Explore the Heart of Cuba | Mountain Travel Sobek

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Explore the Heart of Cuba

Trip Length 8 days

From $4,995

  • Discover the lesser-known wonders of Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad de Cuba, and Cienfuegos “The Pearl of the South” on this exciting new MTS adventure
  • See the fascinating UNESCO-listed treasures of Old Havana and Las Terrazas, and explore Hemingway’s famous haunts
  • Dine on fresh farm-to-table meals and taste authentic Cuban fare in paladar restaurants of local entrepreneurs
  • Enjoy cultural encounters as part of our official people-to-people program and get a first-hand view of emerging Cuba from those who know it best

Experience the magic of old Cuba on this captivating 8-day journey to the heart of the country. We’ll begin our off-the-beaten-track adventure in the province of Sancti Spiritus, where we’ll explore its pretty namesake city and beautiful Trinidad de Cuba, with its perfectly preserved colonial mansions and colorful cobblestone streets. Next we’ll head to Cienfuegos “The Pearl of the South,” where mesmerizing bay views and elegant plazas combine to create a spectacular seaside escape. No trip to Cuba would be complete without a tour of Old Havana, a trip to Hemingway’s retreat at Finca Vigía, an exploration of the eco-community of Las Terrazas, and a cigar factory visit—this trip has it all! Plus enjoy tasty Cuban fare in authentic home restaurants and dance to the rhythm of Afro-Cuban beats. Join this officially licensed People-to-People trip with MTS, and learn about the many layers of the country’s rich culture and history before it changes forever.

Why Travel to Cuba with MTS?

We have been operating our Cuba program for five years and have taken hundreds of guests into the country via the People-to-People license. While diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba are easing, the rules for travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens remain in effect. Our role at MTS is to navigate the continuing complexities involved in traveling to Cuba by arranging the following:

  • Tourist visa required for entry to Cuba
  • Travel affidavit
  • Accommodations
  • Local, English-speaking guides
  • Insider experiences

At MTS we strive to make every Cuba experience special, while also ensuring that guests are aware of the realities of travel within the country. For example, the best accommodations in Cuba might not be equal to the standard experienced on other group trips and the itinerary not as flexible. We also recommend that travelers expect the unexpected along the way!

Day 1: Arrive in Miami

Welcome to Miami, the gateway to Cuba! This trip begins with a meeting and orientation at 6:30pm in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Miami International Airport Hotel, where you’ll meet your MTS representative and fellow travelers. The evening is free to enjoy a meal of your choice at a nearby Cuban restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.

  • Accommodation:Miami Crowne Plaza or similar

Day 2: Fly to Santa Clara, Cuba, & Discover Sancti Spiritus

This morning we’ll take a one-hour flight from Miami to Santa Clara, Cuba. On arrival (and time permitting) we’ll visit the Che Guevara Mausoleum, which includes a museum detailing the life Guevara. Lunch will be served at a home-style restaurant, known locally as a paladar, in Santa Clara.

After lunch we’ll take a one-hour drive to lesser-explored Sancti Spiritus, where we’ll have time to absorb the tranquility of this traditional Cuban city as we stroll through the local artisans market. Hotel check-in will be between 4:30pm and 5pm, and dinner this evening will be served at local paladar located within walking distance of the hotel.

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Rijo OR Hotel Plaza OR Hotel Don Florencio

Day 3: Explore Natural Park El Cubano & Trinidad de Cuba

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before a half-hour drive to the Natural Park El Cubano, a nature-lovers paradise. Here we’ll take a guided medium-level 3-hour hike through an incredibly scenic and lush landscape to a magnificent waterfall called “El Cubano.” Swim in the crystal-clear waters at your leisure!

Next we’ll drive to downtown Trinidad de Cuba, a wonderful city known for its Spanish colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. Enjoy lunch at a local paladar before visiting the Architecture Museum located on the town’s main plaza and exploring the local artisans market.

