Cuba / Itineraries

Natural Cuba

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This 14 night suggested itinerary around western Cuba includes the colonial highlights of Havana, Cienfuegos & Trinidad but primarily focuses on the island’s natural beauty with plenty of included forays into a variety of glorious, unspoiled countryside.

  • Day 1 — Havana

    Clients will be met on arrival at Havana airport and transferred straight to their chosen accommodation in the city.

    Flights from Europe all arrive from late afternoon onwards so, after a stretch of legs, a sip of something cold and a bite to eat, most clients will probably want to have an earlyish night.

    Suggested Accommodation: Havana Casas
    • — Havana, Malecon sunset
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    • — Mojito
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    • — Paladar
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  • Day 2 — Havana

    One of the world’s most fascinating, exhilarating and iconic cities, Havana is an absolute must-visit on any holiday to Cuba.

    The original settlement, known as Old Havana or Habana Vieja, is located along the west bank of the city’s harbour-mouth. Although the city has sprawled out in numerous directions, the vast majority of Havana’s historic sites, places of interest and best accommodation can be found in this compact, walkable part of the city.

    Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1982, the intervening years have seen many of Old Havana’s numerous colonial buildings and public spaces restored to their former glory while, in stark contrast, others seem on the brink of collapse. It is this juxtaposition, played out across the city, that is one of the most compelling aspects of any visit to Havana.

    Your holiday begins with a guided walking tour of Old Havana, a great introduction to the historic heart of the city as you take in the history, colonial architecture and vibrant daily, goings-on of this UNESCO World Heritage city. Including the four main squares of Plaza de Armas, Plaza San Francisco, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de la Catedral, your guide will be on hand to guide you through all the main areas of interest and to answer any queries you may have.

    After sampling a Cuban cocktail you will then be picked and driven in a vintage car through ‘New’ Havana. Along the way you’ll drive past the Capitol Building, Revolution Square, the University of Havana, Hotel Nacional and former Presidential Palace before ending your first day in time for a late lunch.

    The rest of the day is at leisure for you to relax, perhaps take in a museum or simply wander the streets of Old Havana.

    Suggested Accommodation: Havana Casas Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    • — Havana, Plaza San Francisco
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    • — Havana, Capitol building
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  • Day 3 — Havana to Las Terrazas

    After a leisurely breakfast, you will be collected from your accommodation for the approximate hour’s long drive to Las Terrazas.

    Set within beautiful, densely forested hills, Las Terrazas is located within the UNESCO Sierra del Rosario Biosphere and is rightly popular with nature lovers.

    The area around Las Terrazas was once heavily cultivated for coffee and, once the soil eroded, the region suffered major de-forestation. The small, picturesque community of Las Terrazas lies at the heart of the successful attempt to return the area to its previous condition with most of its inhabitants either employed in the environment department or at the single, small hotel.

    Built opposite a man-made lake, the surrounding area is home to plentiful birdlife, nature trails and a lovely stream in which it is possible to swim. A short drive from Las Terrazas, and a popular excursion, are the ruins of an old coffee plantation with panoramic views of the surrounding hills. Also nearby are the Soroa Botanical Gardens.

    Having checked in at your accommodation, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure for you to go for a wander or simply relax.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel La Moka Meals Included: Breakfast
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    • — Las Terrazas
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    • Ruins of the Buenavista coffee farm near Las Terrazas in Cuba
      — Las Terrazas, Buenavista ruins
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  • Day 4 — Las Terrazas

    After breakfast you will be collected from your accommodation by a local guide who will provide an introduction to the area, explaining all about the ongoing sustainable living projects in and around Las Terrazas.

    You will then set off on a gentle hike around the base of El Taburete hill, culminating in reaching the 19th century ruins of San Idelfonso and El Contento coffee plantations.

    At the end of the walk there will be an opportunity to cool off in the shallow pools of the San Juan river so don’t forget to take your swimming costume with you.

    Returning to your accommodation, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

    Suggested Accommodation: Hotel La Moka Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    • — Las Terrazas
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    • — Las Terrazas
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    • — San Juan River
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  • Day 5 — Las Terrazas to Vinales via La Guira

    Departing Las Terrazas after breakfast, you continue your journey westwards towards Vinales, with a stop en-route at Parque La Guira.

