Day 1: Havana airport pick-up. Day 2-3: Travel to Viñales by bus, then visit the countryside and prehistoric wall painting. Day 4: Take an early bus to Cienfuegos and tour important sights around town. Day 5-6: Transfer by bus to Trinidad and take an evening salsa lesson, then ride horseback to a nature park where you can swim through a waterfall. Day 7-8: An early morning bus brings you to Santiago de Cuba for another salsa lesson and a full-day city walking tour. Day 9-10: Take a bus to Baracoa, learn about the history and culture of Cuba’s first settlement, and enjoy free time to get to know the surroundings. Day 11-12: Take a bus back to Santiago with free time to explore on your own and a night bus to Santa Clara. Day 13-15: Visit Che’s mausoleum on a walking tour in Santa Clara city, then return to Havana for a night-tour with a local guide before your trip ends with an airport drop-off.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Havana Airport Pick-Up
Airport pick up and transfer to your casa particular in Havana. Sleep in Havana casa particular.
Day 2: Havana to Viñales - Indian Cave & Prehistoric Wall Painting Visit (B)
Hop on a morning bus today to Viñales in the Cuban countryside (approximately a 3.5 hour drive from Havana). Upon arrival you will get settled with your host family and then take an afternoon horse and buggy ride to visit the prehistoric wall painting and take time for a relaxing beer while enjoying the wonderful surroundings. Then continue on to Cueva del Indio by taxi. Entrance to the cave costs $5 CUC, but includes a boat ride through the cave to see its magnificent, ancient formations, coming out on the other end.
Not included: Cueva del Indio entrance fee ($5 CUC) including cave boat trip.
Day 3: Half Day Finca Visit & Tobacco Culture (B)
Take a fun half day Finca Walk or Horse Ride today to explore life in the Cuban countryside and on the tobacco farms surrounding Vinales. Enjoy the simplicity of life and breathe fresh country air as you meet friendly locals who welcome you with their generous smiles. Overnight in Viñales.
Day 4: Viñales to Cienfuegos - Walking Tour (B)
Take an early morning bus ride to Cienfuegos located about 7 hours from Viñales. Upon arrival, take a guided walking tour of the city in the afternoon and visit important sites like the Jose Marti Plaza, Tomas Terry Theatre and the Valle Palace among other interesting historical places of interest around the city. Overnight at your casa particular in Cienfuegos.
Day 5: Cienfuegos to Trinidad - Salsa Dance Class (B)
Enjoy the morning to explore the city of Cienfuegos on your own and then take an early afternoon bus to Trinidad about 1.5 hours away. Upon arrival you will take an evening Salsa Dance Class to try your luck at this classic Cuban dance. Sleep overnight in Trinidad at your casa particular.
Day 6: Cubanito Natural Park & Waterfalls Excursion (B)
Depart your casa particular at 9am and begin your full day adventure with 1-2 hour horseback ride. (You may opt for biking, walking or taxi instead of horseback if you’d prefer--no extra charge. All options are accompanied by a guide.) Ride through the ancient streets of Trinidad and into the rolling countryside, arriving at Cubanito Natural Park. Enjoy a 30 minute hike along the scenic river with lots of opportunities for spotting birds and flora along the way. Arrive at the grotto and waterfall, where you can jump into the fresh clean waters of a deep pool surrounded by high rock walls. Swim through the waterfall and into the cave behind for a magical experience. After some chill time and a picnic or snack lunch (not included) we will walk back to the horses for the ride back to your casa particular, arriving around 3pm.
NOTE: Please remember to bring your swimsuit!!
Day 7: Trinidad to Santiago de Cuba (B)
Take an early morning bus today to reach Santiago to Cuba on the far southeastern corner of the island approx 11 hours away. After a long journey traversing Cuban countryside, stretch your legs by walking around town a little bit on your own and then get settled in to your casa particular for the evening.
Day 8: Santiago de Cuba Walking Tour - Salsa Dance Class (B)
Embark on a full day walking tour of Santiago de Cuba to visit Museo Provincial de Santiago de Cuba Emilio Bacardí Moreau, the Cathedral, Fortress San Pedro de la Rosa and other interesting historical sites in the city with a local guide. Take a Salsa Dance Class tonight and then overnight at your casa particular after an active day.
Day 9: Santiago de Cuba to Baracoa - Walking Tour (B)
Take an early morning scenic bus ride to Baracoa about 5 hours away. Upon arrival you will take an afternoon walking tour of Cuba’s first settlement and learn a little about its rich culture and history with your local guide. Overnight at your casa particular in Baracoa.
Day 10: Baracoa Free Day (B)
In Baracoa, enjoy a full day on your own to walk around town or to explore the nearby beaches. Overnight at your Baracoa casa particular.
Day 11: Baracoa to Santiago de Cuba (B)
Enjoy a free morning in Baracoa today before returning to Santiago de Cuba on an early afternoon bus approximately a 5-hour journey. Overnight at your Santiago de Cuba casa particular.
Day 12: Santiago de Cuba Free Day - Overnight Bus to Santa Clara (B)
Take a day to stretch your legs today and enjoy the city of Santiago de Cuba on your own. Santiago de Cuba is commonly known as Cuba’s friendliest city, so take a moment to meet a few locals and try out some Spanish phrases. Hop on an overnight bus to Santa Clara this evening (approx. 10 hours)
Day 13: Santa Clara Walking Tour
Arrive to Santa Clara this morning and get settled in. Then take a half-day walking tour of the town to visit the legendary Che Guevara’s Mausoleum and other points of interest with a local guide. Overnight at your Santa Clara casa particular.
Day 14: Santa Clara to Havana - Havana by Night Tour (B)
Take an early morning bus to Havana today about 4-hours away. Take advantage of your last night in the Cuban capital by going on a Havana by Night tour with a local guide. Say goodbye to this incredible city and then overnight at your Havana casa particular.
Day 15: Havana Airport Drop-Off (B)
Today your trip comes to an end with unforgettable memories of an incredible experience in this beautiful country as you are dropped off at the airport in time to catch your flight back home. Safe journeys!
Please Note: This itinerary can change during the course of the year due to a variety of reasons. We are not always able to advise you in advance of these changes. We ask for your understanding and flexibility in these cases.
Visa Info: To enter Cuba, all foreign travellers will need to obtain a 'tourist card' (Cuban visa) and a valid passport (must be valid for at least 6 months past the date of travel). A tourist card can be obtained from a number of different places - at the airport, at their local Cuban consulate, from their airline company. Many travellers conveniently buy it at the airport - please check beforehand that your local airport actually sells it.
Accommodation Details: A Casa Particular is a private homestay accommodation in an authentic Cuban family home which is licensed by the Cuban government. Cuban families often rent some bedrooms to tourists and offer meals which are served in the family dining room. It is a wonderful way to experience the warm Cuban hospitality and learn about their unique way of life. In a society with limited TV and internet access, Cuban people are famed for their friendly attitudes and for making eager conversation with foreigners so they can learn about the outside world. They are also happy to share their insights about life in Cuba and there’s no doubt that the interaction at a Casa Particular will be enlightening and intriguing.