Classic Car-Roundtrip "The wild West" - 7 days

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Classic Car-Roundtrip "The wild West": 7-day Cuba experience trip through the West for lovers of American classic cars of the 50s…

Cuba Cigars and Rum

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What is Cuba most popular for? Of course for its first-class tobacco, the world-famous cigars and the real rum...

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Classic Car Round Trip "Tobacco Road West Cuba - 10 days"

Trip to the world famous tobacco production area: 10 day private classic car trip with driver and vintage car...

10-day trip on the tobacco road through West Cuba with stops at different tobacco vegas...

Review

ORTRW10 – Tobacco Road West Cuba - 10 Days

A 10 day trip along Tobacco Road in west Cuba in a vintage car including your own chauffeur, tour guide and overnight stay in private accommodations.

Route: Havana - Pinar del Rio – Vuelta Abajo – San Luis - San Juan y Martinez - Guane – Sumidero - Caverna Santo Tomás - Viñales - Cueva de los Portales - San Diego de los Banos - Soroa - Las Terazzas - Batabano - Guines - Matanzas - Yumuri - Playas del Este - Havana

This round trip leads you through the authentic west Cuba along Tobacco Road with impressive experiences. This is pointed to everyone who loves Cuban cigars and would like to learn about the way of the best tobacco in the world, from cultivation all the way to enjoying an aromatic Cuban cigar themselves. Besides that, the traveler also learns about the extraordinary landscape with its natural beauty and tobacco landscape in west Cuba. This round trip will lead you through the authentic Cuba and surprise you with impressive experiences which cannot be made on other round trips. You will be amazed by what you will find on this trip.
In the beginning of the round trip we will take you on a very special sightseeing trip through Havana and the sites of Ernest Hemingway, the famous author. From Havana, we depart into the province Pinar del Rio and our first stop will be in the capital of the province which holds the same name. Here, we will have a short stop at the local tobacco factory. After a short tour through this town, we drive onward into the Vuelta Abajo with its especially fertile soil, in which the best tobacco in the world is grown. The next stay is dedicated to the world-famous Cuban tobacco. In the Vuelta Abajo we will visit a famous, over 200 year old tobacco finca with you. During that time you can learn a lot about how tobacco is grown and you can watch an old tobacco farmer roll cigars. This is the home of the real and authentic Cuban cigar! While visiting a family living in the countryside you will get to know the popular religion in Cuba, the Santeria, and also take part in a ceremony with a Santero priest. During dinner you can smoke tasty Cigars from the farm, made from the finest leaves of the farmers’ precious tobacco. We will also visit the new tobacco guru, Hector Luis Prieto, in his Vega. During a side trip to a horse farm with old Spanish thoroughbred horses and bred fighting cocks with proudly colorful feathers you can also look at a fighting cock arena.
As we continue into the tropical natural landscape, across very old steel bridges, past interesting villages with the authentic life of the rural people, we make our way to Viñales. Along the way, many scenic and interesting places of the colorful tobacco landscape with its many cultivation areas will cross your way. Not only that, also drying houses and tobacco farms found in this beautiful part of the country can be seen. Furthermore, we will go caving in the second largest limestone cave in all of America. Afterwards we drive through the tropical Viñales Valleys with their unique sights, embedded in the tropical karstic landscape of the Mogotes.
After a nice evening in Viñales, our trip leads us on a day trip to the snow white beach of Cayo Jutias, where you can spend a day relaxing at the seaside and enjoy one of your Puros.
The next day brings you through breathtakingly pretty scenic landscapes again until you reach the cave of Che (Cueva de los Portales). After having visited this impressive natural monument you drive through San Diego de los Banos with its old health spas. Then there will be a short stop at the old coffee plantation Angerona from where we drive past Batabano and Güines until we reach Matanzas. This highly historic seaport with the second largest port in Cuba and its sad but very interesting history of the biggest slave collecting point of the former new world will surely be another highlight on your trip. Driving past the Playas del Este beaches, we then return to Havana, the starting point of your journey, which is also where the Tobacco Road tour ends.

tobacco plantain

Cuba Cigars - Cohiba – A Cigar conquers the world!

The best cigars come from Cuba and are smoked by famous personalities and people of world!

The Montecristo, the Cohiba or the Romeo y Julieta… who hasn’t heard of one, or all of those famous cigars?!

Christoph Columbus spread the word of Cuban tobacco around the whole world. The great admiral arrived in Cuba and sah how the natives ‘drank smoke’ in October 1492. These rolled tobacco sticks were called ‘Cohiba’ by the natives. Today, this brand belongs to one of the most famous ones in the world and was reissued and produced by the cigar-smokers Fidel Castro and Che Guevara after the revolution, whereas the ‘Cohiba Esplendidos’ and the ‘Cohiba Lanceros’ are particularly valued.

