Cuba / Itineraries

Cuba By Bus

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For clients who wish to travel the length of Cuba, while keeping an eye on cost, the tourist bus service is an excellent option. Starting in Havana and finishing in Santiago de Cuba before flying back to Havana, this itinerary takes in Vinales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara, Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba. Please note that there is no included sightseeing as part of this suggested itinerary although there are a number of optional Trips we can pre-book.

  • Day 1 — Havana

    On arrival at Havana’s Jose Marti airport, clients will be transferred to the hotel or casa of their choice in the city, a journey of some 30 minutes.

    As most flights arrive from the late afternoon onwards, there will hopefully be time for an initial stroll before a drink, bite to eat and, with the time difference in mind, an earlyish night.

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

    Not every holiday starts in a country’s number one tourist destination but you could easily spend a week in Havana and not run out of things to see and do.

    Located facing out across the Atlantic on Cuba’s north coast, Havana boasts an abundance of history, atmospheric neighbourhoods, quirky museums, vintage cars, fat cigars and buzzing bars.

    Of its numerous neighbourhoods, none is better known than Old Havana, or Habana Vieja, the city’s original settlement which is home to the majority of its historic buildings as well as most of its best hotels and casa particulares.

    We suggest starting your holiday with our private, walking tour of Old Havana. Lasting approximately three hours, your expert guide will explain all about the city’s origins and history while strolling along beautiful streets and from one stunning plaza to the next.

    At the end of this tour, why not continue your exploration of the city by giving your feet a break and getting comfy in the back of a classic American car from the 1950s or 60s. Together with your guide, you will explore ‘New’ Havana, passing by more recent additions to the city such as Revolution Square, the University of Havana, the embassies and mansions of the Miramar neighbourhood and the iconic Hotel Nacional as well as cruising along the famous seafront Malecon.

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Havana Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast
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    • — Havana, Partagas cigar factory
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  • Day 3 — Havana

    Today is at leisure for you to continue exploring this fascinating city, either independently or on one of our optional Trips.

    Although many visitors to the city barely set foot out of Old Havana, just across the harbour mouth from the old city are a number of close-together sites that require a full morning at the very least. Chief amongst these are the Morro Castle & Lighthouse and the vast, adjacent La Cabana.

    Also worth visiting are the statue of Christ and the attractive Casablanca neighbourhood from where you can catch the ferry back to Old Havana.

    After a late lunch, there are a number of excellent museums in Havana such as the Museum of the Revolution while it is also possible to get backstage and behind the scenes on a tour of the beautiful Gran Teatro de la Habana.

     

     

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Havana Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Havana, Plaza San Francisco
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    • — Havana, Finca Vigia
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    • — Havana, Morro Castle
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  • Day 4 — Havana to Vinales

    This morning, you will be collected from your accommodation and taken to the pickup point for the bus to Vinales.

    Journey time from Havana to Vinales is approximately 4 ½ hours and departure time normally around 08.00 so you should arrive in good time for lunch.

    Having settled in at your chosen accommodation and had a bite to eat, we would suggest heading for a stroll around the picturesque town of Vinales which is easily explored on foot.

    In addition to its charming main square and small church, much of the town’s appeal lies in its low-rise, traditional homes complete with porches and rocking chairs.

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Vinales Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    • — Vinales Valley
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    • — Vinales, church
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    • — Vinales, town
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  • Day 5 — Vinales

    As with Havana, one could easily spend several days in Vinales, so deciding what to do in a single, full day won’t be easy. You can stay longer of course.

    The Vinales Valley is primarily popular for its beautiful, unspoiled countryside and there are several short walks, as well as more strenuous hikes, that can be enjoyed in the area, as well as the option to explore on horseback.

    The region is also famous for its tobacco, the basis for Cuba’s world famous cigars, and a visit to a tobacco farm is a popular option. It’s not just tobacco that’s grown here either, with plenty of small-scale farms growing a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, most of it organic.

    Less well known is the fact that Vinales lies above a vast network of caves, some of which have been developed for tourism. The most famous of these is undoubtedly the Cueva del Indio which involves a subterranean boat ride.

    We offer a wide number and variety of pre-bookable Trips around Vinales although clients are free to make their own arrangements if they prefer.

    Suggested Accommodation: Vinales Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast
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  • Day 6 — Vinales to Cienfuegos

    This is the longest journey on your itinerary as well as probably the earliest start.

    You will therefore be collected from your accommodation bright and early for the short hop to the bus pickup point, generally opposite the town square.

    Departure time from Vinales is normally around 07.00 and journey time to your next destination, Cienfuegos, at least 7 hours. That journey time includes a 30 minute break en-route.

    On arrival in Cienfuegos, and after having checked in at your chosen accommodation, you will probably want to get out and stretch your legs around this attractive, maritime city.

    As a fun way to end a long day, why not book a sunset cruise on Cienfuegos Bay followed by dinner overlooking the water?

