Discover Cuba, an old-fashioned jewel in the Caribbean crown.

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 colourful surface and venture into the countryside. This 6-day Western Cuba adventure explores the forests of Soroa and the valleys of Vinales, with time to explore the nation’s capital at both ends. Practise some salsa steps, eat farm-to-table at an eco-village and learn about local herbs used for their medicinal properties. Your adventure takes in the bustling sights of Havana and the slow-paced charm of the countryside. You’ll be sure to gain a huge appreciation for western Cuba – a country where time stopped decades ago, and life is good.

30% OFF Select 2019 Trips

Hurry, offer only available while spots last. Trips must depart by December 22, 2019.

Terms & Conditions

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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Faded colonial charm, rich history, vibrant nightlife – it's easy to see why dreamy Havana has been preserved in all its glory.

  • Experience the laidback Cuban lifestyle on a guided orientation tour of the old capital and wander the streets of the peculiar artists neighbourhood of Jaimanitas.

  • Watch life slowly roll by in Cuba's countryside. Stroll along rural dirt roads and watch as tractors, vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages evoke a bygone era.

  • The lush Soroa is known as the 'Rainbow of Cuba'. Explore an orchid garden, learn the medicinal secrets of wild Cuban herbs and venture to a gorgeous nearby eco-village en route to Vinales.

  • 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?

  • The guesthouses (casas) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling and each room is unique. Regardless of where you stay, power cuts and breaks in hot water supply are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country – but we believe that this is all a part of the local experience.

  • Part of Cuba’s appeal is its old-fashioned style – this includes the banking systems. Funds in Cuba can be difficult to access. Ideally bring multiple credit cards from several different banks just to be sure.

  • Internet access can be hard to come by, and when it's available it's often unreliable and expensive. Treat this as a great opportunity to take a break from modern devices and have a true holiday.

