From vintage cars to fragrant cigars, salsa your way from the colourful capital of Havana through the beautiful island of Cuba and surround yourself with history, music and mojitos in one of the world’s most unique places
From vintage cars to fragrant cigars, salsa your way from the colourful capital of Havana through the beautiful island of Cuba and surround yourself with history, music and mojitos in one of the world’s most unique places. Roll a cigar and sip rum with locals in the rural village of Vinales, feel the seaside breeze along the French-infused waterfront of Cienfuegos, surrender to the sultry salsa rhythms in perfectly preserved Trinidad and look behind the legend of Che Guevara on a visit to his memorial in Santa Clara. From the fresh mountain air that fills the streets of Soroa, to the crystal-clear waters that lap the shores of Playa Larga – experience a nation as endearing and diverse as its people on this 8-day adventure that immerses you in the colour, culture and natural beauty of this seductive Caribbean island.
- A guided walking tour of Old Havana sheds lights on the difference between the lives of city and rural life in Cuba
- Take in all the colours and aromas of Soroa, the stunning valley area known as the 'rainbow of Cuba'
- Stroll along the rural dirt roads of Vinales as tractors, vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages pass you by
- A visit to the Che Guevara mausoleum and museum allows you to learn about the iconic Cuban revolutionary in the right context
- Trinidad is a real Cuban treat – step back in time on its old-world streets, then hit some fine palm-flanked beaches
- Marvel at the unique architecture of Palacio del Valle in Cienfuegos
- Try your hand at traditional dance moves with an informal salsa lesson
- Premium Guesthouse (7 nights)
- Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
- Havana - Leader-led Walking Tour of Old Havana
- Soroa - Orchid Garden (entrance fee and guide included)
- Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
- Vinales - Leader-led Orientation Walk
- Vinales - Half-day Valley Walking Tour including Tobacco Farmhouse (guide included, no transport)
- Vinales - Salsa Dance Lesson (1 hour)
- Vinales - Farm to Table Dinner at an Eco-friendly Ranch
- Bay of Pigs - Visit & swim
- Cienfuegos - Leader-led Orientation Walk
- Cienfuegos - Palacio de Valle (entrance fee included, no guide)
- Trinidad - Leader-led Orientation Walk
- Santa Clara - Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum (entrance fee included, no guide)
- Havana - Revolution Square
Day 1 Havana
Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba! 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.
There will be a welcome meeting at approximately 6pm this evening. Please expect a letter from your leader in the afternoon of Day 1 to confirm the place of your meeting (if by 5pm you cannot locate this letter then please ask your guesthouse owner if one has been delivered, or ask to call our assistance line listed in the "Problems and emergency contact information" section of this document). We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. The tour briefing is generally followed by an optional group dinner.
As there's a great deal to do in Havana, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist. If you arrive early, please note most activities in Cuba can only be booked through the tourist desk in the lobbies of the larger hotels or direct with the venue. If you don't have the luxury of extending your time in Havana and taking up some of the suggested optional activties listed below, there are plenty of good museums to check out before your welcome meeting, including the Museo de la Revolucion and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Day 2 Soroa / Vinales
Enjoy a walking tour of Old Havana, a perfect first taste of the city. Your local guide will show you the cathedral, Plaza de Armas, San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Central Park. Later you'll make the drive to Soroa, a lush enclave nestled in a beautiful valley. You'll stop in for lunch and tour the orchid garden there. Continue to lovely Vinales, where tobacco and agricultural fields lie side by side and limestone outcrops dot the landscape. The scenery here is some of the most picturesque in Cuba. There are many ways to take it all in, including cycling, walking through tobacco fields and hiking to mountain caves (all optional activities).
Day 3 Vinales
A walking tour of the farmlands and crops is included today. Learn more about the simple lifestyle here and see first hand the farmers who grow tabacco for some of the most expensive cigars. Vinales is a small and charming rural village. It's probably the easiest place to mingle with locals in Cuba, who are very sociable. Many of them love nothing better than to drink rum and dance the night away. Later head to an ecological farm for an included dinner.
Day 4 Bay of Pigs / Cienfuegos
Head towards Cienfuegos today, it is a long travel day. You will be stopping via the Bay of Pigs not only to enjoy the stunning surrounding but to learn more about the botched US Military counter-revolutionary invasion, and you could even opt for a swim in the crystal clear water.