    Suggested Accommodation: Cienfuegos Casas Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Cienfuegos, Governor's Palace
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    • — Cienguegos, Teatro Tomas Terry
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    • — Cienfuegos
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  • Day 7 — Cienfuegos

    Often described as the Pearl of the South, Cienfuegos is an attractive city that benefits both from its lovely, waterfront setting as well as its broad streets and numerous beautiful buildings.

    The city’s civic centre is focussed around Parque Jose Marti, surrounded on all sides by imposing government buildings as well as the slight but beautiful Teatro Tomas Terry.

    A short taxi ride from the centre is Punta Gorda, once the city’s smartest residential neighbourhood, and still home to numerous elegant, re-purposed mansions, the city’s Marina & Club and probably the most photographed building in the city, the Moorish inspired Palacio de Valle.

    Cienfuegos is easy enough to explore independently while we can also arrange a private, guided tour of the city.

    For clients who have the time to extend their stay by another day, a popular local excursion from Cienfuegos is to nearby El Nicho.

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Cienfuegos Casas Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Cienfuegos, Palacio De Valle
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    • — Cienfuegos, Jagua Fort
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    • — Cienfuegos, El Nicho Waterfalls
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  • Day 8 — Cienfuegos to Trinidad

    While there is a tourist bus service that runs between Cienfuegos & Trinidad, the journey by car along the coast only takes an hour, so a private transfer has been included.

    Amongst the smallest of Cuba’s original, Spanish settlements, Trinidad is one of Latin America’s best-preserved, colonial-era towns, so much so that it is often referred to as a museum town. Perhaps not surprisingly therefore, Trinidad was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.

    We suggest arriving in Trinidad in time to check-in at your accommodation and enjoy a spot of lunch before spending the afternoon exploring the town on foot. This can be done either with the services of a guide or on your own.

    As well as its beautiful, cobbled streets, picturesque plazas and beautiful architecture, Trinidad also boasts a handful of interesting museums such as the Museo Histórico Municipal & Museo Romantico while the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos will appeal to anyone with an interest in the Cuban Revolution.

    At the end of your little tour, be sure to pop La Canchanchara bar to sample its signature sugar cane and rum based cocktail.

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    • — Trinidad, Iglesia De La Santisima
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    • — Trinidad, museum
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    • — Trinidad, street
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  • Day 9 — Trinidad

    Not only is Trinidad a beautiful and historic destination in its own right, it is also an excellent base from which to explore numerous, nearby attractions.

    Chief amongst these, and just east of town, is the Valley of the Sugar Mills. As the name suggests, this region was once the heart of Cuba’s sugar growing industry and the wealth it created directly responsible for many of the beautiful buildings you will find in Trinidad.

    The Valley too was once home to numerous, impressive haciendas although the majority have long since being abandoned to the tropical heat and rain.  One of the few that has been partially restored is Manaca Iznaga, infamous for its haunting slave tower that today offers views over the beautiful, surrounding countryside.

    Continuing just beyond the Valley of the Sugar Mills, the town of Sancti Spiritus is similar in age and size to Trinidad, with a beautiful, old square and historic bridge, but receives far fewer visitors.

    As part of our selection of optional Trips, we can pre-book a combined visit to the Valley of the Sugar Mills and Sancti Spiritus.

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast
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    • — Trinidad, Topes De Collantes
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    • — Trinidad, National Park
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  • Day 10 — Trinidad

    The day is at leisure for you to relax, explore on your own or book another one of our optional Trips.

    If you wish to stretch your legs, there are a number of wonderful treks that we can arrange into the nearby Escambray Mountains.

    Or, if that sounds far too energetic, we can also pre-book tickets for the daily catamaran trips that offer full-day cruises to nearby islands within the inviting, warm waters of the Caribbean.

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast
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    • — Trinidad, Cayo Blanco
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  • Day 11 — Trinidad to Santa Clara

    This morning, you will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to the designated pick-up point in Trinidad for the bus to Santa Clara. Timings will be confirmed to you locally but the bus normally departs at around 07.30 and journey time is around 3 hours.

    Although lacking the picture postcard appeal of Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Old Havana, Santa Clara has played an important part in Cuban history, no more so than during the Cuban Revolution.

    It was here that forces under the command of Che Guevara won the last major battle of the war, culminating in the derailing of a government troop train sent to Santa Clara from Havana. Today, the well-preserved remnants of that troop train have been converted into a museum known as the Tren Blindado.

    As a result of his leading part in this battle, when the remains of Che Guevara were returned to Cuba in the late 1990s, it was only natural that his mausoleum was located in Santa Clara, alongside the Monument that was previously built in 1988.

    Having checked in at the accommodation of your choice, the rest of the day is free for you to book our private, half-day tour of the city or head out and explore on your own.

