Uncover the delights of Cuba's vibrant cities, pristine beaches and beautiful national parks on this 15 day tour. Head west from Havana to the verdant tobacco fields of Vinales, before travelling down the coast to colonial Trinidad and on to Cuba's second city, Santiago de Cuba in the east, enjoying scenic hikes and city sightseeing en route.
Monday. Welcome to Havana! Upon arrival at the airport you will be transferred to your hotel to check in and freshen up. The rest of the day is yours to unwind and explore the city before our tour starts tomorrow.
Havana city tour
We meet our guide and spend the morning on a guided walking tour through the historical and colonial sites of Cuba’s charming and quirky capital city, with our main focus being on Havana's Old Town which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage in 1982. eclared a UNESCO world Heritage in 1982. The atmosphere of bygone days is still present in Havana's streets, with over 500 years of history to be uncovered.
We visit the famous Havana Club Rum Museum for a cocktail before some free time to wander through the Old Town. This afternoon we explore “modern” Havana before enjoying dinner at a traditional local restaurant.
Overnight: Havana | Breakfast, Dinner
Havana – Vinales. World famous for its tobacco, today we set our sights on Vinales. Our journey through this region finds us passing rolling tobacco plantations and mogote rock formations and we stop to visit a local tobacco farm for a lesson on how the famous Cuban cigars, puros, are made.
The afternoon finds us exploring the beautiful Cueva del Indio, an ancient aboriginal cave dwelling nestled in the national park of Vinales. After our tour of the cave we enjoy a tasty lunch before making our way to Vinales, a small picturesque town surrounded by green tobacco fields and mogotes. Tonight we spend the first of many nights enjoying the hospitality of a local family in a casa particular (homestay), which is an essential Cuban experience.
Overnight: Vinales (Casa Particular) | Breakfast, Lunch
Today we enjoy an excursion to the beautiful island of Cayo Levisa. We travel by ferry to this small island, which is located off the north coast. Here you can enjoy the dreamlike Caribbean beaches and crystal clear waters. Lunch is included on the island and we make our way back to Vinales in the afternoon, passing stunning landscapes en route.
Overnight: Vinales (Casa Particular) | Lunch
Vinales – Cienfuegos. We continue our journey to the vibrant city of Cienfuegos, the pearl of the south this morning. The coastal town is known for its well preserved palaces and villas which boast spectacular views. The Palacio de Valle, with its Gothic, Venetian and Neoclassical architecture, is one of Cienfuegos' most beautiful places and after a guided walking tour we enjoy dinner at this historic villa before returning to our hotel for an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Cienfuegos (Casa Particular) | Dinner
Cienfuegos – Trinidad. We finish our tour of Cienfuegos this morning with a visit to the oldest botanical garden, home to over 400 breeds of orchids and 280 breeds of palm trees.
This afternoon we make our way to Trinidad - Cuba’s best preserved colonial city. Trinidad was once the home of wealthy sugar barons so it's the best place to see extravagant palaces, including the Palacio Brunet which is one of the most beautiful palaces in the city and is now home to the Museo Mántico. We spend the afternoon on an informative city tour of Trinidad, discovering its remarkable architecture and taking in wonderful scenic views of the sea and mountains. The evening is free to continue our discovery of Trinidad – the rule of thumb is to follow the music as you are likely find the locals playing their instruments and dancing.
Overnight: Trinidad (Casa Particular)
El Cubano Nature Park
Our day starts with an excursion to the El Cubano nature park. We will take a leisurely 2.5 hour hike along the "Huellas de la Historia trail", which gives us an insight to the island's colonial past. We pass through swimming holes on our way to the Javira waterfall where we stop for a dip in its green waters.
The afternoon is free to spend at leisure. Perhaps head to the Playa Ancon beach (12km away) or enjoy a stroll around Trinidad. This evening we get to enjoy some live music at the Casa de la Trova.
Overnight: Trinidad (Casa Particular)
Trinidad – Camaguey. Today we continue our journey to the city of Camaguey which was designed to confuse invading pirates centuries ago. Here we embark on a tour of this labyrinthine city by bike taxis. Learning about “Cuba’s catholic soul” we pass the many gorgeous cathedrals and churches and venture down the maze of alleyways that make Cuba’s ninth UNESCO World Heritage site so special.
Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure, relax and unwind or continue exploring. Go in search of the many plazas, sip on a cocktail in the heart of the city, or try some of the local delicacies.
Camaguey – Bayamo. After taking some time to visit Camaguey's typical craft shops we continue to the small town of Bayamo. Known as the city of horse carts, this elegant, quiet town is a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the cities. As we’re guided through the town we witness how the town has transformed since the arson blaze which destroyed many of the town's colonial buildings in 1869.
The rest of the evening is free to stroll down El Bulevar for a spot of shopping and dinner, or go to Casa de la Trova for some traditional music and dancing.
Overnight: Bayamo | Breakfast
Sierra Maestra Hike
Bayamo - Sierra Maestra - Santiago de Cuba. The mountains await us this morning as we start our day with a scenic 3-4 hour hike in the Sierra Maestra. Here we learn about the interesting history of the area during the independence wars against Spain and revel in the spectacular scenery.
