An architectural landmark of Havana, the Morro Castle was erected between 1589 and 1630 to protect the
entrance to Habana harbour from pirates. Standing high on a rocky bluff above the Atlantic, the fort–
with its irregular polygon shape, 10ft-thick walls and deep protective moat– is a classic example of
Renaissance military Cuban architecture
Born out of the political utopian aspirations of the Cuban Revolution, the dramatic brick and terracotta National Art Schools
represent a particular, fleeting moment in the history of Latin American modernist architecture.
The project was charged to modernist architect Ricardo Porro in collaboration with Italian architects Roberto
Gottardi and Vittorio Garatti, which were dedicated to modern dance, plastic arts, dramatic arts, music, and ballet.
Plaza de San Francisco soon became the trade square of the city during early colonial times. Galleons full of Spanish immigrants and African slaves called port here to unload their human cargo and stockpile before continuing on journey to The West Indies.
The Centro Asturiano building, designed by Spanish architect Manuel del Busto, features
solid heavy façades constructed
in Capellania stones with clear influence of Spanish Renaissance. It houses the most majestic staircase
of Cuban architecture.
An architectural landmark in Havana City
, the Bacardi building is one of the finest Art Deco builings in Cuba, and a jewel of Cuban
architecture. The building was property of Don Emilo Bacardi
founder of the Bacardi Imperium. In the year 2001 the building was restored with its original decorations,
beautiful marbles and Cuban Art Deco architectural style accessories.
The Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos
, a must
in any architecture Cuba tour was inscribed by UNESCO in the World Heritage List, citing
Cienfuegos as the best extant example of the 19th-century early Spanish Enlightenment implementation in urban planning.
The downtown contains 6 buildings from 1819-50, 327 buildings from 1851-1900, and 1188 buildings from the 20th century.
There is no other place in the Caribbean which contains such a remarkable architectural cluster of Neoclassical structures.
This jewel of Cuba's architecture
originated as a home for trader, Celestino Caceres, who later
gave it as a wedding present to the Valle family who added to it (in a Mughal Style with carved floral motifs) a stunning Carrara
marble staircase, cupped arches, bulbous domes and delicate arabesques.
is an outstanding example of Cuba's colonial architecture. It has maintained its historic core, featuring
the highest percentage of surviving antique buildings and public squares and bringing together architectural, historic
and cultural elements of great value.
Day 1. Tuesday 26 December 2023.
Arrival at "Jose Marti" International Airport in Cuba's capital city.
Welcome to Havana City
, one of the most stunning architecturally designed cities in the world, with extraordinary variety and quality.
Meet your Authentic Cuba Travel® tour guide
and bus driver.
Private transfer to your Luxury Casa Particular
located at Vedado Neighbourhood
, the cultural center of Havana City.
In the 40s and 50s, many high-rise buildings and apartment complexes in the Vedado district helped dramatically alter the skyline of Havana City. The Habana Libre Hotel
(1958), which before the Revolution was the Havana Hilton Hotel
and nearby La Rampa Movie Theatre
(1955) are good examples of this important architectural period.
Breakfast is complimentary from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Day 2. Wednesday 27 December 2023.
Havana. Exploring Old Havana
Morning: meeting with our guide for the morning, architect Miguel Coyula from the Group for the Comprehensive Development
of Havana City
at their headquarters in The Scale Model of Havana City
, a museum that contains a model of the entire city of
The model took nine years to build and is the second largest in the world after one of New York. Havana's 727 square kilometers
are represented in an area of 22 meters of length and 10 meters of width. City planners needed to see and have a tactile sense
of the impressive physical and cultural patrimony of Havana, spanning five centuries as a port city, island Caribbean capitol,
and launching pad for the conquest of the Americas.
Guided panoramic motor coach tour of Modern Havana
We will visit places like the Square of Revolution
, University of Havana
, Seawall, Vedado neighbourhood, 1830 Restaurant, Miramar
neighbourhood, Hotel Nacional de Cuba
, Cemetery Colon, and others.
