View from historical tower
Valle Ingenious hacienda
Riding amongst palm trees in Cuba
Sunset
guarjiros riding in cuba
old hacienda architecture
Riding in Valle Ingenious
two guajiros on horseback in Cuba
This new ride in Cuba’s Central Region gives us the opportunity to visit the most beautiful colonial towns of Cuba and swim in the crystalline waters of the Caribbean Sea. Ciego de Ávila is also a green province where tobacco and coffee are grown in the extraordinarily fertile lands and valleys. We get to enjoy Cuban hospitality, sleeping in the guajiros (field workers) houses in the countryside, having lunch together or drinking and dancing with them during the evening.

We set off on horseback through the UNESCO nominated Ingenios Valley before visiting Playa Ancón for a swim in the sea. For the next 6 days we travel through farmland, protected wildlife refuges, and plantations.

No trip to Cuba would be complete without a visit to Havana to admire its colonial architectural treasures. Spain and Africa have combined here to form a wonderful blend of culture. A culture spiced with music, dancing and rum! You will also have the chance to visit the World Heritage Site of Trinidad where a lot of musical and cultural activities take place during the evening.

Accommodation on the trail is with local workers and families, or in small boarding houses. The horses are crossed Cuba Appaloosas, Pinto Cubano and Criollios. They are safe and in good condition, suitable for the climate and terrain of the island.

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Day 1: HAVANA
Reception at the hotel Presidente**** or similar. Dinner in a local palador (family restaurant) and accommodation at the hotel, beside the Malecon of Havana.

Day 2: HAVANA – CIENFUEGOS-TRINIDAD
Transfer to Cienfuegos (3h drive). Lunch in a paladar and a guided walking tour through the historical centre of Cienfuegos, the 'Southern Pearl'. Founded in 1819 it has the richest collection of architecture and urban design of all the southern cities. Transfer to Trinidad (1h). Founded in 1514, Trinidad is a World Heritage Site due to its well preserved jewels of colonial Caribbean architecture. In the great historic town centre a lot of music and cultural activities take place in the evenings. Dinner and accommodation is in a casa particular (private family establishment or boarding house).

Day 3: TRINIDAD – PLAYA ANCÓN – MENESES
After breakfas,t a 3 hour ride to the waterfall of Hoyo del Pilon through the Ingenios Valley (a nominated Archeological Reserve by UNESCO). Transfer (15m) to Playa Ancón for a swim in the Caribbean Sea and a seafood lunch. Transfer to Meneses (3h drive). Welcome cocktail and dinner with produce from the farm. Accommodation at Los Álamos. Option of an introduction to Cuban country music « Criolla »

Day 4:  MENESES
After breakfast approximately a 5 hour ride to the Atlantic Ocean with Criollo de trote horses . Along the way we will have occasion to enjoy the diversity of the Cuban flora seeing trees such as royal palm, guásima, yamagua and big carob trees. Arrival at the historic Camp of the Comandante Camilo Cienfuegos and the Northern Front de Las Villas. Our guide will give you a good introduction about the historic events of this place and about the bird species of this area such as the Tocororo, the national bird of Cuba and the Zunzún one of the smallest birds in the world. Picnic-lunch and ride back to Los Álamos. Dinner and accommodation at Los Álamos.

Day 5: MENESES –FINCA SANTA RUBIA
After breakfast, transfer to Finca Santa Rubia (1h), a lovely 60 hectares private family farm with its plantation and tobacco-drying barn. After a welcome cocktail with our hosts Marbel and Yalianis, the horses are checked prior to a 4 hour ride. Return to the Finca for lunch. During the afternoon you will have the opportunity to see the animals they breed on the farm. Dinner and accommodation at Finca Santa Rubia and an introduction to Cuban country music.

Day 6:  FINCA SANTA RUBIA – CASA DE EVELIO – FINCA SANTA RUBIA
After breakfast we ride to Casa Evelio arriving for lunch. During the ride, we will enjoy magnificent panoramic views and admire the diversity of Cuban flora, observing the Royal palm, banana, mango and carob trees. After a little rest, we will ride to Presa Florencia. It is here where we will have the opportunity for some gallops before our return to the Finca. Approximately 5 hours on horseback. Dinner and accommodation at Finca Santa Rubia.

