Immerse yourself in the history, culture and natural beauty of two of Latin America’s finest.

Delight in the history, charm and culture of old-world Cuba before exploring the incredible natural environments of Costa Rica. Drink and dance with the fascinating Cuban locals in Havana and Trinidad, visit the tobacco farmers in Vinales then hike and swim in Costa Rica’s national parks on this adventure through two of Latin America’s most talked about destinations.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Havana, Cuba
Finish
San Jose, Costa Rica
Destinations
Costa Rica, Cuba
Style
Comfort
Code
QBKCC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Old-world charm, a rich history and sleepy rural towns – evocative Cuba is something special and like nowhere else on earth. Discover the difference between city and coastal life on this 16-day adventure.

  • Hike the forested jungle trails of Manuel Antonio National Park

  • Experience the diversity of Costa Rica's environment

Is this trip right for you?

  • Some included activities such as the hikes in Manuel Antonio NP can be quite strenuous.

  • The tropical climate of Central America means conditions can be really hot and humid. Always carry plenty of water with you and stay hydrated, especially on walking tours.

  • • Try to learn as many Spanish words as you can. Locals are very friendly, but also shy, so you'll need to make plenty of effort to break the ice. Attempting to communicate in Spanish is a great way of showing you care.

  • 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.

Itinerary

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. If you don't have the luxury of extending your time in Havana and taking up some of the suggested optional activties listed below, there are plenty of good museums to check out before your welcome meeting, including the Museo de la Revolucion and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Morro Castle - CUC3
  • Havana - Revolution museum - CUC5
  • Havana - National Museum of Fine Arts - CUC5
  • Havana - Camera Obscura entrance - CUC2
  • Havana - Ernest Hemingway tour - CUC70
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club - CUC30
  • Havana - Cigar factory tour - CUC12
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. 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
  • Soroa - Orchid garden tour
  • Vinales - Orientation Walk
  • Informal Spanish lesson with leader
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.
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 - Live music venues - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Head towards Cienfuegos today, it is a long travel day. You will be stopping via the Bay of Pigs not only to enjoy the stunning surrounding but to learn more about the botched US Military counter-revolutionary invasion, and you could even opt for a swim in the crystal clear water.
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
  • Lunch
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). 
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trinidad - Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Santeria Priest Visit - CUC2
  • Trinidad - Museo Romantico - CUC2
  • Trinidad - Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra los Bandidos - CUC1
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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 - Live music venues entrance (varies depending on venue) - CUC2
  • Trinidad - Ancon beach shuttle bus - CUC4
  • 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 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 - Revolution Square
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Jose Marti Memorial Tower - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Travel to Costa Rica. Although the flight is not included, an airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel. Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Costa Rica’s capital sits in the centre of a lush, wide valley which has a comfortable subtropical climate. The streets of the town are laid out along a grid iron pattern, with avenidas running east to west and callés running north to south. Many of the most interesting buildings are in the region of Avenida Central – the Teatro Nacional is an elaborate confection of marble staircases, statues, frescoes and mirrors. There are a number of interesting museums in the city; the Museo de Oro has a good collection of golden pre-Columbian figurines. The Mercado Central is the main market which dates back to 1881 – there are some good food stalls here as well as countless artefacts for sale.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
At 9 am, after breakfast, take a leader-led walking tour San Jose’s dynamic downtown area (1.5 hours). You’ll then take a private vehicle to Los Santos (2 hours) and for a coffee tour and tasting at Don Cornelio, in Costa Rica’s coffee capital of Zona de Los Santos, Frailes. Lunch is also included there. Continue driving to Savegre (4 hours) with an informal Spanish lesson from your leader on the way, and spend the evening at the Trogon Lodge – an intimate lodge in the cloud forest.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Jose - Leader-led walking tour
  • Los Santos - Don Cornelio Coffee Tour
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Your entry to Los Quetzales National Park is included today and there are several optional activities to choose from. Fly through the rainforest on an adrenaline-filled zip-wire tour of the canopy, or take a adventurous and rewarding hike starting in the highlands. The area is also home to the resplendent quetzal and you could join a birdwatching tour in search of the elusive yet striking bird, before returning to the lodge for optional dinner and exchanging stories with other travellers.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Los Quetzales National Park - Cloud forest (Entrance fee & Transport)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave Savegre at 9 am in a private vehicle and drive two hours to the Finca 6 museum where you’ll spend an hour learning about the mysterious, pre-Columbian spheres whose significance remains unknown. Continue driving to Corcovado (3-4 hours), a national park on the Osa Peninsula that’s known for its biodiversity. With 13 major ecosystems, over 400 species of birds and all the monkeys, turtles and butterflies you’d ever wish to see, it’s a nature-lover's heaven. Enjoy dinner at Luna Lodge, your secluded hotel hidden away in the pristine rainforest.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Palmar Norte - Finca 6 Sphere Museum (Entrance)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
The Osa Peninsula ranked highly on Nat Geo’s list of the most romantic places to visit and it’s not hard to see why. With deserted beaches, shimmering blue water and a huge rainforest, there aren’t many better places to take a lover. That being said, it’s just as good exploring by yourself or with some new Intrepid friends. There are several optional activities to choose from today. Work up a sweat on a 4-5 hour hike through the national park, or perhaps choose to kayak during the day with colourful macaws then take a night walk, or maybe you’d prefer horseback riding and sunset bird-watching instead.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Corcovado - Shady Lane - USD45
  • Corcovado - Primary Ridge Trail - USD50
  • Corcovado - Early Birdwatching - USD35
  • Corcovado - Corcovado Hike - USD80
  • Corcovado - Night Walk - USD35
  • Corcovado - Lagoon Kayaking - USD75
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Depart at 9 am for a six-hour drive north to Manuel Antonio, a national park on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast and certified sloth country. There’ll be an optional lunch stop on the way and the afternoon is yours to relax. Drop a towel on the white-sand beaches, take a swim or swing life away in a hammock. Perhaps choose to enjoy a sunset sail on the Pacific with your fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Manuel Antonio - Sunset sail - USD80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend another day in this lush tropical paradise and choose from several optional activities. Perhaps you’ll hike through the insanely beautiful national park in search search for sloths and iguanas, or maybe you’ll take a tour of the waterways and mangrove habitat by kayak. Already had your fill of rainforests? Stay beachside, rent a surfboard or boogieboard and spend a day catching rays and waves.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Manuel Antonio National Park - (Entrance fee) - USD16
  • Manuel Antonio - Surf/boogie board rental - USD10
  • Manuel Antonio - Mangrove tour by kayak (with lunch) - USD80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Slowly make your way back to San Jose by private vehicle, leaving at 7.30 am. The group will stop after 1.5 hours in Jaco for an aerial tram tour through the rainforest’s canopy. Fly above the treetops for views of the glistening Pacific before exploring the nearby butterfly garden and reptile terrariums, and enjoy an included buffet lunch before continuing to San Jose (2 hours) for an approximately 3 pm arrival. The rest of the afternoon is free for you relax and pick up where you left off exploring the city, but be sure to organise a farewell dinner with your group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaco - Aerial Treetop Tram Ride
  • Jaco - Butterfly Garden & Reptile Terrariums
Optional Activities
  • San Jose - The Art of Craft Beer in San Jose - Urban Adventures - USD68
  • San Jose - National Museum - USD12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Your trip ends today and there are no activities planned. You’re free to depart after breakfast.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

