Discover Cuba, a colourful jewel in the beautiful Caribbean

The largest island in the Caribbean is widely known for its abundance of classic cars, cigars and rum but there is so much more to see when you scratch beneath the surface and venture into the countryside. Begin and end your Cuban tour in the capital Havana and – in the days in between – visit farms and waterfalls in Soroa and Las Terrazas. Learn salsa (and then try out your new skills) in the picturesque town of Vinales and spend some serious beach time relaxing and swimming at Cayo Jutias. The classic cars, Cubans and Havana rum certainly also need a look in, so spend an evening in Havana soaking up the culture, tastes, sights and sounds of this beautiful city. You’ll gain a huge appreciation for Cuba, a land where time has long slowed its pace.


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

Why we love this trip

  • Life in Cuba's countryside evokes a bygone time. Stroll along rural dirt roads and watch as tractors, vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages roll by

  • Fading colonial charm, rich history, sultry nightlife - it's easy to see why Ernest Hemingway spent so much time in dreamy Havana. See the difference between city and country life on a guided walking tour of the old capital

  • The lush Soroa valley is known as the 'Rainbow of Cuba'. Explore an orchid garden and learn how Cubans develop their own medications at a medicinal herb farm

  • Make like Castro and roll a cigar with a tobacco farmer in Pinar del Rio Province. The newly harvested tobacco will be used to produce some of the most prestigious and expensive cigars in the world

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

  • The internet in Cuba is difficult to find, unreliable and expensive. Treat this trip as a holiday away from social media! 

  • Get ready to embrace the Cuban way of life and relaxed sense of time. This adventure takes you to some rural towns and villages, where life is slower and more simple than you may be used to. You'll have lots of opportunities to wander around, get active or while away the hours sipping rum at the bar.

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

  • 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

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Bienvenido a Cuba! 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 driver will have the address of your guesthouse. After collecting your luggage, continue through the 'Main Arrivals Hall' of the airport (do not exit through the side door). An Intrepid representative holding a sign with your name on it will be waiting to take you to your pre-arranged transfer. If you can't locate the Intrepid representative, please call +53 52506496. Do not rely on somebody else to call for you as they may be seeking commission to direct you to another transfer company.

There will be a welcome meeting at 7 pm this evening. Please look for a note in your room or ask the guesthouse owner where the leader has left it for you (otherwise the leader will call you at the guesthouse to advise details). 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. 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.

Havana's history is as colourful as it's cars and buildings. Consider arriving a few days early to soak up the charms of this evocative city.
Stroll along the Malecon or join the hundreds of locals lining up to eat a Coppelia ice-cream; heavily subsidised by the government, a whole bowl will set you back about 10 cents.
There are plenty of good museums to check out, including the Museo de la Revolucion and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Make sure you visit La Catedral San Cristobal de la Habana, described by the novelist Alejo Carpentier as 'music set in stone'. Also worth seeing is the Palacio de los Marqueses de Aguas Claras (now a restaurant) and the Plaza de Armas, complete with a statue of Manuel de Cespedes, one of the leaders of the independence movement.
Accommodation
  • 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
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today head to Callejon de Hamel, an alley located in Havana's working class Cayo Hueso quarter. Adorned with the evocative Santeria murals of local artist Salvador Gonzalez, this lively street is Havana's centre of Afro-Cuban culture. Every Sunday afternoon it plays host to famous Afro-Cuban rumbas. Next, head to the neighbourhood of Jaimanitas in Havana's west (also known as Fusterlandia). The artist Jose Fuster has brightened up the area by rebuilding and decorating over 80 houses (including his own) with ornate murals and domes. The project includes a park with giant chess boards and an Artists’ Wall, which has been compared to Antonio Gaudi's mosaic wall in Barcelona.

