Tours

Mexico & Cuba TOUR
Mexico & Cuba TOURHavana Centro26caleta_beach_in_acapulco__mexicoCAP WITH CARSciudad-de-acapulco-7coppercanyoncoppercanyon34creelcuba.tiffcubastreetDECLARACIONPUEBLOMAGICOEl Nicho Falls, Sierra de Trinidad, CubaHavana-Cuba-cuba-981266_1280_960hoteldivisaderoMexico City, Dec 2003mexico_city_catedral_metropolitanamexicoPalenquePinar Del Riotaxco-mexico.tiffTowaTrinidad - Plaza Mayortrinidad_cuba-20

Mexico and Cuba

Tour departs: 11 May 2017
Tour length: 22 Days

Overview

Tour Departs: 11th May 2017.

Tour Length: 22 Days.

This tour is a repeat of our very successful tours to Mexico and Cuba of the past three years, countries which are still very much unknown to many. However, that is changing quickly following the “softening” of relations between the USA and Cuba. With the influx of visitors from the USA, Cuba will change dramatically over the next few years so we do encourage you to travel now before the real Cuban “flavour” as we have known it disappears. The itinerary for 2017 is the same as the one we followed in 2016, with a few minor changes to enhance the experience. We now fly directly to Houston, Texas, for a 2 night stay before flying to Mexico City where we will base ourselves for 5 nights with day trips around and outside the city. We again include the Yucatan Province, the centre of Mayan culture, this year flying directly from Havana into Cancun for a 4 night stay and minimising the amount of internal air travel.  Then there is Cuba, the land of Castro and Hemingway – get ready for some surprises and revelations. The country may be poor in economic terms but its history and culture are rich indeed. We again spend 9 days on the island and you will be enthralled by its beaches, mountains, architecture and music, but most of all by its people with their welcoming smiles and love of life, despite the hardships of the past.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Mexico:

  • Mexico City – a 5-night stay
  • Guadalupe and Teotihuacan, “City of the Gods”
  • Taxco, Silver City
  • Cancun, the Caribbean resort of the rich and famous
  • Chichen Itza, centre of the ancient Mayan Empire

 

Cuba:

  • Havana – a 3 night stay, centre of the revolution
  • Cruise the city in old American cars
  • Ernest Hemingway’s home
  • Che Guevara Mausoleum
  • Bay of Pigs
  • Trinidad, reflecting its colonial past
  • Pinar del Rio, the garden of Cuba

 

Itinerary

Thursday 11 May

Home – Houston (D)

We depart on our overnight flight to Houston. Cross International Dateline en route. On arrival this afternoon, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a 2 night stay. This evening, let’s enjoy dinner together. Hyatt Regency Downtown.


Friday 12 May

Houston (B)

We start our sightseeing tour in the city passing landmarks like Hermann Park, City Hall and the renowned Museum District. We then travel to Space Centre Houston to learn all about space travel. A tram will take us on a tour of the Johnson Space Centre and we will see the old and new Mission Control Centres and the Saturn V rocket while watching NASA staff at work. There is time to explore the exhibits including Apollo 17 and a full-size replica of a space shuttle. We return to our hotel later this afternoon. The evening is at leisure.


Saturday 13 May

Houston – Mexico City (B.D)

This morning, we return to the airport and join our lunchtime flight to Mexico City.  On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a 5 night stay. This evening, we enjoy dinner together at the hotel. Hotel Zocalo Central

 


Sunday 14 May

Mexico City (B)

Today we experience one of the world’s biggest cities with its precious treasures of nature, culture, art and history. We start our tour at Plaza de la Constitucion (Zocalo), the main square and the beating heart of the city, with a visit to the National Palace and Cathedral. We then drive along the famous Paseo de la Reforma built during the brief reign of Maximilian to connect Zocalo and his castle at Chapultepec. We finish the tour with a visit to the Anthropological Museum for an excellent insight into Mexican history and archaeology.