Tonight we’ll return to Sancti Spiritus for an evening of entertainment at Casa de la Trova, where locals perform lively Cuban music. Put on your dancing shoes and join in salsa or rumba dancing before retiring for the evening.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Rijo OR Hotel Plaza OR Hotel Don Florencio

Day 4: Experience Cienfuegos “The Pearl of the South”

Shortly after breakfast this morning we’ll depart the hotel and drive to French colonial Cienfuegos, known as “The Pearl of the South” for its beautiful architecture and prime location on the Bay of Cienfuegos. Here we’ll explore the Plaza Jose Marti in this historic city center, the Punta Gordo Peninsula and Teatro Terry before enjoying lunch at a paladar overlooking the bay.

Later this afternoon we’ll take a 4-hour drive to Havana and dine at a popular local paladar.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 5: Tour Old Havana

After breakfast at the hotel we’ll set out to see the sights of Old Havana, beginning at Plaza de la Revolución. The plaza is dominated by a 358-foot monument to the 19th-century Cuban patriot José Martí and was site of many of Fidel Castro’s public addresses.

Our guide leads us along the cobblestone streets of this 500-year-old city visiting important sites and squares including the Plaza de Armas and Plaza de la Catedral. As we meander, we'll visit the book market, a cross-cultural treasure trove of books, posters, and antiques to pique your curiosity. Soak in the sights and sounds of Habana Vieja before stopping for lunch at a paladar.

Next we’ll take a docent-guided visit to the Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum), concentrating on the Cuban fine arts section of this massive institution, and also visit a classic American car museum. There is also an optional visit to the artisans market located on Havana’s oceanfront Malecón or guests may elect to return to the hotel for a leisurely late afternoon. Before returning to the hotel, consider stopping for a no-host mojito or daiquiri at the famed La Floridita Bar, where the daiquiri was supposedly discovered by Ernest Hemingway.

Please note that dinner is not included this evening, but recommendations for local restaurants can be given.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 6: See Finca Vigía, Cojimar, Fusterlandia & Clave del Sol

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before a morning visit to one of Havana’s cigar factories, either Partagas or Cohiba. Next we’ll take a half-hour drive to Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban home for twenty years and currently a national museum.

Later we'll take a short panoramic drive to nearby Cojímar, a quaint fishing village which served as the setting for the novel The Old Man and the Sea, and enjoy lunch at an open-air paladar. After stretching our legs we’ll return to Havana in the afternoon to visit “Fusterlandia”—the home and surrounding neighborhood of “The Picasso of the Caribbean,” Jose Fuster. We´ll also have the opportunity to visit a local community project known as Clave del Sol, where local professional musicians teach music to children of all ages–especially the guitar!

Please note that dinner is not included this evening, but recommendations for local restaurants can be given.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 7: Visit Las Terrazas

After breakfast we’ll depart for the Artemisa province, located in the lush Sierra del Rosario mountains, where we’ll spend the day exploring the small community of Las Terrazas. Shortly after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, local farmers moved to this model community to share resources, and help each other overcome the hardships of living in thatched roof huts without electricity, schools, or medical services. Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1984, Las Terrazas is a must-see in Cuba—world-renowned for its wild, exquisite natural beauty and its culture of cooperative living and sustainability.

We'll visit the Clinica Las Terrazas to learn how medical services are handled in rural Cuba and stop at Café María, the town’s only coffee shop. Here we’ll discuss coffee culture in Cuba and the world as we enjoy a delicious brew! We’ll also have the opportunity to visit the Buena Vista Coffee Plantation and the art studio of Lester Campa when he is in residence.

For lunch, enjoy an authentic, farm-to-table, country-style Cuban meal prepared and served outdoors at a local farmhouse near Las Terrazas.

We’ll return to Havana in the afternoon and enjoy a farewell dinner at another of Havana’s famed paladares.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 8: Depart from Havana

After breakfast we’ll meet our guide in the lobby and transfer to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport for Miami-bound flights.

People-to-People License:
This itinerary is operated under People-to-People License # CT-2013-305287-1 and provides a full time schedule of educational activities that will result in meaningful interactions between you and individuals in Cuba. U.S. law requires that all persons who participate in this program adhere to this full time schedule, and imposes on Mountain Travel Sobek the obligation to ensure such adherence.

