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From the cactus-dotted Sonoran Desert in northern Baja California, to Chihuahua’s rolling Sierra Madre Occidental, down to the sun-kissed beaches of Yucatan and the great rainforests of south-eastern Chiapas. You could travel the country for months and still leave without having seen everything

Mexico and Cuba
Mexico and Cuba
  • Mexico City
  • Teotihuacan
  • Puebla
  • Oaxaca
  • San Cristobal de las Casas
  • Palenque
  • Campeche
  • Merida
  • Chichen
  • Itza
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Havana
  • Trinidad
  • Cienfuegos
  • Vinales

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Experience the passion and soul of Cuba. No longer the forbidden fruit for travellers, this tropical island nation has more history, heritage and culture than you could imagine. Wander the cobbled streets of Old Havana, explore colourful colonial towns and take a dip in the monumental Bay of Pigs.

Itineraries

Day 1

Home . Mexico City

Destination Home . Mexico City Meals included Hotel 4 . Hotel Geneve Mexico City, or similar Hola! Welcome to Mexico. You’ll be met on arrival at Mexico City International Airport and taken to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax, or explore this intriguing, bustling capital. Given Mexico’s rich history, it’s little surprise that Mexico City is home to the second largest number of museums in the world, behind London. You’ll find it all here – art, architecture… and of course, the food. Trying the famed street food is a must – tacos, breakfast tamales, seafood tostadas, churros. Fried grasshoppers, chapulines, are a local delicacy. Get used to guacamole being served with every meal and remember: sip your tequila, don’t down it like a shot. Please note: Some flights may depart the day before. Passengers will be arriving at various times throughout the day from as early as 6am through to late evening. If arriving prior to standard check-in time, which is generally 3pm local time, you are welcome to leave your luggage with hotel reception and explore your surroundings until check-in becomes available, as there are generally no scheduled activities on Day 1 of the itinerary. The hotel may grant early check-in, however this is strictly subject to availability and at the hotels discretion.

Day 2

Mexico City . Teotihuacan . Mexico City

Destination Mexico City . Teotihuacan . Mexico City Meals included Breakfast Hotel 4 . Hotel Geneve Mexico City, or similar The oldest city in the Americas, Mexico City boasts a rich history, and you’ll find countless relics and remnants of its past. After breakfast we’ll visit the city’s main square and historic centre – the zocalo – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s home to many of the main tourist attractions, like the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral on the northern side and the grand National Palace on the east side. Once upon a time the square was used as a bullfighting arena; today, it’s used for festivals and parades. We’ll then see the National Museum of Anthropology, which houses a priceless collection of artefacts, some dating from 35,000 years ago. We’ll enjoy a guided tour of this purpose-built facility, featuring 11 sections dedicated to different eras and civilisations. It houses the world’s largest collection of ancient Mexican art. The Aztec sun stone sculpture is perhaps the most well-known exhibit, but Olmec sculptures and Mayan murals haven’t lost their beauty after all these centuries! Scale models of pre-colonial cities offer an insight into the architectural feats of these ancient civilisations. Having observed artefacts from the different civilisations that inhabited Mexico before the arrival of the Spaniards, we’ll go on to visit the remnants of the Aztecs at the well-preserved ruins of Teotihuacan. You’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this once-vast city. Step back in time as you stroll along the Avenue of the Dead, towards the imposing 2,000-year-old Pyramid of the Sun, one of the two iconic, towering pyramids here. At the end of the visit, there is some free time to explore the site and to climb one of the colossal pyramids to take in the panoramic views. We’ll then return to the city, stopping at the famous Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine to visit both the 16thcentury old basilica and the new basilica, built in 1976. This is an important Catholic pilgrimage site, visited by several million people every year. When we return to the hotel in the evening, the rest of the night is yours to relax or explore.

Day 3

Mexico City . Puebla . Oaxaca

Destination Mexico City . Puebla . Oaxaca Meals included Breakfast, Lunch Hotel 4 . Hotel Misión de los Ángeles, or similar We’ll head north this morning through the highlands of the Sierra Mixteca, arriving at Santa Maria Tonantzintla, an astoundingly ornate church in a style that is a native adaptation of the nearby Rosary Chapel. We’ll continue on to reach the colonial city of Puebla at midday. Enjoy a panoramic tour taking in most of the city’s famous churches, such as the Baroque-style Puebla Cathedral, and the imposing Church of St Francis with its towering belfry. We’ll visit Templo de Santo Domingo to admire the gilded and sculpted Rosary Chapel inside, a masterpiece of Mexican Baroque style. Founded by the Spaniards in 1531, this city’s architecture is a dream, with a range of styles on display. Puebla’s downtown area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A short walk through the picturesque city centre allows you to appreciate the baroque palaces, monasteries and mansions. You’ll notice the widespread use of Cantera stone, a local grey volcanic rock, as well as red brick and tiles. Enjoy a mouthwatering lunch before setting off for Oaxaca to check into your hotel. It’s a distance of approximately 475km, which normally takes six or seven hours.

