The Best of Mexico & Cuba

Duration:
16 days - 15 nights
From:
AUD $ 6,399 AUD $ 6,199
p.p. twin share. Excludes Airfares

This incredible tour combines the best of Mexico and Cuba to give you a unique look into the lives and traditions of these two colourful countries. From the rich Mayan history of Mexico to the salsa clubs of Cuba, this tour has it all!

Get a good dose of fun, sun, history and culture on this 16 days journey through Mexico and Cuba.

Overview

Overview

Day 1-2Arrive Mexico City. Full-day Teotihuacan pyramids and Guadalupe shrine
Day 3-4Mexico City to Merida. Full-day Uxmal and Kabah archaeological sites
Day 5Full-day Chichen-Itza archaeological site to Cancun
Day 6Cancun at leisure
Day 7Full-day Xcaret Plus ecological theme park
Day 8Cancun to La Havana
Day 9City Tour Habana Colonial & Modern
Day 10Havana – Guamá – Bay of Pigs – Cienfuegos
Day 11Cienfuegos – Trinidad
Day 12Trinidad – Topes – Santa Clara – Remedios
Day 13Remedios – Varadero
Day 14Varadero at leisure
Day 15 Varadero to Havana
Day 16Departure Havana

Itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Mexico City

Reforma_AngelOne of the world’s largest metropolis, Mexico City is also the oldest urban centre in the Western Hemisphere, when it was called Tenochtitlan. Spanish conqueror Hernan Cortes and his men were awestruck by the sight of the imposing temples of the Aztecs. Reporting back to King Carlos V, Cortes was struggling to convey the majesty of what he saw. Imagine the King’s surprise at learning that “one of the plazas is twice the size of that of Salamanca”, and “the principal pyramid is taller than the tower of the cathedral at Seville”, or that the stone and wood craftsmanship that adorned these monuments “could nowhere be bettered”.

Nowhere is Mexico’s explosive past better depicted than at its central plaza, the Zocalo. Surrounded by some of the finest buildings of the colonial era, lie the remnants of one of the Aztecs’ principal monuments, the Templo Mayor. Its mysterious shapes stand as a haunting tribute to the pre-Hispanic civilization that flourished here long ago.

Day 2: Full-day Teotihuacan pyramids and Guadalupe shrine Tour

Teotihuacan3We will drive to the impressive archaeological site of Teotihuacan, located 50km northeast of Mexico City. On the way we make a stop at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, where three cultures converge: Aztec, Spanish, and contemporary Mexican. We continue to the Basilica de Guadalupe, Latin America’s most revered religious shrine. It is here where the Virgin of Guadalupe is said to have appeared before an Indian named Juan Diego in 1531, and an image of her was miraculously emblazoned on his cloak. We will have time to explore the New Basilica de Guadalupe (the Old Basilica, built in 1700, is slowly sinking) and to see Juan Diego’s cloak. We then drive for another hour to Teotihuacan, one of the most impressive cities of the ancient world, held sacred by the Aztecs. We will explore its temples, palaces and pyramids, including the Quetzalpapalotl Palace Complex, the Temple of the Feathered Conches, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the immense Pyramid of the Sun, ranked among the biggest in the world.

Day 3: Mexico City to Merida

Today you will flight to Merida (flight not included).

Merida’s downtown area features a large, tree-shaded central square. The city’s main boulevard, Paseo Montejo, is home to impressive European-style mansions whose pastel shades and elaborate trim are reminiscent of lavishly iced wedding cakes.

Day 4: Full-day Uxmal and Kabah archaeological sites Tour

We will visit the archaeological site of Uxmal, a World Heritage Site, located 80km south of Merida. Its architecture is characterized by low horizontal palaces set around courtyards, decorated with a profusion of symbolic motifs and sculptures depicting the long-nosed rain god Chaac. We will explore the magnificent buildings, including the House of the Magician – which dominates the site, the Nunnery, and the House of Turtles. We continue to Kabah, with its amazing Palace of the Masks, covered in nearly 300 masks of Chaac.

Day 5: Full-day Chichen-Itza archaeological site Tour to Cancun

We will drive to the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, located 120km east of Merida. Chichen Itza – one of the New 7 Wonders of the World – is the best restored of Yucatan’s Mayan sites. We will explore the magnificent ruins set in a dense jungle, including the Pyramid of Kukulcan – its height and striking geometric design dominating the whole site, the Great Ball Court – the largest and most impressive in Mesoamerica, the Sacred Cenote – a natural well used for human sacrifice, and many other beautiful temples. From Chichen Itza we head to the white sandy beaches of Cancun (approx. 2 ½ hour drive). Pick-up hotel Merida. Drop-off hotel Cancun.

Day 6: Cancun

Day at leisure, time to relax and enjoy the beach.

40 years ago Cancun was no more than a sand bar, clinging to Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Only in the 70s the government saw the appeal of the area’s bright turquoise waters and sparkling white sand, largely untouched since the mysterious decline of the Mayan empire around the 13th century. Today, Cancun is an exciting beach destination and gateway to the Mundo Maya, or Maya World. Enjoy the magnificent beaches, crystal-clear waters and elegant hotels, as well as the breathtaking nearby Mayan ruins, exotic wildlife, and colonial towns. Some of the best diving and snorkeling can be found here!

