the real cuba - steam and culture II
Rail Historians/Educational & People to People TOUR
SEPTEMBER 14-28, 2017
Many visitors head just to Havana and the tropical beaches, but we aim to deliver the real Cuba to you, visiting provincial towns and countryside where the passage of time has been suspended. This is an educational tour focusing on Rail History, Cuban Culture and People to People Tour. We travel both by road and our own chartered vintage American railcar. The tour will appeal to both the dedicated railway historian and those wanting to meet and understand the Cuban way of life in the outlying places we visit. On rail we travel with diesel, steam and antique electric traction, and off-rail we aim to offer a culture option on most days. Come with us and explore the enigma which is Cuba!
Our tour visits the UNESCO heritage sites of Old Havana and Trinidad where, as well as the architecture, one of Cuba’s most distinctive anachronisms, roads full of 1950 classic American cars, can be witnessed. We look at cigar and rum production, and take to the countryside where we will meet the people of Cuba. We will make visits to where some of the historic American built steam locomotives are used for heritage operations.
We aim to travel by rail to the east of the island using our own chartered service powered by diesel railcar, but we commerce our journey on the Hershey Railway with electric traction. We will be accompanied throughout by our road coach, which will convey our luggage.
Our program requires flexibility, and we will aim to incorporate all steam operations that are available during 2017 but, as always, we must remain mindful of Cuban infrastructure changes.
U.S. EASES RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL TO CUBA
The Obama administration announced that it would allow individuals to travel to Cuba for "people to people" educational trips and lift limits on the use of American dollars in transactions with Cuba, wiping away stiff restrictions on travel and commerce. The actions are some of the most significant regulatory changes the Treasury and the Department of Commerce have made on the way toward normalization. Americans who plan a trip with a full schedule of educational exchange activities, including interacting with Cuban people, will for the first time in decades be able to travel on their own to Cuba without special permission from the United States government.
US RESTORES REGULAR FLIGHTS TO CUBA
The United States and Cuba has signed an agreement authorizing daily US commercial flights to Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. The deal allows up to 110 daily flights to 10 destinations in Cuba, with about 20 of them to the capital Havana, where authorities have ordered renovations to double the capacity of Jose Marti airport.
FIRST AMERICAN FLIGHT TO CUBA
NEWS RELEASE: A JetBlue Airways Corp passenger jet landed in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara on Wednesday August 31, 2016 , becoming the first scheduled commercial passenger flight from the United States to the island in more than a half century. The arrival of the Airbus A320 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, opened another chapter in the Obama administration's efforts to improve ties and increase trade and travel with the former Cold War foe.
Services on regional carrier Silver Airways and American Airlines Group Inc from the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area to Cuba's outlying provinces will be the next to start, in September. Three other carriers will follow.
Day 1 Thursday September 14: (D)
Individual flights to Havana. Transfer to a central hotel, where we have dinner.
Day 2 Friday September 15: (B,D)
We make a leisurely start on our first morning, starting with a visit to a cigar factory followed by a short guided walking tour around Old Havana to obtain an overview of the central area. We have a free afternoon for you to relax and get yourself into the Cuban spirit for the adventure that lies ahead. Dinner will again be at our hotel.
Day 3 Saturday September 16: (B,L)
We begin the day with a panoramic city tour in our bus to make short visits to a number of the significant tourist sites. We include the Capitolio, Gran Teatro, Museum of the Revolution, Bacardi Building, Plaza de Armas, Coche Mambi, Havana Club Museum, Castillo del Morro and along the Malecon. We take lunch in a restaurant central to Old Havana. We head to the port where we have a chartered steam train. We then visit the rail museum at the former Cristina terminal station that includes about 40 preserved locomotives many of which are steam. We visit the Central Railway Station adjacent to which are 6 preserved steam locos. La Coubre terminus. Iglesia de Paula where there are another 5 preserved locos and continue by bus to Castllo de la Real Fuerza. We return to the hotel and have a free evening when you can dine at a restaurant of your choice.