A bit of information about the preparation of tobacco:

The tobacco seeds are sowed in the public tobacco plant center in the beginning of September. To protect the seedlings from the sun, they are covered with sacks. After 30 days, a 20 cm high plant will have grown out of the seed. Now the seedlings are planted in the tobacco farmers’ (Vegueros) fields.

After that the tobacco farmers are responsible for the further growth of the tobacco plants. The Corojo and Criollo seeds are mostly used for growing tobacco in Cuba. For this process, the Corojo plant is used for the cigars’ flyleaves and belongs to the most expensive tobacco leaves in Cuba.

tobacco cuba

Criollo is used as an insert (tripa) and a binder (capote). After 2 months of growing, petals form at the top and the sideshoots. To not slow down the leaves’ growth, they are immediately removed so the nutrients reach the leaves.
The first leaves are then already going to be harvested. The process begins with the biggest leaves. The smaller leaves come afterwards. A tobacco plant is about 1,80 meters high. From planting the seedlings all the way to the end of the harvest, 2 months will have gone by.

After the harvest, the leaves are picked individually, then rolled up to bales and afterwards they are dried in drying sheds (Casas del Tabacco). During a 40 day time period, the leaves now get their brownish color through the transformation and lose up to 80% of their weight.

tobacco cuba

Now the first fermentation begins. For this, the leaves are compiled into 1 meter high heaps and then covered. It is very important to ensure that the temperature does not exceed 33°C. The temperature is controlled by circulating the piles of leaves.
In this phase, the leaves gain a consistent color and cut down on nicotine, tar and acids, and furthermore, flavorings and fragrances form.
The second fermentation process takes about 4-12 weeks and may not exceed a temperature of 40°C. The longer the process takes, the darker the leaves’ color becomes. Only now the leaves are ready for storage and cigar processing.

pinar del rio tobacco

The best cultivation area in Cuba is located in the province called Pinar del Rio which lies in the Vuelto Abajo. The most famous tobacco farmers like Alejandro Robaina and Hector Luis Prieto have their tobacco plantations (Vegas) in the area around San Juan and Martinez.

Vega Robaina

The old and tall man of the Cohiba was undisputedly Alejandro Robaina, who characterized the Cohiba cigar in an especially aromatic way.

Don Alejandro Robaina was born in Alquizar, Cuba on March, 20th.

At the age of 91, the most famous Cuban tobacco farmer Alejandro Robaina died on the 15th of April 2010.

The legendary planter with his straw hat is the only Cuban who has a Cigar named after him: The Vegas Robaina. On their website, the Cuban-Spanish company Habanos appreciated the ‘charisma’ of the decedent who started planting tobacco at the age of 12.

In the third generation, he already led the tobacco plantation located in the best tobacco cultivation area in the world which was founded by his ancestors in 1845. It was also him, who, after the revolution, convinced his close friend Fidel Castro to not have the plantation become governmental but rather have it stay in hands of the family. Due to his special deeds for Cuban tobacco, the brand Vegas Robaina was introduced in his honor in 1997.

Alejandro Robaina kept developing new tobacco blends and cigars even at a high age. For personal need, special Cigars are manufactured from self-grown tobaccos on his premises. Alejandro Robaina lived humbly in a small finca inmidst his plantations and used to travel around the world from time to time, acting as an ambassador for Cuban cigars. Since the beginning of 2004, Robaina’s grandson Hiroshi has been leading tobacco cultivation on the Vega.

Travel Details

Program description:  

Day 1: Habana – Day of arrival
Arrival at Habana Airport. After receiving your luggage, you will be welcomed by our staff and will receive your first bits of information about your trip. After that we will bring you to your Casa Particular in Habana, where tasty dinner is waiting for you.
Accommodation: Casa Particular (Private Accommodation) B&B.
Meals: Dinner.

Day 2: La Habana
Breakfast. At 08:30 am you are picked up at your Casa Particular or hotel. Discussion about the day’s tour.
Sightseeing trip through the center of Havana. Every alley and almost every single house is lovely in the historic center Habana Vieja and you can find photo motifs and places to linger around en mas. We will take you on a walk through the historic city center La Habana Vieja, protected by the UNESCO. The city was founded in 1519 together with the first seven cities in Cuba. The city tour leads us to the Plaza de Armas, the Templete, the fort Real Force Castle, the palace San Francisco de Asis and the Cathedral Square with a visit of the cathedral in no particular order. You will also be able to have a short look at the original restored presidential carriage from 1910. Then we head to the Casa Africa which is themed after the popular religion called Santeria. In case you would like to, we can also visit the pretty churches Espirito Santos and Merced. If possible, we can visit a tobacco factory that is open (Unfortunately, the Partagas tobacco factory is currently closed due to renovation work!). On one of the rooftop decks we will enjoy a tropical refreshing drink while having an excellent view over the photogenic rooftops of Havana. Together we will take a stroll through the shopping streets Calle Obispo and Calle O’Reilly and then to the arts and crafts market. On the way we will take short breaks in the narrow alleys of the historic city and next to special buildings. We will look at colonial inner courtyards and learn a lot about the capital Havana and their stories. Of course we will also include a stop for you to have a Mojito and an aromatic Cohiba in the famous Hemingway Bar La Bodeguita del Medico or a Daiquiri in La Floridita.
All drinks are optional and at your own expense!
Lunch at a local restaurant.

