Sugar Mill Tour - Trip to Cuba's Heart

Cuba's haunting Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and your chance to get in touch with the island's real history. Your half-day tour will include a voyage through mangrove swamps, a visit to a crocodile farm, a steam train ride through sugar fields and a tour of a historic sugar mill. After a delicious and authentic local lunch, there'll be a chance to experience the picturesque 16th century colonial centre of Moron, the City of the Rooster (Ciudad del Gallo).

See the real Cuba on a steam train ride across the famous Valle de los Ingenios: the sugar cane fields that shaped the island's chequered past

From Varadero, there are many places to visit to experience the 'real' Cuba. One of the most fascinating is the Valley of the Sugar Mills, which Cubans call Valle de los Ingenios. This is a beautiful but haunting place, full of the sugar cane plantations once worked by the thousands of African slaves shipped in by Spanish owners. The 100-square-mile valley is dotted by the abandoned sugar mills that were the heart of Cuba's prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries but which closed after the loss of Soviet markets.

This is a chance to experience the sunlit beauty and romance of the Caribbean countryside and learn more about Cuba's rich and sometimes troubled history.

Your day trip will start with an exhilarating boat voyage through the mangrove lined channels of La Redonda while your skipper shows you the plants and animals that make this such a rich and diverse ecosystem. Later, there'll be a chance to visit a crocodile farm, where you can get 'up close and personal' with a baby croc (if you're brave enough).

From La Redonda, our knowledgeable and experienced guide will take you to one of the most impressive Cuban sugar mills still standing. Now a cultural complex and museum, this factory was once one of the world's richest producers of sugar and an engine of Cuba's prosperity from the 1800s until late in the 20th century. Then you'll board a steam train to take a leisurely and magical journey through the fields of sugar cane and banana groves, with lush green hills all around.

There'll be a chance to retreat into the shade for a delicious and authentic local lunch in a Cuban restaurant before exploring Moron City, the historic administrative centre of the north coast province of Ciego de Avila. This 16th century colonial city is still essentially the same as the Spanish conquistadors would have seen it. Cubans know Moron as Ciudad del Gallo (City of the Rooster) for the imposing bronze statue of the Rooster of Moron. The plucked cockerel celebrates the downfall of an arrogant Spanish governor - a warning of what happens to anyone who tries to trample on Cubans' rights and liberties.

There'll be plenty of time to take in Moron's sights and shops, enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride around the town or visit a primary school to meet friendly local children. You'll return mid-afternoon having learnt a huge amount about the history and culture of the real Cuba.

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For those who prefer to travel at their own pace or to explore places not included in the brochure itineraries, we have years of experience at organising tailor-made holidays.

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Our expert tour consultants will be pleased to suggest ideas to complement your own and to organise the most appropiate programme to suit your interests, time and budget.

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