Day 4

Oaxaca . Monte Albán . Mitla . Tule . Oaxaca

Destination Oaxaca . Monte Albán . Mitla . Tule . Oaxaca Meals included Breakfast Hotel 4 . Hotel Misión de los Ángeles, or similar We’ll head to Monte Albán, the ancient Zapotec capital, located on a mountain summit just a few kilometres west of Oaxaca. Together with colonial Oaxaca, this archaeological wonder comprises a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded around 500 BC, this feat of engineering stands 400 metres above the Oaxaca Valley. The ruins of pyramids, temples, plazas and other residential structures all centre on the main plaza, a large open square on the mysteriously artificially-flattened mountain-top – the size of more than 50 football fields! This mysterious site features some oddly shaped structures. From here you can enjoy 360-degree views of the city and valleys below. The relics are in a remarkably good state – the ball court looks like it could still be used. Next we’ll make our way to Mitla, the ancient religious centre of the Zapotec culture, whose name translates to ‘place of rest’. Admire the incredible geometric designs covering the tombs and walls of this ancient site. Then we’ll head to the suburb of Santa Maria del Tule, to see the sacred Tule Tree, a 1400-year-old Montezuma cypress. The tree’s gnarled trunk has a circumference of 42 metres and a diameter of 14, making it the stoutest in the world. It dwarfs the town’s main church. We’ll return to Oaxaca and the rest of the day is free time for you. This vibrant city is a cultural and culinary hub. Relax in one of the patio cafes surrounding the zocalo (the main square), stroll through one of its hectic markets, or have a taste of the city’s famous mezcal – the other agave spirit. Oaxaca is known for its lively nightlife.

Day 5

Oaxaca . Sumidero Canyon . San Cristobal de las Casas

Destination Oaxaca . Sumidero Canyon . San Cristobal de las Casas Meals included Breakfast, Lunch Hotel 4 . Hotel Casavieja, or similar We’ll hit the road early this morning and enjoy breakfast on the way as we travel to the Sumidero Canyon, one of Mexico’s top natural wonders. This awe-inspiring gorge, carved into the earth over millions of years by the River Grijalva, has to be one of Mother Nature’s most underrated masterpieces. During a spectacular boat tour along the imposing canyon bed, you’ll appreciate just how deep the ravine gorge is as you find yourself dwarfed by the sheer scale of its walls, covered in thick vegetation. Look out for crocodiles! We’ll continue on to San Cristóbal de las Casas. Today we’ll drive approximately 685km which typically takes ten hours, so make sure you have a good book handy or just enjoy the scenery!

Day 6

San Cristóbal de las Casas . San Juan Chamula and Destination Zinacantan . San Cristóbal de las Casas

San Cristóbal de las Casas . San Juan Chamula and Destination Zinacantan . San Cristóbal de las Casas Meals included Breakfast Hotel 4 . Hotel Casavieja, or similar We’ll visit the traditional Mayan village of San Juan de Chamula this morning. The town is almost entirely inhabited by the Tzotzil Maya, known for their distinctive clothing. Men wear tunics called chujes and the women favour colourful blouses known as huipils. San Juan de Chamula is famous for its whitewashed cathedral, Iglesia de San Juan, with colourful ornamentation and pine-scented, candlelit interior – there are no pews, rather, dry pine needles cover the floor. You might observe the intriguing religious rituals that the locals perform. Worshippers gulp down soft drink so they can burp to get rid of evil spirits. We’ll also visit the indigenous village of Zinacantan. It’s renowned for the quality of its weavers and the local shops and markets offer great variety. Please note: Taking photographs and videos of the people who live here, and inside temples and official buildings, or during processions and rituals is prohibited in San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan. Your tour leader will provide further guidance in this regard. Upon your return to San Cristóbal de las Casas, the afternoon is free for you to explore this southern town. Wander the cobblestone streets and admire the pastel-hued houses in this dreamy mountain setting. As with most of these lively cities, the zocalo is an excellent spot for people watching and relaxing. Perhaps you’d like to visit the imposing Baroque church of Templo Santo Domingo, or the colourful art and food markets where you can admire the traditional wear of the Maya cultures who live in this region. Iglesia de Guadalupe is not only a gorgeous church, it’s perched on a hilltop that offers breathtaking views of the city below if you climb to the roof. Inside, don’t miss the huge Guadalupe (Virgin Mary) statue above the altar, framed in neon lights.

Day 7

San Cristóbal . Chiapas waterfalls . Palenque

Destination San Cristóbal . Chiapas waterfalls . Palenque Meals included Breakfast, Dinner Hotel 4 . Chan-Kah Resort Village, or similar We’ll head north for a journey of about five to six hours today. On the way, we’ll see the beautiful waterfalls in Chiapas. Take a dip in one of the natural pools filled with bright blue water below the roaring falls. This mesmerising natural area will impress you. Afterwards, we’ll head to the city of Palenque.

