Days
13
Price from
€3,268EUR

Cuba’s rich tapestry, in all its colour and candour

Experience Cuba’s finest on a 13-day journey across the colourful Caribbean island. Combining leisure, culture, coast and country, discover the depth of Cuba’s most fascinating traditions. Look behind the legend of Che Guevara, witness daily life in Vinales’ verdant tobacco fields, peel back the curtain on Santiago de Cuba’s ballet culture, wander the French-infused waterfront of Cienfuegos, dance to Cuban rhythms in Trinidad and go snorkelling in the Bay of Pigs. Finish it off with a cruise through Havana’s grand old streets in a classic American convertible.


Start
Havana, Cuba
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Country
Cuba
Style
Peregrine
Code
PSTV
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
12 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Get behind the scenes and discover real Cuban life. Explore avant-garde sculpture with a local artist in Ciego de Avila, visit the tobacco fields for a snapshot of rural life in Vinales and take a private tour of a ballet theatre in Santiago de Cuba

  • History enthusiasts will not be disappointed. Visit the Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum in Santa Clara, and learn about the Bay of Pigs Invasion at the Gion Museum

  • The French-founded port town of Cienfuegos is a real slice of heaven. Enjoy a drink on the roof of its crown-jewel building, the Palacio del Valle

  • See why Trinidad is a favourite among so many Peregrine travellers. Your time in this old-world Cuban town includes a salsa dance lesson and plenty of time for seaside leisure

  • Never mind an impersonal bus tour. Be acquainted with Camaguey in true local style – on a bicycle taxi

  • Ride through the streets of Havana in a vintage American convertible

  • Your 2-night Feature stay at Hotel Nacional in Havana which is considered a symbol of history, culture and Cuban identity

Is this trip right for you?

  • Hotels in Cuba are government-run, which means renovations are few and far between. As for the guesthouses (Casas) we use, they are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling but keep in mind that each and every room is unique. That said, regardless of where you stay, power cuts and breaks in hot water are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country.

  • Funds can be difficult to access in Cuba. Ideally bring multiple credit cards from several different banks just to be sure.

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

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

  • 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.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to Cuba! Bienvenido a Cuba! Arrive at Havana's Jose Marti International airport, where you'll be transferred to your hotel.

There will be a welcome meeting at approximately 6pm this evening. After checking in please look for a collection of folders opposite reception where companies can leave communication for their travellers. The folder should be named "Peregrine Adventures" and inside there will be a copy of the welcome letter for you to read.

The welcome letter will detail where the pre-tour briefing will take place. If by 5pm you cannot locate this letter then please ask reception, or ask to call our assistance line listed in the "Problems and emergency contact information" section of this document. Please come to this meeting with your passport, travel insurance and next of kin information. The briefing is usually followed by an optional group dinner.

As there's a great deal to do in Havana, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist. If you arrive early, please note most activities in Cuba can only be booked through the tourist desk in the lobbies of the larger hotels or direct with the venue. Otherwise, there are plenty of good museums to check out, including the Museo de la Revolucion and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Revolution museum - CUC5
  • Havana - National Museum of Fine Arts - CUC5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Please see "Joining instructions" for more information about exiting the arrivals hall and connecting with your arrival transfer driver.

Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have started their trip 15 days ago in Mexico city on Mexico & Cuba in depth (PSMBC), or in San Jose on Costa Rica & Cuba (PSCRC).
This morning at 9am you will be picked up from the infamous Hotel Nacional to see outer-Havana in a convoy of classic American vintage cars (1 hour urban adventure) that cruises via points of intrerest such as the Malecon, Revolucion Square, Vedado and ending in Old Havana. Next, your leader will take you on a walking tour of the lovely Old Havana (approximately 2.5 hours). Go to the cathedral, Plaza de Armas, San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Central Park.

