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The Best of Cuba

DURATION

12 days

ACCOMMODATION

Hotels & Guesthouses

Trip Difficulty
DIFFICULTY
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LOCATION

Caribbean, Cuba

MEETING POINT

Jose Marti International Airport

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Welcome to the “Best of Cuba” tour, an unforgettable journey through one of the most captivating countries in the world. This 12-day trip is designed to showcase the very best of Cuba, from its rich history and culture to its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife.

Starting in Havana, you’ll explore the city’s historic Old Town, with its colorful colonial architecture, vintage cars, and lively music scene. You’ll visit museums, galleries, and cultural centers, and meet local artists and musicians who will give you a firsthand look at Cuba’s unique culture.

From Havana you’ll journey to the charming town of Viñales, located in the heart of Cuba’s tobacco country. Here, you’ll tour local tobacco farms, learn about the traditional methods of cigar-making, and explore the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Next is the historic city of Trinidad, where you’ll step back in time to the colonial era. You’ll wander the cobblestone streets, visit museums and galleries, and dance the night away to live music in the town square.

Throughout the trip, you’ll stay in comfortable, locally-owned accommodations, and enjoy delicious Cuban cuisine, from classic dishes like ropa vieja and arroz con pollo to fresh seafood and tropical fruit. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty, Cuba is truly a destination like no other. Join us on the “Best of Cuba” tour, and experience the magic of this captivating country for yourself!

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What is 'The Best of Cuba' like?

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The Best of Cuba Itinerary

  • Day 1: ARRIVAL IN HAVANA

    ARRIVAL IN HAVANA Arrival at Jose Marti International airport. Your guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation in Havana for two nights. Spend the rest of the late afternoon and evening relaxing after your long flight, or stroll around the old town for a cocktail and something to eat.

  • Day 2: HAVANA

    HAVANA This morning, after breakfast, we’ll start with a bike-fitting session in the Miramar district of Havana. The Cubania guide will give a safety briefing. Departing Miramar district, we’ll embark on a fun and insightful exploration of Havana on two wheels. The ride will feature the following distinct parts of the capital; Playa, Rio Almendares, Plaza de la Revolución, Vedado, Centro Habana, La Habana Vieja, La Bahía de La Habana. The ride ends next to the Bay of Havana. After lunch, we continue by foot to discover Old Havana’s four beautifully renovated colonial plazas. Havana is a bustling capital full of wonderful sights and sounds. Its marvellous monuments, cathedrals, and palaces make it a city with one of the finest surviving Spanish colonial complexes in the Americas. This evening is free for you to get an early night or continue exploring Havana on your own.

  • Day 3 : HAVANA - VIÑALES

    HAVANA - VIÑALES Morning check out of our hotel and depart for Viñales in the West of Cuba. Approximate drive time of 2 ½ hours. On arrival, we meet a local guide who takes us on a light trek (Sendero Valle del Silencio) through this enchanting countryside, famous for its mogotes, or karsts, which were created in the Jurassic Period when the ceilings of a massive cave system fell, leaving behind steep walls which turned into these unique mountains. This is where the world’s finest tobacco is grown, and we walk through tobacco plantations and learn how it’s grown. Early evening we’ll enjoy an introductory salsa class with local teachers in a Cuban home. The evening is free for you to explore the charming village of Viñales which offers a good variety of bars, restaurants, and live music venues.

  • Day 4: VIÑALES

    VIÑALES Today we’ll get a feel for the surrounding rural countryside of Viñales Valley, learning about the lives of the local residents as well as Cuba’s crops and famous export – tobacco. A short 10 minute transfer from the town brings us to the start of the trail (Rancho San Vicente to Rio Doble Via). The day’s trek is mainly along the valley floor visiting farming communities and climbing “mogotes”. Today we will also have the opportunity to visit the "Santo Tomas" cave. Inside, the numerous stalactites and stalagmites, underground pools and other interesting rock formations, as well as a replica of an ancient Indian mural, stand out. In the early evening we’ll regroup and drive to the other side of the ‘Valle del Silencio’ and watch the sunset from ‘Finca de Wilfredo’ organic farm, overlooking the valley and dishing up hearty Cuban countryside cuisine.