Monday 15 May

Guadalupe & Teotihuacan Tour (B,D)

We drive to the impressive archaeological site of Teotihuacan, located 50km northeast of Mexico City. Our first stop is at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas where three cultures converge: Aztec, Spanish, and contemporary Mexican. We continue to the Basilica de Guadalupe, Latin America’s most revered religious shrine. It is here where the Virgin of Guadalupe is said to have appeared before an Indian named Juan Diego in 1531, and an image of her was miraculously emblazoned on his cloak. We will have time to explore the New Basilica de Guadalupe (the Old Basilica, built in 1700, is slowly sinking) and to see Juan Diego’s cloak. We then continue to Teotihuacan, one of the most impressive cities of the ancient world, held sacred by the Aztecs. We explore its temples, palaces and pyramids, including the Quetzalpapalotl Palace Complex, the Temple of the Feathered Conches, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the immense Pyramid of the Sun, ranked among the biggest in the world. We return to Mexico City later this afternoon and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.


Tuesday 16 May

Xochimilco Tour (B)

On this morning’s tour, we pass by the World Trade Centre and the huge Bull Ring en route to University City with its famous library decorated throughout with the murals of Juan O’Gorman. Across the road is University Stadium which hosted the 1968 Olympics. At Xochimilco, we board a traditional punt (trajinera) for a scenic cruise through the famous floating gardens where produce and flowers grow in abundance in exotic surroundings accompanied by the music of the mariachi bands. The area is the last slice of the lake that was the great Valley of Anahuac and gives an idea of how the City of Tenochtitlan was before the arrival of the conquerors.

We visit Coyoacan, a former colonial village, located in the south of Mexico City. Coyoacan still has its own identity, with narrow colonial-era streets, plazas, cafes and a lively bohemian atmosphere. We will walk along Coyoacan’s main plaza, churches and beautiful old buildings, including the house of conqueror Hernan Cortes. We continue to visit Frida Kahlo’s home and museum, “La Casa Azul” (The Blue House) – where she was born, lived much of her life, and eventually died. The house is a treasure trove, not only of her paintings, but also of innumerable artefacts associated with her and her husband, famous muralist Diego Riviera.

The remainder of the day is at Leisure


Wednesday 17 May

Cuernavaca & Taxco Tour (B,L)

As we start our full day tour, sit back and enjoy the breath-taking scenery on the highway through the Sierra Madre Mountains to Cuernavaca, “The City of Eternal Spring” where we visit the ancient cathedral to see the XVII century murals depicting the execution of Christian martyrs in Japan. The building dates back to 1526 and was raised to Cathedral status in 1891. We continue to Taxco, the renowned silver centre, now a national monument that preserves its XVIII century atmosphere. The Spanish were drawn to the area in 1522 by Aztec tales of rich mineral deposits. We visit the Silver Gallery, where we learn about the production processes of this valuable and noble metal. After lunch at a local restaurant Monte Taxco, we walk through the town with its narrow cobblestone streets clinging to the steep hillside and visit the Church of Santa Prisco, a treasure of baroque architecture. Late this afternoon, we return to Mexico City.


Thursday 18 May

Mexico City – Havana (B,D)

This morning, we transfer back to the airport and join the flight to the Cuban capital, Havana. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a 3 night stay. Located in the very heart of the city, our hotel offers the chance to take a wander through the local area and sample Havana’s amazing street life before retiring for the night. Telegrafo Hotel


Friday 19 May           

Havana (B,L,D)

There is no better “scene setter” than the Museum of the City so this is the first stop on our unique Havana city tour. It is located at the former headquarters of the Generals of the Army of the Island during the colonization. It has collections that illustrate the historical background of the city from its foundation up to the present times. The most important rooms exhibit the Cuban wars for national independence. Back into the sunshine for a fascinating, guided stroll through Old Havana, visiting the four famous historical squares, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza De San Francisco, Plaza Vieja and Plaza De Armas. We end the morning with a visit to the Havana Club Rum Museum where we learn about the production of Cuba’s world famous rum. Lunch will be taken overlooking Cathedral Square at El Patio restaurant, a firm favourite in Havana and this will be followed by a special treat as we explore Havana in chauffeur-driven old and colourful American cars for which the city is renowned. The cars will take you to the impressive Revolution Square overlooked by the mural of Ernesto “Che” Guevara and through the downtown Vedado district of the city. We continue past the elegant mansions and embassies in Miramar district before a spectacular drive along the “Malecon”, Havana’s seafront promenade. The tour this afternoon will also include a visit to one of Havana’s famous working cigar factories to see firsthand how the world famous cigars are still hand rolled!

