Days
27
Price from
$10,735AUD

Step into another world on this expansive tour of Mexico and Cuba

This comprehensive tour takes in both Mexico and Cuba. From the unique buzz of Mexico City, travel deep into the past at the mysterious archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan, then see the old and new collide in the colonial cities of Oaxaca and San Cristobal de las Casas. Great civilisations thrived here and left their mark everywhere – see it next in the magnificent Maya ruins of Palenque, and Chichen Itza. Finish up on the Yucatan Peninsula, where days of exploring ruins in balmy weather are rewarded with white sand beaches and turquoise waters. Then take a flight to Havana and see all its faded glory, waiting to be explored. Look behind the legend of Che Guevara, witness daily life in Vinales’ verdant tobacco fields, peel back the curtain on Santiago de Cuba’s ballet culture, wander the French-infused waterfront of Cienfuegos, dance to Cuban rhythms in Trinidad and go snorkelling in the Bay of Pigs. Finish it off with a cruise through Havana’s grand old streets in a classic American convertible.


Start
Mexico City, Mexico
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Countries
Cuba, Mexico
Style
Peregrine
Code
PSMBC
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
1 review
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Take on a Mexico City taco crawl and explore a variety of flavours as you also learn about the families and stories behind some of the most popular taquerias in town.

  • Oaxaca is not just travelled with feet and eyes, there’s also a delicious street-food scene to discover – Don't take our word for it, try it first hand on a cooking class in Oaxaca

  • Visit Palenque archaeological site in the company of a professional archaeologist.

  • Learn from local experts and artists some of Mexico's best kept secrets, from beeswax candle crafting to the art of distilling mescal

  • Adventures are best ended with rest and relaxation – the white sands and azure waters of Playa Del Carmen provide the perfect way to finish up

  • Get behind the scenes and discover real Cuban life. Explore avant-garde sculpture with a local artist in Ciego de Avila, visit the tobacco fields for a snapshot of rural life in Vinales and take a private tour of a ballet theatre in Santiago de Cuba

  • History enthusiasts will not be disappointed. Visit Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum in Santa Clara, and learn about the Bay of Pigs Invasion at the Gion Museum

  • The French-founded port town of Cienfuegos is a real slice of heaven. Enjoy a drink on the roof of its crown-jewel building, the Palacio del Valle

  • See why Trinidad is a favourite among so many Peregrine travellers. Your time in this old-world Cuban town includes a salsa dance lesson and plenty of time for seaside leisure

  • Conclude your journey by riding through the streets of Havana in a vintage American convertible

Is this trip right for you?

  • Some included activities, such as guided tours of archaeological sites, can be quite strenuous. Be sure to bring suitably sturdy footwear.

  • There are a few long days of travel, as you'll be covering a lot of ground. So be prepared for some driving. You will, however, make stops at interesting locations along the way to break things up.

  • The tropical climate of Central America means conditions can be hot and humid. Always carry plenty of water with you and stay hydrated, especially on walking tours. Luckily there will be several opportunities to take a swim!

  • Due to increased activity by the Zapatista movement in the region around Palenque, some changes to your itinerary may be necessary for your safety.

  • Cuba is different, and that's a big part of its allure. Things don't always go according to plan, and many things don't work the same way as back home. Patience and good humour will go a long way in this beautiful destination.

  • Funds can be difficult to access in Cuba. Ideally bring multiple credit cards from several different banks just to be sure.

  • Luxuries such as air conditioning, and even kitchen sinks, are often scarce. Part of the experience here is learning to appreciate everyday Cuban resourcefulness. Internet can also often patchy or unavailable – embrace the holiday from social media!

  • Hotels in Cuba are government-run, which means renovations are few and far between. The Cuban guesthouses (Casas Particulares) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling, and each one is unique. That said, power cuts and breaks in hot water are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country.

Itinerary

Arrive at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport, where you'll be transferred to your hotel. A complimentary transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised.

In the evening (about 6 pm) you will meet your tour leader and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place, and have your insurance details and next of kin information ready for collection.

This meeting will be followed by an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant.

