Days
8
Price from
$2,215USD

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.


Start
Havana, Cuba
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Country
Cuba
Style
Peregrine
Code
PSTC
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
135 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

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?

  • 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.

  • There's plenty of time to eat the delights of the sea, but it's good to keep in mind that accompaniments are not as expansive as in another countries due to limitations on imports.

  • Internet access can be hard to come by, and when it's available it's often unreliable and expensive. This is, on the other hand, a great opportunity to take a break from modern devices and have a true holiday.

  • Hotels in Cuba are government-run, which means renovations are few and far between. Premium guesthouses rival, If not surpass, most Cuban hotels when it comes to decor and facilities.

  • Cuba is different and that’s what makes it such a fascinating destination. You will find that things don’t always go according to plan or work the way they do back home. Regulations concerning foreigners and currency may appear strange to you, buses and planes often run late and sometimes the water in your bathroom can run cold and the electricity fail. In order to get the most out of your holiday, a degree of patience, good humour and understanding is a definite advantage. Cuba may not be wealthy in a monetary sense, however if you approach your holiday with an open and enquiring mind, the warm welcome you receive from Cubans will ensure you a rich and rewarding holiday experience.

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Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 08 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 09 May 2016 - 07 January 2017

Welcome to Cuba! Bienvenido a Cuba!

Arrive at Havana's Jose Marti International airport, where you'll be transferred to your guesthouse. Your arrival transfer must be pre-booked. Please ensure you provide your arrival flight details at least 15 days before the start of the trip.

In the evening, at approximately 6pm, you will meet your leader and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing. Please expect a letter or a phone call on Day 1 from your leader to confirm the time and place of your meeting. Please come to this meeting with your passport, travel insurance and next of kin information.

The briefing is followed by an included group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Deluxe Guesthouse (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
A complimentary transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised.
The transfer driver will have the address of your Guesthouse. Please see "Joining instructions" for more information about exiting the arrivals hall and connecting with your arrival transfer driver.
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
There are currently no Premium guesthouses in this area so you will be staying in a Standard guesthouse. 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 then stop at the monumental 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
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
  • 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
  • Trinidad - Private dinner at a local farmhouse
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 (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
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Cienfuegos - Visit to the Palacio del Valle
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Trinidad - Santeria Priest Visit
  • Trinidad - Informal Salsa Dance Lesson
  • Trinidad - Private dinner at a local farmhouse
  • 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 2017 trips score an average of 4.59 out of 5 based on 135 reviews in the last year.

A Touch of Cuba 2016, November 2016

Ruta Bizys

A Touch of Cuba 2016, November 2016

Colleen Kelly

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.

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.