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  • Date: May
  • Destination: Cuba
  • Duration: 10 nights
  • Price: 3099
Destination Cuba
From Dublin
Date April to November 2017
Duration 9 Nights
Price €3,099
Flight Details TBA
TBA

Details are for guidance only and are subject to change

Introduction to Cuba

There is a great deal to recommend a visit to the beautiful island of Cuba at this moment in time, recent political changes inciting the dawn of a new era in a country where the crumbling legacy of the heady pre-Revolution days still remains. Additionally, flying with Virgin Atlantic allows for a full 14 nights� exploration of western Cuba�s most important cities and stunning landscapes. �Flying direct from London Gatwick, Virgin provide high quality on-board service, including a 31-inch seat pitch, individual seatback TV and a selection of meals.
Much of Cuba�s infrastructure was built to cater for the American elite in the heavy pre-revolutionary days before Castro and the island is still redolent with imagery of the 1940s and 50s, whether it be Hemingway�s old haunts, museums to the exploits of the revolutionaries, the Tropicana Night Club, which still somehow echoes to the sound of Nat King Cole, the hotels run by �Long Legs Diamond� and the events of the Bay of Pigs.
However, Cuba is not just about tourist clich�s since there is much to see not only in UNESCO World Heritage site Havana, with its baroque cathedral, many forts and Old Town, but also the provincial cities and towns. Port city Cienfuegos, known as the �Pearl of the South� was built around a stunning bay and its pastel coloured buildings are a striking example of Spanish colonial architecture; UNESCO World Heritage site Trinidad is sometimes referred to as a living museum, with its preserved squares, and San Juan de los Remedios, officially recognised as the oldest city in Cuba, is home to beautifully restored colonial mansions surrounding the main square.
An island of contrasts, outside of the main cities Cuba�s countryside is surprisingly varied. Pinar del Rio province�s Vi�ales Valley, home to a unique flora and fauna and over 17 endemic species, has been declared a National Natural Monument for its remarkable landscapes. Large limestone formations dating from the Jurassic period contrast with the lush greenery of the valley where the world�s finest tobacco is grown. Varadero is Cuba�s fashionable Caribbean resort, a 12-mile longer slender strip of white sand on the island�s north coast in Matanzas province, also home to the Zapata Peninsula National Park, the largest wetlands in the Caribbean.

Much of Cuba’s infrastructure was built to cater for the American elite in the heavy pre-revolutionary days before Castro and the island is still redolent with imagery of the 1940s and 50s, whether it be Hemingway’s old haunts, museums to the exploits of the revolutionaries, the Tropicana Night Club, which still somehow echoes to the sound of Nat King Cole, the hotels run by “Long Legs Diamond” and the events of the Bay of Pigs.

Travelling in Cuba is a unique experience and tourism remains under state control in Cuba, where on occasion hotels of a similar standard to those listed in the itinerary may be used. Advance notification of this is not always possible.

The Havana hotels will be the Cuban 5-star Hotel Melia Cohiba in the neighbouring enclave of Vedado (a short cab ride from Vieja Habana), overlooking the ocean, and the 5-star Hotel Parque

Central, located in Old Havana. The two hotels have restaurants, bar and pool. Varadero and Cayo

Santa Maria beach resort hotels are of 4/5-star standard with restaurants, bars and pools. In the rest of Cuba, especially in the east, accommodation options are more limited and often simple so we have selected the most suitable hotels, a basic 2 and 3-star standard with private facilities*.

The Cuban peso is not circulated outside of Cuba so we recommend taking currency in pounds sterling and changing on arrival. Bureaux de Change are readily available in the majority of hotels. US dollars are still not an accepted currency and nor are credit cards drawn on American banks.

Cuba is generally a safer country in which to travel than most. However, begging is more widespread and may be exacerbated by tourists handing out money, soap, pens and chewing gum to people on the street. If you want to help, pharmacies and hospitals accept donations of basic medicines, schools happily take pens, paper, crayons etc, and libraries take books.

Basic medicines, toiletries, sunscreen and insect repellent are not widely available in Cuba and we recommend taking your own supplies.

Half board is included in most hotels on the tour and food can be quite basic, consisting of rice, beans, pork, chicken and fish, although international cuisine is available in Varadero (all inclusive basis) and Havana.

