Cuba / Itineraries

14 Night Cuba Tour

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This 14 Night Cuba Tour is a small group escorted tour that takes in almost all the key highlights of Cuba starting and ending in Havana and taking in the Vinales Valley, Las Terrazas, Santa Clara, Trinidad, Bayamo, Santiago, Baracoa, Holguin, Camaguey & Cienfuegos.

  • Day 1 — Havana

    Having arrived in Havana, clients will be transferred the short distance from Havana airport to their accommodation in Old Havana.

    With flights generally arriving in the late afternoon or early evening, most clients will probably look to go for a short stroll, have a light dinner and then get at earlyish night in preparation for the busy week ahead.

    Suggested Accommodation: Havana Casa Particulars
    • — Havana, Malecon sunset
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    • — Mojito
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  • Day 2 — Havana

    After breakfast at your accommodation, you will meet up with your guide and start the day with a visit to a working cigar factory, to see for yourself the process involved in making the world’s most sought-after cigars.

    You will then proceed to the fascinating Museum of the Revolution, housed in the beautiful, former Presidential Palace in the heart of Old Havana before the first half of the day concludes with lunch in a nearby restaurant.

    After lunch there will be a leisurely, guided wander around the streets of Old Havana, taking in the four primary plazas of Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Plaza de la Catedral & Plaza de San Francisco.

    Having explored Old Havana on foot, and after a break to freshen up, the early evening will be spent cruising the streets of ‘New’ Havana in the back of a classic American car dating back to the 1950s or 60s. En-route you will visit Revolution Square, drive down the iconic Malecon and past the elegant mansions and embassies in the Miramar neighbourhood before ending at ‘Bosque De La Havana’, a beautiful tropical woodland and park that is known the lungs of Havana.

    To end the day, you will be dropped off at Jibaro Bar (visited in 2019 by Prince Charles & the Duchess of Cornwall), a vibrant tapas bar where, after a lesson in making Cuban cocktails, a delicious, light meal of tapas will be provided.

    After dinner, you will be dropped back at your hotel. Alternatively, the guide can recommend a number of great nightspots in the city or, if you want, tickets can be booked in advance for the famous Tropicana show.

    Suggested Accommodation: Havana Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Havana, cigar factory visit
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    • — Havana, horse & carriage
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    • — Havana, classic car tour
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  • Day 3 — Havana to Las Terrazas via Vinales

    After breakfast, you will depart Havana and head west to the Vinales Valley, home to some of Cuba’s most beautiful countryside as well as the tobacco that goes into its world-famous cigars.

    Surrounded by the steep-sided hills of the Sierra de los Organos, the Vinales Valley is an outstanding karst landscape whose stand-out feature are the limestone mogotes that rise sheer from the valley floor, reaching heights of up to 300 metres.

    As part of your visit, you will take a short, guided-walk through the valley floor, taking time to visit a traditional farmer’s house and to explore the picturesque town of Vinales. The Vinales Valley is also home to an extensive network of limestone cave and there will be a subterranean boat ride through the Cueva del Indio.

    Having visited a cigar factory in Havana, you will now also have the opportunity to visit a tobacco plantation and to see how the tobacco crop is dried in huge barns, ready to be turned into cigars.

    Lunch will be served at a local organic farm that enjoys wonderful views across the Vinales Valley. There will also be an opportunity to learn about the workings of the farm and its organic methods which garnered the interest of no less a visitor than President Obama.

    In the late afternoon you will leave Vinales and heading back the way you came, proceed to the small community of Las Terrazas, located within the beautiful countryside of the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere.

    After settling in at your hotel for the night, there will be a brief tour of the surrounding area and an introduction to the farming practices and various eco-activities that are practiced here.

    Appropriately, dinner tonight will be at an organic, vegetarian restaurant in Las Terrazas that uses only locally sourced ingredients.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel La Moka Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Vinales Valley
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    • — Vinales, tobacco Barn
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    • — Las Terrazas
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  • Day 4 — Las Terrazas to Trinidad via Santa Clara

    Departing Las Terrazas after breakfast, you will turn back east, passing to the south of Havana before continuing along the near empty autopista to the city of Santa Clara.