cafe havana

After lunch you will be able to have a detailed tour through Havana in your vintage car.
On said tour you visit the Cementerio Colon, the second largest graveyard of all of Latin America. On a round trip through the approximately 100.000 graves, of which 90% are made of marble, you will learn about many stories this museum graveyard holds. After that, the way leads across the place where the revolution took place, Revolution Square, with its memorial of freedom, an obelisk in the late art deco style.
This is where Fidel Castro used to hold his famous speeches that influenced world politics in front of the masses. As soon as it opens again (currently still closed) we can use the elevator. From here you have a fantastic view across the city. We continue on to the village San Francisco de Paula, where Hemingway used to have soughing parties with many famous greats from the movie scene, the mafia and even politicians in the 50s. Hemingway acquired this manor, the ‘Finca la Vijia’, with his Nobel prize for literature.
The former residence and its furniture survived the test of time really well and is nowadays the Hemingway Museum in Cuba. It can’t be entered but you can even see the writing instruments, many souvenirs brought back from various trips, as well as personal things from the life of the famous author through the open windows. (Closed on Sundays, holidays and when there is bad weather).

havana
From there we continue on small roads and the city highway until we reach the fishing village Cojimar. This is the place where the great US American novelist and author Ernest Hemingway used to stay and listen to the tales his captain called Gregorio told him and then used those to write his nobel prize-winning novel ‘The Old Man and The Sea’. There will be a short stop at the Ernest Hemingway bar (drinks optional) and during a visit at the memorial located here you will learn many historic details about this famous man. Now we drive back along the Playas del Este, the eastern beaches of Havana and its seaside paradise where the natives who come here in Summer spend their holidays, all the way to the place Casablanca with its impressive statue of Christ. The wife of dictator Batista wanted to calm down the agitated and protesting people by ordering the erection of a replica of the statue of Christ of Rio on the elevated eastern bank of the seaport. It was not as big as the original but could be seen from all of central Havana. The place Casablanca is located opposite to the historic city center on the other bank of the port entrance. Here you have an unforgettable chance to take some pictures next to the Cristo de Habana. On the elevated deck next to the Cristo, you have a fantastic panorama view over the entire city center and the outskirts, the port entrance and a part of the harbor, the fort El Morro and the Malecon and also the seaside promenade of Havana. Here you can also clearly see why the city was built in this location and why Havana is the most important Pass-Through-Port for the gold of the new world.

havana
We underpass the port in a tunnel and drive along the Malecon into the city center of Vedado and then stop at the Hotel Nacional with its gorgeous park. From the 33rd floor of the Focsa and the highest building of the city, we can provide a breathtaking view over the skyline of Havana. On a drive through the green lung of Havana with its many parks, we can show you the Miramar district in which 90% of the embassies are located. Most of them are situated in the countless beautiful mansions.
Here, we visit the famous artist Jose Fuster in his Mosaic-Street. He created a tribute to the Gaudí in Barcelona with his mosaic art. At the end of our tour we drive through the Sybone district, which is a suburb of Havana that is often compared to Beverly Hills. Afterwards we will reach your accommodation which is where the 5 – 6 hour long tour ends and also where you will be able to say that you experienced and got to know Havana for certain.
Note: The tour does not take place in a particular order and during Winter the program is subject to change due to the days being shorter. Please note that the statehouse, the Partagas cigar factory and the obelisk/tower at the Plaza de la Revolucion cannot be visited for an indefinite time due to renovations and reconstruction measures. The Hemingway museum, the Finca La Vijia, is closed on Sundays and in case of bad weather.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B, Dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Tip for the evening: Attendance of the famous cannon shot ceremony, port closes at 09:00 pm (Optional and can be booked on site).

Day 3: Havana - Pinar del Río - San Luis - Vuelta Abajo

Breakfast. At 08:30 am we start our trip into the province Pinar del Rio in our vintage car.
Your travel guide for west Cuba:
First your chauffeur takes you down the 150 km to Pinar del Rio, the capital of the province with the same name. To the right of the city entrance, the Pinar del Rio hotel is located. Your travel guide Carlos is waiting for you in the hotel’s central yard and will continue on to Havana with you from here. Carlos speaks English fluently and even a bit of German, so you will not have any problems communicating with him.

