Mexico, Cuba & the Panama Canal 2019/20

  • days: 32
  • from $14,695

Save $300!

Flights Included

Types of travel:

Countries Visited:

  • Mexico
  • Cuba
  • USA

Description

Holland-America

Snapshot banner

Destinations visited icon

3 countries

UNESCO icon

9 UNESCO World 
Heritage-listed sites

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Character accommodation: Casa homestay in Trinidad

 

Take a vibrant journey across Mexico and Cuba, enjoying the colour, music and traditions. Delve into history in Mexico City, travel through the coffee and tobacco plantations of Cuba, and step back in time in the heritage-listed towns of Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Havana. Then discover the beautiful ports of the Caribbean and Panama Canal on a 16-night cruise.

Temples, classic cars and cigars...

Delve into the history of Mexico City! Visit the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, with its impressive Temple of the Sun, and the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, arguably the most important Christian site in Latin America.

Step back in time in Havana, and experience the ‘real’ Cuba before mass tourism changes its unique character forever! Enjoy an evening ride in classic cars along Havana's famed esplanade, the Malecon. Travel to the beautiful Pinar del Rio region and the small village of Vinales. The valley has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its unique landscape and traditional agricultural practices. Tour a local tobacco farm, indulging in fresh Cuban coffee and fruit while the cigar-making process is explained. Explore the heritage-listed city of Trinidad. This colourful and charming colonial town is a perfectly preserved Spanish settlement and perhaps Cuba’s most enchanting city. 

Cruise the Panama Canal on a 16 night Holland America cruise

Travel in style through the 77-kilometre stretch of water that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans - the Panama Canal. This amazing feat of the modern age took more than 30 years to construct in the early 20th century and revolutionised trade routes. Visit beautiful Mexican seaside towns, see the natural beauty of Costa Rica and the romance of colonial Cartagena in Colombia.

Holland America cruise:

The cruise portion of the tour may be subject to change, depending on weather conditions.

Note: Cuban Charm

A trip to Cuba is a unique and rewarding experience, a country largely untouched until now. This means that hotels, transport and facilities sometimes lack creature comforts. Accommodation may be of varying standards as tourism demands are surpassing current infrastructure and it is possible there can be unexpected changes. As such, travel in Cuba requires an adventurous spirit, flexibility and an open mind.

Itinerary

Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 1. Depart Australia - Arrive Mexico City

Tip-Icon-32

TRAVEL TIP! Mexico City is a fascinating place and many world class museums can be found here including the Anthropological Museum, Frida Kahlo Museum, Templo Mayor Museum, Bellas Artes Museum and Leon Trotsky’s house to name a few. Our sightseeing program in Mexico City is quite full so if you have an interest in visiting any of these museums we would recommend booking at least 2 nights pre tour accommodation to give you time to see those places that may be of particular interest to you.

Bienvenido a Mexico! We arrive in the capital, Mexico City, buzzing with life and full of history.

Day 2. Mexico City

Our day begins with a tour of bustling Mexico City, includin the Zocalo and the National Palace in the city's main square.

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Special Experience:Board an authentic Mexican trajinera for a traditional lunch and cruise through the waterways of Xochimilco.

Tonight we'll enjoy a group welcome dinner to kick off our tour. [B,L,D]

Day 3. Mexico City

Walking Man

Today we explore the site of Teotihuacan, considered one of the most impressive and mysterious archaeological sites in Mexico. The city was established in 100BC and the name Teotihuacan roughly translates as ‘Birthplace of the Gods’. We also visit the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe today, arguably the most important Christian pilgrimage site in Latin America. [B,L]

Day 4. Mexico City - Havana

We fly to Havana, Cuba’s vibrant capital. [B]

Tip-Icon-32

TRAVEL TIP! Cuban Charm: A trip to Cuba is a unique and rewarding experience, a country largely untouched until now. This means that hotels, transport and facilities sometimes lack creature comforts. Accommodation may be of varying standards as tourism demands are surpassing current infrastructure and it is possible there can be unexpected changes. As such, travel in Cuba requires an adventurous spirit, flexibility and an open mind.

Day 5. Havana

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience:Step back in time to the 60s and discover the history and charm of Old Havana on a walking tour this morning.

This afternoon we’ll witness the contrasts of ‘New’ Havana, including the artistic areas of Hamel Island, Fusterland and the Fort of Havana. [B,D]

Day 6. Havana - Viñales

Today we'll marvel at the incredible valley dotted with limestone hills, known as magotes, as we travel through the beautiful region of Viñales. [B,L]

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience:Visit a tobacco field and drying house to learn more about the production of cigars before lunch with some locals.

