Travel from beachside Varadero to Trinidad and Havana

A perfect blend of beach and city, this express tour celebrates Cuba in all its glory. Stretch out on the soft white sand of Varadero, discover the history of Santa Clara, walk the cobblestone streets of Trinidad and soak up the magic of the country’s capital. This is a journey bursting with coastal beauty, aesthetic delights, cultural charm and friendly locals.


Start
Varadero, Cuba
Finish
Varadero, Cuba
Country
Cuba
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
QUSV
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Stroll, swim or snorkel at the beaches of Varadero, Cuba's beloved 20-kilometre stretch of pristine coastline

  • Discover colonial Trinidad, where you can wander the cobblestone streets and mingle with cowboys, musicians and country folk

  • Trace the history of the Cuban Revolution. In Santa Clara you will visit the mausoleum of the revolutionary revolutionary hero Ernesto Che Guevara

  • A guided walk of Havana offers an insight into the difference between country and city life in this country

  • There's plenty of time to immerse yourself in Cuban music and dance, a heady mix of French, Spanish and African influences

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.

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  • 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

Bienvenidos a Cuba! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 7 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note about the meeting in your room, or ask the owner of the guesthouse where the leader has left it for you. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you have time today, get out and acquaint yourself with Varadero. It can feel a little touristy at times, but with miles of lovely white-sand beach, it's still one of the finest spots in the Caribbean. There are plenty of watersports on offer – plenty of mojitos and deck chairs too.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning you'll drive to Santa Clara. This was the first major city to be liberated by Castro's army in December 1958. A number of monuments commemorate this important period of Cuba's history, including the mausoleum of Che Guevara. Here you'll stop for a visit and learn more about the legacy of the iconic revolutionary. Then continue to Trinidad, your base for the next two nights. Enjoy an orientation walk upon arrival. Many visitors to Cuba rate Trinidad among their highlights, and indeed its World Heritage status seems fitting when you first glimpse the colour and beauty of its colonial architecture. Nowhere else in Cuba is there a better-preserved town, and the locals are festive and friendly.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Trinidad is also an excellent beach destination, so take this opportunity for a swim or perhaps some snorkelling in the bay (just watch carefully for sea urchins, which can be a problem here). There is of course plenty to explore in town too. The cobbled lanes, great to wander around, are awash with cowboys, farmers and other local folk. A recommended optional visit is the beautifully housed Museo de Historia Municipal. It's an excellent place to learn more about local history, and its top tower boasts an amazing view of the city. Other great options include a Cayo Blanco catamaran cruise or a salsa dance lesson. Riding a bicycle is a good way to get around town, and rental is inexpensive.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Cayo Blanco island catamaran cruise - CUC45
  • Trinidad - Musical instrument lesson (guitar, double bass, tres, percussion - per hour) - CUC10
  • Trinidad - Live music venues - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Ancon beach shuttle bus - CUC4
  • Trinidad - Bicycle rental (full day) - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Salsa Dance Lesson - CUC8
  • Trinidad - Trek to El Nicho Waterfall (taxi, entrance fee & guide) - CUC27
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive to Cuba's capital today. If there's enough time, you'll take a sightseeing tour of modern Havana that includes Revolution Square and the Capitol building before checking into your guesthouse. Havana remains one of the great colonial cities of the Americas. An air of faded glory comes through in the peeling paint of some of its grand old buildings. Narrow streets, spacious plazas and Spanish architecture make it a charm to explore on foot.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy free some time today. If you didn't do so yesterday, you'll take an orientation walk of the city with your local guide. Afterwards, there will be free time to make your own discoveries. Perhaps wander along the Malecon, the city's seaside esplanade. Or stroll the lively streets and soak up the nostalgic aura, which is heightened by rustic American cars of the '50s and '60s rumbling by. As the sun goes down you can grab a drink and hit the town; there are plenty of places to dance the night away to some classic Cuban rhythms.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Baseball game (Oct - Apr) - CUC3
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club - CUC30
  • Havana - La Cabana Fortress canon blast ceremony - CUC8
  • Havana - Tourist bus day pass - CUC5
  • Havana - Cigar factory tour - CUC12
  • Havana - Ernest Hemingway tour - CUC70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You have a full day to continue exploring. There are plenty of good museums to check out, including the Museo de la Revolucion and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. A fun activity is to join the hundreds of locals lining up to eat a Coppelia ice-cream, which is heavily subsidised by the government. A bowl will set you back about 10 cents. Or you can skip the queues and pay the tourist price!
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Return to Varadero. In your free time, perhaps take a swim at the beach, or stroll through landscaped splendour of Parque Josone. Later, enjoy a final night of mojitos and nightlife. Palacio de la Rumba is always a fine choice. Otherwise, the Cabaret Continental offers an energetic Tropicana-style dancefloor on most nights of the week. Enjoy the company of your new travel companions as your trip draws to a close.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip ends after breakfast this morning. Check-out time is 12 noon.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Guesthouse (7 nights)

Included Activities

  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.
2. This trip starts in Varadero - the closest airport is Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport [VRA] Airport in Varadero.
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.

Reviews

Our Express Cuba trips score an average of 4.75 out of 5 based on 20 reviews in the last year.

Express Cuba, October 2016

Tony Williams

Express Cuba, November 2016

Annie Fearnley