 

vinales
Short tour through the town Pinar del Rio. Visit of the cigar factory Francisco Donatien and the liquor factory Guayabita a bit further outside the city (in case both are open, closed on Sundays and holidays). After having had a look at these sights the trip goes into the lands of tobacco, the Vuelta Abajo.
The next day is completely dedicated to the world famous Cuban tobacco. We will visit famous, more than 200 years old tobacco fincas from before the revolution in the Vuelta Abajo around San Luis with you. You will learn a lot about the process of growing tobacco, and depending on the season, you will also be able to see how the tobacco leaves are handled as well as see the ancient methods and even watch an old tobacco farmer roll cigars. Today, we will visit the tobacco Vega Gustavo. It is here where you can find the real Cuban cigar, grown in unique soil and made from the best tobacco plants in the world. You should stock up on cigars here as the tobacco that is being grown here may very well have the best flavor in all of Cuba! (Optional purchase).

pinar del rio
During a short walk through the surrounding tobacco cultivation areas, we will visit another ancient colonial neighor finca with you. In case the owners are home, you can even have a look into this historic finca and from the roof, you have a beautiful view over the Vuelta Abajo.
Lunch at the tobacco Vega Gustavo.
After that a true highlight of your trip through west Cuba is waiting for you as you will be able to take part in a real Santeria ceremony.
During that you will learn a lot about the religion of the Cuban people and with an additional introduction to Cuban herbal medicine, you will spend a fascinating afternoon which you won’t forget anytime soon.
You are also welcome to have a delicious cigar right from the farmer with the Vega owner’s uniquely aromatic homegrown tobacco!
Dinner at the house of the Santero. Overnight stay in the proximity.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.


 

Day 4: San Luis - Vuelta Abajo – San Juan y Martinez
Breakfast. At 8:30 am, we make our way to La Virginia and a quaint cock fighting farm, the Finca Carito Peinato. This finca is well known for breeding fighting cocks and racy mozarabic horses.
The tobacco is cultivated in a special way as well. A trip to this finca is another highlight on the trip through west Cuba. You get to see how the fighting cocks are raised and drilled. Depending on the day, you can also look at a cock fight or rent or buy your own animal and participate yourself. The horses bred here also impress everyone who has admiration for horses and the way of tobacco cultivation is very interesting as well of course. After having visited this lovely Finca, the trip continues to San Juan y Martinez.
Lunch at the ranch of the Hector Prieto Vega.
Afterwards, the upcoming hours are completely dedicated to the world famous Cuban tobacco again and we will visit the ‘new star’ under the Cuban tobaccos, the tobacco Finca of Hector Luis Prieto. As the youngest tobacco guru in all of Cuba, after the death of the great Alejandro Robaina (inventor of the Cohiba), Hector enjoys great fame world wide under the aficionados of Cuban tobacco.

tobacco cultivation
Getting to know and visiting this sympathetic Tabaclero will surely make this day a highlight. Hector introduces himself personally and leads you through a tour through his tobacco farm, on which he will tell you a lot about his life and the Vega’s history. There will be details about the cultivation of tobacco and you will see the Vega and tobacco fields as well as learn about the individual stations that a cigar in the making has to go through.
After having visited the farm, you can talk to Hector to stock up on delicious cigars! (Optional purchase). If you like horses, you will even have the chance to have a short ride through the tobacco farm.
After some time to relax on the farm, we continue on to the coast nearby called Punta de Cartas. There is a really lovely beach here as well as a private restaurant to end the day with dinner at the seaside in a wonderful manner. While gazing upon the Caribbean sunset, we wait for a dreamlike maritime dinner with fish, rock lobsters and lobsters on the paladar’s porch with an aromatic Cigar and a glass of Cuban rum. You will surely be impressed by this place.
Afterwards, we drive to your accommodation.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

sunset westcuba

Day 5: San Juan - Guane - Sumidero - Caverna Santo Tomas - Viñales

Breakfast. At 9:00 am we will drive you through breathtakingly lovely photogenic landscapes with tobacco fields embedded in picturesque valleys, we will cross rivers on iron bridges older than one hundred years and we travel past interesting villages with the authentic life of the rural people. Along this way, many places invite you to visit them. About 20 km in front of Viñales we will visit the very impressive cave called ‘Gran Caverna de Santo Tómas‘, which is the second largest cave system on the entirety of the American continent. During a 90 minute hike, you can gaze upon the impressive stalagtites and stalagmites with interesting rock formations and cave paintings.

