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Origins of the Revolution tour

Origins of the Revolution

Adventure Unbound
5.0 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: N/A
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
7 days
From: $ 2,490 $ 356 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Visit to Holguin, Cuba’s fourth-largest city, known as the “City of Parks”
  • Enjoy Driving South, into the Sierra Maestra
  • Explore El Salton, waterfalls and swim
  • Experience drive through the Sierra Maestra
  • Explore Santiago de Cuba

Short Description

A Walking Tour to the Sierra Maestra and Santiago de Cuba. In December 1956, Fidel and Raul Castro, along with Che Guevara, traveled by boat from Mexico to start an armed revolution against Batista’s army. Their landing went badly, and the survivors fled into the rugged Sierra Maestra.  This steep and impressive mountain range towers over the southern coast of Cuba for some 80 miles and is home to mountain peasants who make a living with gardens, coffee, cocoa and determination.  Our adventure explores the life of Fidel and the origins of the revolution as we visit the Castro family estate, hike the trails of the Sierra Maestra, and immerse ourselves in the vibrant city of Santiago de Cuba.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Array
Itinerary Focus N/A
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Holguin
End City Santiago de Cuba

Travel Theme

Cultural

Destinations

Cuba

Cities & Attractions

Havana

Activities

Culture Hiking

Age Requirement

12

N/A
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Trip Includes

  • Experienced English-speaking guide(s)
  • Specialized activity guides based on activity of trip (kayaking, biking, hiking, etc.)
  • Specialized equipment needed for activities such as kayaks, bikes, helmets, paddles, personal flotation devices, etc.
  • Private pre-tour orientation meeting
  • Cuba Unbound hand-crafted itineraries
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All meals as noted in itinerary
  • Certification of travel to Cuba under the U.S. Department of Treasury general license
  • Small group size (Custom tours for 2, group tours are 16-18)
  • All entrance fees to include events and activities
  • All in-country ground transportation
  • Clean drinking water available at all times
  • Gratuities for presenters, luggage handling, and restaurant staff

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Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Cuba

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Casa Particular (smaller groups) or Hotel Caballeriza (larger groups)

Arrive Holguin on one of the mid-day flights.  Meet your local guide and transfer into the city for lunch and your introduction to Cuba!  We have an afternoon walking tour focused on the history of Holguin, Cuba’s fourth-largest city, known as the “City of Parks” and filled with charming colonial architecture.

Later in the afternoon we check into our accommodations, then enjoy a meal at one of the city’s fine paladars (private restaurants)

Day 2: Driving South, into the Sierra Maestra

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel El Salton

Note: Those participating in our Kayak East Tour join up with this tour mid-morning

After breakfast, we depart from Holguin and drive southeast, stopping near the town of Cueto to meet up with anyone from our Kayak East trip that is joining us.  We head south on a road of tranquil agricultural scenery and through several towns and scenes of everyday life in Cuba.  First up is a stop to visit Biran, the estate of the Castro family and birthplace of both Fidel and Raul.  Their father, Angel, was quite a successful businessman and developed a small hamlet on the main railroad line that had a hotel, restaurant, cock-fighting ring and the family home.  On our fascinating People-to-People tour with a local specialist, we learn more about the history of the Castro family and Fidel’s formative years.

We continue south and west to the town of Contramaestre and then delve deep into the mountains where the Revolution had its beginnings and the Third Front began.  This is an area rich in both history and nature.

Our destination is El Salton, a tropical resort set amid a thick jungle of green.  Here we meet our local guide Carlos for a People-to-People walk among houses of local farmers.  Many grow and process coffee and cocoa in these mountains, and we learn about their daily life on an easy two-mile walk.  This is also a birder’s paradise, where the Cuban tody, hook-billed kites, Cuban Amazon parrots, and woodpeckers call to one another in the dense trees.

We enjoy a peaceful dinner and evening under the stars at the Hotel El Salton.

Day 3: Explore El Salton, waterfalls and swim

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation : Hotel El Salton

Today starts on our feet.  With our local guide, who is well-versed in the endemic species that live here in the mountains, and knows all the locals, we hike along mountain paths.  It’s a day mixed with learning about the forest ecosystem and visiting with local Cuban farmers and villagers. Royal palms, oaks and ferns dot the landscape, and orchids dangle from the trees. Birders will also delight in this tropical forest, replete with hummingbirds, thrushes, falcons and many of the endemic species of Cuba. A highlight of the day will be a visit to a local school high in the mountains.  Another will be lunch with a local family in a simple home surrounded by coffee, grazing areas and fruit trees.  People here live simply and close to the land.  It’s a fascinating glimpse into their lives where traditional open fire kitchens, gardens and farm animals are at the core.

Our afternoon takes us to a lovely swimming hole for a dip in refreshing waters.  Then we return to our hotel for another evening of music, dinner and star-gazing.