There are enough activities to do in Mexico City to keep you busy for a week, so you may want to consider to arrive to Mexico City a day or two before the start of your trip. Some of the most popular activities in Mexico City (apart from the ones included in this trip) are:

Leon Trotsky Museum - Having come second best to Stalin on the race to the helm of the Soviet Union, Trotski was expelled and found refuge in Mexico City - where he was eventually murdered. The entrance fee includes free guided tours in English. Ask about it at the ticket box. An Uber taxi from your hotel to the museum should cost you approximately MXN 100.

If you prefer to get out of the city and escape the crowds, take a trip to the canals and gardens of Xochimilco. An Uber taxi should cost about MXN 300 to get there.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Geneve or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Optional Activities
  • Mexico City - Mariachis in Garibaldi Square (entry is free, price to hire a band for 2-3 songs) - USD8
  • Mexico City - Leon Trotsky Museum - MXN40
  • Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum - MXN140
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a long but worthwhile day. You'll start a city tour of Mexico City at approximately 8.30am. First off is the impressive National Museum of Anthropology, before heading to the Zocalo (main square) for a visit to the Cathedral and National Palace. You will discover that Mexico City is an exciting mix of modern cosmopolitan glamour with remnants from both its ancient and colonial history. Your city tour will finish at approximately 3pm so make sure you carry some snacks and water.

Mexico is synonymous with tacos, so this evening (at approximately 7pm) your leader will take you on a 'taco crawl' around town. Explore a variety of tastes from locals' favourite "taquerias" as you learn about the stories of families that run these establishments. Warning - you may not want to know the ingredients in your taco before you try them! Just trust your taste buds. This activity should take between 1 to 1.5hrs

After Tacos, your leader may suggest taking a taxi to Plaza Garibaldi, where for about MXN 200 you can get a Mariachi band to perform for you!
Accommodation
  • Hotel Geneve or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mexico City - City Tour
  • Mexico City - National Palace and Diego Rivera murals
  • Mexico City - National Museum of Anthropology
  • Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Mexico City - Taco crawl
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today won't have a chance to go for lunch until approximately 3pm. So make sure you carry some snacks and water.
Travel by private minivan to Teotihuacan - about 50 kilometres northeast of Mexico City. Here you'll discover the extraordinary Aztec ruins known as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon which dominate the skyline. This was once one of the country's biggest ancient cities and the Aztec capital. With the help of a local guide, you'll have time to stroll down ‘The Avenue of the Dead’ to see fascinating clues to what life here was like nearly 2,000 years ago.

Return to Mexico City after lunch (not included) and spend another afternoon exploring this vibrant metropolis. Perhaps visit the Frida Kahlo Museum for a deeper understanding of this renowned Mexican artist. Bear in mind that queues can be long to enter this museum, particularly on weekends. An Uber taxi from your hotel to the museum should cost approximately MXN 160 each way.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Geneve or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mexico City - Teotihuacan archaeological site (inc. transport, entrance and guide)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
At approximately 8am you'll farewell Mexico City and head south to Puebla. The drive takes about 3 hours depending on local traffic. Once in Puebla, your leader will take you on a walk around this town which has retained its colonial heritage despite rapid growth and development. The walk will include a visit to the Calle de los Dulces (Candy street), El Parian (handycraft market) as well as a couple of colonial buildings that remain a testament to Puebla's proud history, such as the Town Hall Palace and the Rosary Chapel.

You will have lunch in Puebla (not included) before continuing south to Oaxaca, another 5hrs drive.

Oaxaca is renowned for its cuisine and vibrant art scene. It's also an excellent place to browse for traditional Mexican handicrafts, as descendants of the Zapotec and Mixtec Indians sell an array of bright woven blankets and shawls here.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Mision de los Angeles or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Puebla - Visit Puebla on route to Oaxaca
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning your leader will take you on a tour of Oaxaca including Santo Domingo Church, Zocalo and local art and craft galleries. You'll arrive at the 20 de Noviembre market in time for lunch, where you can search through the many local restaurants for whatever you feel like – perhaps focus on the famous grilled meats hall.

In the afternoon, travel out of the city (approximately 1hr drive) and visit the nearby village of Teotitlán del Valle. The settlement is famous for its weaving, particularly of colourful rugs. Here you'll visit a workshop and see a weaving demonstration.

Later, learn about a peculiar tradition not many have the opportunity to witness when visiting Oaxaca: beeswax candle making! You will visit a local shop that keeps this centenary tradition alive to learn about the technique involved in the making of these delicate candles and maybe have a go at it yourself!