In the evening we have another truly unique experience as we head to La Terraza at the Asturias Centre for dinner overlooking the famous Prado Boulevard. Strolling through old Havana to the restaurant there is a chance to enjoy a pre-dinner drink at the Floridita Bar, famed throughout the world for its close links with Ernest Hemingway and reputed to be the birthplace of the Daiquiri!


Saturday 20 May

Havana (B,L)

We start the day on a sombre note with a visit to the Colon Cemetery, one of the great historical cemeteries in the world. The cemetery is the final resting place of noted Cubans from all walks of life and boasts over 500 memorials, mausoleums and chapels. We then leave the city and travel to “Finca Vigia” in San Francisco de Paula, Ernest Hemingway‘s winter home from 1939 to 1960. We see the author’s 9000 volume library, his typewriter and his yacht “Pilar”. We then return to the city and visit Hotel Ambos Mundos and room 511, Hemingway’s first home in Cuba which he rented between 1932 and 1939 and where he began his epic novel “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. There will be some free time to stroll through Old Havana before returning to the hotel


Sunday 21 May

Havana – Trinidad (B,L,D)

After an early breakfast we head east through the heart of Cuba and down the very quiet “motorway” to Santa Clara, a city of major historical significance in Cuba. After lunch we visit the final resting place of Che Guevara at the very symbolic Mausoleum with time to visit the museum dedicated to his life before continuing to “Tren Blindado” the train that was attacked by Che Guevara in the last battle of the Cuban Revolution. We travel around the Escambray mountains via the small town of Sancti Spiritus. A perfect place to stop for a while and absorb the delightful river setting of this city founded in 1514, with the historic bridge over the Yayabo river and the small cobblestoned streets leading to the centre. We then continue to Sugar Mill valley where the 145 ft Manaca Iznaga Tower stands as a silent witness to Cuba’s history of slavery where over 30,000 slaves worked in the sugar plantations overlooked by the tower. We have a 2 night stay in Trinidad. Brisas Trinidad del Mar Hotel


Monday 22 May

Trinidad (B,D)

Today we explore the UNESCO preserved centre of Trinidad with visits to the Romantic Museum (if open) depicting the lifestyle and architectural design of Trinidad’s colonial past and the Museum Cantero housed in the beautiful neo-classical Palacio Cantero, once home to the colourful figure Justo German Cantero. Here, you can climb the bell tower for the very best views across Trinidad and the bay. Sample the unique Trinidad rum and sugar cane cocktail at La Canchanchara, an old house dating back to the 18th Century but beware – it’s lovely but very strong!


Tuesday 23 May

Trinidad – Cienfuegos  (B,L)

This morning we head along the south coast road to the colonial city of Cienfuegos stopping at the Botanical Gardens which has its roots as an “Experimental Garden” funded by Harvard University from the early years of the 20th century. The garden welcomes visitors to a soothing setting of palms, orchids, bamboos, and myriad other tropical plants. Cienfuegos overlooks a beautiful bay and we enjoy a tour of the central city before lunch at the Nautical Club. We visit Palacio de Valle, an architectural jewel reminiscent of Spanish-Moorish art with influences of Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Mudejar arts.  This afternoon, we take a pleasant and scenic ride on the ferry around the bay before we check into our hotel for an overnight stay. Evening at leisure. La Union Hotel


Wednesday 24 May

Cienfuegos – Pinar Del Rio (B,L,D)

Leaving Cienfuegos, we pass the Bay of Pigs, where a failed US backed invasion took place in 1961, foiled by Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries. We visit the Museum of Playa where most of the important documents, testimonies, photos, captured weapons, and other objects related to the invasion are exhibited. We stop at Guama for an interesting boat ride through the mangroves that will take us to a replica Taino Indian Village. Later, we arrive at our hotel at Las Terrazas for a 2night stay. Hotel Mokka


Thursday 25 May

Pinar Del Rio  (B,L,D)

Today we head west towards the picturesque Vinales Valley, dominated by strange limestone mountain formations called “Mogotes” and the home of Cuba’s tobacco plantations. We visit a typical tobacco drying house to see how the tobacco crops are turned into the world’s best cigars.  Take a leisurely guided walk through the valley stopping off at a farmer’s house for coffee and a chat and enjoy a boat ride through the impressive El Indio cave system.  A rustic Cuban lunch will be served in a local restaurant in the valley and there will be time to explore the village of Vinales.

