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Western And Central Cuba Trek

Active

Western And Central Cuba Trek

  • Duration 15 days
  • Activity level Challenging
  • Includedaccomodation meals staff

Two weeks of medium to high intensity trekking through the spectacular natural landscapes and cultural highlights of Western and Central Cuba

From £1,899.00 / per person
  • Day 1
    Day 1

    Arrival in Havana

    Welcome to Cuba! A Cubania representative will meet you upon arrival at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation in the heart…

    • Casa Particular, Havana
  • Day 2
    Day 2

    Las Terrazas biosphere reserve

    After an early breakfast we transfer to Las Terrazas, a biosphere reserve tucked away in the Sierra del Rosario Mountains about an hour’s…

    • 5 km
    • Hotel La Moka or Casas particulares in Soroa
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 3
    Day 3

    Trek through fields of rural Viñales

    After breakfast we set off for Viñales further west in the Pinar del Rio province. Viñales is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and…

    • 12 km
    • Casa particular, Viñales
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 4
    Day 4

    Medium intensity long trek around Viñales valley

    Today we have our first long trek on a 20km trail through the Ancon Valley. Taking a packed lunch, we will walk through…

    • 20 km
    • Casa particular, Viñales
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 5
    Day 5

    Medium intensity trek around 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 799m above sea…

    • 16 km
    • Eco-lodgings at Mil Cumbres
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 6
    Day 6

    Challenging trek to the top of Western Cuba’s highest peak

    Today we trek to the top of Pan de Guajaibon, the highest peak on the Western side of the island. The trek is…

    • 20 km
    • Eco-lodgings at Mil Cumbres
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 7
    Day 7

    Transfer to Cienfuegos

    Today is a travel day and we cover around 400 km to reach Cienfuegos, a city set on Cuba’s largest natural bay on…

    • Casa particular, Cienfuegos
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 8
    Day 8

    Medium intensity trekking through the Escambray Mountains

    A short transfer from Cienfuegos takes us to the Escambray mountains, Cuba’s central mountain range that dominates the landscape.  We leave our…

    • 12 km
    • Hotel Hanabanilla, Hanabanilla
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 9
    Day 9

    Easy trekking through Topes de Collante Natural Park

    Today we leave the hotel by boat and cross Lake Hanabanilla to the Cortina de Jibacoa. From here we trek for an easy…

    • 16 km
    • Hotel Los Helechos
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 10
    Day 10

    Medium intensity trekking along the Codina Trail in Topes de Collante

    This morning we set off from our hotel on foot heading first for la Casa del Café where we enjoy a cup of local…

    • 10 km
    • Hotel Los Helechos
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 11
    Day 11

    Trail through Topes de Collante down to Trinidad

    A transfer this morning takes us to the beginning of our trail at the look-out point where we stop for pictures of the…

    • 13 km
    • Casas particular, Trinidad
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 12
    Day 12

    Free day to explore Trinidad

    Today is a free day to enjoy a number of activities at your leisure, for example horse riding, salsa classes, or a trip…

    • Casas particular, Trinidad
    • Breakfast
  • Day 13
    Day 13

    Visit the Che Memorial mausoleum and return to Havana

    After breakfast we depart on our journey back to Havana, making a stop in Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and…

    • Casas particular, Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 14
    Day 14

    Walking tour of Old Havana

    After breakfast your guide will take you on a walking tour of Old Havana which is the finest surviving Spanish colonial city in…

    • City tour
    • Casa particular, Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 15
    Day 15

    End of Trip

    The morning is free for last minute sight seeing or shopping. Check out of your accommodation at midday. So it’s Adios, or, as…