All vehicles are air-conditioned and the highways are reasonable, whereas minor roads can be in poor repair.

Itinerary

In brief:

London Gatwick – 1 night, Havana – 2 nights, Trinidad – 2 nights, Sancti Spiritus – 1 night, Havana – 2 nights. 1 night flight

Day 1 Fly from Dublin to London Gatwick. Overnight in Gatwick airport hotel

Day 2 Fly from London Gatwick to Havana. Transfer to the Cuban 5-star Hotel Melia Cohiba for a two-night stay. (D)

Day 3 Full-day tour exploring both old and new Havana. (B, D)

Day 4 Travel to Cienfuegos (4 hrs) to explore the old town. A visit to the Palacio de Valle and a boat trip (weather permitting) around the bay of Cienfuegos is included. Continue to Trinidad for two nights at the simple 3-star Hotel Brisas Trinidad or Hotel Las Cuevas. (B, D)

Day 5 Full-day visit of Trinidad includes La Canchanchara Bar and Trinidad Romantic Museum. (B, D)

Day 6 Travel to Sancti Spiritus via El Cubano Park near Trinidad Village. Continue to the 2-star Hostal Rijo or similar. (B, D)

Day 7 Visit colonial Santa Clara. Return to Havana (4 hrs) and stay two nights at the 5-star Hotel Parque Central, located in Old Havana. (B, D)

Day 8 A day at leisure in Havana. (B)

Day 9 Transfer to the airport for the overnight flight to London. (B)

Day 10 Arrive Gatwick in the early morning.

 

D= Includes dinner meal(s)

B= Includes breakfast meal(s)

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Price inclusions

  • Flight Dublin to London (Times vary)
  • Overnight accommodation in Gatwick Airport
  • Flight London to Havana with Virgin Atlantic
  • Airport transfer to your hotel
  • 7 nights accommodation (see Itinerary)
  • Meals : Breakfast daily & 5 dinners (days 2-6)
  • All tours outlined in the itinerary
  • Return transfer from your hotel to airport
  • Flight Havana to London Gatwick (Overnight)
  • Onward flight to Dublin
  • Services of guide and local representatives
  • Taxes and charges €251

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Booking remarks

  • Inclusive of taxes and service charges as indicated
  • Single room supplement €280 for the duration
  • Virgin Premium Economy upgrade €700 pp
  • Virgin Upper Class upgrade €2,640 pp
  • Non-refundable or transferable booking deposit 10% per person
  • Full payment due 12 weeks before travel
  • 2% surcharge if balance is paid by credit or charge card
  • Optional Insurance €48 (conditions apply)
  • Taxes, charges or compulsory charges introduced after publication are not included in the above price.
  • Irish Nationals require a tourist card to enter Cuba. Cost €30, arranged through Travel Escapes

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Accommodation details

Melia Cohiba – Havana (2 nights)

A 5-star hotel in the Vedado area of Havana (a short cab ride from old Havana), overlooking the ocean and well situated to stroll along the Malecon. The hotel has restaurants, bars, an outdoor pool and WiFi (chargeable).

Las Brisas Trinidad – Trinidad (2 nights)

A 3-star hotel on a fine sandy beach. Restaurants, bars outdoor pool and 241 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV.

Hostal Rijo – Sancti Spirtius (1 night)

A comfortable and colonial style hotel in the centre of Sancti Spiritus with restaurants, bar and 16 air-conditioned rooms all with private facilities, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV.

Hotel Parque Central – Havana (2 nights)

Situated in Old Town of Havana, just a short distance from the Capitol building, this 5-star hotel has restaurants, bars, rooftop pools with stunning city views and jacuzzi. 426 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, and much much more.

Las Cuevas – Trinidad (1 night)

A simple 3-star hotel on a hilltop near Sugar Mills Valley, overlooking the Caribbean sea, with only a short walk into town. Restaurant, bar, pool and 110 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, balcony or terrace, hairdryer and satellite TV

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Dates and Prices

Date Price
27 April 2017 €3,259
03 May 2017 €3,099
07 June 2017 €3,099
02 August 2017 €3,629
20 September 2017 €3,099
05 October 2017 €3,179
18 October 2017 €3,259
01 November 2017 €3,629
15 November 2017 €3,629
22 November 2017 €3,629
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