    Parque La Guira is one of those places that very few visitors to Cuba seem to know about, let alone visit.

    The original 19th century Gothic mansion at the heart of the estate is now a ruin, and getting worse all the time, although the principal appeal of Parque La Guira resides in its gardens around which you will find numerous, scattered statues and ornaments in the Greco-Roman style. Although you won’t have a guide with you, chances are you’ll have the Parque to yourself and it’s a lovely place to wander about on one’s own. From Parque La Guira, it’s then another hour or so to Vinales.

    Surrounded by the steep-sided hills of the Sierra de los Organos, the Vinales Valley is an outstanding karst landscape whose stand-out feature is the limestone mogotes that rise sheer from the valley floor and reaching heights of up to 300 metres. It is also home to Cuba’s world-famous tobacco and you can see evidence of this throughout the area.

    The Vinales Valley is also home to an extensive network of limestone caves, some of which, such as the Indian Cave, are open to visitors.

    The town of Vinales is the only settlement for miles around, and still displaying its original layout, boasts a charming main street and numerous, characterful one storey homes with their traditional porches.

    Having checked in at your accommodation, the rest of the day is at leisure.

    Suggested Accommodation: Vinales Casas Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Parque La Guira
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    • — Parque La Guira
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    • — Vinales, main street
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  • Day 6 — Vinales

    After breakfast, you will be collected from your accommodation for a morning tour of the Vinales Valley, starting at Mirador de los Jazmines which enjoys panoramic views of the valley.

    You will then proceed through the town of Vinales and on to Dos Hermanas Valley for a look at the Mural de la Prehistoria. Although a visit to a cigar factory is not included in this tour, you will visit a tobacco plantation and learn about the process of cigar making before ending with a visit to Cueva del Indio which involves travelling by boat along an underground river.

    Lunch is included at a local restaurant after which you will return to your accommodation.

    The rest of the day is at leisure.

    Suggested Accommodation: Vinales Casas Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    • — Vinales Valley
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    • — Vinales, tobacco barn
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    • — Vinales, Cueva Del Indio
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  • Day 7 — Vinales

    Today you will enjoy a full-day hike through the Three Valleys of Vinales.

    As the name suggests, this tour takes in three different valleys, two of which have barely been touched by tourism. Along the scenic route you will stop and meet farmers growing a variety of crops such as mangos, sugar cane and, of course, tobacco.

    The appropriately named Valley of Silence is home to just a handful of families and, at the equally apt Paradise farm, you will enjoy a lunch prepared with produce grown right there on the farm.

    Returning to your accommodation in the afternoon, the rest of the day is at leisure.

    Suggested Accommodation: Vinales Casas Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    • — Three Valleys hike
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    • — Vinales farmer
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    • — Vinales, birdlife
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  • Day 8 — Vinales to Cienfuegos

    You’ll be up and bright and early this morning for the long bus journey from Vinales to Cienfuegos. Exact times will be advised locally but departure time from Vinales is normally before 07.00 and travel time is approximately 7 hours, including a 30-minute break en-route.

    Often referred to as the Pearl of the South, the city of Cienfuegos is an attractive, maritime city located on Cuba’s south coast.

    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.

    A short taxi ride from the city centre is Punta Gorda, a narrow peninsula that juts out into the Bay of Cienfuegos and which was once the city’s most upmarket neighbourhood. Even today, this part of the city is still home to numerous beautiful buildings, including the famous Palacio del Valle & Club Cienfuegos, as well as much of the city’s limited accommodation.

    Arriving in Cienfuegos in time for a late lunch, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure for you to explore on your own.

    (Alternative: We suggest taking the bus from Vinales to Cienfuegos for cost purposes. Private transfers are possible and will be quicker but much more expensive).

    Suggested Accommodation: Cienfuegos Casas Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Cienfuegos, Parque Central
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    • — Cienguegos, Teatro Tomas Terry
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    • — Cienfuegos, Palacio De Valle
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  • Day 9 — Cienfuegos (Day trip to El Nicho)

    This morning you will be picked up by jeep for the drive to El Nicho Natural Park. On arrival, you will be met by your guide who will escort you along the eco-trail until you reach the beautiful waterfalls where there are a series of pools suitable for swimming.