  • Day 5: VIÑALES – MATANZAS

    VIÑALES – MATANZAS After an early breakfast, we check out of our casas and head for Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve tucked away in the Sierra del Rosario Mountains. Transfer time approximately 1 ½ hours. Las Terrazas community is a natural area of around 5,000 hectares which has been developed as a sustainable rural economy for eco-tourism. Created after the Revolution to replant the area which had suffered badly from over-foresting, it is now a haven for migrating birds from the North. We enjoy a nature walk around the Buenavista coffee plantations. It’s a great opportunity to see some of Cuba’s astonishingly varied birdlife. You’ll catch glimpses of the Tocororo (Cuban Trogon) which is Cuba’s national bird, resplendent in its red, white, blue, and black plumage. You will probably also see hummingbirds and woodpeckers. After lunch, we continue our journey with a 3-hour drive to Matanzas City. Dinner in a local paladar afterward with live music.  

  • Day 6: MATANZAS - SANTA CLARA

    MATANZAS - SANTA CLARA After breakfast, this morning we check out of our accommodation in the heart of Matanzas. Our destination is the Bellamar Caves where we have a visit before continuing our journey East. Lunch today is at an organic Farm and Pottery. Enjoy a delicious Cuban country lunch in rural surroundings. We then get back on the bus and continue to Santa Clara. Santa Clara was founded in 1689 by settlers who fled the coast fearing the ongoing pirate insurgencies, but the city is best known for the historic events that surround the great revolutionary Che Guevara. Che led the rebels in the battle of Santa Clara, a decisive victory over Batista's army that resulted in the triumph of the revolution.

  • Day 7: SANTA CLARA - TRINIDAD VIA TOPES DE COLLANTES

    SANTA CLARA - TRINIDAD VIA TOPES DE COLLANTES From Santa Clara we head to beautiful Topes de Collantes, a natural park in the mountains above Trinidad de Cuba dotted with magical waterfalls and cool pools. You might like to stop for a dip as we go for a walk (approx. 2 hours) on the “Guanayara” trail. After a light lunch at the hacienda "La Gallega" we head downhill to the charming town of Trinidad, a World Heritage Site and the jewel in Cuba’s patrimonial crown. Evening walking tour of Trinidad finishing in Esquina 373 with a cocktail making class and a delicious meal before heading out to explore Trinidad’s vibrant nightlife.

  • Day 8: TRINIDAD

    TRINIDAD This morning we travel to the nearby “Valle de los Ingenios” which was one of the greatest producers of sugar cane in the 18th and 19th Centuries. We will have time to visit the San Isidro, a former sugar cane farm and mill, at the heart of the Valle de los Ingenios and enjoy incredible birdseye views of the valley by ziplining across the Valle de los Ingenios. Returning to Trinidad we’ll visit local artisans in Manaca Iznaga. It's a small village which grew up around the former sugar plantation. We visit the plaza where can we see how the local women make textiles, particularly embroidery and lace. After that we’ll take a short transfer by bus to nearby Playa Ancon beach where we’ll enjoy a beach BBQ lunch and drinks, and have time to enjoy the beautiful Caribbean Beach. In the afternoon we head back to Trinidad for a walking tour of the centre city.

  • Day 9: TRINIDAD - PLAYA LARGA

    TRINIDAD - PLAYA LARGA After breakfast we take the bus to Cienfuegos, a beautiful coastal city located on one of Cuba’s finest natural bays. Today we explore Cienfuegos' beautiful bay – by kayak! After a safety briefing, we set off in the protected waters of the bay, stopping at fisherman’s islets for a rest (or for a swim). We finish the kayak tour close to the Jagua castle on the mouth of the bay, where we stop for lunch on dry land. After lunch we head directly towards the Zapata Swamp, or Bay of Pigs, site of the CIA-backed invasion of Cuba in April 1961. The area is a National Park and a protected area, an important breeding site for the Cuban Crocodile and a natural habitat for the World’s smallest bird – the bee hummingbird.

  • Day 10: PLAYA LARGA - HAVANA

    PLAYA LARGA - HAVANA We’ll take our bus for a short ride to Punta Perdiz for snorkelling and lunch. The Bay of Pigs is well known for its coral heads and marine life. Access to the sea is via a rocky promontory with ladders fixed for easier entry. Basic snorkelling equipment is included, but some may prefer to bring their own masks and snorkels. In the afternoon we head into Old Havana for our last two nights in Cuba.