Day 8

Palenque . Campeche

Destination Palenque . Campeche Meals included Breakfast, Dinner Hotel 4 . Hotel Plaza Campeche, or similar We’ll visit the temples of Palenque first today. This Maya city-state flourished in the seventh century and here you’ll find some of the finest Mayan architecture, sculpture, roof comb and bas-relief carvings. Enjoy a fascinating guided tour to admire its beauty. In the impressive Temple of Inscriptions, reaching almost 23 metres high, the tomb of the Maya ruler Pakal the Great was found and excavated in the 1950s. In its heyday, Palenque was a sprawling city-state that covered nearly 60 square kilometres – archaeologists estimate that they have only excavated 5–10% of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. So far, more than 200 structures have been unearthed. The most prominent are the Temple of the Inscriptions, the Palace and the Temple of the Cross complex, a set of graceful temples atop pyramids. Afterwards, we’ll head to Campeche on the Yucatan Peninsula. We’ll cover a distance of approximately 360km, in about four or five hours.

Day 9

Campeche . Uxmal . Mérida

Destination Campeche . Uxmal . Mérida Meals included Breakfast, Lunch Hotel 4 . Gamma Mérida El Castellano, or similar After breakfast this morning, we’ll venture out on a panoramic tour of this historic coastal city. A drive through the heart of the picturesque old town is a delight, with its pastel-coloured colonial houses, collonaded arcades and bell-gabled churches. You’ll then explore by foot, seeing sights such as ramparts of the old city walls and the Cathedral. The Yucatan was once the home of the Maya empire. We’ll leave Campeche for the impressive archaeological site of Uxmal. As you approach, it comes into view as it rises above the canopy of the jungle. You’ll enjoy a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unlike other Maya cities, Uxmal was devoured by the rainforest after the Spaniards arrived. The most famous structure is the 35-metre-tall Pyramid of the Magician, towering over the remarkably well-preserved Nunnery Quadrangle, four palaces on different levels surrounding a courtyard. Across the central plaza, just beyond the ball court, is the Governor’s Palace with its elaborately-decorated roof. Then we’ll head for the beautiful colonial white city of Mérida, where we’ll take a panoramic tour to see the city’s highlights, like the Government Palace, City Hall, the Mérida Cathedral, Casa de Montejo and a typical market.

Day 10

Mérida . Chichen Itza . Playa del Carmen

Destination Mérida . Chichen Itza . Playa del Carmen Meals included Breakfast Hotel 3 . Hotel Aspira, or similar After breakfast, we’ll travel to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. We’ll head deep into the rainforests of the Yucatan peninsula in search of the legendary Maya city of Chichen Itza, which has been laboriously reclaimed from the jungle. The site covers five square kilometres and has both Toltec and Mayan ruins. Learn about the Maya and their civilisation as you admire the scale and beauty of this once-grand city. Behold the geometric perfection of the perfectly-symmetrical 25-metre-tall El Castillo pyramid. It was built both as a representation of the mystical Maya calendar and, during the spring and autumn equinoxes, to reflect the optical illusion of a serpent snaking its way up or down the pyramid thanks to the shadow created by sunrays. Admire the Great Ball Court, the largest of 13 discovered at the site. See the haunting Platform of the Skulls, where the heads of human sacrifice victims and prisoners of war were impaled, and the Sacred Cenote, where sacrifice victims were dumped. Also extremely well-preserved are the Temple of the Warriors, the Ossuary, the Nunnery complex and adjacent Church, as well as the large observatory known as the Snail. Afterwards, we’ll make a final stop at Cenote Ik Kil. Once a sacred site to the Maya people, it’s now a popular swimming hole in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s lush, green and beautiful, with vines hanging down from the top of the cenote (sinkhole). You need to climb down 26 metres to reach the water. There are several cenotes around the Yucatan, popular swimming spots with clear water and lush surrounds. We’ll then head east for Playa del Carmen. It’s about a four-hour journey to cover 315km. You should arrive by 6 or 7pm.

Day 11

Playa del Carmen

Destination Playa del Carmen Meals included Breakfast Hotel 3 . Hotel Aspira, or similar You’ll have three nights in Playa del Carmen – just ‘Playa’ to the locals – on the idyllic Riviera Maya coast. This part of your trip is unaccompanied, so you are free to relax and explore at your own pace. It’s certainly a dreamy setting – think palm-lined, white-sand beaches and those pristine turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Once a small fishing coastal town, it’s now a tourist hotspot. Despite the development, it’s retained its charm and small town feel. Compared to neighbouring Cancun, Playa is less party-oriented. It’s easy to explore on foot. The pedestrian-friendly main street – 5th Avenue, or Quinta Avenida – is home to many restaurants, shops and entertainment. Venture a few hundred metres away and you’ll discover small, interesting markets and authentic, delicious taquerias frequented by locals. There are plenty of water sports on offer, like windsurfing, jet skis and kayaking. You can even dive in the impressive coral reef.

