Historic Havana to colonial Trinidad, and all the mojitos in between

City, countryside and dazzling Caribbean coast – take an eight-day Lonely Planet Experience straight to the heart of Cuba. Set off from the charming capital of Havana, where old-time American cars, wafts of cigar smoke and laidback vibes permeate the streets. Experience the small-village vibes of Vinales and the colonial charisma of Trinidad, and immerse yourself with the history, music and mojitos of a country caught in a bygone era. With plenty of time to swim, snorkel, cycle and hike, this adventure combines Cuba’s old-world charm with some seriously scenic vistas in a jam-packed itinerary.

€1 deposit now on

Book a trip by 30 September and you’ll only pay a €1 deposit to secure your spot.

Terms & Conditions

Start
Havana, Cuba
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Destination
Cuba
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience
Code
QURA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Be intrigued by the colourful streets and eclectic history of Cuba's capital as your knowledgeable local leader takes you on a casual walking tour of Old Havana.

  • Venture to Cuba’s charming countryside as you hit rural Vinales. With plenty of time to explore at your own pace, you can check out tobacco plantations, explore hidden caves and tackle the dirt roads by bicycle.

  • Wander the cobblestone streets alongside cowboys and farmers in Trinidad, passing by some of the best-preserved colonial buildings in Cuba. Plus, you’ll take part in a rum tasting – muy bueno!

  • Master the lingo with a leader-led informal Spanish lesson. Learning your ‘hola’ from ‘hasta luego’, you’ll be testing your newfound skills with the locals over a cerveza (beer) in no time.

  • Pay your respects at the mausoleum of Che Guevara and receive a fascinating insight into the rise and fall of the charismatic and highly celebrated Cuban revolutionary.

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.

  • Luxuries such as air conditioning, plush pillows, and fly screens, are often scarce. Part of the experience here is learning to appreciate everyday Cuban resourcefulness.

  • You might have to save your status updates and photo posts for when you get home, as Internet is hard to find, unreliable and expensive. Treat Cuba as a holiday from social media too!

  • 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.

  • As this trip covers a lot of land, you'll be spending quite a bit of time travelling. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

