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Western Cuba Trek

Active

Western Cuba Trek

  • Duration 8 days
  • Activity level Challenging
  • Carbon emissions 12.9kg CO2e per day
  • Included accomodation meals staff

An 8 day medium to high intensity trekking holiday through Western Cuba’s stunning tobacco growing region and protected national parks

GO PRIVATE
From £1,168.00/pp

Explore

Western Cuba’s Jurassic landscapes

Trek

Through the stunning tobacco fields of Viñales

Havana

Visit Cuba’s vibrant and beautiful capital with a local guide

Nature

Visit stunning Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve and eco-community

What's included?

Accommodation

1 night in hotels, 6 nights in casas particulares

Meals

All breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners

Staff

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

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

    Western Cuba Trek

    Essential Information

  • Day 1

    General

  • Day 2

    Activity

  • Day 3

    Accommodation

  • Day 4

    Food and Drink

  • Day 5

    Guides

What is included?

  • Transfers from airport upon arrival and departure
  • Transfer of luggage throughout but not hotel porterage
  • Accommodation: 5 nights in casas particulares and 2 nights in Eco-lodge
  • Meals:  all breakfasts, 6 lunches and 3 dinners.  Lunches will be in restaurants or picnics depending on the day
  • Entrances to Mil Cumbres National Park and Las Terrazas Biosphere, ferry crossings to Cayo Levisa.
  • Staff:  English-speaking Cuban active guide throughout, trek guides (with specialist knowledge of terrain, and local flora and fauna), driver. 
  • Transport: all bus transfers in private air-conditioned bus
  • Support: 100% vehicle support during rides
  • Mineral water included on trekking days

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 25 – CUC 30 to be shared between the local staff.

Is this tour right for me?

  • Group Size 4 – 18 people of mixed nationalities and cycling ability. Minimum age 16 years (accompanied by an adult).
  • The trekking is on dirt roads or single-track paths, some are rocky and slippery when wet. Some of the paths are exposed but others are shaded by jungle vegetation and trees.  Hot and humid conditions during summer months. 
  • On most days you will be walking for a minimum of three hours.  Participants should be used to exercising, have a good level of fitness and enjoy being active.

Trekking

  • 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. 
  • No. of days trekking: 5 (+ Havana city walking tour)
  • Total Distance:  approx. 70 km 
  • Moderate Pace

Essential packing list

  • Comfortable waterproof walking boots
  • Water bottle or Camelback
  • Light trousers/ shorts
  • Small rucksack (about 30 litres)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Sunglasses and cap or sunhat (wide-brimmed hats are best)
  • High factor sun cream (SPF 50+) lip salve and mosquito repellent
  • Lightweight cotton / linen clothes suitable for tropical climates, and full-length clothes and a jacket or fleece for the cooler evenings from November to March. Avoid bringing expensive or flashy jewellery.
  • Swimming gear
  • Towel
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Camera
  • Small personal first-aid kit and some antihistamines in case of insect bites
  • A sense of humour and patience are useful in Cuba!

Optional items

  • Walking sticks/Trekking poles (due to the slippery and uneven nature of some of the trails).
  • 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!

The Eco-lodge in in the Mil Cumbres National Park offers clean, simple dormitory style accommodation with shared bathrooms. In Havana, Viñales and Soroa 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. 

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.

All our guides receive annual Tour Leader training which focuses on enhancing the enjoyment of your stay.  Your guide will not simply give you the historical facts; he or she will also show you the best places to eat, share personal stories with you, teach you how to dance salsa and help you make the most of your time in Cuba.