We will also see important examples of Art- Deco style architecture
The House of Catalina Laza
, Havana's first art deco house, was built in 1926 by Juan Pedro Baro with marble from Carrara,
ornaments from Lalique and sand from the Nile. Baro had it built for the beautiful Catalina Laza.
is a theatre complex designed in 1941 by architects Fernando Martinez Campos and Pascual de Rojas, consisting of
two theatres, a restaurant and some shops in the main floor and residential apartments in the upper floors. Its interiors are
very well preserved and conserve all the details of the original monumental design.
Lopez Serrano Building
, with its strong reminiscence of American Skyscrapers, resembling a miniature Empire State Building
with the bottom 70 floors chopped off, the López Serrano building is Vedado’s most distinctive art deco architecture example. It was
built in 1932 by Mira & Roisch Architecture Firm, it was the highest residential building in Havana for many years.
Lunch: a new wave of paladares (privately-owned restaurants) has recently swept the Cuban dining scene offering excellent food and charming ambient. Today we’ll enjoy a welcome lunch at the stylish Paladar San Cristobal
, one of Havana's top ten private restaurants.
Afternoon: guided walking tour of Old Havana
, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit to Square of Arms
, ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers and surrounded by impressive buildings such as:
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
was the former seat of colonial government. Today the building houses the Museum of the City.
Palacio del Segundo Cabo
, the seat of the second authority of the island. Today it houses important publishing concerns.
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
. The second oldest fortress built by the Spaniards in the West Indies, a good example
of early Cuban architecture. Notice the influence from different architectural styles, with a diverse range of Moorish, Spanish,
Italian, Greek and Roman architecture.
Visit to the Cathedral Square
, the most beautiful and private 18th century colonial plaza of Cuba, named after the masterpiece of
Cuban baroque architecture: the Cathedral of Havana built by the Jesuit order.
Continue walking tour onto San Francisco Square
, one of the oldest in the historical quarter.
Visit to Plaza Vieja
, the only civic square of colonial times. Notice it doesn't have a church or government building around.
Here we will visit important institutions for visual arts.
Free time in the famous handicraft market of Old Havana
, located inside the Almacenes de Depósito San José, an old warehouse on
the harbourside where you can purchase all sorts of crafts and souvenirs by local artisans.
Evening: Enjoy performance of the National Ballet of Cuba
or the Spanish Ballet of Cuba
at the Great Theatre of Havana
Day 3. Thursday 28 December 2023.
Morning: guided by architect Victor Marin
former director of CENCREM (Center for Conservation, Restoration and Museology), we will visit Havana’s Parque Central
and surrounding buildings:
Visit to the Capitolio Nacional
, designed by Cuban Architects and built by the American construction company of Purdy & Henderson.
This monumental building is one of Cuba’s most outstanding architectural patrimony packed with artwork from Cuban and foreign
The dome is 300.96 ft. high (7 inches higher than the highest capitol building in the US) and the recently renovated gardens are
the work of the famous French Landscape architect, Forestier.
, inaugurated in 1927 designed by Spanish Architect Manuel del Busto features solid heavy façades constructed in
Capellania Stones with clear influence of Spanish Renaissance. It houses the most majestic staircase of Cuban Architecture.
Since 2001 the building houses the new Museum of Fine Arts.
Manzana de Gomez
, first entire city block built in Cuba in the beginnings of the 20th century completely for commercial use with
two inner diagonal streets that cross the building in all directions integrating the pedestrian circulation with the outer fabric.
Visit to the former Centro Gallego
, an exponent of German neo-baroque architecture style in Havana, built in 1915 by
Belgian architect Paul Belau. The building is adorned with stone and marble statues.
There are also sculptural pieces by Giuseppe Moretti depicting benevolence, education, music and theatre.
