Discover Cuba, from historic Havana to the Caribbean splendour of Trinidad and Cienfuegos

From city to country to coast, this is the perfect taste of Cuba. Begin on the charming streets of Havana, where old-time American automobiles, richly-scented Cuban cigars and an eclectic tapestry of architectures evoke a colourful past. Between the small-village vibes of Vinales and the outstanding charisma of Trinidad, discover Cienfuegos and its heartbreaking blend of Caribbean and Parisian flavours. With plenty of time to swim, snorkel, cycle and hike, this adventure combines Cuba’s old-world allure – including a fascinating snapshot of Che Guevara – with some of its best and most scenic destinations for outdoor activities.

10% OFF All Trips*

Get 10% OFF all trips* departing between November 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018! Book by September 28th.

Terms & Conditions

Start
Havana, Cuba
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Country
Cuba
Style
Basix
Code
QURA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Be swept away by the eclectic history of Cuba’s capital as you join a knowledgeable local guide on a half-day tour of Old Havana

  • Venture to the village of Vinales, where the small-town charms are many. Spend your time sipping rum in quaint bars with locals and exploring hidden caves in the mountains

  • Stop in at the mausoleum of Che Guevara for a fascinating insight into the rise and fall of the charismatic and highly celebrated Cuban revolutionary

  • With Parisian beauty and Caribbean pace, Cienfuegos lives up to its nickname ‘Pearl of the South’. Wander the idyllic malecon (seafront) and be dazzled by the audacious architecture of the Palacio de Valle

  • See why Trinidad is a favourite for many Intrepid adventurers. Wander the cobblestone streets alongside cowboys and farmers and clock the best-preserved colonial buildings in Cuba

Is this trip right for you?

  • The guesthouses (Casas) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling but keep in mind that each and every room is unique. 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 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 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.

  • Life in Cuba may be slower and simpler than what you're used to. You'll have plenty of time free time to wander around villages, get active or wile away the hours sipping rum in a bar.

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

Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba! 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.

There will be a welcome meeting at approximately 6pm this evening. Please expect a letter from your leader in the afternoon of Day 1 to confirm the place of your meeting (if by 5pm you cannot locate this letter then please ask your guesthouse owner if one has been delivered, or ask to call our assistance line listed in the "Problems and emergency contact information" section of this document). 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 tour briefing is generally 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.


 
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club - CUC30
  • Havana - Cigar factory tour - CUC12
  • Havana - La Cabana Fortress canon blast ceremony - CUC8
  • Havana - Baseball game (Oct - Apr) - CUC3
  • Havana - Tourist bus day pass - CUC5
  • Havana - Ernest Hemingway tour - CUC70
  • Havana - Morro Castle - CUC3
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. Please trust that your driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse.

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 Discover Mexico & Cuba (QVBAC), or Classic Central America (QVBBC), or Central America Discovery (QVBCC), or Complete Central America (QVBDC).

This morning your leader will take you on a walking tour of the Old Havana. This tour includes a visit to the cathedral, Plaza de Armas, San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja, Central Park and other sites. Next you will head west on a private bus to Vinales (approximately 3 hours). This is a small and charming rural village, and probably the easiest place in Cuba to mingle with locals, who are very sociable and love nothing better than to drink rum and dance the night away. The scenery around Vinales is some of the most picturesque in Cuba.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Vinales - Orientation Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You will have an included informal Spanish lesson when the group decides. Then enjoy some free time today in Vinales, which you'll soon see is home to extraordinary scenery that's some of Cuba's best. Soak up the slow, old-world pace of rural Cuba, as oxen plod gracefully along the streets. There are many optional outdoor activities available. You might like to cruise around the area on a bicycle, hike through the tobacco fields or to explore one of the America’s largest cave complexes up in the mountains. Your leader will have further recommendations.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Informal Spanish lesson
Optional Activities
  • Vinales - Bicycle hire (per day) - CUC5
  • Vinales - Live music venues - CUC2
  • Vinales - Palenque Cave - CUC1
  • Vinales - Cueva del Indio (Cave visit with boat trip) - CUC5
  • Vinales - Salsa lesson (per hour) - CUC10
  • Vinales - Vinales valley guided walking tour - CUC10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Cave visits will require sturdy footwear, as they can involve walking across slippery rocks.
Today is a long travel day - Head back to Havana before continuing east to Playa Larga (approximately 8 hours). You will stop at the Bay of Pigs for a swim, and if there is time you can hire snorkel gear. Continue to Playa larga where you'll spend the night. 
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Hit the road again today, firstly visiting the Giron Museum to learn about the Bay of Pigs Invasion – the battle between the US and the Cuban revolutionaries which resulted in the first defeat of a US-backed takeover in Latin America. Next stop is Cienfuegos, which some locals like to call 'The Pearl of the South'. You'll have time for an optional lunch or simply discover its beautiful colonial centre, with its wide Parisian-style boulevard and elegant colonnades. If there is time, pay a visit to the Palacio del Valle with the group. Once a modest home for a local trader, this palace is now Cienfuegos' architectural pride and joy. The entire edifice drips with ornate carvings in Venetian alabaster. Then finally on to Trinidad (approximately 1 hour drive) is a standout destination for many visitors to Cuba, due in no small part to a friendly populace, old-fashioned feel and particularly well-preserved colonial buildings. The Santeria religion (a voodoo-like Afro-Cuban tradition) which is practiced here makes the town all the more intriguing. For an insight into the colourful post-revolutionary period, the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra los Bandidos and the Casa de los Mártires de Trinidad are great to visit. Nearby is the sprawling Valle de los Ingenios, where sugar plantations stretch out as far as the eye can see.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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. Hiking and cycling are equally good options, and there are some excellent walking trails in the nearby Sierra del Escambray mountains. 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
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Bicycle rental (full day) - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Live music venues - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Musical instrument lesson (guitar, double bass, tres, percussion - per hour) - CUC10
  • Trinidad - Trek to El Nicho Waterfall (taxi, entrance fee & guide) - CUC27
  • Trinidad - Ancon beach shuttle bus - CUC4
  • Trinidad - Cayo Blanco island catamaran cruise - CUC45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
On the way back to Havana you will pass by Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial. Che's remains were brought to rest here after they were found in a remote corner of Bolivia in 1997, where he was assassinated by the CIA-backed Bolivian army. There is an impressive bronze statue of Che bearing his rifle. Inside the museum, you can learn about his amazing life and see photos and exhibits such as his famous black beret. On reaching Havana you will return to your guesthouse, then enjoy some free time. Take the opportunity to hit the town for a final night of salsa.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Jose Marti Memorial Tower - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. Check-out time is 10am. You may be able to store your luggage at the guesthouse for an extra cost.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Standard guesthouse (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Vinales - Orientation Walk
  • Vinales - Informal Spanish lesson
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Cuba on a shoestring trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Jump to a departure month
Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

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.

Reviews

Our Cuba on a shoestring trips score an average of 4.53 out of 5 based on 38 reviews in the last year.

Cuba on a shoestring , August 2017

Catarina Carona

Cuba on a shoestring , July 2017

Susan Ledger