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Travel to Cuba and experience the enthralling history of this fascinating Caribbean island.

Experience the splendour of Cuba – a cobblestoned Caribbean gem where the rum is plentiful, the smiles infectious and dancing is essential. Join our Hola Cuba adventure and wind your way from sultry Havana and its crumbling churches, through the valleys and farms of Pinar del Rio, and on to the Afro-inspired beats of Trinidad. Along the way we’ve assembled a cast of Cuban characters to give you a proper welcome – tobacco farmers, expert chefs, local artists, historians and salsa dancers that understand where Cuba came from, where the country sits now and, more importantly, where it’s going.


Start
Havana, Cuba
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Destination
Cuba
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
QUKP
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Learn the local customs, folklore and beliefs behind Afro-Cuban religion as you’re welcomed into the homes of devoted residents on a colourful and unconventional Urban Adventure in Havana.

  • Relish a real garden-to-plate dining experience at a privately-owned organic eco-farm in picturesque Vinales – indulge in a variety of fresh produce all while gazing across sweeping views of the valley.

  • Receive a fascinating insight into the rise and fall of the charismatic and highly celebrated Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara at his mausoleum and museum in Santa Clara.

  • Experience Cuban hospitality and old-world charm in the coastal town of Trinidad. Wander through cobblestone streets among colourful colonial buildings and relax on the picturesque Playa Ancon.

  • Support the Cuban community by staying at privately-owned guesthouses, dining at home-grown restaurants, and gaining insider knowledge into Cuba’s history, thanks to the expertise of local guides.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The guesthouses (casas) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling and each room is unique. Regardless of where you stay, power cuts and breaks in hot water supply are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country – but we believe that this is all a part of the local experience.

  • Part of Cuba’s appeal is its old-fashioned style – this includes the banking systems. Funds in Cuba can be difficult to access. Ideally bring multiple credit cards from several different banks just to be sure.

  • Luxuries such as air conditioning, and even toilet seats, are often scarce. Part of the experience here is learning to appreciate everyday Cuban resourcefulness.

  • Internet access can be hard to come by, and when it's available it's often unreliable and expensive. Treat this as a great opportunity to take a break from modern devices and have a true holiday.

  • Cuba is different, and that's a big part of its allure. Things don't always go according to plan, and many things don't work the same way as back home. Patience and good humour will go a long way in this beautiful destination.

  • Due to licensing restrictions, only 1-night pre-tour accommodation may be requested. Post-tour accommodation cannot be offered.

Itinerary

Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba! Upon arrival, soak in the decaying beauty of Havana and the surreal feeling that you have entered a bygone era. This is a very historic time to visit Cuba, as the gates finally creak open to a country so long forbidden, an opportunity has arisen to support the Cuban people and explore their incredible country. As there are no activities planned until your important welcome meeting at 6 pm – why not take a stroll to get acquainted with Cuba’s capital, where vintage cars, plumes of cigar smoke, Neo-Gothic churches and Art Deco theatres come together in a unique mesh of histories. After your welcome meeting, enjoy dinner at a local paladar, a privately-owned restaurant and a great example of Cuba’s incremental shift to a more free-market economy. Paladar means ‘palate’ but the popular usage of the word to describe this kind of restaurant references a Brazilian soap opera popular in Cuba in the 1990s.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
A complimentary arrival transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. Please see Joining Point Instructions in the Essential Trip Information section for more information about exiting the arrivals hall and connecting with your arrival transfer driver – who will take you to the address of your assigned guesthouse.