Finish up at an artisanal mescaleria. Unlike other mainstream mescalerias, here you will have the opportunity to meet an experienced "palenquero" and learn about the production of this famous Mexican drink made from cactus. Needless to say, you'll taste some of the best mescal in the area. Salud!
Accommodation
  • Hotel Mision de los Angeles or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Oaxaca - Teotitlan del Valle visit
  • Oaxaca - Beeswax candle shop visit
  • Oaxaca - Artisanal mescaleria visit
Optional Activities
  • Oaxaca - Monte Alban Ruins (entrance fee) - USD10
  • Oaxaca - Folkloric ballet (seasonal) - USD10
  • Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre - USD8
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you'll take a cooking class to get to grips with some regional specialties. The tour starts at approximately 10am with a visit to the local market – wandering past stalls of everything from cactus fruit to grasshoppers, Oaxacan chocolate, and then heavenly Oaxacan cheese - queso oaxaca – and pick up some supply ingredients for you class. Then you'll visit a local house and try your hand at cooking some regional delicacies. No doubt there will be some kind of corn involved – it's been a staple of Mesoamerican cuisine for over 7,000 years.

After feasting on your creations, the rest of the afternoon in the city is free. Perhaps continue the day's food theme by visiting Calle de los Dulces, or 'Sweets Street', to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Mision de los Angeles or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Oaxaca - Cooking class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a morning flight to Tuxtla Gutierrez. before travelling by minivan to the Sumidero Canyon, an 800-metre deep canyon carved out by the Sumidero River and dating from the same time as the Grand Canyon - the boat tour takes approximately 2hrs.

Then continue driving a further 1.5hrs to San Cristobal de las Casas where you can expect to arrive by 5pm. In the evening, take in the distinctive old-world feel here, which comes from the Spanish colonial architecture and pretty, cobbled streets.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Parador Margarita or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Sumidero Canyon (inc. transport)
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Mayan villages tour inc. San Juan Chamula
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Notes: Please note that occasionally towards the end of dry season (November to April) the water level in Sumidero Canyon may become too low for us to safely take the boat tour. If our staff deem this activity to be unsafe, we will replace it with another included activity of similar value.
This morning embark on a half day tour to the Mayan villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan. These villages, nestled in the highlands, serve as marketplaces and religious ceremonial centres for the indigenous people who live in the surrounding hills. The local people have retained their traditional way of life and are often seen dressed in their own distinctive colourful costumes. You will explore these villages with a guide and learn more about the culture and history of these mainly Mayan communities.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Parador Margarita or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a long travel day as you depart San Cristobal de Las Casas and travel north to Palenque. On the way you will visit the waterfalls at Agua Azul and Misol Ha. Today's driving time adds up to approximately 8hrs. You should expect to arrive to Palenque at about 6pm.

Situated in hot jungle, Palenque is the jump-off point to the nearby Maya ruins of the same name – you'll visit them tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villa Mercedes or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Palenque - Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls
  • Palenque - Archaeologist led visit to Palenque ruins
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Notes: Due to increased activity by the Zapatista movement in the region around Palenque, some changes to your itinerary may be necessary for your safety. The Zapatistas have recently been targeting tourists in order to draw attention to their cause. As a result, some transport to and from Palenque may need to be rerouted, which means longer travel times of up to 9 hours. Some activities, including visits to the Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls, will be unavailable until this situation is resolved. Alternative activities will be organised as required and explained by your tour leader at the welcome meeting. Currently there are no safety issues within the city of Palenque itself, or at the nearby Mayan archaeological site. We’re constantly monitoring this situation to ensure the safety of our passengers and leaders.
Today you will meet a local archaeologist for a memorable morning visit to the ruins of Palenque.

Archaeologists have been hard at work uncovering the secrets of this ancient city, but around 90% of the site remains unexcavated and concealed in the forest. Sitting on a hilltop surrounded by thick trees, the ruins date back to 600 AD and are some of the most impressive Maya relics in Mexico. As you walk among the temples, listen out for the eerie calls of howler monkeys and screeching parrots echoing through the jungle. The area gives you a real idea of what the Spanish invaders must have seen when they first came across the hidden ruins.

After an early lunch, continue driving north to Merida. This will be your last long travel day on this itinerary - approximately 8 hours. Arrive into the historic town of Merida in time for dinner (not included).