Itinerary Changes:
When traveling abroad, things don't always go according to plan and, particularly in Cuba, itinerary changes or shifts mid-trip are quite common. In the event of a last-minute change to the scheduled activities, your leaders will find alternate activities that you're sure to enjoy. Expect the unexpected in this region—it's all part of the adventure!

Accommodations and Meals:
As "luxury" accommodations in Cuba can generally be characterized as large all-inclusive, resort-style hotels, our accommodations on this trip are not typical of the MTS experience. While the hotels are the best available and offer numerous amenities, even the nicest properties in Cuba do not come close to equaling the accommodations on other MTS trips.

  • Breakfast

Jan 13 - 20, 2018

Feb 03 - 10, 2018

Feb 17 - 24, 2018

Mar 17 - 24, 2018

Apr 07 - 14, 2018

pricing

$4,995 per person, double occupancy  (4-16 members)
$750 single supplement
$395 internal flights: Miami-Santa Clara and Havana-Miami  (subject to change)
$85 Cuba Visa

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Hotel Capri — Havana

Located in Central Havana, Hotel Capri is a comfortable accommodation with friendly staff and beautiful views of the city and sea. Travelers consistently give this hotel great reviews for its prime location in the vibrant capital in addition to its gorgeous rooftop pool, restaurant, bar, fitness center, and spa. The hotel serves a delicious breakfast buffet every morning, in addition to its restaurant serving a fine selection of international cuisine. Built in 1957, this hotel has hosted guests for half a century, and the staff at Hotel Capri look forward to providing you comfortable accommodations with classic Cuban flair during your journey through Cuba.

Hotel Don Florencio — Sancti Spiritus

Hotel Plaza — Sancti Spiritus

Hotel Rijo — Sancti Spiritus

Miami Crowne Plaza or similar — Miami, Florida

Located conveniently next to Miami International Airport, the Crowne Plaza offers a variety of amenities to allow for a seamless transition to Cuba. Whether you're hungry for a delicious meal, or want to relax outside on a warm Miami night, this hotel has all the bases covered. Crowne Plaza boasts a fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, lounge, and business center. The combination of convenience, comfort, and top-notch service make this a wonderful place to recharge on the eve of a new experience.

  • Discover the lesser-known wonders of Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad de Cuba, and Cienfuegos “The Pearl of the South” on this exciting new MTS adventure
  • See the fascinating UNESCO-listed treasures of Old Havana and Las Terrazas, and explore Hemingway’s famous haunts
  • Dine on fresh farm-to-table meals and taste authentic Cuban fare in paladar restaurants of local entrepreneurs
  • Enjoy cultural encounters as part of our official people-to-people program and get a first-hand view of emerging Cuba from those who know it best

Experience the magic of old Cuba on this captivating 8-day journey to the heart of the country. We’ll begin our off-the-beaten-track adventure in the province of Sancti Spiritus, where we’ll explore its pretty namesake city and beautiful Trinidad de Cuba, with its perfectly preserved colonial mansions and colorful cobblestone streets. Next we’ll head to Cienfuegos “The Pearl of the South,” where mesmerizing bay views and elegant plazas combine to create a spectacular seaside escape. No trip to Cuba would be complete without a tour of Old Havana, a trip to Hemingway’s retreat at Finca Vigía, an exploration of the eco-community of Las Terrazas, and a cigar factory visit—this trip has it all! Plus enjoy tasty Cuban fare in authentic home restaurants and dance to the rhythm of Afro-Cuban beats. Join this officially licensed People-to-People trip with MTS, and learn about the many layers of the country’s rich culture and history before it changes forever.

Why Travel to Cuba with MTS?

We have been operating our Cuba program for five years and have taken hundreds of guests into the country via the People-to-People license. While diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba are easing, the rules for travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens remain in effect. Our role at MTS is to navigate the continuing complexities involved in traveling to Cuba by arranging the following:

  • Tourist visa required for entry to Cuba
  • Travel affidavit
  • Accommodations
  • Local, English-speaking guides
  • Insider experiences

At MTS we strive to make every Cuba experience special, while also ensuring that guests are aware of the realities of travel within the country. For example, the best accommodations in Cuba might not be equal to the standard experienced on other group trips and the itinerary not as flexible. We also recommend that travelers expect the unexpected along the way!

