Tour introduction and overview of activities

  • Tour Old Havana World Heritage sites
  • Witness Havana humanitarian projects
  • Cruise in 1950s classic American cars
  • Curated history and art museum visits
  • Luxuriate on sun-drenched beaches
  • Visit Ernest Hemingway’s farmhouse
  • Delight in the Tropicana dance show
  • Cuban cooking class from master chefs
  • Ride in coconut cabs and bicycle taxis
  • Dine in Havana’s best private eateries

Havana extravaganza is the trip Americans pick to witness authentic Cuba. It’s our most popular tour. Since 1997, thousands have come to know Cuba on this affordable introduction adventure.

You will stay in the four star-plus NH Capri hotel. Its glamorous 1950s Las Vegas-inspired roots shine brightly today in comfort and amenities. The Capri’s Salon Rojo club was a favorite nightspot for global heartthrob actor Errol Flynn. Capri’s hallmarks are caring staff, central location, and excellent WiFi.

Wow factors. Hear music on the streets and feel it at the gala Tropicana floor show. Taste unique delicacies of Cuban cuisine. Swim in the warm, clean waters of the Caribbean Sea. Discover heart-warming humanitarian projects in Old Havana. Ogle fantastic architecture and art. Behold kind effusive Cubans eager to connect with Americans.

Habana mi amor. On this tour, you’ll sample the best of everything. You’ll get an up-close slice of Cuba life and culture. Geared to explorers, adventurers, and sojourners seeking new encounters, and insights on humanity. It’s an ideal way for first-time visitors to learn about island society, or for returning guests who can’t get enough of Cuba.

Cuba’s big! Its land mass is 42,426 square miles – about 80 percent the size of Alabama. Cuba is nearly as large as Louisiana, and larger than Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ohio or Indiana. Altogether it’s bigger than Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont combined.

Day 1 • Saturday • Hello, heavenly Havana!

  • Arrive at Havana's José Martí International airport (HAV).
  • Enroute to your boutique accommodations savor the sights and sounds of one of the oldest and most stunning cities in the New World.
  • At your lodging, enjoy a welcome cocktail, freshen up, and get comfortable.
  • Group arrival dinner with your guide and tourmates at your hotel.
  • Evening entertainment options: Groove to live jazz, relax in a lounge, or explore the sounds of the city – all within walking distance of your lodging.

Day 2 • Sunday • Romancing historic Havana

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • Havana sightseeing. Visit Plaza de la Revolución. Awe at the giant image of Ché Guevara and the towering monument to José Martí, Cuba’s national hero. Then onto the iconic Hotel Nacional de Cuba frequented by world leaders and superstars. At points in between, you’ll savor myriad architectural eras and styles.
  • A bicycle made for you. We’ll enlist a cortège of bicycle taxis, and navigate the Old Havana’s narrow streets arriving at Parque Central, the location of Cuba’s national capitol building (a scale model of the US Capitol, only taller). You’ll see numerous architectural landmarks including the Gran Teatro where the Ballet Nacional de Cuba performs.
  • Fall in love with Old Havana. “In terms of beauty, only Venice and Paris surpassed Havana,” penned Ernest Hemingway. He was alluding to Havana’s incredible architecture, arts, and, of course, the joie de vivre the city’s engaging people. Old Havana’s four ancient plazas are full of color and personality, with a mix of palatial buildings, monuments, museums, galleries, churches, lively entertainment, restaurants, and bars. Together, they contain the most extensive collection of Spanish colonial-era architecture in the western hemisphere. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, restoration and care of Old Havana’s wonders is assigned to the Office of the Historian of Havana – Cuba Explorer’s island sponsor. We’ll visit Cathedral Square, the Square of Arms, San Francisco Square, and Plaza Vieja.
  • Group welcome lunch at the private restaurant Mojito-Mojito. Ideally situated in Plaza Vieja, its friendly staff, quaint atmosphere, and delicious food ranks it tops on TripAdvisor. The restaurant’s slogan, “A single mojito is not enough.” We agree.
  • Now we visit Casablanca, a quaint village to the north of Havana accessible by ferry. The hamlet was established in 1762 by shipbuilders and carpenters who serviced Spanish galleons and merchant vessels dispatching the spoils of South American conquest to the royal court of Spain. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the giant marble sculpture Christ of Havana, and the National Weather Observatory. The panoramic view across the bay to metropolitan Havana is mesmerizing. Fortunately, Eusebio Leal, president of the Office of the Historian of Havana, is restoring Casablanca to its deserved past glory.
  • We’ll visit the magnificent statue Christ of Havana [Cristo de La Habana] by Cuban sculptor Jilma Madera. She won a 1953 design contest organized by the wife of dictator Fulgencio Batista for this work. Madera created the statue in Italy and shipped the marble pieces to Havana. It is carved from 67 blocks of white Carrara (each blessed by Pope Pius XII), stands 74 feet tall from its base, and weighs 320 tons. It’s the most massive statue created by a female artist.
  • Return to your boutique accommodations to freshen up.
  • Hidden gastronomical gem. Group welcome dinner featuring an open menu at Paladar Café Laurent. This sophisticated private restaurant serves Caribbean, Latin, seafood, Cuban, and fusion delights on starched white tablecloths, with polished glasses, and sparkling cutlery. The bright modernist 1950s interior promises an excellent meal and great views of Havana.
  • Paradise under the stars. We’re off to the Tropicana experience. It’s a glimpse of pre-revolution Cuba, where Carmen Miranda, Josephine Baker, Nat King Cole, and others dazzled wealthy guests with Latin dance numbers performed by women with 10-pound headdresses. It’s a stunning pageant filled with music, crazy dance numbers, a few contortionists and acrobats, and showgirls decked out in fabulous costumes. Many say the Tropicana is more engaging and earthy than glitzy Las Vegas productions.