Merida was funded in 1542 and it still retains much of its old-world charm. Take in the splendour of its many colonial buildings and learn more about the Mayan heritage of the town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Castellano or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning, travel west (1.5hr) to the coast before taking a boat ride and visit the Celestun Bird Sanctuary and Biosphere Reserve. Here, near extensive beaches lined with coconut trees, you’ll likely be able to witness the magnificent sight of thousands of flamingos painting a pink streak across the landscape.

In the afternoon there’ll be some time to explore the many sights of Merida and your guide will be able to recommend some good options. Perhaps visit some of the museums, including the impressive Regional Museum of Yucatan and stroll the city streets which are alive with art and culture. Hang out in the green and shady Plaza Grande, with the 16th-century cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo on the other. For a taste of Merida's 19th-century glory, go for a walk along the mansion-lined Paseo de Montejo. The outdoor market is another essential visit, with an array of hammocks and Mayan replicas for sale, plus a selection of enticing local cuisine, including the dish cochinita pibil ('little pig').
Accommodation
  • Hotel Castellano or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Merida - Celestum boat tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you leave Merida at 6am and arrive to Chichen Itza by 8am in time for breakfast. After breakfast you will take a 3hr tour of Chichen Itza. This is possibly the most famous Maya site in Mexico. Recently named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza has both Toltec and Mayan ruins lying alongside each other. The famous El Castillo (Temple of Kukulkan) pyramid dominates the site. Not far from the temple is the ‘ball court’ where many disputes are were settled by way of a ball game that employed only the elbows, hips and wrists. Stone carvings depicting violence suggest it was not some casual sport. Nearby, excavations of the Well of Sacrifice offered up treasures of jade, copper and gold, as well as many human and animal bones.

Following a guided tour of the site, continue to the Caribbean coast and the resort town of Playa del Carmen (approximately 3 hours).
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hacienda Paradise or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chichen Itza - Entrance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Blessed with azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun but with less of a party atmosphere.

Today is a relaxing day as you take a short trip down the coast to the small beach village of Akumal. Here, just a short swim off-shore, you can snorkel with endangered green sea turtles. The floor at Akumal is covered with the turtle’s favourite food – sea grass – and turtles hang around in the bay munching away all day long. This is a truly memorable experience. In the evening, back in Playa, you can feast on seafood, relax, and watch the sunset and waves with a margarita or two.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hacienda Paradise or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Playa del Carmen - Akumal day trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend the day exploring the Yucatan Peninsula. Travel out to ruins of Tulum (approximately 1 hour). This ancient Maya city was once an important trading port, protected against invaders by a high wall. Situated on a cliff overlooking a white sandy beach, it offers wonderful views and photo opportunities. Wander around the ruins with your guide, learning about the castle, temple and other structures within.

On the way back to Playa del Carman, perhaps stop at a hidden cenote for a refreshing swim. These stunning natural sinkholes are filled with crystal clear fresh water and make for a memorable dip.

Back in Playa del Carman, enjoy the last of your time reading a book at a beachside bar or taking a stroll among the trendy holidaymakers lining the shore. In the evening, why not head out with the group to reflect on your experiences and indulge in one final meal.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hacienda Paradise or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Playa del Carmen - Tulum runis guided tour
Optional Activities
  • Playa del Carmen - Cenote (sinkhole) visit - USD12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will be transferred to Cancun International Airport in time to catch your international flight to Havana. This international flight from Cancun to Havana is not included in the price of this trip and you must purchase it separately. Please contact us if you need assistance booking this flight.

Arrive at Havana's Jose Marti International airport, where you'll be transferred to your hotel. There will be a welcome meeting at approximately 6pm this evening.

If your group is staying at Hotel Riviera, please ask reception staff to view the welcome letter for Peregrine Adventures. 

If your group is staying at Hotel Nacional, after checking in please look for a collection of folders opposite reception where companies can leave communication for their travellers. The folder should be named "Peregrine Adventures" and inside there will be a copy of the welcome letter for you to read.

The welcome letter will detail where the pre-tour briefing will take place. If by 5pm you cannot locate this letter then please ask reception, or ask to call our assistance line listed in the "Problems and emergency contact information" section of this document. Please come to this meeting with your passport, travel insurance and next of kin information. The briefing is followed by a group welcome dinner.

