Cuba Colonial Heritage Tour: Colonial Cuba

Visit and explore the city of Havana with our local expert, from the Capitanes Generales Palace to the captivating Rum Museum. Delve into the architectural wonders in Cienfuegos and Trinidad and discover its influential sugar industry. Experience the maze-like streets in Camagüey by horse carriage, a journey back in time. Enjoy an exciting time in the most Caribbean province: Santiago de Cuba, where colonial history meets vibrant culture.
Santiago de Cuba-Fortaleza
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Your Tour:

11 nights

12 days

15 meals

Up to 4 miles / day

Tour overview

Santiago de Cuba-Fortaleza
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In 1492, when Christopher Columbus set foot in Cuba, he described it as “the most beautiful land that human eyes had ever seen”. He probably wasn’t wrong. A colonial period dominated by the Spanish had just begun. This direct influence and a controversial slavery left a crucial mark in the development of the culture, music, dance, and religion of the island. Immerse yourself in the culture and history of Cuba in this fantastic 12-day Cuba Colonial Heritage Tour. Visit the main defense fortresses, get lost in the labyrinthic streets of Camagüey or walk around Trinidad, probably the best conserved colonial province. Discover the cosmopolitan cultural mix of Santiago de Cuba and enjoy a great combination of expert-led visits, art, gastronomy, museums, and architecture among others. An opportunity you can’t miss!

Program activities, schedules and personnel may change due to local circumstances.

In such an event, we will alert you as quickly as possible.

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Day by Day

Day 1

Overnight: Havana

The tour coordinator will greet everyone, and we will review the program schedule, emergency procedures and answer questions. After orientation we will ll set out with our tour coordinator to take a walk and explore the area around the hotel. At a restaurant, we will enjoy a welcome dinner with a delicious set menu.

Day 2

Overnight: Havana

Breakfast at the hotel. We will depart from the hotel by private bus towards Old Havana, UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we will meet a local expert who will lead our walking tour around the area discovering the main colonial squares. We will continue visiting the Capitanes Generales Palace where we will learn the history of Cuba from the Colonial period.

In the afternoon a local expert will join us for a presentation on the History of Cuba.

Day 3

Overnight: Havana

Breakfast at the hotel. We will take a private bus to the Castle of The Royal Force, one of the most ancient fortresses in America. The fortress is crowned by a weathervane sculpted in the form of a woman, The Giraldilla, a symbol of the city of Havana based in The Giralda of Seville in Spain. Later, we will enjoy a delicious set menu at a typical Cuban Paladar.  Afterwards, we will visit the Fine Arts Museum, where we will have a guided tour with an expert inside this national gallery. 

At night, we will go to the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, a colonial fort used to protect the town from pirate invasions in the past. You will be able to witness the cannon blast ceremony that takes place each night at 9 pm repeating the old tradition of the cannon blast which was used to give the sign of the city’s curfew, moment in which the doors of old Havana’s wall would close.

Day 4

Overnight:  Trinidad

Breakfast at the hotel. We will depart to Trinidad. On route, we will make a first stop in the town of Cienfuegos, UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we will learn about the Taínos, the French and Spanish colonizers, pirates, etc. For this reason, it’s no wonder that the necessity to build a fortress became a priority: The Jagua Castle. Located on the Cienfuegos bay, it is considered the third most important fortress with spectacular bay views, after Havana and Santiago de Cuba. We will continue with a walking tour around downtown where we will visit the Tomás Terry theater, a great example of the French and Italian architecture influences, built between 1887 and 1889.

We will continue our trip until arrival in Trinidad. There, we will check-in at Casas Particulares, private guest houses with all amenities which contribute to the local economy.

Day 5

Overnight: Trinidad

Breakfast at Casa Particular. Trinidad, Cuba’s finest colonial town founded in 1514, Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The town was built thanks to the success of the sugar industry from the beginning of the XIX century produced near the Ingenio Valley.  We will visit downtown discovering its architectural value and the Architecture Museum exhibiting the high-class architecture from the XVIII to XIX century.

After lunch, we will visit a local pottery workshop where artisans produce classical pieces that characterize the city of Trinidad. 

At night, we will assist a live music and dance show at Casa de la Música.