It was not until 1985, and as initiative of the prima ballerina Alicia Alonso that the building was renamed and became the Great
Theatre of Havana
, designed in 1930 by Cuban architects Esteban Rodriguez Castells, Rafael Fernandez Ruenes and Jose Menendez
Menendez, located in Las Murallas district. The rich façade design is based on polychrome granite imported from Bavaria and Norway
as well as coloured brick, terracotta and Capellania stone. The elaborate decoration of the building crown features a bat, logo of
the Bacardi company.
Visit the rooftop of the Sevilla Hotel
for an eagle view of the walk you have taken in the morning while enjoying a refreshing
A new wave of paladares (private family-run restaurants) has recently swept the Cuban dining scene offering excellent food and charming ambient. Today we’ll enjoy a welcome lunch at the stylish Paladar Cafe Laurent
at the penthouse terrace of a small 1950s apartment building.
Walking tour along the Paseo del Prado
, a pedestrian promenade remodelled in 1929 with the inauguration of Havana’s Capitol Building.
Visit to residential buildings along the boulevard with clear influence from European and American architecture. Visit to the
interior of the most important residence: Cuba’s former president Jose Miguel Gomez Residence
Visit to Telegrafo Hotel.
Visit to the former Asociacion de Dependientes del Comercio
, a Venitian neo-renaissance style building placed in a key corner
of the Prado featured in the film Buena Vista Social Club.
Visit to the former Casino Español
, currently used for wedding ceremonies for its lavish interiors.
Return to your private rental accomodation.
Day 4. Friday 29 December 2023.
Morning: guided tour of the Cuba's National Art Schools
. The schools were designed and built by architects Cuban Ricardo Porro and
the Italians Roberto Gottardi and Vittorio Garatti from 1961 to 1965. They represent an example of Cuba's architecture after the Revolution. The schools embody Cuba’s cultural heritage,
radical architecture, regional building technologies, and restored hope for Cuba’s future. In 1999, they
were placed on the World Monuments Fund Watch List, which calls attention to endangered cultural heritage sites.
Lunch hosted by Jose Fuster
, one of the most important Cuban ceramists and painters today.
Afternoon: visit to Partagas Cigar Factory
, founded in 1845 by Spaniard Don Jaime Partagas. Don Jaime owned many of the best
plantations in the Vuelta Abajo tobacco-growing region of Cuba and being able to choose from among the finest tobaccos on the
island made the brand Partagas incredibly successful.
Don Jaime is also believed to have experimented with various methods of fermenting and aging tobacco and is legendarily credited
with hiring the first lector to read to and entertain the cigar rollers as they worked. Before and after the Revolution, the
Cuban-produced Partagás has been one of the most revered and highest-selling brands of cigars in the world.
Return to your private rental accomodation.
Day 5. Saturday 30 December 2023.
Havana- Cienfuegos- Trinidad
Morning departure to Trinidad
, in Central Cuba.
En route, we will visit Cienfuegos City
, the first, and an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble that represents the new ideas of modernity, hygiene and order in urban planning as developed in Latin America from the 19th century.
Cienfuegos was settled by French immigrants from Bordeaux and Louisiana, led by Don Louis D'Clouet, on April 22 1819. Its original name was Fernardina de Jagua, in honor of Ferdinand VII of Spain.
Visit to Palacio de Valle
upon arrival. The building showing an eclectic architecture was erected at a cost of a million and half pesos.
French, Arabic, Italian and Cuban artisans worked with marble, alabaster, brass, glass and ceramic imported from Spain, Italy
and United States. The entrance is primitive Gothic style and leads to a dining room of Mudejar architecture influence,
which imitates the famous Patio of the Lions, of Alhambra, in Granada.
Lunch is included at Paladar Ache
, one of Cienfuegos top ten private restaurants, serving local specialties in a pleasant courtyard.
