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Santiago de Cuba

Welcome to Magical Eastern Cuba

2024 Eastern Cuba Culture & Nature Tour

Custom Itinerary Designed for an 11-day tour



Join us on an magical journey to Eastern Cuba, the least visited part of this culturally and naturally diverse country. This Support for the Cuban People tour welcomes Americans to experience the sultry rhythms, the wisps of cigar smoke wafting in the air, the beautifully weathered Baroque facades, or just the warm smiles and beautiful faces of the Cuban people, once you experience Cuba, something in you changes.


•  An incredible tour supporting the beautiful Cuban people. 

•  Eleven days of absorbing wonderful Eastern Cuba!

•  Explore Santiago de Cuba's history and unspoiled rugged coast.

•  Bask in the natural beauty of Baracoa and Yumuri River Canyon. 

•  Meet the people, sing, dance and enjoy a mojito!

•  This tour is legally approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury OFAC.


Beginning near the town of Holguin, Eastern Cuba extends to the easternmost point of Cuba, Punta Maisi. The impressive Sierra Maestra mountain range is home to Cuba's highest mountain peak, Pico Turquino, standing at 1,974m (6,476 ft), is a favorite hike that offers expansive views of the mountains and beautiful sand beaches. Sierra Maestra National Park is home to endangered and endemic birds, wild orchids and giant ferns growing in the beautiful cloud forests.


Eastern Cuba is perfect for exploring the natural and cultural heritage of the lesser-visited region of Cuba. The five provinces of eastern Cuba played a central role in the island's history and the forces that shaped Cuba. Among the beauty of nature, also find La Comandancia, the former headquarters of the rebel army of Fidel Castro.













The oldest town in Cuba, Baracoa, dates to 1510 and where Christopher Columbus first set foot in Cuba in 1492. Earlier, around the year 1100, the aboriginal Taino people arrived in Cuba from Hispaniola. Several local museums trace the Taino culture.


Join Mariah Travel as we explore the lesser visited, naturally & culturally exciting Eastern Cuba.

TOUR COSTS: $3950 double occupancy

                       $500 single supplement


Day 1:  Holguin, Bayamo

Day 2:  Bayamo, Delta del Cauto, Santiago de Cuba

Day 3:  Santiago de Cuba, Gran Piedra

Day 4:  Santiago de Cuba, Baitiquirí, Baracoa

Day 5:  Baracoa, Yara Majayara

Day 6:  Baracoa, Yumuri

Day 7:  Baracoa, Humboldt, Pinares de Mayari

Day 8:  Pinares de Mayarí, Salto del Guayabo, La Sabina

Day 9:  Pinares de Mayarí, Gibara

Day 10: Gibara

Day 11: Gibara, Holguin, and the airport.



Day 1:  Holguin to Bayamo

  • Arrive in Holguin early afternoon and drive south to Bayamo (approx. 1 hour)     

  • Lunch in a paladar in Bayamo (A Paladar is a locally owned, private restaurant)

  • Enjoy a horse and carriage ride around town!

  • Walking tour of the historic downtown

  • Dinner in a private restaurant

  • Accommodation in Royalton Hotel or similar (breakfast included)


Bayamo is among Cuba’s original 5 settlements, with an important role in colonial and revolutionary history of Cuba, covering a large area of the mountains and coastal regions, with high biodiversity levels and rich in local endemism. 


Day 2:  Santiago de Cuba, Bayamo & Delta del Cauto 

  • Drive to Delta del Cauto Swamp and El Mango where we will begin our journey by boat, exploring the waterways.

  • Lunch in a paladar at the El Mango Biological Station, serving typical Cuban food.

  • After lunch, follow the country roads to the city of Santiago de Cuba.

  • Dinner at a private restaurant.

  • Accommodation in Hostal Heredia


The Cauto Delta Wetland is the most extensive and complex delta system in Cuba and is one of the most important in the Caribbean. This wetland is formed by a complex of estuaries, lagoons, tidal areas and swamps that are at the end of the largest river system in Cuba (Río Cauto). They form the second most important wetland in Cuba.


















Day 3: Santiago- Gran Piedra

  • Morning drive to Piedra. Early birding around our mountain top bungalows on Gran Piedra. Hike to the summit while birding along the mountain trails offering magnificent views of the coast and surrounding mountains. Visit the Gran Piedra banding station and discuss bird banding with the local ornithologist about the research work on Cuban endemic species.