Day 3 • Monday • Ernest Hemingway, Cuban cooking

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • Cuban kitchen university. Imagine how thrilled your friends will be when you return home and prepare authentic Cuban food and mojitos for them? This morning we’ll learn from the renowned Cuban chefs at El Ajiaco Paladar the secrets of making tasty Cuban dishes and drinks.
  • Lunch under the palms. El Ajiaco is considered one of the best private eateries in all of Cuba. Hands down it’s an island dining highlight. Ajiaco is noted for fantastic service, atmosphere, and scrumptilicious traditional Cuba cuisine. Nearby family gardens supply organic vegetables and spices, lending to each dish a delightfully fresh aromatic flavor you’ll always remember. All the top cookers at El Ajiaco were previously the best chefs at Cuban State-owned restaurants. They went their own way and elevated Cuba cuisine to world standards.
  • A brief visit to the village of Cojímar, a small fishing community of east Havana. Here local fishers cast bronze bust of Hemingway from old anchors, props, and tools. The inscription reads, "In loving memory of the people of Cojímar to the immortal author of Old Man and the Sea." A plaque below the bust notes, "Sculpted with the contributions of the Fishermen Cooperative of Cojímar."
  • Hemingway’s haunt. We’re off to visit Finca Vigía [Lookout Farm] where North America’s literary titan Ernest Hemingway spent twenty-one of his most important and productive years penning building blocks of English literature. Claimed by both the United States and Cuba as their son, it was Hemingway himself who declared the island his true home. Hemingway’s house remains just as it was when he lived there. You’ll see his personal effects, thousands of books and photographs, as well as animal trophies, bagged on his numerous African safaris.
  • Return to your boutique accommodations to freshen up.
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. It’s an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island’s distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 4 • Tuesday • Capitol building and the beach

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • Joyride. We’re off to Old Havana in a cavalcade of Cuban coconut cabs. Cocotaxis are a delightful crazy vehicle with a body shaped like a coconut set atop a motorcycle frame.
  • Can’t miss visit to the recently renovated Capitolio de La Habana, home to Cuba’s National Assembly. The imposing monument is reminiscent of the US Capitol but taller and less austere; chocked full of grand statuary, breathtaking ornamental details, and jaw-dropping art. The building supports the sixth-largest dome in the world – clad in 24 karat gold plated panels. Inside you’ll see the bronze Statue of the Republic based on a young Cuban woman. It’s the third-largest indoor statue in the world. You will learn all about this magnificent structure from staff who work at the Capitolio.
  • What would a trip to Cuba be without a view of the sea? We’re off to Havana’s eastern beaches known as Playas del Este. We’ll visit two notable white sand shores: Santa María del Mar and Guanabo. Just 30 minutes from the capital, enroute, we’ll gaze incredible tropical vistas of sea and countryside. First stop is Santa María del Mar and time to relax on 14 miles of palm-lined seashore of the Caribbean Sea. Later we’ll explore the small resort town of Guanabo founded in the early 1800s. Cubans and foreign guests love these littoral spots. Don’t forget your swimsuit, towels and beach gear.
  • Lunch is not included. At the beach, there are numerous food vendors. While in Guanabo, we’ll schedule a stop at a local paladar [private restaurant].
  • Return to your boutique accommodations to freshen up.
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. It’s an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island’s distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 5 • Wednesday • Havana’s big heart and great art

