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Classic Cuba

Family Beach and Culture

Classic Cuba

Family Beach and Culture

A two-week holiday for the whole family to enjoy Cuba’s colonial history and natural beauty

  • Duration 15 days
  • Activity level Leisurely
  • Included Accommodation Meals Staff
  • Day 1
    Day 1

    ARRIVAL IN HAVANA

    Welcome to Cuba! A Cubania representative will be waiting for you on arrival at Jose Martí International Airport in Havana.

    • Casa Particular, Havana
  • Day 2
    Day 2

    GUIDED TOUR OF OLD AND NEW HAVANA

    After breakfast, your guide will take you on your city tour of old and new Havana, Cuba’s capital and the largest city in the…

    • Casa Particular, Havana
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 3
    Day 3

    FREE DAY IN HAVANA

    Today is free to spend as you wish.

    • Casa particular, Havana
    • Breakfast
  • Day 4
    Day 4

    SWIMMING 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 swim at Caleta Buena along the way.

    • Casa particular, Cienfuegos
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 5
    Day 5

    VISIT EL NICHO WATERFALL, THEN TO TRINIDAD

    We leave Cienfuegos and head up into the Sierra del Escambray, Cuba’s second highest mountain range. We drive up the winding road into to…

    • Casa particular, Trinidad
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 6
    Day 6

    OPTIONAL SWIMMING, TREKKING OR HORSE-RIDING

    Today is free to spend at your leisure exploring Trinidad or relaxing by the beach.

    • Casa particular, Trinidad
    • Breakfast
  • Day 7
    Day 7

    WALK IN ESCAMBRAY MOUNTAINS

    After breakfast in Trinidad, we depart for the Escambray Mountains, a steep drive to Topes de Collantes about one hour from Trinidad

    • Hotel los Caneyes, Santa Clara
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 8
    Day 8

    SWIM IN THE SAN JUAN RIVER IN LAS TERRAZAS

    After an early breakfast we head off to Las Terrazas Community, a biosphere reserve tucked away in the Sierra del Rosario Mountains

    • Hotel La Moka, Las Terrazas
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 9
    Day 9

    OPTION TO TRY ZIP-LINING THEN TRAVEL TO VIÑALES

    Wake up in Las Terrazas Community, and after breakfast, there will be time to have a go at zip-lining through the forest canopy. An…

    • Casa particular, Viñales
    • Breakfast
  • Day 10
    Day 10

    EXPLORE THE FAMOUS TOBACCO GROWING REGION

    Today we explore Viñales Valley on foot, another of Cuba’s UNESCO World Heritage sites located in the Western province of Pinar del Rio

    • Casa particular, Viñales
    • Breakfast
  • Day 11
    Day 11

    CUEVA DEL INDIO, THEN BOAT TO CAYO LEVISA

    After breakfast check out of your casa and head for Cueva del Indio, a natural cave with an underground river. Explore the cave and…

    • Hotel Cayo Levisa
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 12
    Day 12

    FULL DAY IN CAYO LEVISA

    Free day to relax on the beach.

    • Hotel Cayo Levisa
    • Breakfast, Lunch , Dinner
  • Day 13
    Day 13

    ANOTHER FULL DAY IN CAYO LEVISA

    Free day to relax on the beach.

    • Hotel Cayo Levisa
    • Breakfast, Lunch , Dinner
  • Day 14
    Day 14

    RETURN TO HAVANA

    This morning the boat will take you to back to Palma Rubia from where you return to Havana for your last night in the capital.

    • Casa particular, Havana
    • Breakfast
  • Day 15
    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 souvenir shopping.

