara. The ambience and tranquility you’ll experience here is a sharp contrast to the urban energy we left behind in Havana. To begin our exploration, we’ll visit a local art gallery and meet with a representative from a community children’s project. After lunch, we’ll spend time with a local performance troupe that specializes in a style of music that was common in the early 20th century as the accompaniment for silent movies and other theatrical events. We’ll finish our day’s sightseeing at the Che Guevara Memorial. This complex comprises a museum, Guevara’s mausoleum, and an impressive 82-foot state of the political revolutionary. After dinner, we’ll enjoy an overnight at a hotel here in Santa Clara.  Meals B+L+D

    : Day 5 - Santa Clara to Camagüey

    This morning’s scenic drive brings you to Camagüey, one of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards in Cuba. By the 17th century, it had developed into an important urban center for an interior territory dedicated to the cattle and sugar industries. And unlike many other colonial towns in Latin America, Camagüey developed in a very irregular non-grid urban pattern with winding alleys, labyrinthine urban streets, and a fine ensemble of large and small town squares. On arrival, we’ll have lunch near one of these handsome town squares – splendidly restored Plaza de Carmen. Camagüey today reflects both its rich architectural legacy as well as a thriving artistic spirit. Our exploration into the town’s vibrant arts scene begins at the studio of a local painter and sculptor who will share insight into her work and inspirations. We’ll also visit a local art school to meet the talented students and dedicated teachers. At a city clinic, we’ll spend time with the staff to learn about Cuba’s healthcare system. We’ll dine this evening at a local paladar and enjoy a 2-night stay at a hotel here in Camagüey.  Meals B+L+D

    : Day 6 - Life, Culture + Art in Camagüey

    Your second day in Camagüey begins with an inspiring people-to-people visit with the staff of a community project dedicated to the development and welfare of local children. Next you’ll spend time with the creative members of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba. Founded in 1961 by Cuban poet Nicolas Guillen, this society of writers, musicians, actors, painters and sculptors is one of the island’s most unique groups. With more than 9,000 members and branches all across Cuba, it’s a non-governmental social, cultural and professional organization that aims to strengthen, develop and preserve Cuban art and literature. After lunch, we’ll continue our exploration into the region’s strong creative heritage when we meet with the dancers of a local ballet company. This evening, we’ll dine together at our hotel.  Meals B+L+D

    : Day 7 - Travel to Bayamo and Santiago de Cuba

    Check out from your hotel this morning after breakfast and travel to Bayamo. Older than both Havana and Santiago de Cuba, this tranquil town boasts a timeless ambience and offers the chance to experience a quieter side of island life. After lunch in town, enjoy a congenial People-to-People visit with the talented members of the Choir of Bayamo – capped off by a special performance. Continue your journey to La Caridad del Cobre. Visited by the Pope whenever he’s in Cuba, this historic church houses the Virgin of Charity, a revered statue of the Virgin Mary that was found floating offshore more than 400 years ago. In 1916, the Pope visited the shrine of the Virgin of Charity and declared her the patron saint of Cuba. Half a century later, Ernest Hemingway gave the Virgin the Nobel Prize for Literature which he received after writing The Old Man and the Sea in Havana. Over the years, thousands of votive offerings have been left here by pilgrims and visitors, making this perhaps the most important church on the island. Continue to Santiago de Cuba and check in to the wonderful Meliá Santiago Hotel where you’ll have time to refresh before dinner.  Meals B+L+D

    : Day 8 - Santiago de Cuba

    There’s a decidedly Afro-Cuban spirit to be experienced here on the eastern side of the island – something we’ll discover this morning when local musicians enlighten us about the culture and rhythms of their city. We’ll get things moving with a dance lesson featuring several styles of Cuban dance and then dine on Cayo Granma, a charming little island that lies 20 minutes offshore at the mouth of the Bay of Santiago de Cuba. In the afternoon, we’ll tour El Morro de Castillo. Built by the Spanish in the 17th century, this massive stone fortress is spectacularly set on a rocky promontory overlooking the Bay. Now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the best examples of Colonial military architecture in the Americas and reflects Italian and Renaissance design principles. From the Fort, we’ll enjoy a tour of the city including handsome town squares like Plaza Delores. Once a bustling marketplace, this pleasant and shady town square is home to restaurants and cafes popular with the locals. This evening is free to enjoy and dine on your own in this friendly Cuban city. Our guide is well versed in Santiago’s dining scene and will be happy to make personal recommendations.  Meals B+L

