Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group, Private

Cuba's Culinary Allure (8 days)

Access Culinary Trips

Havana, Cuba To Havana, Cuba

Valid for Departures Now Through: 23 Jun 2019

Cuba's Culinary Allure (8 days)

Day 4

Viñales Valley, Cuba

Day 6

Trinidad, Cuba

Day 7

Trinidad, Cuba

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Havana, Cuba
Casa Particular, or privately-owned guest house Dinner

DAY 1: Cuba Tour Begins As You Fly to Havana

Welcome to Cuba! After you pass through immigration and customs, you will step outside into Havana’s tropical breeze, where a driver will be waiting for you. Climb into a vintage 1957 Chevy, your ride for the week, and head to your upscale guesthouse where you will check in and relax until dinner.

Tonight’s welcome dinner is at one of our favorite restaurants in Havana, Atelier. Consistently written up as one of the top paladares (privately owned restaurants) in Havana, it offers eclectic modern Cuban cuisine with Mediterranean influences. Don’t miss the seafood salad, with feta cheese, chickpeas and hints of cumin.

Day 2
Havana, Cuba
Casa Particular, or privately-owned guest house Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 2: Art, Cocktails, and Dancing with Local Experts

This morning it’s time to get to know Havana and the Cuban people. Starting with a walking tour of Havana Vieja (Old Havana), we will explore the two of the four main squares: Plaza de la Catedral, dominated by the stunning 18th century Catedral de San Cristóbal & Plaza San Francisco de Asis, near Havana’s harbor.

We will then head to one of Havana’s oldest and most renowned paladares for a delicious lunch prepared especially for us, and served in a beautiful garden setting. But first, we will have a fun mojito cocktail class at the paladar’s stunning bar! Bring your mojito along as we are invited into the kitchen for a cooking demonstration to learn the executive chef’s secrets to preparing traditional Cuban fare (think paella or ropa vieja) with a modern twist.

After lunch, we will wander through the street art gallery of muralist and painter Salvador Gonzales. Heavily influenced by the traditions of Santeria, an Afro-Caribbean religion, Salvador’s street art uses everything from bathtubs to car parts. We will peruse Salvador’s gallery and meet with the artist or curator who are happy to answer any questions about Santeria or the artist’s interesting work.

Next up is a salsa class at the home of Johan, one of our fabulous dance instructors. Whether or not you choose to dance, visiting his home will be an eye-opening experience. Climbing two stories on a rickety spiral staircase (the main staircase is continuously under repair), you will get a sense of how Cubans make do with the status quo, while maintaining their passion and optimism. Once upstairs, the dance troupe’s infectious smiles and joie de vivre will have you dancing in no time!

This evening, those who are interested in Cuba’s legendary music can attend an optional jazz performance at the Jazz Café in Vedado or a cabaret show at a local hotel. Our guide will be happy to assist you with the details.

Day 3
Havana, Cuba
Casa Particular, or privately-owned guest house Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: Explore Havana’s Markets & Happy Hour Tapas in a Local’s Home

This morning, we learn how food is purchased in Cuba with a trip to a mercado agropecuario (produce market) where you can watch the locals purchase their fruits and vegetables and chat with the friendly vendors. Our second market stop is a supermarket, where you will get a stark sense of what is, and is not, available to everyday Cubans.

Next we will explore the Museum of the City and Plaza de Armas. We will then enjoy lunch at the famous La Guarida. This paladar is renowned for its innovative cuisine and of course, its part in the movie “Fresa y Chocolate”.

After lunch, we will head to Plaza Vieja, which dates back to 1559 and whose buildings have been lovingly restored to their former glory. Here we will stroll through the plaza- visit art galleries, a coffee roastery, and even take a short break at a chocolate cafe, where you might like to sip a cup of hot or cold chocolate and taste their delectable chocolate treats. And, if you still have room, perhaps try some refreshing coconut ice cream from an ice cream street cart.

