La Vida Cubana

    • Havana
    • Viñales
    • Cienfuegos Province
    • Cienfuegos City
    • Trinidad
    • Santa Clara
    • Outdoors
    • Culture, Nature, History
    • Homestay & Homemade
    • Mix a cocktail
    • Sailing
    • Tobacco rendezvous

Cuba shows its bright side in the exuberant colonial architecture of the cities and in the friendliness of the countryside towns.

First, stroll through Havana’s bustling old streets. Leave for Viñales to discover the stunning limestone Mogotes and learn the secrets of the best tobacco in the world.

On your way to the seaside city of Cienfuegos, only one founded by the French in Cuba, you will visit the second largest coffee plantation in Cuba during the 19th century.

A truly special experience awaits at the beautiful waterfall of El Nicho. Continue to Trinidad to admire its colonial architecture. Enjoy a relaxing day in the calm waters of the Caribbean Sea. Because believe it or not, Cuba, this open-air spectacle has 24-carat golden beaches with a sea bluer than blue.

On your last day, on your way back to Havana, stop in Santa Clara for a visit to the Che Guevara Memorial, the final resting place of the legendary revolutionary. 


Highlights 
  • Stroll through the alleys in Havana and Trinidad and walk over the elegant avenues of Cienfuegos.
  • Viñales is a charming village, surrounded by rugged, bumpy mountains and vast tobacco fields.
  • Coffee plantation and sugarcane. 
  • The beaches you once loved will fade. The sea seems colored blue here.
  • Learn to mix your own cocktail and toast to the result.
  • Enjoy the French-inspired architecture in elegant Cienfuegos.
  • Sunbathe, sail and snorkel in Cayo Iguana – a small Caribbean key.
  • Visit Che Guevara's final resting place in the mausoleum in Santa Clara and delve into the Cuban Revolution in the museum.
  • Honor where credit is due! No authentic Cuba without the Cuban people! The meeting with the population is highlight number 1.
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Departure time
Flexible
Start/finish
Starts in Havana, ends in Havana.
Character
Private (possible as group tour or self-drive)
Languages
English, German, Spanish

Day 1: Arrival in Havana

Welcome at Havana airport. Transfer to your accommodation. 

Accommodation: Casa particular, Havana (e.g. San Lázaro 115)

    • Havana
    • No meals included today

Havana was founded by the Spaniards in 1519 and is today, more than 500 years later, without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America. Colourful, lively, at the same time traditional and hip, magical and realistic. Havana is a party.

A bicitaxi will take you to the dazzling Plaza Vieja in the historic center of the city. Climb the Camara Oscura for a far-reaching view of handsome Havana. 

With your guide, you will walk leisurely to the squares of Old Havana, passing the main landmarks. 
Afterwards, board the jolly Cocotaxi, an egg-shaped motorized vehicle that will take you to Revolution Square. Visit a car repair shop and get an insight into the ingenuity of the mechanics, who keep these old-timers driving thanks to mostly handmade spare parts.

Your day will end in glamor, with a tour aboard one of those beautiful classic cars. This gives the opportunity to also explore the more modern Havana. The highlight is a panoramic ride along the legendary Malecón promenade, where everyone gathers. From fishermen to lovers, from musicians to families.

Accommodation: Casa particular, Havana (e.g., San Lázaro 115)

    • Havana
    • Meals included: breakfast

Pinar del Río is Cuba's greenest province.

In the morning you leave for the west. When the tobacco fields become more numerous, where the soil becomes more red, when the rugged limestone mountain formations, the Mogotes, come into view, then you are approaching the Valley of Viñales.

Stop at the viewpoint next to Hotel Los Jazmines to admire the beautiful scenery. 

A traditional lunch awaits in a place full of nature, where you can also enjoy a cocktail session to learn the secrets behind the recipes of some of the most delicious Cuban cocktails.

Along the way you can observe one of the largest murals in the world; El Mural de la Prehistoria. Designed by painter Leovigildo González, 21 local farmers assisted in this monumental work that recreates life in Cuba in the time of the dinosaurs.

Do as you please for the rest of the afternoon.

Accommodation: Casa particular, Viñales (e.g., Los Tres Caballeros)

    • Pinar del Río Province
    • Viñales
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch

In Vinales, time seems to stand still. Actually, that is not true, on the contrary, the town is becoming more and more hip. Nevertheless, the almost untouched nature and the simple farm life maintain that image. 

Enjoy a morning walk through the lush greenery and along the fields. Most likely, you will come across a farmer who works the traditional way, with rustic tools and bullock carts. The farmers like to talk about their work.

Then it's lunch time. A delicious lunch, courtesy of Alberto Vitamina, a special local farmer with a keen Cuban sense of humor. Your host gained fame by selling fruit, his trademark is his talkativeness with clients. 