Day 4: From Mountains to Sea - Santiago de Cuba

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Casa Particulares or Hotels (Gran, Imperial, Casa Grande or similar)

Today we have an exciting and remote drive through the Sierra Maestra, over a pass and down to the coast with four-wheel drive jeeps.  The drive gets us deep into the heart of the Sierra Maestra with fantastic views of the Caribbean as we descend from the mountain pass to the sea.  We make plenty of stops for photography and have lunch along the way.

Once we arrive at the coast we head east towards Santiago, perhaps stopping for a dip in the ocean on the way.  We settle into our hotel, then head out for a great dinner at a local paladar.

Day 5: Explore Santiago de Cuba

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Casa Particulares or Hotels (Gran, Imperial, Casa Grande or similar)

Santiago de Cuba is an important port city and Cuba’s second biggest city, next to Havana.  It shares a similar pulsating energy but grooves to its own beat. It’s hardly surprising that many consider Santiago the cradle of Cuban music, and the son originated here.

Today is a day to explore this fascinating city.  We start with a visit to a cigar factory where the legendary Cohibas and other brands are rolled and shaped.  This is an intriguing look into the complex process that is required from tobacco harvest to final product.  Next up, we visit the Plaza de la Revolucion, with the impressive and towering Monumento Antonio Maceo cast in bronze.  Then it’s on to the Cementerio de Santa Ifigenia with the tomb of Jose Marti, hero of Cuban independence and more recently, that of Fidel Castro.  We watch the changing of the guard ceremony and explore the graves of other famous Cubans including the resting place of Compay Segundo, the legendary singer and guitarist who wrote the Chan Chan that we were introduced to earlier in our journey.

Ater lunch, we visit  San Juan Hill where Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders rose to glory and defeated the Spanish in the Spanish-American War of 1898.  Bronze plaques have lists of the U.S. soldiers killed in the war.  We learn about this ilittle-known chapter in our history, then head to a special musical performance where we learn about Santiago’s musical heritage.  Our visit to the Casa de la Trova where Paul McCartney once made an appearance is sure to get you on your feet and dancing! This is a state sponsored music salon where a cadre of singers and musicians perform. Its freeform musicality showcases a nostalgia for the days of troubadours and the open welcoming of any and all performers. Sounds of the street mingle with the melodies, becoming part of the ambience.  Dinner is another Cuban feast.

Day 6: A History Lesson Through Santiago de Cuba

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Casa Particulares or Hotels (Gran, Imperial, Casa Grande or similar)

We take the opportunity to further explore Santiago today as we head out on a walking tour of the city. Santiago’s proximity to tropical islands like Jamaica has infused the city with an urbane glamour and vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture evident throughout the streets. It’s also a cultural capital that has played pivotal roles in Castro’s revolution and the Bacardí rum business.

Our walking tour takes us to Parque Céspedes, a quintessential Cuban square where colonial architecture is foregrounded by troubadours smoking cigars and writers seek literary inspiration in terrace bars. A statue of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the man who incited the 1868 rebellion, overlooks the modern bustle. Next to the park we find the Diego Velázquez Museum, home of Cuba’s first governor built in 1516 reputed to be Cuba’s oldest house.  We amble on to the Museo del Ron that explores the history and production of Cuba’s most popular liquor. Our local expert guide brings these places all to life while providing an excellent educational exchange.

After lunch our exploration continues with a visit to the Moncada barracks where Castro’s revolution got off to a failed start in 1953.  We enjoy a stroll down the vehicle-free Boulevard for some souvenir shopping, and on to the El Tivoli neighborhood, named by French plantation owners who had fled Haiti during the Haitian slave revolution and settled here.  Narrow streets crisscross steep hills that head towards the bay and one of Cuba’s only brewpubs where we enjoy a beer or soda before returning to the hotel.

In the evening we have our farewell dinner and for those who want, enjoy a night in the energetic town. 

Day 7: Fly home or on to our Havana Extension

Meals: Breakfast

This morning we provide transfers to either the Santiago Airport or a three-hour return to the Holguin airport.

Note on Flights: As of March 2017 there are several daily direct flights to Holguin including Jet Blue and American from Florida.  The flights from Florida arrive around 11am to noon.  At the end of the trip, we offer the option of a transfer back to Holguin from Santiago (3 hours) because there are more flight options from Holguin.  If you are continuing to our Havana extension we fly from Santiago to Havana directly.

Availability

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Price From $ 2,490
Price Per Day: $ 356 per day
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7 Adventure Unbound Travel Reviews & Ratings

100%
5.0 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 7
Great 0
Average 0
Disappointing 0
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Value
5.0
Guide
5.0
Activities
5.0
Lodging
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Transportation
5.0
Meals
5.0

Origins of the Revolution

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They are just great!!!

