The Essence of Cuba Tour
Our experienced local guide will escort you through towns less frequented by tourism and rich in revolutionary history, the revered Sierra Maestra mountains, Santiago de Cuba a fascinating city rich in history and music, and Baracoa reputedly the oldest colonial town in the Americas.
- Visit the hidden gem of Gibara, according to the Guardian Cuba’s best kept secret!
- A short trek to La Plata, the former HQ of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary heroes, situated deep in the Sierra Maestra mountains
- A visit to Santiago de Cuba, a passionate and revolutionary city, home of the Mausoleum of Fidel Castro
- Two nights in Baracoa, one of the best places to visit in Cuba and not on many itineraries!
- Visit the birthplace of Fidel and Raul Castro at their former farm at Biran
- Every Thursday, year-round
- 7 Nights / 8 Days
- We use a mixture of very well located, good quality casas particulares and hotels.
- On the last day (day 8), you are able to transfer to the beaches of Guardalavaca or elsewhere. Alternatively take a flight to Miami, Toronto or further afield and enjoy a further break before journeying home.
Private Tour Available
The Essence of Cuba Tour Itinerary Highlights
Thursday | Day 1 - Gibra
After arrival into Holguin, there is a short journey to the picturesque small town of Gibara which is located on the north coast of Cuba.
Declared a national monument town, this friendly, hidden seaside dwelling is not normally on the tourist trail. Your first night can be enjoyed in a small boutique style hotel in the centre of this delightful town and dinner will be served tonight in the hotel.
Friday | Day 2 - Gibara & Bayamo
After a leisurely breakfast there will be a tour of Gibara known in Cuba as the ‘Villa Blanca’ (white town), with its unique architectural style and beautiful coastal location. The journey will continue to Holguin, formed in 1545 and now one of the largest cities on the island, there will be a tour of the colonial centre of the city famed for its numerous small squares.
Later in the afternoon the tour continues towards Bayamo, a small town known locally as ‘La Heroica’ due to its long history of revolutionary battles against the Spanish in the 19th Century and Batista’s troops during the last revolution.
Saturday | Day 3 - Bayamo & Sierra Maestra Mountains
You will have a short orientation tour of Bayamo which will focus on the leafy square of Parque Cespedes, named after the 'Father of Cuba', Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, born overlooking the square.
After the tour you will travel deep into the Sierra Maestra Mountains until you arrive at Villa Santo Domingo, nestled deep in the mountains with views to Cuba’s highest and most sacred mountain, Pico Turquino.
Upon arrival, the jeeps will take you higher into the mountains for a walk deep into the forests to La Plata, the former HQ of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary heroes. You can see the various hidden buildings including Fidel's actual house and the radio station from where they launched the Revolution. Continuing the trail, there is an option to visit the tiny mountain community of La Platica.
Sunday | Day 4 - Sierra Maestra Mountains & Santiago de Cuba
The tour will depart for Santiago de Cuba stopping en route at the picturesque church of El Cobre. On arrival into Santiago de Cuba you will visit the Castillo del Morro a historical fortress offering fantastic views across the Caribbean Sea and the impressive Sierra Maestra mountains.
Visit the local sights including the Moncada Barracks, Central Square, Parque Cespedes, Calle Heredia, Padre Pico Street and Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, the final resting place of Fidel Castro, one of the world’s most recognised leaders where you can observe the impressive changing of the guard ceremony.
Monday | Day 5 - Baracoa
You will take one of the most interesting and spectacular drives in Cuba along the very south-eastern tip of Cuba, and then you will take the mountain road called ‘La Farola’ to Baracoa.
Discover the picturesque centre of Baracoa, reputedly the place where Christopher Columbus first landed in Cuba.
Tuesday | Day 6 - Baracoa
After breakfast, you will travel to Rio Toa, Cuba’s wildest river which runs through a UNESCO protected reserve. There will be a chance to enjoy an exhilarating boat ride up the river through some spectacular scenery of this remote part of Cuba.
The day will continue with a visit to Finca Duaba. Lunch will be served at this Cuban farm which is surrounded by lush tropical scenery and the location of Cuba’s cocoa plantations. Take a guided walk through the farm and learn a little more about Baracoa’s famous chocolate production.
Wednesday | Day 7 - Santiago de Cuba
You will travel to the city of Guantanamo made famous globally for two very different reasons, firstly the ballad Guantanamera taken from a poem written by Cuba’s national hero Jose Marti and secondly, for the US base and now Camp X Ray only 15 miles from the city.
Continuing towards Santiago de Cuba on arrival close to the city head to the tiny island of Cayo Granma where a seafood lunch will be served looking out over the sea.
Thursday | Day 8 - Biran & Holguin
Leaving Santiago de Cuba, you will head north across the island towards Holguin province. An interesting road that, after leaving the motorway, passes through many pleasant towns and villages before you stop at the tiny village of Biran in the foothills of the Nipe Mountains. Biran is the birthplace of Fidel and Raul Castro who both became iconic world leaders and you will see the house where the brothers were born, which is also the final resting place of their parents.
The tour concludes at Holguin Airport or alternatively we can arrange transport to the beach resort of Guaradalavaca or further afield.