Be intrigued by the colourful streets and eclectic history of Cuba’s capital as your knowledgeable local leader takes you on a casual walking tour of Old Havana.. Venture to Cuba’s charming countryside as you hit rural Vinales. With plenty of time to explore at your own pace, you can check out tobacco plantations, explore hidden caves and tackle the dirt roads by bicycle.. Wander the cobblestone streets alongside cowboys and farmers in Trinidad, passing by some of the best-preserved colonial buildings in Cuba. Plus, you’ll take part in a rum tasting – muy bueno!. Master the lingo with a leader-led informal Spanish lesson. Learning your ‘hola’ from ‘hasta luego’, you’ll be testing your newfound skills with the locals over a cerveza (beer) in no time.
City, countryside and dazzling Caribbean coast – take an eight-day Lonely Planet Experience straight to the heart of Cuba. Set off from the charming capital of Havana, where old-time American cars, wafts of cigar smoke and laidback vibes permeate the streets. Experience the small-village vibes of Vinales and the colonial charisma of Trinidad, and immerse yourself with the history, music and mojitos of a country caught in a bygone era. With plenty of time to swim, snorkel, cycle and hike, this adventure combines Cuba’s old-world charm with some seriously scenic vistas in a jam-packed itinerary.
Breakfast Included: 3 Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba! There are no activities planned until your important welcome meeting at 6 pm. Once you’ve arrived, why not take a stroll in Cuba’s capital, where vintage cars, Neo-Gothic churches and Art Deco theatres come together in a colourful mismatch on the streets. If you have time, you might like to visit Museo de la Revolucion, which focuses on the events leading up to, during and immediately after the Cuban revolution. After your welcome meeting, perhaps dig into some delectable street snacks and join the group for dinner at a local restaurant – your leader will have a few recommendations.
This morning, join your leader on an two-hour walking tour around Old Havana – a district that reflects an eclectic mix of colonial, baroque and neoclassical architecture. Founded in 1519 by the Spanish, this area within Cuba’s capital remains virtually unchanged. Wander through Havana’s oldest square at Plaza de Armas, stroll around the buildings that frame 16th-century Plaza Veija, admire the basilica of San Francisco de Asis and visit the Havana Cathedral with its elaborate baroque facade. After your walking tour, take a taxi to the bus station and head west to Vinales (approximately 4 hours). This charming rural village is your base for the next couple of days, so why not do as the locals do – drink rum and dance the night away.
Enjoy free time in picturesque Vinales, which you'll soon see is home to some of Cuba’s best scenery. Together, your group will decide the best time to take an included informal Spanish lesson where you’ll learn some simple greetings like ‘hola’ and ‘hasta luego’, plus how to order an all-important ‘cerveza’ (beer)! The rest of the day is yours to soak up the slow, old-world pace of rural Cuba, where donkeys plod along the dirt roads. You might like to cruise around the area on a bicycle, hike through the tobacco fields or explore one of the Americas’ largest cave complexes up in the mountains. If you select the valley walk, you'll learn more about the lifestyle here and meet the farmers who grow tobacco for some of the world's most sought after and expensive cigars.
Bay of Pigs / Trinidad
Today, travel by private vehicle to the World Heritage-listed city of Trinidad. En route, you’ll stop at the Bay of Pigs for a dip in the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea, and if there’s time you can hire snorkel gear and swim among the tropical fish that call these waters home. Be sure to ask your local leader about the Bay of Pigs Invasion – a battle between the USA and Cuban revolutionaries which resulted in the first defeat of a US-backed takeover in Latin America. Continue to Trinidad where you'll spend the night.
Trinidad is a standout destination for many visitors to Cuba, in no small part to well-preserved colonial buildings, friendly locals and its old-school feel. Today, you’ve got the full day to do as you please. For some beachside fun and perhaps a little snorkelling, head down to Playa Ancon – just be careful you don't stand on a sea urchin! Hiking and cycling are equally good options, and there are some excellent walking trails in the nearby Sierra del Escambray mountains. For an insight into the colourful post-revolutionary period, why not visit the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos and the Casa de los Martires de Trinidad. Nearby is the sprawling Valle de los Ingenios, where sugar plantations stretch out as far as the eye can see. In the evening, your leader will take you to a local bar for a rum tasting – Cuba is home to some of the best!
This morning, travel by private vehicle to the historic city of Santa Clara – less crowded and slower paced than the bustling Havana, and home to all things Che Guevara. First, visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial; the final resting place of the physician-turned-guerrillero leader. Che's remains were brought to rest here after they were found in a remote corner of Bolivia in 1997, where he was assassinated by the CIA-backed Bolivian army. The memorial is home to an impressive bronze statue of Che bearing his rifle, and inside the museum you can learn about his amazing life and see photos and exhibits such as his famous black beret. Afterwards, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of the town and point you in the right direction. If there's time, why not take the short walk up to one of the best lookout spots in town, Loma del Capiro, where you can share sweeping views of the city with a statue of – you guessed it – Che Guevara!
In the morning, travel back to Havana by bus (approximately 4 hours) where you’ll return to your guesthouse to enjoy some free time. If you’re a cigar aficionado, you might like to purchase a tour for tomorrow morning of one of Cuba’s best tobacco factories where they produce a range of top-quality Montecristo, Partagas and Romeo y Juliet cigars. Tonight’s again up to you, so why not head out with the group and hit the town for a night of salsa.
There are no activities planned for today, so you are free to leave your guesthouse at any time, provided you comply with any internal check-out times. This doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! If you’ve got time, consider heading out in a 1950s convertible on a Classic American Car Tour of Havana with Urban Adventures. Take to the streets in style as you cruise through the capital – visit urbanadventures.com/havana-tour-classic-american-car-tour-of-havana for more information and to book.