“A two week, tailor made trip, travelling independently around some of the country’s great highlights. Use hire car or have private transfers, and stay at small ‘casas’ and guesthouses along the way. ”
HighlightsHavana | Viñales | Las Terrazas | Santa Clara | Trinidad | Camaguey | Santiago
Description of Cuba holiday, culture and natureThis two week Cuba holiday takes you through some of the country’s cultural and natural heritage highlights, travelling independently and following an itinerary which we can tweak according to exactly what you want to see, when, and how long you want to stay in each place.
What we aim to provide is a delightful Cuban cocktail, carefully crafted in a way that enables you to fully immerse yourself in local culture and see what makes this great country tick. We ensure that our itineraries are very much connected with the local community and so you will be staying in small-scale, locally owned accommodation along the way, with a mix of cosy hotels and ‘casa particulars’.
Starting and finishing in Havana, there are adventures to be had every day in Cuba. Meet local ranchos, go horse riding through the Viñales tobacco terrain, learn to dance the Salsa in Santiago, the beating heart of Cuban arts scene, and take a bicycle taxi tour around the former colonial, cobbled streets of Trinidad.
At the beginning and end of this trip you will stay in a hotel in the heart of Old Havana, famous for its faded chic and former colonial glamour now being revived by contemporary Caribbean soul, where rumba (and rum) lead the beat in a way that feels like a constant soundtrack to a magnificent movie.
Responsible tourism: Cuba holiday, culture and nature
EnvironmentWhile long haul travel to Cuba is, by its very nature, not particularly eco-friendly, we try very hard to minimise our effect on the environment. You'll leave your vehicle behind you and explore the local area on foot, or in the case of Vinales, by horse. Discover the hidden waterfalls of Las Terrazas and learn about how this area has become Cuba's pioneering eco-tourism area, retraining farmers into local guides and in the process protecting this unique biosphere.
At home, we have recycling points within the office to encourage all staff to reduce their carbon footprint and even compost our food waste so that it doesn’t end up in landfill. As we work with partners across the globe, we regularly use tele-conferencing instead of flights to reduce our carbon emissions.
We believe that it’s our duty to inform our customers about ways that they too can reduce their environmental impact when they travel to and around Cuba. We therefore advise our customers to be mindful of their electricity and water usage while they’re in Cuba, to take their rubbish away with them, especially when visiting areas of outstanding natural beauty, and to be aware of the exploitation of plants and wildlife, including the illegal export of endangered species.CommunityWe feel that it's important to make that long-haul flight worth it, so we work hard to ensure that our trips benefit the local community. We prioritise small-scale, locally owned accommodation with plenty of character across Cuba. During this itinerary you’ll stay in a mix of cosy hotels and casa particulars. Casa are similar to a guest house or a bed and breakfast with just a few rooms and a warm welcome. They’re owned and run by local families, often within their own home, so by staying here you’re putting money directly into the pockets of the local people and minimising the impact of tourism on the local culture.
In each of our destinations we support a local project and give our customers the option to make a small donation when they book their trip with us. As music is such an important part of Cuban culture, we’ve chosen to support Music fund for Cuba, a UK based charity that was established in 2001. It was set up in memory of the singer Kirsty MacColl who was inspired by Cuban music and fell in love with the Cuban culture and its people. They support education and development of music and performing arts across the country. The music fund provides much needed support and equipment for children and young Cuban musicians, dancers and artists through the island.
Our experiences in this itinerary will bring you to the heart of Cuba. You'll hang out with the guajiros in Vinales and learn the art of cigar-rolling alongside the locals. You'll have plenty of time to dance the night away in Santa Clara and head off the typical tourist route to visit the less-known town of Camaguey.
|Day 1-3:||Classic Cars in Havana:
Havana has a distinct, exotic personality that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. During this trip, you’ll stay near heart of timeless Old Havana; a mix of crumbling colonial beauty, peeling bygone glamour and colossal Caribbean soul, it’s a law unto itself. Rumba music bounces between the brightly painted buildings and Latino life breathes from every balcony. It really has to be seen to be believed. Next, you’ll travel to the tobacco town of Viñales. Whether you’re travelling by hire car or shuttle bus, the journey takes roughly 4 hours through one of Cuba’s most beautiful provinces.|
|Day 3-5:||Rolling through Tobacco Hills:
Ride horseback through the rolling hills of Viñales, Cuba’s rustic cigar region. A stubborn, scenic village that refuses to be changed by tourism, Viñales feels totally timeless. You’ll explore the valley on horseback and on foot, learning about the art of cigar-rolling and meet the local guajiros. If you’re looking for an authentic experience, you’ve found it. Life isn’t staged in Viñales, it simply unfolds as it has done for decades. Next, you’ll jump in your hire car or private transfer and set off on the short 90min journey to Las Terrazas.|
|Day 5-7:||Explore the Coffee Fields:
Las Terrazas, Cuba’s pioneering eco-village is a beautiful natural playground just begging to be explored. Walk to hidden waterfalls, get to know the forest on foot and discover how coffee is grown. During this trip, you’ll spend 2 nights tucked away in the trees of Las Terrazas, staying in a truly unique resort built around a giant tree. Now protected under UNESCO biosphere status, the area is an example of eco-tourism at its very best. Next, you’ll make your way from the lush surroundings of Las Terrazas and journey on to Santa Clara, the town famous for its links to Che Guevara. You’ll travel for roughly 5 hours either by hire car or private transfer.|
|Day 7-11:||Cuba, the Cuban Way:
Get lost in a colonial daydream and dust off your dancing shoes on the cobbled streets of Trinidad. During this trip, you’ll spend one night in Santa Clara on your way to Trinidad, for a visit to Che Guevara’s mausoleum. In Trinidad you’ll stay with a family in a traditional Casa Particular. You’ll take a bici-taxi tour with a local guide, getting you into the groove of this creative, colourful and quirky city. On day 11 you’ll leave Trinidad and head to Camaguey by hire car or private transfer. Your travel time will be roughly 5 hours.|
|Day 11-12:||Ranchos of Camaguey:
Get lost in the cobbled streets of Cuba’s very own Wild West. The city is steeped in swash-buckling pirate history, while beyond there’s a world of cowboys, horses and ranches to explore. Rarely visited, Camaguey is a glance into the working heart of the real Cuba. With an increasingly cosmopolitan flavour and a labyrinth of streets that will foil even the greatest inner compass, it’s an eye-opener. After breakfast on day 12 you’ll travel for about 5 hours by shuttle bus or hire car further east to Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city and birthplace of the Cuban rumba and salsa music.|
|Day 12-15:||Buena Vista Santiago:
Sandwiched between the Sierra Maestra Mountains and the Caribbean sea, Santiago is bursting with melodies and packed with character. It’s the beating heart of Cuban literature, architecture and culture. A sort of ethnic melting pot, it’s a remarkable and riotous place. You’ll spend your time in Santiago taking salsa lessons, stumbling upon hidden bodegas and listening to live Cuban music bounce off the streets. It’s all about rhythm and rum. Finally, we'll arrange a private driver to collect you from your hotel in Santiago and transfer you to the airport, where you’ll catch a short 2 hour flight back to Havana. After you’ve collected your bags, our representative will be waiting to transfer you back to the same hotel in Havana that you stayed in at the beginning of your trip. The following day we’ll arrange a private driver to collect you from your hotel and transfer you to the airport, all in good time to catch your international flights home.|
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Responsible Travel