The afternoon finds us heading to the foothills of the Sierra Maestra to pay our respects to the famous El Cobre shrine dedicated to Cuba’s patron saint - La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre before ending our day in lively Santiago de Cuba, the cultural capital, which has a strong Afro-Caribbean influence.
Overnight: Santiago de Cuba (Casa Particular) | Breakfast
Santiago de Cuba
Located between the mountains and the Caribbean Sea, Cuba’s second largest city offers an in depth history of the revolution against the dictator Fulgencio Batista as well as amazing landscapes and today we discover why. Our first point of call will be to the Castillo El Morro”, a stunning 16th century citadel and military fortress built in 1638 by Phillip II to fortify his colonies and defend them from ever growing piracy.
Later on we visit the tombs of many famous Cubans including Fidel Castro, Emilio Bacardi and Cuba’s national hero Jose Marti, at the fascinating Santa Ifigenia cemetery. We end our tour in the Plaza de la Revolucion where we enjoy lunch together before we have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to relax.
Overnight: Santiago de Cuba (Casa Particular) | Lunch
This morning we set sail for Cayo Granma, a very small island known for its red-roofed wooden houses, with many of them on stilts above water, only accessible by boat. We have the rest of the morning to explore Cayo Granma at our own leisure. You can head up to the Iglesia de San Rafael - the islands highest point and perhaps eat some fresh seafood while looking out onto the waves before we make our way back towards Santiago de Cuba stopping at the beautiful Playa Verraco beach.
Overnight: Santiago de Cuba (Casa Particular)
Santiago de Cuba – Baracoa. This morning we drive along the beautiful Cuban coastline and the Pass La Farola – one of Cuba's most famous roads, en route to the coastal town of Baracoa. Historically only accessible by sea, this old and isolated town is surrounded by the mountains of the Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa and offers a very unique atmosphere. Upon arrival go for a walk through the centre and get acquainted with this fascinating town at leisure.
Alejandro De Humboldt NP
Ticking another UNESCO World Heritage site off our list will be on today’s agenda as we go on a hike through the Alejandro De Humboldt National Park. With the Cuchillas del Toa Biosphere Reserve occupying more than half of the park's land we will bask in the glorious views of mountains, rivers, bays and plateaus surrounding the area.
This afternoon we visit to Finca Duaba, a verdant farm with a short cacao (cocoa) trail, which gives a great insight to the history of the cacao plant. To finish off our day we embark on a boat tour of the River Toa, Cuba’s largest and mightiest river before heading back to our hotel for the evening.
Overnight: Baracoa | Breakfast, Lunch
Monday. Baracoa - Guardalavaca/Holguin Airport. Today we say Adios to Cuba. We will transfer you to Holguin Airport for your onward flight or to a hotel in Guardalavaca if you have decided to extend your stay.
We can help extend your stay with extra nights accommodation and activities upon request and we can also arrange a flight back to Havana for you.
Prices & Dates
Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Hotel Habana Libre, Havana
One of the most emblematic hotels in Havana, the majestic Hotel Habana Libre stands 25-storeys tall. Wander through its impressive lobby and up to your spacious guestroom, equipped with all the necessary comforts to enjoy your stay. Spend your evening in one of the hotel’s many bars and restaurants, where you will find a mouth-watering array of international and Cuban cuisine. And, best of all, enjoy panoramic views of the sea and city from the hotel’s uppermost floor which boasts a retractable roof.
Hotel Colon, Camaguey
Situated in Camaguey’s historic centre, this colonial-style hotel dates back to the 1920’s. Renowned for its pretty inner gallery and courtyard, it provides a peaceful base from which to explore this World Heritage-listed city. Guestrooms are accessed by a marble staircase and are comfortable and cosy. The buffet restaurant is known for its traditional Cuban food, serving tasty dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And be sure to check out the hand-worked wooden bar, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two after a day's sightseeing.
Hotel Royalton, Bayamo
Set in Bayamo’s historic downtown, this charming hotel dates back to the 1940’s. It’s been renovated to combine Spanish Colonial-style with modern facilities and the pleasant guestrooms provide a satellite TV, air-conditioning, WiFi and minibar. Breakfast is served daily in the restaurant and evening drinks can be enjoyed at the friendly hotel bar. Check out the impressive marble lobby during your stay and venture up to the delightful roof terrace during the balmy Cuban evenings.
Hotel El Castillo, Baracoa
One of the most prominent buildings in Baracoa, Hotel El Castillo is packed with history, character and charm. It was once an 18th century fort and still contains parts of the old castle walls. Set above town, this colonial-style hotel has stunning views over the surrounding city, bay and mountains. Guestrooms are a good size and, although simple, offer a fridge, air-conditioning and satellite TV. A casual restaurant serves local and international cuisine, and you can end your day with a cooling swim in the picture-perfect outdoor pool.
Hotel Porto Santo, Baracoa
Situated next to Baracoa Bay, Hotel Porto Santo resembles a small beach resort with lodges spread across a landscaped meadow. You’ll arrive into a rustic lobby with a beamed ceiling and colourful stained-glass windows. The guestrooms also feature colourful decor, with an ensuite and satellite TV. Enjoy a delightful evening meal at the hotel restaurant or soak up the sun and grab a snack from the open-air bar. By far the best feature is the hotel's lake-shaped swimming pool, where you can enjoy beautiful views overlooking the bay and downtown Baracoa.