Our last stop of the day is a real treat as our guide and his wife invite you to their home in Centro Havana for happy hour tapas. Joining us will be a celebrated mixologist, one of the main barmen at El Floridita for 39 years. Recently retired, he will show you his secrets for mixing the perfect daiquiri – feel free to try your hand at the second round! Enjoy home-cooked tapas for dinner, along with great conversation and more than a few laughs with our hosts.

Later in the evening, those who are interested in Cuba’s legendary music might enjoy the Buena Vista Social Club show (touristy, but fun) at a local hotel. Our guide will be happy to assist you with the details.

Day 4
Viñales Valley, Cuba
Casa Particular, or privately-owned guest house Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4: Day Trip to Viñales Valley & Las Terrazas

We’ll get a very early start this morning with a drive to the lush, green, and peaceful Viñales Valley. Surrounded by limestone karsts, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the origin of some of the finest tobacco in the world.

Our first stop is an organic tobacco farm where we’ll meet with a third generation tobacco farmer. He will teach us how the cigars are made, explain the difference between Cohiba and Montecristo, and give you an opportunity to try a cigar dipped in honey. The cigars are very mellow and reasonably priced, should you decide to purchase them, but there is no pressure.

Next we’ll head to a lovely family-run paladar, with delicious farm-to-table Cuban food served family-style, and breathtaking, panoramic views across the entire Viñales Valley. Before we sit down to our feast, we will walk around the organic gardens that provide produce for the restaurant.

After lunch we will drive to the town of Las Terrazas, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. We will stop for a quick pick-me-up cup of coffee at a local cafe and then explore the ruins of one of the oldest coffee plantations in Cuba, built in the 18th century. Next up is a stroll through the picturesque whitewashed village, enjoying views of the lake and native birds, and then a visit to the home and art studio of a local artist.

After a long, fun day exploring Cuba’s countryside, we will drive back to Havana in time for a late dinner.

Day 5
Havana, Cuba
Casa Particular, or privately-owned guest house Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5: Fuster Gallery & Farm Tour

We’ll start the day with a visit to the Fuster Gallery, where we will see José Fuster’s incredibly colorful mosaic sculptures that have spread throughout his neighborhood.

Then we will take a 40-minute drive to an organic farm just outside the city of Havana. This farm is a new venture started by a young and entrepreneurial agricultural engineer. The director of the farm will show us around, telling us about the herbs and vegetables that are produced. We will also learn about honey production, as they have several swarms of bees. After lunch on the farm, we’ll pass through Revolution Square on our way back into Havana.

Once we arrive back in the city, the late afternoon is yours to explore Old Havana on your own or your guide will bring you back to your casa to relax. You could also continue on to the (touristy, but fun) El Floridita, for a Hemingway approved daiquiri!

This evening is our last in Havana. For those who are interested in Cuba’s legendary music, tonight is another opportunity to enjoy an optional jazz performance or a cabaret show. Our guide will be happy to assist you with the details.

Day 6
Trinidad, Cuba
Casa Particular, or privately-owned guest house Breakfast

DAY 6: Discover Trinidad

After the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s time to relax and soak it all in. So, today we bid farewell to Havana and drive five hours south to Trinidad, a small colonial town on the southern coast of Cuba, where you may just forget it’s the 21st century. Please be aware that this drive, while stunning, involves lots of time in our vintage cars. If you do not wish to do the 9-hour round trip drive to Trinidad (over the course of two separate days), you may book just the Havana portion of the tour. Please contact us for more information.

Once we arrive in Trinidad (don’t be surprised if you see more horse carriages and bicycles than cars!), we will check into our simple, but clean, accommodations, and enjoy a late afternoon walk around town to orient yourself to the area. Trinidad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the main plaza, or Plaza Mayor, has stunning colonial architecture and museums galore, and as we walk the cobblestone streets we’ll enjoy the sound of Cuban street musicians.

After dinner, you may want to visit the Casa de la Musica, an outdoor music venue that congregates on the enormous staircase behind the main church, just behind Plaza Mayor.

Day 7
Trinidad, Cuba
Casa Particular, or privately-owned guest house Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: Discover Trinidad

After the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s time to relax and soak it all in. So, today we bid farewell to Havana and drive five hours south to Trinidad, a small colonial town on the southern coast of Cuba, where you may just forget it’s the 21st century. Please be aware that this drive, while stunning, involves lots of time in our vintage cars. If you do not wish to do the 9-hour round trip drive to Trinidad (over the course of two separate days), you may book just the Havana portion of the tour. Please contact us for more information.

Once we arrive in Trinidad (don’t be surprised if you see more horse carriages and bicycles than cars!), we will check into our simple, but clean, accommodations, and enjoy a late afternoon walk around town to orient yourself to the area. Trinidad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the main plaza, or Plaza Mayor, has stunning colonial architecture and museums galore, and as we walk the cobblestone streets we’ll enjoy the sound of Cuban street musicians.

After dinner, you may want to visit the Casa de la Musica, an outdoor music venue that congregates on the enormous staircase behind the main church, just behind Plaza Mayor.

Day 8
Havana, Cuba
None Breakfast

DAY 8: Drive Back to Havana & Cuba Tour Ends

Alas, it is time to head home. We will drive approximately 5 hours to the airport in Havana for your evening flight home and your guide and driver will see that you are checked in for your flight. Goodbyes may be tough, because at this point they are far more than just your guide and driver – they are your Cuban friends.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Adventure
  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Family Vacations
  • Food & Wine
  • Islands & Beaches
  • Sightseeing

Description

Cuba Culinary Tour Overview

Take a step back in time and a step forward in cultural relations as you discover Cuba’s culture through its cuisine on our ground-breaking Cuba culinary tour. Access Trips pioneered culinary travel to Cuba by offering access inside Cuban kitchens at top restaurants for the first time ever on our legal, 8-day Cuba tour. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience an authentic culinary journey where you’ll meet the locals and immerse yourself in the Cuban food scene through farm and market visits, opportunities to learn from local chefs, and delicious meals at some of the island’s most renowned private restaurants, or paladares.

On your Cuba tour you will spend five action-packed days in vibrant Havana engaged in meaningful interaction with farmers, chefs and artists. We’ll be invited inside the kitchen of one of Havana’s finest paladares, learn to salsa with incredibly talented dancers, and meet an Afro-Cuban artist whose work evokes the traditions of Santeria. We will even make daiquiris with a celebrated mixologist who recently retired after 39 years at Havana’s legendary El Floridita, where Hemingway was a regular. And you’ll also have an opportunity to see some of Cuba’s iconic sights, such as Havana Vieja & Revolution Square.

We’ll venture far off the beaten path to the Viñales Valley, a stunningly serene and beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its tobacco plantations. We’ll meet a third-generation tobacco farmer and learn how he makes organic Cohiba and Montecristo cigars. Your Cuba tour won’t be complete until you try one dipped in honey! We’ll also dine at a delicious private restaurant with panoramic views across the entire valley and stroll through their organic farm. After lunch we will explore the town of Las Terrazas, which is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve and the site of one of the oldest coffee plantations in Cuba. We then journey to the town of Trinidad, where the sounds of street music and clip-clopping horse carriages evoke the town’s colonial history. A short drive away, we will meet with fishermen bringing in the morning haul, and learn the secrets to making Cuban grilled fish while chatting with a former fisherman turned chef in his open kitchen.

Don’t miss this opportunity to join one of our legal Cuba tours during a pivotal moment in history.

Top Press Coverage:

Access Culinary Trips has been named one of Fodor’s top tour operators, and our Cuba tour has been included in National Geographic Traveler’s 15 Food Tours Worth the Travel.

If you are looking for a shorter trip, please check out our 5-day Weekend in Havana Tour.

About Us

Access Culinary Trips is an award-winning tour company offering immersive, hand-crafted culinary vacations to exotic destinations around the globe. Explore culture through cuisine on one of our small group tours that take you behind the scenes to blend food and travel like you've never experienced before. Our knowledgeable local guides, world-class chefs, and carefully designed itineraries give you authentic, insider access to the local culture.

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