Cuba / Itineraries

11 Night Cuba Tour

  • Ayuntamiento, Santiago de Cuba
Map

This 11 Night Cuba Tour is a small group escorted tour that takes in the key highlights of the island, starting in Havana and ending in the eastern beach resort of Guardalavaca.

  • Day 1 — Havana

    With flights from Europe arriving late afternoon onwards, and having checked in at their Old Havana accommodation, most clients will probably want to take it easy and have a brief wander around the neighbourhood followed perhaps by a light bite to eat.

    Suggested Accommodation: Havana Casa Particulars
    • Sunset over the Malecon in Havana, Cuba
      — Havana, Malecon sunset
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    • Mojitos at a bar in Havana
      — Mojito
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    • Paladar restaurant in Cuba
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  • Day 2 — Havana

    After a good night’s sleep and breakfast at your accommodation, your guide will meet up with you for your tour of Havana.

    Your day begins with a visit to that most iconic of Cuban institutions, a cigar factory, where you will learn all about the process of turning raw tobacco into the world’s most sought after cigars.

    You will then continue to the nearby Museum of the Revolution, ironically (by design) located in the former Presidential Palace, one of the largest and most ostentatious buildings in the city.

    After lunch, you’ll get a chance to work off just a few of those calories with a walking tour of Old Havana, including visits to its four most famous squares or ‘plazas’ – Plaza Vieja, Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco and Plaza de la Catedral.

    Having explored Havana’s historic centre on foot, and after a break to freshen up a bit, the late afternoon will see you partake in another must-do on any holiday to Cuba, taking a ride in the back of a classic American car.

    Your route will take you down the iconic Malecon, through Revolution Square and around the old mansions and modern-day embassies of the Miramar neighbourhood before ending up at Bosque de la Havana, a tranquil and attractive woodland park that is known as the lungs of this congested city.

    After a busy day sightseeing, you will be dropped off at Jibaro Bar where, after a lesson in how to make some of Cuba’s classic cocktails such as the Mojito, a light dinner of tapas will be provided.

    Dinner over, you will be returned to your accommodation although, if you want to keep going, your guide can make suggestions as to the best local bars and live music venues.

    Suggested Accommodation: Havana Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Visit to a cigar factory in Havana as part of a Cuba tour
      — Havana, cigar factory visit
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    • Plaza San Francisco in Old Havana
      — Havana, Plaza San Francisco
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    • Havana walking and classic car tour
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  • Day 3 — Havana to Las Terrazas via Vinales

    This morning, after an earlyish breakfast, you will depart Havana and head west towards Pinar del Rio province.

    After a couple of hours driving along the near deserted highway, you will reach the Vinales Valley, home to stunning countryside as well as the tobacco farms that produce the all-important crop for Cuba’s iconic cigars.

    Located within the beautiful Sierra de los Organos, the region around the Vinales Valley is defined as a karst landscape and is celebrated (not to mention highly photographed) for the limestone mogotes that rise up from the valley floor.

    On arrival in the Vinales Valley, you will undertake an easy walk along the valley floor, visiting a traditional farm as well as taking time to explore the charming town of Vinales. Due to the fact that the Vinales Valley is built on limestone, there are numerous caves in the area including perhaps the most famous, Cueva del Indio, which you will explore on a subterranean boat ride.

    Naturally, having been to a cigar factory in Havana, you can’t visit the Vinales Valley and not take the opportunity to visit a tobacco farm and learn how and when the crop is cultivated before being dried in huge barns.

    The Vinales Valley is famous for its numerous, breathtaking views and lunch today will be served at an organic farm and restaurant that has some of the best in the area. There will also be a chance to learn all about the workings and mission of the farm that can boast no less than Barrack Obama as a previous visitor.

    As the afternoon draws to a close, it will be time to head out of Vinales and back the way you came towards Havana, before stopping for the night at the small, rural community of Las Terrazas, located in the idyllic setting of the UNESCO Sierra del Rosario Biosphere.