Day 6

Overnight: Trinidad

Breakfast at Casa Particular. We will depart to The Ingenio valley, located 5 miles from Trinidad, the place where the Ingenios (sugar factory) settled, becoming the epicenter of the sugar industry in Cuba during the XIX century. The first stop will be at The Ingenio Valley lookout where you can see a panoramic view of the valley which is now a World Heritage Site. You will learn about Cuba’s sugar industry through the many old sugar cane mills, plantation houses, and barracks. Afterwards, we’ll visit San Isidro de los Destiladeros, probably the last example of the many archaeological sites found in the valley. Finally, we’ll visit Manaca-Iznaga town with its famous Tower and local artisans.

Optional: Climb to the Manaca Iznaga Tower, old vigilance tower used to control slaves where you can also enjoy amazing views.

After lunch, we will enjoy the most beautiful beach at the south coast in Cuba, Ancón Beach. White sands, rest and relax time guaranteed.

Day 7

Overnight: Camagüey

After an early breakfast at Casa Particular we will depart to Camagüey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The third largest town in Cuba, with a peculiar labyrinthine layout which harbor squares with formidable baroque churches. We will discover this fascinating urban section of the town by horse-drawn carriages.

Day 8

Overnight: Santiago de Cuba

Breakfast at Casa Particular. We will depart to the warm town of Santiago de Cuba. In this bustling city we will find the richest cultural mix and historical background with an enormous influence of Haití or Jamaica. After check-in at Casas particulares, we will enjoy a visit to the San Pedro de la Roca del Morro Castle, declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and originally built to defend the city against pirate attacks. We will finish the visit with an expert-led tour around this fortress and the impressive views that can be enjoyed from the upper terrace where you can see part of the east coast and Sierra Maestra, mountain range where the highest elevation of the whole island (Pico Turquino) is located at the back. At the same place, we will enjoy a delicious set menu at a local restaurant.

Day 9

Overnight: Santiago de Cuba

Breakfast at Casa Particular. Santiago de Cuba town was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar in 1514. For a short period of time it was the center of copper of mining and point of arrival of slaves. On this walking tour, we will visit the oldest home built in Santiago de Cuba, which was in fact Diego Velázquez’s house, today a museum where we will discover the Andalusian style and other decorative elements from the XVI century.

After lunch, we will visit the Santa Iphigenia Cemetery where we can find the graves of historical figures such as José Martí , Fidel Castro, Emilio Bacardí Moreau or Compay Segundo.

Day 10

Overnight: Havana

Breakfast at Casa Particular.  We will depart to Havana by plane. This domestic flight from Santiago takes about 2 hours until arrival in Havana.

Day 11

Overnight: Havana

Breakfast at the hotel. We will learn about the rum industry through a guided visit at The Havana Rum Museum. Located in front of the Havana port, this museum shows the complicated process of elaboration and distillation of this liquid. After this, we will visit the old warehouse at Havana port, the San José Artisanal market, a huge local market where you can see the work of thousands of artisans. Free afternoon to pack, explore or just relax. 

Farewell dinner at a restaurant.

Day 12

Breakfast at the Hotel. Transfer to the airport at a designated time.

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Tour Inclusions

Tour Pricing

Price per person based on double occupancy. Single supplement $375.

For a minimum of 15 pax.

Additional Experiences

Customize your trip according to your interests by adding any of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

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Day Trip to Varadero Beach

The main touristic point in Cuba, Varadero. Don’t miss the opportunity to know one of the most spectacular beaches in the world. Enjoy their warm and crystal waters on this caribbean beach.

Visit Manaca Iznaga Tower

Inside the Ingenios Valley, the main point is Manaca Iznaga farm. Its tower, more than 40 meters in height, was used to guard the slaves. Today you can climb to the tower and enjoy amazing views over the wide Valley.

Ruins of Angerona Coffee Plantation

Angerona was one of the first coffee plantations in Cuba and nowadays is listed as a National Monument. Angerona employed 450 enslaved workers and boasted 750,000 coffee plants. A quiet and picturesque settlement has the feel of a latter-day Roman ruin.

Performance at the Grand Alicia Alonso Theater

Enjoy a dance show at the Grand Alicia Alonso Theater. The majestic building has a neoclassical style and today it’s the headquarters of the Cuban National Ballet. The current programming holds plays from operas, zarzuelas, operettas to concerts. As well as Spanish Ballet from Cuba and the Center for the Promotion of Dance. Note: The dress code must be followed (semi-formal)