    : Day 9 - Onward to Baracoa

    A pleasant and relaxing day unfolds as we travel along one of Cuba’s most scenic byways toward the northeastern tip of the island. We’ll stop for lunch in the town of Guantanamo and then continue our drive to Baracoa. Unlike our hotel accommodations thus far, here you’ll enjoy a 2-night stay at one of Baracoa’s casas particulares. Similar to American bed-and-breakfasts, these warm and authentically Cuban accommodations are found in private homes and offer a comfortable and memorable stay.  Meals B+L+D

    : Day 10 - Historic Baracoa

    Surrounded by tropical forests on the far eastern shores of the island, Baracoa is Cuba’s oldest city, a charming place where the pace of life is refreshingly simple. Many people still make their living by fishing or cultivating coconut and banana. On our first morning here, we’ll spend time getting to know the history, landmarks and pace of life in this wonderful town. We’ll also visit the municipal museum; set in a 19th century defensive structure, the museum’s exhibits cover fascinating subjects including the colorful days when corsairs and pirates commanded the nearby seas and also the Cuban War of Independence. We’ll take a break from sightseeing to enjoy a short boat ride down the tranquil Rio Toa to have lunch at Rancho Toa; surrounded by lush tropical vegetation along the river, this delightful spot is known for its authentic Cuban fare. After lunch you’ll visit the Fabrica de Cucuruchos to watch the creation of a well-known local sweet made from palm leaves, coconut, sugar and pineapple. Of course you’ll have a chance to sample this popular treat before returning to your comfortable casa particular. This evening is free to enjoy and dine on your own. As always, our knowledgeable guide can make recommendations.  Meals B+L

    : Day 11 - Back to Santiago de Cuba

    The dances and music of Baracoa and the island’s eastern provinces are unique and distinct. This morning, we’ll gain insight and appreciation when we spend time with Grupo Nengón Kiribá, a local dance and music ensemble. After a lively performance and congenial people-to-people engagement with the group’s impassioned members, we’ll have lunch and then journey back to Santiago de Cuba for another night at the Meliá Santiago Hotel. You’ll have time to refresh before we gather for a farewell dinner.  Meals B+L+D

    : Day 12 - Transfer to Holguín for Departure

    After breakfast and check out, a scenic morning drive will take us through varied landscapes of peaceful farms, small towns, rolling hills, and timeless rural communities. On arrival in the provincial capital of Holguín, we’ll meet with local painters to learn about the city’s lively arts community. Then transfer to nearby Frank País International Airport for your departure flight.  Meals B Limited to never more than 24 guests, our Small Group People-to-People Cuba Journeys are individually programmed and in compliance with U.S. Government regulations. Many of the places we visit and the cultural experiences we provide are not in standard touristic venues and are not always available. Thus, your final itinerary prior to departure will detail each day’s full program.

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    Price From $ 6,499
    Price Per Day: $ 542 per day

    2,152 Alexander + Roberts Travel Reviews & Ratings

    100%
    4.8 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
    Excellent 1,818
    Great 284
    Average 43
    Disappointing 5
    Terrible 2
    Value
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    Undiscovered Cuba

    Review of Undiscovered Cuba

    5.0
    Details
    Value5.0
    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals5.0
    Loved everything! The A/R guide, Diane, the Cuban guide, Rene, and the professional driver, Yunior. The two week trip was exceptional, with the many places visited, the interaction with the Cubans, learning/experiencing the people, culture, art, music, dance, the lectures and history. The opportunity to speak Spanish, after neglecting it for almost 20 years. The attention to details of every aspect of the tour, the ease with which we entered and departed Cuba,
    Insight Cuba. The security, drugs, gambling and guns being illegal, not ever the police we saw were wearing weapons. We have already signed up for a cruise to Iceland this summer. I would recommend traveling to Cuba, and listening and learning all you can, instead of listening to the unrealistic news with which we are bombarded.
    What's not to love? The Cubans are warm, friendly, eager to meet and talk with Americans. Pack your bags!!! Our group of 8 all received all the special attention they needed.
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    Review of Undiscovered Cuba