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Miami

Welcome to Miami, the gateway to Cuba! This trip begins with a meeting and orientation at 6:30pm in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Miami International Airport Hotel, where you’ll meet your MTS representative and fellow travelers. The evening is free to enjoy a meal of your choice at a nearby Cuban restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.

  • Accommodation:Miami Crowne Plaza or similar

Day 2: Fly to Santa Clara, Cuba, & Discover Sancti Spiritus

This morning we’ll take a one-hour flight from Miami to Santa Clara, Cuba. On arrival (and time permitting) we’ll visit the Che Guevara Mausoleum, which includes a museum detailing the life Guevara. Lunch will be served at a home-style restaurant, known locally as a paladar, in Santa Clara.

After lunch we’ll take a one-hour drive to lesser-explored Sancti Spiritus, where we’ll have time to absorb the tranquility of this traditional Cuban city as we stroll through the local artisans market. Hotel check-in will be between 4:30pm and 5pm, and dinner this evening will be served at local paladar located within walking distance of the hotel.

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Rijo OR Hotel Plaza OR Hotel Don Florencio

Day 3: Explore Natural Park El Cubano & Trinidad de Cuba

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before a half-hour drive to the Natural Park El Cubano, a nature-lovers paradise. Here we’ll take a guided medium-level 3-hour hike through an incredibly scenic and lush landscape to a magnificent waterfall called “El Cubano.” Swim in the crystal-clear waters at your leisure!

Next we’ll drive to downtown Trinidad de Cuba, a wonderful city known for its Spanish colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. Enjoy lunch at a local paladar before visiting the Architecture Museum located on the town’s main plaza and exploring the local artisans market.

Tonight we’ll return to Sancti Spiritus for an evening of entertainment at Casa de la Trova, where locals perform lively Cuban music. Put on your dancing shoes and join in salsa or rumba dancing before retiring for the evening.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Rijo OR Hotel Plaza OR Hotel Don Florencio

Day 4: Experience Cienfuegos “The Pearl of the South”

Shortly after breakfast this morning we’ll depart the hotel and drive to French colonial Cienfuegos, known as “The Pearl of the South” for its beautiful architecture and prime location on the Bay of Cienfuegos. Here we’ll explore the Plaza Jose Marti in this historic city center, the Punta Gordo Peninsula and Teatro Terry before enjoying lunch at a paladar overlooking the bay.

Later this afternoon we’ll take a 4-hour drive to Havana and dine at a popular local paladar.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 5: Tour Old Havana

After breakfast at the hotel we’ll set out to see the sights of Old Havana, beginning at Plaza de la Revolución. The plaza is dominated by a 358-foot monument to the 19th-century Cuban patriot José Martí and was site of many of Fidel Castro’s public addresses.

Our guide leads us along the cobblestone streets of this 500-year-old city visiting important sites and squares including the Plaza de Armas and Plaza de la Catedral. As we meander, we'll visit the book market, a cross-cultural treasure trove of books, posters, and antiques to pique your curiosity. Soak in the sights and sounds of Habana Vieja before stopping for lunch at a paladar.

Next we’ll take a docent-guided visit to the Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum), concentrating on the Cuban fine arts section of this massive institution, and also visit a classic American car museum. There is also an optional visit to the artisans market located on Havana’s oceanfront Malecón or guests may elect to return to the hotel for a leisurely late afternoon. Before returning to the hotel, consider stopping for a no-host mojito or daiquiri at the famed La Floridita Bar, where the daiquiri was supposedly discovered by Ernest Hemingway.

Please note that dinner is not included this evening, but recommendations for local restaurants can be given.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 6: See Finca Vigía, Cojimar, Fusterlandia & Clave del Sol

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before a morning visit to one of Havana’s cigar factories, either Partagas or Cohiba. Next we’ll take a half-hour drive to Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban home for twenty years and currently a national museum.

Later we'll take a short panoramic drive to nearby Cojímar, a quaint fishing village which served as the setting for the novel The Old Man and the Sea, and enjoy lunch at an open-air paladar. After stretching our legs we’ll return to Havana in the afternoon to visit “Fusterlandia”—the home and surrounding neighborhood of “The Picasso of the Caribbean,” Jose Fuster. We´ll also have the opportunity to visit a local community project known as Clave del Sol, where local professional musicians teach music to children of all ages–especially the guitar!