    On arrival at the outskirts of Santa Clara you will visit Che Guevara’s mausoleum as well as the museum of his life before heading into the city centre and the Tren Blindado, the remains of a government, armoured-train that was attacked and seized by forced led by Che Guevara in what was a turning point in the Cuban Revolution.

    After lunch in a local restaurant, you will leave Santa Clara behind and take the picturesque road through the Escambray Mountains to the Valley of the Sugar Mills.

    As the name suggests, the Valley of the Sugar Mills (Valle de los Ingenios in Spanish), was once the epicentre of the Cuban sugar industry, an industry that created huge wealth for a select handful of landowners but misery for the slaves who worked the fields.

    Of the estates that once prospered in the Valley of the Sugar Mills, perhaps the most famous (and visited) is Manaca Iznaga. Set in a beautiful location, the tower at the centre of the estate now offers visitors panoramic views of the area; during the years in which it was a working plantation, the same tower was used as a look-out for watching over the slave workforce.

    After a long day, it is then a relatively short drive from the Valley of the Sugar Mills to the beautiful town of Trinidad, your base for the next two nights. Dinner will be at a casa particular restaurant in town.

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Santa Clara, Che Guevara
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    • — Santa Clara, Parque Vidal
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    • — Trinidad, Valley of the Sugar Mills
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  • Day 5 — Trinidad

    Small it may be, but the town of Trinidad on Cuba’s south coast punches well above its weight when it comes to visitor appeal and, after Havana, is the island’s number two cultural destination.

    Founded in 1514, Trinidad grew rich on the back of the sugar trade. The wealth this generated led to the building of numerous beautiful civic buildings and private homes, many of which are largely unchanged to this day. With so much of its original architecture still in place, and the colonial layout of the town centre largely untainted by modern development, Trinidad was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

    After breakfast, you will enjoy a fascinating walking tour of this beautiful town, including a visit to the History Museum that focusses on a family’s life in Cuba in the 1800s.

    The tour ends at La Canchanchara, an 18th Century house, now bar, that serves up the local rum and sugar-based cocktail for which the town is also famous. After lunch in a local restaurant, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore on your own or simply relax.

    Dinner tonight will be at a local private restaurant in town. The locals will also be out and about so why not join them in one of the town’s bars and enjoy some wonderful live music and dancing?

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Trinidad, Plaza Mayor
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    • — Trinidad, street
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    • — Trinidad, La Canchanchara
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  • Day 6 — Trinidad to Bayamo

    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.

    Along with an earlier stop for coffee, lunch will be taken at a local restaurant before the pan-flat terrain of Camaguey finally begins to make way for the more mountainous Oriente region and the historic town of Bayamo.

    During the wars of independence from Spain, Bayamo was an insurgent stronghold and, in an act of defiance, large parts of the town were burned to the ground by its own residents during the fighting. Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, viewed by many as the father of the independence movement, was also a native of Bayamo and famous for setting the slaves on his nearby plantation free.

    Despite this tumultuous period in its history, Bayamo is still an attractive town with 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.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel Royalton Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Bayamo, Town centre
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    • — Bayamo, Church exterior
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    • — Bayamo, Horse & carriage
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  • Day 7 — Bayamo to Santiago via 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 explore the small village and nearby river before returning to the road and continuing to Cuba’s second largest city, Santiago de Cuba.

    Arriving at your hotel in Santiago de Cuba in the early evening, the remainder of the day is free for you to relax and enjoy dinner in the hotel at your leisure.

    (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: Melia Santiago Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Sierra Maestra
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    • — La Plata
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    • — La Plata hike
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  • Day 8 — 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.

    At the commencement of the tour, dinner that evening will again be served at the hotel after which you’re free to relax at the hotel or perhaps head back into town and visit the famous Casa de la Trova for some live music.