    Having checked in at your hotel for an overnight stay, there will be a brief tour of the community with an explanation as to the various farming projects and eco activities undertaken locally.

    In keeping with the ethos of the community, dinner will be at a local, vegetarian and organic restaurant that sources all of its ingredients locally.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel La Moka Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    • The Vinales Valley in Cuba shrouded in mist
      — Vinales Valley
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    • Traditional Vinales tobacco barn and transport
      — Vinales, tobacco barn
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    • The community of Las Terrazas in Cuba
      — Las Terrazas
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  • Day 4 — Las Terrazas to Trinidad via Santa Clara

    Departing Las Terrazas, you will continue heading east, passing to the south of Havana and onwards along Cuba’s main highway to the city of Santa Clara.

    Your first port of call will be Che Guevara’s mausoleum and museum on the outskirts of the city.  Then, heading into the centre, you will visit the Tren Blindado, what is left of an armoured train that was dispatched to Santa Clara by the Cuban government in 1959 but which, in a turning point in the Revolution, was seized by forces led by Che Guevara.

    Lunch will be taken in Santa Clara after which you will continue east, meandering along quiet roads through the picturesque Escambray Mountains, en-route to the Valley of the Sugar Mills.

    Part of a larger UNESCO World Heritage site, the Valley of the Sugar Mills was once the thriving heart of the Cuban sugar industry, with numerous plantations dotted between the towns of Sancti Spiritus and Trinidad.

    Most of the estate houses linked to these vast plantations low lie abandoned and decaying, the Manaca Iznaga one of the very few that has been saved and converted into a visitor centre. At the heart of the centre is the original house together with a huge tower offering panoramic views from the top. In its days as a sugar plantation, this same tower was used to watch over the estate’s slave workforce.

    From Manaca Iznaga, it is just a short drive to the town of Trinidad, your beguiling base for the next two nights. Dinner tonight will be at your accommodation.

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    • Statue of Che Guevara, Santa Clara, Cuba
      — Santa Clara, Che Guevara
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    • Museum Tren Blindado in Santa Clara, Cuba
      — Santa Clara, Tren Blindado
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    • Ruins in the Valley of the Sugar Mills near Trinidad, Cuba
      — Trinidad, Valley of the Sugar Mills
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  • Day 5 — Trinidad

    One of the oldest towns in Cuba, having been settled by the Spanish in 1514, Trinidad is now one of the undoubted highlights of any holiday to Cuba.

    In tandem with the nearby plantations of the Valley of the Sugar Mills, a number of landowners and local businessmen in Trinidad made vast fortunes from the sugar trade. Many of the homes and civic buildings they built with the proceeds are still intact today, giving rise to the town’s oft used moniker as Cuba’s ‘Museum Town’.

    After a leisurely breakfast, you will set off on foot for a walking tour of Trinidad’s colonial centre, including a visit to a museum such as the Romantic Museum or the History Museum, which focusses on 19th century family life in the region.

    Having hopefully built up a slight thirst, your tour of Trinidad ends at La Canchanchara, the most famous bar in town and housed in an 18th century building. The bar is known for its house cocktail, not surprisingly made from sugar and rum, which will be available to taste. Lunch will be at a local restaurant with the rest of the day free for you to explore further on your own.

    Later, dinner will be at a paladar in town after which there are numerous bars and live music venues in which to see the night out.

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    • Plaza Mayor and church in Trinidad, Cuba
      — Trinidad, Iglesia De La Santisima
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    • The Museo Romantico in Trinidad, Cuba
      — Trinidad, Museo Romantico
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    • Canchanchara bar in Trinidad, Cuba
      — Trinidad, La Canchanchara
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  • Day 6 — Trinidad to Bayamo via Camaguey

    Hopefully, you won’t have a sore head this morning as it’s an early departure.