THE HAVANA CLUB RUM COMPANY MUSEUM AND MODEL RAILROAD
Day 4 Sunday September 17: (B,L,D)
Visit Havana Club Rum Museum. Railfans take the ferry heading for the Casablanca Terminus of the Hershey Railway. This antiquated electric line was built to deliver sugar to Havana for the Hershey Chocolate Co. The stock used today are second-hand emus from Catalonia which we plan to use to transfer us to Hershey and then continue our journey to Matanzas at the end of the line. Our culture group will have the opportunity to visit some of the haunts of Earnest Hemingway before departure to Matanzas. We have a city tour in Matanzas and then take our bus to Varadero and our all-inclusive resort.
Day 5 Monday September 18: (B,L,D)
oday we plan two steam hauled journeys. We transfer on a fast highway to the museum sugar mill of Jose Smith Comas near Cardenas. Here a number of steam locomotives are nicely preserved. We can examine these or, be given an explanation of the sugar process while we await our journey behind steam to Cardenas, and onwards with a small amount of street running on the town's rum factory branch. After lunch near Jovellanos, we transfer to Central Australia mill near Jaguey Grande, for yet another spell of steam haulage during which we halt at a banana plantation. There will be opportunities for photos and to drive the locomotives before we join the main Cuban Autopista by bus to Santa Clara to see the tren Blindado and the Che Guevara Monument before arrival at our resort, Los Caneyes, just outside the city of Santa Clara.
Day 6 Tuesday September 19: (B,L,D)
We commence our day with a transfer north-east past the city of Remedios to the Museo de Vapor Marcelo Salado. Here again there are a large number of preserved steam locomotives, which railfans will have time to observe before we return to Remedios by steam hauled train. Lunch will be taken here by our cultural group before a brief tour of the colonial city with its outstanding central square, followed by some free time. Those with a railway inclination must make do with a packed lunch and are taken to the nearby Central Herberito Duquesne mill, to view British built narrow gauge diesel locomotives at work hauling sugar cane, after which, we all transfer south to extraordinary Trinidad for a 2-night stay in an all-inclusive hotel.
CAB RIDE ANYONE?
Day 7 Wednesday September 20: (B,L,D)
We have the same program for everyone today. We take the tourist train from Trinidad along the "Valley of the Sugar Mills". We have lunch at Manaca Iznaga colonial house. We visit the Ignaza Tower and craft market. We return to Trinidad for a guided city tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site and have free time before returning by bus to our hotel.
Day 8 Thursday September 21: (B,L,D)
The day commences with a transfer to Sancti Spiritus, one of Cuba's oldest towns. We continue then to Ciego de Avila for lunch at a restaurant adjacent to 3 preserved steam locomotives. We depart by bus, stopping briefly at Ciro Redondo before continuing to Central Patria O Muerte, a former and very welcoming sugar mill with a railway museum and many preserved locomotives to view. We board our steam locomotive to the end of the line at Rancho Palma and back to the mill. Transfer by bus to Moron. The rail fans can visit the Moron workshops and the cultural group will have a brief guided city visit before both groups check in to Hotel Moron. We have dinner at the hotel.
Day 9 Friday September 22: (B,L,D)
We depart by bus to Camaguey for a short city tour. At Camaguey station we continue our tour by joining our chartered ex-Canadian RDC Budd Railcar that will take us first to Las Tunas with a stop for lunch. Our rail journey continues to Holguin from where our bus takes us to our all-inclusive hotel at Guardalavaca
Day 10 Saturday September 23: (B,L,D)
here is an option for much of the day to remain at the resort and take lunch near the beach. However, railfans can enjoy the nearby Central Rafael Freyre, once arguably Cuba's most delightful narrow-guage mill, where we plan both a steam journey behind a recently restored locomotive, and a railcar trip along a branch serving an area not connected by metalled road. Then, after lunch in our resort, we take our Budd railcar from Holguin to travel from the north to the south of the island at Guantanamo. Check in and dinner at Hotel Guantanamo.
