Essence of the East Tour

///Essence of the East Tour
Essence of the East Tour2019-01-30T15:29:07+00:00

Project Description

Essence of the East Tour

A 7-night fully escorted tour that has been carefully designed from over 25 years of experience of tour planning in Cuba.

You will gain a fantastic insight into Cuba, one of the most unique destinations in the world. Our fully escorted tour, led by an experienced guide will cover all the most important sights of the Island, but also allow you to discover the real Cuba!

Essence of the East Tour Highlights

  • 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

  • Visit the birthplace of Fidel and Raul Castro at their former farm at Biran

  • 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!

General Information

  • Unlike other tours on the market, this tour is guaranteed to operate every Monday when there are 2 or more passengers booked, please do check with us for latest availability

  • This tour operates year-round offering a great choice of departure dates

  • The tour will be guided in English throughout

  • This tour has been designed for small groups so to maximise the experience for guests

  • Maximum group size can be up to 21, but usually with an average of 6 to 14 guests

  • Minimum age required 14 years old

  • This tour is designed and created by Captivating Cuba, and is marketed by us, other tour operators and travel agents in the UK & Ireland

  • On the last day of the tour, we can arrange for you to continue your journey to the beach resorts of Guardalavaca, Miami, USA or further afield

Tour Complexity


Tour Map

Essential Cuba Tour Map

Make this Tour your Own. Tailor this holiday to your liking when you choose to go private


We are able to organise this tour on a private basis, enabling clients to travel alone with the guide. On a private tour, it can also be possible to tailor the tour further if you require. Visits can be added, as can duration, or indeed a specialist interest can be catered for. We would be delighted to assist, please ask us if you would like a quotation.

What would you like to Personalise?

  • Go private instead of a group

  • Change the duration of the tour

  • Include your interests

  • Extra days by the beach

Day to Day Itinerary

We have included a number of unique highlights in the tour itinerary that most other tours on the market do not offer. A unique chance to wander the streets of Havana, explore Cuba’s most dramatic landscapes in Soroa and Vinales, travel back in time on the streets of Trinidad, and discover historical Santa Clara.

September 2017

Monday | Day 1

On arrival into Holguin airport you will be given a warm Cuban welcome by the guide and on leaving the airport, 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.

Overnight in Gibara.

Tuesday | Day 2

Breakfast at accommodation.

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. Lunch will be served in the city and there will be a little free time to explore independently.

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. On arrival dinner will be served in the hotel and you can wander through this picturesque and friendly town independently.

Overnight in Bayamo.

Wednesday | Day 3

Breakfast at accommodation.

After breakfast there will be 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. In fact, he announced Cuba’s first independence from Spanish rule in the same square in 1868!

After the tour you will travel deep into the Sierra Maestra Mountains, passing small farmhouses and villages with wonderful mountain scenery. Later in the morning, you will arrive at Villa Santo Domingo, nestling 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.

Upon your return to the village lunch will be served, then there will be a little time to relax and explore or wander up the river and watch the day draw to a close over the mountains, before taking dinner at the hotel and settling into a night at the small hotel deep in the Cuban mountains, a most relaxing and peaceful location.

**A considerable amount of walking and hiking is involved so a decent level of fitness and mobility is required. The La Plata walk is approximately a 6km round trip. The terrain around Comandancia de la Plata can be uneven, rocky and possibly muddy (especially after rain) with some fairly steep climbs. For guests not wanting to take part in this day due to a concern of it being too challenging, it is possible to relax instead at Villa Santo Domingo whilst others take part.

Overnight in Sierra Maestra.

Thursday | Day 4

Breakfast at accommodation.

After an early breakfast and the chance to stretch your legs around the village and say goodbye to the mountains, the tour will depart for Santiago de Cuba stopping en route at the picturesque church of El Cobre. A famous pilgrimage site in Cuba, the small church nestles in some beautiful natural scenery and is rich in Cuba religious folklore.

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. Enjoy a traditional Cuban lunch at a restaurant next to the fortress offering stunning views of the coastal scenery.

The afternoon and early evening tour will include the Moncada Barracks, the location for what many describe as the start of the Revolution and the small Museum that depicts Fidel Castro’s attack on the barracks on 26th July 1953.

There will also be a visit to the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, a most important site in Cuba and the final resting place of Fidel Castro, one of the world’s most recognised leaders. His simple, but powerful mausoleum is constantly guarded and there will be a chance to stay for the impressive changing of the guard ceremony. The cemetery also contains the final resting place of Cuba’s national hero Jose Marti, as well as a number of other important revolutionary and historical figures including the Bacardi family.

Parque Cespedes will also be visited surrounded by historic buildings, including the Ayuntamiento, where Fidel Castro gave his victory speech when the revolution was won in January 1959. There will then be a visit to Calle Heredia, one of the city’s liveliest streets, Padre Pico Street, made famous by the intense games of draughts played by the locals.

In the evening, dinner will be served in the hotel and the remainder of the evening will be free to relax, or maybe wander independently through the centre of Santiago De Cuba or visit a local music club such as the famous Casa De La Trova.  

Overnight in Santiago de Cuba.

Finish your Tour, Caribbean Style, with extra days by the Beach


After the tour why not continue your journey to the beach resort of Guardalavaca for a few days relaxing.  Alternatively, head to Havana direct from Baracoa for a few extra days.

Suggested Beach Extensions

  • Guardalavaca Beach

  • Cayo Coco

  • Cayo Guillermo

  • Varadero Beach

Inspired Already?
Speak to us and get everything taken care of by a genuine expert on holidays to Cuba
  • 20+ years of experience organising tours and tailor-made holidays to Cuba

  • Hand-Picked, English-Speaking  Professional Tour Guides

  • Professional Team based in Cuba to look after you

  • Complete peace of mind. ATOL and IATA protected holidays

  • Genuine Cuba Experts. Unrivalled local knowledge and expertise

  • A trusted brand. Over 96% positive feedback from clients

Hand-Crafted Memories you will cherish forever.

Who we are, our identity, is the sum total of everything we have seen, the things we have done, and the places we have been: our life experiences. That is what keeps us going at Captivating Cuba, the excitement and enjoyment of planning not itineraries or holidays, but of creating vital experiences and crafting memories you will cherish forever. Experiences that will become part of your identity.
That’s also why we are exclusively specialised in Cuba: a chaotic, eclectic, always surprising, impossible to forget spec of land in the Caribbean we all are a bit in love with.

Begin Planning your next experience. Call Captivating Cuba on 01438 419111