    Suggested Accommodation: Melia Santiago
    • — Santiago, Moncada Barracks
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    • — Parque Cespedes, Santiago
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    • — Santiago, Santa Ifigenia cemetery
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    • — Santiago, San Pedro fort
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  • Day 9 — Santiago to Baracoa via Guantanamo

    Leaving Santiago and heading along the coast to Baracoa, there will first be a chance to briefly visit the town of Guantanamo.

    Around the world, Guantanamo is famous / infamous for two very different reasons. Firstly, the iconic song ‘Guantanamera’ and second the nearby US naval base which is just a short drive away and which can be seen from a viewing platform!

    Leaving Guantanamo behind, the flat coastal road suddenly gives way to La Farola, one of the most striking and beautiful drives in Cuba which carves its way through the mountains linking the rest of the country with Baracoa.

    Shortly before arriving in Baracoa, lunch will be served at a picturesque little restaurant by the beach with time for a stroll or even a quick dip in the sea.

    Continuing into town, and having checked in at your hotel for the next two nights, there will be time for a late afternoon stroll before dinner at the hotel.

    For those who want to keep going, Baracoa is a small, friendly town with plenty of simple bars and live music venues to try out.

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel El Castillo Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Baracoa, La Farola
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    • — Baracoa Bay
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  • Day 10 — Baracoa

    Founded in 1511, Baracoa is not only the first Spanish settlement in Cuba, but also the oldest colonial town anywhere in the Americas.

    However, it’s not history, museums or grand colonial architecture that draw visitors to Baracoa today, but rather its remoteness, beautiful setting, unspoiled surrounding countryside, near deserted beaches and incredibly laid-back atmosphere.

    Accordingly, after breakfast, you’ll head out of town to the River Toa, probably Cuba’s wildest river and one that runs through a beautiful, protected reserve. A boat journey along the river will allow you to enjoy this beautiful scenery in this remote corner of Cuba.

    The day then continues with a visit to Finca Duaba, a small, local farm where lunch will be served. The countryside around Baracoa is the most tropical in Cuba and Finca Duaba is famous for its cocoa which you will be able to see for yourself with a guided walk through the plantation.

    After returning to the hotel in Baracoa, dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant in town.

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel El Castillo Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Rio Toa
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    • — Lizard
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    • — Quiet road
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  • Day 11 — Baracoa to Holguin

    Heading back over La Farola towards Santiago, you’ll take a right turn and head into Holguin province.

    After a short while on the ‘highway’, you’ll turn off on to minor roads that pass through scenic countryside and numerous sleepy villages until you reach the tiny 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.

    From Biran you’ll continue to the regional capital, also called Holguin. Although not one of Cuba’s most attractive cities, it’s a pleasant enough place and certainly less touristy than other towns and cities on the island.

    After checking in at your hotel for the evening, and a chance to relax or go for a stroll, in the early evening you’ll be driven to Loma De La Cruz on the outskirts of the city to enjoy panoramic views of both the city and surrounding countryside. If you’re feeling fit you can walk the 450 plus steps to the top of the hill or you can simply elect to drive up.

    Dinner will be served in a nearby, simple, hilltop restaurant after which you will be driven back to the hotel in the centre of town.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Holguin countryside
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    • — Guardalavaca, Holguin
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  • Day 12 — Holguin to Camaguey

    After breakfast this morning, you’ll depart Holguin and continue your journey back west.

    Having driven straight through Camaguey province on Day 6, this time you will overnight in the provincial capital, also called Camaguey.

    Considering how far inland the city is located, it is ironic that, more than any other town or city in Cuba, it is Camaguey’s layout that was designed to confuse marauding pirates.

    One of the original Spanish settlements in Cuba, Camaguey settled in its current location in 1528. In stark contrast to the vast majority of Spanish colonial cities, which tend to follow the same very ordered structure, Camaguey is laid out in a seemingly chaotic mish mash of irregular streets heading in all directions and connecting with a multitude of squares of differing sizes.

    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.

