Special Programs

  • Look here for upcoming Special Events, Special Tours to join, and Special Pricing





  • A great month for gardens, celebrations, and all of our tours

November 2013

  • Bi-annual International Choral Festival. Calling all choristers and music lovers – international choirs invited. Non-competitive festival.

Christmas in Cuba

December 22 – January 2

Christmas and New Year’s are special holidays. Cuba Beyond the Beaches wants you to have the “best Christmas ever”.

Christmas in Cuba combines some of our most popular tours in and around Santiago, with a family Christmas and a fun New Year’s Eve party.

Join us for all or part of the TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. Meet folks from around the world, enjoy Cuban hospitality, learn about our history and culture, and dance the nights away.

Come a little early, stay a little longer, and enjoy some of our tours in other cities or some time relaxing at the beach or in the mountains.

This tour is suitable for all the family, for couples, friends and singles. Special diets and vegetarian food are available on request.

This tour is based on homestays – hotel accommodations available on request.

(Minimum numbers apply to full tour)

Modified tour available to individuals and small groups

Day 1 – December 22 – Arrival Day

Your first stop is at your homestay in a government licensed private home (casa particular). Your room has an air-conditioner and/or fan, private bath and double or single beds. Most meals will be taken at your homestay.

If you want to arrive before December 22 early arrivals are welcome as Santa’s helpers to help deck the tree, make decorations, and generally enjoy a child’s Christmas. If you have specific skills – know how to make pipe cleaner decorations, graduated in snowflake design, can guarantee that the angel will stay on the top of the tree – let us know and we will have work for you.

  • Early arrivals December 22 – lunch and tour of a wonderful garden
  • Eco-Tour 2 Fern and orchid Garden — Visit to an internationally acclaimed fern and orchid garden with the most complete collection of tropical ferns in the Americas. The collection numbers some 3000 ferns and over 300 exotic and indigenous orchids. This is the life work of the Director of the Institute which he has created over the passed 35 years. Lunch in the garden

Day 2 – December 23

  • History of Cuba Part 2 — From Indians and slaves, buccaneers and Spanish grandees, pirates and indentured servants, has come a vibrant people. Explore their history and their struggles. From the oldest house in the Americas (quite a few others burned down) to the solid fortress at the harbour, and the living remembrance of the Peace Tree, Cuban history is told in stone and wood, and the faces of its people.

Day 3 – December 24

  • Eco-Tour 1 – Gardens of clouds and forest — Join us in the enchanted world of ferns and clouds. We journey out of the city to a cloud forest with ancient fern trees and simple pines which existed in the time of the dinosaurs. Visit to a high altitude garden with beds of bird of paradise flowers and many exotic tropical plants. Visit a private garden hidden among the slopes and trees. Walk in the magical world of bromeliads and orchids, brightly colour butterflies and brilliant birds. Lunch at the beach
  • Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at the cathedral. Evening entertainment in most venues is open its normal hours.

Day 4 – December 25

  • Free Day or Beach Day
  • Afternoon entertainment
  • Christmas dinner, Victorian style games and favours. If you have a favourite family game we hope you’ll let us all join in! Silly hats included at dinner.

Day 5 – December 26

  • Architecture Walk 1 — The Historic Centre – One of Santiago’s leading architects takes you on a walk through history. Each city in Cuba has its own unique style and decoration. As one of the oldest of the cities, Santiago offers the most eclectic mix. Pirates, fire and earthquakes have enforced urban renewal – the Cathedral is the 3rd building on that site, and almost none of the very early buildings escape the attention of English and French pirates. Early colonial sits next to Art Deco and buildings from the Republic and later periods. Learn to spot the fakes and the overbuilding and explore some of the glorious courtyards which can be glimpsed through half closed doors.