    • Breakfast
  • Day 1

    Day 1: Arrival in Havana

  • Day 2

    Day 2: Las Terrazas biosphere reserve

  • Day 3

    Day 3: Trek through fields of rural Viñales

  • Day 4

    Day 4: Medium intensity long trek around Viñales valley

  • Day 5

    Day 5: Medium intensity trek around the Mil Cumbres eco-reserve

  • Day 6

    Day 6: Challenging trek to the top of Western Cuba’s highest peak

  • Day 7

    Day 7: Transfer to Cienfuegos

  • Day 8

    Day 8: Medium intensity trekking through the Escambray Mountains

  • Day 9

    Day 9: Easy trekking through Topes de Collante Natural Park

  • Day 10

    Day 10: Medium intensity trekking along the Codina Trail in Topes de Collante

  • Day 11

    Day 11: Trail through Topes de Collante down to Trinidad

  • Day 12

    Day 12: Free day to explore Trinidad

  • Day 13

    Day 13: Visit the Che Memorial mausoleum and return to Havana

  • Day 14

    Day 14: Walking tour of Old Havana

  • Day 15

    Day 15: End of Trip

Day 1: Arrival in Havana

  • Casa Particular, Havana

Welcome to Cuba! A Cubania representative will meet you upon arrival at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation in the heart of Havana. The largest island in the Caribbean, Hemingway’s much-loved abode and one of the last planned economies in the world. You’re soon to discover that Cuba is all that and much, much more, but first relax and enjoy your first night in enchanting Havana.

Day 2: Las Terrazas biosphere reserve

  • 5 km
  • Hotel La Moka or Casas particulares in Soroa
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After an early breakfast we transfer to Las Terrazas, a biosphere reserve tucked away in the Sierra del Rosario Mountains about an hour’s drive from Havana.  Covering an area of around 5,000 hectares, it was created after the Revolution to replant an area which had suffered badly from deforestation.  It is now a haven for endemic and migrating birds from the North.  We start off today with a 5 km warm-up trek along the ‘La Serafina Trail’. After lunch at one of the reserve restaurants we have time to explore the community and there is the option to try Cuba’s first zipline (optional) which soars over the biosphere.  We continue to our accommodation for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Trek through fields of rural Viñales

  • 12 km
  • Casa particular, Viñales
  • Breakfast, lunch

After breakfast we set off for Viñales further west in the Pinar del Rio province. Viñales is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rightly so, thanks to the dramatic natural scenery of mogote hills that rise up sharply from the valley floor. This area of Pinar del Rio is the most important tobacco growing region in Cuba.  It’s here that the tobacco plants are harvested carefully using traditional methods to create the world-class cigars for which Cuba is so famous. When we arrive in Viñales we set off on the “Coco Solo – Palmarito” trail which takes us on an introductory trek along the valley floor past tobacco and fruit farms.  The trail ends at a traditional Cuban restaurant near the Mural de la Prehistoria where we have lunch. We then return to Viñales to check into our accommodation leaving the rest of the afternoon free to relax or explore the little town centre. Tonight dinner isn’t included so you can you choose whether to eat at your casa or at a local paladar in town.

Day 4: Medium intensity long trek around Viñales valley

  • 20 km
  • Casa particular, Viñales
  • Breakfast, lunch

Today we have our first long trek on a 20km trail through the Ancon Valley. Taking a packed lunch, we will walk through fields of tobacco and tropical fruits and make a stop at one of the tobacco farms to learn about Cuba’s long tradition in producing fine cigars.  We will be shown the process from seed to cigar and there will be the opportunity to watch one being rolled. This is rural Cuba at its best. Dinner isn’t included this evening so you can decide whether you want to eat at your casa or in town.

Day 5: Medium intensity trek around the Mil Cumbres eco-reserve

  • 16 km
  • Eco-lodgings at Mil Cumbres
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast we transfer to ‘Mil Cumbres’, an eco-reserve in Western Cuba protecting the area’s highest mountains which rise to 799m above sea level. The main field station is a charming old timber coffee–planter’s house which has been converted into dormitory-style accommodation for eco-tourists. On arrival we meet our guide, collect a packed lunch and set off on the 16 km ‘Camino de Caimito’, a trek from Costanera Cajaibana to San Marco.  Upon our return to the eco-lodge we will be given an explanation of the history of the “Mil Cumbres’’ eco-reserve before dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Challenging trek to the top of Western Cuba’s highest peak

