A different island

    • Trinidad
    • Havana
    • Cienfuegos City
    • Bay of Pigs
    • Santa Clara
    • Villa Clara Province
    • Matanzas Province
    • Casa particular & small hotel
    • Culture, Nature, History
    • E-bike
    • Kayaking
    • Undiscovered

There is a Cuba that has not yet been discovered. It lies in small towns, well off the trodden path, where people are exceptionally hospitable and pure.

This tour is about finding hidden Cuban gems. Engage with people through unique, exciting activities. Explore Sagua la Grande, a forgotten city that used to be one of the wealthiest in the 19th century. Visit the port town of Isabela de Sagua to savour seafood delicacies at a restaurant built on stilts over the water.

Hike the spectacular, yet unsung limestone features of Jumaguá, and appreciate the quirky flora species.
Kayak across the waters of the beautiful Bay of Cienfuegos. Relax on the white sand beach of Ancón after a tour through the colonial architecture of Trinidad.

Learn in Santa Clara, a city marked by Che Guevara’s victory, more about the history of the revolution. Jump into Cuba's deepest cenote, a water containing cave, in Playa Larga.

Wrap up your adventure in Havana. Tour the city on an e-bike to admire its colourful buildings. Hop on a cocotaxi. Get on board of an American classic car, taking in sites such as the Revolution Square and the Malecón.

Highlights:
  • Fascinating route linking places untouched by tourists. 
  • Environment-mindful activities, such as hiking the Jumaguá Mogotes and an e-bike tour of Havana. 
  • Unique marine experiences, such as kayaking across the Bay of Cienfuegos and swimming with fish in Bay of Pigs. 
  • Chilling out at Playa Ancón.
  • Thoughtful combination of accommodations in small boutique hotels and casas particulares
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Departure time
Flexible
Start/finish
Starts and ends in Varadero
Character
Private (possible as group tour or self-drive)
Languages
English, German, Spanish

Day 1: Arrival at Varadero Airport - Matanzas (50 km / 31 mi)

Welcome at the airport of Varadero. Transfer to your hotel in Matanzas City.

Accommodation: Hotel Louvre (3*), Matanzas

    • Varadero
    • Matanzas City
    • No meals included today

Matanzas is dubbed the Athens of Cuba for its historic profusion in literature and arts. Due to the many water channels, it is also referred to as the city of bridges. 

In the morning, walk through the historical center. Visit an old French drugstore dating back to the 19th century, now a pharmaceutical museum with an impressive collection of utensils and formulations.

Before leaving the city, admire the spectacular view of the Yumurí Valley and the bay of Matanzas from La Ermita de Monserrate.

Visit La Finca, a charming natural spot where arts, pottery and organic farming thrive. The owners will guide you through the estate, explaining the concept of their project, and will offer a delicious lunch prepared with products form the farm.  

Continue to Sagua la Grande, situated aprox. 50 km (31 mi) north of Santa Clara. Rural life passes by your car windows, with its small farming towns, still untouched by tourism.
In the evening you take a tour through the city.

Accommodation: Hotel Sagua (3*), Sagua la Grande 

    • Matanzas City
    • Villa Clara Province
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch

Sagua la Grande is largely unknown, especially when it comes to tourism. Very few know its glorious past.
Home to businessmen, artists and casinos, the city was one of the most prosperous in the 19th century. Today it is the archetype of a Cuban rural town.

In the morning, explore the Mogotes de Jumaguá Natural Park, an interesting limestone formation characterized by 8 mogotes. They give shelter to multiple endemic species, including the very rare Jumaguá palm.
Through a cave, you can climb to the top of one of the mogotes and see a spectacular scenery dominated by palm trees. Local farmers squeeze natural fruit juice for you.

You will continue to Isabela de Sagua, via a road that runs along the second oldest railway in Cuba. The fishing village is known for its seafood. Freshly caught oysters and crabs are prepared and served in a picturesque restaurant on the water, built on stilts. Lunch is not included today, you choose where you will have lunch. Don't lose this chance and eat here.  
In the afternoon, depart for Santa Clara to visit Vidal Park, the social and cultural heart of the city.
The evening is yours. With your guide you can check out the night program at El Mejunje, a cultural center known for its wide choice of acts, ranging from Cuban ballads to rock and drag shows.

Accommodation: Hotel-E Central (3*), or a casa particular, Santa Clara

    • Villa Clara Province
    • Santa Clara
    • Meals included: breakfast

Santa Clara breathes history. It was here on Christmas, 1958, when the last battle was fought, the battle that effectively determined the triumph of the revolution.
El Che, Argentine guerrilla fighter Ernesto Guevara, was the mastermind behind the attack. You will visit the armored train with the original wagons. Its derailment led to the victory for the revolutionaries.

You will also stop at the monument of Che Guevara. And at... a cigar factory to learn about the art of hand-rolling the famous Cuban puros.