cave river west cuba
Lunch at a restaurant along the way.
On a trip through the tropical valleys of the island’s western mountians, we reach Viñales in the evening.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
During an evening stroll over the marketplace you can enjoy Cuban live music and the fascinating atmosphere of this place. (Optional)

hotel vinales

Day 6: Viñales

Breakfast. At 9:00 am our day starts with a trip through the surrounding tropical Viñales Valleys with its tobacco plantations and tropical mountain tops from the karstic valleys of the Sierra de los Organos. We advance into the unique tropical natural landscape of the Mogotes with its mountain peaks which is protected by the UNESCO. There are remnants of collapsed gigantic ancient caves. Embedded in this landscape you can find the picturesque tobacco farms in the Parque Nacional de Viñales. In case you want you can go on a short hike here or in Palmerito Valley.
Lunch at a Paladar.

tobacco plantation
Afterwards we will have a few stops for you to take pictures at various interesting Mogotes and the lovely sights around the area in no particular order. One of them being the breathtaking observation deck Las Jasmines and the prehistoric wall of Dos Hermanas.

praehistorical wall cuba
We will visit the Cueva del Indios, which we will pass through by boat on a subterranean river.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
During an evening stroll over the marketplace you can enjoy Cuban live music and the fascinating atmosphere of this place. (Optional)


Day 7: Cayo Jutias

Breakfast. At 9:00 am we start our day trip and seaside day and drive towards Cayo Jutias.
A dreamy mangrove island, that is accessible by crossing a stone levee, with its gorgeous snow white sandy beach. After having crossed the stone levee, the lovely landscape of the silky sandy coral dust beaches of west Cuba open up before your eyes.
Surrounded by a blue and turquoise play of light, the sea invites you to spend a beautiful day at the seaside here. There are also many possibilities for you to engage in water sports activities. A local ranch will also provide sustenance.
Lunch at the ranch.
During late afternoon we will return to Viñales.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
During an evening stroll over the marketplace you can enjoy Cuban live music and the fascinating atmosphere of this place. (Optional)

beach

Day 8: Viñales - Cueva de los Portales - San Diego de los Banos - Soroa

Breakfast. At 8:30 am we will have a few stops to take pictures at some lovely sights. Some of them being the breathtaking observation deck Balcon del Valle next to the Hotel Las Jasmines as well as the prehistoric wall of Dos Hermanas. After that, we move past the gorgeous Mogotes all the way to the Cueva del Indio. We will also see the cave called Cueva del Indio from inside, as we will be passing the river that flows through it by boat.
Next point down the line after these stops in the morning is the trip through an impressively amazing landscape of tropical mountains with breathtaking views from the foothills of the tropical mountain range Sierra de los Organos. Along the way we reach another highlight of this trip, the cave of Che, la Cueva de los Portales. This is where Ernesto Che Guevara hid alongside his comrades during the revolution.

cave cuba
This large cave and rock labyrinth located in a beautiful area is a unique and impressive natural monument which will surely amaze you.
Lunch at a restaurant along the way.
As we continue we first pass the La Guira national park to San Diego de los Banos, a Cuban health spa with old natural springs that have been visited since the colonial times.
In the time before the revolution many mafioso greats and rich habaneros, as well as American tourists used to come here to relax and take cures. Today this remains an interesting place, still worth seeing but barely retained as the past greatly chipped away at it. From San Diego we head down the Carretera Central to Christobal and when we reach Candelara, we take a turn into the Sierra del Rosario, a biosphere reserve protected by the UNESCO, and then we finally reach Soroa Nature Park. Soroa is named after the Frenchman Jean Pierre Soroa who managed a big coffee plantation here in the 19th century. This nature park is famous for its fabulous tropical mountain landscape. Together, we will visit the orchid garden which holds more than 700 different orchid subspecies of which many are endemic and greatly photogenic.
During May to October you can gaze upon the gorgeous waterfall Salto de Arcoiris (up to 21 m high) since it carries a lot of water and in case there is enough time, we can even descend down to its ponds. From Soroa, we head down to the famous community Las Terazzas with its artist colony and a lake in a pretty location. Here you go on a short walk, during which the history of this first ‘sustainable settlement’ of Cuba is explained to you. During the years before the revolution, the area west of Havana was almost completely deforested and started to atrophy.
The forest workers living here belong to the poorest people in all of Cuba, but it was them who reforested the area again after the revolution. Depending on the time of the day, you can even visit the ruins of old coffee plantations during a hike. Or we can go to the San Juan River to hop into its idyllic natural ponds to cool off.
After a beautiful day in nature, we find a place around the area to stay overnight.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