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

Download essential trip notes Download essential trip notes
  • 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 breakfast, we’ll drive to Las Terrazas, a small community and biosphere reserve to the west of the city which is part of the ‘Sierra…

    • 6 km
    • Hotel La Moka or Casa Particular Soroa
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 3
    Day 3

    Transfer and trek in Viñales Valley

    After breakfast, early in the morning we’ll transfer in our bus to Viñales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the most…

    • 14 km
    • Casas particulares Viñales
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 4
    Day 4

    Trek in Viñales

    A short walk from our Casa brings us to the trailhead for today’s walk amid the horse trails and lagoons that characterize Viñales farms.   The…

    • 11 km
    • Casas particulares Viñales
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 5
    Day 5

    Trek Moncada Village to Los Acuaticos

    After breakfast we’ll drive a short distance to Moncada village where our trek will begin. We’ll pay a quick visit the local village school, learning about…

    • 15 km
    • Casas particulares Viñales
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 6
    Day 6

    Trek Rancho San Vicente – La Costera – Ancon

    Our final trek in Vinales takes us away from the village and into the wilderness.

    An early start and short transfer to Rancho San Vicente…

    • 15
    • Casas particulares Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 7
    Day 7

    City tour of Havana

    After breakfast in our casas Particulares, we’ll embark upon on an orientation tour of Havana in vintage American cars from the 1950’s (approx. 1 hour).…

    • Casa particulares Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 8
    Day 8

    Departure day

    After breakfast in your casa particular, you have free time to enjoy Havana before transfer to the airport. And so it’s Adios, or, as we…

    • City Tour
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 1

    Day 1: Arrival in Havana

  • Day 2

    Day 2: Las Terrazas biosphere reserve

  • Day 3

    Day 3: Transfer and trek in Viñales Valley

  • Day 4

    Day 4: Trek in Viñales

  • Day 5

    Day 5: Trek Moncada Village to Los Acuaticos

  • Day 6

    Day 6: Trek Rancho San Vicente – La Costera – Ancon

  • Day 7

    Day 7: City tour of Havana

  • Day 8

    Day 8: Departure day

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

  • 6 km
  • Hotel La Moka or Casa Particular Soroa
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast, we’ll drive to Las Terrazas, a small community and biosphere reserve to the west of the city which is part of the ‘Sierra del Rosario’. Here we’ll walk on a trail known as the ‘La Serafina’ trail.

The route skirts around the edge of Las Terrazas community, offering some excellent vantage points to understand the size and layout of the community. We walk in the Rio San Juan Valley, following the river for part of the route, and pass through a biodiverse habit containing pine forests, and land used for cultivation by local farmers. We see the ruins of ‘Santa Serafina Cafetal’ coffee plantation, the remnants of a bygone era when this region was an important coffee growing zone, before finishing our walk with a picnic lunch next to the San Juan River (opportunity to take a dip if you like!). The walk is leisurely with no difficult ascents or descents and a local guide gives us insight into the particulars of the region including the history of Las Terrazas community and the birdlife that is likely to be seen in the surrounding biosphere reserve.

After lunch and a visit to the community, 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. Zip lining is optional.

Day 3: Transfer and trek in Viñales Valley

  • 14 km
  • Casas particulares Viñales
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast, early in the morning we’ll transfer in our bus to Viñales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the most spectacular scenery on the island.

Today we’ll get a feel for the surrounding rural countryside of Viñales Valley, meeting local inhabitants and learning Cuba’s most famous export – tobacco.

On arrival in Viñales, we will start walking from La Ermita Hotel and follow a wide partially shaded trail through undulating terrain containing many species of trees. We stop at the Visitors’ Center then descend to the valley floor to meet a local farmer who will show us how tobacco is grown, harvested and ultimately made into exquisite cigars. The region of Pinar del Rio is known to have the most fertile land in Cuba and as such is the tobacco growing capital.

Today’s included lunch will be a packed-lunch picnic or restaurant.

We finish the trek in a local café close to Dos Hermanas “mogotes” and have a short transfer to our homestay accommodation, our home for the next three nights.

In the evening we enjoy dinner in our homestay.