End the afternoon with a special adventure. The canopy tour or Zipline. With each stretch, enjoy the literal sensation that the valley is at your feet. 

Accommodation: Casa particular, Viñales (e.g., Los Tres Caballeros)

    • Viñales
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch

Depart in the early morning for Cienfuegos, the only city in Cuba founded by the French.

Along the way, stop at the ruins of the Angerona coffee plantation, an estate owned by the German immigrant Cornelio Souchay, in the 19th century. Remains of the estate that have stood the test of time include parts of the mansion, the walls of the slave quarters, and the reservoirs used to supply the plantations with water. The place is shrouded in a mystical atmosphere of legends and stories of slavery and love.

Shortly afterwards, visit an agro-ecological paradise where local food production is transformed into culinary delicacies in the hands of an experienced chef.

After lunch and a 300 km (186 mi) drive, you will arrive in the charming maritime city of Cienfuegos, the Pearl of the South. Benny Moré, the most celebrated Cuban interpreter of the Son, is one of the many national idols born here. His bronze statue stands in the Prado Promenade.

Accommodation: Casa Particular, Cienfuegos (e.g.,Maikel or similar) 

    • Cienfuegos City
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch

Natural Park El Nicho is an amazing place in Cuba. From Cienfuegos, you reach it after about an hour's drive over mountainous roads full of rural life.
A fairly easy 2-hour hike leads to a spectacular waterfall that forms numerous small natural pools. Take a refreshing dip and return for lunch in a rustic wooden restaurant in the middle of pure nature.

Afterwards, you will return to the city for a visit to the Parque Martí, with its Terry Theater, where the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso once performed.

Finish your day with a delicious cocktail on the roof of Palacio de Valle, a palace on the south side of the city where you can enjoy fantastic sea views. 

Accommodation: Casa Particular, Cienfuegos (e.g., Maikel or similar) 

    • Cienfuegos City
    • Cienfuegos Province
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch

After breakfast, you will set course for Trinidad, one of the wealthiest cities on the island of the 19th century. Its unique colonial architecture has remained virtually untouched to this day.
A tour along the old streets of the city will give you a clear idea of why it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Walk across the Plaza Mayor with its beautiful mansions. One of them is the Brunet Palace, today the Romantic Museum. The former residence now houses a collection of pieces that belonged to the owners of the sugar plantations in the 19th century. 

A day full of traditions is complemented by the Trinitarian pottery heritage at La casa del Alfarero.

In the evening, after savoring the local cuisine in an authentic paladar, you can dance to the rhythm of Cuban music in Casa de la Trova.

Accommodation: Casa Particular, Trinidad (e.g., Osmari y Alberto or similar)

    • Trinidad
    • Meals included: breakfast and dinner

Only the fortresses along the coast of the Caribbean Sea remind us of the danger to pirates from centuries ago. Today the lovely turquoise water stands for pure recreation.

Through the fishing village of Casilda, you arrive at the departure point of the catamaran. Set sail on the Caribbean Sea and watch the southern Trinitarian coast slowly shrink as Cayo Iguana comes into view.  

The vessel moors at the small island, Jump into the crystal-clear waters for swimming and snorkeling. There is plenty of sun, enthusiasts can work on their tan on board or on the island. The day is graced with Cuban rhythms.

A typical Creole-style lunch is offered on the island, before returning happily to Trinidad in the afternoon.

Accommodation: Casa Particular, Trinidad (e.g., Osmari y Alberto or similar)

 

    • Trinidad
    • Meals included: breakfast and lunch

You will travel through the Valle de los Ingenios (Sugar Mill Valley) with its remarkable Iznaga Tower, on to Santa Clara.

This city witnessed the most important victory by the legendary guerrilla fighter Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. To learn more about this confrontation, visit the site where his troops derailed an armored train in an action that effectively defined the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.
Continue for a refreshing drink at Café Revolución, where you'll find an interesting collection of artifacts from that battle.
Visit the Ernesto Guevara Memorial, mausoleum and museum, Che's final resting place

A straight highway to Havana follows, unless there are participants who have booked a beach extension in Varadero. In that case, we stop in this seaside resort. We are in this together.

    • Havana
    • Santa Clara
    • Meals included: breakfast


  • Arrival transfer from Havana airport to Havana accommodation (on first day of the tour).
  • Local guide service from day 2 - 9 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.
  • 8 Nights in privately-owned guesthouses (double room).
  • 8 Breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 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.
  • Bring a pair of sturdy or sports shoes with grip. Think of any swimsuit (and towel). 
  • Che Guevara's Mausoleum and Museum in Santa Clara is closed on Mondays.