8/13 Days Viva Cuba! Viva Mexico!

Price: $2899

1. Home City ~ Havana, Cuba

Hotel : Armadores de Santander or similar
Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel for check-in and rest.

2. Las Terrazas / Soroa - Viñales (B/L)

Hotel : Hotel Los Jazmines or similar

Begin your day with a panoramic drive through Havana riding in old classic cars from the 1950’s.  Be sure to have your camera ready for this unique experience.  Then, transfer out of the city towards Pinar del Rio Province on the western end of the island.  Along the way, we will make a stop at Las Terrazas, a beautiful ecological park abundant in natural scenery. There is a gorgeous river in the park which great for swimming if the temperature is right. Also, if you choose, you can join one of the following optional activities in Las Terrazas: zip-lining, a guided tour of the park or horseback riding.  Enjoy a hearty Cuban lunch at a charming, rustic restaurant in Las Terrazas.  After our visit in Las Terrazas, we will continue towards Viñales making one more stop en route to visit the natural waterfall of Soroa.            

3. Viñales - Havana (B/L)

Hotel : Armadores de Santande or similar

This morning we will tour the delightful village and countryside of Viñales.  Enjoy lovely views of the Mogote Valley, made famous for its uniquely shaped hills, tobacco fields and lush vegetation.  You will be greeted by friendly locals on horseback and sense a wonderful energy that is specific to this township.  There is an opportunity to visit a tobacco farm and learn how to expertly roll a cigar. You will also have the chance to visit an interesting site called the “Prehistoric Wall” and to take a boat ride through underground caves known as “The Indian Caves” before returning to Havana in the afternoon.  This evening in Havana, we have planned an exciting tour of the historical complex of Castillo del Morro and La Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña.  This is the site of two colonial fortresses perched on a cliff overlooking the harbor channel leading to the port in Old Havana.  If the timing and weather conditions are right, you will witness the special nightly cannon ceremony at the fortress.           

4. Havana – Cienfuegos - Trinidad (B/L/D)

Hotel : Brisas del Mar Trinidad or similar

The first stop today will be in Cienfuegos, a city known as “The Pearl of the South”.   We will walk its charming main boulevard and give you free time to explore its main square.  Continue with a panoramic tour of the city that includes a stop at “El Palacio del Valle”, an architectural jewel of Spanish and Moorish influences. We will arrange lunch here in Cienfuegos.  Then, continue on to visit the city of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The tour in Trinidad will take you along the city’s main streets and around its main squares with visits to “The Museum of The City” and to a renowned pottery workshop.  Enjoy a bit of free time in Trinidad to explore more on your own before heading to your hotel for check in.                           

5. Trinidad - Topes de Collantes - Santa Clara - Varadero (B/L/D)

Hotel : Iberostar Playa Alameda or simlilar 

After breakfast, we head up into the Escambray Mountains for an excursion in a big, open-air, Russian 4x4 truck.  This excursion will take you to Guanayara National Park.  Enjoy a panoramic visit of the Cuatro Vientos mountain community.  Bring good walking shoes to enjoy a bit of hiking to “Charco Azul” and “El Rocio” waterfall.  If you choose, you can swim in the natural river-fed pool of “El Venado”.  Enjoy a fantastic lunch at “Casa de la Gallega”, a rural hacienda.  Later, head out of the mountains and down to Santa Clara city for a visit to the Ernesto “Che” Guevara Monument before we make the journey back to Varadero for overnight.

6. Varadero (B/L/D)

Hotel : Iberostar Playa Alameda or similar

Today is a free day for you to relax and enjoy the beautiful beach or the resort and its amenities.  If you would like to be more active, you may choose to join an optional tour organized by your tour guide.  If the weather conditions are favorable, your guide may propose a boat excursion out to the island of Cayo Blanco.  If the weather isn’t ideal, the guide may present an option to join a visit to Saturn Cave or a Matanzas city tour.                                              

7. Varadero - Havana (B/L)

Hotel : Armadores de Santander or simliar

After breakfast, head back to the capital city and proceed for a city tour of Old Havana with an experienced local tour guide. The tour will take place on foot and you will visit all the squares of Old Havana. Take in the astonishing beauty of the historical buildings, sculptures and monuments.  A visit to the Rum Museum is included.  Enjoy free time in Old Havana to do your own exploring or perhaps some souvenir shopping.  Then, meet back together with the group and transfer to your hotel for check-in.             