  • 20 km
  • Eco-lodgings at Mil Cumbres
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Today we trek to the top of Pan de Guajaibon, the highest peak on the Western side of the island. The trek is around 20 km long (we will take a packed lunch) and takes about 4-5 hours so requires high fitness levels. There is the option of a shorter trek to and from the base of the ascent with another guide.   For those who reach the summit, there are spectacular views of the northern coastline. Return to Mil Cumbres for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Transfer to Cienfuegos

  • Casa particular, Cienfuegos
  • Breakfast, lunch

Today is a travel day and we cover around 400 km to reach Cienfuegos, a city set on Cuba’s largest natural bay on the southern coast.  Leaving in the early morning we descend onto the valley floor and pick up Cuba’s only highway which takes us most of the way to our destination.  The city of Cienfuegos is known amongst Cubans as ‘The Pearl of the South’ and its colonial centre was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. Cienfuegos is the only city in the country founded by French migrants fleeing the slave revolution in Haiti in the early 19th century.  On arrival we will have an orientation tour round the colonial centre with its elegant main square, Plaza Martí and beautiful colonnaded main street.  Check into your casa before going out to a local paladar for dinner.

Day 8: Medium intensity trekking through the Escambray Mountains

  • 12 km
  • Hotel Hanabanilla, Hanabanilla
  • Breakfast, lunch

A short transfer from Cienfuegos takes us to the Escambray mountains, Cuba’s central mountain range that dominates the landscape.  We leave our bags at the Hotel Hanabanilla, collect a packed lunch and head for the ‘La Atalaya’ trail.  This trail takes us along the banks of the Lake Hanabanilla through the Escambray Mountains with a steep climb to the top of La Atalaya hill where you’ll have amazing views of the surrounding countryside. The trail ends on the banks of Lake Hanabanilla, where a boat will pick us up and take us for refreshments at the Rio Negro Café. At Rio Negro there’s an opportunity to climb to another mirador (lookout point) for those who still have the energy! We return to Hotel Hanabanilla for dinner and overnight. Dinner isn’t included this evening so you’re free to eat out locally or at the hotel.

Day 9: Easy trekking through Topes de Collante Natural Park

  • 16 km
  • Hotel Los Helechos
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Today we leave the hotel by boat and cross Lake Hanabanilla to the Cortina de Jibacoa. From here we trek for an easy 13 km on jeep tracks along a finger of the lake and upstream above the Rio Guanayara, stopping halfway at Tito’s Farm for a water break. The route today is low-medium intensity on a good surface. It’s also very pretty, skirting between forested hillside and the lake. We arrive at Casa de la Gallega for lunch and some time to relax. We then continue upstream on a 3 km trek to the beautiful El Rocio waterfall where there is a natural swimming pool close-by for you to enjoy a refreshing dip and enjoy the views.  From here we continue across a coffee plantation to reach the local transport which takes us to our accommodation for dinner and overnight.

Day 10: Medium intensity trekking along the Codina Trail in Topes de Collante

  • 10 km
  • Hotel Los Helechos
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning we set off from our hotel on foot heading first for la Casa del Café where we enjoy a cup of local coffee and hear about its history and production in Cuba. We then continue our trek through the Topes Arboretum, a wooded area planted in the 1930s with over 300 varieties of trees. We keep moving until we reach La Batata, a point where the river pushes through a crack in the limestone; here there’s time for a swim before continuing on to Codina for a traditional Cuban lunch of roast pork. After lunch we take the “Alfombra Magica” trail, a trek of approximately 1 hour at a height of 1100 metres, taking in a visit to an orchid plantation and exploring a cave to see the rich natural fauna where we complete the walk at the arboretum. There’s time to enjoy a swim before returning to the hotel to change and go out for dinner at a local paladar.