Day 4: Trek in Viñales

  • 11 km
  • Casas particulares Viñales
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

A short walk from our Casa brings us to the trailhead for today’s walk amid the horse trails and lagoons that characterize Viñales farms.   The rich red earth and humid conditions are perfect for the cultivation of fruits, vegetables and tobacco.

We’ll visit local farms and learn how farmers live and work, try a coffee or cocktail, then learn more about rural life.

Today we will have lunch in a restaurant located on the edge of the town, known as Finca Paraiso, a self-sufficient organic farm which uses the produce from their fields in their kitchen.

After lunch we walk down the hill towards Viñales Village and explore this lovely rural town.

This evening we’ll stroll back into Viñales for dinner at a local paladar and maybe enjoy a cocktail and live music at one of the bars in town.

Day 5: Trek Moncada Village to Los Acuaticos

  • 15 km
  • Casas particulares Viñales
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast we’ll drive a short distance to Moncada village where our trek will begin. We’ll pay a quick visit the local village school, learning about the rural education system in Cuba and you may wish to gift stationery to the teachers.

Passing through farmland we’ll be rewarded with some stunning vistas before entering a covered forest and following a wide track to the base of the mountain. At a certain point we turn off the track and begin walking up as the trek takes on a very different feel.

The next kilometers take us along the only trail to the top of Los Acuáticos; there are sections where the path is very narrow and terrain steep.  Los Acuáticos are a community who believe in the healing powers of water and use water to cure many illnesses.

We’ll enjoy amazing views once we reach Los Acuáticos, the perfect place to rest and have our picnic lunch.

This afternoon’s walk is easier as we descend to the Mural de la Prehistoria, where we will see the work of Diego Rivera s pupil. A huge painting on a cliff representing the evolution in the area, but the must here is the unique Pina Colada.

Return home by foot for dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Trek Rancho San Vicente – La Costera – Ancon

  • 15
  • Casas particulares Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch

Our final trek in Vinales takes us away from the village and into the wilderness.

An early start and short transfer to Rancho San Vicente where we pick up our packed lunch and start walking.   The focus today is on walking around the Costanera Mogote.  Starting in Rancho San Vicente we walk towards Ancon community and then climb up and over the mogote through a natural called Cueva Ruiseñor (Nightingale’s Cave).

After a tough climb we descend the other side of the mogote and walk along the northern side until we reach La Costanera community where we stop for picnic lunch, board the bus and transfer back to Havana (approx. 3 hours) and check in to our accommodation.

Havana is full of bars and restaurants and this evening you are free to choose where you eat.

Day 7: City tour of Havana

  • Casa particulares Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch

After breakfast in our casas Particulares, we’ll embark upon on an orientation tour of Havana in vintage American cars from the 1950’s (approx. 1 hour). The tour will take us to ‘new’ Havana and we’ll visit the iconic Plaza de la Revolucion and the mysterious old trees of Bosque de Almendares.

Arrival in Old Havana, we leave the cars behind and enjoy a walking tour of Old Havana, focussing on the main plazas and surrounding streets. We’ll have lunch in a nearby ‘paladar’ restaurant in the Old Town and then the rest of the afternoon is at leisure for you to soak up the atmosphere or do some souvenir shopping.

In the early evening, put on your dancing shoes as we’ll be meeting up with some Cuban dancers for a 1 on 1 salsa dance class. Free time in the evening to choose how to spend the final night of the tour.

Day 8: Departure day

  • City Tour
  • Breakfast, lunch

After breakfast in your casa particular, you have free time to enjoy Havana before transfer to the airport. And so it’s Adios, or, as we prefer to say hasta luego, see you later! Afternoon transfer (30–40 minutes approx.) to Havana airport.

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

Difficulty Level: Challenging

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

Group style: Small

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

Go Private:

Create your own travel bubble by booking a private trip with friends or family. Private departures confirmed with two participants.

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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Western Cuba Trek • FREE TRIP NOTES

Western Cuba Trek • FREE TRIP NOTES

Get all the information about this tour including:

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