    Leaving Trinidad and travelling alongside the foothills of the Escambray Mountains, the tour then heads east through the largely flat province of Camaguey, home to vast government owned farms before arriving in the regional capital, also called Camaguey.

    Although over-shadowed by the likes of Havana & Trinidad, the historic centre of Camaguey is also home to some outstanding and varied architecture, reflecting the different styles of its long history and ranging from neoclassical to art nouveau. In recognition of its unique heritage, Camaguey was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

    After lunch on arrival, there will be a guided tour of this fascinating city, famous for its maze-like layout that was designed to confuse potential invaders!

    Continuing east from Camaguey, the day ends in the small, picturesque town of Bayamo at the start of the mountainous Oriente region.

    During the wars of independence from Spain, Bayamo was an insurgent stronghold but, despite its tumultuous history, there is still plenty of graceful colonial-era architecture to admire including San Salvador cathedral, the Bayamo theatre, and Parque Cespedes.

    After a quick check-in at the hotel, there will be a short walking tour of this charming little town, focusing on the oldest part of town around the aforementioned Parque Cespedes.

    Dinner is included at the hotel and can be taken individually at client’s leisure.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Royalton Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Camaguey Tour Cuba
      — Camaguey
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    • Camaguey Tour
      — Camaguey
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    • Bayamo Tour
      — Bayamo
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    • Bayamo Carriage Tour
      — Bayamo
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  • Day 7 — Bayamo to Santo Domingo & La Plata

    In stark contrast to yesterday’s drive, the journey today takes you deep into the beautiful Sierra Maestra, eventually arriving at Villa Santo Domingo.

    From Santo Domingo, you will transfer to jeeps which will take you still higher to the starting point of the trek up to La Plata, the famous HQ where Fidel Castro and his small band of comrades based themselves in the early days of the Cuban Revolution.

    Returning to Santo Domingo lunch will be served, after which there is time to relax at the hotel and perhaps explore the surrounding environs including a small village and nearby river.

    Tonight’s dinner experience will be altogether different, hosted as it is by a local mountain family that operate a small casa particular for visitors. Dinner will be traditional and home cooked and there will be ample opportunity to chat with the family and learn about life in the mountains (and perhaps some handed down stories about Fidel Castro!).

    (Please note that the trek to La Plata is uphill, occasionally steep and over uneven ground – if you have concerns over the suitability of this trip our advice would be to stay at Villa Santo Domingo and explore the surrounding area instead).

    Suggested Accommodation: Villa Santo Domingo Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Panoramic view over the Sierra Maestra in Cuba
      — Sierra Maestra
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    • Trekking in the Sierra Maestra near Bayamo
      — La Plata hike
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    • La Plata Sierra Maestra
      — La Plata
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  • Day 8 — Santo Domingo to Santiago via La Plata

    The first part of the day is free for clients to relax, enjoy the peaceful surroundings and perhaps even take a dip in the river.

    In the early afternoon you will once again continue journeying east towards Cuba’s second city, Santiago de Cuba.

    Enroute, there will be a stop at El Cobre, Cuba’s most important pilgrimage site, where you will have the opportunity to visit the church with its famous relics.

    Arriving in Santiago de Cuba, the remainder of the day is at leisure for you to relax at the hotel.

    Suggested Accommodation: Melia Santiago Meals Included: Breakfast
    • Villa Santo Domingo is a rustic hideaway hotel in Cuba
      — Villa Santo Domingo
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    • El Cobre Tour
      — El Cobre
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    • El Cobre Cuba Tour
      — El Cobre
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  • Day 9 — Santiago de Cuba

    While only a fraction of the size of Havana, the citizens of Santiago de Cuba are fiercely proud of their city and, in many ways – be it ethnicity, traditions or temperament – very different.

    More ethnically mixed than other parts of the island, Santiago de Cuba could be considered as the New Orleans of Cuba, notable as much for its rich cultural heritage of music and dance as it is for its equally varied architectural styles.