Now that you are orientated in Old Havana you have the rest of the afternoon to lunch at leisure and explore futher. Your leader can assist you to take a taxi if you wish to return to the hotel
Included Activities
  • Havana - Vintage American car tour
  • Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Jose Marti Memorial Tower - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You have a very early start this morning (4am) to take a two hour flight to the opposite end of the island. Santiago de Cuba is the hottest place in Cuba – both with respect to the temperature and the atmosphere! After an orientation walk in the afternoon, dive into the sultry rhythms with an informal salsa class. As well as being the 'cradle' of the revolution, Santiago has a large Afro-Cuban population and a vibrant music scene. It is the home of son music, which is a mix of Spanish guitar and African percussion. This is great place for even the shyest dancer to learn some salsa moves.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santiago de Cuba - Dance lesson (1 hour)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today your leader will take you on a three-hour city tour of Santiago. You'll visit El Morro Castle, Ifigenia cemetery and the Moncada barracks. For nearly a century, the city was the island's seat of power. Santiago's half million residents are proud of their cultural traditions, so you'll find many museums and cultural clubs around the city. The city is also famous for its energetic Carnaval celebrations and its lively Festival of Caribbean Culture.
In the evening get a slice of real Cuban life with dinner in a very humble average Cuban home. Here you will sample local food on the beautifully decorated patio of a simple family home far from the touristic centre of town and a place where foreigners generally do not visit. Perhaps you will listen to a local Cuban band, dance to the energetic rhythms, or just sit in the rocking chairs watching the neighbours go about their business as evening falls.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santiago de Cuba - half day city tour
  • Santiago - Dinner in a Casa Urbana
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today, head west along the Carretera Central to Camaguey. Today is the longest travel day of the trip. Depending on how many stops are made, this usually takes six to seven hours but it will be broken up with a walk around Bayamo, plus your leader may utilise the bus time for your informal Spanish lesson.

Despite its size, Cuba's third largest city Camaguey has managed to retain much of its colonial heritage. Exploring the city's winding streets is half the fun. The city was planned in a deliberately confusing pattern to disorient any would-be assailants. As you walk through the city you may still see tinajones – large clay pots used for collecting water. On your explorations, stop by the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Soledad to see its baroque frescoes. Camaguey has a rich tradition of cultural and technological leadership within Cuba. It is the birthplace of poet laureate Nicolas Guillen and home of the Ballet de Camaguey. Cuba's first radio and television emissions were broadcast from Camaguey, and the country's first airport and commercial flights were planned and executed here.
Accommodation
  • Gran Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Informal Spanish lesson with leader
  • Bayamo - Orientation Walk
  • Camaguey - Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today you’ll take a tour of Camaguey by bicycle taxi. Cycling is a popular form of transport in Cuba, and bicycle taxis are very common. In the confusing streets of Camaguey, it's a particularly good way to get around. On the tour, you'll visit a local market, parks, plazas and an art gallery. Each taxi carries two passengers and the tour is led by an English-speaking local guide. Your leader may suggest visiting a local farmers' market, where you’ll get a fascinating insight into daily Cuban life and the local economy. This is where farmers can sell their produce after meeting the quota they have to sell to the state. There are separate areas for produce sold by the state and produce sold by farmers directly to the public. There are plenty of interesting tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs available. This is where the locals come to buy their food once their monthly food ration runs out.

Then you will take a marvellous tour of the famous ballet school in Camaguey, the precursor to the National School of Ballet. From here the majority of dancers go onto the National Ballet company or other large national and international dance companies. Meet some of the important people who keep this school running: the directors, the dancers (we can sit in on a rehearsal) the seamstresses, the shoe makers, the costume designers – it takes a large team of people to keep the ballet school operating. As it is not possible to purchase things such as ballet shoes in Cuba, everything for the ballet school is made on the premises. This is a truly fascinating experience.
Accommodation
  • Gran Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Camaguey - Bicycle taxi city tour
  • Camaguey - Ballet school tour
Optional Activities
  • Camaguey - Casa de la Trova - CUC3
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today travel through the centre of the country to Trinidad (approximately 5-6 hours), which sits on the scenic Caribbean coast. Stop on the way at Ciego de Avila to visit a well-known local gallery. The Pauyet group was founded by Víctor Rafael Blanco Montaño in 1998 and showcases sculptures made with silver cutlery peices.

Next head to the final resting place of Cuba’s most famous son. In Santa Clara, you'll visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial. Che's remains were brought here after they were found in a remote corner of Bolivia in 1997, where he was assassinated by the CIA-backed Bolivian army. Here you'll get a rare insight into the legacy of the revolutionary leader, with some interesting ephemera and artefacts on display – letters, firearms, even medical devices.

Continue on to Trinidad – for many visitors to Cuba, this is a standout destination. No other colonial city in Cuba is as well preserved, and the local residents are extremely friendly and festive. Trinidad is steeped in religion, including the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, which has connections to Voodoo. You'll have the following day to explore the area and soak up the atmosphere.