Then the short drive to your destination for the night, Cienfuegos. This is the gem of the south, a seaside town of relaxing streets and dazzling buildings that strike a beautiful pose by the water. You will enjoy a photo stop at Palacio del Valle, which is Cienfuegos' architectural pride and joy. Learn more about its history as you take in the beauty of its intricate carvings of Venetian alabaster. If you haven't done so already, perhaps try some Cuban coffee while you're here – it's served black, strong and super sweet.
Day 5 Trinidad
Today you will board the bus for a short drive to Trinidad. There's no doubt it's one of Cuba's alluring destinations, a great place to wander around, with almost every scene offering a photo opportunity. Watch as locals casually smoke their huge cigars on the doorsteps of their homes, and hear the old Chevrolets rumbling by. Kick things off by strolling along the cobbled streets and marvelling at some of the colourful colonial architecture on display (this town was put on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1988 for good reason). An informal salsa lesson is included so you are confident to be involved in the nightlife scene.
Day 6 Trinidad
Enjoy a day of free time. There are some great Spanish-style churches to see, and nearby is the Valle de los Ingenios, where sugar plantations stretch out as far as the eye can see. For some seaside fun, head down to Playa Ancon and stroll its long stretches of white sand. You can go for a snorkel too. Just be careful when you're in the water, as sea urchins can be a problem here. Back on the land, you can go cycling or hiking. If you rent a bicycle, be careful on the cobblestones, and remember your bike will be of the vintage variety. The trekking is great in the Sierra del Escambray, the local mountains. A folklore dance and music show in one of the open-air venues is highly recommended – a great chance to immerse yourself in Cuba's African, French and Spanish-influenced music and dance culture.
Day 7 Santa Clara / Havana
On your way back to Havana, you'll stop in at Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial. In the museum you can get a rare insight into the legacy of the revolutionary leader, with some interesting ephemera and artefacts on display – letters, firearms, even medical devices. Upon arrival in Havana, stop by Revolution square then prepare for a final night of celebrations.
Day 8 Havana
Your trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Check-out time is 10 am.
Touring with Intrepid Travel
Intrepid was started by two friends from Melbourne, Australia, in 1988 after embarking on a trip through the wilds of Africa in a modified ex-council truck, crammed with friends, supplies, a handful of aviator sunglasses and a case or two of beer. Could this type of travel be something others would be interested in? The answer was a resounding yes and today Intrepid send 100,000 travellers across the globe each year with the help of a staff of 1,000.
After three decades, founders Darrell and Manch, feel they know what travellers want. They get that it’s a big decision to fly across the world to wander the souks of Marrakech or enjoy a dreamy Angkor sunrise. They understand that you’re looking for a balance of inclusions and free time, a mix of classic highlights and local secrets you won’t find on Google. And of course, an authentic real life experience. Their leaders are born and raised in-country and they know their destination better than anyone. So you’ll do more than just see a place, you’ll live it. Small groups, big adventures and responsible travel – that’s Intrepid’s thing. With 1,000 trips in a variety of styles across 100 countries, you’re sure to find something you like.
Intrepid believe the real magic happens well away from the beaten path. It’s the little noodle bars, hidden galleries and backstreet bodegas and real life experiences you won’t find in a search engine. Real life experiences are those moments you know you’re really alive and experiencing something special. While it could be the instant you see one of the world’s great icons for the first time, it is more likely to be the moment you find yourself in the middle of a village square soccer game, being treated to a home-cooked meal by your new local friends or sharing a laugh with your fellow travellers as you try a new mode of transport … camel anyone? These unexpected moments are what travelling with Intrepid is all about, giving you a trip like no other.
Intrepid realises the world is a really big place. And there’s a plethora of different languages to learn, borders to cross and cultures to negotiate. Small group adventure travel makes these things easy and allows you to maximise your precious time off. Instead of worrying about logistics, you can focus all your energy on having the experience of a lifetime. Their tour groups are small enough to feel like you’re exploring a destination independently, but big enough to create a good social vibe. Group size will vary depending on where and how you’re travelling, but the average group size is about 10.
Intrepid’s themed trips encompass all hobbies and interests or could pique an interest in a new hobby you never knew you needed. From foodie explorations across Asia or India, sailing the seas in Thailand or the Caribbean, wildlife encounters in the Serengeti or Antarctica, scenic cycling or walking to Base Camp or through Tibet, and epic expeditions in Burma or Russia, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Intrepid is committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way they provide travellers with real life experiences. These values are ingrained in the culture and daily operations of every Intrepid office and tour. In addition, they hope their travellers also demonstrate the principles of responsible travel - respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.