Continue on to the tiny mountain resort of Soroa in the heavily forested Sierra del Rosario. Stop for lunch and enjoy a tour of an orchid garden, which boasts 700 species of orchid. You'll also have the option to take a stiff one-kilometre climb up a mountain path to a lookout, and a short hike to a nearby waterfall.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Visit to Jaimanitas
  • Soroa - Orchid garden tour
  • Havana - Visit to Callejon de Hamel
Optional Activities
  • Soroa - Hike to waterfall - CUC3
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today pay a visit to the nearby community of Las Terrazas, hopefully stopping at a Medicial Plants Farm to learn about local herbs and their medicinal properties. Because of international sanctions against Cuba, the island nation has had to find ways to be self-sufficient. One of these is to develop its own medicines, many of which are herbal. While driving through the area, ask the leader about where herbs are grown, dried and crushed before being sent to a factory to be processed into medicines. Later, enjoy a relaxing afternoon exploring the lush surrounding forests, or challenge yourself to a hike.

Note: The Medicial Plants Farms are state-run facilities. Entry is not always guaranteed due to government regulations.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Las Terrazas - Finca de Plantas Medicinales
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today drive the short distance to the small town of Vinales in Pinar del Rio Province. Surrounded by limestone cliffs, the scenery around Vinales is some of the most picturesque in Cuba. On arrival, your leader will take you on a short orientation walk of the town. Afterwards, there are plenty of optional activities available to fill your afternoon. Perhaps take a hike through the surrounding tobacco fields or hire a bike to explore the region. You could even visit a bodega in town, where Cuban families collect their government-appointed rations.

Vinales is a great place to mix with the locals, who love nothing better than to drink rum and dance the night away. There are only 3 bars in town so it is hard to get lost!
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Vinales - Bicycle hire (per hour) - CUC2
  • Vinales - Salsa lesson (per hour) - CUC8
  • Vinales - Cueva del Indio - CUC5
  • Vinales - Palenque Cave - CUC1
  • Vinales - Live music venues - CUC1
  • Vinales - Santo Tomas cave visit & return taxi - CUC35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, your leader will take the group on a half-day walking tour. Visit a local farm where you'll have the opportunity to experience the 'guajiro's' way of life. While at the farm you can choose to relax or help out with daily farm activities, such as toasting and grinding coffee or harvesting yuca, corn or tobacco. In the evening, enjoy an informal salsa lesson and eat dinner at a local eco-farm. Afterwards, practice your new moves to some live music on the dance floors in town.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Informal Salsa lesson
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning make an early start. Leave the mainland and cross the water over a short causeway to Cayo Jutias, a tiny mangrove-covered key situated approximately 65 kilometres northwest of Vinales. Your destination is Pinar del Rio's most 'undiscovered' beach, a long stretch of sand at the key's northern tip. Paddle about in the water or soak up the sun on the sandy shore.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Beach excursion to Cayo Jutias
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today you have a packed lunch included; usually consisting of a sandwich, a drink, and a piece of fruit or snack.
Today travel back to Havana by minivan (approximately six hours). Spend your last afternoon of the trip enjoying a guided tour around Old Havana. This well-preserved part of the city was designated a World Heritage Site in 1982. The streets are lined with colonial architecture, 16th-century fortresses and countless churches. In the evening, head out on the town with your new travel friends. Havana's nightlife is varied and lively. Put your new salsa skills into practice at its many bars and clubs or check out a cabaret show.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is departure day. As there are no activities planned, you are able to depart at any time. Check-out from the guesthouse is at 10 am.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Guesthouse (7 nights)

Included Activities

  • Havana - Visit to Jaimanitas
  • Soroa - Orchid garden tour
  • Havana - Visit to Callejon de Hamel
  • Las Terrazas - Finca de Plantas Medicinales
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
  • Vinales - Informal Salsa lesson
  • Vinales - Beach excursion to Cayo Jutias
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana

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.

Reviews

Our Classic Cuba trips score an average of 4.43 out of 5 based on 80 reviews in the last year.

Classic Cuba, November 2016

Francesca Wolsey

Classic Cuba, November 2016

Nora Bösche