    Lunch is included at El Nicho restaurant before your return to Cienfuegos, stopping briefly at the lookout point to enjoy the magnificent views.

    The rest of the day is at leisure – why not end it with a sunset boat trip on Cienfuegos Bay?

    Suggested Accommodation: Cienfuegos Casas Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    • — Cienfuegos, El Nicho Waterfalls
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    • — El Nicho Valley
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    • — Cienfuegos Bay
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  • Day 10 — Cienfuegos to Trinidad

    From Cienfuegos, it’s a pleasant hour-long drive along Cuba’s Caribbean coast to the town of 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.

    Today, the historic centre of Trinidad is closed to traffic and wandering the town’s cobbled lanes it is hard not to be struck by the beauty of the town which is often described as an outdoor museum. For those who like traditional museums, the charming Museo Histórico Municipal, also known as Casa Cantero, is our top pick although the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos will appeal to those with an interest in the Cuban Revolution.

    After checking-in at your accommodation, you will be collected by your guide for a walking tour of this magical town. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to relax or explore further on your own.

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casas Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Trinidad, Plaza Mayor
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    • — Trinidad, Museo Romantico
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    • — Trinidad, street
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  • Day 11 — Trinidad (Day trip to El Cubano Park)

    You will be collected from your accommodation and driven the short distance, just out of town, to El Cubano Natural Park.

    Enjoy wonderful scenery along this gentle, 7-kilometre round trip hike through El Cubano Natural Park. Situated alongside the banks of the Guaurabo River, hanging bridges and a well-laid out trail lead visitors to the Javira waterfall where it is possible to swim.

    Returning to Trinidad in time for lunch, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casas Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — El Cubano
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    • — Rio Guaurabo
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    • — Trinidad
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  • Day 12 — Trinidad (Day trip to Guanayara Park)

    After breakfast, you will be collected from your accommodation for the drive up and into the Guamuhaya mountain range to Guanayara Park where you will begin your hike along the Centinelas del Rio Melodioso trail.

    This 6kms round-trip hike starts off easily enough but soon descends quite sharply, following the course of the river and passing waterfalls before arriving at Poza del Venado where there will be a chance to cool off in the welcoming natural pools while enjoying a packed lunch.

    You will then return to Trinidad where the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casas Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    • — Trinidad, Topes De Collantes
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    • — Parque Guanayara
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    • — Waterfalls
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  • Day 13 — Trinidad (Day trip to Valley of the Sugar Mils)

    This morning, you will combine countryside and history with a visit to the Valley of the Sugar Mills.

    Located between Trinidad & Sancti Spiritus, the Valley of the Sugar Mills was once the epicentre of the Cuban sugar industry and is still home to a number of atmospheric, decaying relics from that era.

    The most visited of these landmarks are Casa Gauchinango and Manaca-Iznaga whose haunting slave tower offers panoramic views of the valley. Also included is a visit to a local ceramic workshop and lunch at a local restaurant.

    Returning to Trinidad after lunch, the rest of the day is at leisure.

    Suggested Accommodation: Trinidad Casas Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    • — Trinidad, Valley of the Sugar Mills
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    • — Valley of the Sugar Mills, Manaca Iznaga,
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    • — Valley of the Sugar Mills
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  • Day 14 — Trinidad to Havana

    The morning is at leisure for you to either relax at your accommodation in Trinidad, further explore this beautiful little town or perhaps do a bit of shopping before your transfer back to Havana.

    On arrival in Havana the rest of the day is at leisure but, if you wish to end your holiday with a flourish, how about a visit to the world-famous Tropicana cabaret show?

    Suggested Accommodation: Havana Casas Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Trinidad, museum
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    • — Trinidad, lace market
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    • — Havana, Tropicana
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  • Day 15 — Havana & Home

    Depending on your flight schedule, today is free for you to relax, explore the city at your leisure or perhaps get in some last-minute shopping before you are collected from your accommodation for the transfer to Havana airport.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    • — Havana, musicians
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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 plenty of options we can suggest although, for logistical reasons, we would suggest sticking to the western half of the island. Please call or email for advice.

Suggested Accommodation

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