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.

Gardens of Central Cuba

Day 1 – Arrival Day

On arrival in you will be met in Santa Clara by our friendly staff and taken directly to your homestay. All our homestays are government licensed and carefully selected with your comfort in mind. (If you are arriving at another airport we will have you met – all transfers can be arranged)

Dinner in your homestay

Depending on your arrival time we can offer a tour of this Revolutionary City of Che Gueverra

Day 2 – Private Gardens and some extraordinary farming

We start the morning seeing how the city feeds itself. . On the city’s mountain slopes is an outstanding market garden. Known as Organoponicos, these urban/suburban gardens are an important part of the ever changing and expanding farming scene in Cuba. Carved out of a wasteland covered in the invasive marabou, they are a green ring around many cities. Together they produce 5 to 7 million tons of vegetables every year, and are the quintessential local farm.

You are in the City of Che, Cuba’s hero of almost mythical proportions. Next we visit a social garden dedicated to the city’s hero. The garden offers recovering alcoholics and drug users meaningful work in a beautiful and tranquil setting. Leaving the city we enter the arid plain where sugar is grown under irrigation. In this dry land we visit an outstanding cactus garden , the dedicated work of its owner. With care and attention cactus gardens offer interesting alternatives for arid winter homes. After lunch workshop on their care and propagation.

From the heat of the plain we pass into the gentle hills which eventually lead to the Escambray mountains. is a bee farm – producing not just honey but many of the natural medicine products which Cuba exports. We meet some extraordinary bees.

Lunch in the cactus garden.

Overnight at a nearby Spa.

Take the mineral waters for which the hotel is famous, or just relax around the pool.

Day 3 – Bottle gourds, cannonball vines and bamboo

An early start takes us to the Jardin Botanico. Originally this was the hobby of a sugar magnate, who left his extraordinary collection of trees and particularly bamboo, to Harvard University. At the Triumph of the Revolution the state accepted control of the garden and has continued to maintain it and enhance it, even during the desperate days of the Special Period. Many of the workers have been at the garden for more than 30 years. The collection of trees is quite extraordinary, sausage trees, bottle trees, the cannon ball vine with its really pungent flower, and stands and stands of bamboo. It is home to collections of cacti, bromeliads, and representative plants of the Escambray.

Lunch in the garden

Dinner in your homestay.

Cienfuegos is a city built on the wealth of its premier industry during the late 19th and early 20th century – Sugar! Today it is not only a major industrial centre, university town, and commercial port; thanks to the efforts of the Office of the Conservador of the City, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Cuba. The Office controls 70 blocks in the center of the city, which has been designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

We will take time to sip something cool on the roof of a palace built for a million dollars in gold at the beginning of the 20th century. Part of the unimaginable wealth of sugar.

Day 4 – Orchids and more orchids

After breakfast we travel out of the city to an orchid garden. Its director created this outstanding collection over the course of many years. Started in 1987 and home to more than 400 orchid species, it is now attached to the Jardin Botanico. Lunch in the garden. Afternoon workshop on propagation and care of orchids. For those with interest and stamina, forest walk to see wild orchids.

Late afternoon visit to a private collection of orchids in Cienfuegos.

Dinner in your homestay

Day 5 – A heritage of medicine

We start the day with a walking tour of the heart of colonial Cienfuegos. Our expert guide is one of the architects charged with restoring this city to its former glories. Along with visits to a 19th century theatre in its original condition, and one of the prettiest churches in Cuba, you visit newly restored streetscapes which take you back to the vibrant life of this rich city. The architect opens his restored colonial home for a visit.

After lunch we leave Cienfuegos for the slopes of the Escambray and a visit to a national reference farm owned and farmed by an ex-professor – specializing in ecological farming and conservation techniques. Our next stop is to a living museum. Green medicine, natural medicine, herbal medicine, have a strong tradition in Cuba, not least because it has had to find alternatives to many proprietory medicines. This a spurred investigations into many different avenues, and the development of valuable drugs now produced under license in other countries – medicine like Herbaprot – the cure for diabetic ulcers.

Dinner in your homestay in Trinidad

Day 6 – Sugar and Slavery

Until just over 5 centuries ago, Cuba was probably quite densely populated by various groups of Indians who had come from the north and from the south. In the river valleys they grew maize, manioc, tobacco and other subsistence and tradeable crops. Near the sea and in the rivers they fished, caught small animals and birds. Like Indians in Southern and Central America, they probably terraformed the landscape to increase production and to manage drainage and irrigation. By 1511 the Indian population had been decimated by disease, starvation, forced labour, and outright murder. Incoming Spanish settlers seized land and set up their own system of subsistence farming including livestock. Cash crops were sugar, coffee, and dried meat.produced by farm families and increasingly by slaves.. The productive river valleys outside Trinidad rapidly expanded the land under sugar cultivation, particularly after the Haitian Revolution, with major slave imports providing the labour.

This tour takes you to this important colonial agricultural centre, with its country mansions, centrals, and images of gracious living in the centre of one of the richest industries of Colonial Cuba.

Lunch during the tour

Dinner in your homestay

Day 7 – Mountain Farm

The Escambray form a massive limestone uplift. Carved through by short, fast rivers, precipitous waterfalls, and unbelievably steep mule paths, it is hard to imagine that this is a highly productive agricultural area. Chrystal Mountain coffee, an Arabica coffee of high quality, grows in abundance in the cafetals clinging to the mountainsides. Each year its farmers produce thousands of pounds of coffee, fruit, and vegetables.

Farm lunch with a tour of the farm and a chance to swim in a refreshing river and waterfall.

Dinner in your homestay in Santa Clara.

Day 8 – Free Day

Optional tour – The Battle of Santa Clara – led by a participant in the Battle, this is a fascinating remembrance of the last battle of the Revoluntionary War, and the years of the struggle before.

A meal in your homestay before your flight – lunch or dinner – depending on the time of your flight.

You will be picked up at your homestay and transferred to the airport for your flight home or to other destinations.

Tour availability

Small groups, individuals – continuously available – CONTACT US FOR PRICES


  • February 2nd week
  • March 2nd week
  • April 2nd week

See below for further information for Garden Groups

Tour Includes:


  • Homestays in Santiago generally with private bathroom, air conditioning and/or fan
  • Mountain resort – 3 Star Accommodation


  • Breakfasts and Lunches as specified
  • Dinners as specified


  • All transfers within Santiago
  • Air-conditioned transportation
  • Expert lecturers
  • Translator where required
  • All entrance fees
  • Deposit $500.00 Canadian non-refundable

Not Included:

  • Flights
  • Personal expenditures
  • Tips
  • Additional beverages
  • Evening entertainment

Garden Groups (minimum 6 people traveling together)
Deposit $250.00 Cdn – not refundable.