    Arriving in Camaguey in time for lunch, there will then follow a tour of the city’s colonial city centre after which clients are free to explore on their own (and hopefully not get too lost) or relax at the hotel. Dinner tonight will be taken at the hotel.

    Suggested Accommodation: Melia Gran Camaguey Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Camaguey, Plaza San Juan
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    • — Camaguey, Santa Cecilia
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    • — Casa De La Trova
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  • Day 13 — Camaguey to Sancti Spiritus

    Continuing on the journey back west, the tour today takes in one of Cuba’s oldest but smallest colonial towns, Sancti Spiritus.

    Founded in 1514 as one of Cuba’s original European settlements, Sancti Spiritus is often overlooked because of its proximity to Trinidad. Yet it is one of the most attractive towns in Cuba and, precisely because relatively few visitors opt to stay, has remained much more laid back and less commercial, precisely the attributes that many people come looking for in Cuba.

    On arrival, there will be a tour of the town centre including charming Parque Serafin Sanchez and the photogenic, cobbled lanes down to the Yayabo River and its iconic bridge, one of the oldest in Cuba. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

    In the evening, for something a bit different, you’ll head to a local casa particular for a fun, informal cooking class. You’ll help the owners prepare a traditional Cuban meal and then, of course, enjoy the fruits of your labours.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hostal del Rijo Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Sancti Spiritus, Parque Serafin
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    • — Sancti Spiritus
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    • — Sancti Spiritus, Puente Yayabo
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  • Day 14 — Sancti Spiritus to Cienfuegos via El Nicho

    After an early breakfast, you’ll depart Sancti Spiritus and, skirting around Trinidad, head to the beautiful El Nicho waterfalls.

    Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, you’ll access the falls along a gentle 2kms trail that winds it way through the countryside before finally reaching the falls where a rustic, local lunch will be served. There will also be an opportunity to take a cooling dip in the natural pools so don’t forget your swimming costume.

    Departing El Nicho, the tour then continues to the coastal city of Cienfuegos, another of Cuba’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.

    Originally settled by indigenous Taino tribes, in the colonial era the city of Cienfuegos was distinct from the rest of the country in that it was French immigrants, and not Spanish, who made this their home. This French influence is still evident in many of the city’s buildings as well as its street names.

    At the heart of Cienfuegos, and just a short walk from the beautiful waterfront, is the city’s vast main square, Plaza Jose Marti, lined all four sides by grand civic buildings dating back to the colonial era, the most famous of which is undoubtedly the iconic Teatro Tomas Terry.

    On arrival, there will be a tour of the city, taking in both colonial centre and seafront promenade. After returning to the hotel to freshen-up, tonight, the last night of your tour around Cuba, you will enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

    Suggested Accommodation: Melia Union Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • — Cienfuegos, El Nicho Waterfalls
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    • — Cienfuegos, Parque Central
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    • — Cienfuegos, Malecon
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  • Day 15 — Cienfuegos to Havana & Home

    Today’s arrangements depend on your individual plans, be that extending your stay in Havana, at the beach or simply returning home.  Details are available upon request.

    Please Note: In addition to this 14 Night Cuba Tour, we also offer small group, escorted tours lasting 7 & 11 nights.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Cienfuegos
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    • — Heading home
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Please Note

Dates & Prices for 2020 - 14 Night Cuba Tour

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, we are still unable to confirm when tours will resume. At this stage, our expectation is that they will resume in April / May although, depending on circumstances, they may resume in March.

The quoted prices do not include international flights which we are happy to arrange as part of an ATOL protected package.

Tour dates are timed to coincide with Virgin's direct flight from London to Havana although alternative airlines and routings are available.

The quoted 'from price' is per person based on two adults sharing the same room throughout. Single supplements apply for all departures and are available on request.

Beach Extensions

Beach Extensions

For clients wishing to extend their holiday with time at one of Cuba’s numerous beach resorts there are numerous options although, due to the size of the island, most clients opt to stay somewhere that doesn't involve too much travel, such as nearby Memories Jibacoa (picture below) just outside Havana.

Suggested Accommodation

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