Essential Cuba Tour
Havana – Las Terrazas – Vinales - Cienfuegos - Trinidad - Santa Clara – Havana.
This carefully prepared guided 7 night tour is an ideal way of discovering the fascinating sights of western Cuba. You will gain a fantastic insight into Cuba, one of the most unique destinations in the world. Our fully escorted tour, led by an experienced English-speaking guide, will cover the most important sights of the island, but also allow you to discover the real Cuba.
We have included a number of unique highlights in the itinerary, these include:
- An afternoon cruising the streets of Havana in a chauffeur driven old American car
- A visit to a famous working cigar factory in Havana
- A visit to the fascinating Museum of the Revolution
- Authentic cocktail making and tapas served at a bar & restaurant recently enjoyed by King Charles
- A day exploring picturesque Vinales Valley an UNESCO World Heritage Site with spectacular scenery
- 2-nights in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Trinidad where history and the live music scene is at its best
- A visit to the beautiful El Nicho Waterfalls in the Escambray mountains
- A final farewell dinner in one of Havana’s famous private restaurants
- A final night performance by the outstanding Legendarios de Guajirito
DAY 1 - IRELAND – HAVANA.
On arrival you will be met at Havana airport and a transferred to your central accommodation location in Old Havana, Hotel OR Casa Particular. Depending on the time of your arrival, there may be the chance to take a wander through the local area and sample Havana’s amazing street life before retiring to bed ready for the tour ahead. (No Meal Inc).
DAY 2 – HAVANA.
After breakfast, you will meet our guide for the first time at your accommodation at 8.30/9.00am and head to one of Havana’s fascinating working cigar factories, to see where Cuba’s famous cigar brands are still hand made by the local workers. You will then continue to the Museum of the Revolution,offering a fascinating insight into Cuba’s revolutionary history followed by lunch in Old Havana. After lunch enjoy a guided leisurely walk through Old Havana’s narrow streets and visit the four famous historical squares, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de Armas. In the afternoon you will explore the other areas of central Havana in Old American vintage cars, a thrilling way to the impressive Revolution Square overlooked by the mural of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, through the downtown Vedado district of the city, and then on a spectacular drive along the Malecon, Havana’s seafront promenade and then head further into fascinating residential areas that are far from the main tourist areas and ‘Bosque De La Havana’, a beautiful tropical woodland and park. You will be dropped back a vibrant tapas bar where there will be an authentic Cuban cocktail making lesson and homemade tapas will be provided for a light meal, a fitting end to a fabulous day – Overnight Havana (B,L, LightTapas).
DAY 3 – HAVANA – LAS TERRAZAS.
After breakfast, you will leave Havana and head west to the immensely picturesque Vinales Valley, an area protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site for its outstanding natural beauty, dominated by unusual limestone mountain formations called ‘Mogotes. The valley is also the home of Cuba’s tobacco plantations and during your time in Vinales, there will be a subterranean boat ride through the El Indio cave system and a visit to a typical tobacco drying house. A fabulous unique lunch will be served at a local organic farm affording wonderful views across the valley and in the late afternoon you will leave Vinales and head to Las Terrazas National Park an area of outstanding natural beauty which is protected as one of Cuba’s most important National Parks. After settling in at the Moka Hotel for the night, there will be a short tour of the National Reserve, local village and farming practices that take place here.
There will be free time this evening for you to enjoy an early night or to enjoy a wander down to the local village for a drink and bite to eat or just relax in this very peaceful location. (B,L)
DAY 4 – LAS TERRAZAS – SANTA CLARA & TRINIDAD.
After breakfast, you will leave Las Terrazas and head past Havana, down the very ‘quiet’ motorway towards the east, where our first stop will be to explore Santa Clara, a city of major historical significance in Cuba. You will visit the final resting place of Che Guevara at the very symbolic mausoleum as well as Tren Blindado, a small museum and the iconic remains of the government train that was attacked by Che Guevara and his revolutionaries, The city itself has a delightful, small colonial centre and enjoys a vibrant and friendly nature. A light lunch will be offered in a local restaurant before you take the picturesque road through the Escambray Mountains towards Sugar Mill Valley where the 145ft Manaca Iznaga Tower stands as a silent witness to Cuba’s history of slavery. As the day draws to a close you will head along the picturesque road to Trinidad, preserved by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, for a two-night stay and tonight you are free to choose where you would like to have dinner on an independent basis with the support of your guide and our local team in Trinidad. (B,L)
DAY 5 – TRINIDAD.
After breakfast there will be a comprehensive tour of the center of Trinidad including a visit to the History Museum focusing on a family’s life in Cuba in the 1800s, and then you can sample the unique Trinidad rum and sugar cane cocktail at La Canchanchara, an old house dating back to the 18th Century, beware delicious but very strong!