    After breakfast at the hotel there will be a full-day’s tour of this fascinating city, beginning with the iconic Moncada Barracks and Museum, attacked by Fidel Castro in July 1953 and, for most people, the start of the Cuban Revolution.

    Next continue to the city’s central square, Parque Cespedes and surrounded on all sides by historic buildings such as the Ayuntamiento and Cathedral.

    From there you will continue to the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, the final resting place of Fidel Castro whose mausoleum is constantly guarded; time allowing, there should be an opportunity to witness the famous changing of the guard. Also buried at Santa Ifigenia are Jose Marti and members of the Bacardi family.

    After a stop at Padre Pico street, a popular spot for a game of draughts, it’s a short drive out of the city proper to the San Pedro de la Roca castle which guards over the entrance to the Bay of Santiago de Cuba. After exploring the castle, lunch will be taken at a nearby restaurant with stunning views of the dramatic coastline.

    Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the day is free for clients to relax or explore further on their own including, perhaps, an evening visit to the famous Casa de la Trova for some live music.

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Melia Santiago

    Suggested Accommodation: Melia Santiago Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    • Ayuntamiento Santiago
      — Santiago, Ayuntamiento
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    • Parque Cespedes Tour
      — Santiago, Parque Cespedes
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    • Santa Ifigenia Tour
      — Santiago, Santa Ifigenia
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    • Santiago De Cuba Tour
      — San Pedro de la Roca
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  • Day 10 — Santiago to Guardalavaca

    After breakfast, the tour departs Santiago de Cuba and begins heading back west.

    After a short while on the sleepy ‘highway’, you’ll turn off on to minor roads that pass through scenic countryside and numerous sleepy villages until you reach the tiny but historic village of Biran in the foothills of the Nipe Mountains.

    Biran is the birthplace of both Fidel & Raul Castro and the final resting place of their parents. You will see the house where the brothers were born and brought up before enjoying a traditional lunch in a nearby restaurant.

    You will then continue to the coastal resort of Guardalavaca, your base for the next 2 nights.

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Sol Rio de Luna y Mares Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Holguin Tour
      — Holguin
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    • Holguin Beach
      — Guardalavaca
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  • Day 11 — Guardalavaca

    Your accommodation in Guardalavaca is situated on a beautiful stretch of beach, affording you an opportunity to kick back and relax a little after 10 days of continuous travel.

    As the hotel operates on an All Inclusive basis, all meals and drinks are included in the price, as are non-motorised watersports.

    For those who can’t get enough of exploring, it is possible to book an optional excursion (through the hotel) to the charming coastal town of Gibara.

     

     

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Sol Rio de Luna y Mares Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Guardalavaca Tour
      — Guardalavaca
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    • Sol Rio De Luna Y Mares Tour Hotel
      — Guardalavaca
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    • Gibara Cuba Tour
      — Gibara
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  • Day 12 — Tour Ends

    The tour ends and further arrangements depend on clients’ individual plans and requirements as well as onward logistical arrangements.

     

     

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    • Aerial view of clear sea in Guardalavaca
      — Guardalavaca

Please Note

Dates & Prices - 11 Night Cuba Tour

Departures are every Tuesday over the winter period (1st November to 30th April) to sync with Virgin Atlantic's direct flights between Heathrow & Havana.

Prices from £1850 per person (excluding international flights)

Quoted prices are per person based on two adults sharing the same room throughout. Single supplement on request.

Quoted prices are for the ground arrangements from Havana to Holguin only and do not include either any domestic flights (should clients need to return to Havana) or any international flights which we are happy to arrange as part of an ATOL protected package.

Beach Extensions

Beach Extensions

For clients wishing to extend their holiday with time at the beach, the two main options are (1) to make the short transfer from Holguin to nearby Guardalavaca or (2) fly back to Havana and transfer to either Jibacoa (pictured) or Varadero.

Cuba holiday beach extension at Memories Jibacoa

Suggested Accommodation

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