    • Breakfast
  • ?
    FAQ
    Ask us

    FAQ

  • Day 1

    Day 1: ARRIVAL IN HAVANA

  • Day 2

    Day 2: GUIDED TOUR OF OLD AND NEW HAVANA

  • Day 3

    Day 3: FREE DAY IN HAVANA

  • Day 4

    Day 4: SWIMMING AT CALETA BUENA EN ROUTE TO CIENFUEGOS

  • Day 5

    Day 5: VISIT EL NICHO WATERFALL, THEN TO TRINIDAD

  • Day 6

    Day 6: OPTIONAL SWIMMING, TREKKING OR HORSE-RIDING

  • Day 7

    Day 7: WALK IN ESCAMBRAY MOUNTAINS

  • Day 8

    Day 8: SWIM IN THE SAN JUAN RIVER IN LAS TERRAZAS

  • Day 9

    Day 9: OPTION TO TRY ZIP-LINING THEN TRAVEL TO VIÑALES

  • Day 10

    Day 10: EXPLORE THE FAMOUS TOBACCO GROWING REGION

  • Day 11

    Day 11: CUEVA DEL INDIO, THEN BOAT TO CAYO LEVISA

  • Day 12

    Day 12: FULL DAY IN CAYO LEVISA

  • Day 13

    Day 13: ANOTHER FULL DAY IN CAYO LEVISA

  • Day 14

    Day 14: RETURN TO HAVANA

  • Day 15

    Day 15: FINAL MORNING IN HAVANA AND DEPARTURE DAY

Ask us

FAQ

What is included?

  • Transfers from airport upon arrival and departure
  • Transfer of luggage throughout but not hotel porterage
  • Accommodation:   5 nights in hotels, 9 nights in casas particulares on B&B basis
  • Meals:  all breakfasts, 8 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Classic American car tour; entrance to Rum Museum; El Nicho; Topes de Collante National Park; Che Guevara Mausoleum; Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve; Cueva del Indio; maritime transfers to Cayo Levisa.
  • Staff:  English-speaking Cuban guide throughout. Driver.
  • Transport: all bus transfers in private air-conditioned vehicle

What is not included?

  • Flights to and from Cuba
  • Travel / medical Insurance (compulsory to provide proof of cover for entry into Cuba)
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, phone calls etc)
  • Vaccinations
  • Visas (Tourist Cards)
  • Tips for guide, driver and local staff.  We recommend that each participant contributes a minimum of CUC 40 – CUC 50 to be shared between the local staff.

Is this tour right for me?

  • Group Size 4 – 18 people of mixed nationalities?.
  • The tour offers a balance between fun and varied activities for people of all ages whilst seeing the cultural, historical and natural highlights of Central and Western Cuba.  There is also free time built into the itinerary for you to relax or continue exploring as a family. 
  • If travelling with older children and teenagers, please be aware that accessing the internet will be extremely difficult.
  • Hot and humid conditions during summer months. 

Essential packing list

  • Small day pack
  • Swimming things and beach towel (consider UVA tops for the children on the beach)
  • Light walking boots/ trainers for walking
  • Light trousers/shorts
  • Lightweight cotton / linen clothes suitable for tropical climates. A jacket or fleece for the cooler evenings from November to March. Avoid bringing expensive or flashy jewellery.
  • Sunglasses and cap or sunhat (wide-brimmed hats are best)
  • High factor sun cream (SPF 50+), lip salve and mosquito repellent
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Small personal first-aid kit and some tropical strength insect repellent and antihistamines in case of insect bites
  • Camera
  • A sense of humour and patience are useful in Cuba!

Optional items

  • Snacks that your children enjoy (for example cereal or fruit bars)
  • Card games for the evening?
  • Torch
  • Binoculars

Throughout the tour we stay in a range of accommodation typical to any trip to Cuba, with a mixture of hotels and private accommodation (casas particulares). It’s fair to say that the standard of Cuban accommodation is not always comparable to that which you would expect in other countries owing to years of isolation, under-investment in the country’s infrastructure and effect of the US trade Embargo. Anyone travelling to the island should be prepared to rough it a bit at times! Décor tends to be a little dated, there might be the occasional power cut, and you may find that your water pressure isn’t all it could be. Fortunately, it’s warm enough most days that the lack of hot water is not a major problem!

Most of the hotels we use are 3 star with ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning. Depending on the location they are relatively modern International style hotels (Las Terrazas and the beach hotel at Cayo Levisa) whereas the hotel in Santa Clara is inspired by Cuban indigenous culture.

In Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Viñales we use casas particulares – Cuban homestays. Most people love the opportunity this gives to stay in a relatively normal Cuban home and see how Cubans live. These homes are simple compared to ours but the welcome is warm and rooms clean. All the casas also have air conditioning an en suite bathrooms. You’ll be spoilt at breakfast in the mornings.

Cuba doesn’t have the same variety of international cuisine we might be used to although in recent years lots of privately run restaurants (“paladars”) have opened (particularly in Havana) offering a wider choice and better quality food than the government run establishments.  Think soul food – rice, black beans, slow roast pork and chicken, fresh fish, lobster and plenty of tropical fruit.   

