If you are wanting to explore all that Cuba has to offer in the way of Culture and people, rather than beaches, but only have limited time, then this tour is for you. In one short week, it's an optimised way to sample some of the most interesting areas of Cuba within a day's drive from Havana. The tour takes your from the bustling and vibrant Havana, to the historic Santa Clara, and gives you the chance to experience the more traditional and rural sides of Cuba, with stays in Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Viñales. A local Cuban tour guide accompanies the group throughout, and all accommodation is in guesthouses, which are small private businesses that are typically owned and run by local families.
WHATS NOT INCLUDED
Most of our adventure tours involve a local payment. Paying locally allows us to keep the overall cost of our tours competitive and pass the savings on to you. These funds are put towards local expenses. In some developing countries the transferring of funds is at times problematic so this is a way to help us serve you, whilst saving you money. Payment is to be made to your leader upon arrival in cash.
All prices are approximate and subject to currency fluctuations until final payment has been made.
Arrive in Havana at any time, but we recommend as early as possible or a day earlier to make the most of this exciting city. On Arrival you will be met and transferred through to your guesthouse for your first night.
Today is the arrival day of the tour so there are no planned activities and you can check into the hotel and relax or go and explore the city. One of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere, Havana was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Wander through old Havana and sit on the famous sea wall (malecon) to take in the view and some fresh air, and to socialize with the colourful and friendly ‘Habaneros’.
In the morning before departing Havana, we have a guided walking tour of the historic centre of Havana (approx 2 hours).
We then embark on a 4 hour drive from Havana to Viñales, and on the way we usually stop for lunch. Surrounded by picturesque limestone pincushion hills (“mogotes”), Viñales is a small and culturally rich village, with friendly and welcoming residents and wide variety of outdoor activities available. Exploring caves, hiking, biking, horseback riding or simply enjoying the views of the valley and sprawling tobacco fields below are all options. Viñales is one of the more agriculturally productive areas, so an abundance of local seasonal fruit and vegetables is always on offer such as enormous avocados and mangoes, pineapples, papaya, guava, and a several varieties of sweet potatoes. Its one of the cooler areas of Cuba, so its also a nice escape from the hotter parts of the country. The nightlife is very active in this village with the local residents more than willing participants in dancing to the local live music.
Next we head to the French founded city of Cienfuegos through the densely vegetated Peninsula de Zapata swamp-lands, and along the beautiful Bay of Pigs. This is where the landing of counter-revolutionary exile militia occurred in 1961. There is a museum here that recounts the events of this conflict which resulted in the first defeat of a U.S backed take-over in Latin America. We will also make stops at a beautiful swimming hole (cenote) which resembles a huge natural tropical fish tank, and if the conditions are favourable, at beach for snorkelling.
A favourite with tourists, Trinidad is our next stop. No other colonial city in Cuba is so well preserved, and the local residents are extremely friendly and festive. Trinidad is steeped in religiosity, none the least of which isSanteria, which is one of several Afro-Cuban religions.
The thing however that visitors most love about Trinidad is the nightlife. There are no less than 10 live music venues all within a short walking distance. Many of these have lovely outdoor settings, in courtyards, and within the walls of old colonial ruins.
We are near the lovely Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of Sugarmills) and Playa Ancón - where you can enjoy long stretches of unspoiled, white sand beaches. Scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming in waterfalls, and horse-riding are other optional activities.
On the way back to Havana we stop in at the town of Santa Clara, a key city in the Cuban Revolution. Upon entering Santa Clara, there is a huge statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara, to commemorate his death and that of the revolutionaries who died along with him in Bolivia. There is also a museum here dedicated to his amazing life
Its one final night of the tour in Havana, and your tour guide will have some suggestions for a farewell dinner and fun night out.
A free day to explore and depart anytime.
Why not extend your stay in Cuba. Please ask for extra nights if required.
This adventure takes in the best of Cuba in a short time, with a huge range of activities and cultural experiences. It is a physically undemanding trip, however some of the long travel days, combined with the very hot, humid, tropical weather, can make it tough at times. It is this uncensored view of Latin America that makes the trip so special and all the more exciting.