Visit 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites, - Havana, Viñales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad

Swimming and canopy zip-lining at Las Terrazas eco-community

Enjoy relaxing and fun family time on the beautiful beaches of Cayo Levisa

Experience staying at traditional family homes

Day by Day

Day 1 ➤ Arrival in Havana

A Cubania representative will be waiting for you on arrival at Jose Martí International Airport in Havana. Once you’ve collected your luggage you’ll be transferred to your accommodation with time to relax after your long flight. You can either have dinner in the old town a short distance away.
Accommodation , Havana

Day 2 ➤ Guided tour of old and new Havana

After an early breakfast, your guide will take you on your city tour of old and new Havana, Cuba’s capital and the largest city in the Caribbean.  Setting off in classic American convertible cars, we enjoy a panoramic view of the city visiting the up-market Miramar district, previously home to the rich and famous of pre-revolutionary Cuba, then continue to the Museum of the Revolution and the Plaza de la Revolución.  The cars will drop you off at the Rum Factory for a short tour to see how Cuba’s most famous beverage ‘Havana Club’ is made. You’ll stop for lunch before continuing on foot to the visit the heart of the colonial old town and its four main squares.  Havana is a bustling capital full of historic monuments, cathedrals and palaces. Preserved by a combination of very little war damage, post revolution restoration work and the millions of dollars invested since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, it’s one of the cities with the finest surviving Spanish colonial complexes in the Americas. The rest of the afternoon is free to spend at your leisure. You can have dinner at your casa if you wish or eat out in the old town. (dinner not included)
Accomodation , Havana (B, L)

Day 3 ➤ Free day for you to continue exploring Havana

Today is free to spend as you wish.  You can continue exploring the colonial delights of the old town or venture into Centro Habana or Vedado which are both a short walking distance away. Lunch and dinner are not included today so you can either choose to eat at your casa or you can eat at the many local restaurants available.
Accommodation , Havana (B)

Day 4 ➤ Snorkelling at Caleta Buena en route to Cienfuegos
After an early breakfast we depart in the morning for Cienfuegos which is located on the South coast of Cuba, stopping off for lunch (not included) and a bit of snorkeling in Caleta Buena along the way. This is a rocky but picturesque stretch of coastline and one of the best places for snorkeling on the peninsula.  There will be free time for lunch and relaxing on the beach before continuing on to Cienfuegos, also a World Heritage Site and once a French settlement for immigrants from Bordeaux and Louisiana. The locals refer to it as ‘La Perla del Sur’ or the ‘Pearl of the South’ for its beauty and the fact it’s considered one of the cleanest cities in Cuba.  The city centre has some fine examples of colonial architecture and given its small size is easy to get around. We check into our hotel for the night. You can have dinner at the hotel or at one of the local restaurants in town.
Casa particular, Cienfuegos (B)
Day 5 ➤ Swim with dolphins in Cienfuegos, then head to the colonial town of Trinidad

After breakfast we head out to the open sea dolfinarium in Cienfuegos for a morning swim with dolphins, then continue on to Trinidad for lunch.  Perhaps one of the most famous of Cuba’s World Heritage Sites, Trinidad is a stunning colonial town with its rows of pastel colored houses, cobbled streets and pretty squares.  Old cadillacs and horse-drawn carriages leave you feeling like you really have entered a place where time has stood still.

Trinidad combines the best of Cuban culture and nature in one place; nestled between the Sierra Escambray Mountains and the Caribbean coast, there are stunning views from virtually every angle; the 8km Playa Ancon white sandy beach is only a short 15 minute drive from the town centre and in the evenings the places really comes alive with live music played in the many mainly open air bars and restaurants centred around the town’s two main squares. We check into our local accommodation on arrival and after lunch take a tour of Trinidad town. (lunch and dinner not included)
Casa particular, Trinidad (B)

Day 6 ➤ Free day to explore Trinidad with options to go swimming, trekking or horse-riding