Afternoon: guided by Cienfuegos City Historian, architect Iran Millan Cuetara, we will
embark on a walking tour of Cienfuegos Historical Center
We will visit neoclassical buildings around Paseo del Prado
and the main Square Jose Marti
The Tomas Terry Theatre
, completed in 1895 and named after a sugar baron from Venezuela who arrived in Cuba with no money and
made his fortune by buying sick slaves for a low price, to later nurse them back to health and reselling them. This money was
invested in a sugar estate that brought him the wealth to build several outstanding buildings in Cienfuegos, including this
theatre, with materials specially brought over from Europe.
The Casa de la Cultura
, home of another wealthy sugar baron, stunning mansion in neoclassical style.
built with the donation of wealthy families like the Lebrancs, the Albis, the Terrys. Inside you find the
reproductions of the 12 Apostles in stained glass imported from Paris. Also the original machinery of the clock tower was built
in France. Still in place and working.
We'll also visit the elegant art gallery Galería de Arte Maroya
and review its impressively displayed collection of paintings,
sculptures and antiques.
Now we journey on to the historic city of Trinidad and check in at your Luxury Casa Particular
You'll have time for dinner and a swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Evening is free to enjoy the beach and the lively streets of Trinidad. How about live Cuban popular music on
steps of Casa de la Música
– a great opportunity to dance with Cubans and your tour companions.
Day 6. Sunday 31 December 2023.
Morning: guided by City Historian, we will take a walking tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trinidad’s Historical Center
, a perfect relic of
the early days of
the Spanish colony with beautifully preserved streets and buildings with hardly a trace of the 20th century anywhere.
Trinidad's Historical Centre, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site
in 1988, boats a wealth of architectural buildings dating
from the 18th and 19th centuries around Plaza Mayor (main square) when trade in sugar from the nearby Valle de los Ingenios and
slaves, brought great riches to the area. Many of the buildings surrounding the central square belonged to the wealthy landowners
of the city.
Visit to the Architecture Museum
(Casa de los Sanchez Iznaga), housing the most representative samples of the city's architectural
development in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Visit to Museo Lucha contra Bandidos
, former home of the San Francisco de Asis convent.
Visit to Museo Romantico
, overlooking the Trinidad main square. It has an excellent exhibition of romantic style porcelain, glass,
paintings and decorative furniture which belonged to the Conde de Brunet and other Trinidad notorious families.
We will stop at a mirador (lookout) over the Sugar Mill Valley
, where the sugar barons used to have their countryside mansions and
mills. This site is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Trinidad is well known for its pottery makers
. We meet with a family that has been passing the tradition for generations:
Lunch at Solananda Paladar
Free time to wander the streets of historical centre or enjoy the beach.
Evening: celebrate New Year’s Eve at a venue of your choosing tonight
(optional/ not included in tour costs). Your tour guide will give you advice on the numerous venues in the city where you can partake in the celebrations for New Year’s Eve. He will also help you book your favourite dinner and event.
Day 7. Sunday 1 January 2024.
Trinidad- Topes de Collantes- Havana
Morning: we will board former Russian army trucks for Topes de Collantes
in the Escambray Mountain Range,
Cuba's second highest mountain range- reaching 3,700 feet atop Pico San Juan. The mountains are home to small mountain
villages and are a delight for birders and walkers alike. Slopes are swathed in Caribbean pines, ancient tree ferns, bamboo,
Arrival at Hacienda Codina
, an old Spanish Hacienda, once part of a large Spanish coffee plantation where we will have a typical
lunch. Followed by a walk around this area to admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Topes de Collantes National Park
in the Escambray mountains in Central Cuba. A perfect place for encountering
the Cuban Emerald
), Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus
), Cuban Parrot (Amazono leucocephala
Afternoon: transfer back to Havana City.
Check in at your Casa Particular
Day 8. Monday 2 January 2024.
Early morning departure to Havana City International Airport for departure.