Day 7. Viñales - Cienfuegos

Today we travel to the busy, colonial-era port of Cienfuegos, the ‘Pearl of the South’. Along the way we’ll stop at the infamous Bay of Pigs, where the failed US Military invasion of 1961 was undertaken. [B]

Day 8. Cienfuegos

This morning we’ll discover beautiful Cienfuegos on a walking tour, visiting the impressive Teatro Tomás Terry and the historic town centre. In the afternoon we’ll cruise to the end of the bay to visit Jagua Castle and wander through the village. [B]

Day 9. Cienfuegos - Trinidad

Walking Man

On the way to Trinidad we’ll stop to discover El Nicho Falls. Tonight we’ll enjoy an evening of music and dancing, Cuban-style, at Casa de la Trova. [B]

Day 10. Trinidad

Wander the cobblestone streets of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Trinidad and discover its colonial past. This perfectly preserved settlement is one of Cuba’s most enchanting cities. We'll also stop at the famous Canchanchara Bar. [B]

Day 11. Trinidad - Havana

We return to Havana, visiting the Che Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara along the way. [B]

Day 12. Havana

A day at leisure to enjoy charming Havana, before dinner at a local paladar. [B,D]

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Special Experience:Cruise through Old Havana’s Malecon and Revolution Square districts by classic car.

Day 13. Havana - Miami

Today we fly to Miami. [B]

DAYS 14-30  MIAMI - FORT LAUDERDALE: EMBARK CRUISE

This morning we travel to Fort Lauderdale to board the ms Rotterdam for a 16-night cruise of the Caribbean and Mexico, taking in the Panama Canal. [B,D]

Holland-America

Tour highlights of this 16-night Holland America Line Cruise include Aruba, Panama Canal, Puerto Caldera, Puerto Quetzal & Puerto Vallarta.

Day 14.

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Embark Cruise: Fort Lauderdale [B.D]

 

For tours departing November 2019 

Day 15. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Day 16. Cruising at sea

Day 17. Cruising at sea

For tours departing January and February 2020

Day 15. Cruising at sea

Day 16. Cruising at sea

Day 17. Willemstad, Curacao

Day 18. Oranjestad, Aruba

Day 19. Cruising at sea

Day 20. Cruising Panama Canal

Day 21. Cruising at sea

Day 22. Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

Day 23. Corinto, Nicaragua

Day 24. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

Day 25. Huatulco, Mexico

Day 26. Cruising at sea

Day 27. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Day 28. Cruising at sea

Day 29. Cruising at sea

Day 30. San Diego

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Disembark Cruise: We disembark and begin our journey home. [B]

Except for embarkation/disembarkation days, Breakfast, lunch & dinner are included daily while cruising. The cruise itinerary may change due to local conditions subject to the cruise line’s discretion.

DAY 31 IN TRANSIT

DAY 32 ARRIVE IN AUSTRALIA

Inclusions

Travel

  • Return economy-class flights between Australia, Mexico & the USA. Taxes included 
  • 1 economy-class flight from Mexico to Cuba
  • 1 economy-class flight from Cuba to USA
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles 
  • Holland America cruise
  • Port taxes of $580pp (subject to change)
  • Tipping Made Easy, $150pp pre-paid. On board the cruise there is a tipping surcharge to pay of approx. $14pp US per day

Accommodation & Meals

  • 11 nights in good quality hotels (3-4 star)
  • 2 nights in Casa homestay in Trinidad
  • 16-night Holland America cruise on board ms Rotterdam
  • 29 breakfasts, 18 lunches and 19 dinners, including group welcome dinner

Tour Guides

  • English-speaking locally based guides (excluding cruise) 

Sightseeing

Experience the Mexican zest for life

  • Tour bustling Mexico City including visits to the Zocalo and National Palace to view the famous Diego Rivera murals.
  • Experience an authentic trajinera ride through the waterways of Xochimilco and enjoy lunch on board.
  • View the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City - arguably the most important Christian pilgrimage site in all of Latin America
  • Marvel at the mysterious archaeological site of Teotihuacan and see its magnificent pyramids and the well-preserved Temples of the Sun and the Moon.

