Days
27
Price from
$10,105CAD

Take a Central American journey through El Salvador and Guatemala

Journey into the very heart of the Americas and discover a rich local culture that fascinatingly mixes the modern world, influences of Spanish colonialism, and traditions that stretch right back to the ancient Maya. Begin in El Salvador, the region’s best-kept secret, speculate about the disappearance of a great civilisation with the Copan ruins on the Honduran border, then experience the Caribbean touch that makes Amatique Bay unique. Combining leisure, culture, coast and country, discover the depth of Cuba’s most fascinating traditions. 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 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
El Tunco, El Salvador
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Countries
Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras
Style
Peregrine
Code
PSMEC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • The history of the fascinating local culture of Lake Atitlan can be traced in the movements of the brush that paints the mystical Maya nahual. Pick up a brush in a local artist’s studio and with it discover your life energy, soul companions, and your destiny

  • The brightly painted houses of Flores are a reflection of the radiant colours that stretch across the town at sunset. Enjoy memorable lakeside drinks while the sun sinks below the horizon

  • Journey into the jungles of Guatemala and uncover the magnificent remains of the lost Maya civilisation in Tikal

  • Overlooked by the majestic Volcan de Agua, Antigua is a cobblestoned maze of colourful buildings, leafy town squares and ornate churches, and the undisputed urban jewel in Guatemala's crown

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Cash is difficult to access in Cuba. Credit cards (not debit cards) are essential – ideally multiple credit cards from several different banks.

  • Luxuries such as air conditioning, and even kitchen sinks, are often scarce. Part of the experience here is learning to appreciate everyday Cuban resourcefulness.

  • The Cuban guesthouses (Casas Particulares) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling, and each one is unique, like a B&B. ‘Premium guesthouses’ are an upgrade from these. That said, power cuts and breaks in hot water are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country.

  • Internet in Cuba can be scarce, unreliable and expensive. Treat this trip as a holiday from emails and social media.

Itinerary

Begin this journey through El Salvador and Guatemala with a transfer from the international airport in San Salvador to your accommodation in the laid back village of El Tunco (approximately 1 hour). Your arrival transfer must be pre-booked. Please ensure you provide your arrival flight details at least 15 days before the start of the trip.

There will be a welcome meeting at 6pm this evening. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.

If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

While El Tunco remains relatively unknown to international travellers, it's a preferred holiday destination for Salvadorians (particularly on weekends), and has gathered quite the following in surfer circles for its waves and beaches.

After the meeting, this town is ideal for some time in a hammock and a sunset drink over a black sand beach.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Boca Olas or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today starts with a visit to the Joya de Ceren Museum, a UNESCO world heritage site that features pre-Columbian Maya farming village preserved remarkably well under layers of volcanic ash.

After, drive along a section of the famous Ruta de las Flores (Flower's route) to Suchitoto. Ruta de las Flores is one of the country’s foremost attractions. Named for the wildflowers that grow along it, the route is scattered with quaint, artsy, brightly-coloured colonial towns, idyllic coffee farms and other natural wonders.

This 36km-long winding trip is famed for lazy weekends of gastronomy and gallery-hopping, as well as more adventurous pursuits like hiking and exploring waterfalls littered throughout the Cordillera Apaneca. You will drive to Juayua (approximately 2 hours) where you’ll enjoy lunch – choose from the many Sunday food stalls that offer some of the country’s finest produce.

Arrive to Suchitoto (approximately 3 hours). Not much happens in this delightful lakeside town of pastel-painted houses and cobbled streets – which is precisely its charm. This really is a place suited to just pulling up a stool at a pupusa stand and watching life meander by.
Accommodation
  • Hotel El Tejado or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Suchitoto - Ruta de las flores (flower's route)
  • Suchitoto - Museum Joya de Ceren visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With its shaded plazas and lack of traffic, Suchitoto serves as a reminder of El Salvador's past. The town overlooks the Embalse Cerron Grande (also known as Lago Suchitlan), which is a haven for migrating birds – particularly falcons and hawks.

In the morning you will take a boat tour of the lake, sailing out to some of its islands in search for the avian life that thrives here.

In the afternoon, learn more about local history on a tour of the city. During the civil war, Suchitoto became virtually a ghost town, the battles at nearby Guazapa compelling most of its inhabitants to flee for safety. Grim times that they were, this abandonment actually helped to preserve the city's colonial architecture that you'll be admiring today.