Day 12

Playa del Carmen

Destination Playa del Carmen Meals included Breakfast Hotel 3  Hotel Aspira, or similar It’s another free day for you today in paradise. The ruins of Tulum make for a great day trip down the coast. Given the beautiful setting – high on the cliffs above the Caribbean Sea – and the ideal location, they do get busy. It’s the third most visited site in Mexico, so try to get there early to avoid the crowds. The beaches in Tulum are stunning and generally less crowded, too. There are a number of cenotes around Playa del Carmen, like Dos Ojos, home to the deepest known underwater cave passage – 118 metres deep! It has two sinkholes connected by a 400-metre passageway. These activities can be organised with hotel staff at your accommodation.

Day 13

Playa del Carmen . Havana

Destination Playa del Carmen . Havana Meals included Breakfast Hotel 4  Hotel Nacional de Cuba, or similar At the appropriate time, you’ll be taken to the airport in Cancun for your flight to Havana. Bienvenido a Cuba! You’ll be met on arrival at Havana’s José Martí International Airport, where you’ll be transferred to your hotel. After being shut off from parts of the world for decades, Cuba is now a thriving tourist destination. Despite the increase in tourism, the glory of ‘old Cuba’ is alive and well. It’s vibrant, exciting and mysterious. The largest city in the Caribbean, Havana has loads of character. Live music, friendly locals, a rich heritage and complex history. It’s as if time stands still here, especially with classic American cars from the 1950s all over the city – a result of the inability to import new cars under the long-standing communist government. Walking the Malecón, the esplanade and seawall that runs the length of the city, is a great way to admire the skyline and take in the mix of architectural styles. It’s about eight kilometres long and an excellent place to see the sunset. You’ll be staying at Hotel Nacional de Cuba, a grand icon of this city. Its location, history and gardens make this a true experience – it’s a place of real Cuban history. Located high on a hill, on the seafront of the Vedado district, you’ll have great views of the harbour, the city and the Malecón. Built in the 1930s, this elegant hotel was known as the playground of American Mafia bosses. It’s been the hotel of choice for many illustrious guests since. Be warned, hotel staff – and many other hospitality workers in this beautiful island nation – generally operate at ‘Cuban pace’. This means a slow and relaxed pace! A fair degree of patience may be required. Please note: Hotel Nacional de Cuba is a self-rated five-star hotel. However, by our standards, we believe three-star hotel is a better representation of the reality. The hotel is fascinating, historic and in a lovely setting. The rooms are clean, spacious and comfortable but can be somewhat outdated.

Day 14

Havana

Destination Havana Meals included Breakfast Hotel 4 . Hotel Nacional de Cuba, or similar Enjoy a walking tour of the lovely Old Havana with your tour guide this morning in the city centre. For approximately two and a half hours, see the best of this fascinating historic district from a local’s perspective. You’ll be taken through the labyrinth of streets to discover the enchanting secrets of this living museum, where residents live among the unique charm and haunting decay of buildings dating as far back as the 16th century. You’ll take in some of the city’s most iconic sights, such as the Art Museum, the famous pedestrian-only thoroughfare of Calle Obispo and Hotel Ambos Mundos, Ernest Hemingway’s home for seven years. You’ll see Old Havana’s four historic squares; Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Catedral (one of the city’s most famous landmarks), Plaza San Francisco de Asis and Plaza Vieja. It’s no wonder Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, thanks to its special character, culture and beautiful architecture. Restoration is happening slowly, so while many of the main buildings have been restored to their original glory, others have been left to age – crumbling – virtually neglected since the Revolution triumphed more than 50 years ago. OPTIONAL TOUR -BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB Get a taste of Havana nightlife. The grandson of Buena Vista Social Club’s Compay Segundo carries on the salsa tradition on Monday and Wednesday nights at the Havana Club Rum Museum. Shows start at 9:45pm. OPTIONAL TOUR -CIGAR FACTORY TOUR The Cuban cigar is legendary. Enjoy this true cultural experience to visit one of the traditional Cuban cigar factories. For about two hours, you’ll learn all about the process in this original colonial building – as with most parts of Havana, these old buildings have been somewhat neglected, but they still have the same charm and elegance. Hundreds of workers work in smokey, stuffy rooms rolling cigars by hand, with salsa tunes playing in the background. They’ve been doing it like this for more than 50 years

Day 15

Havana . Santa Clara . Trinidad

Destination Havana . Santa Clara . Trinidad Meals included Breakfast, Dinner Hotel A comfortable B&B in Trinidad , or similar Today we’ll head inland to Santa Clara. It’s about an hour and a half away. Here we’ll encounter a huge statue of counter-cultural symbol Ernesto “Ché” Guevara. We’ll visit the museum directly under the statue, which tells the story of Ché’s fascinating life. There is also a mausoleum with an eternal flame to commemorate his death and that of the revolutionaries who were with him in Bolivia. Time permitting, we’ll also visit the derailed train that was crucial in the success of Ché Guevara’s mission to prevent the progress of arms to Havana. We’ll continue onto the town of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a journey of about seven hours, 380km away. Upon arrival your guide will take you on an orientation walk to get your bearings and understand where the main places of interest are in town. This evening, enjoy dinner with your guide and the rest of your group. Please note: In Trinidad and Vinales, you’ll be staying in B&Bs that have been carefully selected for their comfort and location. While these houses cannot be compared to modern western hotels, you can expect them to be clean, comfortable and well-located. They will feature at least an ensuite bathroom, air-conditioning, modern imported mattresses (which can be a luxury item in Cuba!) and cold and hot water. Every B&B is different and has its own unique charm.