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning, find out more about the local customs, folklore and beliefs of Cuba’s Afro-Cuban religion from an insider on a colourful and unconventional tour with Urban Adventures. Be welcomed into private homes and take the opportunity to learn from the devoted residents as you explore one of Havana’s sub-cultures at a grassroots level, something not often experienced by tourists. Next, you’ll get to see outer Havana in a convoy of classic American vintage cars. Cruise via points of interest – such as the Malecon, Revolution Square, Avenida de los presidentes and ending in Old Havana. Next, your leader will take you on a walking tour around the charming neighbourhood of Old Havana (approximately 2.5 hours). The best place to start any Havana experience is in the Old City, which is one of the best-preserved towns and in 1982 was designated a World Heritage Site. The streets are lined with colonial architecture, 16th-century fortresses and countless churches. Visit La Catedral San Cristobal de la Habana, the Palacio de los Marqueses de Aguas Claras and the Plaza de Armas. After a full day of exploration, enjoy an evening at leisure.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Afro-Cuban Religion Tour
  • Havana - American Vintage Car Tour
  • Havana - Leader led City Tour of Old Havana
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
At about 8 am, head east to Vinales. En route stop by an outer-Havana suburb to see the passion project of Jose Fuster, an artist who has turned an entire neighbourhood into a lively and colourful series of mosaics. Known as 'Fusterlandia', the inspiring and whimsical scenery is a perfect spot for pictures, and potentially have the chance to say 'hola' to the artist as he works! Continue your journey to a local community in Las Terrazas (approximately 2 hours). The village was built as part of a government reforestation project and has since received a UNESCO biosphere listing. Meet up with local community leaders who will share some insight into Las Terrazas and how the society works. You’ll also visit the ecological research centre and take a guided walk around the complex.
After lunch take a 2-hour drive to Vinales – situated in one of the most picturesque parts of Cuba, it’s a small and culturally rich village, with friendly and welcoming residents. On your way into the village, stop by the vibrant (and somewhat psychedelic) Mural de la Prehistoria – a phenomenal painting that stretches 130 metres across a cliff-face, at the foot of the verdant Sierra de Vinales. The elaborate artwork, which includes a dinosaur, sea monster and a snail, was created to symbolise the theory of evolution and took eighteen people four years to complete. Take the short journey into the centre of town and arrive in time for a brief orientation walk before heading to a privately-owned organic farm to learn about sustainable farming in Cuba. Hopefully meet local farmer Wilfredo Garcia Correa or at least his family who will show us around the farm and explain the methods used to cultivate crops without the use of pesticides, then enjoy a deliciously fresh and diverse meal prepared by the family, a truly authentic farm-to-fork experience!
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Jaimanitas (Mosaic-laden Neighbourhood) including Fusterlandia (Entrance fee)
  • Las Terrazas - Sustainable Rural Economy Project (Entrance fee and Guide included)
  • Vinales - Mural de la Prehistoria (Entrance fee)
  • Vinales - Farm to Table Dinner at an Eco-friendly Ranch
  • Vinales - Leader-led Orientation Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today at 9 am, spend the morning (approximately 3 hours) finding out more about Cuban agriculture with a visit to a local tobacco farm to learn about the tradition of Cuban cigars. Get an insight as to how the communist system works, how much tobacco they keep, how much produce they give back to the government and how they make ends meet. Learn about the process of tobacco planting to rolling the final cigar. Share in the secret recipe of how they cure their leaves, which originated from one family and has been passed down through three generations – then drink some freshly roasted coffee from the farm while watching an expert roll a cigar. In the afternoon, get involved in a 1-hour salsa dance lesson, followed by a cooking demonstration from a local chef. Vinales is one of the more agriculturally productive areas of Cuba, so an abundance of homegrown seasonal fruit and vegetables are always on offer such as avocados, mangoes, pineapples, papaya, guava, and several varieties of sweet potatoes. Sit back, relax and enjoy the well-prepared meal while overlooking the lush scenery of Vinales.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Half-day Valley Walking Tour including Tobacco Farmhouse (Guide included)
  • Vinales - Salsa Dance Lesson (1 hour)
  • Vinales - Cooking Demonstration by Local Chef
Optional Activities
  • Vinales - Live Music Venues (Entrance fee) - Subject to change depending on the performer - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Depart Vinales at 8 am and head to Cienfuegos – drive for approximately 4.5 hours before stopping for lunch. This afternoon you’ll visit the Korimakao Cultural Project in Ciénega de Zapata, an area famous for its wetlands. Founded in 1992, Korimakao is a project to bring theatre, music, and dancing to remote areas of Cuba. You’ll have the opportunity to meet a director of the project, who will talk to you about the importance of this venture and the number of students that have benefited from it. Continue along to the picturesque town of Cienfuegos, a slice of Paris in the Caribbean. Founded in 1819 by pioneering French immigrants – the elegant architectural influence that these settlers brought with them, earned the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site listing in 2005.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cienaga de Zapata - Korimakao Cultural Project
  • Cienfuegos - Leader-led Orientation Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning at approximately 8.30 am, your leader will show you around the charming streets of Cienfuegos before getting back on the road around 10 am to head to the beautiful city of Trinidad (approximately 1.5–2 hours). Located near the lovely Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of Sugar mills) and Playa Ancón, Trinidad enjoys long stretches of unspoiled, white sand beaches and is home to numerous churches and well-preserved colonial buildings. After lunch, begin with a guided cultural tour of the city (approximately 3 hours) – this includes an opportunity to visit various museums such as Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos and Museo Romantico. Later, visit the privately-owned pottery workshop of the Santander family. This family are well known in the Cuban cultural landscape for having produced pottery for generations as well as assisting in the restoration of sculptures that once existed in this UNESCO world heritage site. Support the Cuban economy by taking the chance to purchase your own pottery as a reminder of your time in Cuba. In the evening, perhaps seek out the dance scene in Cuba. You may wish to see the local Afro Cuban Folkloric dance group that perform shows at the club Palenque, which has cultural and social importance in this region. Nightlife in Trinidad is probably the most accessible and intense in all of Cuba, with numerous live music venues and many dance performances every day of the week.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trinidad - Leader-led City Tour including History Museum & Romantic Museum (Entrance fees)
  • Trinidad - Pottery Centre
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Afro-Cuban folklore show - CUC3
  • Trinidad - Cave Disco (Entrance fee) - CUC5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning is yous to explore Trinidad independently. Perhaps you’d like to hire a bike and cycle along the city’s colorful streets, past once-grand mansions, pastel buildings and wrought iron features – or instead you might choose to explore one of the excellent walking trails in the nearby Sierra del Escambray mountains. In the afternoon head to Playa Ancon for some beach time fun and maybe a little snorkeling, followed by a sunset picnic prepared for you by one of the privately-owned guesthouses.
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trinidad - Sunset Picnic at Playa Ancon (Weather Dependent)
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Musical instrument lesson (guitar, double bass, tres, percussion - per hour) - CUC10
  • Trinidad - Trek to El Nicho Waterfall (taxi, entrance fee & guide) - CUC65
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Leave Trinidad at 8 am to reach the town of Santa Clara (approximately 2 hours), a key city in the Cuban Revolution. Upon your arrival in Santa Clara, see the iconic statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara, built to commemorate his death and that of the revolutionaries. There will be time to explore the museum which honours Che's life. Have lunch at a small privately-owned family farm near Santa Clara and drive back to Havana at about 1 pm (approximately 3 hours) where there will be some time to freshen up before a final fun-filled night of music, dinner and dancing at Cafe Taberna – where you’ll enjoy an ensemble of Cuban classics performed live by Buena Vista Social Club!
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Clara - Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Your adventure ends today after breakfast. There are no activities planned for the final day so remember to say good-bye to your leader before you head back to the U.S.  
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Due to licensing restrictions, only one night’s pre-tour accommodation may be requested. Post-tour accommodation cannot be offered.