Today is free to spend at your leisure exploring Trinidad or relaxing by the beach.  There are a number of excursions you can enjoy including a day trip on a catamaran to the small island keys of Cayo Macho or Cayo Blanco, including a seafood lunch freshly caught en route; alternatively you can take a trekking or horse-riding trip into the mountains surrounding the town stopping off at a waterfall for lunch. (lunch and dinner not included)
Casa particular, Trinidad (B)

Day 7 ➤ Head to Santa Clara to see Che’s Mausoleum and visit Sancti Spiritus en-route

After breakfast in Trinidad, we depart for Santa Clara, stopping in Sancti Spiritus along the way.  Sancti Spiritus is Latin for ‘Holy Spirit’, and was one of the original seven Cuban cities founded by the Spanish in 1514.  It’s one of the best preserved cities in the Caribbean from the time of the sugar trade and worth a wander around before continuing on to Santa Clara in time for lunch.

Santa Clara is a city that played a very important role in the history of the Revolution.  It was here that Ché Guevara waged the final battle that toppled the Batista government and led to the triumph of the Cuban revolution.  It’s also the resting place for Cuba’s beloved revolutionary hero who lies in the mausoleum bearing his name.  Also on the impressive Plaza de la Revolución is the Museo de Ché, which traces his history from childhood, through his revolutionary days at the side of Fidel Castro.  We continue to Havana in the early evening. (lunch and dinner not included)
Accommodation , Havana (B)

Day 8 ➤ Free in Havana

Free day to spend at your leisure in Havana.
Accommodation , Havana (B)

Day 9 ➤ Swim in the San Juan river and zip-lining through the canopy at eco-community Las Terrazas

After an early breakfast we head off to Las Terrazas Community, a biosphere reserve tucked away in the Sierra del Rosario Mountains.  The community is a natural area of around 5,000 hectares which is being developed as a sustainable rural economy for eco-tourism.  Created after the Revolution to replant the area which had suffered badly from over-foresting, it is now a haven for migrating birds from the North.  It’s a perfect place to spend the day as a family, walking in the hills or swimming in crystal-clear waters of the San Juan River.  After lunch at the reserve (not included) there will be time to have a go at zip-lining through the forest canopy.  An 800m course with 3 wires takes you right across the Las Terrazas community and lake and is great fun for all kids and parents alike.  In the late afternoon we carry on to Viñales where we check into your accommodation for two nights, before exploring the quaint little town.  You can have dinner at your casa in Viñales or at one of the restaurants on the main street in town. (dinner not included)
Casa particular, Viñales (B)

Day 10 ➤ Spend the day walking through the Ancon Valley in the famous tobacco growing region of Viñales

Today we take a walk through the Ancon Valley in Viñales, another of Cuba’s World Heritage Sites located in the Western province of Pinar del Rio.  This area is to cigars as France’s Bordeaux region is to wines and it is here that the tobacco plants are carefully harvested using traditional methods in order to create the world-class cigars for which Cuba is so famous.  Viñales has a unique other-world quality, due to the unique mogotes, strange limestone hillocks that have been formed as a result of erosion during the Jurassic period around 160 million years ago.   The contrast of the flatness of the valley floor against the almost vertical sides of the mogotes provides for striking views.   The Ancon Valley is the least visited and unspoilt of the Viñales valleys, a perfect day for the whole family to enjoy together. (lunch and dinner are not included today)
Casa particular, Viñales (B)

Day 11 ➤ Catch a boat from Palma Rubia to the paradise island of Cayo Levisa

After an early breakfast we leave Viñales for Palma Rubia where a boat will take you to Cayo Levisa, a beach paradise with three kilometers of white sand, where you can unwind and enjoy some family time in a truly peaceful and stunning location. The hotel offers full board accommodation.
Hotel Cayo Levisa (B, L, D)

Day 12 ➤ Full day on Cayo Levisa to enjoy its white sandy beaches and turquoise waters

Free day to relax on the beach.
Hotel Cayo Levisa (B, L, D)

Day 13 ➤ Another full day on Cayo Levisa

Free day to relax on the beach.
Hotel Cayo Levisa (B, L, D)