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • Charity act. We’re off to visit Convento de Nuestra Señora de Belén [Convent of Our Lady of Belén], a humanitarian healthcare and community service project in Old Havana. Construction of the massive Convent commenced in 1712. Abandoned in 1925, it fell into grave disrepair. In 1991 restoration began and continues today with fantastic results. The Office of the Historian (the island sponsor of Cuba Explore), public health authorities and the Order of the Sisters of Charity jointly manage Belén Convent. It is home to elderly people and provides physiotherapy and ophthalmological services to many more seniors in the community. Belén hosts a daycare and primary school. Other activities include exercise classes, board games, cognitive rehabilitation, films, crafts workshops, and "love among the elderly" workshops.
  • Good hair day. Arte Corte [Art Cut] is a barbershop, an art project, a hair museum, a community center, park, and barber academy! Arte Corte is a little bit of everything. Stylist-proprietor-curator Gilberto Valladares, also known as Papito, runs this quaint spot in Old Havana, where visitors can have their hair cut or receive some other beauty treatment, all the while surrounded by objects, artifacts, and memorabilia that tell the story of hair care through the ages. It’s known as Callejón de los Peluqueros [Hairdresser’s Alley].
  • While in Hairdresser’s Alley, we’ll break bread at El Fígaro, affectionately named after the central character in the “The Barber of Seville.” It’s much kudoed in social media for atmosphere, gracious staff, Cuban music, delicious cocktails, and great food and desserts. Chef Alex Luco descends from a line of famed Cuban cooks. El Fígaro is part of the Arte Corte [Art Cut] community project that has received UNESCO World Heritage recognition. Its motto is “comida sin pelos” (food without hairs). Hahaha.
  • Art attack. Examine Cuba’s greatest visual masterpieces spanning three centuries at Havana’s museum of modern art – Palacio de Bellas Artes. Sections are devoted to landscape, religious subjects, and narrative scenes of Cuban life over 300 years. Together the exhibits account for the richness of the island’s Spanish, French, Chinese, African and Aboriginal cultural roots. Notable works include those of René Portocarrero and Wilfredo Lam. You’ll meet and chat with museum staff and perhaps local artists.
  • Return to your boutique accommodations to freshen up.
  • 1950s time travel. Think cocktails, Frank Sinatra, popsicles, sox hops, Hula Hoops, the twist, road trips, bikinis, I Love Lucy, Elvis Presley, and pink Cadillacs. One in ten cars in Havana are pre-1959. And they’re all American: Chevrolet, Ford, Buick, Mercury, Dodge, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac. We’ll cruise the romantic Malecón in these lovingly maintained classics.
  • Special farewell dinner at the private restaurant Los Naranjos. Located in the heart of Vedado in an expansive 1930s mansion, its Chef Ernesto specializes in fusion style dishes combining Cuban, Italian and Spanish influences. Los Naranjos’ ambiance is fun and light, its food wonderful, authentic and fresh, and staff upbeat and attentive. It’s a favorite among TripAdvisor diners.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 6 • Thursday • Adios, La Habana. Tears. Extend your stay?

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • Transfer to José Martí International airport (HAV) for flights home.
  • We'll miss you and hope you will return soon. In Cuba, we say, "A true friend remembers the song in your heart when you have forgotten the lyrics."
  • Want to extend your Cuba stay? We'll gladly assist. Just ask us!
While in Cuba, our attentive island team ensures your trip is magical and memorable.
Tour date Cost Comments Availability
May 28 to Jun 2, 2022 $ 1949
Closes in a few days
Book now
Jun 25 to Jun 30, 2022 $ 1949
Just one room left
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Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
  • Cuban Tourist Visa and delivery, up to a $100 value
  • Certificate of Legal Cuba Travel ensuring compliance with US regulations
  • Small group size – ten guests or fewer
  • Knowledgeable, fun, attentive Cuban guides from arrival to departure
  • Flexible tour payment options, you decide payment schedule
  • Quality accommodations as listed in this itinerary
  • Air-conditioned transport, professional chauffeur, and bottled water daily
  • Airport-accommodation transfers on tour start and end days
  • All activities and fees listed unless noted as optional or suggested
  • Emergency telephone and internet access from Cuba to America
  • Cash advances for participants caught short of funds in Cuba
  • Ongoing support from our US and Cuban staff before, during and after travel
  • Participants become Club Cubano alumni and receive future tour discounts