The Havana Cigar Tour That Will Bring You Back
Why did all the rich and famous run down to Cuba to get away? Here is your chance to find out! Try the 3-night People-to-People Cuba “Cigar tour” getaway and chances are pretty good that you will return to the Caribbean’s largest, most seductive island soon.
Why Havana? Well, affordability and convenience are just two of the millions of reasons why flying on a charter into Havana on a Thursday night, checking in at the Melia Cohiba, the five-star hotel where you will be staying for your entire holiday, and then catching a late dinner at a privately owned and operated restaurant make sense.
The Melia Cohiba is one of the finest hotels in Cuba and in the Caribbean. You will stay on one of the four Royal Service floors where everything is as good as it gets in Havana and Cuba. As the warm, Caribbean air splashes through your room, you will enjoy all the luxuries of terrific service and first-class amenities that most hotels in Cuba only wish to offer.
After you are settled, dinner at the family-owned Café Laurent promises to be an enlightening and delightful experience. The restaurant symbolizes the new wave of entrepreneurialism that was discouraged by Fidel but which has been encouraged by Raul Castro.
It will be a late night as we head back to the Cohiba and cap the night at the Habana Café where the chatter is lively and the patrons excited. You will immediately feel the romance of the 50’s and the passion of Havana. Great music performed by local artists, accommodating and eager staff and friendly natives and travelers make for a delightful start to this getaway weekend.
We’ll get started around 9:00 on Friday and head to cigar factories where we will see firsthand the precision and care given to rolling authentic Montecristos and Cohibas. We will start at the Partagas Factory before we are treated to a delightful talk about Cuba’s cigar history. Robaina will be our speaker as you learn about the amazing harvesting process and special care given to the leaves that make a Cuban cigar the envy of the world.
For lunch, we shall head to El Aljibe where the roast chicken has been cited by such dignitaries as President Jimmy Carter and actor Jack Nicholson as the best they have ever tasted. The creole recipe is a secret but you might get a few hints.
Around 2:30, we will take a tour of Old Havana. We will visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Plaza de Armas, Plaza San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and the Plaza de la Cathedral. We will see the street vendors and their art, chat with Cubans and learn much from our guide about Havana’s remarkable history and people. All questions are welcome!
After our city tour, we will dine at El Templete, a restaurant noted for excellent cuisine and spectacular art. Basque chef Arkatitz Echarte Guerecaechevarria has recruited some of Cuba’s finest artists to display their works at his restaurant. El Templete is another private restaurant that has become a Havana landmark. Not only will the food be terrific but if you see a piece you like, you can buy it on the spot.
After dinner, you will explore the city where Sinatra, Kennedy, Maureen O’Hara, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Spencer Tracy and many other stars of stage and screen roamed late into the night. Take in a show, mix with the locals or receive a salsa lesson knowing that anywhere you go in Havana, you will be welcome. Our team of hosts will be happy to accompany you or point you in the right direction.
At 9:00 on Saturday, we will be driven to Vinales, a remarkable area in Pinar del Rio Province. Vinales is the center of Cuba’s illustrious tobacco industry. You will see the growers and harvesters at work, marvel at the landscape and be awed by how these workers get so much accomplished with such dated equipment. At every turn is a picturesque view that always seems more spellbinding than the previous sight.
Our guide will explain the growing process, take us through the drying houses and explain how the oxen have replaced tractors that might be used in more modern economies. In this amazingly beautiful backdrop, anything seems possible.
After our trip to Vinales, we will return to La Cohiba, take a swim or rest for a big night on the town. Dinner will be served at 8:00 at the famous Hotel Nacional-Aquiar Restaurant. This is where it all happened in the roaring 50’s. This hotel and restaurant were as likely to be filled with dignitaries as they were with gangsters and mobsters. Tonight, you will be the center of attention and receive a meal beyond your imagination.
A little before 10:00, we shall arrive at the Cabaret Parisen for the popular Saturday spectacle. This is where Sinatra performed, where circus acts were staged and where feathered dancers still entertain. Fantastic costumes, amazing talent and stunning choreography will take your breath away. Some of our guests may want to stay out late and enjoy the local color.
Staying out late works because we will have a leisurely morning of shopping and lounging before we transfer to the airport at 11:00 for our return to the states. This “cigar tour” is popular for men and women who have an adventurous spirit and want to understand the glory and spectacle that drew millions of visitors to Havana on a regular basis. We think you will understand.
Contact Dave at Info@travelguidecuba.com for more details.