At some point while you're here, why not take in a folklore show at one of the town's numerous open-air venues. Cuba has a hugely rich and varied dance and musical tradition that draws its roots from Africa and France. Many styles that have greatly influenced music worldwide originated in Cuba, such as Mambo, Cha-cha-cha, son and rumba.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ciego de Avila - Pauyet Gallery Visit
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today's included lunch will be a packed lunch prepared by a guesthouse in Camaguey. It will include a sandwich, drink and a snack or piece of fruit.
There's no doubt Trinidad is one of Cuba's most alluring destinations – a great place to wander around, with almost every scene offering a photo opportunity. Watch as locals casually smoke their huge cigars on the doorsteps of their homes, and hear the old Chevrolets rumbling by. Start with an orientation walk today, see the former wealth generated by the sugar industry in the town's once-grand mansions, colourful public buildings, wrought iron grill-work and cobble-stoned streets.

Then spend your day snorkelling and swimming at Playa Ancon (just watch carefully for sea urchins, which can be a problem here), or simply wandering the cobblestoned streets in town and photograph some of the colourful buildings. No other colonial city in Cuba is so well preserved, and the local residents are very friendly.

Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Traditional Cuban Dance Show - Free
  • Trinidad - Massage - CUC25
  • Trinidad - Ancon beach shuttle bus - CUC4
  • Trinidad - Snorkelling trip - CUC15
  • Trinidad - Bicycle rental (full day) - CUC5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
It’s a short drive south (approximately 1 hour) to Cienfuegos, known affectionately as 'The Pearl of the South'. Have a short orientation of this port town who's unique culture is attributed its ancestry as a French enclave. The final stop for the day is the Palacio del Valle where you will hopefully get to rest with a drink while watching the sun beam on to the ocean from the rooftop bar. Perhaps walk along the promenade or stroll alongside the broad colonnaded avenues then reunite for an included dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel union or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cienfuegos - Visit to the Palacio del Valle
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
First stop is at the peaceful sandy arc of either Playa Giron or Playa Larga (approximately 2 hours), which sits on the eastern side of the Bahia de Cochinos, better known as the Bay of Pigs. It was famously here that the CIA sponsored a failed invasion by exile forces in 1961. You’ll discover the story of the Cuban victory at the Museo Giron, which holds displays of various military equipment and photos of the men who fought here. It’s not just the history that’s the attraction here – with crystal clear Caribbean waters, a deep underwater wall, and an outstanding variety of coral and fish, it’s a lovely place for a swim. There are beach-side restaurants that provide a perfect opportunity to reflect on the history that took place here while enjoying an optional lunch. Return to Havana for the evening.
Included Activities
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a day trip to another province, beautiful Pinar del Rio. Vinales is where tobacco and agricultural fields lie side by side and limestone outcrops dot the landscape. This is some of Cuba's best scenery. Enjoy a walking tour of the verdant farmlands for an insight into rural life and see the tobacco destined for the most expensive cigars. Dine at an organic eco-farm for lunch with sweeping views over the valley. Spend the afternoon here before returning to Havana.
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
  • Vinales - Ecological Farm Dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy a full free day in Havana. Your leader will be able to help you book any optional activities.
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club - CUC30
  • Havana - Cigar factory tour - CUC12
  • Havana - Ernest Hemingway tour - CUC70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning as there are no activities planned for today.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

12 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Private bus, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel Feature stay (5 nights), Comfortable Hotel (2 nights), Premium Guesthouse (5 nights)

Included Activities

  • Havana - Vintage American car tour
  • Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Santiago de Cuba - Dance lesson (1 hour)
  • Santiago de Cuba - half day city tour
  • Santiago - Dinner in a Casa Urbana
  • Informal Spanish lesson with leader
  • Bayamo - Orientation Walk
  • Camaguey - Orientation walk
  • Camaguey - Bicycle taxi city tour
  • Camaguey - Ballet school tour
  • Ciego de Avila - Pauyet Gallery Visit
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Cienfuegos - Visit to the Palacio del Valle
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
  • Vinales - Ecological Farm Dinner

Reviews

Our Cuba Highlights trips score an average of 4.58 out of 5 based on 12 reviews in the last year.

Cuba Highlights, November 2017

Ruth Pike

Cuba Highlights, August 2017

Judith Benson

Dates & availability

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Important notes

START AND END TIME:
On Day 1 there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at approximately 6pm. There are no activities planned for the final day.

COMPLIMENTARY ARRIVAL TRANSFER:
To book your complimentary arrival transfer you must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available for purchase on this trip.

CUBA TOURIST CARD:
Tourists cards are required for all nationalities visiting Cuba. Travel Insurance is also compulsory, please refer to trip notes for further details regarding this.

CUBA:
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.