Please note that dinner is not included this evening, but recommendations for local restaurants can be given.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 7: Visit Las Terrazas

After breakfast we’ll depart for the Artemisa province, located in the lush Sierra del Rosario mountains, where we’ll spend the day exploring the small community of Las Terrazas. Shortly after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, local farmers moved to this model community to share resources, and help each other overcome the hardships of living in thatched roof huts without electricity, schools, or medical services. Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1984, Las Terrazas is a must-see in Cuba—world-renowned for its wild, exquisite natural beauty and its culture of cooperative living and sustainability.

We'll visit the Clinica Las Terrazas to learn how medical services are handled in rural Cuba and stop at Café María, the town’s only coffee shop. Here we’ll discuss coffee culture in Cuba and the world as we enjoy a delicious brew! We’ll also have the opportunity to visit the Buena Vista Coffee Plantation and the art studio of Lester Campa when he is in residence.

For lunch, enjoy an authentic, farm-to-table, country-style Cuban meal prepared and served outdoors at a local farmhouse near Las Terrazas.

We’ll return to Havana in the afternoon and enjoy a farewell dinner at another of Havana’s famed paladares.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 8: Depart from Havana

After breakfast we’ll meet our guide in the lobby and transfer to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport for Miami-bound flights.

People-to-People License:
This itinerary is operated under People-to-People License # CT-2013-305287-1 and provides a full time schedule of educational activities that will result in meaningful interactions between you and individuals in Cuba. U.S. law requires that all persons who participate in this program adhere to this full time schedule, and imposes on Mountain Travel Sobek the obligation to ensure such adherence.

Itinerary Changes:
When traveling abroad, things don't always go according to plan and, particularly in Cuba, itinerary changes or shifts mid-trip are quite common. In the event of a last-minute change to the scheduled activities, your leaders will find alternate activities that you're sure to enjoy. Expect the unexpected in this region—it's all part of the adventure!

Accommodations and Meals:
As "luxury" accommodations in Cuba can generally be characterized as large all-inclusive, resort-style hotels, our accommodations on this trip are not typical of the MTS experience. While the hotels are the best available and offer numerous amenities, even the nicest properties in Cuba do not come close to equaling the accommodations on other MTS trips.

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Hotel Capri — Havana

Located in Central Havana, Hotel Capri is a comfortable accommodation with friendly staff and beautiful views of the city and sea. Travelers consistently give this hotel great reviews for its prime location in the vibrant capital in addition to its gorgeous rooftop pool, restaurant, bar, fitness center, and spa. The hotel serves a delicious breakfast buffet every morning, in addition to its restaurant serving a fine selection of international cuisine. Built in 1957, this hotel has hosted guests for half a century, and the staff at Hotel Capri look forward to providing you comfortable accommodations with classic Cuban flair during your journey through Cuba.

Hotel Don Florencio — Sancti Spiritus

Hotel Plaza — Sancti Spiritus

Hotel Rijo — Sancti Spiritus

Miami Crowne Plaza or similar — Miami, Florida

Located conveniently next to Miami International Airport, the Crowne Plaza offers a variety of amenities to allow for a seamless transition to Cuba. Whether you're hungry for a delicious meal, or want to relax outside on a warm Miami night, this hotel has all the bases covered. Crowne Plaza boasts a fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, lounge, and business center. The combination of convenience, comfort, and top-notch service make this a wonderful place to recharge on the eve of a new experience.

Dates and Pricing

Jan 13 - 20, 2018

Feb 03 - 10, 2018

Feb 17 - 24, 2018

Mar 17 - 24, 2018

Apr 07 - 14, 2018

pricing

$4,995 per person, double occupancy  (4-16 members)
$750 single supplement
$395 internal flights: Miami-Santa Clara and Havana-Miami  (subject to change)
$85 Cuba Visa

Activity Level Easy
Trip Length 8 days

From $4,995

Interested in this adventure? Take the next step and book it!

Got questions?

Call us at 1-888-831-7526
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Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure