Arrival in Havanna
Greeting and assistance by our tour concierge at the international airport José Martí in La Habana. Enjoy a refreshing „Mojito“ and your first cigar at the VIP Lounge while your lugagge is brought through customs.
A limousine with driver brings you to your residence „La Mansion“ (4*), the manor-house of a former tobacco baron – a Florentine palace in Miramar, one of the most elegant neighbourhoods in La Habana. The patio with its shady marble-columned hallways and the representative main salon with valuable mural paintings and pieces of art topped by a altarlike gallery are impressive. A beautiful terrace leads to the spacious garden, where the pool is exclusively at your disposition.
To the guests who prefer to stay inmidst the old town, we recommend as an alternative the Hotel Saratoga (5*) – a charming boutique hotel inspired in the tradition of the 30’s with a colonial touch. From the spacious luxurious „Suite Habana“ you can enjoy a unique view of the monumental Capitol building and the roof terrasse with its pool offers a magnificient vista over the old town.
Oldtimers, Hemingway, Mafia and Tropicana
After breakfast your Tour Concierge awaits you with an american convertible oldtimer. Along the Quinta Avenida with its impressive mansions you drive through the Habana of the 50’s, and on the famous Malecón up to the old town.
Explore the colonial old-Habana walking and on horse-drawn carriages: the Capitol-building, the cathedral square, „La Bodeguita“, the general captain’s palace, Plaza de Armas, El Templete, and many more. You take the aperitif with a notorious painter or artist, before you have lunch at the stylish Café Oriente at the Plaza San Francisco or in Hemingways „Floridita“, where you get to taste his famous cocktail creation „Papa“. In the afternoon drive through the Velado neighbourhood where you visit the revolution square and the cemetery Colón. Listen to mafia anecdotes and other „celebrities“ at the fame gallery in the legendary Hotel Nacional while enjoying a refreshing cocktail. In the evening your tour concierge awaits you with the oldtimer to take you to a very special dinner with 50’s flair either in the garden-restaurant „La Cocina de Liliam“ or at the Paladar „La Esperanza“. Both belong to the few private restaurants in the city. Following you visit the world famous Tropicana Show. Live a nostalgic journey through the cuban music and dance history. From Cha-Cha to Mambo, from Son to Salsa, from Konga to Rumba. About 200 dancers, musicians, artists and a 50’s live orchestra acommpany you throughout the show, nestled in a gorgeous garden ambiente – Habanna’s paradise beneath the stars
Cigars and Rum
This day is dedicated to cigars and rum, the Cuban elixir of life. Your tour concierge acommpanies you through one of the famous tobacco factories*, for example „Partagas“, „El Laguito“, „H. Upmann“ or „Romeo y Julieta“. Experience the ably hands of the torcedores producing the world’s best cigars. During a tobacco test you get to know more about the secrets of top cigars. Naturally there is still enough time for „Cigar-Shopping“. Following you visit the house of a Santero priest or „Babalao“ where you get a glimpse of the afro Cuban religions. During a guided tour through the Havana Club foundation rum museum you enjoy the aperitif. Following you experience a very special cigar-fan lunch in the Hostal Conde de Villanueva, where the ambiente is dedicated completely to tobacco. During the degustation in the cozy humidor you get the chance to dabble yourself in rolling a real Cuban cigar. In the afternoon guided tour through the Gran Teatro Garcia Lorca and / or the Museum of Bellas Artes with its faboulous artworks of Cuban artists. In the evening visit of a theater performance**: Opera, concert, flamenco or the renownend national ballet under the guidance of Alica Alonso. You will be impressed of the high artistic level. Afterwards late night dinner on the top floor of the legendary Hotel Tryp Habana Libre, the former Hilton (until 1958) and whose Presidential Suite was used temporarily by Fidel Castro in 1959 as a seat of government. From the Restaurant „Sierra Maestra“ on the top floor you have the best view over the city. On the same level just next door you find live Salsa and Latin Disco in the Turquin Cabaret. If desired we can organize a private Salsa dance course with Cuban dance teachers, for example on the terrace of your mansion.
* The Cigar fabrics are open only Monday through Friday. On weekends and during holidays a visit is not possible. On some days they can be closed without any priot notice.
** According the repertoire (only Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays afternoon) otherwise alternative program.
"Nostalgia on rails“
Cuba ist known for its railway story. One of the pioneers was the american chocolate producer Hershey, who at the age of 61 built a huge sugar and transport empire. His Hershey-Express – the first Cuban electro train (1920) is a unique experience. Our rustic and very typical excursion starts with a ride to the Christ statue with an awesome view over the bay of Havanna. At the idyllic railway station Casablanca the nostalgic Hershey Express is already waiting exclusively for you. The drive leads through a typical cuban landscape, far away from tourims. You get the chance to chat with the local people, the campesinos and learn how to cut sugar cane. On board you get spoiled with an open bar and live music. If desired we can arrange a professional dance couple, that can teach you the basic Salsa steps. On the tour through Hersheys „Batey“ with Pennsylvanian style houses, the shut down sugar cane factory and his former mansion you learn a part of the American-Cuban industrial history. Rustic lunch in the Hershey Park by a idyllic stream. On the way back you stop at the fishing village of Cojímar, coulisse for Hemingway’s roman „The Old Man and the Sea“ with which the writer won the Nobel prize. After a short stroll you taste the cocktail „Don Gregorio“ in Hemingway’s favorite restaurant „Las Terrazas“. In the evening dinner with the exclusive ambiente of the private cult local „La Guarida“ – „the hardest table to get in Havana“, film location of the famous Cubam movie „Strawberries and Chocolate“ (Oskar-Nominee in 1992). Afterwards you have the chance to attend a concert with musicians of the environment of the Buena Vista Social Club**, for example in the 1930 hall of the Hotel Nacional. Or simply conclude your evening sipping a Mojito at the romantically illuminated cathedral square.
Train drive with 2 – 5 participants depends on permits. Otherwise alternative program.
** Depends on repertoire, mostly on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 22.00 p.m.
Excursion into the tobacco land
Early wake up. Today you will head for a longer day trip in the province of Pinar del Rio. On the tobacco route you get to „Vuelta Abajo“ „holy ground“ with the best tobacco soils of the world. You visit the plantation of one of the famous Vegueros (Tobacco - farmer), for example Pancho Cuba or Robaina – two living tobacco legends. On a roundtrip over the fields and through the drying house you get to know everything about the secrets of the tobacco cultivation. Rustical lunch with Cuban coffee, hand rolled cigar and Guayabita liquor in close company of the local campesinos. Enjoy a scenic tour through the Viñales valley with its impressive limestone rocks and the prehistoric mural – a huge rock face with primitive motives of the Cuban painter Modrillo. In the late afternoon drive back to Havanna. In the evening dinner in the garden restaurant „La Finca“, where Fidel often used to eat with his friend „Gabo“, the world known writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.