Day 16

Trinidad

Destination Trinidad Meals included Breakfast Hotel A comfortable B&B in Trinidad , or similar It’s a free day for you to explore the colourful, colonial town of Trinidad at your own pace. Founded in the early 16th century, its riches came largely from the sugar industry. The colonial architecture is exceptionally well-preserved. Stroll the cobblestone streets, visit beautiful churches and listen to live music in the main square Plaza Mayor, surrounded by grand, brightly-coloured 18th and 19th-century buildings. Climb to the top of the bell tower at the Convento de San Francisco for gorgeous views over the terracotta-tiled rooftops of Trinidad. OPTIONAL TOUR -TAXI TO THE BEACH The Trinidad coastline is a much-loved beach destination for tourists and locals alike, with those postcard-perfect Caribbean waters. Your leader can help you arrange a taxi back and forth to the most popular beaches, approximately 12km from town. While the ocean is generally calm and the water warm, these beaches are not patrolled so please take care and never swim alone. And, of course, do not forget your insect repellent!

Day 17

Trinidad . Cienfuegos

Destination Trinidad . Cienfuegos Meals included Breakfast Hotel 4  Hotel La Union, or similar It’s about a three hour journey to Cienfuegos this morning. Settled by the French, this graceful city has a distinct European flavour to its colonial hub, with a wide Parisian-style boulevard and elegant colonnades. Its urban historic centre has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2005. There’s an ambience that inspired Cuba’s most celebrated Son singer to pen the words, “Cienfuegos is the city I like best”. We’ll take a walk around this beautiful city, learn about some iconic figures and take in the architecture and the local culture. Enjoy visiting Palacio de Valle, a magnificent, historic villa built in the early 20th century. This lavish palace is now home to a museum and rooftop bar and restaurant, with lovely views of the bay.

Day 18

Cienfuegos . Bay of Pigs . Viñales

Destination Cienfuegos . Bay of Pigs . Viñales Meals included Breakfast, Lunch Hotel Comfortable B&B in Vinales , or similar Today we’ll travel to Viñales via Bay of Pigs, a favourite for snorkelling given the clear Caribbean waters and dazzling array of coral and fish. Take a dip in the crystal clear water, or simply sit back and try to imagine the battle played out in this monumental bay in 1961. Your guide will share insights into the botched US military counter-revolutionary invasion. Then we’ll settle in for the long drive to Viñales – we’ll cover about 500km in eight hours. When we arrive, we’ll take an orientation walk to visit the main places of interest and find our way around the town.

Day 19

Viñales

Destination Viñales Meals included Breakfast, Dinner Hotel Comfortable B&B in Vinales , or similar The farming valley of Viñales makes for a stunning landscape, surrounded by mogotes, limestone pincushion hills. We’ll take a walking tour through farmland this morning for a great insight into rural Cuban life. On our walk we’ll see the abundance of local seasonal produce like enormous avocados and mangoes, papaya, guava, sweet potatoes – as well as some tobacco plantations, of course. We’ll learn the tradition of legendary Cuban cigars from a farmer and expert cigar maker. Get an insight into how communism works, how much tobacco they’ll keep, how much produce they’ll give back to the government, and how they make ends meet. You’ll learn about the process from tobacco planting to rolling the final cigar. In the afternoon we’ll tour an organic farm outside Viñales and learn about sustainable farming in Cuba. You’ll meet a local farmer and his family, who will show us around their farm and explain the methods used to cultivate crops without the use of pesticides. With this beautiful landscape as our backdrop, we’ll enjoy a deliciously fresh and diverse meal prepared by the family – a truly authentic farm to table experience! OPTIONAL TOUR -SALSA CLASS Salsa dancing is an important part of Cuban culture. Find your rhythm and let professional salsa dancers initiate you to the art of the 1-2-3 5-6-7. Surprisingly, salsa's basic moves are fairly easy to learn. Classes range between one and a half to two hours and the price of the activity will vary slightly, depending on the number of participants joining in.

Day 20

Viñales . Jaimanitas . Havana

Destination Viñales . Jaimanitas . Havana Meals included Breakfast Hotel 4 . Hotel Nacional de Cuba, or similar Today we’ll head back to Havana, about a three-hour trip. We’ll stop en route at the fishing village of Jaimanitas, home of the famous artist Jose Fuster. Inspired by projects like Gaudi’s Park Güell in Barcelona, Fuster made his entire home – and much of the surrounding neighbourhood – into mosaic-tiled art. Now referred to as Fusterlandia, it’s a unique work of public art, with over 80 colourful houses decorated with ornate murals and domes to suit the personality of each neighbour. He’s built a chess park with giant boards and tables, a theatre, and public swimming pools. Fuster’s work is a cherished part of Cuban culture.

