Sat in the centre of the Caribbean, Cuba is the region’s largest island and is a vibrant cultural melting pot. Rich colonial influences collide with a past spent in pirate-ravaged seas and propaganda reminds you that the country is at the tail end of a modern day revolution.
Stepping off the plane in Havana feels like you’re moving back in time. In Cuba the clock stopped in the 50’s, so you’ll be picked up in a private classic American car to tour UNESCO world heritage sites filled with crumbling 18th century buildings adorned with paintings of Che Guevara. We know what it takes to create the perfect Cuban experience.
Accommodation on this tour might not be luxurious, but it is unbeatably authentic. Experience the real Cuba by staying in Casa Particulares (private homes) for a unique insight into Cuban life and spend time getting to know local families – something that up until a few years ago would not have been possible.
Hotel accommodations can be offered at a supplement. Late-bookings for high season in Cuba are not advised as the booming popularity of Havana and Trinidad limits accommodation.
For clients seeking greater flexibility and independence, tours can be adapted to create tailor-made self-drive itineraries, such as the following...
Itinerary: Tour One
Day 1-3: Arrive and Explore Havana
Tour Havana in style, chauffeured through the streets in a vintage 1950s classic American car to visit the Plaza de Revolucion and along the Malecon and visit the home of Hemingway before sampling Cuba’s world famous cocktails with a classic rum mojito.
Venture off the beaten track to glimpse grand villas that remain as reminders of Cuba’s heyday. A half-day walking tour will help you get your bearings and pinpoint the capital’s highlights to revisit during your time exploring Havana.
Private driver and guide
You will be appointed a private driver and English speaking guide to help build your flexible, six day driving itinerary. Nightly accommodation is fixed, but with a generous allowance of 250km per day, discuss what attractions and or towns you would like to stop at during the trip, wherever and whenever you wish. Please note, entry fees to attractions, activities and museums etc are not included.
Day 4-5: Discover Vinales
Famed for the limestone outcrops that dominate the landscape and tobacco plantations still wandered by traditional farmers and their oxen, the rural fertile lands surrounding Vinales are just two hours’ drive from Havana. Swap your four wheels for two and explore the valleys of the area leisurely by bike. Using Vinales as your base, head to the coast and spend a day enjoying the unspoilt stretches of golden sand that fringe the island of Cayo Levisa.
Day 5: Vinales to Cienfuegos
Offering a more relaxed experience than hectic Havana, the architecture of the pretty colonial town, Cienfuegos, still echoes the roots put down by French migrant settlers. Stop along your journey to visit the historic invasion site at the Bay of Pigs and spot local wildlife, including many of Cuba’s most important bird species at the Zapata Peninsula.
Day 6-7: Explore Trinidad
The world-renowned, UNESCO protected old centre of Trinidad showcases some of the world’s finest 18th century architecture. Now pedestrianised, the cobbled streets are lined with restored historic buildings, plazas and national museums, where lively music bars open up as the sun goes down. Choose what kind of stay you want in Trinidad; from this charming old town the Escambray Mountains and Valley of the Sugar Mills are easily explored – and so is the beach!
Day 8 - 10: Trinidad to Santa Clara
Head back north via the huge Mausoleum of Che Guevara in Santa Clara, before spending the last two days in Varadero, enjoying the beach or the Yhi Spa at Paradisus Varadero.
Day 11: Return to Havana
Head back to the capital for your flight back to the UK.
Prices start from £3160 per person for travel in May 2017, with economy direct flights from London to Havana on Virgin Atlantic.
Please note that this itinerary is based on accommodation in casa particulares (private homes).
We recommend booking at least six months in advance.
Itinerary: Tour Two
Arrival transfer in a 1950s classic American car
9 nights accommodation in private homes (basic accommodation) BB basis
2 nights all inclusive in Paradisus Varadero Hotel
½ day private guided walking tour of Old Havana
6hr 50’s classic American car tour of Havana
6 days private guide and driver for touring 250kms limit per day
Private transfer from Varadero to Havana Airport on last day
4 Nights in Havana
Arrival transfer is by 50’s classic American Car.
Accommodation will be in a Casa in Old Havana similar to Casa Pedro Maria.
During your stay you will enjoy a half day walking tour of Old Havana, this helps with you getting your bearings and locating highlights that you might want to return to later.
A 6-hour guided tour by classic 50’s American Car will take you to Plaza de Revolucion, along the Malecon, to Hemingways House and neighbourhoods where you will see grand villas from Cuba's heyday.
Private driver and guide
You will be appointed a private driver and English speaking guide that will spend the next 6 days with you. Your accommodation is all pre-booked but your day-to-day itinerary is as flexible as you wish. You have an allowance of 250kms per day (accumulative) and your guide will discuss with you what opportunities and attractions there are to see along the way, but you are free to stop wherever and whenever you wish. Please note entry fees to attractions, activities and museums etc are not included and at an additional cost.
2 Nights in Vinales
Only a 2 hour drive from Havana, this rural area of Cuba is famous for it’s limestone formations, caves and tobacco plantations. There is lots to explore here whether by car or rent a bicycle. Maybe head for the coast or take a day trip to the unspoilt island of Cayo Levisa. 2 nights at Casa Jorge y Ana or similar.
1 Night in Cienfuegos
This is a longer drive today but there are a few points of interest along the way such as Zapata Peninsula and the Bay of Pigs. Cienfuegos has a French flair to it in its architecture and is a more relaxed, less hectic city than Havana.
2 Nights in Trinidad
One of UNESCO’s finest examples of restoration and protection of 18th century architecture. Trinidad old centre is now a pedestrian area of old cobbled streets, museums, restored 18th century buildings, plazas and music bars.
You can really relax here in the evenings. Also explore the Escambray Mountains and Valley of the Sugar Mills or just head for the beach. Your accommodation will be at Hostal Dr Amaro y Yamira or similar.
2 Nights in Varadero
Head back to the north coast, detour via Santa Clara and visit the Mausoleum of Che Guevara before relaxing for the last two days of your holiday at the beach or in the Yhi Spa at Paradisus Varadero.