  • Day 11: HAVANA

    HAVANA After breakfast, your guide will take you on a city tour of old Havana where we will visit the new Havana. We’ll meet local entrepreneurs "Clandestina", major players in graphic design and fashion in New Cuba. We will also visit Beyond Roots, an organisation that offers a fascinating insight into the Afro-Cuban cultural heritage, especially its religion, Santeria, which is practised by modern Cubans of all ethnicities. Cuba’s enormous colonial wealth was built on the enslavement of Africans, who worked the sugar cane fields and produced the “white gold” that made Cuba rich. In the evening we’ll regroup at the casa and embark on a tour of Havana by 1950’s US classic cars. The tour will feature the lush woodlands of ‘Parque Almendares’ as well as Revolution Square and Malecon coastal road before ending in the Old Town. We’ll have a special last dinner together at a local paladar. After dinner, we’ll go to the Hostal Boutique Malecon 663 where we will enjoy the last night with live music and some cocktails included

  • Day 12: DEPARTURE DAY

    DEPARTURE DAY This marks the end of our Cuban adventure.

  • Day 1

    3* Casa – Twin Room
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  • Day 2

    3* Casa – Twin Room
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  • Day 3

    3* Hotel – Twin Room
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  • Day 4

    3* Hotel – Twin Room
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  • Day 5

    3* Hotel – Twin Room
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  • Day 6

    3* Hotel – Twin Room
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  • Day 7

    Casa – Twin Room
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  • Day 8

    Casa – Twin Room
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  • Day 9

    Casa – Twin Room
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  • Day 10

    Casa – Twin Room
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  • Day 11

    Casa – Twin Room
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  • Day 12

    Flight
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The Best of Cuba Dates & Availability

Our Trailblazer trips

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Trailblazer trips are our first run-throughs of our trips. Get the benefits of a Bucketlister+ Trip at the cost of a Bucketlister and all we’ll ask for in return is your feedback!

For more information click here!

Our Bucket Lister Trips

Bucketlister trips are our standard for all our incredible trips. When you book a Bucketlister trip we will organise everything for you from the first to the last location on your adventure and you’ll have a local guide with you every step of the way. All you’ll need to organise is your own flights and transfers. (Additional Options for Land Only Transfers)

Bucketlister trips are our standard for all our incredible trips. When you book a Bucketlister trip we will organise everything for you from the first to the last location on your adventure and you’ll have a local guide with you every step of the way. All you’ll need to organise is your own flights and transfers. (Additional Options for Land Only Transfers)

The Best of Cuba Reviews

The Best of Cuba Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need a visa to visit Cuba?

    Yes, all visitors to Cuba are required to have a tourist visa. You can obtain a visa from the Cuban embassy or consulate in your home country. Some airlines also offer visas for purchase at the airport.


  • What currency is used in Cuba?

    The official currency in Cuba is the Cuban peso (CUP), but tourists typically use the Cuban convertible peso (CUC), which is pegged to the US dollar. It’s recommended to bring cash in either Euros, Canadian dollars, or British pounds to exchange for CUC in Cuba.


  • Can I use my credit card in Cuba?

    Credit cards issued by US banks are not accepted in Cuba due to the US embargo. Visa and Mastercard issued by other countries are accepted, but it’s always a good idea to bring cash as a backup.


  • Is it safe to travel to Cuba?

    Cuba is generally a safe country to visit, with low levels of violent crime. However, tourists should still take common-sense precautions, such as not carrying large amounts of cash, avoiding unlit or isolated areas at night, and keeping an eye on their belongings in crowded areas.


  • What should I pack for my trip to Cuba?

    Cuba has a tropical climate, so it’s recommended to pack light, breathable clothing, comfortable walking shoes, and sunscreen. It’s also a good idea to bring insect repellent, as mosquitoes can be a nuisance.


  • Can I use my mobile phone in Cuba?

    Mobile phone service is available in Cuba, but it can be expensive. Some UK carriers offer roaming in Cuba, but it’s best to check with your carrier before you go. Alternatively, you can purchase a local SIM card.


  • What should I see and do in Cuba?

    Cuba has a wealth of attractions for visitors, including Havana’s historic Old Town, the stunning beaches of Varadero and Cayo Coco, the tobacco fields of Viñales, and the colonial city of Trinidad. Don’t miss the chance to see live music and dance performances, and try the delicious local cuisine.


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