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WEEKEND IN SANTIAGO DE CUBA

A custom, private people-to-people exchange
with English-speaking guides and private transportation

ITINERARY AT A GLANCE.

LEGAL TRAVEL TO CUBA

Almaz Journeys operates private journeys to Cuba in compliance with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s general licenses for Cuba travel. Our custom journeys include the required full daily schedule of cultural exchanges, while still being tailored to your interests and giving you some flexibility. We use our favorite private sector guides, and you will generally dine only in our favorite privately-owned restaurants (paladares) – all to ensure you’re supporting Cuba’s burgeoning private sector as much as possible.

Throughout your stay, you will meet many Cubans from different professions, ages, and experiences in order to witness in-depth this period of profound change in Cuba and promote greater understanding between the U.S. and Cuba. Please note that this is not a tour, and under the general licenses you are required to participate in all activities on your schedule.

DAY 1

Arrival From the US

Welcome to
Santiago de Cuba!

Upon arrival this afternoon (flight not included), your local Almaz Journeys representative will meet you outside for your private arrival transfer to the Melia Hotel Santiago.

Physically closer to Kingston, Jamaica than to Havana, Santiago de Cuba is the stronghold of Afro-Cuban culture in Cuba and has an astounding musical, cultural and political heritage. Often hot and humid, tropical Santiago moves to its own laidback vibe. Though it's Cuba's second city, it feels compact, with a handful of key monuments and nightspots. Santiago is truly special, a vibrant cultural capital that has played a key role in the development of Cuba’s artistic and political identity.

Evening suggestion (not included)

Tonight we’ll make advance reservations for dinner (not included) at one of our favorite local paladares with live music of different local artists each night.

DAY 2

SANTIAGO DE CUBA

EXPLORING SANTIAGO

Meet your guide after breakfast to begin your exploration of Santiago de Cuba with a morning walking exploration of the city center.

Santiago has a wealth of smaller museums, such as Emilio Bacardi Moreau Museum, the home of the cultural treasures of the Floridian émigré and rum king (he collected everything from Egyptian mummies to artifacts of slavery). Another must visit is the Diego Velásquez House, recognized as the oldest still-standing house in Cuba and former home of the man sent by the Spanish crown in the 16th century to conquer and colonize Cuba. Another stop is Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, declared a national monument in 1937 due to the notable heroes and illustrious locals buried there – perhaps chief among them the mausoleum of José Marti, the late 19th-century poet and independence leader.

After lunch, meet your guide and driver and head out of the city center to visit the El Morro fortress (or San Pedro de la Roca Castle). The fortress was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1997 for being the most complete and the most preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, based on the principles of Italian and Renaissance styles. It constituted the defensive system of the eastern part of the country against corsairs and pirates. Your guide will give you a visit of this historical site with a panoramic view of the Bay of Santiago, and you’ll want to enjoy the stunning sunset views before heading back to your hotel.

We'll help you pick the perfect spot for dinner, as well as drinks and dancing afterward in one of our favorite venues. (Cost of evening activities not included.)

 

DAY 3

SANTIAGO de CUBA

EXPLORING SANTIAGO
OR DAY TRIP OUTSIDE

Today, you can easily spend another day exploring Santiago.

If interested in music and Afro-Cuban culture, spend the morning learning about tumbao francesa, a musical and dance genre with Haitan roots. Then, in the afternoon have an exchange to learn all about the Afro-Cuban religion santeria it's broad influence on Cuban culture.

For lovers of fine and decorative arts, the Carnaval Museum is a must to learn about the incredible costumes of the festival that takes place every July. Then, visit the studios of some artists from Santiago's smaller but interesting art scene.

History buffs can spend an entire day learning all about the Cuban Revolution which began here, including the Castro family farm 60 miles outside of town, the Moncada Barracks and other important sights.

There are also a number of options for day trips outside of town, including a full-day jeep adventure in La Gran Piedra, located in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra.

Another evening at leisure to enjoy the amazing music that can be found everywhere in this city.

 

DAY 4

Return to the US

UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Morning check out and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the U.S. (Air not included.)

Or, consider extending your stay in Cuba!

Tailoring Your Journey

This is just a brief sample visit to Santiago, which can be completely tailored to suit your needs and specific interests.

If you have time for a longer journey, we can help you explore more of Cuba, traveling by land to Camaguey, Trinidad, Cienfuegos and even on to Havana.

Private Journey Pricing

Per person, based on double occupancy in all accommodation.

2 Guests Traveling Together
From USD $2,800 per person

4 Guests Traveling Together
From USD $2,400 per person

6 Guests Traveling Together
From USD $2,200 per person

INCLUDED IN YOUR JOURNEY

  • Level Standard Double room for 3 nights at the Melia Hotel in Santiago
  • Breakfast daily
  • Private arrival and departure transfers with English-speaking assistance
  • Local English-speaking guides for full sightseeing program daily
  • Best available vehicles for all daytime sightseeing and transfers, with bottled water. Evening transportation available at an additional cost
  • Entrances for all sights and experiences specifically included in your itinerary
  • Visa
  • Local concierge service to handle all dinner and evening reservations.

NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR JOURNEY

  • Air travel
  • Lunches or dinners. We will assist you in selecting and reserving the best dining options, based on your needs and taking into account the rapidly change dining landscape in Cuba.
  • Gratuities
  • Medical or travel insurance. (Mandatory health insurance is typically included with the purchase of any charter flight between the U.S. and Cuba)
  • Any other items or services not specifically included in the itinerary
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