YOUR TRIP IN
Your fascinating trip will begin in Varadero, Cuba. As you take in the hilly coastline doing a loop through the Port of Matanzas, be ready for a surprise: the brand new 1100-slip marina at Varadero is bigger, more modern, and better laid out than any marina in Florida, the Bahamas, or anywhere else in the Caribbean.
It is overlooked by a new Melia Hotel, so be ready to hit the gym . In the evening, have cocktails on the rooftop bar of the Dupont Family Mansion Xanadu, overlooking the pristine beach and the golf course.
LA CABANA, HAVANA
On the second day of your trip, head to Havana. Enjoy a private lunch of local cuisine at a secluded Paladar and take a tour of local galleries meeting the local artists.
In the evening, head to the Port of Havana to witness the Cannon Ceremony held at the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña. The Fortress was built around 1774 by the Spaniards to control the access to the Port.
Every evening, soldiers dress in 18 th century uniform and fire canons over Havana bay at precisely 9 p.m. It is a historical reconstruction dating back to the colonial era when the cannon fire announced the official end of the day and the time to close the city gates for the night.
OLD HAVANA AND TROPICANA
On the third day of your journey, walk in the footsteps of Havana’s colonial past visiting the 4 plazas of Old Havana, a UNESCO world heritage site. Visit Plaza de Armas, Plaza San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de la Catedral with an expert guide offering insightful history along the way. Lunch at La Bodequita Del Medio; home of the Mojito, this is world famous restaurant immortalized by Hemingway has served up classic, home-style Cuban dishes for 50 years. In the evening head to a musical show at the World-Famous Tropicana, a spectacular open-air cabaret which represents an art extravaganza, an embodiment of the Cuban happiness on a true tropical night.
Fusterlandia is the nickname given to Jaimanitas, a seaside town just west of downtown Havana. In Jaimanitas, artist Jose Fuster has built a creative enclave called Casa de Fuster that has spilled out into the surrounding neighborhood. Fuster’s art is “naïve,” meaning he uses childlike crude shapes and bright colors in his untrained composition. His work has been compared to that of Picasso, a comparis on that followed him in successful gallery tours across Europe.
The artist still works and lives in the complex, despite it being open to public, therefore do not miss the chance of shaking his hand and witnessing him working away in his studio.
On the next day of your trip, leave your yacht at Bahia Santa Lucia and take a short trip South the Valle de Viñales, a stunning national park blessed by fertile rust-red soil, layered in chartreuse green expanses of tobacco plantations, and studded by precipitous limestone buttresses of rock.
This area offers Cuba’s very best hiking, climbing, caving and vistas, based around the tranquil farming town of Viñales on the edge of the park.
While in the area, take a boat trip into the flooded subterranean chamber of Cueva del Indio, a cave that was once an indigenous dwelling, and explore Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás, the largest cave in the Caribbeans with its 46km of passageways and galleries.
MARIA LA GORDA
Maria la Gorda is located on Cuba’s south-western coast on the sweeping Bahia de Corrientes and owes its names to a plump Venezuelan girl who was abducted by pirates and abandoned here in colonial times.
The area is pristine and undeveloped with miles of deserted powder white beaches, warm clear waters and beautiful coral reefs, making it an excellent scuba diving spot.
LA ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD
La Isla de la Juventud is a large, tear-shaped island on the south coast of Cuba. In the 16th and 17th centuries, its coves and caves were the sites of battles between the Spanish empire’s convoy ships and privateers such as Sir Francis Drake and Wales’s Henry Morgan.
On the last day of your trip, explore its magnificent swamps teeming with protected wildlife, its pre-Columbian rock art, and its pine and mango-tree forests, and relax on white-sand beaches or in clear, natural pools while sipping sweet Cuban coffee in the sound of woodpeckers rattling the forest.