    5.0
    Details
    Value5.0
    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals5.0
    Hard to choose one delight, but the visit to the clinic, the choir and the indigenous family group stand out. We were able to 'hang out' and talk with vendors and other Cubans as well. Long bus rides were OK given that we stopped every so often and could see the geographical differences between the various areas in Cuba. The drive across Cuba was worth every minute it took. The Cuban people were fantastic: proud without being arrogant, resilient, friendly and helpful. We especially liked experiencing the various cities, from Havana to Baracoa. The tour leader and the guide provided needed assistance, and that helped as well.
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    Review of Undiscovered Cuba

    5.0
    Details
    Value5.0
    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals5.0
    Consuelo, our Insight Cuba tour guide and Madelein, the Cuba tour guide were both wonderful and very informative: 5-star. They were able to get us into exclusive places and situations because of their contacts and relationships. Wonderful cultural experience!!
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    Review of Undiscovered Cuba

    5.0
    Details
    Value5.0
    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals5.0
    My experience with A&R on a visit to Cuba was fantastic and better than I ever imagined. Our leaders were on top of things at all times, and the places we visited were varied and interesting. My favorites were shopping at a farmer's market for a nutritious meal (with a limited amount of CUCs) and a visit to a medical clinic. I felt I got a good really got peek at the life of Cubans. Accommodations were always good to excellent. I might add that I'm an older solo traveler and always felt comfortable and am very glad I made the trip with A&R.
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    Company Reviews

    Paid In Full to Go Nowhere

    1.0
    Details
    Value3.0
    Guide1.0
    Activities1.0
    Lodging1.0
    Transportation1.0
    Meals1.0
    I chose the small group China Sampler and paid in full in December 2018 for the April 2020 departure to get the $300 discount. After that it was just waiting and waiting and waiting. I was looking to start making airline flight plans to and return from China in April 2019. But when my travel agent contacted A&R she discovered that I was the only one signed up for the small group tour. This continued through the remainder of 2019. I actually called A&R direct one day to find out what was going on. I was then told about the 90 day out policy before they would cancel the trip. I asked a couple of times through my travel agent if A&R could just go ahead and cancel out the tour and refund my money, but was told there might be some last minute people to sign up for a trip to China. So basically A&R had my $5,000 plus fully paid fee to invest and use as they chose for over a year. January 10 or 20 was the 90 day before date I was told when a decision would be made to cancel. On January 9th I checked the website of A&R and saw by the small group tour for April 9-19 the words "Sold Out". So I'm thinking "Oh, maybe they did get enough last minute people to go?" So I sent my travel agent info on what airline flights I would like to take to China and back. The next day I was sent an email from my agent letting me know that A&R had cancelled the April small group trip to China for the dates I had selected. So the "Sold Out" descriptor apparently was an attempt to save face by not admitting they could not fill the small group trip with enough people to make the trip happen. Not a very "transparent" policy. About a month before A&R did offer to have me join the May China Sampler trip, but those dates did not meet my travel plans. I never received an apology directly from A&R. No offer for a discount on a future tour, nothing. Last time I will ever consider A&R for any type of tour.
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    A+R puts the best travel/tour!

    5.0
    Details
    Value5.0
    Guide5.0
    Activities5.0
    Lodging5.0
    Transportation5.0
    Meals5.0
    A+R puts the best travel/tour! every single experience is taking care of!! from air travel, the best hotels, food, and The most Knowledgeable, experienced and fun Tour Guide (Chanchal Srivastava), our trip "Wild and Wonderful India" was so perfect!! we already booked our next trip for next year!! Thank you!
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    alexander-+-roberts-6489

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