las terrazzas

Day 9: Soroa - Artemisa - Batabano - Güines - Matanzas

Breakfast. At 8:00 am we depart to the south coast of Cuba.
First, our way leads towards Artemisa and we visit the interesting ruins of the old famous coffee plantation Angerona. It was one of the first plantations in all of Cuba and was run by 450 slaves.
Afterwards we drive on to the sleepy place called Batabano. In the Surgidero de Batabano, Spanish settlers founded the first port for ships delivering silver, who surrounded the Isla de la Juventud from the pirates, before they founded the safe port of the city Havana. Some buildings as well as the abandoned train station are really worth having a look at.
After a short stop, we move on from Batabano over sleepy villages through a cultural landscape not yet discovered by tourists. Back when Alexander von Humboldt visited around 200 years ago, many agricultural towns formed around Havana. Those villages then specialized in producing tobacco and sugar due to their proximity to the city. The town called Guines is almost a ghost town today. In 1836, the first railroad track in the new world was laid out from Guines to Havana. In this place you will also barely see any other tourists. Here you can enjoy the feeling of experiencing Cuba in its most pure way. There will also be a short stop at the small Santa Barbara church with a reliquiem about the Santeria, the religion of the Cuban people.
Lunch at a restaurant on site.
Now we head straight past Guines to the Carretera Central at the northern coast. Along the way, we underpass the A1 highway and switch over onto the big road near Catalina de Guines.
We drive past Madruga until the Pozo de San Juan and then take a turn towards the village called Cidra in the south. This is where an important memorial place of the history of slavery in Cuba is located. You can look at an impressive memorial for the female slave who led a slave uprising but died in the process. Especially the well preserved ruins of the Triumvirato Sugar Mill located nearby, which was completely destroyed during the uprising in the 19th century, are evidence of the happenings back then. Then we drive through Guanabana to the north until we reach Matanzas. Shortly before we reach the seaport, we will visit the impressive limestone cave Bellamar, in case it is still open. This is a great place to refresh after our long drive. In Matanzas there is an old and lovely pharmacy and a fort with a slavery museum.
Matanzas used to be the most important slave import port of Cuba and the new world. There were many slave uprisings here, which were brutally quelled by the Spaniards. Matanzas got its name thanks to the slaughterings and the slaves. The whole city has a completely unique feel to it. We stay in Matanzas that night.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Tip for the evening: The Malecon at the huge Bahia of Matanzas basically invites you in for an evening stroll. A special program is the recommended trip to the Tropicana Matanzas Cabaret (45 CUC), which is located next to Hotel Canimao 8km outside of Matanzas in the direction facing Varadero. (Exclusive, Optional)

Day 10: Matanzas - Yumuri - Jibacoa - Guanabo - Havana
Breakfast. At 8:30 am in the morning we depart towards Havana. Between Matanzas and Havana the fruitful and agriculturally active valley called Valle de Yumuri as well as the low mountain range Alturas de Madruga y Coliseo are located. Now we take a detour to the Montserrat lookout located on a hill at the edge of the seaport. From here you will have a beautiful view over the city, the port, the sea and the fruitful Yumuri Valley. A chapel to worship the black maiden of Montserrat was built on top of a hill above Metanzas by North-Spanish immigrants from Catalonia. To get into Yumuri Valley, we have to follow the way which goes between mountains, leads you down along a river and also the railroad tracks. Near the village Arcos de Canasi, we come back onto the Via Blanca, the so called main road that leads all the way to Havana along the coastline. Then we take a well-deserved break at the lookout of the largest and highest highway bridge in Cuba, the Bacunayagua. Not only is the view incredible, but also always freshly made Pina Colada. They say it’s the best one in all of Cuba! (Optional)
Lunch at a restaurant in Santa Cruz del Norte.
Santa Cruz del Norte is also where the biggest rum distillery in Cuba is located, it belongs to the Havana Club. During a short stop here you can have a look at the rum factory and take pictures.
As we continue, we will reach the Playas del Este, the beaches of Havana. Here we take a short detour to the feisty places Guanabo and Santa Maria del Mar. Already rather quickly we make our way towards the island’s capital La Habana now. Before reaching the entrance to the port of Havana, we pass through the tunnel that leads into the historic city center under the port’s entrance.
The tunnel under the port was built by a French company before the revolution and for many Cubans it is a landmark of corruption and unjust enrichment politics of the old rulers and the American mafia which used to reside here.
First, the almost worthless plot located north east of the port, which is only very hard to reach from the city that lies south of the bay, was bought up extremely cheap. Then, by the tunnel that was built, the plot gained in worth massively, whereof the rulers and mafias benefitted and a new coastal road, the Via Blanca, was built all the way to Varadero. After that a completely new city district was constructed for expensive mansions at wide Avenidas. The revolution stopped the project and it constructed a Cuban variant of social housing with multistory simple apartment blocks on parcels of land already prepared for constructions. They were a convenient home for many thousands of families right at the edge of the capital.
Now, multiple city districts emerged through the development of the tunnel in the north east. Today, these city districts are called Blanca, Alamar and Habana del Este.
Now you return to Havana.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

End of the Vintage Car Round Trip - Tobacco Road West Cuba

Note: Changes and deviations in the entire program and accommodations are reserved. Trips and the order of the programs are subject to the weather conditions and how much daylight is left, as well as unpredictable and changing technical conditions and can therefor lead to last-minute cancellations or changes conducted by the tour guide. The program orders are always determined by the tour guide. We kindly ask for your understanding. During Winter, changes can emerge as well as other details of the program since the days are shorter.