For those with special dietary requirements, be prepared for a very limited menu while you are in Cuba. There are very few vegetarians and vegans in Cuba so there are sometimes misperceptions as to what you can eat. Vegetarians often bring snacks and spreads to liven up their meals.

It can also be difficult to find a decent sandwich in Cuba so please don’t give your guide a hard time if he recommends a proper sit-down meal for lunch! Cubans generally eat two full meals a day and don’t have many places that cater for snack lunches yet, so the sandwiches tend to be pretty basic. Snacks such as biscuits and crisps are also less varied (and often more basic) than those at home. Whilst there is plenty of fresh fruit, you may want to bring a few snacks that your children particularly enjoy. Beware of ones containing chocolate as it will melt!

Cuba is the land of the Mojito, Daiquiri and Cuba Libre. You’ll find that plenty of rum-based drinks all over the country with prices ranging from 2-6 CUC for most cocktails. But beware, they don’t use measuring glasses, so they might be stronger than the ones you have tried at home!

All our guides at Cubania are Cuban nationals who are registered with and trained by Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism. They come from all kinds of different personal and professional backgrounds. They’ve been teachers, I.T. professionals, bakers, vets, army officers and even underwear salesmen! What they have in common is that they are all highly educated graduates who are passionate about guiding and proud of their beautiful country. They all speak excellent English and receive annual training in first aid.

In line with our Responsible Tourism policy we employ local guides in the Topes de Collante to show us the way as most of the trails in Cuba are unmarked. They have a wealth of knowledge about the local fauna and flora and can share insights into rural life.

Day 1: ARRIVAL IN HAVANA

  • Casa Particular, Havana

Welcome to Cuba! 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 have dinner in town a short walking distance away

Day 2: GUIDED TOUR OF OLD AND NEW HAVANA

  • Casa Particular, Havana
  • Breakfast, Lunch

After 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 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 Museum 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.

Day 3: FREE DAY IN HAVANA

  • Casa particular, Havana
  • Breakfast

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.

Day 4: SWIMMING AT CALETA BUENA EN ROUTE TO CIENFUEGOS

  • Casa particular, Cienfuegos
  • Breakfast, Lunch

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 swim at Caleta Buena along the way. Our route takes us through the Cienaga de Zapata National Park and the Bay of Pigs which was made famous by the failed CIA backed invasion in 1961. The road along the Bay to Caleta Buena clings to the rocky coastline giving beautiful views of the emerald Caribbean Sea. After lunch and a swim in natural sea pools we continue on to Cienfuegos, 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 French inspired architecture. The city centre has some fine examples of colonial buildings set around a pretty square. We check into our accommodation for the night. You can have dinner at one of the local restaurants in town.

Day 5: VISIT EL NICHO WATERFALL, THEN TO TRINIDAD

  • Casa particular, Trinidad
  • Breakfast, Lunch

We leave Cienfuegos and head up into the Sierra del Escambray, Cuba’s second highest mountain range. We drive up the winding road into to the lush tropical forest, taking in the spectacular views. Our destination is El Nicho, a beautiful waterfall on the Rio Hanabanilla which is reached by a short trail. There are natural pools in which to take a refreshing swim. After a picnic lunch we continue to Trinidad, one of the most famous of Cuba’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Possibly the best preserved of colonial towns it offers stunning views from virtually every angle with its rows of pastel coloured houses, cobbled streets and pretty squares. Old cadillacs and horse-drawn carriages leave you feeling like you really have been whisked back to place where time has stood still. Playa Ancon, an 8 km white sandy beach is only a short 15-minute drive from the town centre and in the evenings the place 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 take a tour of Trinidad town.

Day 6: OPTIONAL SWIMMING, TREKKING OR HORSE-RIDING

  • Casa particular, Trinidad
  • Breakfast

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.

