• Explore the cultural heritage of Cuba from the art and architecture of Havana to the natural beauty of the Viñales Valley
• Discover Cuba’s varied colonial history including the lasting influences of both Spanish and French occupation
• Enjoy an extended stay in the Viñales Valley including visits to tobacco plantations and the Cueva de los Portales, Che Guevara’s headquarters during the Cuban Missile Crisis
Depart Gatwick 1130 on Virgin Atlantic for Havana, arriving 1640. Transfer to Hotel Parque Central for three nights.
Morning lecture: Cuban Architecture and Restoration, followed by a guided walk around Old Havana to include the Plaza San Francisco, the Plaza de Armas, site of the Palace of the Captains General (former seat of Spanish governors) and the cathedral. Afternoon: American taxi tour of more main sites of the city, including the Malecón promenade, and ending at the Hotel Nacional. Free evening.
Morning lecture: Cuban Art, followed by visit to Cuban art collection in the National Museum of Fine Arts. Afternoon: the Museum of the Revolution (former palace of President Batista).
Depart for Cienfuegos: Moorish Palacio de Valle, lunch at Marina Club, walking tour: Parque José Martí, neoclassical Catedral de la Purísima Concepción, Tomás Terry Theatre. Continue to Trinidad for three nights at Casa Hostal Lola and Hostal Vivian y Pablo.
Visit to the restored sugar mill on Manaca-Iznaga estate, followed by a walk around the old colonial town of Trinidad, to include the 19th century Plaza Mayor, Museo Histórico Municipal (Casa Canteros), the cathedral and optional visit to the craft market. Evening: optional visit to the music venue Casa de la Trova.
Morning: nature walk in Park El Cubano in the Sierra del Escambray, with a naturalist guide. Afternoon: Museo Romántico (furniture and ne decoration in Palacio Brunet).
Travel by coach via the pretty town of Sancti Spíritus to Santa Clara (impressive museum and monument dedicated to Che Guevara). Return to Havana for three nights at Hotel Parque Central. Free evening.
Morning: private visit to the National Ballet School. Afternoon: talk on the contemporary Cuban art scene at the Centro Wifredo Lam, followed by optional visit to artist studio. Reception at the British Embassy, in elegant Miramar district followed by free evening.
Morning lecture: Writing in Cuba – Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway. Morning in Old Havana: a private, on-site talk and guided tour by a specialist from the Historiador de la Ciudad de La Habana (the organisation devoted to restoration of old Havana). Afternoon: depart by coach for the small town of San Francisco de Paula to visit Finca La Vigía, the home of Ernest Hemingway from 1939 to 1960, before continuing to the fishing village of Cojimar. Hotel Ambos Mundos for a brief visit to room 511 (which Hemingway regularly booked in the 1930s) before an early evening talk by a guest speaker on Cuban performing arts.
Morning: brief stop to view Plaza de la Revolución and Memorial y Museo José Martí en route to Pinar del Río. Visit to Orquideario in Soroa (orchid garden with over 700 species) before continuing to Viñales via Parque la Guira and visit the Cueva de los Portales (headquarters of the Western Army during the Cuban Missile Crisis). Afternoon: visit to the mogotes viewpoint near the Horizontes las Jazmines. Two nights at Rancho San Vicente, Viñales.
Morning walking tour in the mogotes countryside area with specialized guide. Afternoon: Alejandro Robaino tobacco plantation with lunch on site. Return to hotel via Pinar del Rio and brief stop at the Palacio Guasch.
Travel by coach to Cuevas del Indio before a market stop in Viñales. Continue by coach to Havana for 2010 departure.
Arrive Gatwick 0950.