If you arrive earlier in the day, please note most activities in Cuba can only be booked through the tourist desk in the lobbies of the larger hotels or direct with the venue. Otherwise, there are plenty of good museums to check out, including the Museo de la Revolucion and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Riviera or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Morro Castle - CUC3
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club - CUC30
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
A complimentary departure to Cancun Airport and arrival transfer from Havana Airport is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. Please see "Joining instructions" for more information about exiting the arrivals hall and connecting with your arrival transfer driver.

As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group will change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary so please attend, this is also a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Today is a full day and you will get to know all of the well known suburbs of Havana. Firstly, around 8:30am your leader will take you to the neighbourhood of Jaimanitas, also known as Fusterlandia. The artist Jose Fuster has brightened up the area by rebuilding and decorating over 80 houses (including his own) with ornate murals and domes. The project includes a park with giant chess boards and an Artists’ Wall, which has been compared to Antonio Gaudi's mosaic wall in Barcelona. Unfortunately there isn't time to enter Fuster's house but the area is still well worth a visit.

Next, head on a walking tour of the lovely Old Havana (approximately 2.5 hours). You'll go to the cathedral, Plaza de Armas, San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Central Park. Your entry fee to the Camera Obscura lookout at Plaza Vieja is included. Time for lunch will be slotted in.

Next, jump in classic american style cars for a Havana city tour (1 hour urban adventure) that cruises via points of intrerest such as the Malecon, Revolucion Square and ending in the suburb of Vedado to drop you at the infamous Hotel Nacional. Your leader will take you around the historic grounds and the photo wall of fame.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Riviera or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Camera Obscura entrance
  • Havana - Vintage American car tour
  • Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion
  • Havana - Visit to Hotel Nacional
Optional Activities
  • Havana - José Martí Memorial Tower - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a flight to the opposite end of the island. Santiago de Cuba is the hottest place in Cuba – both with respect to the temperature and the atmosphere! In the evening get a slice of real Cuban life with dinner in a very humble average Cuban home. Here you will sample local food on the beautifully decorated patio of a simple family home far from the touristic centre of town and a place where foreigners generally do not visit. Perhaps you will listen to a local Cuban band, dance to the energetic rhythms, or just sit in the rocking chairs watching the neighbours go about their business as evening falls.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santiago - Dinner in a Casa Urbana
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today your leader will take you on a three-hour city tour of Santiago. You'll visit El Morro Castle, Ifigenia cemetery and the Moncada barracks. For nearly a century, the city was the island's seat of power. As well as being the 'cradle' of the revolution, Santiago has a large Afro-Cuban population and a vibrant music scene. It is the home of son music, which is a mix of Spanish guitar and African percussion. This is great place for even the shyest dancer to learn some salsa moves. Santiago's half million residents are proud of their cultural traditions, so you'll find many museums and cultural clubs around the city. The city is also famous for its energetic Carnaval celebrations and its lively Festival of Caribbean Culture.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santiago de Cuba - half day city tour
Optional Activities
  • Santiago - Dance lesson (1 hour) - CUC15
  • Santiago - Entrance to La Gran Piedra Mountain - CUC1
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, head west along the Carretera Central to Camaguey. Today is the longest travel day of the trip. Depending on how many stops are made, this usually takes six to seven hours but it will be broken up with a walk around Bayamo, plus your leader may utilise the bus time for your informal Spanish lesson.

Despite its size, Cuba's third largest city Camaguey has managed to retain much of its colonial heritage. Exploring the city's winding streets is half the fun. The city was planned in a deliberately confusing pattern to disorient any would-be assailants. As you walk through the city you may still see tinajones – large clay pots used for collecting water. On your explorations, stop by the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Soledad to see its baroque frescoes. Camaguey has a rich tradition of cultural and technological leadership within Cuba. It is the birthplace of poet laureate Nicolas Guillen and home of the Ballet de Camaguey. Cuba's first radio and television emissions were broadcast from Camaguey, and the country's first airport and commercial flights were planned and executed here.
Accommodation
  • Gran Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bayamo - Orientation Walk
  • Camaguey - Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll take a tour of Camaguey by bicycle taxi. Cycling is a popular form of transport in Cuba, and bicycle taxis are very common. In the confusing streets of Camaguey, it's a particularly good way to get around. On the tour, you'll visit a local market, parks, plazas and an art gallery. Each taxi carries two passengers and the tour is led by an English-speaking local guide. Your leader may suggest visiting a local farmers' market, where you’ll get a fascinating insight into daily Cuban life and the local economy. This is where farmers can sell their produce after meeting the quota they have to sell to the state. There are separate areas for produce sold by the state and produce sold by farmers directly to the public. There are plenty of interesting tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs available. This is where the locals come to buy their food once their monthly food ration runs out.

