Travel to Cuba and experience the enthralling history of this seductive Caribbean island.

Travel to Cuba and enjoy a relaxing week-long adventure while immersing yourself in the history, culture and natural beauty of this colourful Caribbean island. Cuba's imminent political and cultural change makes it something to experience now before it evolves. Wander through Havana’s glittering colonial architecture, soak up the clear mountain air among Soroa’s vibrant mountain orchards, relax on Playa Ancon’s vast white beaches and admire Trinidad’s unrivalled ambience. From old cars to fragrant cigars and with plenty of salsa in between, this trip has it all and is the perfect introduction to all things Cuban.


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

Why we love this trip

  • A guided walking tour of  Old Havana sheds lights on the difference between the lives of city and rural life in Cuba

  • Take in all the colours and aromas of Soroa, the stunning valley area known as the 'rainbow of Cuba'

  • Stroll along the rural dirt roads of Vinales as tractors, vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages pass you by

  • A visit to the Che Guevara mausoleum and museum allows you to learn about the iconic Cuban revolutionary in the right contextTrinidad is a real Cuban treat – step back in time on its old-world streets, then hit some fine palm-flanked beaches

  • Marvel at the unique architecture of Palacio del Valle in Cienfuegos 

  • Try your hand at traditional dance moves with an informal salsa lesson

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.

Itinerary

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

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
  • Premium 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 Best of Mexico & Cuba (QVKGC) or Essence of Central America (QVKAC). 
Enjoy a walking 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. The entrance to the Camera Obscura is included. Later you'll make the drive to Soroa, a lush enclave nestled in a beautiful valley. You'll stop in for lunch and tour the orchid garden there. Continue to lovely Vinales, where tobacco and agricultural fields lie side by side and limestone outcrops dot the landscape. The scenery here is some of the most picturesque in Cuba. There are many ways to take it all in, including cycling, walking through tobacco fields and hiking to mountain caves (all optional activities).
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Camera Obscura entrance
  • Soroa - Orchid garden tour
  • Vinales - Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Soroa - Hike to waterfall - CUC3
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
There are currently no Premium guesthouses in this area so you will be staying in a Standard guesthouse. Please be aware the comfort levels are much less in these rural towns than in the cities. Please see the accommodation section of this document for more information about what to expect.

Also note that Cave visits will require sturdy footwear, as they can involve walking across slippery rocks.
A walking tour of the farmlands and crops is included today. Learn more about the simple lifestyle here and see first hand the farmers who grow tabacco for some of the most expensive cigars. 

Vinales is a small and charming rural village. It's probably the easiest place to mingle with locals in Cuba, who are very sociable. Many of them love nothing better than to drink rum and dance the night away. An informal salsa lesson is included so you are confident to be involved. Later head to an ecological farm for an included dinner. 

 
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
  • Vinales - Informal Salsa lesson
Optional Activities
  • Vinales - Santo Tomas cave visit & return taxi - CUC35
  • Vinales - Palenque Cave - CUC1
  • Vinales - Cueva del Indio (Cave visit with boat trip) - CUC5
  • Vinales - Live music venues - CUC2
  • Vinales - Bicycle hire (per day) - CUC5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Head towards Cienfuegos today, it is a long travel day. You will be stopping via the Bay of Pigs to learn more about the learn about the botched US Military counter-revolutionary invasion in the Giron Museum then stop at the bay itself, for a swim in the crystal clear water or simply enjoy the stunning surroundings.
Then the short drive to your destination for the night, Cienfuegos. This is the gem of the south, a seaside town of relaxing streets and dazzling buildings that strike a beautiful pose by the water. You will enjoy a photo stop at Palacio del Valle, which is Cienfuegos' architectural pride and joy. Learn more about its history as you take in the beauty of its intricate carvings of Venetian alabaster. If you haven't done so already, perhaps try some Cuban coffee while you're here – it's served black, strong and super sweet.
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Cienfuegos - Visit to the Palacio del Valle
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will board the bus for a short drive to Trinidad. There's no doubt it's one of Cuba's 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. Kick things off by strolling along the cobbled streets and marvelling at some of the colourful colonial architecture on display (this town was put on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1988 for good reason). During your orientation walk you visit the Santeria Priest to learn more about the unique religion followed in this area. At some point, your group can decide when they want to schedule their informal Spanish class.
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Trinidad - Afro-Cuban folklore show
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Santeria Priest Visit - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy a day of free time. There are some great Spanish-style churches to see, and nearby is the Valle de los Ingenios, where sugar plantations stretch out as far as the eye can see. For some seaside fun, head down to Playa Ancon and stroll its long stretches of white sand. You can go for a snorkel too. Just be careful when you're in the water, as sea urchins can be a problem here. Back on the land, you can go cycling or hiking. If you rent a bicycle, be careful on the cobblestones, and remember your bike will be of the vintage variety. The trekking is great in the Sierra del Escambray, the local mountains. A folklore dance and music show in one of the open-air venues is highly recommended – a great chance to immerse yourself in Cuba's African, French and Spanish-influenced music and dance culture.
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Salsa Dance Lesson - CUC8
  • Trinidad - Live music venues - CUC5
  • Trinidad - Musical instrument lesson (guitar, double bass, tres, percussion - per hour) - CUC10
  • Trinidad - Bicycle rental (full day) - CUC5
  • 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 - Massage - CUC25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
On your way back to Havana, you'll stop in at Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial. In the museum you can get a rare insight into the legacy of the revolutionary leader, with some interesting ephemera and artefacts on display – letters, firearms, even medical devices. Upon arrival in Havana, stop by Revolution square and then take a stroll around the grounds of the infamous Hotel Nacional. Then prepare for a final night of celebrations. 
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion
  • Havana - Visit to Hotel Nacional
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Jose Marti Memorial Tower - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Your trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Check-out time is 10 am.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Premium Guesthouse (5 nights), Standard guesthouse (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Camera Obscura entrance
  • Soroa - Orchid garden tour
  • Vinales - Orientation Walk
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
  • Vinales - Informal Salsa lesson
  • Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Cienfuegos - Visit to the Palacio del Valle
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
  • Trinidad - Afro-Cuban folklore show
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Visit to Plaza de la Revolucion
  • Havana - Visit to Hotel Nacional

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.

Reviews

Our Beautiful Cuba trips score an average of 4.8 out of 5 based on 200 reviews in the last year.

Beautiful Cuba, June 2017

John Drummond

Beautiful Cuba, September 2017

Kathy Rothwell