Day 11: Trail through Topes de Collante down to Trinidad

  • 13 km
  • Casas particular, Trinidad
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

A transfer this morning takes us to the beginning of our trail at the look-out point where we stop for pictures of the spectacular views across the mountains and down to the Caribbean Sea. From here we cross the road and take the jungle trails towards Trinidad cutting through the gorgeous tropical forest. After a 6 km descent we have an opportunity for a refreshing swim in a natural pool before trekking the last 2-3 km to the El Cubano restaurant for a drink. We then continue by transfer to Trinidad for lunch and an afternoon sightseeing tour of the town before checking into our accommodation.

Trinidad is probably Cuba’s most famous provincial town and rightly so. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988 and is perhaps the best-preserved colonial town on the island. Exploring Trinidad is like stepping back in time; the pastel coloured houses, cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisk you back to colonial times.  There are a number of interesting museums housed in old colonial buildings to visit during the day, but it is as the sun sets that Trinidad really comes alive with music and dance. It’s a great opportunity to meet the locals and have a go at practising your salsa moves to those catchy Cuban salsa rhythms. Dinner will be at one of the local paladars in town.

Day 12: Free day to explore Trinidad

  • Casas particular, Trinidad
  • Breakfast

Today is a free day to enjoy a number of activities at your leisure, for example horse riding, salsa classes, or a trip on a catamaran out to one of the keys offshore. Trinidad’s small scale makes it easy to explore independently and the many cafes, museums and shops are perfect for browsing and whiling away an afternoon. Ancon beach, a classic Caribbean beach is well worth visiting and easy to reach by taxi. Lunch and dinner today aren’t included but there are plenty of choices to choose from in town or you can eat at your casa.

Day 13: Visit the Che Memorial mausoleum and return to Havana

  • Casas particular, Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch

After breakfast we depart on our journey back to Havana, making a stop in Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and museum. The city of Santa Clara played an important role in the history of Cuba, for it was here that Che Guevara waged the final battle that toppled the Batista government and led to the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.  After lunch we transfer back to Havana and check into our accommodation.  Your guide will give you an orientation tour of the area so that you can then visit independently one of the many bars for cocktails and exciting paladar options for dinner.

Day 14: Walking tour of Old Havana

  • City tour
  • Casa particular, Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast your guide will take you on a walking tour of Old Havana which is the finest surviving Spanish colonial city in the Americas. Since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site millions of dollars have been invested in its restoration. The many marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces of the city’s historical centre are brought to life by a constant hustle and bustle and the unmistakable sound of Cuban son. We will stop for lunch at El Café after which you will have time to continue exploring the city independently. In the early evening we will meet for the quintessential Cuban experience:  a 2-hour tour of the city in a 1950s classic American car. We will then have a daiquiri in El Floridita, one of Ernest Hemingway’s old haunts before walking down to Cathedral Square for our final dinner at Doña Eutimia’s paladar.

Day 15: End of Trip

  • Breakfast

The morning is free for last minute sight seeing or shopping. Check out of your accommodation at midday. So it’s Adios, or, as we prefer to say hasta luego, see you later! Afternoon transfer (30–40 minutes approx.) to Havana airport. Have a safe onward journey and we very much hope to see you in Cuba again soon.

What's included?

Accommodation

6 nights in hotels, 8 nights in casas particulares

Meals

All Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 7 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. Waterproof walking boots

and Leki sticks if required

2. Water bottle

or Camelbak

3. Sun protection

high strength sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat/cap

4. Light Clothing

Light trousers/shorts for trekking

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. Cubans dress casually but are always impeccably turned out. Avoid bringing expensive or flashy jewellery.

Is this tour for me?

Travel style: Trekking

Discover Cuba’s spectacular nature while immersing yourself in local culture.

Difficulty Level: Medium/high intensity

At least 4 hours walking on most days. You should be used to exercising, have a good level of fitness and enjoy being active.

Group style: Small

4 - 18 people, mixed nationalities. Minimum age 16 years (accompanied by an adult).

Notes:

The trekking is on dirt roads or single-track paths, some are rocky and slippery when wet. The use of two walking poles will distribute shock to the upper body and reduce damage to the knees when on the stepped paths. Some of the paths are exposed but others are shaded by jungle vegetation and trees. Hot and humid conditions during summer months.

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