 

In the late afternoon, we head back to Las Terrazas with time for a cooling swim before enjoying a unique farewell dinner at the Organic Vegetarian restaurant that many people say is the best in Cuba!


Friday 26 May

Pinar Del Rio – Havana – Cancun  (B,L,D)

This morning we visit renovated coffee plantation buildings and learn about Cuba’s long history of coffee production, the slave trade and the work that has gone into preserving history. Enjoy a boxed lunch as we return to Havana Airport to report for the afternoon flight to the Caribbean resort of Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our lovely hotel located a little outside the city at Playa del Carmen where we will stay for 4 nights. Hotel Mahekal Beach Resort


Saturday 27 May

Puerto Morelos Cooking School (B,L,D)

And now for something different! This morning, we travel down the road to Puerto Morelos and The Little Mexican Cooking School to learn all about the Mexican cuisine. We start our day with morning Mexican coffee and pastries and an introduction to cuisines of Mexico, its ingredients and flavours. Then its down to preparing a multi-course luncheon with hands-on participation before we sit down and enjoy the results of our labours. Afterwards, there is time to stroll around the local village before we return to our hotel – maybe for a late siesta!


Sunday 28 May

Chichen Itza (B,L,D)

It’s a big day today but certainly worth the drive to visit one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, the incredible ruins of Chichen Itza. The stepped pyramids, temples, columned arcades, and other stone structures of Chichén Itzá were sacred to the Maya and a sophisticated urban center of their empire from A.D. 750 to 1200. The most famous structure here is the Temple of Kukulkan, a glorious step pyramid which demonstrates the accuracy and importance of Maya astronomy. The temple has 365 steps—one for each day of the year. Each of the temple’s four sides has 91 steps, and the top platform makes the 365th. Devising a 365-day calendar was just one feat of Maya science. The complex is simply an awe-inspiring place.


Monday 29 May

Playa del Carmen (B,D)

After a very full programme of sightseeing and activities for the past 3 weeks, today is left free to relax, shop, swim, whatever you wish to do. This evening, the last night of the tour, we enjoy our final Mexican dinner together.


Tuesday 30 May

Cancun – Los Angeles (B)

Time to say farewell to Mexico as this morning we join our flight to Mexico City and on to Los Angeles. Overnight accommodation has been reserved near the airport. Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel


Wednesday 31 May

Los Angeles – Home (B)

We have the day free. Check-out time from the hotel 12.00 noon and baggage will be stored until departure. Time for some last minute shopping or just to relax before commencing the last leg of our homeward journey this evening. Cross International Dateline en route.


Friday 02 June

Arrive Home

The tour concludes with our early morning arrival.

 

 

 

Map

mexico_cuba

Tour Costs:

Tour Cost Per Person

Per Person Share Twin Room – $14,650
Supplement for Single Room Accommodation – $ 2,490

Costs Include
  • Economy class air travel from the tours international departure point. Cost to upgrade to Premium Economy or Business Class available on request.
  • Prepaid airport/government/security charges and taxes as at 01/09/2016.
  • Superior Grade/First Class accommodation.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary B=Full Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner.
  • First Class air-conditioned coach transportation.
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary.
  • Baggage handling of 1 piece per person.
  • All tips to drivers and local guides.
  • Fully escorted by Maher Tours Leader.
Costs Exclude
  • Any meals and sightseeing not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Travel insurance (advice and assistance supplied).
  • Visa fees.
  • Items of a personal nature such as room service, laundry, drinks, telephone, charges.

“My happiest trip ever!!”  – Ngaire Chaplin

 

“We love travelling with Maher Tours.  We have travelled with them on three occassions now, and the forth will be very soon.  We were very happy with everything on the Mexico and Cuba Tour” – Ria Hey

 

“Lovely people, great places, all make for a terrific tour” – Jocelyn Reynolds

 

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Need Assistance?

By Phone: 0800 500 518 | By Email: info@mahertours.co.nz