Please note: Participating in trips with private means of transportation like for example a private car, bicy-taxis, vintage cars, horse carriages etc., as well as accommodation in Casas Particulares (private guest houses) happens at the traveler’s own risk.

Services&Price

ORTRW10 – Tobacco Road West Cuba      booking information

 

A 10 day trip down Tobacco Road through west Cuba in a vintage car, all with private accommodations and visits of various tobacco Vegas.

Price per person in a double room/private accommodation: from 2.323,00 Euro

(Vintage car including driver & travel guide & fuel) – bookable from 2 people upwards

Included in the price:
- Service description: 10 day trip in a vintage car (or car/minivan)
- Pickup at the airport and transfer to your accommodation
- From 2 people upwards
- Driver and your own travel guide
- English and German speaking travel guide
- Additional German speaking travel guide is not included
- Accommodation in a Casa Particulares (Breakfast and dinner according to the program)
- Overnight stays as shown in the program
- Lunch as shown in the program
- Drinks during all meals are optional and not included in the price
- Trips and sightseeing events as shown in the program
- Secured Payment Certificate for the trip’s price

Not included in the price:
- Airport transfers at arrival and departure outside the program days
- Overnight stays outside the program
- Only/additional German speaking travel guide (33 Euros surcharge per day)
- Surcharges of any kind
- Expenses for services outside the program offered
- Optional trips, excursions and services
- Tips
- Drinks in the Paladares, Casas, Restaurants or other places
- Tourist tax Cuba and handling fee (p.p. 40 EUR)
- Tourist map on arrival (p.p. 25 EUR)
- Airport tax on departure (is charged together with the ticket by the airline)

Note: Changes and deviations in the entire program and accommodations are reserved. The order of the days’ tours are determined by the tour guide and can deviate from the program or be carried out in a different order.

Tour guide:
We would like to point out that the tour guides’ knowledge of the English language can vary. 

General information and program changes:
Please consider that sights, gastronomical facilities can close last-minute and without advance notice. In cases like that we will try our best to find an offer of equal value within the limits of resources available.

Regarding hotels, please note:
Cuba is in a difficult situation when it comes to hotels. Due to overbookings it can come to last-minute reservation changes. The hotels cannot be compared to the standards of hotels in other countries despite their category specifications (Stars) and/or the affiliation with international hotel chains. Due to the colonial construction method of many city hotels, not all rooms have windows.

Changes, fallacies, transmission or typos are reserved.
Our announcements, confirmations and travel conditions are essential for our offers.

Please ask for our dream beach offers for some quality relaxing time after this trip!

If you book a 2 or 3 week long Cuba trip, we will happily put together a package that includes a seaside destination (beach) of your choice.

Tip: Don’t hesitate to additionally book dancing lessons in Havana!

Accommodation

All overnight-stays are in private accommodations, so called Casas Particulares.

Flight

Booking of your flight: 

We recommend to search for flights via flight search machines of your country. 

But if you need help, we will assist you at any time. 

airport havana

Tips

Information:

Please remember to bring appropriate hiking shoes and gear on all trips and hikes, as well as a sufficient amount of water/drinks. And don’t forget your swimwear.

About travelling in classic cars (CC=Carros Classicos)

All classic cars, which are established for the roundtrips, have a taxi license for the transport of foreigners. They all date back to the time before or shortly after the revolution (1954 - 1960). Thus they are older than 50 years. In Cuba it is very expensive and arduous to refurbish those classic cars and arrange them for excursion trips. For that reason, the cars are conducted by their owners and are maintained and shepherd like museum pieces. The drivers are often hobby mechanics and tinkerers, who have refurbished their cars on their own. In the majority of cases the car is in possession of one family for already 3 generations. But the „carros classicos“, how the Cubans call them, are not designed for cross-country, but only for comfortable tours on asphalt streets. The experience of this 8 day roundtrip in classic cars is to feel the flair of the booming 50s. At the rear bench seat of the wide American 3 people will find a seat. A 4th person, either participant or guide, is able to sit in the front next to the driver. 
Each car is occupied by minimum 2 participants plus guide plus driver and with a maximum of 4 persons plus driver.  
The owners of the classic cars drive the cars in slow pace, with proper distance in a convoy and always in the same order. For reasons of safety the guide drives in the last car. The drivers are all hobby mechanics and they now their cars. For the case of need, all drivers are connected by mobile phones. 