5.0
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Value5.0
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Meals5.0
They are just great!!!
They have a no-nonsense ambience.
The Dormitory is adequate, very clean and comfortable.
The food was very tasty, homely and had a good variety.
The activities catered to our satisfaction. They are provided with lots of patience. Every staff member is so friendly and they ensure that you enjoy the outing.
We were a family with people from all are groups. They took care of every individual needs. Our aged mother was made very comfortable, and they arranged a chair for her at every activity area.
We spent almost two days and one night. And we enjoyed every moment.
If one is looking for a good outing, this is the place. Total value for money. Above all it's the passion of the staff that makes them better than most places around Bangalore.
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The hygiene and quality of food served was par excellence.

5.0
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Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Just a couple of weeks ago, our team had been to ‘Eagles Unbound Adventure Camp’ for a team outing. It was one of the best outings that we have had and a lot of credit goes to Mr. Sunil Chris for being the perfect host. He and his team had ensured that every minute detail was taken into consideration and delivered as promised. The fact that the organizers were able to feel the pulse of our team and plan activities accordingly had built the right tone for team bonding. The hygiene and quality of food served was par excellence. I would recommend ‘Eagles Unbound’ to anyone planning a team outing.
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Wonderful place for day outing and adventure activities

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Meals5.0
Wonderful place for day outing and adventure activities , and learning for personality development and come out from inner fear of adventure
good work keep it up ...
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amazing adventure activities and friendly staff.

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Activities5.0
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Great place to have a refreshing day with friends, family and co-workers.
amazing adventure activities and friendly staff. Food is nice too. They also have a great variety of adventure packages.
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A wonderful destination for camping and adventure activities

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A wonderful destination for camping and adventure activities in South India. well qualified instructors and world class equipments. safety and security is their prime concern.
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Amazing place with lots of adventures activities

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Amazing place with lots of adventures activities combined with military activities like obstacle course.. A must place to visit... Loved being there.. Worth the penny
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Cancellation Policy:

CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

If you find it necessary to cancel your trip, you should notify Adventure Unbound in writing, by e-mail or fax immediately.  If written cancellation is received (call to verify) before the final balance is due, you will be given a refund less the amount of the deposit.  Deposits are not refundable.  If cancellations are made on or after the final due date, no money will be refunded.  If you are unable to go on the trip, you are welcome to find a replacement for yourself.  Please understand that once you’ve signed up, we lose the right to sell your reserved space to other individuals or groups.  Therefore, we regret that we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies.  For this reason we strongly recommend you consider purchasing the Travel Protection Plan we offer.

For non USA-based trips, Adventure Unbound must make substantial payments to its suppliers (hotels, transportation companies, etc.) far in advance of the trip departure date.  If Adventure Unbound cancels any tour, trip or expedition due to acts of insurrection, force majeure, strikes, popular demonstrations, acts of God, earthquake, flooding, or any cause beyond its control, Adventure Unbound will refund the portion of the trip cost not already advanced to suppliers and use its best efforts to recover and refund the balance as promptly as possible.

If we are not able to provide a substitute trip, river, or altered itinerary and have to cancel the departure completely, you will be refunded in full. Refunds are limited to the amount actually paid to Adventure Unbound.

CANCELLATIONS FOR EXTENSIONS

There is a $100 per person non-refundable cancellation fee for all extensions.  Cancellations must be received no later than 60 days prior to departure to avoid additional penalties.  Cancellations made 59-30 days prior to departure incur a cancellation fee of 50% of the total fare.  Cancellations made 29-0 days prior to departure forfeit all fees paid.  For groups of 10 or more, cancellations must be received no later than 120 days prior to departure.  Cancellations made between 119-60 days incur a cancellation fee of 25% of the total fare.

Age Notes

Min. Age: 12

Additional Information:

What is a Casa particular?

This is something you'll hear in Cuba a lot. A casa particular is a private accommodation or private homestay in Cuba, very similar to a bed and breakfast, although it can also take the form of vacation rental.  On ROW's Cuba Unbound tour, you can expect to stay in a mix of traditional hotels and casas particulares, making for a full and authentic visit to Cuba.

How difficult is the walking?

We walk between two and five miles.  Our pace is casual and most walks have little to no elevation gain.  Most of the walking will be done during the day in the cities that we will visit. There will be plenty of breaks to take pictures and to learn about the history of the area from our specialized guides. The hikes in the parks will also be guided by experts and the pace will be set depending on the group's abilities.

What are the trail conditions?

Trails are generally well maintained, but loose rock and dirt are common. All paths may be slippery when wet. Good walking shoes or boots are essential; walking poles are not necessary. In the cities where we walk, careful attention to holes in the sidewalks or streets is critical.

What about drinking water?

We will provide clean drinking water at all times during the tour!

Trip ID#:

OriRevAdv

Trip Excludes

  • Round-trip air to/from Cuba
  • Cuba Tourist Visa Fee  (ranges from $50-$100 depending on where you buy it)
  • Guide and driver gratuities
  • Personal expenses such as souvenirs, gifts, additional drinks/entertainment, and incidentals

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