Day 6 – December 27

  • Eco-Tour 3 — Gardens of desert, cacti and musical instruments – Join us for a tour in the arid hills of the south coast between the Sierras and the azul Caribbean sea. This coastal strip is full of micro climates permitting elephant grass here, and cacti there. We make lots of stops along the way to peer into gardens, tramp through the undergrowth (no sandals please) and look and point. The Cactus Garden represents a major collection of exotic and indigenous species and we spend time learning to propagate these heat and drought tolerant plants. Visit to private collection. Lunch in an Artisan Village

Day 7 – December 28

  • Art and Religion in Cuba — From the time of Columbus, Spanish Catholicism with it panoply of saints and many festivals was the principal religion of Cuba. Here and there were tiny pockets of Indians, still practicing their religions, but much of their culture had been swept away by the middle of the 16th century. The influx of African slaves building to major imports by the mid-19th century changed the face of Cuba and its religions. At first allowed to practice their own religions, their sheer numbers became a threat especially during their festivals. Their religions were suppressed and Christianity imposed. However, the Yoruba transferred the attributes of their African gods to Christian saints and so found a way to stay within the law and practice their religion. This tour explores the importance of these mixtures as they inform art, music and dance in Cuba.

Day 8 – December 29

  • History of Cuba Part 5 Life and Work in a 20th century Sugar town. — The history of Cuba and of the Caribbean is intimately connected with sugar. Sugar defined the wealth of a few, the colour of its people, the dominance of superpowers, and the poverty of its citizens. Visit a small town where sugar is still king. Understand the history of its barrios , ride a train to the cane fields which still surround it, and visit the sugar mill which dominates it. This is the history of much of Cuba in the twentieth century. This is an exceptional opportunity to visit a working sugar mill.
  • Lunch in an artists’ cooperative

Day 9 – December 30

  • History of Cuba Part 3 Independence to Revolution — A century of turbulence and civil war has led to over five decades of relative calm. The struggle to become an independent nation in the face of US opposition is a poignant and triumphant story. Come with us to explore the Revolutionary Civil War as played out around Santiago. Have history come alive and tangible.
  • Picnic Lunch

Day 10 – December 31

  • Eco Tour 4 – Wetland Birding — This fresh water lake and its tidal channels are a haven for endemic and visiting water birds. A morning along the channels and cannel will net avid birders lots of species for their checklist. For those who just enjoy a wonderful journey there are fresh water dolphins, rare crocodiles, and neon-brilliant crabs. Late afternoon birding along the coastal strip completes the day.

  • Traditional dinner with entertainment. New Year’s festivities in the central square.

Day 11 – January 1

  • Free Day or Beach Day. January 1st is a political holiday to celebrate the Triumph of the Revolution. Lots of files – marches, speeches in the Plaza de la Revolution, and other activities. Go out into the streets, march with the marchers or just watch from the sidelines, or sleep late and watch it all on TV.

Day 12 – January 2, Departure Day

  • Time to pick up some souveniers to take back with you. Depending on your leaving time we can provide a packed breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Transfer to departure point in Santiago is included in your package.
  • One or more extra days? – there are lots of tours to choose from. We can arrange transportation and homestays throughout Cuba.

Christmas in Cuba includes:

  • Accommodation – homestay accommodation with breakfast and dinner. 11 nights and 12 days (additional accommodation on request)
  • Christmas Dinner and Festivities
  • New Year’s Eve Party (minimum number required)
  • All-day tours including lecturer, translator (where appropriate) transportation (air-conditioned), lunch, entrance fees.
  • Transfers to and from arrival point in Santiago



Available on request.

** Early booking discount *** Book by October 15th and save $50.00 per person!

Getting here – there are direct flights to Santiago from Toronto. Flights from Canada and Europe to Habana and in some cases to Holguin. We are happy to assist you with your connections to Cuba, or your internal travel to Santiago.

For folks coming for more time, extra nights of accommodation are available in Santiago, at a resort hotel, at a homestay at the beach, or other locations in Cuba.

We look forward to seeing you for your Christmas in Cuba

Contact Us for more information.