15 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Shared boat

Accommodation

Premium Guesthouse (5 nights), Standard guesthouse (2 nights), Hotel (4 nights), Lodge (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Soroa - Orchid garden tour
  • Vinales - Orientation Walk
  • Informal Spanish lesson with leader
  • 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
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Revolution Square
  • San Jose - Leader-led walking tour
  • Los Santos - Don Cornelio Coffee Tour
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Los Quetzales National Park - Cloud forest (Entrance fee & Transport)
  • Palmar Norte - Finca 6 Sphere Museum (Entrance)
  • Jaco - Aerial Treetop Tram Ride
  • Jaco - Butterfly Garden & Reptile Terrariums

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. To have a private room on this trip, a single supplement is bookable; subject to availability.
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 14 days prior to travel.
4. The airport arrival transfer driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse. If you have not booked the transfer prior to departure, or will not utilise it due to independent plans, please ensure you ask your booking agent inside 7 days of departure for your confirmed guesthouse name and address.
5. Guesthouse and rooming allocations are finalised inside a week from departure based on the configuration of each travelling party. Please advise bedding configuration requests to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
6. To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures. Your leader and the composition of your group may change with the start of each adventure.
7. As this is a combination trip, the flight from Havana to San Jose on Day 8 is not included in the tour cost and it must be purchased separately. When booking this flight, keep in mind there will be a group meeting at 6 pm in San Jose on this day so we recommend arriving prior to this.
8. Complimentary airport arrival and departure transfers are included mid-trip to help ease your independent connections throughout the combination trip. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
- An airport departure transfer is included to Havana Airport
- An airport arrival transfer is included from San Jose Airport
9. A visa or tourist card, organised prior to arrival, is required for all nationalities visiting Cuba.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Please be careful when booking flights to/from San Jose; make sure you fly into/out of Juan Santamaría International Airport [SJO]. Please do NOT book flights to/from Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport [SJC] as this is located in California, United States.
13. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

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.