Rafael Freyre Has A Unique Railcar That We Will Charter
Day 11 Sunday September 24: (B,L)
We start our day with a bus trip to Boqueron where we have a guided city tour before taking the local Brill railcar to Caimanera. Our bus will take the group to Guantanamo after a stop at Hotel Caimanera for lunch. In Guantanamo we board our Budd railcar for the run to Santiago de Cuba where our bus will take us to the hotel for 2 nights.
Day 12 Monday September 25: (B,L)
Today we have cultural activities for the whole group beginning at 10:00 with a guided city tour of Santiago de Cuba. We take our bus to el Morro where we have free time to explore San Pedro de la Roca del Morro Castle before our lunch at Restaurante del Castillo del Morro. After lunch our bus takes us to El Cobre where the shrine is the most important religious site on the entire island and the focus of intense popular devotion.
Day 13 Tuesday September 26: (B)
In the morning we take our bus to Julio Antonio Mella sugar mill for a visit to the working central. We have free time for lunch and exploration at Santiago de Cuba before departure to Santiago airport for our internal flight to Havana. We transfer by bus to our hotel for 2 nights.
Day 14 Wednesday September 27: (B)
We have a free day in Havana to explore and enjoy the classic old American built cars.
Day 15 Thursday September 28: (B)
A free morning and departure to the airport for flights home.
Disclaimers: (1) The Cuban authorities reserve the right to change any arrangements if circumstances should make it necessary, and we cannot promise that everything outlined above will be achieved. However, the Cubans are also good at offering an alternative.
PRICES PER PERSON
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$4,995
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$695
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT BOOK BY MARCH 1.-$300
FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY JUNE 14, 2017
TOUR CONDITIONS FOR 2017 **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.
Prices do not include:Personal items, meals not listed in the itinerary, laundry, phone calls, excess baggage charges, rental cars, side tours, insurance, passport fees including visas, vaccinations, gratuities, medical costs, tips to train or motor coach staff, extra tour costs due to unanticipated changes in the itinerary for reasons beyond our control, including weather, travel conditions, or cancellations, government intervention, sickness, political disputes, and failure of transportation or other causes beyond our control.
TRAVEL AND HEALTH DOCUMENTS:A valid passport is required for our international tours. In some cases a visa is also needed. Consult your health professional for the recommended immunizations and documents. Trains and Travel , here on referred to as TT, assumes no other responsibility if a client is refused entry into a country. Cost and cancellation fees will be paid by the client in the event they do not have valid documents.
CHANGE OF ITINERARY:We reserve the right to substitute, alter or modify the tour if any unexpected and unforeseen conditions beyond our control preventing the completion of such. Conditions can include weather, train schedules, equipment, motive power, revision of train consist, train delays, labor strikes, political disputes, derailments, closure of a rail line, break down of railroad or motive power equipment, railroads not honoring contracts and bus equipment problems. We will always endeavor, in each case, to provide substitutes, if any changes take place. TT is not responsible for canceled trains, delays, hotel rooms, route changes or missed connections, for any reason whatsoever. We will not give refunds if such conditions or cancellations take place.
TRAVEL INSURANCE:Travel insurance is strongly suggested. Insurance will cover and give tour members many benefits and protection. Benefits include baggage loss, accident, life, trip cancellation, sickness, bankruptcy, strike, weather conditions, employer termination or layoff effecting you or a person sharing the room with you, terrorist incident in your departure city or city of destination, jury duty, you are subpoenaed, hijacked, or quarantined, your residence or traveling companion residence is rendered uninhabitable, emergency military duty, traffic accident, single supplement upgrade when your room- mate cancels their trip, trip interruption, trip delay, missed connections, itinerary change, emergency medical benefits, medical evacuation, pre-existing medical conditions if enrollment is within 21days of your invoice date, assault of you or your traveling companion before departure, burglary of you or your companion before departure 24 hour hotline emergency assistance, emergency cash transfer and more .
