Days
8
Price from
$4,515CAD

Step back in time amongst the bewitching cities, towns and tobacco fields of Cuba

Cuba is one of the hottest travel destinations around and it is easy to see why. The country has a unique and colourful history that still dominates most aspects of Cuban life. Cuba is a Latin nation but it has a feel all of its own and on this short adventure, we experience many of these interesting facets. There's Havana, in all its faded glory, waiting to be explored. Few cities in the world can conjure up such emotions. Further on is the Vinales region, well known for its tobacco growing and cigar factories. On the south of the island is colonial Trinidad, where we can wander the cobblestone streets and listen to Cuban rhythms in the Casa de La Trova.  Throughout our Cuban holiday we are able to trace the history of the Cuban Revolution and, in Santa Clara, its famed icon, Ernesto Che Guevara.

INDEPENDENT JOURNEYS
Independent travel, without the stress. This tour has been specifically designed for independent travel for 1-4 people. It departs on any day and comes accompanied by a Peregrine guide in each location and 24/7 support from the local Peregrine office.


Start
Havana, Cuba
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Country
Cuba
Style
Independent Journeys
Code
PSTCJ
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
6 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 4

Why we love this trip

  • On the south of the island you'll discover colonial Trinidad, where you can wander the cobblestone streets and listen to Cuban rhythms in the Casa de La Trova

  • Discover the history of the Cuban Revolution. In Santa Clara you will visit the memorials dedicated to revolutionary hero, Ernesto Che Guevara

  • A guided walking tour of Havana helps you to understand the difference between country and city life in Cuba

  • Take in the colours and smells of the plants in Soroa, the valley known as the 'Rainbow of Cuba'.

  • Stroll along the rural dirt roads of lovely Vinales as tractors, vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages pass by

  • This trip offers the chance to get to know the hard-working tobacco farmers behind Cuba's famous cigars

  • Marvel at the unique architecture of Palacio del valle in Cienfuegos on a guided tour

Is this trip right for you?

  • Cuba is different, and that's a big part of its allure. Things don't always go according to plan, and many things don't work the same way as back home. Patience and good humour will go a long way in this beautiful destination.

  • Cash is difficult to access in Cuba. Credit cards (not debit cards) are essential – ideally multiple credit cards from several different banks.

  • Luxuries such as air conditioning, and even kitchen sinks, are often scarce. Part of the experience here is learning to appreciate everyday Cuban resourcefulness.

  • Hotels in Cuba are government-run, which means renovations are few and far between. The Cuban guesthouses (Casas Particulares) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling, and each one is unique, like a B&B. ‘Premium guesthouses’ are an upgrade from these, and 'Deluxe guesthouses' are the highest standard. That said, power cuts and breaks in hot water are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country.

  • Internet in Cuba can be scarce, unreliable and expensive. Treat this trip as a holiday from emails and social media.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2016 - 31 December 2016

On arrival to Havana airport you will be transferred to your centrally located guesthouse.

In the evening, approximately 6pm, you will meet your guide for a pre-tour briefing. Please look for a note in your room or ask the guesthouse owner where the leader has left it for you (otherwise the leader will call you at the guesthouse to advise details).

We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

The briefing is followed by an included welcome dinner.
Accommodation
  • Deluxe Guesthouse or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club - CUC30
  • Havana - Cigar factory tour - CUC12
  • Havana - Morro Castle - CUC3
  • Havana - La Cabana Fortress canon blast ceremony - CUC8
  • Havana - Baseball game (Oct - Apr) - CUC3
  • Havana - Tourist bus to the beach (return) - CUC5
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised.
After collecting your luggage, please continue walking through the 'Main Arrivals Hall' of the airport (Do not exit through the side door). A driver holding a sign with your name on it will be waiting to take you to your pre-arranged transfer. If you can't locate the Peregrine representative, please call +53 52506496 (Do not rely on somebody else to call for you as they may be seeking commissions to direct you to another transfer company).
This morning your leader will take you on a walking tour of the lovely Old Havana. You'll go to the cathedral, Plaza de Armas, San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Central Park. Your entry fee to the Camera Obscura lookout at Plaza Vieja is included.

