Small Group Travel
Henrietta Loyd invites you to join her in exploring the music, colour and contemporary art of Cuba
To say Cuba is special is to understate its exceptional charm. From the moment you step into Havana’s streets, and walk past the mix of age-stained, weather-beaten buildings and beautifully restored colonial architecture, you will be seduced.
Using her personal contacts and friends she made during her extensive travels throughout the Caribbean island, Henrietta has designed an extraordinary journey that combines an in-depth exploration of vibrant Havana and the small, UNESCO-protected town of Trinidad.
Henrietta has arranged private dinners with Cuba’s most exciting artists and has put together informal talks with some of the best musicians, art collectors and dancers in Havana. She will open doors for you that are completely off the tourist trail and allow you to access Cuba in an authentic and inspiring way.
Cubans are fun, friendly and, with a heady mix of Latin American and Caribbean style, they have inspired and created one of the world ’s most evocative contemporary art scenes. Above all, Henrietta wants this week to be stimulating and fun.
As we all know, this wonderful country is evolving. As such, our itinerary may well alter and develop to make sure that we see Cuba at its very best. We are in constant communication with our friends on the ground, who have the inside track on the best new restaurants and underground salsa clubs which pop up virtually every week.
What makes this trip spectacular?
Go behind the scenes in Cuba’s distinctive capital. Meet influential artists and curators, journey in a stunning vintage car and enjoy the exclusive opportunity of watching the Cuban National Ballet rehearse.
UNESCO-protected Trinidad is the town that sugar built. We will explore its pretty, colonial buildings and enjoy exclusive access to the plantations and old mills.
This journey is designed by Henrietta and she will be leading the group throughout, ensuring everything runs smoothly. Through her friends in Cuba, guests will be able to experience the country in a way that most simply do not have access to.
Day 1: 25th February
On arrival in Havana we will have a VIP reception service to whisk our guests past queues and into an air-conditioned vehicle waiting outside. We have chosen the Iberostar Parque Central as our base in Havana and there will be plenty of time to settle in before coming together for welcome drinks.
Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana
In the heart of historic Havana lies Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, the city’s newest and finest hotel. Formerly a grand 19th-century shopping mall - owned by a sugar baron - which later fell into disrepair, a five-year renovation has restored the building and created the most exciting new hotel in the Cuban capital. Head up to the rooftop swimming pool and terrace for views over the beautiful faded grandeur buildings that make up alluring Havana. The lobby bar and cigar lounge capture the romance of the past, while the bedrooms all have high-ceilings and are elegantly designed.
Day 2: 26th February
This morning you will explore the highlights of Havana on an incredible drive in your very own vintage open top car: an absolute must experience. En route you will be able to see the panoramic views of El Morro, the Fortress at the mouth of Havana Harbour, the Malecon, Prado and the impressive Bacardi Building and Revolution Square.
Back in town, lunch will be at a lively Paladar in the heart of Havana. The afternoon will be free for you to relax back at the hotel or explore the old city at your own pace.
Meeting at dusk, you will learn and uncover Havana's colonial past, visiting four key squares of Old Havana, a UNESCO world heritage site. Then it's time to be whisked away by rickshaw from Plaza de la Catedral to your evening dinner and experience this Caribbean town coming to life right before your eyes.
Day 3: 27th February
Today is particularly thrilling for the art lovers amongst the group as our specialist art curator will lead you to the private homes of some exciting contemporary Cuban artists. To add to the experience you will also get to meet the artists behind the work which you are seeing, and hear about how Havana's history and culture has influenced their incredible work and the stories behind them.
The afternoon is free for you to wander around the Old Town and take in the day-to-day atmosphere, before returning to the hotel to relax before meeting for dinner.
Day 4: 28th February
This morning you will visit the National Ballet Company to enjoy a very special private ballet rehearsal. After lunch the roles will reverse and there's a chance for those wanting to practise their moves to take part in an optional salsa lesson. The afternoon is then free for you to rest back at the hotel or to explore the museums and Old Town.
Dinner this evening will be in a wonderful setting in the private home of an renowned Cuban artist, where they will explain their art, development as an artist and show you some of their latest works.
Day 5: 1st March
A pretty drive into the hills towards Trinidad takes our guests via Cienfuegos. Lunch will be at Finca del Mar before reaching the beautiful UNESCO protected-city of Trinidad. Here we will check into Casa Amistad or Finca Kenia where you'll receive a welcome Mojitos with the rest of the afternoon free to relax at the hotel.
Dinner will be at Finca Kenia followed by a night of dancing to the infectious beat of Latin American music under the stars in an open air salsa bar.
In Trinidad guests will stay in a collection of small guest houses each located centrally and within walking distance of each other. These private homes reflect the nature of this old colonial town and will give guests an opportunity to see another side of Cuban life and culture.
Day 6: 2nd March
After a leisurely breakfast, those who wish can join Henrietta and our local guide to walk around the streets of Trinidad to hear how the town was an integral part of the sugar trade at a time when it was one of the most important Caribbean exports in the world.
You will spend the afternoon visiting the home studios of local artists based in Trinidad who will talk you through their work, and give an insight into the influence of Cuban art outside of Havana. A very special dinner will be arranged this evening and you will be accompanied by a wonderful local band.
Day 7: 3rd March
After breakfast we have organised for you to take a short drive into the Valley to visit the Sugar Plantations, where you will get the chance to understand the slave history in relation to the sugar industry and see the mills, many of which are still in production today.
You will then begin your return journey to Havana via Playa Giron where you will stop for lunch and have the opportunity to snorkel with our special certified dive guide and scuba instructor. This evening we have arranged a special farewell dinner in Havana, after which you will have the option to join Henrietta for some late-night Jazz and the chance to try out those new salsa moves.
Day 8: 4th March
Your final day in Havana is free for you to explore. Some suggestions as to what you could do would be, visiting the Partagas Cigar Factory to see the famous Cuban cigars being hand rolled, indulging some final bits of shopping, returning to purchase some art you might have seen earlier in the week or heading to the beach at Playas del Este.
We will arrange a VIP departure service to skip the luggage queues in the airport.
Day 9: 5th March
This morning you will arrive home.
Henrietta’s extensive travels through Cuba and the friends she has made there will ensure that guests see the island in its absolute best light. One of the joys of Cuba is its unpredictable spirit and through her contacts and knowledge, Henrietta can ensure that those idiosyncrasies are experienced in a purely enjoyable manner! Running through this trip is an unbridled sense of fun and flexibility, with Henrietta able to tailor the trip according to the group’s particular passions. Above all, she is so thrilled to be able to introduce guests to one of her all-time favourite destinations.
From: £4,759 per person sharing
Single supplement: £390
+ All accommodation and meals as specified
+ 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 6 dinners
+ House wine and beer at lunch and dinner
+ All road transfers as specified
+ Guiding and excursions as specified
+ Park fees and other entry fees
+ International flights
+ Travel insurance
+ 4 lunches and 1 dinner
+ Premium drinks
+ Any other extras
* Please contact us about visas
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