La Vida Real

    • Havana
    • Trinidad
    • Sancti Spíritus Province
    • Camagüey City
    • Cienfuegos Province
    • Guardalavaca
    • Bayamo
    • Guantánamo
    • Santiago de Cuba City
    • Matanzas City
    • Baracoa
    • Viñales
    • Beach
    • Culture
    • History
Traditions define countries, and are compiled of people´s everyday life. On this tour of the entire island, you will feel the deep pride locals take in being Cubans. Start in Havana exploring the New7Wonder City inside out, from a stylish scenic tour in a classic car to an insightful walk through the colonial streets and alleys. Learn all about Cuban tobacco in the farm of a renowned veguero, listen to interesting stories told by local farmers in Viñales, and visit a modern art studio in Matanzas, the Venice of Cuba.
Admire the only Cuban city founded by the French, and its architectural differences with the city of Trinidad, a colonial gem that remains essentially intact, where you will enjoy a relaxing day at the beach. As you head east, immerse yourself deeper in Cuban history. Discover Camagüey, a labyrinth of little, irregular streets once trodden by pirates and privateers; then Bayamo, the first villa declared free from colonial Spain.
Take it to the next level in Santiago de Cuba paying your respects to the independence war heroes in Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, the last resting place of countless luminaries, including Fidel Castro. Discover much more than history in the charming city of Santiago de Cuba. The legendary city is home to the best Cuban rum, popular rhythms like Son, and the Patron Saint of Cuba: the Virgen de la Caridad. People here speak with a distinct cadence and are unable to remain still to the beat of Conga. Head for Baracoa, the first villa founded by the Spanish in Cuba. Surrounded by a plethora of mountains, rivers and hidden beaches, revere nature in all her glory. At the end of the tour, you will have the opportunity to relax in a beach resort in Guardalavaca.
Highlights include:
- Explore the whole island from West to East.
- Learn the distinctive cultural features of each region through the preparation of typical dishes, visits to community
projects and stays at locals’ houses
- Enjoy the best this island has to offer: the classic cars, the best cigars in the world, the most beautiful landscapes
- Assisted by local experts, enjoy authentic experiences while supporting sustainable tourism
- Transfer to Guardalavaca hotel is included for beach extension at the end of the tour
+ Read more


Departure time
Flexible
Start/finish
Starts in havana and ends in Holguin
Character
Private or group
Languages
English, German, Spanish

Day 1: Arrival in Havana

Welcome at Havana1 airport. Transfer to your casa particular. Dinner at own expense.
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Havana (e.g. La Siguaraya).

Touring Havana is a fascinating roller coaster of feelings. You will explore this Wonder City following a singular route. Kick off your day hoping into a cocotaxi, a coconut-shaped vehicle that will take you through back streets in the neighborhoods
of Centro Habana and Vedado, up to the iconic Revolution Square. Ascend to the lookout for a spectacular panorama of the entire city. Continue in the comfort of an American classic car. These beauties, symbols of prosperity in the 50s, have been
kept in perfect condition thanks to the ingenuity of Cubans. Get your camera ready on your way through the Havana Metropolitan Park and the Miramar neighborhood, with its gorgeous 5th Avenue flanked by old bourgeois mansions, many of
which are now foreign embassies. Feel the pure air from the sea while cruising along the habaneros’ long sofa, the Malecón. Stop for a walking tour of Old Havana, the best way to discover the older part of the city. Explore the four main squares to
admire classics such as the Catedral de La Habana, the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales and the Convento de San Francisco de Asís. Lunch at a Paladar (privately owned restaurant) and time at leisure for souvenir shopping at the San José
craft market. Return to your casa particular on a bicitaxi. (B/L)
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Havana (e.g. La Siguaraya)

Today you will be introduced to the Cuban cuisine. Visit a produce market where your guide will brief you on the Cubans’ typical groceries and the difficulties to come by basic items. Arrive later at the fishing village of Cojímar, where the American
writer Ernest Hemingway liked to spend time chatting with fishermen. Prepare a traditional Cuban dish alongside a chef after picking some essential ingredients from the family orchard. Enjoy the elaboration process while sipping a delicious cocktail.
In the afternoon, immerse yourself in the Afro-Cuban religious customs and traditions. An expert will brief you on the beliefs, the deities and the connection with European Catholicism. This will help you understand why so many Cubans dress in all
white clothing. (B/L)
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Havana (e.g. La Siguaraya)