Day 7: FINCA SANTA RUBIA – CAYO GUILLERMO.
After breakfast, we take our last ride around The Finca Santa Rubia to see the workings of this farm. During the ride we will see coffee and sugarcane plantations, and have the opportunity for some more gallops during our return to the Finca to enjoy some equestrian activities of the local guajiros, and watch some rodeo. Approximately 4 hours on horseback. Throughout the morning, our hosts slow roast a whole pig for us to have for lunch. After lunch transfer to Cayo Guillermo (2h) where we will arrive just in time for a swim.

Day 8:  CAYO GUILLERMO – MORÓN – SANTA CLARA.
Today we enjoy a swim at the beautiful beach of Playa Pilar one of the beaches of Cayo Guillermo beside the Atlantic Ocean which is renowned for the variety of birds and the high level of conservation of their maritime ecosystems. After a seafood meal transfer to Morón (2h) where we will stop for few minutes at “El Gallo de Moron” the famous monument of the city before we continue our trip to Santa Clara. Dinner in a local paladar and accommodation at the hotel.

Day 9: SANTA CLARA – LA HABANA
After breakfast, transfer to Havana (3h). We will stop for a few minutes to visit the Mausoleum of Che Guevara. Arrival at Havana and afternoon free for sightseeing Old Havana. Farewell dinner in a great restaurant in Old Havana with a live show performed by old members of the Buena Vista Social Club. Accommodation at the Hotel Presidente**** or similar

Day 10: HAVANA
After breakfast, a guided walking tour through the historical center of Old Havana. Return transfer to the airport at 18:00h.

Please note that hotel names are given as a guide only, these may be substituted for other accommodation of a similar standard without prior notice.

Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

 
Cuba has produced some of the most extreme political figures of the 20th Century. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were the main players involved in the Cuban Revolution which brought Communism to the island. For those interested in the ideology of these powerful men we recommend the following:
The relationship between Cuba, its allies and the West is brilliantly described in One Minute To Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs.
We also recommend Our Man In Havana by the British writer Graham Greene. Wormold is a vacuum cleaner salesman in a city of powercuts. His adolescent daughter spends his money with a skill that amazes him so when a mysterious Englishman offers him an extra income he's tempted. In return all he has to do is file a few reports. But when his fake reports start coming true things suddenly get more complicated and Havana becomes a threatening place...
For an up to date overview of Cuban history we recommend Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) by Richard Gott
Also:
* The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba by Julia Cooke - frank account of the author's stay and the people she meets, very good for getting to know more about the people and how they live
* The Island That Dared by Dervla Murphy - she visited three times in recent-ish years, and really was off the beaten track!
 
We can't overlook the enormous influence of Cuban music and recommend the following artists:
Buena Vista Social Club (There is also a remarkable documentary film on this group of Cuban musicians by Wim Wenders, also called Buena Vista Social Club)
The Creole Choir of Cuba
Elena Burke
Company Segundo
Ibrahim Ferrer
Beny Moré

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

Riders are not expected to assist with the care and tacking up of their horses but any help is welcome. The horses are crossed Cuba Appaloosas, Pinto Cubano and Criollios. They are safe and in good condition, suitable for the climate and terrain of the island. They range in size from 14.2hh to around 15.1hh. Western tack is utilised.


Rider requirements

Riders should be happy in walk, trot and canter and well balanced. The riding is not technically difficult and adventurous novices would be welcome.
General fitness is welcome as around 4-5 hours per day are spent in the saddle. It is recommended that you try to gain some riding fitness before your trip.
There is a minimum age of 12 years for this ride.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation ranges from boutique to basic, double en-suite to multi dorm rooms with 2 bathrooms for the group. Meals are healthy and plentiful, lots of fuit and vegetables with rice , beans, beef, chicken and pork. Wine is not readily available in Cuba but riders can purchase wine in town to take along on the trail. Good beer and rum is available everywhere!



A single supplement is available for those not wishing to share. Please note that on some nights it may not be possible to arrange a private room depending on group size


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

British nationals require a tourist card to enter Cuba, which you should obtain before you travel. You should contact the Cuban Embassy in London in good time for further information on entry requirements. Dual nationals should also contact the Cuban Embassy in London for advice on entry requirements before travelling.

Their website can be found here: www.cuba.embassyhomepage.com

To enter Cuba you must hold a passport with remaining validity of at least six months from the date of entry.



You must hold valid travel insurance covering medical expenses before travelling to Cuba. The medical facilities in Havana are better than those available elsewhere in Cuba, but it is sometimes necessary to medically evacuate those who require urgent specialist care. This can be very expensive so you should ensure that your medical insurance covers you for this. If you require medical treatment you will be expected to pay in hard currency; a basic hospital stay can cost as much as £200 per day plus medical expenses.