Arrive in Cienfuegos, also called the "pearl of the south", a city founded by the French, with a clear classical style.
Kayak across the water in the large bay, once a hotbed of pirates, now offers sweeping views of this elegant city's skyline.

In the afternoon, visit the beautiful Palacio de Valle, an eclectic Moorish-style palace. Built by Don Asisclo del Valle to live with his wife. Enjoy a beautiful sunset, enjoy a delicious cocktail on the rooftop. Cheers to Cienfuegos! 
Rest of the day at leisure.

Accommodation: Casa particular Bella Época or similar, Cienfuegos

    • Santa Clara
    • Cienfuegos City
    • Meals included: breakfast

The image of Trinidad resembles an ancient engraving. Frozen in time, is the third place founded by Spaniards in Cuba. Neglected for decades, the city has been beautifully restored and has been brought back to life, also with many private initiatives and tourist services.
The road to tiny Trinidad runs along the south coast, bypassing the Escambray Mountains.

Stroll through the ancient squares, paved streets, and craft markets of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Taste the local cuisine in a paladar. And end your visit to Trinidad on the white sand beach of Ancón.

You will return to Cienfuegos in the late afternoon. Dinner will be arranged at your accommodation. 

Accommodation: Casa particular Bella Época or similar, Cienfuegos

    • Trinidad
    • Cienfuegos City
    • Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner

A small detour after leaving Cienfuegos, brings you to the Bay of Pigs. In 1961, the usually peaceful bay was the battlefield, where the nascent Cuban Revolution overpowered the infamous invasion. The attack was planned by the CIA and carried out by Cuban exiles. In the museum in Playa Girón, these dark moments relive through the exhibition of objects, weapons and even a plane that took part in the battle.

A little further north, situated at the same bay, is Playa Larga. Make a stop at La Cueva de los Peces, a cenote; a cave containing water. Chill out on the beach and enjoy your lunch.

On to Havana! Evening at leisure.

Accommodation: Casa Particular Juan de la Habana, or similar, Havana

 

    • Bay of Pigs
    • Havana
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch

After breakfast, hop on a coco taxi (funny motorized egg-shaped mode of transport). This will take you to the office where the e-bikes can be picked up.

It is really lovely to cycle through Havana. Along the Malecón, the beloved seafront promenade, also known as Havana's maritime balcony. In the historic center you can walk with your bike over the squares. The colonial architecture tells the story of the 500-year-old city. 

Back on the bike, to the Centro Habana district for lunch in the famous paladar 'La Guarida'. This private restaurant was the setting for the Oscar-nominated Cuban film 'Fresa y Chocolate'.
Hotel Nacional de Cuba was a Mafia favorite in the 1940s. Discover the myths behind the Mafia in Havana, the underground trenches built during the missile crisis and the halls where the biggest celebrities of the 1950s hung out.
Enjoy a refreshing mojito (with or without alcohol) before returning the bikes.

From there, an American classic car will take you for a city drive through the Vedado and Miramar neighborhoods, with their beautiful mansions, and brings you afterwards to your accommodation.

Accommodation: Casa Particular Juan de la Habana or similar, Havana

    • Havana
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch

Morning at leisure.
At noon, transfer to Varadero Airport in order to catch your flight home or continue to Varadero town for a hotel extension at the beach. 

    • Varadero
    • Havana
    • Meals included: breakfast


  • Arrival transfer from Varadero Airport to hotel in the city of Matanzas (on first day of the tour).
  • Local guide service all 8 days of the tour (transfers from airport might be attended by a representative).
  • Private tour with daily departure in air-conditioned vehicle with professional chauffeur. Type vehicle:
    - Passenger’s car/taxi: with 2 participants (1 piece of luggage maximum per person)
    - Minivan/microbus (6-10 seats): with 3 to 7 participants (1 piece of luggage maximum per person).
    Quality of vehicles based on the country’s standards.
  • Excursions, visits, and entrance fees as per program.
  • 7 Nights in privately-owned guesthouses (double room) or in small boutique-hotel. 
  • 7 x breakfasts, 4 x lunch, 1 x dinner.
Services not included in the price of the tour
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the program.
  • Any extension after the tour.
  • Departure transfer to airport.
  • Personal expenses and tips.

  • It is also possible to make this trip in a small group (maximum number of international participants 12). Please contact us for prices and departure dates. 
  • Would you like to drive yourself? The same program can be booked in combination with one of our rental cars. In that case, guide or driver are not included, nor are entrance fees, lunches, or dinners.

More remarks

  • The published price concerns a private trip, is per person, based on room occupancy with 2 people, and does not include international flights and any extension. The minimum number of people is 2.
  • Not all Casas Particulares have a triple room. In that case, a double and single room will be reserved. 
  • Che Guevara's Mausoleum and Museum in Santa Clara is closed on Mondays.
  • We are proud of our high quality e-bikes! Our e-bikes were all imported from Germany, they have a frequent maintenance and are ideal for Havana's hills and streets. With these e-bikes, our customers are well equipped for a unique experience.