Then you will take a a marvellous tour of the famous ballet school in Camaguey, the precursor to the National Scool of Ballet. From here the majority of dancers go onto the National Ballet company or other large national and international dance companies. Meet some of the important people who keep this school running: the directors, the dancers (we can sit in on a rehearsal) the seamstresses, the shoe makers, the costume designers – it takes a large team of people to keep the ballet school operating. As it is not possible to purchase things such as ballet shoes in Cuba, everything for the ballet school is made on the premises. This is a truly fascinating experience.
Accommodation
  • Gran Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Camaguey - Bicycle taxi city tour
  • Camaguey - Ballet school tour
Optional Activities
  • Camaguey - Casa de la Trova - CUC3
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today travel through the centre of the country to Trinidad (approximately 5-6 hours), which sits on the scenic Caribbean coast. Stop on the way at Ciego de Avila to visit a well-known local gallery. The Pauyet group was founded by Víctor Rafael Blanco Montaño in 1998 and showcases sculptures made with silver cutlery peices. Enjoy a guided tour of the gallery with one of the artists. You will be encouraged to ask questions about their own art and Cuban art in general.

Continue on to Trinidad – for many visitors to Cuba, this is a standout destination. No other colonial city in Cuba is as well preserved, and the local residents are extremely friendly and festive. Trinidad is steeped in religion, including the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, which has connections to Voodoo. You'll have over two days to explore the area and soak up the atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ciego de Avila - Pauyet Gallery Visit
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Trinidad - Santeria Priest Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today's included lunch will be a packed lunch prepared by a guesthouse in Camaguey. It will include a sandwich, drink and a snack or piece of fruit.
There's no doubt Trinidad is one of Cuba's most alluring destinations – a great place to wander around, with almost every scene offering a photo opportunity. Watch as locals casually smoke their huge cigars on the doorsteps of their homes, and hear the old Chevrolets rumbling by. Start with an orientation walk today, see the former wealth generated by the sugar industry in the town's once-grand mansions, colourful public buildings, wrought iron grill-work and cobble-stoned streets. In the afternoon, dive into the sultry rhythms of Trinidad with an informal salsa class.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trinidad - Informal Salsa Dance Lesson
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Massage - CUC25
  • Trinidad - Bicycle rental (full day) - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Snorkelling trip - CUC15
  • Trinidad - Traditional Cuban Dance Show - Free
  • Trinidad - Ancon beach shuttle bus - CUC4
  • Trinidad - Train ride (Steam train replica with electric engine) - CUC10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Take a final day to explore Trinidad and the surrounding area. Spend it snorkelling and swimming at Playa Ancon (just watch carefully for sea urchins, which can be a problem here), or simply wandering the cobblestoned streets in town and photograph some of the colourful buildings. No other colonial city in Cuba is so well preserved, and the local residents are very friendly. At some point while you're here, why not take in a folklore show at one of the town's numerous open-air venues. Cuba has a hugely rich and varied dance and musical tradition that draws its roots from Africa and France. Many styles that have greatly influenced music worldwide originated in Cuba, such as Mambo, Cha-cha-cha, son and rumba.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
It’s a short drive south (approximately 1 hour) to Cienfuegos, known affectionately as 'The Pearl of the South'. Have a short orientation of this port town who's unique culture is attributed its ancestry as a French enclave. The final stop for the day is the Palacio del Valle where you will hopefully get to rest with a drink while watching the sunset descend into the ocean from the rooftop bar, before checking in to your accommodation for the night. If there's time, perhaps walk along the promenade or stroll alongside the broad colonnaded avenues.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Union or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Cienfuegos - Visit to the Palacio del Valle
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Start early to drive north to the final resting place of Cuba’s most famous son. In Santa Clara (approximately 1.5 hours), you'll visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial. Che's remains were brought here after they were found in a remote corner of Bolivia in 1997, where he was assassinated by the CIA-backed Bolivian army. Here you'll get a rare insight into the legacy of the revolutionary leader, with some interesting ephemera and artefacts on display – letters, firearms, even medical devices.