Later in the evening you will learn about the traditional art of indigo dyeing. Indigo supported the city's economic and population growth up until the 19th century when synthetic dyes collapsed in the local market. However the art of indigo dyeing is still well alive in Suchitoto.

You will meet Irma Guadron, a recognised local indigo artist for a demonstration of this art. While the demonstration takes place, you will also be subjected to a culinary experience like no other! Try an endless variety of local specialties including vegetable stuffed corn dough pastries, loroco flowers, cheese pastries, pork chicharron, fried kassava and the list goes on and on and on...
Accommodation
  • Hotel El Tejado or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Suchitoto - Lake Suchitlan Boat trip
  • Suchitoto -Town tour
  • Suchitoto - Salvadorean culinary experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Leaving El Salvador, travel across the border into Honduras (approximately 6 hours). Immigration procedures typically run quite smoothly here, but your trip leader will be on hand to guide you through the process. Your destination is the town of Copan Ruinas, which lies not far from the Guatemalan border.

Copan Ruinas is a major gateway for tourists visiting the Pre-Columbian ruins of Copan, which was once one of the great centres of Maya civilisation. Today it’s a charming town set amid lush, hilly surrounds. On arrival, perhaps take a stroll through the town's cobbled streets, colourful houses and quaint central plaza.

Finish a long travel day at the soothing and relaxing waters of Copan natural hot springs.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Marina Copan or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Copan - Natural Hot Springs & Dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today you'll be taken on a guided tour of the ancient ruins of Copan, the southernmost of Central America's great Maya sites. This particular region, which acquired World Heritage-listing in 1980, is full of impressive pre-Colombian art. Its major differentiator from other Maya sites is its 21 stelae (columns), which are intricately carved with reliefs and hieroglyphics depicting the passage of time and lives of the royal families. Spread around the site are also a number of small pyramid-shaped temples and excavated vaults. Walking through the grassy plazas, past the site's magnificent monuments, statues and staircases, you'll feel the gaze of huge carved faces peering down on you from ancient walls. It's hard not to wonder at the mysterious disappearance of such a creative civilization.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Marina Copan or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Copan - Museum visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
From Honduras, cross the border into Guatemala and drive north to Puerto Barrios (approximately 5 hours). Your destination is Livingston, a fascinating Garifuna town perched on the Caribbean coast. No roads reach here, so you’ll have to take a boat across Amatique Bay. This port town is an interesting mix of Guatemalan and Caribbean influences, a relaxed place that feels more reminiscent of Jamaica than it does the rest of Guatemala.

Explore Livingston's ramshackle town of colourful wooden houses built on stilts, browse its shops for handicrafts, slurp up a bowl of tapado (a seafood soup that's the local delicacy) or sip on a Coco Loco (coconut water and rum) to the mellow beats of reggae drifting by.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villa Caribe or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Explore Livingston and learn more about the town's fascinating fusion of cultures and traditions. Garifuna culture, which is unique to Central America's eastern coast, is said to have resulted from the intermingling of African slaves and Caribbean indigenous people following a shipwreck that occurred during the 17th century. Try some hearty, local Carib food and tune into the local beats of punta, a rhythmic pattering of soft drums and ritual chanting.

Later today, you’ll take a cruise through the spectacular, thickly-forested gorges of Rio Dulce, many of which are more than 100 metres high and overflowing with birdlife. The Spaniards built forts along this stretch of river; you'll likely spot locals sitting in their shadow and casting fishing nets into the water. If you're very lucky, you might also even spot a manatee or crocodile during the journey. Lunch will be included while on this boat tour.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villa Caribe or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Livingston - Rio Dulce boat tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Travel by boat from Livingston back to Puerto Barrios and continue on to Flores, your base for exploring the ruins of Tikal (approximately 5 hours).

Though officially founded by the Spanish in 1700, Flores had in fact existed in various forms long before. As an island, it has long remained isolated, with locals relying on the subsistence farming of corn and beans, and the gathering of chicle from nearby trees for the production of gum. Many of the locals here still get about in the traditional way of dugout canoe.

After settling in, you will visit Yaxha, an archaeological site scenically situated on the shores of Yaxha Lagoon in the Maya Biosphere Reserve. Surrounded by dense jungle, Yaxha is home to more than 500 buildings, including the impressive Twin Pyramids. Perhaps climb temple 216 for views across the lagoons, forest and other temples.