Itinerary

Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba! There are no activities planned until your important welcome meeting at 6 pm. Once you’ve arrived, why not take a stroll in Cuba’s capital, where vintage cars, Neo-Gothic churches and Art Deco theatres come together in a colourful mismatch on the streets. If you have time, you might like to visit Museo de la Revolucion, which focuses on the events leading up to, during and immediately after the Cuban revolution. After your welcome meeting, perhaps dig into some delectable street snacks and join the group for dinner at a local restaurant – your leader will have a few recommendations.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Tourist Bus Day Pass - CUC10
  • Havana - Revolution museum (entrance only, no guide, no transport) - CUC5
  • Havana - National Museum of Fine Arts (entrance fee only, no guide, no transport) - CUC5
  • Havana - Old Havana Street Eats - Urban Adventures (entrance fee & guide included) - USD44
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 the ‘Joining Point Instructions’ in the Essential Trip Information for more details 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.
This morning, join your leader on an two-hour walking tour around Old Havana – a district that reflects an eclectic mix of colonial, baroque and neoclassical architecture. Founded in 1519 by the Spanish, this area within Cuba’s capital remains virtually unchanged. Wander through Havana’s oldest square at Plaza de Armas, stroll around the buildings that frame 16th-century Plaza Veija, admire the basilica of San Francisco de Asis and visit the Havana Cathedral with its elaborate baroque facade. After your walking tour, take a taxi to the bus station and head west to Vinales (approximately 4 hours). This charming rural village is your base for the next couple of days, so why not do as the locals do – drink rum and dance the night away.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Leader-led Walking Tour of Old Havana
  • Vinales - Leader-led Orientation Walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy free time in picturesque Vinales, which you'll soon see is home to some of Cuba’s best scenery. Together, your group will decide the best time to take an included informal Spanish lesson where you’ll learn some simple greetings like ‘hola’ and ‘hasta luego’, plus how to order an all-important ‘cerveza’ (beer)! The rest of the day is yours to soak up the slow, old-world pace of rural Cuba, where donkeys plod along the dirt roads. You might like to cruise around the area on a bicycle, hike through the tobacco fields or explore one of the Americas’ largest cave complexes up in the mountains. If you select the valley walk, you'll learn more about the lifestyle here and meet the farmers who grow tobacco for some of the world's most sought after and expensive cigars.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
Optional Activities
  • Vinales - Live Music Venues (Entrance fee only) from - CUC2
  • Vinales - Cueva del Indio - Cave Visit including boat trip (entrance fee included, no transport) - CUC5
  • Vinales - Salsa Dance Lesson (per hour) - CUC10
  • Vinales - Half-day Valley Walking Tour including Tobacco Farmhouse (guide included, no transport) - CUC10
  • Vinales - Farm to Table Dinner at an Eco-friendly Ranch - CUC12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, travel by private vehicle to the World Heritage-listed city of Trinidad. En route, you’ll stop at the Bay of Pigs for a dip in the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea, and if there’s time you can hire snorkel gear and swim among the tropical fish that call these waters home. Be sure to ask your local leader about the Bay of Pigs Invasion – a battle between the USA and Cuban revolutionaries which resulted in the first defeat of a US-backed takeover in Latin America. Continue to Trinidad where you'll spend the night.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bay of Pigs - Coastal Swim Stop
  • Trinidad - Leader-led Orientation Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Trinidad is a standout destination for many visitors to Cuba, in no small part to well-preserved colonial buildings, friendly locals and its old-school feel. Today, you’ve got the full day to do as you please. For some beachside fun and perhaps a little snorkelling, head down to Playa Ancon – just be careful you don't stand on a sea urchin! Hiking and cycling are equally good options, and there are some excellent walking trails in the nearby Sierra del Escambray mountains. For an insight into the colourful post-revolutionary period, why not visit the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos and the Casa de los Martires de Trinidad. Nearby is the sprawling Valle de los Ingenios, where sugar plantations stretch out as far as the eye can see. In the evening, your leader will take you to a local bar for a rum tasting – Cuba is home to some of the best!
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trinidad - Rum Tasting in a Local Bar
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Live Music Venues (entrance fee) from - CUC2
  • Trinidad - Musical Instrument Lesson (guitar, double bass, tres, percussion) per hour - CUC10
  • Trinidad - Trek to El Nicho Waterfall (entrance fee, guide and transport included) - CUC65
  • Trinidad - Ancon beach shuttle bus - CUC4
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, travel by private vehicle to the historic city of Santa Clara – less crowded and slower paced than the bustling Havana, and home to all things Che Guevara. First, visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial; the final resting place of the physician-turned-guerrillero leader. Che's remains were brought to rest here after they were found in a remote corner of Bolivia in 1997, where he was assassinated by the CIA-backed Bolivian army. The memorial is home to an impressive bronze statue of Che bearing his rifle, and inside the museum you can learn about his amazing life and see photos and exhibits such as his famous black beret. Afterwards, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of the town and point you in the right direction. If there's time, why not take the short walk up to one of the best lookout spots in town, Loma del Capiro, where you can share sweeping views of the city with a statue of – you guessed it – Che Guevara! 
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Clara - Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum (entrance fee included, no guide)
  • Santa Clara - Leader-led Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Santa Clara - Derailed Train - CUC1
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning, travel back to Havana by bus (approximately 4 hours) where you’ll return to your guesthouse to enjoy some free time. If you’re a cigar aficionado, you might like to purchase a tour for tomorrow morning of one of Cuba’s best tobacco factories where they produce a range of top-quality Montecristo, Partagas and Romeo y Juliet cigars. Tonight’s again up to you, so why not head out with the group and hit the town for a night of salsa.
Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club Performance (entrance fee) - CUC30
  • Havana - Cigar Factory Tour (entrance fee and guide included, no transport) - CUC12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned for today, so you are free to leave your guesthouse at any time, provided you comply with any internal check-out times. This doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! If you’ve got time, consider heading out in a 1950s convertible on a Classic American Car Tour of Havana with Urban Adventures. Take to the streets in style as you cruise through the capital – visit urbanadventures.com/havana-tour-classic-american-car-tour-of-havana for more information and to book.
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Murals & Mosaics: Community Projects Tour - Urban Adventures (entrance fee & guide included) - USD114
  • Classic American Car Tour of Havana - Urban Adventures (guide & transport included - USD56
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As there's a great deal to do here, we recommend staying an extra day or two to make the most of this exciting city. If you would like to spend more time in Havana, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

3 breakfasts

Transport

Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi

Accommodation

Standard guesthouse (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Havana - Leader-led Walking Tour of Old Havana
  • Vinales - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Bay of Pigs - Coastal Swim Stop
  • Trinidad - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Trinidad - Rum Tasting in a Local Bar
  • Santa Clara - Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum (entrance fee included, no guide)
  • Santa Clara - Leader-led Orientation Walk

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Cuba on a Shoestring trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may change, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

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 the 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 are required for the heightened demand for 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

Reviews