Step back in time in colonial Cuba  

  • Discover the history and charm of Old Havana on a walking tour.
  • Tour the sights of 'New Havana' including Hamel Island, Fusterland & Fort of Havana.
  • Visit a tobacco field and drying house at the Hector Luis Prito Cigar Farm, and observe famous Cuban cigars being rolled.
  • Experience lunch Cuban-style at Finca Agrologic, a typical 'Paladar', with a local Cuban family.
  • Enjoy the panoramic views over the Viñales valley from the Los Jazmines lookout point en route to Las Terrazas.
  • Stop at the infamous Bay of Pigs, where the failed US Military invasion of 1961 was undertaken and explore the museum.
  • Enjoy a city tour of charming Cienfuegos, the 'Pearl of the South'. See the historic town-centre, Teatro Tomas Terry, the Main Square, Malecon and Prado.
  • Cruise to the end of Cienfuegos Bay and visit Jagua Fotress, erected by King Philip V of Spain to protect the bay from pirates.
  • Stop at picturesque El Nicho Waterfalls, take a guided walk to Salto El Nicho and enjoy some free time for swimming.
  • Experience Cuban life at a traditional Casa homestay in Trinidad.
  • Get a taste for the Cuban spirit and spend an evening at famous 'Casa de la Trova' in Trinidad.
  • Take a city tour of Trinidad, one of Cuba's most enchanting cities, including the Museum of Romance and a visit to the Canchanchara bar to try its namesake cocktail.
  • Drive through the rows of sugarcane fields in the Valle de los Ingenios and visit the Manaca Iznaga tower for amazing views over the valley.
  • Visit the Mausoleum of Che Guevara, the monument of the blinded train and the historic centre in Santa Clara.
  • Tour timeless Havana by classic car including Malecon and Plaza de la Revolucion.
  • Cruise the Caribbean ports of Central America and the Panama Canal in luxury.

Please Note: Once on the cruise, there is no sightseeing included as part of your Bunnik Tour. Should you like to book sightseeing (shore excursions) from the ship, this will need to be either pre-booked via Holland America Cruises website or on board.

Please Note: On the cruise breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served in the main dining room. Holland America Cruises does have specialty restaurants that can be enjoyed for a small surcharge. Meals are included when in port, but only available on the ship. If you decide to take a day tour or leave the ship you will need to purchase your own lunch/dinner.

Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices

Starts Ends Save Total Cost* Status Book
07/11/19 08/12/19 $300 $14,695 Available book now
10/01/20 10/02/20 $300 $15,095 Available book now
11/02/20 13/03/20 $300 $15,095 Available book now
Valid From: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
Other departure cities: Clients ex Adelaide & Perth add $90pp, ex Hobart add $180pp
Tips: Total cost includes - Tipping Made Easy, $150pp pre-paid. On board the cruise there is a tipping surcharge to pay of approx. $14pp US per day
Taxes: Total cost includes - air taxes, $580pp and port taxes from $580pp
Single supplement: from $3,950
  • Upgrade from an Oceanview Stateroom to a Vista Suite on board Holland America Line from only $3300pp (subject to availability)
  • Day/Date Variations: Due to airline flight schedules day of arrival and day of departure may vary depending on your city of departure
  • Taxes & Fuel Costs: Total cost includes air taxes. Taxes and fuel surcharges change regularly so above levies are shown as a guide only
  • T&C: All prices shown are per person based on twin share and include airfares, all taxes and tips. Prices and itineraries correct at current time but are subject to change. Please call for more details. View our full terms & conditions here.

Fitness to Travel

Let's Talk Fitness

Levels-of-Fitness-sml

At Bunnik Tours we don’t put specific age limits on our tours, but we also recognise some travellers may find our itineraries challenging.
We have a duty of care to all tour participants and the tour guides, so we do impose a firm policy on the level of fitness required by all our clients to attempt to ensure your safety and the safety of other travellers on our tours.
At Bunnik Tours our goal is for all our travellers to enjoy their tour, not struggle through it! Which is why we want to work with you to ensure you are on the best possible trip for your fitness level. We do reserve the right to refuse bookings if we feel that the requirements of the tour are too demanding.
Bunnik Tours are for independently minded travellers with good levels of mobility.

Our tours include:
1. Generous amounts of free time
2. Lots of walking
3. Local and authentic experiences including various modes of transport and accommodation

In some regions travellers can also expect:
1. Long days of travelling, at times on dirt and gravel roads in Africa
2. Extended periods at high altitude (3,000-4,000 metres) in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Ethiopia
3. Extended periods of walking/hiking through humid forest areas in Rwanda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica
4. Limited medical facilities in remote areas

Bunnik Tours travellers are required to at least:
1. Be able to walk 2-3 hours on uneven surfaces
2. Walk up multiple flights of stairs and short, steep hills
3. Stand for 20 minutes without needing to sit down, often in hot/humid climates
4. Carry their own luggage
5. Get on and off various modes of transport without assistance, including small boats

Optional Excursions

Mexico

Garibaldi Show - 3hrs - $58pp US
(May not be available on Sundays)
Visit the Zocalo to admire its illuminated monuments, the National Palace and the Cathedral. Your evening continues as you travel to the famous Plaza Garibaldi, the meeting place of the Mariachis, to enjoy a traditional Mexican show with live music and dancing.

