Discover Cuba Holiday: Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa

This 14 day tailormade trip is designed for couples, families and small groups of individuals who want to discover Cuba for themselves.  It is based in the undeveloped region of Oriente, the tropical southeastern part of Cuba. Starting in Santiago de Cuba, known as the ‘cradle of the Revolution’, you will have guided visits to key sites associated with the Revolution and survival salsa lessons.  After this introduction to Cuba, you move on to the small historic city of Baracoa, with guided hiking up El Yunque mountain and in the Alexander Humboldt National Park, with the last few nights on a small secluded beach.  History, hiking, salsa and beachside relaxation all in one holiday!

  • Duration:  14 days/13 nights
  • Start dates:  All year round
  • Cost:  approx. £1,700pp, minimum 2 persons

“Your in-depth knowledge of Cuba and contacts around the island gave you a real edge over the company which organised my previous visit to Cuba”.

CV, Edinburgh, Dec 2013

Description

This holiday is ideal for anyone who wants to discover Cuba and the history of the Cuban Revolution, enjoy Cuban salsa and guided hiking and then round up the holiday on a beautiful secluded beach.  We start in Santiago de Cuba for a few days of exploring with a guided city tour, a salsa lesson with professional dancers and a cookery class, with time in between to relax and explore the city at your own pace. Then we move on to Baracoa for hiking in the Alexander Humboldt national park, climbing El Yunque or take a cayuka trip down the Toa River before moving on to a secluded beach north of Baracoa. Here  there will be time to relax on the beach, swim and snorkel and recharge your batteries before heading for home.

An additional 3 day trip can be organised which offers fully guided hiking in the Pico Turquino national park and is available all year round (weather permitting). The itinerary includes lower level trekking without climbing Pico Turquino itself, and lets you experience the natural beauty and tropical vegetation of the Sierra Maestra mountains and the park area as well as a guided full day visit to the fascinating site of La Comandancia, where Fidel was based in the lead up to the Revolution. Please click the link below for full details:

  • Day 1: Holguin airport - Bayamo

    Private transfer to Santo Domingo, a rural village at the gateway to the Turquino National Park in the Sierra Maestra mountains.
    Arrive at your homestay with dinner & breakfast included x 2 nights.
    Dinner at homestay.

  • Day 2 - Turquino National Park: La Comandancia Trail

    Breakfast at homestay followed by full day excursion

    You will be picked up at your homestay at 06.45 by your driver- guide and Oscar for your full day excursion to the Turquino national park. You will first depart for Santo Domingo, the gateway to the national park (approx. 1 hour 15 min journey).  Continue by jeep up the steep hair-pin bends of the road for Alto de Naranjo (approx. 20 minutes) where the trail starts. You set off walking through beautiful forest, heading for Fidel’s secret revolutionary headquarters known as la Comandancia, deep in the heart of the mountains approx. 2 hour hike each way (3km each way). You follow a reasonably good path, but be prepared for short steep sections, and some mud underfoot if it has been raining. The park guide will lead you round the revolutionary base which is now a museum and one of the most famous of Cuba’s heritage centres. The guide will point out all the important buildings in the complex and explain the history of the Cuban revolution. You then walk back to Alto de Naranjo to have your picnic lunch (included and provided by your homestay hosts) before returning by jeep to Santo Domingo and to your homestay in Bayamo around 14.00. Rest of day free – you may want to arrange dinner with your homestay hosts and pay direct, or eat at a local restaurant.

  • Day 3 Santiago - cookery class

    Morning cookery class in a local homestay to learn how to make Cuban specialities such as tostones and bunuelos.  Lunch will be the resulting meal.  Rest of day free to relax and explore

  • Day 4 Santiago - salsa/percussion

    Free morning.  Afternoon two hour salsa/percussion lesson with professional tutors. Visit the Carnival museum and watch the Afro-Cuban rumba performance. Rest of day free.

  • Day 5 Santiago - Baracoa

    Early morning departure from Santiago to Baracoa by air conditioned bus (5 hours journey), met on arrival and accompanied into town to one of our selected homestays in the centre. Double room, half board x 5 nights.

  • Day 6 Baracoa - El Yunque hiking

    Half day guided hiking to climb El Yunque, the iconic flat topped mountain outside Baracoa, with local guide and transport included. Rest of day free to explore Baracoa at your own pace.

  • Day 7 Baracoa, Yumuri Canyon boat trip

    Full day excursion to the Yumuri Canyon, with a stop en route at a local cocoa farm to learn how cocoa is produced.  Wonderful views from Bahia de Mata and then take a local fishermans boat along the river, with a stop for swimming. Lunch and stop at secluded beach on way back to Baracoa.

  • Day 8 Alexander Humboldt national park - hiking

    Full day of guided hiking in the Alexander Humboldt  national park, with transport and lunch included.  Hike through luscious tropical forests and swim in a waterfall pool.  Visit a local farm to drink fresh coconut milk and local coffee.

  • Day 9 Baracoa - bike tour

    Full day of guided cycling (around 40km total) with local guide, exploring rural roads, mangroves and rocky coves. Traditional Baracoan lunch at Playa Cajuajo. Opportunities to meet local farmers and learn about their lifestyles and also visit a community cultural centre.

  • Day 10 Baracoa - Playa Maguana

    Private transfer to 3* Villa Maguana (30 minutes drive) on asecluded beach north of Baracoa.  Beachside bungalow with half board x 3 nights

  • Day 11 Playa Maguana

    Free time to relax

  • Day 12 Playa Maguana

    Free time to relax

  • Day 13 Baracoa - Holguin/Santiago de Cuba

    Late morning private transfer to Baracoa for bus to Santiago de Cuba for last night in Cuba.  Accommodation in one of our selected homestays.   Concert in local live music venue with farewell cocktail.

  • Day 14 Depart Santiago de Cuba

    Private transfer to Santiago airport/bus station for onwards travel.

Price includes:

  • 10 nights homestay accommodation, half board (breakfast and dinner)
  • 3 nights 3* beachside bungalow, half board (breakfast and dinner)
  • Private transfers by taxi to/from Santiago airport and also Baracoa – Hotel Maguana return.
  • Air conditioned scheduled bus Santiago – Baracoa return
  • All local transport, entries and national park fees for visits and excursions included in the itinerary
  • Specialist bilingual guides for visits/hiking

Please note that the price does not include:

  • International flights*
  • Cuban tourist card (the required visa)*
  • Tips

* These can be arranged by us on request