RESPONSIBILITY AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY:Accepting your payment represents an agreement that you understand all the conditions, to be a member of our tours. TT gives notice that they are acting agents for the owners, contractors and suppliers, providing the transportation and all related travel services and assume no responsibility for equipment problems, mechanical failures, injury, sickness, damage, loss, additional expenses accidental delay or irregularities which may be caused through willful and or negligent acts or omissions on the part of the companies providing or engage in transportation, accommodations or services related to the accomplishment of the tour. Nor do we assume responsibility for natural disasters, social or political upheaval, acts of terrorism or acts of nature. TT reserves the right to substitute hotels, tour leaders, equipment, motive power, trains, onboard accommodations, routes and to alter the itinerary when deemed necessary without notice. The right is also reserved to cancel any trip or train prior to departure for any reason . TT is not responsible for expenses incurred by tour members in preparing for the tour, including non-refundable airline tickets, visa fees, planning, phone calls, or any other expenses. TT reserves the right to decline to accept, or ask to leave a tour, any person whose actions impede the daily operations of a tour, welfare or or enjoyment of other tour members. TT cannot give any refunds for any unused services. The terms contained herein shall serve as a waiver of liability to TT . Assumption of risk on behalf of the client, their heirs, executor, administrators, successors, and assigns for any and all known persons injuries. In many cases it is not possible to advise the passengers on reasons for train delays if beyond our control.
RESERVATIONS: A deposit is due in our office within 14 days after you make your bookings. Full payment is due 90 days before departure except for the Grand Canyon Limited in which full payment is due on a different schedule. You will receive an invoice, reservation form and current tour bulletins with your confirmation and travel insurance forms. No notice for final payment will be sent to you. It is your responsible to make the final payment on-time.
CANCELLATIONS:TT does not accept cancellations on the phone. Cancellations must be received by postal mail, email or fax before any refunds will be considered. Allow enough time if sending your written notice by US mail postal system. When a written cancellation is received in the Trains and Travel office this will be the effective date of the cancellation. Please take note that it can take up to 60 days to to process some refunds. Cancellation refund rules: 120 days prior to the start of any tour you will receive a refund less a $200 per person administration fee. 119 to 61 days before the departure of any tour there will be a 80% cancellation penalty based on the full cost of the tour. Cancellations received 60 or less days before the start of any tour will not receive any refund. GW Travel Ltd has their own cancellation rules and these will apply. If booking on GW Travel Ltd ask for cancellation rules.
PRE-DEPARTURE TOUR BULLETINS:Tour bulletins will be sent to clients that have booked on tours operated by TT . Bulletins include travel info related to the tour. Final documents will be sent out about two to three weeks before a tour begins. We offer tours operated by other companies and they may or may not send out tour bulletins and updates and most send out final documents only one to two weeks prior to the start of their tours.
PAYMENTS: Payments can be made with personal check drawn on a U.S. Dollar account, money order for U.S. Dollars, bank wire transfer, or credit card. We accept Visa, Master Card, Discover or American Express. Final payment for all tours is due 90 days prior to departure and we will charge your credit card on file unless you have given us other instructions. If final payment has not been received 7 days after the due date, a late fee of $50 per week will apply.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:All prices are based on double room occupancy. We will try and match you with a roommate if one is available. If not, you may be charged the single room supplement listed for the tour you are booked on. Single rooms may not be available in some remote locations and on some trains.
TOUR REFUNDS:If for any reason tour members amend or delete any arrangements during travel, and leave the tour on their own, we cannot give any refunds on unused portions of the tour. If buses and trains are cancelled by the carrier or there is a labor strike or they go out of business, we cannot be held responsible and we cannot give refunds. Travel insurance will protect you for any of these reasons. If TT needs to cancel any tour everyone will receive a full refund. Please take note that in some cases refunds can take up to 60 days to process.
PARTIAL TOURS:We will allow passengers to join or leave a tour at certain points. Give us a call and we will try and work up a custom option for you.
MILEAGE COLLECTORS:Mileage collectors please take note that TT does not cater just to mileage collectors. We cater to all folks that enjoy trains and Rail journeys. We give strong warning that itinerary and route changes do happen and this is totally beyond our control when it does. If the only reason that you would want to book a tour is to collect the rare mileage, you need to understand that possible route changes do happen.
Questions? Send Email To: Chris@traintrips.biz
Trains & Travel
Portola CA 96122
1-800-359-4870 USA or (530) 836-1944