Afterwards you will drive west to Soroa, where you'll enjoy some lunch and tour the beautiful orchid garden. A local expert will take you on a private tour of the gardens to identify the bird and plant species of this diverse area. You will easily see why the valley is known as the rainbow of Cuba. Continue on to Vinales, where tobacco and sugarcane fields lie side by side and limestone outcrops dot the landscape.
Accommodation
  • Standard Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Camera Obscura entrance
  • Soroa - Orchid garden tour with local expert
  • Vinales - Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Soroa - Hike to waterfall - CUC3
  • Vinales - Bicycle hire (per hour) - CUC2
  • Vinales - Salsa lesson (per hour) - CUC8
  • Vinales - Live music venues - CUC1
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
You will be staying in Standard Guesthouses while in Vinales which are the most basic of the guesthouse standards. Please be aware the comfort levels are much less in these rural towns than in the cities. Please see the accommodation section of this document for more information about what to expect.
You will taken on a guided walk through the farm lands of Vinales, which you'll soon see is home to some extraordinary scenery – some of Cuba's best. Learn more about the tobacco industry and see a farmer whip a world class cigar in seconds.
Take part in an informal Spanish lesson so you can converse with the friendly locals. Later, perhaps enjoy the porch rocking chair and soak up the slow, old-world pace of rural Cuba as oxen plod gracefully along the streets.
Accommodation
  • Standard Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
  • Vinales - Informal Spanish lesson
Optional Activities
  • Vinales - Santo Tomas cave visit & return taxi - CUC35
  • Vinales - Cueva del Indio - CUC5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Cave visits will require sturdy footwear, as they can involve walking across slippery rocks.
Prepare for a long travel day as you board the comfortable bus to Cienfuegos, stopping on the way in the Bay of Pigs. First, learn about the botched US Military counter-revolutionary invasion in the Giron Museum thent stop at the momumental bay itself, for a swim in the crystal clear water or simply sit back and try to imagine that such a battle played out in this location.

Then it is just a short drive to Cienfuegos, one of Cuba's prettiest coastal spots. While you're here you will visit the Palacio del Valle, Cienfuegos' architectural pride and joy. Its grandiose carvings in Venetian alabaster strike an impressive pose in this beautiful seaside city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Union or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Cienfuegos - Visit to the Palacio del Valle
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Take the short drive to Trindad. During a guided walk of the town, take in its eye-catching combination of cobblestone streets, colourful houses and old-fashioned locals. It's a great town to explore on foot, and almost every scene offers superb photographic opportunities – from residents relaxing with huge cigars on their doorsteps to old Chevrolets cruising by.
In the afternoon, embrace the rhythm and learn a few steps in a salsa dancing class.

In the evening take a trip out of town to a local farm for a homely and festive dinner. Be welcomed with the local drink; Canchanchara made from 'fire water', local honey and lime juice. There will even be a private band serenading you and your fellow travellers as you dine.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Trinidad - Santeria Priest Visit
  • Trinidad - Informal Salsa Dance Lesson
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today is a free day in Trinidad. For some beachside fun and perhaps a little snorkelling, head down to Playa Ancon. Just be careful you don't stand on a sea urchin. At some point while you're here, a great activity is to go to a folklore show at one of the town's numerous open-air venues. Cuba has a rich and varied music and dance tradition that draws roots from Spain, Africa and France, and this is your chance to experience it all first-hand, from the Mambo to the rumba.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Massage - CUC25
  • Trinidad - Live music venues - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Snorkelling trip - CUC15
  • Trinidad - Ancon beach shuttle bus - CUC4
  • Trinidad - Bicycle rental (full day) - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Trek to El Nicho Waterfall (taxi, entrance fee & guide) - CUC27
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
On your way back to Havana you will stop in at Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum. Here you'll see the statue of the iconic revolutionary leader looming. In the museum that accompanies the mausoleum, you'll find an intriguing spread of photos and other ephemera related to Che – letters, medical devices, firearms.
Afterwards, continue to the capital to see outer-Havana in a convoy of classic American vintage cars for a Havana city tour (1 hour urban adventure) that cruises via points of intrerest such as the Malecon, Revolucion Square and ending in the suburb of Vedado to drop you at the infamous Hotel Nacional. Your leader will take you around the historic grounds and the photo wall of fame.
Perhaps for the final night of celebration, enjoy a cocktail in their bar overlooking the malecon
Accommodation
  • Deluxe Guesthouse or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Vintage American car tour
  • Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion
  • Havana - Hotel Nacional Visit
Optional Activities
  • Havana - José Martí Memorial Tower - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Deluxe Guesthouse (2 nights), Standard Guesthouse (2 nights), Premium Guesthouse (2 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Camera Obscura entrance
  • Soroa - Orchid garden tour with local expert
  • Vinales - Orientation Walk
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
  • Vinales - Informal Spanish lesson
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Cienfuegos - Visit to the Palacio del Valle
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Trinidad - Santeria Priest Visit
  • Trinidad - Informal Salsa Dance Lesson
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Vintage American car tour
  • Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion
  • Havana - Hotel Nacional Visit

Reviews

Our Essential Cuba - Independent Journey trips score an average of 4.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews in the last year.

A Touch of Cuba - Independent, April 2016

Hayley and Glenn Proctor

A Touch of Cuba - Independent, January 2016

David Ferens

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip.
3. There are unprecedented changes happening in Cuba right now. It is an exciting time but it also means some patience and understanding is required for the heightened demand of infrastructure, accommodation and crowds.
4. This is an independent journey, not a group trip.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.