The Real Cuba
Steam and Culture
Educational & People to People/Rail Historians Tour
March 5-17, 2018
GROUP SIZE 35
NEW POLICY REGARDING
TRAVEL TO CUBA
Under President Trump's new policy and restrictions for travel to Cuba only individual travel is effected and will no longer be allowed. All group travel to Cuba will not be effected and will still be allowed!
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. We travel both by road and our own chartered vintage Canadian RDC Budd railcar. The tour will appeal to both the dedicated railway enthusiast and those intrigued by many of 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 the sugar harvest will be in full sway. The ‘zafra’ once employed fleets of American steam locomotives, and many of these are preserved and we expect to see almost 200 of them. We will make visits to where some of the locomotives are used for heritage operations. Our tour requires flexibility, and we will aim to incorporate all steam operations that are available during 2018 but, as always, we must remain mindful of Cuban infrastructure changes.
Day 1 Monday March 5: (D)
Independent arrivals in Havana and transfer yourself to the hotel and check-in. In the evening we will have a “Welcome to Cuba Dinner”
Day 2 Tuesday March 6: (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 acclimatise to the Cuban spirit for the adventure that lies ahead. Dinner will again be at our hotel.
Day 3 Wednesday March 7: (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 and historical 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 6 preserved steam locomotives. At Iglesia de Paula we see another 5 preserved locomotives 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 Thursday March 8: (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 Friday 9 March (B,L,D)
Today we plan two steam hauled train excursions. We first visit 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 stop to visit a banana plantation. There will be opportunities for photos and to be the engineer of our steam locomotives before we board our bus for the trip 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 Saturday March 10: (B,L,D)
We commence our day with a transfer to the city of Remedios to visit the Museo de Vapor (Museum of Steam) 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 our 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 OR TRY YOUR HAND
AT BEING THE ENGINEER?
Day 7 Sunday March 11: (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 Monday March 12: (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. We transfer by bus to Moron. The rail fans can visit the large Moron workshops and the cultural group have a brief guided city visit before both groups check in to Hotel Moron. We have dinner at the hotel.
Day 9 Tuesday March 13: (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 Wednesday March 14: (B,L,D)
There is an option for much of the day to remain at the resort and take lunch near the beach. The railfans have a day packed full of steam waiting at the nearby Central Rafael Freyre, once arguably Cuba’s most delightful narrow-gauge 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 in 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 Thursday March 15: (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. Then we board our bus for the return to Guantanamo after a stop at Hotel Caimanera for lunch. In Guantanamo we board our RDC Budd railcar for the journey to Santiago de Cuba station where our bus will take us to the hotel for 2 nights at Santiago de Cuba.
Day 12 Friday March 16: (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 Saturday March 17: (B)
Morning transfer to Santiago airport for our domestic flight to Havana. Afternoon flights back to the USA.
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 and we will not have any “empty” days.
2. This tour of Cuba goes off the beaten track and stays away from the tourist resorts. Some of the hotels we are assigned might not be of the same standard of other countries. People booking onto this tour are understood to have read these Disclaimers, and to accept the situation. We have always had a good time in Cuba but things rarely go exactly as planned!
3. There will be a special supplement to upgrade to a higher rated hotel in Havana to those that book early. The better hotel rooms in Havana are extremely limited at this time of the year so it will be first come first served.
all prices per person
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$4,895
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$595
DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE$1,500
FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY DECEMBER 5, 2017
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT EXPIRES JULY 31, 2017 ($-250)
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. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.