Day 21

Havana . Home

Destination Havana . Home Meals included Breakfast Hotel N/A Enjoy one last delicious breakfast this morning, before your Cuban adventure comes to an end. At the appropriate time you’ll be transferred to José Martí International Airport for your flight home. We hope you’ve enjoyed this extraordinary journey. Please note: Passengers will be departing at various times throughout the day. Standard hotel check-out times will apply no matter what time your flight is scheduled to depart. Check-out time is generally anywhere from 10am-12pm. You are welcome to leave your luggage at hotel reception and spend your final moments of free time exploring the area or alternatively please speak with hotel staff if you would like to extend your check-out time. This service is subject to availability and will likely come at an additional cost. Your tour guide (or hotel staff) will confirm the time of your airport transfer with you directly. Travellers returning to Australia and New Zealand, please note that connection time in Cancun can be up to 6 hours as you are required to collect your luggage, transfer to the international wing of the airport and re-check in.

Day 22

In-Transit

Destination In-Transit Meals included Hotel N/A Cross the international date-line.

Day 23

Home

Destination Home Meals included Hotel N/A Arrive home today. We hope you've been inspired.
  • Return international Economy airfares with Qantas
  • Internal Economy flight from Cancun to Havana with Interjet (or similar)
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Mostly 4-star accommodation including iconic the Hotel Nacional in Havana
  • 4 nights in a comfortable Cuban B&B
  • All Transportation
  • Meals: Breakfast daily, 4 lunches & 4 dinners as per itinerary
  • Mexico & Cuba -Fully Escorted with English speaking guide throughout
  • Playa del Carman -Free time to relax & explore (self-guided)
  • All entrance fees to the sites listed (except optionals)
  • All activities listed in the itinerary unless a paid optional
  • Comfortable, dedicated private transportation throughout
  • 24/7 customer service and your own Dedicated Support Agent

SIGHTSEEING HIGHLIGHTS

Mexico City – Discover this enormous, bustling capital city which maintains its colonial charm and offers a vibrant and eclectic atmosphere

Teotihuacan – Behold the vast scale of this well-preserved ancient city dominated by the 2,000-year-old Pyramid of the Sun

Monte Alban – Visit the ruins of this ancient Zapotec capital on a flattened mountain summit near Oaxaca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sumidero Canyon – Cruise this awe-inspiring gorge, with 1,000-metre-high vertical walls

San Juan de Chamula: Visit this indigenous village, home to the Tzotzil Maya and their famous, intriguing cathedral

Palenque – Explore these fascinating Mayan ruins, once a huge sprawling city-state

Campeche – Wander the meticulously-restored, colourful walled old town of this colonial city on the Yucatan Peninsula

Uxmal – Discover the magical Pyramid of the Magician in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, rising above the jungle canopy

Merida – See Yucatan’s ‘White City’, with its elegant tree-lined boulevards from the 19th century

Chichen Itza – Uncover the mysteries of Maya civilisation at this ancient archaeological site and admire the geometric perfection of the 25-metre-tall El Castillo pyramid

Playa del Carmen – Relax and unwind for three nights in this Caribbean paradise

Havana – Discover the charm and soul of mysterious, exciting Cuba as you explore the living museum of Old Havana on a walking tour

Santa Clara – Pay your tributes to the legendary revolutionary Ernesto “Ché” Guevara during a visit to the mausoleum and fascinating museum

Trinidad – Explore colourful, colonial Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Cienfuegos – Wander the beautiful city of Cienfuegos and visit the elegant Castillo del Valle

Bay of Pigs – Take a dip in the clear waters of this monumental bay

Viñales – Take a walk through this farming valley to discover rural Cuban life, and learn the tradition of legendary Cuban cigars

Viñales – Enjoy an authentic, organic farm to table dinner with a meal prepared by a local farming family

Jaimanitas – See the Gaudi-inspired, public art wonderland of Fusterlandia, with over 80 colourful mosaic-tiled houses

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  • Optional activities
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a 2nd instalment of $3,999 per person within 28 days.

You
will then be invoiced for final payment 90 days prior to departure.

Booking Process

Select
the purple 'Reserve Your Seat' tab to begin your booking (you must 'Sign Up' first by entering your email and creating a password)

Then
select the purple 'Book now' tab of the tour you have selected

Select
your Departure Date, Departure City, Number of Passengers, Room Configuration, any Upgrade Options, and enter any Special Requests

Click
the purple ‘Proceed to Secure Checkout' tab

Enter
your credit card or PayPal details to secure your deposit/payment

Once
your order is complete, you will be prompted to complete a Booking Form so that we can fulfil your booking

Your
booking is confirmed once your Booking Form is submitted and you can begin the countdown to your Inspiring Vacation!