Day 7: WALK IN ESCAMBRAY MOUNTAINS

  • Hotel los Caneyes, Santa Clara
  • Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast in Trinidad, we depart for the Escambray Mountains, a steep drive to Topes de Collantes about one hour from Trinidad. On arrival, we switch into a local vehicle to go to the start the Guanayara trail which takes us deep into the forest, passing fruit and coffee plantations. We have lots of opportunities to spot Cuba’s colourful national bird – the Tocororo – with its black, red, white and blue plumage. Half way through the trail we come to El Rocio waterfall and a gorgeous natural pool where you can have a swim. We stop for lunch in a simple country restaurant, and then continue our journey to Santa Clara, about 2 hours away by bus. Santa Clara was the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution. In December 1958, Che Guevara and his troops ambushed an armoured train carrying arms to Santiago de Cuba and this was a major turning point in the Revolution. We visit the Mausoleum of Che Guevara and the museum that has many of his former belongings and is a fascinating insight into one of the 20th Century’s most revered icons.

Day 8: SWIM IN THE SAN JUAN RIVER IN LAS TERRAZAS

  • Hotel La Moka, Las Terrazas
  • Breakfast, Lunch

After an early breakfast we head off to Las Terrazas Community, a biosphere reserve tucked away in the Sierra del Rosario Mountains, arriving in time for a late lunch. 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 deforestation, 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 the crystal-clear waters of the San Juan River.

Day 9: OPTION TO TRY ZIP-LINING THEN TRAVEL TO VIÑALES

  • Casa particular, Viñales
  • Breakfast

Wake up in Las Terrazas Community, and after breakfast, there will be time to have a go at zip-lining through the forest canopy. An 1500m course with 5 wires takes you right across the Las Terrazas community and lake and is great fun for all, kids and parents alike. Afterwards, 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.

Day 10: EXPLORE THE FAMOUS TOBACCO GROWING REGION

  • Casa particular, Viñales
  • Breakfast

Today we explore Viñales Valley on foot, another of Cuba’s UNESCO World Heritage sites located in the Western province of Pinar del Rio. This area is to cigars what 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 another-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. Our walk takes us to a local fruit farm where you can try natural juices before scrambling up the mountainside to reach a natural tunnel which takes us through to another valley. The scenery is Jurassic and dramatic. In the afternoon you can explore Viñales town or get a day pass to enjoy the swimming pool at La Ermita Hotel. In the evening enjoy live music in one of the bars along Viñales main street.

Day 11: CUEVA DEL INDIO, THEN BOAT TO CAYO LEVISA

  • Hotel Cayo Levisa
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast check out of your casa and head for Cueva del Indio, a natural cave with an underground river. Explore the cave and take an underground boat ride! We leave Viñales for Palma Rubia where a boat will take you to Cayo Levisa, arriving in time for lunch. Cayo Levisa is a beach paradise with 3 km 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.

Day 12: FULL DAY IN CAYO LEVISA

  • Hotel Cayo Levisa
  • Breakfast, Lunch , Dinner

Free day to relax on the beach.

Day 13: ANOTHER FULL DAY IN CAYO LEVISA

  • Hotel Cayo Levisa
  • Breakfast, Lunch , Dinner

Free day to relax on the beach.

Day 14: RETURN TO HAVANA

  • Casa particular, Havana
  • Breakfast

This morning the boat will take you to back to Palma Rubia from where you return 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.

Day 15: FINAL MORNING IN HAVANA AND DEPARTURE DAY

  • Breakfast

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

What's included?

Accommodation

5 nights in hotels, 9 nights in casas particulares

Meals

All Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 3 Dinners

Staff

English-Speaking Cuban tour guide, bus driver, Cubania office 24 hour contact

What's not included: Flights, travel insurance, vaccinations, visas, gratuities

What to bring

1. Sun protection

high strength sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat/cap

2. Light Clothing

Light trousers/shorts for activities

3. Shoes

Trainers or comfortable shoes to walk in

4. Swimming things

and beach towel

You should bring light cotton and linen clothing suitable for tropical climates. For the evenings bring lightweight clothes, some mosquito repellent and a jacket or fleece (November – March). Cubans dress casually but are always impeccably turned out. Avoid bringing expensive or flashy jewellery.

Is this tour for me?

Travel style: Family holiday

Family holiday offering a variety of activities for all ages whilst exploring the best of Cuban colonial and revolutionary history, culture and natural beauty.

Difficulty Level: Leisurely

Suitable for the whole family.

Group style: Small

4 - 18 people, mixed nationalities.

Notes:

Hot and humid conditions during summer months. If travelling with older children and teenagers, please be aware that accessing the internet will be extremely difficult. Option to stay in a hotel with pool in Havana – please get in touch for a quote.

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