Hotel Melia San Carlos
Melia San Carlos is a refurbished hotel right in the centre of Cienfuegos, Cuba's Pearl of the South.
Just a few minutes' stroll from the central square in Cienfuegos, the totally refurbished Melia San Carlos, which was originally established in 1925, opened its doors in the summer of 2018 with spanking new contemporary furnishings. The hotel has a brilliant location in an elegant city whose eclectic style refers back to its French origins – step outside and discover art deco façades of a city justifiably known as the Pearl of the South.
Unusually for this Caribbean island full of colour, the décor is mostly white, silver, chocolate and black, but some features from the original building remain, such as the ornate façade and layout of the lobby to which a restaurant, bar and two inner courtyards have been added. The bright-white air-conditioned guest rooms are similarly innovative, with up-to-date bathrooms. They have views over the city as does the celebrated roof garden with its friendly bar and restaurant overlooking the bay
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
Most memorable experiences: "The self drive itinerary and experience gave us a window into the real Cuba, off the beaten track but never too scary. We were sad to hand the car over in Santiago! We had an amazing trip to Cuba; a lifetime experience. thank you all for making it happen."NC, Reading
The live music in all the bars, restaurants and on street corners everywhere. We loved the variety of Havana , vinales, Trinidad and the flop on the beach at the end at Cayo Santa Maria.LD, Beaconsfield
Most memorable experiences: Visiting Las Terrazas, exploring Havana, brief stop in Santa Clara, and contact with Cubans along the wayHP, King's lynn
Most memorable experiences: The vibrancy of the music,friendliness of the people and the sheer variety of Landscapes,cities and coastlines. Particular highlights were the 1950's cars,Trinidad and vinales...We would definitely consider travelling with journey Latin America again and the efficiency and organisation of our trip was superb from start to finish. Cuba is a fascinating country to visit and a great destination for families with teenagers. Thank you for a memorable,fun and enriching experience!LVK, Sevenoaks
We really liked Cuba overall. There is not just one thing but the best included: Private tour in Havana was excellent as the guide was first rate. The town of Trinidad which we just loved. We thought it was really good to stay at a Casa and would recommend that experience for at least one section of a holiday.PD, Dublin
JLA did a first rate job arranging our holiday which was quite complicated over five locations in Cuba. It all went faultlessly.SV, Little Hamton
We had a great time in Cuba, very pleased with the literary suggested and implemented by JLA. Hannah (W) was a pleasure to deal with. We would certainly recommend JLA to anybody thinking of travelling to South America / Cuba etc.JH Bedford
Highlights? The ride in the Vintage American car in Havana, The walking tour with Louis in Havana, Spending time chatting with Sofia on her deck in rocking chairs in Vinales, Drinking Mojito's in the sun. Snorkelling in the sea at Jibacoa.TW, Glasgow
The fact that Cuba is so far removed from 21st century life - Cubans seem to have an indestructible soul! Music is their Prozac.Ck, London
Although I loved the history, architecture, parks, animals wandering about and music everywhere etc, I'm afraid I fell hopelessly in love with the people most of all. I felt more at home here than anywhere else I can think of.PP, Sawbridgeworth
Really enjoyed all of it, especially Havana and Trinidad. Loved the music, the atmosphere and the people. Very good walks.GG, Diss
An excellent trip covering many of the key historical, geographical and political sites, and providing insight into a rapidly changing country. Go before it changes irrevocably.DW, London
Highlights?: Topes de Collantes water fall. Visit to Santa Clara Che Guevera monument. A day spent with a family we met in Bayamo, visiting their home & the local market, food preparation, and just chilling with them.DW, Mirfield
All of it was great. It was amazing to visit cities, mountainous areas and the beach. The Rolling Stones weren't bad either!!LW, Tonbridge
There is no one experience that I would single out. What was memorable were the people, their friendliness and helpfulness, and the real feeling of safety everywhere we went - even when the street lighting suddenly failed in the back streets of Trinidad.DM, Nottingham
Most Memorable Aspect: "our visit in Havana, our visit to Playa Giron, to Trinidad and finally at the Royalton resort. We enjoyed a mixture of luxury, culture, history and natural beauty."MH
Most memorable experience: "Sunday morning Masses in Cathedral in Havana and Iglesia Parroquial in Trinidad. Going on the ferry from Havana to Casablanca and walking round the area of the Cabana fort."PC, Wallington
Most Memorable Moment: Soaking up Havana - it's an endlessly fascinating place. Closely followed by swimming in the El Nicho falls and snorkelling off JibacoaCB, Eastbourne
Most memorable: "The driving around seeing all the towns and villages and their inhabitants. Seeing and understanding how life has progressed since the revolution. We also found the scenery amazing in many parts. Hard to pick out one memorable part as there was so much we enjoyed."GG, Chepstow
Best Bit?: Just the huge contrasts in the country.LW
Most Memorable Moment?: The perfect travel arrangements, staying int he homestays, seeing how much things have changed The refurbished Alicia Alonso theatre is amazing and not to be missed.AW, Watford
The hiking tour above Topes de Collantes lead by Valentine was fantastic. Wonderful sights and sounds lead by an experienced guide with a good sense of humour.DM, Edinburgh
Highlight?: The road journeys through eastern Cuba.JB,
Highlight: The music & atmosphere in Havana. Seeing the countryside. Experiencing the quite different locations.AKD, Malmesbury
The visit to Vinales - we loved the scenery and the remoteness - and the Escambray mountains.LJ, Wokingham
Driving was fascinating & not too stressful due to lack of traffic . We felt we saw bits of CUBA not seen by many tourists.DM, Falmouth
Every part of the trip on Cuba. It is an amazing destination. If we had to pick out one part it would be the amazing unspoint scenery.ES, Brackley
Most memorable experience: "Witnessing the culture of Cuba. Seeing the state of buildings, the 50s cars and there really is great music in every bar!"HC, Cheltenham
Highlights included dancing and watching dancing in Guantanamo, Santiago and Trinidad. There's music everywhere - it gets inside your head and is wonderful. Also the road trip from Guadalavaca to Baracoa (6.5 hours) was amazing. Beautiful views driving through the mountains.SZ, Bungay
Spending time with the guides gave us an insight into other aspects of life in Cuba.SW, Woking
Tailor made holiday
Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for 40 years. We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
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Real Latin America Experts
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Millie Davies - Travel Expert
Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.