Day 14 ➤ Take the morning boat back to Palma Rubia and then head back to Havana for your final free afternoon

This morning the boat will take you to back to Palma Rubia from where you continue to Havana for your last night in the capital. You should arrive back in time for a late lunch and time for some last-minute exploring of the old town. (lunch and dinner not included today)
Casa particular, Havana (B)

Day 15 ➤ Final morning in Havana and departure day

Your final morning in Cuba will give you time to relax, do some final exploring of old Havana or do some last minute souvenir shopping. Your transfer will collect you to take you to the airport for check-in 3 hours prior to departure.
(B)

Trek Route

Activity Level

Trekking Profile

*all distances shown are approximate
Day 1
arrival day
Day 2
km
Day 3
km
Day 4
km
Day 5
km
Day 6
km
Day 7
free day
Day 8
departure day

Essential Information

L

Health & Medical Insurance

No need for any complicated jabs to visit Cuba but you will need to ensure you have medical insurance in order to enter the country. Pack a copy in your hand luggage along with your passport in case Immigration asks for proof of insurance on arrival in Cuba. Drink bottled water and pack a good insect repellent and you should have a problem free trip.
See trip notes for more info

Passports, Visas, Departure Tax

You´ll need a visa (Tourist Card) to enter Cuba which can be obtained from the Cuban Consulate. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months beyond your entry into Cuba. Make sure you keep 25CUC per person for a departure tax which is payable in cash after check in for all passengers leaving Cuba.
See trip notes for more info

Money Matters

Cuba currently runs a complicated 2 currency system: the CUC (Convertible Peso) has the same value, more or less, as the USD. Most of your transactions will require this currency. The CUP (Moneda Nacional ) is used by Cubans to buy food, pay utility bills and buy certain goods. It’s unlikely you’ll use these at all during your trip.

Cuba’s economy is cash driven so make sure you bring plenty of money in small denominations (GBP, EUR and CAD are the best options). Only exchange cash at a bank or the official exchange house CADECA (Casa de cambio) on arrival to avoid being ripped off. There is very little variation in exchange rates as all banks and CADECAs are government owned!
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Food & Drink

Cuba is as famous for its delicious rum cocktails as it is infamous for its dreary food. Luckily the food is improving and you can now expect to eat, as well as drink, quite well! However, expect little variety and plenty of rice and black beans, especially when you’re travelling in the provinces. Cuba’s repertoire of ingredients is quite limited and those with special dietary requirements (especially gluten free, vegetarians and vegans) should consider bringing some extra food with them to supplement their diet.
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What to Bring

Light cotton and linen clothing suitable for tropical climates.  A jacket or fleece for cooler evenings. Cubans dress casually but are always impeccably turned out. Avoid bringing expensive or flashy jewellery. Ensure you bring all necessary medication as well as a good insect repellent and some antihistamines in case you get bitten. We also recommend you bring a small first aid kit to cover any basic needs you may have, and plenty of sunscreen!
See trip notes for a more detailed packing list
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Safety Matters

Cuba is one of the safest destinations to travel to and it’s highly unlikely you will feel threatened during your stay. However, common sense dictates that you take the usual precautions and avoid backstreets and uninhabited areas. Dress down and keep jewellery to a minimum.

During your stay you’ll almost certainly have an encounter with a friendly local trying to sell you cheap cigars, or take you to a local restaurant/casa particular and possibly even try to set you up with one of his family members! Known locally as “jineteros” these Cuban hustlers earn their living from commissions made from steering tourists towards the services they offer. A polite refusal is usually all you need to get rid of them!
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Tipping

Tipping is part and parcel of everyday life in Cuba. Wages here are very low so people who look after tourists expect a tip for good service. 10% is the minimum expected amount when eating out, and if you have a guide and/or driver you should budget for a tip which you can give them at the end of your tour. Usually we will recommend you on the amounts but when in doubt, set aside CUC5 per guide/driver per day for each person. Tip the bell boy 1CUC for carrying your bag to your room.
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