About the luggage limitation in classic cars and the luggage storage in Santa Clara:

The luggage trunk of the American is very big. Nevertheless, if the car is full with participants, it is only enough space for one sportsbag (soft material, canvas) each participant. There is a maximum space of 5 travel bags in each car (1xdriver+1xguide+3xparticipants).
Your "excess luggage" can be left in Havana in a Casa Particular (fee=1 CUC each suitcase). But if the round trip does not end in Havana, the luggage has to be brought to Trinidad on your own expenses. Your guide can organise this for you. 

We suggest to pack your luggage in the right way already at home. 

About the transfers:

All transfers are organised with taxis (normally oldtimers), which are able to drive to Casas Particulares. 
The transfers at day 1 from the airport to your Casa Particular in Santa Clara and the transfer from Santa Clara to the airport at day 8 are both included in the price. 
All other transfers are possible on application and with extra costs. Please ask for it with the booking.  
Because all transfers need to go to Casas Particulares, it is necessary to book all transfers together with your roundtrip. 

Regarding accommodation in Casas Particulares (CP)

Every night, after the vintage car trips, you will find accommodation in so-called Casas Particulares (CP) (Private Guest Houses). All rooms have a separate bathroom including a shower and a toilet as well as warm water and AC. In many cases the rooms also have fans. Not all rooms have 220V power outlets (Careful with dry shavers or hair dryers that don’t support 110V – 220V!) and normally all power outlets are designed for American tabs or American 3-pin plugs (2 Flat, 1 round). In Cuba you can’t buy any power adapters, therefor you should bring them in your baggage. A simple flashlight or chargeable lamp, or even candles can be very useful in case of a power outage. In many cases the rooms have 1 double bed and 1 single bed. The rooms can be used as single rooms, double rooms and also rooms for 3 people. In case 2 single beds, instead of 1 double bed are needed for 2 people, or 3 single beds are needed, they have to be requested during booking. All reservations at Casas Particulares include breakfast. The landlords of the rooms mostly cook the tap water, which they offer as drinking water, and have it cool down in the fridge. Only the carbonated water which can be bought everywhere in green plastic bottles is completely safe. Towels are provided by the landlords and are normally replaced every 2 days. Because of the climate in Cuba, mostly only thin sheets and a blanket are provided instead of a thick duvet.

Regarding windows in Casas Particulares (CP)

In hot Cuba, fresh air from outside and open windows or even incoming sunlight means unwanted heat in the rooms for the Cubans.

Because of that nobody in Cuba likes to open windows and let the sunlight into the room unimpeded. For Europeans this is quite unusual, but if you want to experience Cuba in the most real and authentic way, you should try your best to understand these circumstances caused by the climate and adapt.

Windows in the Casas Particulares are often covered with curtains to not let the light, i. e. the heat in.

In many cases the AC was built into a window subsequently as cooling is a lot more important than windows that open in Cuba. The windows there are normally not made out of glass, as the moist air would only end up as condensation on the glass, but are rather only horizontally arranged wooden planks that can be tilted and opened a bit to let some cooler air in at night. In Cuba, windows function less as a means of looking outside but rather letting air flow through. This is unfamiliar for Europeans but it can’t be changed. Everything was adapted to the climate and is therefor accordingly convenient. Most travelers prefer accommodation in a town’s center for understandable reasons. Hotels in Cuba are mostly located outside the center. But with Casas Particulares it is easier to fulfill the wish to be accommodated in the center, which is a great advantage that CPs have over hotels. In most cases the CP is not a small house at a corner but is rather just located beside 2 neighboring buildings wall-to-wall. The only windows that let you look outside are mostly at the house’s forefront that faces the street. This is also where the living room and the balcony are located most times. The bedrooms that are rented out are usually inside the house with a simple window facing the backyard to let air in. The backyards are also usually designed and built in a way so they don’t let a lot of light into the rooms, which is for heat prevention.

You can expect windows with a good view over the landscape maybe in the countryside or in suburbs but not in Cuba’s cities’ centers. This applies especially for Casas Particulares in Havana’s popular city center.

Please note:

Participation in trips with private means of transportation like for example a Bicitaxi and vintage cars, as well as accommodation in Casas Particulares happens at the traveler’s own risk. Getting accident insurance coverage for abroad is recommended.

Please consider that you are in a tropical country, or respectively, on an island, and in the accommodations you might find all sorts of insects, geckos etc. commonly found in the country!


Travel Request

contact us

Watersport

There is the possibility to go diving during or in connection with your trip. Please let us know in advance, if you would like to go snorkeling or diving and we will be pleased to assist you in finding the right choice.

Further information you can find at www.cuba-diving.de/DIVE-CUBA/dive_cuba.html