You
will then be allocated and contacted by one of our Dedicated Support Agent's (within 48 hours) who will support you right up until you return from your journey

Full
service airline used will be Qantas (with United, Virgin Australia or similar if unavailable)

Some
flights will require a minimum of 1 transit (maximum 2).

Brisbane
guests will incur a surcharge of $100, Adelaide guests $150, and Perth guests $200

All
tickets will include 20 kilos checked baggage per person, along with 7 kilos of hand luggage.

Despite
the airlines baggage allowance, we recommend travelling with 20 kilos per person due to restrictions with internal flights (where applicable), as well as coach and train transportation. Also, you will be responsible for handling your luggage at all times as the services of porters is not included. If travelling over this amount, you will be liable for any excess baggage fees enforced by the airline, payable direct.

Once
ticketed, flights are non-refundable. Any changes will be subject to the

airline rules and change fees.

Full names as per passport (including all middle names) are required.

Any
airline schedule changes or cancellations are beyond our control.

Any
airline 'extras' such as pre-allocated seating are at your own arrangement (additional charges apply)

Premium Economy or Business Class upgrades

Premium
Economy upgrade available from an additional $3,000 per person (subject to availability -Premium may not be available on every sector).

Business
Class upgrade available from an additional $7,000 per person (subject to availability).

Please specify this as a 'Special Request' when completing your booking and you will be quoted for the additional fare. In the event your selection is unavailable, or that you are dissatisfied with the quote, you will be provided with a full refund.
Land Only Discount
A $1,500 per person reduction from the twin share price applies if you wish to arrange your own airfares. Should you wish to purchase land only, please select this option in the booking process, under 'Departure City'. The Land Only price doesn't include arrival and departure airport transfers. If you would like us to make these arrangments for you please refer to Extra Services below.
How to extend your stay
Some customers like to enhance their holiday by extending their stay pre-and/or post-tour. If you wish to do so, please follow these steps:
1.
Follow the ‘Book Now’ prompts after signing up, until you reach the 'Special Requests' field

2.
Here, please specify your preferred flight arrangements and if you require additional accommodation, with the number of nights needed.

3.
After finalising your purchase and submitting your booking form, a member of our team will be in contact with you via email to verify your request.

Please note, a supplement of $150 per person (plus any applicable fare and tax differences)

applies to deviate from the standard itinerary. We will contact you via email with a quote and proposed flight itinerary, and then proceed with collecting the additional payment required to confirm your request.

You can enhance your holiday by arriving or departing before or after the tour, adding a stopover package en-route or booking a tour extension. On this tour you can choose from the following options:
Airport chauffeur
Take the hassle out of getting to the airport with private chauffeur transfers to and from your home airport. Your personal chauffeur will meet and greet you, attend to your luggage and drive you to your destination in a luxury vehicle.

Within
30km of airport: $139 per vehicle (max 2 guests)

Outside
30km of airport: You may add this option to your booking and the final price will be adjusted based on the transfer distance.

Additional surcharges may apply depending on pick-up time, tolls and government levies.
Airport Chauffeur can be selected once you have finalised your tour purchase and paid your deposit. When completing your Passenger Booking Form, you will be asked if you would like to add this service, where any applicable cost will be added to your final balance.
Pre and post tour accommodation (deviating from group flights forfeits your group airport transfers)

Pre-tour accommodation (Mexico City): $225 per room per night for double/twin including breakfast and transfer

Post-tour accommodation (Havana): $392 per room per night for double/twin including breakfast
Arrival and departure airport transfers

Arrival
Transfer (Mexico City): No extra cost

Departure
Transfer (Havana): $91 per vehicle

Your transfer may be shared with other Inspiring Vacations customers.

While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected
requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in
terms of their intensity. These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as
expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers.

Airport lounges
Escape busy airport terminals and relax at a cosy and catered lounge instead. Departure lounge access in Sydney $70 per person (up to 6 hours); Melbourne & Brisbane $55 per person (up to 3 hours).
Airport lounge passes can be selected once you have finalised your tour purchase and paid your deposit. When completing your Passenger Booking Form, you will be asked if you would like to add this service, where any applicable cost will be added to your final balance.
To enhance your journey, we are offering guests the following optional sightseeing experiences (bookable and payable on tour only, in the local currency):

Buena
Vista Social Club (Day 14) -CUC 30 (CUC 50 including dinner) per person

Cigar
Factory Tour (Day 14) -CUC 12 per person

Taxi
to the beach (Day 16) -CUC 8 per person

Salsa
Class (Day 19) -CUC 10 per person

Please keep in mind that anything purchased on-tour is subject to availability and prices may vary as you will be paying in local currency. We appreciate your understanding.

As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.
This particular tour is categorised as a “4”:
3 -Moderate Tour: A good level of fitness and mobility is required, as this tour includes a moderate level of physical activity and is considered a medium-fast paced tour. You should be able to walk up and down stairs, get on and off the coach and able to walk reasonable distances of approximately 2 kilometres per day or more with ease. Any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aids, other than a walking stick or hiking poles, then this tour is not suitable.
Tipping
A friendly reminder that tipping is not included in your package. While tipping is not customary, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations. You may also consider tipping your tour leader and driver for outstanding service throughout your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Children must be 10 years old or over and share a room with parents at all times. Children are the same price as adults.
Tour Length
The total length of the tour in days includes time spent in flight and is subject to change depending on the flight schedule, please refer to the day by day itinerary for the time spent on land.