Afterwards, let your tour leader treat you to a memorable sunset. Sit back at a picture perfect spot by the lake and farewell that same sun the Mayas worshiped hundreds of years ago. Pop open a wine or two and cheer to another wonderful day in Central America.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villa Maya or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Flores - Yaxha tour & sunset drinks
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll take a guided tour of Tikal. Home to some of the world's most magnificent Maya ruins, Tikal's five major temples rise above the jungle canopy while an array of smaller structures remain hidden in the undergrowth. More than 3,000 structures make up the site, which, before being abandoned a millennia ago, once housed over 100,000 people. You’ll explore the highlights of the area, including Temple I, which is perhaps the iconic image of Guatemala. This area is a repository of Maya wisdom, containing traditional insights into medicine, astrology, agronomy and architecture.

The jungles thrum with life, with toucans and macaws swooping between trees and monkeys crashing through the canopy. For those interested, climbing to the top of the ruins offers unsurpassed vistas over the forest.

In the afternoon we return to Flores, where you'll have time to stroll the cobblestone streets, shop for locally-made souvenirs or enjoy a dip in Lake Peten Itza.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villa Maya or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Flores - Tour of Tikal archaeological site
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
From Flores board a short early morning flight to Guatemala City (approximately 1 hour). Upon arrival, drive west along the Interamerican highway to Lake Atitlán (approximately 4 hours).

Encircled by emerald mountains and misty volcanoes, Lake Atitlán has often been ranked one of the world's most beautiful lakes.

In arriving here you’ll be transferred by boat to our night's accommodation, a hotel that boasts spectacular views across Atitlán's reflective waters and surrounding peaks.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Atitlan or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend a day exploring Lake Atitlán and its picturesque surrounds. Life in many of the villages around the lake has changed very little over the past few centuries. In some you'll see locals still getting around in traditional garb that incorporate designs passed down through generations and the atmosphere is peaceful and unpretentious.

Cruising around the lake by boat, stop in at local villages – San Juan La Laguna included – and visit local artist workshops.

Meet local artists Antonio and Angelina Coche and learn from them about your Maya "Nahual", a local equivalent of the zodiac that assigns animal spirits based on birth date. You might even want to try painting your own symbol.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Atitlan or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Atitlan - Naif painting workshop
  • Lake Atitlan - San Juan Village tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you'll make a visit to Santiago Atitlán, a peaceful town located on the southern shores of the lake between the volcanoes Tolimán and San Pedro. This is the largest town on the lake, but, more importantly, home of the Maya god, Maximon. As a town with a strong indigenous identity, Santiago Atitlán hosts a Holy Week each year in sees Maximon's effigy moved from one house to another. While in Santiago Atitlán you’ll visit a local church to learn about the local customs and history of this traditional town, also stopping in at a local market to watch the day's business being carried out.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Atitlan or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Atitlan - Santiago Village tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Start the day travelling by private minibus to the famous market in Chichicastenango (approximately 1.5 hours). Locally known as 'Chichi', this sedate mountain town transforms each Thursday and Sunday into the country's most colourful market with rural-living Guatemalans arriving en masse to sell their wares and produce. If you're in the market for brightly-coloured textiles and handicrafts, this is the place to be. After some time in Chichi, continue to your final destination, Antigua (approximately 2.5 hours). At one time the most important city in all Central America, Antigua was decimated by an earthquake in 1773, though many of its colonial buildings have since been carefully restored. Today, its cobbled streets, lovely architecture, cosy bars and ubiquitous marimba music makes Antigua a favourite for many travellers to Guatemala.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villa Colonial or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Atitlan region - Chichicastenango market visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
As you'll today come to appreciate, Guatemala’s volcanic soils and altitudinous valleys offer just the right conditions for coffee cultivation. In visiting a local farming cooperative, you'll get to know this all-important export better during a plantation tour led by a local farmer. Dig into the history of the plant with a hands-on coffee culture experience, then learn all about the crop-to-cup process back at the farmer's house where you'll see how the bright red berries are processed, dried, roasted and ground by hand into the perfect blend. This is your chance to try coffee straight from the source!