The smell of wet soil and fresh leaves indicates the arrival to Pinar del Río, the greenest of Cuba’s provinces and home to the best tobacco in the world. Here you will have a unique opportunity to learn about this crop at the Quemado de Rubí, one of the top 5 tobacco farms in Cuba. The owner, Héctor Luis, is an Hombre Habano (Habano Man), a title equivalent to the Oscars of tobacco. On the property you will be introduced to the entire process, from the growing of the leaves up to the rolling by hand. After lunch, you will have the option to light up an authentic habano and enjoy the spicy-sweet flavor. En route to Viñales, stop at the lookout point Los Jazmines to appreciate the stunning Viñales Valley with its distinctive limestone outcrops called Mogotes. Continue to the small town where you will be staying at a casa particular. (B/L)
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Viñales (e.g. Villa El habano)

The charm of the area does not lie exclusively in its beauty. It is also renowned for the harmony between its people and the environment. Trek to appreciate the farmers laboring with rudimentary tools. Learn how they use traditional seeds for their
crops and almost no pesticide. Taste typical products like honey and delicious tropical fruits, depending on the season. Appreciate the gorgeous Mogotes, full of vegetation. Given the fragility of the eco-systems they are home to, there are laws
in place to enforce their protection. After the walk, enjoy a succulent lunch at an ecological restaurant that utilizes fresh ingredients and eco-friendly products. Learn about the bigger project of sustainable agriculture that the restaurant is a part
of while admiring the view of the Silence Valley. As is customary in the Cuban countryside, take a short rest to help your digestion. Continue to the small botanical garden of Caridad for a visit and tour. Built and maintained by two sisters, this
backyard is a private property that plays host to a wide variety of plants from different regions. Later, time at leisure. (B/L)
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Viñales (e.g. Villa El habano)

Leave the lovely farmland for the Venetian-style city of Matanzas, also known as the Athens of Cuba for its profusion of arts. En route, enjoy the best piña colada in Cuba at one of the gems of Cuban engineering, the Bacunayagua Bridge. Built over
the Yumuri Valley, it is the tallest in Cuba standing at 103 meters and features a lookout point that offers an incredible view of the structure, the sea and the valley. Once in Matanzas, check in at a hotel in the Parque de la Libertad. Right across, there
is the Pharmaceutical Museum, formerly a French Drugstore, one of the oldest and best preserved in the world. Appreciate the original tools and containers dating back to the 19th century as well as nearly 800 thousand formulations. Admire the city
as you stroll down the Paseo Narvaes, a gorgeous pedestrian path, recently renovated, along the San Juan River. You will have the chance to visit various art galleries, including the Lolo Studio-Gallery, where you can find artists at work giving form
to creations in bronze, steel and canvas. (B)
Accommodation with breakfast at E Hotel El Louvre (or similar), or a selected casa particular in Matanzas

Cienfuegos is the only Cuban city founded by the French. The perfect layout of the streets, the spacious avenues and a special relation with the sea, makes it an ideal city to stroll through. Visit the Martí Park to appreciate the architecture of the
iconic buildings such as the Tomás Terry Theater, the Ferrer Palace, the former Spanish Casino and the Cathedral. Lunch at a Paladar to taste seafood delicacies. In the afternoon, head to an old colonial city of cobblestone streets, mansions with
high windows and courtyards, tall bell towers and unique craft industry tracing back to the 19th century. Trinidad is the name of this charming city. Once there, after a one-hour drive along a seaside road, walk through its plazas and visit a pottery
workshop to learn the secrets of this Trinitarian tradition. At night, go with the flow and take a seat on the stairway of the main square to enjoy the captivating music from the La Casa de la Musica. (B/L)
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Trinidad (e.g. Hostal Ly)

The warm Caribbean Sea is your destination today. Have a sun and sand day at the Trinitarian beach of Ancón, or go for an excursion (not included) to a small island where you will feel like Robinson Crusoe. Your vehicle picks you up at 8:15 am to
take you to the beach or, if you paid extra for the excursion, to the spot where you will embark for Cayo Iguana (see detailsbelow). In the afternoon, your transportation back to your accommodation will be ready at 4:30 pm. (B) 
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Trinidad (e.g. Hostal Ly)

Your day begins with a stop at the Sugar Mills Valley. Sugar industry flourished here in the 19th century, bringing about great prosperity to Trinidad. The landlords of the mills, wealthy families that owned the lands from the very foundation of the villa,
made a fortune exploiting the African slaves. Admire the Manaca Iznaga Tower, tallest of the valley, which served to supervise the slave workforce. Continue to Sancti Spíritus, an old town with the only bridge from the colonial times still functioning in
Cuba: the bridge over the Yayabo River. Lunch next to the engineering antique. Down the central road, head for Camagüey, the city of “tinajones” (large earthenware typical of this province). Hop on a bicitaxi for a tour of the city through its labyrinthlike
streets, deliberately designed to lose pirates and privateers seeking to ransack the villa. (B/L)
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Camagüey (e.g. Hostal San Rafael)