We have carefully selected the B&Bs we stay at in Vinales and Trinidad for their comfort and location. Whilst these houses cannot be compared to modern western hotels, you can expect them to be clean, comfortable, well located and to feature at least en suite bathroom, air-conditioning, modern imported mattresses (which can be a luxury item in Cuba!) and cold and hot water. Every B&B is different and has its own unique charm.

Pricing Name START END PAX PRICE
  • Orders
    Tuesday
    March 10, 2020
    23 days
    Wednesday
    April 1, 2020
    $9,500.00

    sale

    $8,799.00
    Per Adult

    Trip Extras:

    Salsa Class (Day 19) -CUC 10 per person
    $ 10 / unit
    Taxi to the beach (Day 16) -CUC 8 per person
    $ 8 / unit
    Cigar Factory Tour (Day 14) -CUC 12 per person
    $ 12 / unit
    Buena Vista Social Club (Day 14) -CUC 30 (CUC 50 including dinner) per person
    $ 50 / unit
  • Orders
    Tuesday
    April 14, 2020
    23 days
    Wednesday
    May 6, 2020
    $9,500.00

    sale

    $8,799.00
    Per Adult

    Trip Extras:

    Salsa Class (Day 19) -CUC 10 per person
    $ 10 / unit
    Taxi to the beach (Day 16) -CUC 8 per person
    $ 8 / unit
    Cigar Factory Tour (Day 14) -CUC 12 per person
    $ 12 / unit
    Buena Vista Social Club (Day 14) -CUC 30 (CUC 50 including dinner) per person
    $ 50 / unit
  • Orders
    Tuesday
    May 19, 2020
    23 days
    Wednesday
    June 10, 2020
    $9,500.00

    sale

    $8,799.00
    Per Adult

    Trip Extras:

    Salsa Class (Day 19) -CUC 10 per person
    $ 10 / unit
    Taxi to the beach (Day 16) -CUC 8 per person
    $ 8 / unit
    Cigar Factory Tour (Day 14) -CUC 12 per person
    $ 12 / unit
    Buena Vista Social Club (Day 14) -CUC 30 (CUC 50 including dinner) per person
    $ 50 / unit
  • Orders
    Tuesday
    July 14, 2020
    23 days
    Wednesday
    August 5, 2020
    $9,500.00

    sale

    $8,799.00
    Per Adult

    Trip Extras:

    Salsa Class (Day 19) -CUC 10 per person
    $ 10 / unit
    Taxi to the beach (Day 16) -CUC 8 per person
    $ 8 / unit
    Cigar Factory Tour (Day 14) -CUC 12 per person
    $ 12 / unit
    Buena Vista Social Club (Day 14) -CUC 30 (CUC 50 including dinner) per person
    $ 50 / unit
  • Orders
    Tuesday
    August 18, 2020
    23 days
    Wednesday
    September 9, 2020
    $9,500.00

    sale

    $8,799.00
    Per Adult

    Trip Extras:

    Salsa Class (Day 19) -CUC 10 per person
    $ 10 / unit
    Taxi to the beach (Day 16) -CUC 8 per person
    $ 8 / unit
    Cigar Factory Tour (Day 14) -CUC 12 per person
    $ 12 / unit
    Buena Vista Social Club (Day 14) -CUC 30 (CUC 50 including dinner) per person
    $ 50 / unit
  • Orders
    Sunday
    September 15, 2019
    23 days
    Monday
    October 7, 2019
    $9,500.00

    sale

    $8,799.00
    Per Adult
  • Orders
    Tuesday
    October 13, 2020
    23 days
    Wednesday
    November 4, 2020
    $9,500.00

    sale

    $8,799.00
    Per Adult

    Trip Extras:

    Salsa Class (Day 19) -CUC 10 per person
    $ 10 / unit
    Taxi to the beach (Day 16) -CUC 8 per person
    $ 8 / unit
    Cigar Factory Tour (Day 14) -CUC 12 per person
    $ 12 / unit
    Buena Vista Social Club (Day 14) -CUC 30 (CUC 50 including dinner) per person
    $ 50 / unit
  • Orders
    Tuesday
    November 10, 2020
    23 days
    Wednesday
    December 2, 2020
    $9,500.00

    sale

    $8,799.00
    Per Adult

    Trip Extras:

    Salsa Class (Day 19) -CUC 10 per person
    $ 10 / unit
    Taxi to the beach (Day 16) -CUC 8 per person
    $ 8 / unit
    Cigar Factory Tour (Day 14) -CUC 12 per person
    $ 12 / unit
    Buena Vista Social Club (Day 14) -CUC 30 (CUC 50 including dinner) per person
    $ 50 / unit

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