Many medicines are unavailable in Cuba so you should bring any prescription drugs you take regularly. A copy of the prescription and a letter from your doctor explaining your condition can be helpful at customs.

Climate Summary

Cuba has a warm tropical climate which makes it an ideal destination especially during the months of November to April, dry season months in Cuba. During this period of the year, Cuba enjoys a lot of sunshine with only a scattering of intermittent rain-showers brought about by northeasterly trade winds blowing in from the sea.

Climate Chart

Health

At Unicorn Trails, the health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance.
You must hold valid travel insurance covering medical expenses before travelling to Cuba. The medical facilities in Havana are better than those available elsewhere in Cuba, but it is sometimes necessary to medically evacuate those who require urgent specialist care. This can be very expensive so you should ensure that your medical insurance covers you for this. If you require medical treatment you will be expected to pay in hard currency; a basic hospital stay can cost as much as £200 per day plus medical expenses.

Many medicines are unavailable in Cuba so you should bring any prescription drugs you take regularly. A copy of the prescription and a letter from your doctor explaining your condition can be helpful at customs.

Please consult your GP or travel nurse for up to date advice for those travelling to Cuba. As a guide you can visit http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/caribbean/cuba

Electricity

Although the power supply in Cuba is mainly 110 volts, most of the modern hotels have dual voltage with all the sockets in the room being 220 volts. Usually in the bathroom there is an 110 volt socket suitable for shavers and charging batteries. All UK appliances will work in Cuba and all you will need is an adapter.

The sockets in the rooms are cleverly designed so they will take the North American flat 2 pin and the European rounded two pin plugs and are usually similar to these, the bottom one being the one in the bathroom.

Film and Camera Equipment

Please bring all necessary equipment with you, including spare batteries.

Packing List

Riding trousers - jeans or breeches
Riding boots or similar (need to have a heel and be comfortable for hiking)
Hard hat (recommended)
Riding hat with brim
Half chaps (optional)
Riding gloves
Sunglasses
Sunblock
Insect repellent
Lipbalm with sunscreen
Personal toiletries
Medications
Camera and film
T-shirts and shorts
Binoculars (recommended)
Lightweight long sleeved shirts
Sweater or sweatshirt
Informal wear for evenings
Plastic bag for wet clothing
Lightweight rainwear
Copy of passport
All terrain sandals
Additional passport photos
Swimsuit
Beach towel
Wearing a waist pouch is a handy method for keeping items such as camera and lipbalm readily accessible.

Programmes

This is a 10 day/9 night/5 day riding programme on set dates.

Departure Dates

2020: 16 February; 22 November

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.

Please note that on some nights it may not be possible to arrange a single room depending on group size

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
201911d/10n7double pp2,075
201911d/10n7single supplement195
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
201911d/10n7double pp2,359
201911d/10n7single supplement219
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
201911d/10n7double pp2,795
201911d/10n7single supplement259
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
201911d/10n7double pp25,955
201911d/10n7single supplement2,419
Recommended Reading

Cuba has produced some of the most extreme political figures of the 20th Century. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were the main players involved in the Cuban Revolution which brought Communism to the island. For those interested in the ideology of these powerful men we recommend the following: The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto 'Che' Guevara My Life by Fidel Castro The relationship between Cuba, its allies and the West is brilliantly described in One Minute To Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs. We also recommend Our Man In Havana by the British writer Graham Greene. Wormold is a vacuum cleaner salesman in a city of powercuts. His adolescent daughter spends his money with a skill that amazes him so when a mysterious Englishman offers him an extra income he's tempted. In return all he has to do is file a few reports. But when his fake reports start coming true things suddenly get more complicated and Havana becomes a threatening place... For an up to date overview of Cuban history we recommend Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) by Richard Gott We can't overlook the enormous influence of Cuban music and recommend the following artists: Buena Vista Social Club (There is also a remarkable documentary film on this group of Cuban musicians by Wim Wenders, also called Buena Vista Social Club) The Creole Choir of Cuba Elena Burke Company Segundo Ibrahim Ferrer Beny Moré


Other Country Information

You must take out comprehensive travel insurance covering medical expenses before travelling to Cuba. You will be expected to present your insurance policy on arrival in the country.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Hotel in Havana (Hotel Presidente or similar)
Transfer:
2020: Transfer from Havana airport on Day 1 is not included, taxi cost is approximate 25 CUC (€25). One way transfer is included to Jose Marti airport on Day 10 for clients departing at 6pm or later.
Flight Guide:
Jose Marti International Airport, Havana (HAV)
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