Staying in Palaces and Castles in Cuba

Cuba is the country of palaces and many are turned into venues for lodging, dining or partying. Most of them are either colonial from the 18th or 19th century in a neo-classical style or early 20th century in the ecclectic fashion of the period.

Have a look at this program below where www.cubafortravel.com combines Havana, Trinidad and Varadero with dining, visiting and even staying in palaces of different styles. The program is mostly suited for small groups of up to 15 persons with rates around 1500 usd per person for the full 6 days.

Day 1 Arrival in Havana in the late afternoon. Welcome by English speaking guide. Transfer to Villa Teresa on the hills of La Vibora area of the city. This is a complete private villa for your group. The house is in colonial style dating back from the beginning of the 20th century, in a very uniform classical style with old furniture and marble everywhere.

Check in with cocktails and finger food snacks. Possibility to sit at the roof top terrace with incredible views of Havana by night.

Website lodging: http://lavillateresa.com/

Address: Patrocinio 251 e/ Cortina y Juan Bruno Zayas, La Víbora, La Habana, Cuba.

Day 2 Breakfast at the lodging.

9 AM Today we organize a bicycle trip through the city.  The Havana bicycle club will come to the hotel with bicycles and helmets. Members of the club will accompany us on their bikes as we ride through the city. On cross roads the traffic is stopped so we can pass. We make a few stops on the way like at the Tribuna Anti-Imperialista, a fruit and vegetables market with rationing store, the John Lennon Square, the Cemetary Christopher Columbus, the Plaza de la Revolucion and the Chinese Quarter. Each time a guide in your language will explain while the bikes are attended by the members of the club. The tour takes the whole morning and ends in Old Havana at our lunch spot.

12h30 Lunch is served at the cosy restaurant Mercaderes. On the upper floor we have a relaxed seating in a colonial environment. On the menu we have: welcome cocktail/variety of tapas/ several dishes family style prepared Cuban way with rice and beans and vegetables/dessert/ coffee/ 1 drink.

14h00 Afternoon walk with guide along colonial squares and streets. We make a stop at a colonial courtyard (or other place) where we do a dance lesson by enthusiastic Cuban dance teachers. Guests are introduced into the basic steps of the Cuban salsa (including 1 mojito and water). There is a dance partner per guest. Before going back to the hotel we have an invitation for a session of cigar/rum tasting in Palacio de Conde Villanueva. A master explains how to lighten a cigar, how to blend the different tastes of tobacco, coffee and rum, the difference between old and white rum. Guests receive a cigar, a shot of rum and a coffee. It is done in the patio of a colonial mansion where there are also shops that sell rum and cigars.

17h00 Return to the lodging by classic American Vintage cars with open roof. We do a tour stopping at the view point over the city from Morro castle.

At 20h00 we have transfer by old soviet chaika limousines (the balck ones that were used by the old Soviet presidents). Transfer to the bar Floridita for a daiquiri cocktail right where Hemingway used to have it. 21h00 We continue with our Chaikas to the paladar La Guarida (most famous and highest end restaurant in Havana) for dinner (3 course menú with options incl. Cocktail, wáter and coffee). After dinner we have the Chaikas to drop us off at a night club or at the lodging. Rest of the night on own cost incl. return to the lodging.

Day 3 Breakfast at the lodging.

At 10 am drive to Cienfuegos. 13H30 Lunch at the bay side restaurant Villa Lagarto (3 course menu with options incl 2 drinks and coffee). Visit of the center with the Palacio Valle, the Theatre Terry (a gorgeous 19th Century theatre), the Prado boulevard, the Parque Marti and Cathedral.

Afternoon continue to Trinidad. Check in to Hostal Lola in Maceo street. This is a small colonial boutique hotel in the center of Trinidad. Dinner tonight is included in the hostal (sea food option, no drinks included). In the evening the guide takes you out into the nightlife of Trinidad with life music in the streets and many bars.

Day 4 Breakfast at the lodging.

We take 4 x 4 trucks to go into the mountains of Topes de Collantes. We hike on a trail through lush tropical forest to a waterfall hidden in the mountains. Time to swim in the falls. Lunch in a local restaurant in the mountains. In the afternoon we drive back to Trinidad and continue to the beach area at the Caribbean Sea. Here another option to swim. We can enjoy the sunset (winter at 6 PM). Return to the lodging in Trinidad.

In the evening we have dinner at the top restaurant of Trinidad Solananda at the Plaza Mayor (3 course menu with options incl welcome cocktail, water and coffee).

Day 5 Breakfast at the lodging.

At 09H30 am we drive to Cienfuegos beach area and in the lagoons we have a swim with dolphins. The trainers help us play games with the creatures in their natural habitat of the sea water.

Continue in direction of Varadero. Lunch along the way in Fiesta Campesina (typical farmers style lunch). Continue to Varadero and check in to Xanadu mansion hotel, a historic house of the Golf Club of Varadero (6 rooms available / some on sharing basis).

Dinner tonight is at the restaurant of Xanadu and possibility to end the evening in the roof top bar.

Day 6 Breakfast at the lodging.

Time at the beach in the morning or optional playing golf at the club (green fee is included, extra costs only for sticks rental and cart).

Check out around midday. Drive to the restaurant the House of Al Capone for a lobster lunch with views on the ocean.

Continue to Havana airport for flight out.

Your partner in Cuba: www.cubafortravel.com, Miramar Trade Center, Building Sta Clara Office 514. Contact: Johan Dorssemont +5358453245.