After the tour ends, the afternoon will be free to relax, enjoy an independent lunch and further exploration of the city, or perhaps take a taxi to the nearby Caribbean beach of Playa Ancon, enjoy the beach and perhaps even sunset there. Dinner tonight will be at a local private restaurant. It is the final evening in Trinidad, and dancing to local live music is a must so feel free to visit one of Trinidad’s growing number of bars and listen to some excellent live music (B, D).
DAY 6 – TRINIDAD.
An early departure towards Cienfuegos, with a visit to El Nicho Park, a marvel of nature with dozens of waterfalls and natural pools in an area virtually untouched and you will reach the area by taking a very scenic route through many quaint rural villages.
During the tour, you can walk up through numerous walking paths with ‘El Reino de las Aguas’, a gentle hiking trail of 2 km (1.2 miles). Observe the flora and fauna and enjoy swimming in the cool river pools at the end of the walk. Lunch will then be enjoyed here.
After lunch, continue to the French influenced small colonial city of Cienfuegos. En-route there will be a tour of the famous Botanical Gardens, one of the largest in the Americas with an abundance species of plant from tropical regions. On arrival to Cienfuegos there will be a stroll through the colonial centre and along the seafront ‘malecon’ promenade.
The evening will be free to enjoy Cienfuegos at your leisure and seek out a local restaurant or café for dinner or relax at your accommodation and dine there. (B,L). Overnights Cienfuegos.
DAY 7 – CIENFUEGOS – HAVANA.
Early departure rom Cienfuegos, you will continue to the Bay of Pigs, the site of the failed CIA backed invasion of Cuba that was repelled by Fidel and Che and their revolutionaries. There will be a short visit to the museum to gain an insight into one of the major world events from the 1960s and some time will be available to wander through the village and along the beach. The next stop is Guama, a replica village of Cuba’s earliest settlers the Taino Indians who lived on the island in the 1100s, the original settlers on the island. Located on a string of small islands and reached by an exhilarating boat ride through the mangroves, there are also a number of life size sculptures depicting the life of these early settlers.
Later, after arriving into Havana and settling in, there will be a farewell dinner in a carefully chosen private restaurant in Old Havana, before heading to a performance by ‘Legendarios de Guajirito’, This outstanding band is made with former members of the Buena Vista Social Club and the Afro-Cuban All Stars. Dancing is guaranteed, and the evening is a fitting finale to an unforgettable week exploring Cuba. (B, D)
DAY 8 – HAVANA – IRELAND.
The day is free for you to explore Havana independently, relax or leave Havana with your transfer to the airport or transfer for your beach extension in Varadero or beyond. For those leaving Cuba today, a transfer will collect you from the hotel and take you to the airport for your departure flight home (B).
- This tour has been designed for small groups so to maximise the experience for guests
- Unlike many other tours, this tour is guaranteed to operate every Monday when there are 4 or more guests booked, do check with us for latest availability
- This tour operates year-round offering a great choice of departure dates
- The tour will be guided in English throughout
- Maximum group size can be up to 21, but usually with an average of 6 to 14 guests
- Minimum age of 15 years old required for tour.
- On the last day of the tour, we can arrange for you to continue your journey to the beach resorts of Varadero, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo or eastern Cuba or enjoy a second week exploring on our Ultimate Cuba Tour. Alternatively, why not spend a few more days in Havana exploring independently
- Winter 2023 dates 30Jan'23, 20Feb'23, 12Mar'23, 03Apr'23 - Summer Date TBA - Alternative Monday departures available upon request.
NOT INCLUDED IN TOUR
- Tour guide on arrival and departure day (day 1 and day 8)
- Lunch on Day 5 and 7
- Dinner on Day 1, 3,4 and 6
- Tour guide on arrival and departure day (1 & 8)
- Tips (discretionary)
- Drinks (soft drinks/alcohol)
- Services of a porter / assistance carrying baggage
- Telephone calls, WIFI / internet
- Local camera / filming fees
- Costs when on ‘free time’ e.g. taxis arranged locally or optional extras
. Please note accommodation in Cuba can be of a modest standard.
Children under the age of 15 years old are not permitted on the tour
Some casa particular bedrooms and their facilities are accessed by narrow stairways, and lifts/elevators may not be available. If you do struggle with stairs it is important that you let us know at the time of booking, so we can make sure we understand your requirements, and can advise and assist accordingly
Our escorted tour itineraries are generally fast paced and will keep you busy, and a considerable amount of walking is involved (including stairs) so an average/decent level of fitness and mobility is required and you should be physically fit and also able to carry your own luggage.
*Price includes: International flights and taxes, Hotels or Casa Particulars, transfers tours and meals as specified. Cuba Visa is NOT included in price €25pp extra