Garibaldi Show with dinner - 5hrs - $110pp US
(May not be available on Sundays)
Travel to the Hotel Bellini for a delicious evening meal before continuing to the Plaza Garibaldi, meeting place of the Mariachis, to enjoy a traditional Mexican show with live music and dancing. Afterwards, be taken to enjoy an evening panoramic view of downtown Mexico City.

Please Note: All tours are based on minimum 2 participants (unless otherwise stated) and are subject to availability. The length of tours advised are an approximate only and can be booked on tour directly with your Tour Director. Prices are a guide only and are subject to change without notice. Payment must be made to your Tour Director with cash.

Accommodation

Accommodation

Accommodation is subject to change and every effort is made to avoid this. However if a change does become necessary, accommodation of a similar standard will be used.

Note: Cuban Charm

A trip to Cuba is a unique and rewarding experience, a country largely untouched until now. This means that hotels, transport and facilities sometimes lack creature comforts. Accommodation may be of varying standards as tourism demands are surpassing current infrastructure and it is possible there can be unexpected changes. As such, travel in Cuba requires an adventurous spirit, flexibility and an open mind.

Hotel Galeria Plaza Reforma, Mexico City

Galeria Plaza Reforma is set in a prime location in Zona Rosa, Mexico. Located in the heart of the financial and commercial district, just five minutes’ walk from the Paseo de la Reforma’s office buildings. Exclusive boutiques, shops and fine dining restaurants surround this modern and comfortable hotel. Rooms are tastefully designed and feature top-quality amenities.

Facilities: air-conditioning; wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool; tea & coffee making facilities

Mercure Sevilla, Havana

Set in the old town in a 1908 Moorish-style building, this elegant hotel is a minute's walk from Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana-Cuba and 3 minutes on foot from the Museum of the Revolution. Guest rooms feature high ceilings and city views and the property boasts a rooftop restaurant, terrace bar and outdoor pool.

Facilities: air-conditioning; wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool

Hotel Moka, Las Terrazas

Hotel Moka is set amid the forested hills of Las Terrazas, 49 miles west of Havana. The design is contemporary Spanish-colonial and features a multi-tiered atrium lobby built around a large lime tree - its branches disappear through the skylight. Some of the rooms even have trees growing through their balconies and ceilings. Each room has floor-to-ceiling glass windows with French doors leading onto a terra-cotta tiled balcony with a spectacular view of the forest. Hotel Moka also has a restaurant, bar, and a lovely swimming pool surrounded by trees.

Facilities: air-conditioning; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool

La Union Hotel, Cienfuegos

Located in the heart of the city of Cienfuegos, La Union Hotel combines the charm of its neoclassical architectural structure and colonial surroundings with modern facilities. Originally a colonial mansion built in 1869, it features marble pillars, antique furniture, two inner patios, a pool, bar, restaurant and a great roof top terrace offering delightful views of the town below. It's also just a short stroll from Parque Jose Marti in downtown Cienfuegos.

Facilities: air-conditioning; wifi; fridge/minibar; safe deposit box; outdoor swimming pool

Casa Zenia Wanda, Trinidad

The recently renovated Casa Zenia-Wanda offers you a fantastic local Cuban experience. Located a short distance from the centre of town it provides you with the perfect opportunity to explore and discover Trinidad.

Facilities: air-conditioning; wifi; safe deposit box; tea & coffee making facilities

With the US embargo soon to be lifted and a large influx of new visitors from across the globe already travelling to Cuba it has meant that hotel options in some locations have become limited due to lack of infrastructure. One such destination is the beautiful colonial city of Trinidad, where it can be very difficult to confirm hotels in the downtown area.

To ensure that our groups get the best out of their time here we use a number of smaller hotels or ‘Casa Privada Stays’ that will give you first-hand experience of Cuban life. The casa’s are part of a Government managed program and have been inspected and provided permits by Government officers, ensuring their suitability.  Each room has private bathroom facilities, air-conditioning and fans. The casa’s have 2 to 6 rooms and a private room or central patio where meals such as breakfast are served. They are essentially the Cuban equivalent to a B&B!

