Hola Cuba! Best of the West, a private tour
This is one of our bestselling tours, and with good reason, as it’s the perfect way to discover the real Cuba. In the west-central part of the island you'll learn about Cuba's history, traditions and rich culture while meeting the locals. You’ll travel parts of the itinerary by jeep, driven by your private driver/guide. It's a great way to explore the less traveled paths and to engage with authentic Cuba. Having a guide at your side makes the trip even more special, as all our guides are passionate nature enthusiasts, who bring the journey to life with stories and information.
The real highlight of this short but action-packed journey is that you have your own driver/guide who will show you around and bring the journey to life with stories and information. Your driver/guide will tailor your experience and tours to your specific interests. You will be driven in an Oldtimer in Havana and in a sturdy jeep when you leave the capital to explore Cuba’s other top attractions, including the Viñales Valley, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santa Clara.
- Departure time
- Starts in Havana, ends in Havana. Gateway Varadero can also be used for this journey.
- English, Other languages on request, Spanish
- Activity level
- Easy (light walking)
- Insider's tip
- Extend this tour with a beach stay at the fabulous beaches of Cayo Santa Maria. This paradise island is part of the 'Jardines del Rey' archipelago, connected to the mainland by a spectacular road bridge that also links the islands of Cayo las Brujas and Cayo Ensenachos. Along the way, you can enjoy beautiful vistas of azure water and mangroves. You might even get lucky and spot eagles, pelicans or pink flamingos!
Day 1: Welcome to Havana
Meet and greet at Havana international airport on arrival day, including use of our VIP services:
- Our airport representative will meet you at the gate and direct you to Preferential Immigration, the customs booth for VIP lounge clients, diplomats and airline crew.
- You will have use of the VIP lounge at Havana airport while your luggage is taken care of.
- Luggage assistance.
- Private transfer to Havana City.
Day 2: Havana – Exploring the city in a vintage car
This private tour takes three to four hours.
- At 10:00am, the tour will begin.
- Explore Havana in a vintage car driven by a private driver and see its most remarkable landmarks.
- On a guided walk you can explore historical La Habana Vieja, founded in the 16th century. Chat with the locals and discover what life in Cuba is really like in this incredible open-air museum of architecture, art and culture. Learn more about the history of the area while strolling along the narrow colonial streets as vintage cars drive by. Here you can see how modern Cuba is developing.
- Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
There are many different ways to spend the evening. Our recommendations:
- Dine like a local in a ‘paladar’, where you can enjoy some delicious traditional Cuban cuisine.
- Hipsters Cuban Style: visit the cultural project ‘Fábrica del Arte Cubano’ (FAC), the Cuban Art Factory, and meet some real Cuban artists. The project, brainchild of internationally-renowned Cuban musician X Alfonso, is supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Institute of Music. Insider tip: combine this visit with dinner at the privately owned ‘El Cocinero’ restaurant next door.
- Cabaret Tropicana! The one and only ‘paradise under the stars’. An extravaganza that appeals to all the senses. Expect live music, crooners, fabulous dancers and dazzling costumes in an exotic setting like no other. The grand show starts at 10.00pm. Our local assistants will make the reservation for you.
Day 3: Exploring the Viñales Valley – Jeep private tour
Today you will explore life in the Cuban countryside as you’re driven to the verdant area of the Viñales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a drive of around two hours, the landscape gradually becomes greener as it turns into a natural sculpture of rock formations, called mogotes - craggy limestone formations that rise like giant cones from the earth. They surround a lovely valley with rich, red earth and majestic palm trees. This is one of Cuba’s most fertile areas, where some of the world’s best tobacco is grown, harvested, dried and processed, and some of the finest Cuban cigars are produced. Highlights include a visit to a Casa del Veguero, a tobacco farmer’s house, where you will learn more about traditional tobacco farming, and the evolution of life in the Sierra de los Órganos mountain range, where the valley is located. You can also enjoy the awe-inspiring panoramic views from a lookout point, or interact with the locals as they play dominoes and go about their daily routines. Your English-speaking guide can assist with translation as you learn about the peaceful farm life in rural Cuba. A delicious homemade lunch will be served in a paladar. Afterwards you will return to Havana for the night.
Day 4: Private jeep tour to Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santa Clara
The next few days will be spent outside of Havana during a 3 day/2 nights tour. Explore more of Cuba by jeep, with numerous opportunities to meet the locals and learn about their way of life.
- Cienfuegos: This charming port city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s also known as the ‘Pearl of the South’. Visit the Palacio del Valle and the Central Park’s Terry Theatre, a 19th-century architectural gem.
- El Nicho: Learn about another side of Cuba’s landscape at this mountainous nature reserve with cascading waterfalls. El Reino de las Aguas is a gentle two-kilometer (1.2 miles) hiking trail.
- Trinidad: Experience more of Cuba’s history in its best preserved colonial city. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this picture-perfect town truly reflects how life was in Spanish colonial times.
- Santa Clara: This is another opportunity to find out more about Cuba’s history, as this city is synonymous with Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and the Cuban Revolution. You will visit the museum and Guevara’s impressive mausoleum.
- Spend the night in a Casa Particular (Cuban guesthouse) in Trinidad.
Day 5: The treasures of Trinidad
There’s intentionally nothing on the program today, so you can choose how you’d like to spend the day in Trinidad. This lovely city is situated between the Caribbean Sea and the lush Escambray mountains, so you can opt to explore the mountains and waterfalls, beach and sea, or delve into the history of this 500-year-old colonial town. Here are some recommendations:
- Ask your guide to drop you off at Playa Ancon, Trinidad’s beach. They can pick you up after you have spent a lazy day relaxing on the beach.
- Optional: Boat trip on the Caribbean Sea - a wonderful boat trip along the south coast of Cuba. Swim, snorkel and enjoy a lunch of fish, lobster and shrimp on the white sandy beaches of a small island.
- Optional: Join a tour of the mountains that surround Trinidad. A truck takes you for a hike in the mountains and a swim in natural pools.
Note: the optional excursions are not included, but can be booked in advance.
Day 6: Trinidad - Santa Clara - Havana
Today the activities and jeep journey continues, with plenty of opportunities to engage with the locals and explore the island’s fascinating history.
- Head to the nearby Valley of the Sugar Mills. Trinidad owes its existence to the sugar industry which flourished between the late 18th and 19th century. The 44-meter (144 feet) high Manaca Iznaga tower was built next to a hacienda in 1750 to control the slaves. After climbing the tower you can take in the striking panoramas of the surrounding area. Trinidad and this valley are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Tour the city of Santa Clara on the way back to Havana, where you will visit the Che Guevara Memorial.
- Return to Havana where the tour ends. Alternatively, we can arrange a transfer to a destination of your choice, such as the celebrated beaches of Varadero or the magnificent white sands of Cayo Santa Maria.
- Accommodation with meals as per description
- Transfers: arrival transfer, from Havana international Airport to hotel in Havana and departure transfer, from hotel in Havana to Havana International Airport
- Excursions with transportation as per description
Customise your trip
This is a flexible program; the hotel and duration can be changed as you wish. The final price for a customized tour depends on the travel dates, availability and your personal wishes. Please contact us to discuss the options, we’re happy to explore with you how we can make a trip to Cuba possible for you within a set budget.