How you spend the rest of your time in Antigua is up to you. Due to its historical relics, pleasant ambience and friendly locals, the town is a popular one among travellers. There are a number of interesting markets to peruse, plus no shortage of restaurants and cafes to check out – be sure to sample the country's other important bean: chocolate! If you’re feeling adventurous, perhaps finish off this journey to the tune of some salsa at one of the local dance spots.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villa Colonial or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Antigua - Coffee tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will be transferred to La Aura International Airport in time to catch your international flight to Havana. This international flight from Guatemala City 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 guesthouse. Your arrival transfer must be pre-booked. Please ensure you provide your arrival flight details at least 15 days before the start of the trip.

In the evening, at approximately 6pm, you will meet your leader and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing. Please expect a letter or a phone call on Day 1 from your leader to confirm the time and place of your meeting. Please come to this meeting with your passport, travel insurance and next of keen information. The briefing is generally followed by an optional group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Deluxe Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Morro Castle - CUC3
  • Havana - La Cabana Fortress canon blast ceremony - CUC8
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club - CUC30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
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.
The transfer driver will have the address of your Guesthouse. Please see "Joining instructions" for more information about exiting the arrivals hall and connecting with your arrival transfer driver.
This morning your leader will take you on a walking tour of the lovely Old Havana. 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. After an optional group lunch you will participate in an informal Spanish lesson. Then, 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. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free for your own exploration.
Accommodation
  • Deluxe Guesthouse or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Camera Obscura entrance
  • Havana - Informal Spanish Lesson
  • 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 and Santiago de Cuba. Santiago is the hottest place in Cuba – both with respect to the temperature and the atmosphere! 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. This 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. listening to a local Cuban band, maybe dancing, or just sitting in the rocking chairs and watching the neighbours go about their business as evening falls. This is a home far from the touristic centre of town and a place where foreigners do not visit, so it's a very authentic look at regular Cuban life.
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. It also played a vital role in 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.
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. Despite its size, Cuba's third largest city 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
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bayamo - Orientation Walk
  • Camaguey - Orientation Tour
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. Camaguey's is a particularly busy and colourful market. 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
  • Premium Guesthouse (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 that this 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 - Disco in a cave - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Cayo Blanco island catamaran cruise - CUC45
  • Trinidad - Massage - CUC25
  • Trinidad - Live music venues - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Bicycle rental (full day) - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Snorkelling trip - CUC15
  • Trinidad - Traditional Cuban Dance Show - Free
  • Trinidad - Ancon beach shuttle bus - CUC4
  • Trinidad - Trek to El Nicho Waterfall (taxi, entrance fee & guide) - CUC27
  • Trinidad - Train ride - 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
On the way to Cienfuegos today, you'll drive north through the Topes de Collantes National Park to the final resting place of Cuba’s most famous son. In Santa Clara (approximately 1 hour), 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. Then it’s a short drive south (approximately 1.5 hours) 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.
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
Perhaps rise early to walk along the promenade or stroll alongside the broad colonnaded avenues. On the way back to Havana today, 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. Today 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
  • Deluxe Guesthouse (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. On the way out of Havana, stop by 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. Continue on to Vinales, 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
  • Deluxe Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Visit to Jaimanitas
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today is departure day. As there are no activities planned for today, you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Check-out time from the guesthouse is by 10am.
Optional Activities
  • Havana - The Cigar Trail Tour - CUC60
  • Havana - Tourist bus day pass - CUC5
  • Havana - Ernest Hemingway tour - CUC70
  • Havana - Cigar factory tour - CUC12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

26 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Boat, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights), Deluxe Guesthouse (4 nights), Premium Guesthouse (5 nights)

Included Activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Suchitoto - Ruta de las flores (flower's route)
  • Suchitoto - Museum Joya de Ceren visit
  • Suchitoto - Lake Suchitlan Boat trip
  • Suchitoto -Town tour
  • Suchitoto - Salvadorean culinary experience
  • Copan - Natural Hot Springs & Dinner
  • Copan - Museum visit
  • Livingston - Rio Dulce boat tour
  • Flores - Yaxha tour & sunset drinks
  • Flores - Tour of Tikal archaeological site
  • Lake Atitlan - Naif painting workshop
  • Lake Atitlan - San Juan Village tour
  • Lake Atitlan - Santiago Village tour
  • Lake Atitlan region - Chichicastenango market visit
  • Antigua - Coffee tour
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Camera Obscura entrance
  • Havana - Informal Spanish Lesson
  • 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 Tour
  • 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

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Airport transfers are included San Salvador, Guatemala City and Havana (arrival transfer only). Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip.
3. 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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