    Suggested Accommodation: Santa Clara Casas Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    • — Santa Clara, Che Guevara
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    • — Santa Clara, Museum Tren Blindado
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    • — Santa Clara, Museum
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  • Day 12 — Santa Clara to Camaguey

    This morning, you will need to make your own way to the designated pick-up point in Santa Clara which, together with timings (but normally around 10.00) will be advised to you by our local agents. The bus from Santa Clara to Camaguey takes around 5 ½ hours.

    Another of Cuba’s original, Spanish settlements, and yet another UNESCO World Heritage site, Camaguey’s layout is the most chaotic and disorderly of any city on the island, but for good reason.

    After being attacked and destroyed by pirates on numerous occasions, the city elders decided that enough was enough and set about altering the city’s layout to make it as confusing as possible. They succeeded.

    On arrival in the city, clients will be met and transferred to the hotel of their choice. Once settled in, we suggest heading out for a pre-dinner wander and a test of your sense of direction.

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Melia Gran Camaguey Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Camaguey, Plaza San Juan
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    • — Camaguey, Santa Cecilia
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    • — Statue
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  • Day 13 — Camaguey to Santiago

    The day is at leisure for you to explore Camaguey at your leisure, perhaps utilising one of the cycle-rickshaws that the city is famous for.

    After lunch, you will need to check-out of your accommodation and make your own way to the designated pick-up point in Camaguey which, together with timings (but normally around 15.30) will be advised to you by our local agents. The bus from Camaguey to Santiago de Cuba takes around 6 ½ hours.

    Having made your own way to the accommodation of your choice, it will probably be time to get a lite bite to eat and then hit the hay.

    (Alternative: En-route from Camaguey to Santiago, it is also possible to break up the journey with a night in the historic town of Bayamo and perhaps a day trip to La Plata).

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel San Basilio Meals Included: Breakfast
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    • — Camaguey, Rickshaws
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    • — Parque Cespedes, Santiago
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  • Day 14 — Santiago

    Cuba’s second largest city is also its most ethnically diverse, with a more Caribbean vibe than elsewhere on the island.

    Partly as a result of this diversity, Santiago has developed a reputation for its rich musical and cultural diversity and is often described as the New Orleans of Cuba.

    Historically too, Santiago de Cuba was frequently at odds with Havana and it is therefore no surprise that the city was at the forefront of the Cuban Revolution.

    Anyone with an interest in this period of Cuba’s history will therefore wish to visit the Moncada Barracks (where the Revolution really began), the City Hall (where Fidel Castro proclaimed final victory) and Santa Ifigenia cemetery (where Fidel Castro was finally laid to rest).

    Other worthy sites of interest in the city include Parque Cespedes, the first cathedral in Cuba, Padre Pico and the old Bacardi factory and museum. A short drive from the city, guarding the entrance to Santiago de Cuba Bay, is the mighty San Pedro de la Roca fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site with magnificent views along the coast.

    All of the aforementioned sites are included in our full day tour of Santiago de Cuba (half day tours are also available) or can be visited independently.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel San Basilio Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Santiago, Cathedral
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    • — Santiago, Moncada Barracks
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    • — Santiago, Fort
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  • Day 15 — Santiago

    There is more than enough to see and do in Santiago de Cuba to merit another day.

    Alternatively, rather than spending the day in the city itself, why not book another of our optional Trips, this time into the surrounding countryside, and visit either Cuba’s most important pilgrimage site at El Cobre or head into the cool hills to explore La Gran Piedra or even both.

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel San Basilio Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Santiago, Cayo Granma
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    • — El Cobre
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    • — La Gran Piedra
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  • Day 16 — Santiago to Havana

    Domestic flight schedules are somewhat variable in Cuba so your day today depends on timings for the domestic flight back to Havana.

    On arrival back in the capital, and again depending on timings, why not spend your last night with a visit to one of Havana’s legendary cabaret shows such as the Tropicana or Legendarios del Guajirito?

     

    Suggested Accommodation: Havana Casa Particulars Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Havana, train station
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    • — Havana, Capitol building
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    • — Havana, Tropicana
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  • Day 17 — Havana & Home

    The final day of your holiday, back where you started, is free for you to do as you please; perhaps further exploration of the city, a bit of shopping or just relaxing at your accommodation.

    Depending on your flight schedule, a private transfer will collect you from your hotel or casa and return you to the airport in good time for the overnight flight back home.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
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    • — Heading home
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Please Note

This itinerary is no more than a sample idea which can be tailor made to your exact requirements.

The 'From price' is for travel in September and is based on two adults sharing the same room throughout. Supplements apply for sole occupancy / transport.

The quoted price does not include 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 one of Cuba’s numerous beach resorts there are numerous options.

From Santiago, clients can travel by road to the beautiful beaches of Guardalavaca before returning to Havana or they can fly back to Havana and then end their holiday at one of the nearby beaches before transferring straight back to Havana airport.

Suggested Accommodation

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