Santiago de Cuba to Havana
PRE CONFERENCE TOUR
9 - 16 June 2017
Join us on this amazing road trip across the country to see the REAL Cuba, not yet tainted by mass tourism. Tropical scenery; laid-back towns; day-today country life; living history of colonial occupation, slavery, revolution and economic difficulties with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the US trade embargoes. You can’t help but feel that the music you will hear everywhere has provided a means for the friendly Cuban people to survive whatever comes their way.
Don’t miss this fantastic excursion.
Friday 9 June 2017
Depart Australia, arriving in Mexico City in the evening. Stay overnight at Airport Hotel.
Saturday 10 June 2017
Fly to Santiago de Cuba and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy welcome drinks at the poolside.
Sunday 11 June 2017
Start your journey of discovery with a walking tour of this city with its diverse Spanish, French and African heritage; its revolutionary history; its past rum and sugar industries; and the birthplace of every style of Cuban music. Sunday afternoon and the streets and plazas are a-buzz with families entertaining their children (surely nothing could be more fun than a goat-driven cart ride), teenagers checking out the talent, old folk watching the world go by and, at every turn, the beat of Cuban music.
Finish at the eponymous Casa Grande Hotel for a couple of refreshing daiquiris overlooking Cathedral Square.
Monday 12 June 2017
Driving out of town you will pass memorials to fallen martyrs of the revolution and the ubiquitous billboards of political propaganda (you will discover that there is not a single ad with a buxom bird flogging the latest must-have commodities anywhere in Cuba!).
Climb the (lots of) steps to the Gran Piedra for fabulous views and then drive on to the remains of a French coffee plantation – picturesque on the outside but with a sinister legacy of slavery. Then off to lunch at a very laid back island fishing village and end the day with a bang at a majestic Spanish Fort with spectacular coastal views.
Tuesday 13 June 2017
Today head off for Camaguey, stopping in Bayamo en route. You come to realise Cubans have resolved their transport problems in many ingenious ways – watch out for the “camels”. Enjoy lunch at a farm and then arrive in Camaguey in time for a late afternoon tour by bici-taxi – the best way to see the sights and daily life in the maze of narrow streets – originally designed to confuse pirates, not just tourists. Dinner at a local restaurant with its own special Afro-Cuban music.
Wednesday 14 June 2017
We’ll hit the road again – off to laid back colonial town of Sancti Spiritus.
Enjoy some free time to wander down pedestrian plaza (you’ll notice as we head further west across the island of Cuba there are a few more shops with a bit more merchandise for sale). We move on to Trinidad – one of Cuba’s many UNESCO listed towns – with whitewashed houses, cobble stone streets and as ever great restaurants, arts and craft markets and MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC !
Thursday 15 June 2017
Visit a medical clinic in Trinidad. This afternoon is free for your own exploration of the nooks and crannies of Trinidad or enjoy your beachside hotel.
Friday 16 June 2017
Off to Havana today. First visit the city of Cienfuegos, the “Pearl of the South”. Enjoy the perfect setting on a spectacular bay, soak up the colonial- Caribbean atmosphere and the interesting architecture that won the city UNESCO World Heritage listing. After lunch head to Havana, arriving at the imposing Morro Fortress guarding the entrance to Havana Bay in time for the sunset.
End of arrangements.
Please note that this itinerary and costs may be subject to change.