8. Havana ~ Home City (B)/ Havana ~ Mexico City (B/D)

For 8-day tour members, we will arrange a transfer to the airport for you at a designated time.  
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Hotel : Royal Reforma or similar

Transfer to the airport this morning for the flight to Mexico City.  Upon arrival in Mexico City, a brief city tour is arranged.  We begin at The Zócalo, the historical center of Mexico City.  The tour includes the National Palace, famous for the colorful murals done by one of Mexico’s greatest artists, Diego Rivera, and The Cathedral Metropolitana, the most impressive cathedral in all of Mexico.  Then, we continue for some sightseeing around Chapultepec Park and residential area.  Finally, we enjoy dinner and check-in at the hotel.                                                                    

9. Mexico City - Cuernavaca (B/L/D)

Hotel : Hacienda Cocoyoc or similar

Leave Mexico City this morning and head to Cuernavaca, “City of the Eternal Spring”.  In Cuernavaca, we will tour the main square and see the Cortes Palace and Cathedral.  Following our touring in Cuernavaca, we drive about 25 miles outside of the city to visit the world-class botanical garden site “Jardines de Mexico” inaugurated in 2014.  These 126 acres of greenery showcase flowers and plants from all over the world with a special emphasis on those from Mexico.  The site ranks as the world’s largest floral garden. In the late afternoon, we head to our hotel for check-in.                                                                     

10. Xochicalco - Taxco - Cuernavaca (B/D)

Hotel : Hacienda Cocoyoc or similar

After breakfast, set out to visit Xochicalco, a UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of the ruins of what was once a powerful pre-Colombian kingdom.  “Xochicalco” means “in the house of flowers” in the Nahuatl language.  You will have a chance to tour this fascinating archaeological zone.  Then, we journey on to the picturesque colonial town of Taxco, capital of the Mexican silversmiths.  In Taxco, we take a guided walking tour to visit Santa Prisca Church, the local market and the silver bazaars.  There will be free time for exploring or shopping.                    

11. Cuernavaca - Xochimilco - Mexico City (B/D)

Hotel : Royal Reforma or similar

We make the journey back to Mexico City today, but we will first stop along the route in Xochimilco.  Xochimilco is another UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its “floating gardens”.  You will have the chance to take a ride by “trajinera” boat, nicely decorated with flowers, while cruising the ancient canal ways.  If you choose, you can buy flowers, refreshing drinks or even hire yourself a Mariachi group to play music throughout the ride.  Once in Mexico City, we will make a stop for you to visit The University, yet another UNESCO World Heritage site.  Take photos of the central library, richly decorated with Mexican murals and motifs.                                           

12. Teotihuacan - Mexico City (B/L/D)

Hotel : Royal Reforma or similar

After breakfast, take an excursion to the archaeological site of Teotihuacán lying in the valley of Mexico. This is the world famous site of the “Pirámides del Sol y de la Luna” (Pyramids of the Sun and Moon).  This was once the place of Mexico’s largest ancient city and the capital of one of the largest pre-Hispanic civilizations.  At this site, you will also see and learn about “The Avenue of the Dead”, “La Ciudadela” and “Quetzalcóatl Temple”.  Then, on the way back to the city, you will make a stop at one of Mexico’s most famous religious sites: The Shrine of Guadalupe.  The shrine itself is a great example of Spanish Baroque Art and here you will learn about the fascinating tale of “the Lady from Heaven”.  Tonight, we have arranged a farewell dinner at a typical Mexican restaurant with live music. 

13. Mexico City ~ Home City (B)

At the indicated time, transfer to the airport for your departure flight.