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

  • 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 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba! You’ll arrive in the old-fashioned and colourful capital of Havana. There will be a welcome meeting at approximately 6 pm this evening, to meet your group leader and fellow travellers. 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. Why not take a stroll to get acquainted with Cuba’s capital, where vintage cars, plumes of cigar smoke, Neo-Gothic churches and Art Deco theatres come together in a unique mesh of histories. 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 - Revolution museum - CUC5
  • Havana - Tourist bus day pass - CUC10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
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. Please see Joining Point Instructions in ‘Essential Information’ for more information about exiting the arrivals hall and connecting with your arrival transfer driver – who will take you to the address of your assigned guesthouse. It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. 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. 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 Havana on Grand Cuba (QUSZC).
Spend the morning enjoying a walking 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 many beautiful churches. Afterwards, take a private vehicle 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. You’ll also head on a short drive and take a quick visit to the eccentric neighbourhood of Jaimanitas, in Havana's outer western suburbs. The artist Jose Fuster has brightened up the area by rebuilding and decorating over 80 houses (including his own) with ornate murals and domes. Even though you do not enter Fuster’s House (known as Fusterlandia), you’ll see why this is one of Havana’s most peculiar sites. In the afternoon, head to Soroa, in the heavily forested Sierra del Rosario to check in to your guesthouse for the night. On your way, learn the lingo with your leader and practice some Spanish phrases to make interacting with the locals a breeze (or should we say brisa).
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Leader-led Walking Tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Callejon de Hamel (Afro Cuban Art Alleyway)
  • Havana - Jaimanitas (Mosaic-laden Neighbourhood)
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning, enjoy a tour of a Soroa orchid garden, which boasts over 700 species of orchid. You'll also have the option to take a steep 1-kilometre climb up a mountain path to a lookout. Next, travel to the community of Las Terrazas, a pioneering ecovillage that dates back to a reforestation project in 1968. Meet some of the residents and learn how they work together to support their neighbours, as well as how they showcase their open studios, woodwork and pottery workshops. Head towards Vinales, stopping by Finca de Plantas Medicinales (a herb farm) to learn about local herbs and their medicinal properties. Because of historical sanctions against Cuba, the country has had to find ways to be self-sufficient, with a prime example being to develop its own medicines, many of which are herbal. You'll see how herbs are grown, dried and crushed before being sent to a factory to be processed into medicines. Afterwards, drive a short distance to the small town of Vinales in Pinar del Rio Province. On arrival, your leader will take you on a short orientation walk of the town.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Soroa - Orchid Garden (Entrance fee and Guide included)
  • Las Terrazas - Sustainable Rural Economy Project (Entrance fee and Guide included)
  • Vinales - Medicinal Plants Farm
  • Vinales - Leader-led Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Vinales - Live Music Venues (Entrance fee) - Subject to change depending on the performer - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The Finca de Plantas Medicinales is a state-run facility. Entry is not always guaranteed due to government regulations.
This morning, take an early guided walking tour of surrounding farmlands and the Vinales valley. Surrounded by limestone cliffs and interspersed with small farms, the scenery around Vinales is some of the most picturesque in Cuba. The valley receives some of the highest amounts of rainfall in the country, and so, you’ll see the limestone karts and valley floor covered in vegetation. Visit a local farm where you'll have the opportunity to experience the guajiro (agricultural worker) way of life. Depending on the season, you can choose to help out with daily farm activities, such as toasting and grinding coffee or harvesting yuca, corn or tobacco. This is also your opportunity to marvel at the speed and skill of the local’s cigar rolling technique. In the afternoon, perhaps book in for a cave tour or a beach excursion to Cayo Jutias but be sure to get back in time for a relaxed salsa lesson with your group. After dancing your heart out, you would’ve worked up an appetite, so an optional dinner at one of Vinales’ farm-to-table restaurants is highly recommended. Eat organic like the locals at an eco-friendly ranch and learn how Cubans have lived off their land for decades.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Half-day Valley Walking Tour including Tobacco Farmhouse (Guide included)
  • Vinales - Salsa Dance Lesson (1 hour)
Optional Activities
  • Vinales - Farm to Table Dinner at an Eco-friendly Ranch - CUC12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today travel back to Havana by private vehicle (approximately 3 hours). You’ll have a free afternoon to explore the city’s Old Town and wander the harbourside esplanade called the Malecon. This esplanade also acts as a seawall and roadway, diving the historic French and Spanish-inspired architecture from the Straits of Florida. In the evening, head out on the town. Havana's nightlife is varied and lively, full of bars, clubs and places to see a cabaret show. Why not put your new salsa skills into practice on one of the city’s many dancefloors?
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club - CUC30
  • Vinales - Cueva del Indio (Cave visit with boat trip) - CUC5
  • Vinales - Santo Tomas cave visit & return taxi - CUC35
  • Havana - American Vintage Car Tour - USD55
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart your accommodation at any time. If you do have some extra time in Havana, why not book an Urban Adventures tour, like the Classic American Car Tour of Havana: a cruisy ride through the washed-out elegance of the city’s suburbs, finishing in style with a drink at the Hotel Nacional (see urbanadventures.com/destination/havana-tours).
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

3 breakfasts

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Standard guesthouse (5 nights)

Included activities

  • Havana - Leader-led Walking Tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Callejon de Hamel (Afro Cuban Art Alleyway)
  • Havana - Jaimanitas (Mosaic-laden Neighbourhood)
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Soroa - Orchid Garden (Entrance fee and Guide included)
  • Las Terrazas - Sustainable Rural Economy Project (Entrance fee and Guide included)
  • Vinales - Medicinal Plants Farm
  • Vinales - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Vinales - Half-day Valley Walking Tour including Tobacco Farmhouse (Guide included)
  • Vinales - Salsa Dance Lesson (1 hour)

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 5 days prior to travel.
4. Please advise bedding configuration requests to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel to aid guesthouse and rooming allocations, which are finalised 10 days prior to departure based on the configuration of each travelling party. You may request your confirmed guesthouse name and address inside 7 days of departure from your booking agent. Rest assured, the transfer driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse.
5. A visa or tourist card, organised prior to arrival, is required for all nationalities visiting Cuba.
6. The Cuban government has declared that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers. Proof of insurance may be requested at Havana Airport by immigration officials.
7. 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 services. To help set your expectations correctly, please read the ‘Is this trip right for you?’ and ‘Joining point description’ sections in the Essential Trip Information Document.

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.

View Essential Trip Information

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