Iberostar Parque Central, Havana

The Iberostar Parque Central Hotel is located in the heart of Havana and close to iconic sites such as the Capitol Building, the Paseo del Prado and the Havana Pier. Its rooms are decorated in a cosy, classic style and are distributed among two buildings connected by an enclosed walkway, a unique feature of the hotel. If you'd like to dine in the hotel, you can choose from 3 dining options - the Buffet Restaurant specialising in local and international cuisine, an Italian restaurant or the Steakhouse. Relax in one of the bars where you can sip on an ice-cold mojito or a hot Cuban-style coffee, they also have a cigar lounge. After a day's sightseeing you can take a dip in the stunning rooftop pool which provides an amazing view of the city below.

Facilities: air-conditioning; wifi; fridge/minibar; outdoor swimming pool

MS Rotterdam, Holland America Line

As the sixth ship to bear the name, the MS Rotterdam is the standard-bearer for Holland America Line’s fleet of ships. The first Rotterdam set sail in 1872, beginning a tradition of elegant cruising and impeccable service that continues through Rotterdam VI. Commemorating the history of the Rotterdam ships, fascinating Holland America memorabilia, art and antiques can be found throughout the ship. The collection includes remarkable clocks and time pieces, contemporary art by recognised artists, and antiques that represent the rich seafaring heritage of Holland America Line. A highlight is a beautiful 18th-century ship model carved from bone. The MS Rotterdam ensures you the ultimate onboard experience with her graceful combination of classic cruise ship features and state-of-the-art amenities.

Holland America Line: Cruise Ships | Cabin-types | On-board services

Weather

Weather

Mexico City

Summer: June to August

Autumn: September to November

Winter: December to February

Spring: March to May

Mexico City

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Havana

Dry Season: November to April

Wet Season: May to October

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Miami

Dry Season: December to March

Wet Season: May to October

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San Diego

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Currency

Currency

Mexican Peso

The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso (CM$).

  • 1 Mexican Peso = 100 centavos
  • Notes are in denominations of M$1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20
  • Coins are in denominations of M$100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 centavos

Convertible Peso

The official currency of Cuba is the Convertible Peso (CUC$).

  • 1 Convertible Peso = 100 centavos
  • Notes are in denominations of $100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 3 and 1
  • Coins are in denominations of $1, and 50, 25, 10, 5, and 1 centavos
  • No USD dollars accepted in Cuba, not Credit cards issued by USA banks

Visa Information

Visa Requirements

Passport-AU2

Please note, Australian passport holders need to obtain a visa for this tour. Please check with your travel agent for further details.

  • Australian passport holders
    • A visa for Cuba needs to be purchased in Mexico. Please obtain a Cuban visa card at the Airport from your airline's sales desk and complete it before check-in. Please ensure you have approximately 400 Mexican Pesos per person in cash to pay for the card once received.
  • Non-Australian passport holders
    • Please check with your travel agent on visa requirements.

The following government websites are also a handy source of general information.

Reviews for Mexico, Cuba & the Panama Canal 2019/20

This tour has a rating of 4 stars based on 2 reviews.

Here's what others have had to say about this tour.

Mexico, Cuba & the Panama Canal 2019/20 Excellent variety 4
Excellent variety, guides, accommodation and places visited. John R - March 2018
Mexico, Cuba & the Panama Canal 2019/20 4
Loved Cuba and sailing through the Panama Canal. Carol B - March 2018

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Special Experiences!

  • Board an authentic Mexican trajinera for a traditional lunch and cruise through the waterways of Xochimilco.
  • Step back in time to the 60s and discover the history and charm of Old Havana on a walking tour this morning.
  • Visit a tobacco field and drying house to learn more about the production of cigars before lunch with some locals.
  • Cruise through Old Havana’s Malecon and Revolution Square districts by classic car.

Trip Info

Group Size

Max: 20

Transportation

Coach, trajinera, plane, boat, classic car & cruise ship

Tips

Total cost includes - Tipping Made Easy, $150pp pre-paid. On board the cruise there is a tipping surcharge to pay of approx. $14pp US per day

Tour Highlights

• Tour the waterways of Xochimilco by traditional trajinera • Marvel at the mysterious archaeological site of Teotihuacan • Discover the history and charm of Old Havana on a walking tour • Experience lunch Cuban-style at a typical 'Paladar' with a local Cuban family • Cruise to the end of Cienfuegos Bay and visit Jagua Fotress • Visit the Mausoleum of Che Guevara • Cruise the Caribbean ports of Central America and the Panama Canal in luxury

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Bunnik Tours Reviews for Mexico, Cuba & the Panama Canal 2019/20

This tour has a rating of 4 stars based on 2 reviews.