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Escorted Cuba Tours - Pearl Of The Carribean

The Pearl of the Carribean is an 8 day escorted tour departing on Sundays.

Day 1 - Havana
After arriving into Havana Airport transfer to a hotel in the heart of the old quarter for the night.
Day 2 - Havana
Havana After breakfast a tour of Havana. A unique experience, the tour will visit all the major sights of the city including the historic Plaza de Armas and Cathedral Square. We can absorb the atmosphere of the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Havana, flanked by old colonial buildings dating back as far as the 16th Century.

You will visit the impressive Museum of the Revolution and experience how Cuba’s famous cigars are still handmade by local experts by visiting one of Havana’s famous Cigar Factories. Stop at the Havana Club Rum factory where there may be the chance to sample the different rums.

Lunch will be taken at the famous El Patio restaurant situated in a beautiful location overlooking the historic Cathedral Square in the heart of Old Havana, before continuing to the impressive Revolution Square overlooked by the mural of Ernesto “Che” Guevara with the tour ending with a drive along the “Malecon”, Havana’s seafront promenade.

The remainder of the day will be at leisure to enjoy exploring Old Havana or relax by the hotel pool!

In the evening dinner will be taken at El Aljibe restaurant specialising in traditional Cuban cuisine.

Day 3 - Santa Clara
3 After breakfast you will journey east through the sugar plantations for the city of Santa Clara the final resting place of “Che Guevara”. On arrival we will visit the mausoleum and the museum dedicated to his extraordinary life, followed by a short orientation tour of the city including the train “Tren Blindado” that was attacked in the decisive moments of the Cuban Revolution.

After lunch in a local hotel we will continue through the Escambray Mountains to Trinidad a UNESCO heritage site and one of the best-preserved colonial cities in the world. Overnight and dinner will be at the Iberostar Grand Hotel located in the town centre.

Day 4 - Trinidad
Trinidad After a leisurely breakfast, we will explore Trinidad visiting the Romantic Museum, which depicts the lifestyle and architectural design of Trinidad’s colonial past. Enjoy traditional Cuban music at the Casa de la Trova, followed by a visit to La Canchanchara, an old house dating back to the 18th Century, where we can try the unique Trinidad rum and sugar cane juice cocktail. Lunch will be taken at the Grand Hotel Trinidad and there will also be some time to explore the historic city independently.

Dinner this evening will be taken in the hotel restaurant.

Day 5 - Cienfuegos
Pinar Del Rio After an early breakfast, we will enjoy a tour of Cienfuegos before departing for Pinar Del Rio province, an area known throughout the world as Cuba’s main tobacco growing region, where steep sided “Mogote” mountains stand guard over fertile valleys. En route we will stop at Guama where we will take a boat through the mangrove swamps to a replica stilted Taino Indian village on the shores of Treasure Lake. Lunch will be taken in a local countryside restaurant, before continuing to La Moka hotel, situated deep in the Sierra del Rosario Nature Reserve. On arrival dinner will be served in the hotel restaurant and the remainder of the evening will be free to relax.

Day 6 - Vinales Valley
1 Today we will visit Soroa’s prize attraction, the Orchid garden, which covers three hectares and claims to be the world’s second largest, with over 20,000 plants representing over 700 species, 250 of them indigenous to Cuba.

A walk will then be taken to the waterfall ‘Cascadas el Salto’ which descends through fragrant woodlands to the bottom of the falls, which tumbles into pools, good for bathing, these waters are also said to have medicinal properties.

Lunch will be taken at the Buena Vista coffee plantation restaurant after which a visit will be made to the local community of Las Terrazas, maybe buy a locally produced coffee and cake at Maria’s coffee shop on a hill overlooking the village followed by a cooling swim in the San Juan River.

Dinner will be served in a farmer’s restaurant specialising in Cuban cuisine and set in a peaceful rural setting where you dine at the farmer’s house on his terrace!

Day 7 - Las Terrazas
2 Today we will depart for the famous Vinales Valley, with stops for absorbing the beauty of the area. There will be a subterranean boat ride through the El Indio limestone cave system followed by lunch in the Ranchon San Vicente countryside restaurant. In the late afternoon, we will return to the Moka Hotel, and dinner will be taken in Cuban’s only restaurant specializing in organic vegetarian cuisine with all ingredients produced within the Las Terrazas community!!!, Many previous visitors have said this is the best restaurant in Cuba, an excellent end to the day.
Day 8
Today we will depart for the famous Vinales Valley, with stops for absorbing the beauty of the area. There will be a subterranean boat ride through the El Indio limestone cave system followed by lunch in the Ranchon San Vicente countryside restaurant. In the late afternoon, we will return to the Moka Hotel, and dinner will be taken in Cuban’s only restaurant specializing in organic vegetarian cuisine with all ingredients produced within the Las Terrazas community!!!, Many previous visitors have said this is the best restaurant in Cuba, an excellent end to the day.

This tour was really interesting and enjoyable. There were only five of us on the tour and we had great fun all the time as our guide Rafeal had a good sense of humour as well as being informative about life and history in Cuba. We would have liked a little more time to explore old Havana, perhaps spending another night there before going to Varadero. Trinidad was particularly lively as the music and dancing were infectious and we had time to go out independently. The Grand Hotel was of a very high standard. The Hotel Moka was in an interesting environment, but almost everyone suffered from bad stomachs there (even guide and driver) so we would happily have given up our final evening there for Havana. The Chinese built coach had poor suspension so it felt like we did a lot of miles but we wouldn?t have missed anything! The guide had lots of stories to pass the time and knew when to keep quiet too. We felt we had seen what life was like for locals and will listen with interest as things change in future. We thoroughly recommend the tour. J.M. Nov 2009<./cite>

Iberostar Hotel in Trinidad provided excellent accommodation, food and service. We liked the town and would willingly have stayed an additional day.

NH Parque Central in Havana also good although the time to explore Havana was also too short (one day). We managed to see Tropicana there and enjoyed that!

La Moka hotel was disappointing (food mediocre and room (no 25) with ants, very damp and strongly smelling of mould). Not possible to change the room because all other rooms were full. The three night stay here was too long!

Our tour guide Gustavel was knowledgeable and personable. The coach driver Felice was also polite and helpful. We saw many interesting sights and the tour was generally very well co-ordinated.

Rating for the tour: 3 out of 5 (because of La Moka)

J.S. Feb 2010

Hovis Travel Group Ltd.

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