Discover the many layers of captivating Cuba

From tobacco fields and fishing villages, to revolutionist monuments and relaxing beaches, Cuba is home to one of the most captivating cultures in the world. Take in the crumbling facades of colonial buildings, meet chilled out locals puffing on cigars and wiggle your toes in the sand on an isolated beach. Experience Cuba in all its glory and discover the colours, cuisine and culture that make up this truly distinctive country.

Start
Havana, Cuba
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Countries
Cuba
Themes
Family
Code
QUFA
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 4 Max 20
Carbon offset
189kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Amble down the cobbled streets of historic Havana
  • Explore Cuba’s best-preserved colonial town
  • Check out the Bay of Pigs Museum
  • Visit a local cigar factory
  • Snorkel in the waters off Cayo Blanco
  • See the site of Che Guevara’s famous train battle

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 01 January 2018

Bienvenidos a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba!
Havana is one of the finest colonial cities in the Americas with narrow streets, spacious plazas and glorious Spanish architecture. There is an air of faded glory about the place with paint peeling off buildings and '50s and '60s American automobiles still dominating the roads.
Our group flight arrives into Havana in the evening therefore you welcome meeting will take place in the morning of day 2. On check-in the hotel will advise where the group meeting will be, there are no activities planned for this evening.
After breakfast we set out on the 200 km (approx 3 hours) drive west to Vinales, crossing typical landscapes of cane fields, tobacco plantations and tall palm trees along the way. En route we'll stop at Soroa, and take a short walk (approx 30 minutes) to a nearby waterfall.
We then continue north on a scenic road, climbing into the Sierra de los Organos towards the sleepy village of Vinales.
The Vinales Valley boasts the oldest geological formations in Cuba, unique to the area. Spectacular mogotes - sheer-sided, conical towers of limestone - some over 300 metres high are all that is left of a great plateau after millions of years of erosion by wind and water. The resultant karst terrain is similar to southern China or Vietnam, especially when a layer of mist carpets the valley floor in the early morning. It is a fascinating scene, all the more so when oxen are working the fields and the scent of tobacco fills the air.
We'll take a guided walk through this rich countryside to see something of rural life, and hopefully stop at a farmer's house.
In the afternoon we'll visit the Cueva del Indio, an impressive limestone cave once inhabited by local Indians and filled with stalactites and stalagmites. A river runs through the second half of the cave and we'll board a boat to take us through and out into the daylight. At dusk thousands of bats stream out of the cave to go and feed.
Today is a relatively long travel day (approx 5-6 hours). We start early and retrace our steps towards Havana before bearing south into Matanzas province. Our route takes us past the badlands of the Zapata Peninsula to Playa Larga, standing at the head of the famous Bay of Pigs where, in 1961 a force of CIA-trained Cuban exiles landed to stir up a counter-revolution. Further along the coast at Playa Giron a small museum commemorates this failed US effort to impose its will on socialist Cuba.
We stay tonight at a homestay near this beautiful Caribbean beach. While here this is an opportunity to go snorkelling.
Today we head to Cienfuegos.
Cienfuegos' appeal lies partly in the European flavour of its colonial centre, with a wide Parisian-style boulevard and elegant colonnades. There is ambience enough here to have inspired Cuba's most celebrated 'son' singer to write the words 'Cienfuegos is the city I like best'. He was born nearby, which may have helped.
This afternoon we will take a walking tour of the town. We will also visit one of the famous Coppelia ice cream parlours where you can enjoy a sweet treat on us!
This morning we continue on towards Trinidad (approx 1 hour).
For most visitors to Cuba, the World Heritage site of Trinidad is their standout favourite destination. No other colonial city in Cuba is so well preserved, and the local residents are extremely friendly and festive. The town rose to prominence during the sugar boom and the wealth generated by the industry remains visible in the town's once grand mansions, colourful public buildings, wrought iron grill-work and cobble-stoned streets. Trinidad is also steeped in religion, such as Santeria, which is one of the Afro-Cuban religions (related to voodoo).
During our time here we will take a half day walk to Salto de Javira, a beautiful waterfall with a natural pool you can swim in. We will also take a trip to Playa Ancon, a classic Caribbean beach where you can relax and unwind and just soak up the Caribbean vibe.
Our last day in this wonderful World Heritage site.
Trinidad is one-of-a-kind, a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlemen. Built on huge sugar fortunes amassed in the adjacent Valle de los Ingenios during the early 19th century, the riches of the town's pre–War of Independence heyday are still very much in evidence in illustrious colonial-style mansions.
We drive today from Trinidad to Havana, stopping at Santa Clara on the way.
Santa Clara was the first major city to be liberated by Castro's army in December 1958. Today a number of monuments commemorate this important period of Cuba's history, including the mausoleum of the legendary Che Guevara, where we stop for a visit.
We arrive into Havana in the afternoon and head to our homestay, where we will sleep for the remainder of the trip.
Todaywe take a walking tour of Old Havana. Havana's Old City is well preserved and was designated a World Heritage Site in 1982. The streets are lined with colonial architecture, 16th century fortresses and countless churches. Sites we may visit include La Catedral San Cristobal de la Habana, described by the novelist Alejo Carpentier as 'music set in stone', 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.
We also visit the Plaza de Revolucion, Miramar and the Malecon on a tour, driven in vintage American cars.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
10 breakfasts
Transport
Minibus
Accommodation
Homestay (8 nights), Hotel (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Soroa - Hike to waterfall
  • Vinales - Cueva del Indio
  • Vinales - Guided valley walking tour
  • Snorkelling, Caleta Buena
  • Walking tour, Cienfuegos
  • Cienfuegos - Coppelia ice cream parlour
  • Trinidad - Trek to El Nicho Waterfall (taxi, entrance fee & guide)
  • Half day trip to Ancon Beach
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Vintage American car tour

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Important notes

A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 14 years and under at time of travel.
Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 5.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

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Reviews

Our Cuba Family Holiday trips score an average of 4.33 out of 5 based on 3 reviews in the last year.

Cuba Family Holiday , July 2016

Cuba Family Holiday , March 2016