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Western Cuba Trek

Active

Western Cuba Trek

  • Duration 8 days
  • Activity level Challenging
  • Includedaccomodation meals staff

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

From £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
    • Casa particular, Viñales
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 3
    Day 3

    Trek through the tobacco growing fields of rural Viñales

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

    • 20 km
    • Casa particular, Viñales
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 4
    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 799m above sea…

    • 16 km
    • Eco-lodge, Mil Cumbres
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 5
    Day 5

    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-lodge, Mil Cumbres
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 6
    Day 6

    Relaxed 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…

    • Casa particular, Soroa
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 7
    Day 7

    Trek 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…

    • 12 km
    • Casa particular, Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 8
    Day 8

    Walking tour in Havana, End

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

    • City Tour
    • Breakfast
  • ?
    FAQ
    Ask us

    FAQ

  • Day 1

    Day 1: Arrival in Havana

  • Day 2

    Day 2: Las Terrazas biosphere reserve

  • Day 3

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

  • Day 4

    Day 4: Trek through the Mil Cumbres eco-reserve

  • Day 5

    Day 5: Challenging trek to the top of Western Cuba’s highest peak

  • Day 6

    Day 6: Relaxed day on the stunning beaches of Cayo Levisa

  • Day 7

    Day 7: Trek in the Sierra del Rosario biosphere reserve

  • Day 8

    Day 8: Walking tour in Havana, End

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 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. 

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
  • Casa particular, Viñales
  • Breakfast, lunch

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 continue to the Viñales Valley. 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. On arrival we have an introduction to Cuba’s most famous export – cigars. Visiting a tobacco farmer we will learn that Viñales Valley’s microclimate is perfect for the production of high quality tobacco. After our stroll through tobacco fields we check into our accommodation for the night and have free time to explore the charming village of Viñales in the evening.

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

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

Today we have our first long trek on a 20 km 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 4: Trek through the Mil Cumbres eco-reserve

  • 16 km
  • Eco-lodge, 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 5: Challenging trek to the top of Western Cuba’s highest peak

  • 20 km
  • Eco-lodge, 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 6: Relaxed day on the stunning beaches of Cayo Levisa

  • Casa particular, Soroa
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

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 into our accommodation for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Trek in the Sierra del Rosario biosphere reserve

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

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 12 km 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).

Day 8: Walking tour in Havana, End

  • City Tour
  • Breakfast

This morning 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. After this morning’s tour it’s time to part ways and say Adios, or, as we prefer to say hasta luego, see you later! Afternoon transfer (30–40 minutes approx.) to Havana airport.

What's included?

Accommodation

5 nights in casas particulares, 2 nights in eco-lodge

Meals

All Breakfasts, 6 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. 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).

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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