Visit eco-community Las Terrazas in the Sierra de Rosario mountains

Experience rural farming communities in Viñales

Climb Pan de Guajaibon, Western Cuba’s highest peak

Enjoy vibrant Havana

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 at the casa or go into town a short distance away. (dinner not included)
Casa particular, Havana

Day 2 ➤ Warm-up trek along the Serafina Trail in Las Terrazas biosphere reserve

After an early breakfast we collect our transfer to Las Terrazas, a biosphere reserve tucked away in the Sierra del Rosario Mountains about an hour’s drive from Havana. Las Terrazas is a nature 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 deforestation, it’s now a haven for migrating birds from the North. We start off today with a 5km warm up trek in the reserve along the ‘La Serafina Trail’. After lunch at one of the reserve restaurants we continue to Viñales Valley for dinner (not included) and overnight in local traditional family homes.
Casa particular, Viñales (B, L)

Day 3 ➤ Trek through the tobacco growing fields of rural Viñales

Another early start as we prepare for a long trek today around the valley, a distance of around 15 kms, stopping for a boxed lunch along the way. We’ll be walking through tobacco growing farmland dotted with drying houses where the best leaves are dried ready for the selection process. This is rural Cuba at its best. This evening we dine at a local paladar in Viñales.
Casa particular, Viñales (B, L, D).

Day 4 ➤ Trek through the Mil Cumbres eco-reserve

After breakfast we transfer to ‘Mil Cumbres’, an eco-reserve in western Cuba protecting the area’s highest mountains which rise to 799 metres above sea level. On the Southern side are the gardens and ruins of a mansion which were abandoned by its owners during the Revolution. The main field station is a beautiful old timber coffee–planter’s house which has been converted into dormitory-style accommodation for eco-tourists. On arrival we receive an explanation of the history of “Mil Cumbres’’ and have a trek around the area. We’ll take the ‘Camino de Caimito’ from Costanera Cajaibana to San Marco, setting off from the Ceiba community, a trek of around 16kms. Dinner and overnight at Mil Cumbres.
Eco-lodgings at Mil Cumbres (B, L, D)

Day 5 ➤ Challenging trek to the top of Western Cuba’s highest peak, the Pan de Guajaibón

Today we trek to the top of Pan de Guajaibón, the highest peak on the Western side of the island. The trek is around 20kms long and takes about 4-5 hours so requires high fitness levels. Once at the top we enjoy a boxed lunch on the summit from where you can see spectacular views of the Northern coastline including Cayo Levisa beach. Dinner and overnight at Mil Cumbres.
Eco-lodge Mil Cumbres (B, L, D)

Day 6 ➤ Spend the day relaxing day on the stunning beaches of Cayo Levisa

Today we have a relaxed day visiting the gloriously unspoilt beaches of Cayo Levisa which are perfect for swimming and snorkelling. We have lunch at the beach restaurant on the island where toilet and changing facilities are also available. Snorkelling gear is available to rent from the beach shop. In the afternoon we transfer to Soroa and check in to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Dinner and over-night at Hotel Soroa (B, L, D)

Day 7 ➤ Trek along the El Brujito trail in the Sierra del Rosario biosphere reserve

After breakfast we walk through the tropical Sierra del Rosario biosphere reserve, including a visit to the beautiful orchid gardens. Today’s moderate walk is along the ‘El Brujito’ trail, a trek of around 12kms lasting around 3 – 4 hours that requires reasonably high fitness levels. After a picnic lunch we transfer to Havana for our final night. You can wander into town or stay at your casa for dinner this evening. (dinner not included)
Casa particular, Havana (B)

Day 8 ➤ Take a guided tour of old Havana

After breakfast your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you on your guided walking tour of old Havana town for your last morning on the island. The old town is undergoing a major restoration programme to bring its colonial buildings back to their full splendour. Your tour will last approximately 3 hours, taking you to the main places of historical interest and stopping off for a mojito (not included) and some live music at what used to be one of Ernest Hemingway’s favourite haunts, La Bodeguito del Medio. There will be free time for lunch (not included) and some last minute souvenir shopping before your transfer to the airport.
(B)

Trek Route

Activity Level

Trekking Profile

*all distances shown are approximate

Day 1
arrival day
Day 2
5km
Day 3
15km
Day 4
16km
Day 5
20km
Day 6
free day
Day 7
12km
Day 8
departure day

Essential Information

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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.
See trip notes for more info

What to Bring

Walking boots, water bottle or CamelBak and Leki sticks, if required. Light trousers/shorts, a hat or cap and High Protection Sunscreen (SPF 50+) and a small day rucksack. You should bring light cotton and linen clothing suitable for tropical climates and 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.
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.
See trip notes for more info

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