Meals

8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Premium guesthouse (8 nights)

Included activities

  • Havana - Afro-Cuban Religion Tour
  • Havana - American Vintage Car Tour
  • Havana - Leader led City Tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Jaimanitas (Mosaic-laden Neighbourhood) including Fusterlandia (Entrance fee)
  • Las Terrazas - Sustainable Rural Economy Project (Entrance fee and Guide included)
  • Vinales - Mural de la Prehistoria (Entrance fee)
  • Vinales - Farm to Table Dinner at an Eco-friendly Ranch
  • Vinales - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Vinales - Half-day Valley Walking Tour including Tobacco Farmhouse (Guide included)
  • Vinales - Salsa Dance Lesson (1 hour)
  • Vinales - Cooking Demonstration by Local Chef
  • Cienaga de Zapata - Korimakao Cultural Project
  • Cienfuegos - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Trinidad - Leader-led City Tour including History Museum & Romantic Museum (Entrance fees)
  • Trinidad - Pottery Centre
  • Trinidad - Sunset Picnic at Playa Ancon (Weather Dependent)
  • Santa Clara - Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. To have a private room on this trip, a single supplement is bookable; subject to availability.
3. Our licensing agreement allows one night of pre-tour accommodation to be booked (subject to availability) only when airline scheduling impedes your ability to arrive in time for the welcome meeting on Day 1. Post-tour accommodation cannot be offered under our license.
4. A complimentary airport arrival and departure transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 5 days prior to travel.
5. Please ensure you ask your booking agent inside 7 days of departure for your confirmed guesthouse name and address. Regardless, the airport arrival transfer driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse.
6. Guesthouse and rooming allocations are finalised inside a week from departure based on the configuration of each travelling party. Please advise bedding configuration requests to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
7. Intrepid US, Inc. ("Intrepid US") provide legal tours to Cuba for Americans under the ‘Support for the Cuban People” category (§ 515.574); to be declared when selecting from the 11 permitted categories of travel. United States law specifies that in order to comply with this category, travelers must engage in the full-time schedule of activities provided by our program. The responsibility of tracking and recording activities and interactions with Cuban people is on the onus of the traveler which will be facilitated by your tour leader. The US government is allowed to ask you for receipts and records from your trip to Cuba for up to five years.
8. If traveling direct from the USA to Cuba, a Cuban tourist card is easy to obtain online or through your airline itself (usually at the airport).
9. Please read the guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions carefully in the "Essential Trip Information" Document; call our adventure consultant on 1 800 970 7299 or visit www.intrepidtravel.com if you have questions.
10. The Cuban government has declared that travel insurance is compulsory for all travelers. Proof of insurance may be requested at Havana Airport by immigration officials.
11. There are unprecedented changes happening in Cuba right now. It is an exciting time, but it also means some patience and understanding is required for the heightened demand of infrastructure, accommodation and services. To help set your expectations correctly, please read the ‘Is this trip right for you?’ and ‘Joining point description’ sections in the Essential Trip Information Document.
12. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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