Day 7: Full-day Xcaret Plus ecological Theme park and evening show

We will drive to Xcaret, 1 hour south of Cancun. This large theme park was built around the ruins of Pole, a Maya coastal settlement. We can float down the clear waters of the two naturally illuminated subterranean rivers that cross the park (life vest provided). A definite highlight! We can swim with dolphins in a saltwater pool (not included), or admire the park’s animal collection including bats, butterflies and turtles, as well as pumas and jaguars, which are kept on two big islands. We can also visit a recreated Maya village, go snorkeling in one of the lagoons (equipment to be rented on the spot), or simply relax at the beach.

Day 8: Cancun to Havana

Today you will flight to Havana (flight not included).

Welcome to Havana. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you are there. Waves crashing against a mildewed sea wall; a young couple cavorting in a dark, dilapidated alley; guitars and voices harmonizing over a syncopated drum rhythm; sunlight slanting across rotten peeling paintwork; a handsome youth in a guayabera shirt leaning against a Lada; the smell of diesel fumes and cheap after-shave; tourists with Hemingway beards; Che Guevara on a billboard, a banknote, a key-ring, a t-shirt…

Day 9: City Tour Habana Colonial & Modern

In 1982, the UNESCO declared Havana’s historic city center as a world cultural heritage site. There is no city in whole Latin America with a larger colonial center. Enjoy a walking tour exploring the old city centre through the alleys and over the squares of Old-Havana: Plaza de Armas, Templete, Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza Vieja, Hemingway’s “Bodeguita“… Also enjoy a panoramic tour passing by the Malecón, Hotel Nacional, Avenida de los Presidentes, Plaza de la Revolución, Quinta Avenida and much more.

Day 10: Havana – Guamá – Bay of Pigs – Cienfuegos

In the morning, a longer drive in the direction of Central Cuba along the “Autopista” and the legendary Bay of Pigs to Cienfuegos, a port town characterized by its French colonial architecture also known as the “Pearl of the South” or the “City of a Hundred Fires”. Take a boat tour to an “Aldea Taina” Indian village and visit of “Tomas Terry Theater” Built in 1887, it is still in excellent condition. Well worth seeing are the ceiling fresco and the four-tiered stage hall.

Day 11: Cienfuegos to Trinidad

Early in the morning, drive along the panoramic coastal road to Trinidad, a UNESCO world cultural heritage site with one of a kind architecture. In the late afternoon, walk over the main square surrounded by the magnificent manors of the sugar barons. Visit of Museum “Histórico Municipal (Palacio Cantero)” Guided tour through the museum “Historico Municipal”, which exhibits colonial furniture and interesting artifacts from the slave trade. Continue in Mirador “Valle de los Ingenios” The lookout point “Mirador Valle de los Ingenios” on the way from Trinidad to Santi Spiritus and visit of Torre Manaca Iznaga, Ascent of the slave tower with a wonderful panoramic view over the Valley of the Sugar Cane Mills.

Day 12: Trinidad – Topes – Santa Clara – Remedios

Drive through the offshots of the Escambray Mountains to the island’s center in the historic Santa Clara, where Ché Guevara celebrated his biggest victory and found his last rest. Continue to the little colonial town Remedios, known countrywide for its Parrandas tradition. Stroll over the idyllic main square with the church Parroquia San Juan de Bautista (16th cent.).

Visit of Memorial Ernesto “Che” Guevara, one of the most famous guerrillas worldwide, was erected en 1988 and finished in 1997 with the transfer of Che Guevaras remains from Bolivia to Santa Clara. You can visit the main monument with the statue of “Che”, the mausoleum and a small museum which collects details of Che´s life and death.

Visit of Museum “Tren Blindado” this armored military train from the Revolution was derailed in Santa Clara by Ché, marking the rebel victory over the Batista regime.

Day 13: Remedios to Varadero

In the morning drive to the beaches of Varadero. Late in the afternoon, enjoy the sun and ocean.

Day 14: Varadero

 

Time at leisure at the beach.

Varadero, located on the sinuous 20km-long Hicacos peninsula, stands at the vanguard of Cuba’s most important industry – tourism. As the largest resort in the Caribbean, it guards a huge, unsubtle and constantly evolving stash of hotels (over 50), shops, water activities and poolside entertainment; though its trump card is its beach, an uninterrupted 20km stretch of blond sand that is undoubtedly one of the Caribbean’s best. But, while this large, tourist-friendly mega-resort may be essential to the Cuban economy, it offers little in the way of unique Cuban experiences.

Day 15: Varadero to Havana

Drive along the panoramic coastal road to Habana.

Visit to the cabaret “Tropicana”. It is known since its foundation in 1939 as one of the most famous Cabarets around the world. A nostalgic open-air show with more than 200 artists and a big live-orchestra in a beautiful garden setting. Let yourself seduce by the rhythms of Cuban music and by the charming dancers. Make a journey into the world of the Bolero, the Mambo and the Cha-cha-cha – from Afro-Cuba to modern Salsa. Tropicana – “Paradise under the stars”. It’s a “must” when you are in Havana.

Day 16: Depart Havana

This morning you will be transferred after breakfast from your hotel to the airport in Havana. Your The Best of Mexico & Cuba itinerary concludes here.

Inclusions

Inclusions

  • Arrival & departures transfers in all cities
  • All tours as mentioned in itinerary
  • 5 nights accommodation in 3* and 4* Hotels – Breakfast included
  • Price based on two adults travelling together.

Not Included

  • International and internal flights
  • Items of personal nature
  • Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  • Tips to Drivers, guides and Porters

Airfares

Travel Just 4U has competitive South America Flights to get you to the starting point of your chosen Holiday. Contact one of our Travel Consultants for a full quotation including airfares, stopovers and any additional travel you wish to organize.

 

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