The pride of a nation comes from its people’s glorious deeds. The tour continues to the city of Bayamo, cradle of the Cuban nation, first to be free of the Spanish colony and where the national anthem was sang for the first time. The tradition of horsedrawn carriages remains alive here, and you will not want to miss the opportunity to see the city on one of them. Leave for the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Charity. The Patron Saint of Cuba has been the spiritual guide to millions of Cubans ever since the colonial era. Arrive in Santiago de Cuba, foundation of the Cuban Revolution, birthplace of Son, perfect mixture of cultures and religions: a mixed-race city. Enjoy the good music coming from every corner. End your day with a delicious dinner at your B&B. (B/D)
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Santiago de Cuba (e.g. Hostal Heredia)

“Rebellious yesterday, hospitable today, heroic forever”. That is the motto of the second largest city of the island. The city tour begins right after breakfast. Behold the Moncada Barracks, former police station attacked by Fidel Castro in 1953 in an
action that ignited the sparks of the Cuban Revolution. Visit the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, final resting place of the most illustrious Cuban patriots, including national hero José Martí, former president Fidel Castro and Mariana Grajales, mother of
the Maceo generals. Buried here are also eminent members of the Bacardí dynasty, the ousted Cuban rum powerhouse. Continue to the center of the city to appreciate the iconic Céspedes Park and the Enramadas Street. In the afternoon, head
southbound for San Pedro de la Roca Fort, an outstanding military engineering work in the Caribbean. Relish the spectacular view of the mountains and the sea. Rest of your day at leisure. (B)
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Santiago de Cuba (e.g. Hostal Heredia)

Today’s journey takes you through unique features of the Cuban geography. Past small towns, cultivated fields and all kinds of vendors along the roadside arrive in Guantánamo, home to the Tumba Francesa, a dance and music tradition brought to
eastern Cuba by French settlers and their Haitian slaves, who fled the Haitian Revolution. It is here that the infamous US detention camp is. The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base occupies an usurped Cuban territory, which you will be able to see from
afar, at the lookout point of La Gobernadora. As you proceed, observe the contrasts and changes in the scenery. Alongside a sea in deep shades of turquoise, you go from a dry, semi-desertic landscape with cactus as the main visible vegetation, to
the moist, verdant rainforest in the mountains. Your destination is a tropical paradise that records the highest rainfall in Cuba.The last stretch of the road is La Farola viaduct, considered one of the seven wonders of Cuban engineering. The meandering
path will introduce you to a breathtaking natural scenery…and some typical culinary delicacies, the Cucuruchos. Do not miss the opportunity to taste these coconut and fruit sweets, which are served in conic containers of palm tree tissue. Once in
Baracoa, in the afternoon, visit the Matachín Fort and the plaza of the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption of the Cross, which treasures the Cross of the Vine brought by Christopher Columbus. Check in at a casa particular and dinner. The local
traditional cuisine, unique in Cuba, is based on products such as coconut, cocoa, plantain and seafood, which gives it a
distinct Caribbean touch. (B/D)
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Baracoa (e.g. Casa Isabel Castro)

In the midst of an exuberant nature, with plenty of rivers and coconut trees, the landscape of Baracoa is particularly marked by the flat-topped mountain of El Yunque. Explore this magnificent creation of Mother Nature in an excursion that includes
navigating on cayucas, a type of rustic canoe typical of this region, across the mouth of Miel River. Along the way, you will be briefed on the local flora and fauna, and will have the chance to refresh in a little known cave. The sight of the Caribbean
Sea and the wild vegetation dotted with coconut trees is to die for. Your lunch, elaborated with fresh products, bears the stamp of the region. You will have the chance to swim in the virgin beaches and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. (B/L)
Accommodation with breakfast at a selected casa particular in Baracoa (e.g. Casa Isabel Castro)

On your last day, travel along an uncrowded, bumpy seaside road around the Humboldt Park. Past exotic bays teeming with palm trees, you will get to Moa, a mine region with an important nickel industry. Continue to Holguin and proceed another 40 kilometers to arrive in the resort area of Guardalavaca. End of tour for clients opting for a beach extension. (B) (Caribbean Tours recommends against arranging international flight connections on the same day that the tour ends. Arrival in time to the airport is not guaranteed in those cases and Cuba Travel Network does not take responsibility for that. Instead, it is recommended to book an additional night.)


- Air-conditioned vehicle with chauffeur (car/van/bus). Quality of vehicles based on the country’s standards.
  2 pax in a car (1 piece of luggage maximum per person)
  From 3-6 pax in a minivan/microbus (6-10 seats)
- Transfer from Havana airport to Havana accommodation on the starting day of the tour.
- Local guide service all 14 days of the tour (transfers from/to the airport might be escorted by a Caribbean Tours
representative instead)
- Excursions, visits and entrances as per program
- 13 night-stay at selected privately-owned houses
- 13 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 2 dinner