After decades of communist rule, Cuba is finally getting its time in the Caribbean sun

Lose yourself in the rhythm of vivacious Havana before setting out to explore Cuba's stunning coastline and weathered historical villages. Discover the unique combination of Spanish and Caribbean influences that shaped this country on a visit to rambunctious Santiago de Cuba. Learn whether you do, in fact, have two left feet in a salsa class and then brush up on your Spanish under the tutelage of your learned leader. Wander through the purposefully labyrinthine streets of Camaguey or marvel at the views from atop Trinidad's northern ranges. Whether you want to dance up a storm at one of Cuba's plentiful nightclubs or simply lie on its idyliic beaches, this emerging Caribbean hotspot has something for everyone. 


Start
Havana, Cuba
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Country
Cuba
Style
Original
Code
QUSN
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Old-world charm, rich history, exciting nightlife - evocative Havana is like nowhere else on Earth. See the difference between city and coastal life on a guided walking tour of the old capital

  • Take inspiration from the locals and mix things up with a bicycle-taxi tour of the colonial city of Camaguey

  • Enjoy over two free days in Trinidad. Practice your Spanish in a language class, loll about on an unspoilt Caribbean beach or peddle through sugar plantations on a charmingly rickety bicycle

  • There's a lot more to the life of Che Guevara than what you'll learn from watching 'The Motorcycle Diaries'. Pay your respects to the famous revolutionary during an included visit to his mausoleum

  • After an informal salsa lesson, you'll be ready to hit the dance floor with the locals. With its vibrant music scene and Afro-Cuban roots, sultry Santiago de Cuba is a great place to practice your moves

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 diverse 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.

  • 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.

Itinerary

Bienvenido a Cuba! Havana is one of the most spirited, rhythmic cities in the Americas. Experience a unique mix of faded Spanish architecture, vintage American automobiles and streets that are bursting with Afro-Hispanic beats of rumba.

A complimentary arrival 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.
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.

There will be a welcome meeting at approximately 6pm this evening. Please expect a letter in your room or a phone call on Day 1 from your leader to confirm the time and place of your meeting. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. The briefing is generally followed by an optional group dinner.


Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Ernest Hemingway tour - CUC70
  • Havana - Cigar factory tour - CUC12
  • Havana - Baseball game (Oct - Apr) - CUC3
  • Havana - Tourist bus day pass - CUC5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
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 representative.

If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the base guesthouse so they can contact the leader.

Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have started their trip 7 days ago in Havana on Cuba Encompassed (QUNLC).
Put on some walking shoes and take part in a tour of Old Havana, a perfect first taste of the city. Your local guide will show you the cathedral, Plaza de Armas, San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Central Park. After the tour you will have an casual Spanish lesson to help with blend in with the locals. Then, enjoy your free afternoon exploring Havana further.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Informal Spanish Lesson
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Camera Obscura entrance - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you'll take a flight to Santiago de Cuba (approximately 2 hours). Santiago is the cradle of the revolution and home of the traditional son music, a mix of Spanish guitar and African percussion. With a strong Afro-Cuban heritage it's no surprise that Santiago has a vibrant music scene that will entice the shyest, most left-footed dancer out to learn some salsa moves. The city is also well known for its vibrant and energetic Carnaval celebrations, and its lively Festival of Caribbean Culture.
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 and it holds the title of ‘Hero City of the Republic of Cuba’ for its leading role in significant events during the Revolution. The people of Santiago were the first to rise up in arms against government troops in 1956, and it was in Santiago on January 1st 1959, that Fidel Castro declared the triumph of the Revolution in a broadcast message to the country and the world. Santiago's half million residents are proud of their cultural traditions, so you'll find many museums and cultural clubs around the city. 
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santiago de Cuba - half day city tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day to soak up the best that Santiago has to offer – explore the city's incredible contributions to music and literature at one of its many museums, or pop in at Barrita de Ron Havana Club to sample some authentic local rum. 
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Santiago - Tropicana Cabaret Show - CUC35
  • Santiago - Use of a Hotel Pool - CUC5
  • Santiago - Entrance to La Gran Piedra Mountain - CUC1
  • Santiago - Music instrument lesson - CUC12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today head east along the Carretera Central to Camaguey. Today is the longest travel day of the trip which, depending on how many stops are made, usually takes six to seven hours.You will get a chance to stroll around the Bayamo to break it up.
If there is time on arrival into Camaguey, you will be shown around the city by bicycle taxi, otherwise you'll do this tomorrow morning. Despite its size, Cuba's third largest city has managed to retain much of its colonial heritage, and exploring the city's winding streets is half the fun. The city was planned in a deliberately irregular and confusing pattern hoping 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 with its baroque frescoes. Camaguey is also home of the Ballet de Camaguey, the second most important dance company in Cuba.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bayamo - Orientation Walk
  • Camaguey - Bicycle taxi city tour
Optional Activities
  • Camaguey - Ballet performance - CUC5
  • Camaguey - Casa de la Trova - CUC3
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today we drive approximately six hours to Trinidad. Get accustomed to the slow pace of island living on an orientation walk. For most visitors to Cuba, the World Heritage site of Trinidad is their standout favourite destination. No other colonial city in Cuba is so well preserved, and the local residents are extremely friendly and festive. The town rose to prominence during the sugar boom and the wealth generated by the industry remains visible in the town's once grand mansions, colourful public buildings, wrought iron grill-work and cobble-stoned streets. Trinidad is also steeped in religion, such as Santeria, which is one of the Afro-Cuban religions (related to voodoo). In the afternoon you'll pay a visit to a Santeria priest and learn more about this fascinating religion.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Trinidad - Santeria Priest Visit
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Disco in a cave - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Live music venues - CUC5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day to take at your leisure. Go easy with a luxurious sleep in or travel south to the postcard-perfect beaches of Playa Ancón, where clear blue waters meet bright white sands. Feeling restless? Get a workout with a hike through Trinidad's northern mountains, the Sierra del Escambray. 

Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Ancon beach shuttle bus - CUC4
  • Trinidad - Cayo Blanco island catamaran cruise - CUC45
  • Trinidad - Train ride (Steam train replica with electric engine) - CUC10
  • Trinidad - Trek to El Nicho Waterfall (taxi, entrance fee & guide) - CUC27
  • Trinidad - Bicycle rental (full day) - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Massage - CUC25
  • Trinidad - Salsa Dance Lesson - CUC8
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave behind the pictureqesue beaches and mountains of Trinidad and return to Havana. On the way, stop over in Santa Clara, one of the first major cities to be liberated by Castro's army in December 1958. Today a number of monuments commemorate this important period of Cuba's history, including the mausoleum of the legendary Che Guevara, where you'll stop for a visit. Perhaps celebrate the last night of the tour with a show at one of Havana's famous cabaret clubs such as Tropicana. Or show off your moves at one of the many salsa clubs.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Visit to Jaimanitas - Free
  • Havana - Morro Castle - CUC3
  • Havana - José Martí Memorial Tower - CUC2
  • Havana - La Cabana Fortress canon blast ceremony - CUC8
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club - CUC30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is departure day. There are no activities planned for today, check-out time from the guesthouse is by 10am. If you plan to stay a little longer, perhaps visit the Museo de la Revolution to learn more about Cuba's fascinating history or take the time to appreciate the city's diverse architecture.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Private vehicle, Plane

Accommodation

Standard guesthouse (8 nights)

Included activities

  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Santiago de Cuba - half day city tour
  • Bayamo - Orientation Walk
  • Camaguey - Bicycle taxi city tour
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Trinidad - Santeria Priest Visit
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum

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.