  • Visit El Paraiso Botanical Gardens, hosting over 200 varieties of ferns, including 350 varieties of orchids, eucalyptuses, maestrense pines, cypresses and a variety of fruit trees. Maybe observe the endemic Gundlach’s Hawk.

  • Lunch at Gran Piedra Restaurant, located at 4500 feet elevation with incredible views.

  • After lunch, explore Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca fortress, a historic site overlooking Santiago’s rugged, unspoiled coast.

  • Dinner at a private restaurant

  • Accommodation in Hotel Porto Santo or Private Casas in Baracoa

Day 4: Baitiquirí- Baracoa

  • From Santiago drive over the “Cuban Alps” toward Guantanamo Bay along the stunningly scenic Via Mulata. This mountain range includes both temperate and arid zone habitat. In essence, this drive takes us from Cuba’s wettest region to its driest region. Birding near San Antonio del Sur (Baitiquirí) on Guantanamo’s semi-desert south coast, main targets are Cuban Grassquit, Zapata Sparrow and Cuban Gnatcatcher.

  • Lunch in a facility that was once the headquarters of a Salt mining Company. It was restructured, with a Ranch inside as a restaurant, adorned with recycled plastic found ashore.  Typical food served by the locals on handmade wooden plates.
















  • Continue to Baracoa, through the most scenic and breath-taking road of Cuba, La Farola, stopping at lookouts for the incredible views.

  • Dinner at a private gourmet restaurant.

  • Accommodation in Hotel Porto Santo or Private Houses in Baracoa.


 Day 5: Baracoa- Yara Majayara

  • After breakfast depart for Boca de Miel community, where river Miel meets the sea. Boca de Miel is a tiny fishing community surrounded by mangroves.

  • Yara-Majayara is a protected area in Baracoa. The natural and cultural beauty include the delta of river Miel and its system of geological terraces with numerous caves and archeological evidence of Cuba’s ancient people.

  • Enjoy the best panoramic views of Baracoa’s bay, and mountains.

  • Lunch in a local restaurant in Boca de Miel community.

  • Leisure time in the afternoon; explore the town.

  • Dinner at a “Baracoando”, buffet style, all prepared with local farmed vegetables.


Day 6:  Baracoa & Yumurí 

  • Visit a private Cacao farm and learn the process of chocolate production.

  • Explore the Yumuri River Canyon by boat and a short hike looking for endemic birds.

  • Enjoy lunch at a perfect location for admiring the north coastal line of Guantanamo and some of its emerged marine terraces.

  • Join a guided walk around the historic town and learn of its history.

  • Dinner at a gourmet private restaurant with typical dishes.


Baracoa is the oldest city and one of the most charming ones in Cuba. It is a home for a large variety of unique sceneries and natural scenes among the most inviting ones of the Antillean islands. Its foundation dates back to 1511 when the Spanish Conquistadors commanded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar arrived in the island, and it is known as the First City of Cuba. Baracoa cuisine is the most unique and typic of the whole island, where the local use coconut milk to prepare recipes that give to the dishes a characteristic and amazing flavor.


The Yumurí Valley is considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Cuba. Located 100 kilometers east of Havana, the majestic gorge is formed of an 80 hectare plain at its widest point and elevations of up to 150 meters.













Day 7:  Baracoa, Humboldt National Park, and Pinares de Mayarí

  • Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, eastern Cuba’s premier natural habitat. The Park is a national park, located in the Cuban provinces of Holguín and Guantánamo, and named after the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt who visited the island in 1800 and 1801.

  • This area is of global importance as one of the most biologically diverse tropical ecosystems in the world. The territory contains 16 out of 28 plant formations defined on the island of Cuba. There is a consensus that many species remain to be discovered in the area. Endemism rates for vertebrates and invertebrates found in the park are also very high. Countless species are severely restricted in their range, which adds to the importance of the area.

  • Zunzun, the Bee Hummingbird, is the world’s smallest bird. Also, critically endangered Monte Iberia euleuth, the smallest frog in the Western Hemisphere, can be found here. This endemic frog was discovered in 1996 and can be found in only two isolated micro-habitats within the park. This area also provides the best opportunity to locate the Cuban Kite, critically endangered with no recent sightings.