Next you’ll stop at the peaceful sandy arc of either Playa Giron or Playa Larga (approximately 2.5 hours), which sits on the eastern side of the Bahia de Cochinos, better known as the Bay of Pigs. It was famously here that the CIA sponsored a failed invasion by exile forces in 1961. You’ll discover the story of the Cuban victory at the Museo Giron, which holds displays of various military equipment and photos of the men who fought here. It’s not just the history that’s the attraction here – with crystal clear Caribbean waters, a deep underwater wall, and an outstanding variety of coral and fish, it’s a lovely place for a swim. There are beach-side restaurants that provide a perfect opportunity to reflect on the history that took place here while enjoying an included lunch. Return to Havana for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Riviera or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Take a day trip to another province, beautiful Pinar del Rio. Vinales is where tobacco and agricultural fields lie side by side and limestone outcrops dot the landscape. This is some of Cuba's best scenery. Enjoy a walking tour of the verdant farmlands for an insight into rural life and see the tobacco destined for the most expensive cigars. Dine at an organic eco-farm for lunch with sweeping views over the valley. Spend the afternoon here before returning to Havana.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Riviera or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Visit to Jaimanitas
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today is departure day, there are no activities planned for today. Check-out time from the hotel is by 10am.
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Ernest Hemingway tour - CUC70
  • Havana - Cigar factory tour - CUC12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

25 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Private minibus, Private bus, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (21 nights), Premium Guesthouse (5 nights)

Included Activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Mexico City - City Tour
  • Mexico City - National Palace and Diego Rivera murals
  • Mexico City - National Museum of Anthropology
  • Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Mexico City - Taco crawl
  • Mexico City - Teotihuacan archaeological site (inc. transport, entrance and guide)
  • Puebla - Visit Puebla on route to Oaxaca
  • Oaxaca - Teotitlan del Valle visit
  • Oaxaca - Beeswax candle shop visit
  • Oaxaca - Artisanal mescaleria visit
  • Oaxaca - Cooking class
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Sumidero Canyon (inc. transport)
  • San Cristobal de las Casas - Mayan villages tour inc. San Juan Chamula
  • Palenque - Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls
  • Palenque - Archaeologist led visit to Palenque ruins
  • Merida - Celestum boat tour
  • Chichen Itza - Entrance
  • Playa del Carmen - Akumal day trip
  • Playa del Carmen - Tulum runis guided tour
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Camera Obscura entrance
  • Havana - Vintage American car tour
  • Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion
  • Havana - Visit to Hotel Nacional
  • Santiago - Dinner in a Casa Urbana
  • Santiago de Cuba - half day city tour
  • Bayamo - Orientation Walk
  • Camaguey - Orientation walk
  • Camaguey - Bicycle taxi city tour
  • Camaguey - Ballet school tour
  • Ciego de Avila - Pauyet Gallery Visit
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Trinidad - Santeria Priest Visit
  • Trinidad - Informal Salsa Dance Lesson
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Cienfuegos - Visit to the Palacio del Valle
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
  • Havana - Visit to Jaimanitas
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour

Reviews

Our Mexico & Cuba in depth trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

Mexico & Cuba in depth , January 2017

Lynda Tate

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Important notes

START AND END TIME:
On Day 1 there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at approximately 6pm. There are no activities planned for the final day.

FLIGHT NOT INCLUDED:
The flight from Cancun to Havana on day 15 is not included in the tour cost and you must purchase it separately. When booking this flight, keep in mind there will be a group meeting at 6pm in Havana on this day so we recommend arriving prior to this.

COMPLIMENTARY TRANSFERS:
To book your complimentary transfers you must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
- An airport arrival transfer is included in Mexico City and in Havana
- An airport departure transfer is included from Playa del Carmen

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available for purchase on this trip.

CUBA TOURIST CARD:
Tourists cards are required for all nationalities visiting Cuba. Travel Insurance is also compulsory, please refer to trip notes for further details regarding this.

CUBA:
There are unprecedented changes happening in Cuba right now. It is an exciting time but it also means some patience and understanding is required for the heightened demand of infrastructure, accommodation and crowds.

Essential trip information

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