  • The Visitor Center allows interaction with the park naturalists and rangers, and a view overlooking Taco Bay, home to the endangered Antillean manatee.

  • The Polymita picta, also known as the Cuban painted snail, or the orient tree snail, is a species of large, air-breathing land snail.

  • Lunch along the Recreo river, with traditional dishes prepared by locals. Enjoy a swim in the crystal-clear mountain streams.

  • Dinner at one of the local paladares.

  • Accommodation in Villa Pinares de Mayarí.











Day 8: Pinares de Mayarí, Salto del Guayabo, and La Sabina  

  •   Observe Salto de Guayabo, one of the   highest waterfalls in Cuba, with amazing lookouts and birding trails.

  • Take lunch at a comfortable lookout point with excellent views of the waterfalls.

  • Afternoon hikes in La Mensura National Park, where the Cuban Solitaire, Olive-capped Warbler and the Cuban Sharp-shinned Hawk are a primary target.

  • Dinner and accommodations at the hotel villa surrounded by mountain pine forest habitat in a natural setting.

Day 9: Pinares de Mayarí, and Gibara

  • Departure to Gibara, north of Holguin.

  • Walking city tour in Gibara.

  • Lunch in a local restaurant.  

  • Learn about tobacco and cigars.

  • Accommodation in Hotel Ordoño


The city of Gibara, located around 33 km from the city of Holguín, comprises stunning places such as the charming fishermen village of the same name and better known as La Villa Blanca, due to its old defensive walls which protect them in the Colonial times, and which still has some remains. It is believed that in 1492 Gibara was the port in which Christopher Columbus landed in the Greater Antilles. Although it is generally accepted the closeness of the Bariay Bay as the true landing place, the truth is that this port was the most important one in Colonial times.








Day 10: Gibara

The Caverna de Panaderos located in Gibara, is one of the main archaeological finds in the area. This cave has 19 galleries. It is astonishing as well as imposing, the cave formations have particular figures that make them look like the famous Casper ghost as well as a mammoth and also a local and endemic blind cave inhabitant. A great option for hiking lovers and birders a unique opportunity to enjoy the flora and fauna of the area whilst having a nice walk. 


  • Early departure to Cueva de Los Panaderos, birding along the way to the cave. Making a stop at Las Balsas Wetland for viewing shorebirds and other wetland birds.   

  • Lunch in a local restaurant     

  • An afternoon Catamaran boat ride in the bay of Gibara with the opportunity to see many seabirds.

  • Farewell dinner.


Day 11:  Adios amigos! Return to the Holguin airport for flights home.


Included in cost:

• Cuba Travel Visa

• Cuba accommodations during the entire trip.

• Airport R/T transfers, all transportation to areas in itinerary

• Professional English-speaking Cuban guide services

• Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

• Entrance fees for museums and exhibits  

• Department of Treasury, OFAC license and authorization letter for legal Cuba travel. Mariah Travel is licensed and authorized to operate tours for US citizens to Cuba.

• Mandatory Cuban medical insurance


Not included in cost:

• Airfare to Havana (Mariah Travel can assist with the best flight options)

• Lodging or meals in Miami or departure city

• Meals in Cuba other than as listed as included in itinerary

• Any personal items

• Transportation other than mentioned in itinerary

• Alcohol beverages other than what is included with meals. Most lunch and dinner meals include a choice of wine, beer, mojito, or Cuba Libre.

• Gratuities for guide(s), wait staff, baggage assistance, housekeeping, etc.

• Travel cancellation insurance (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) *

  *Mariah Travel works with Travel Insurance Services with no add-on costs.

**PLEASE NOTE: US Passports MUST be valid for 6 months after your arrival date to Cuba.


This itinerary is subject to change and probably will. We will be confirming casas and hotels as soon as possible and will update everyone as changes occur.


Cuba is a wonderful country with beautiful people and natural/cultural beauty, however sometimes things simply do not go as planned. Flexibility and patience are key.


As always, your health and safety is our main concern. I hope you will continue to feel comfortable trusting Mariah Travel to ensure your well-being while traveling.

Mariah Travel • P.O. Box 1562 • Livingston, Montana 59047

Punta Maisi
Taino People
Cauto Delta
Cuba Snail
Cuba Snails
Endemic frog
Bee Hummingbird
Cuba Kayaking
Gibara Cuba
Gibara Cuba
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