Cuba Tour

DAYS

YOU DECIDE DATES

Cuba

HAVANA, CIENFUEGOS, SANTIAGO de CUBA

PRICE

FROM €790

Freedom Is Travelling!

We will help you plan the most unforgetable experience in Cuba. 

With the recent passing of the political giant, Fidel Castro of Cuba – this magnificently preserved nation of history is once again at the forefront of the world’s imagination. This is Cuba, one of few countries where even if you have not yet visited, you can easily imagine the smell of Cuban cigar smoke, gasoline from a genuine 1950’s Chevrolet, the taste of exquisite rum and the music pumped atmosphere of this magical and significant island. Only when you step foot here for the first time does all this come together as the excitement of Cuba takes over.

Holidays in Cuba are common for many international visitors, friends will often report a similar experience to each other. In true Global Village Tours style, we try to show you the grittier, more political and most authentic side of this rapidly shifting country while at the same time hitting the best beaches, strolling through cobbled streets, looking in awe at the surrounding colonial facades. Can you picture a country with little or no advertising? A place where you are not bombarded constantly by the trappings of consumerism?

CREATE YOUR OWN CUBA 

Take a look at our sample itinerary below – With Global Village Tours, you can skip the resorts, tourist bars and restaurants and we will take you on a Cuban adventure like no other tour company can. As we blaze our way towards the key revolutionary city of Santa Clara, you will drive through the Sierra del Escambray – leaving the trail and hiking to a secluded waterfall for a swim before stopping for lunch at a local farmer’s house. There will be plenty of rum involved (if you like!) and as you spend the night at a variety of beautifully authentic homestays you will be offered an unlimited supply, as is the Cuban tradition of hospitality.

No Cuban tour is complete until you travel to Havana. One of our main tours of the year is centred on the Cuba May Day Celebrations. You can do this tour by yourself or as part of our group tour with other like-minded travelers. The streets are something of a sensory overload – thronged with beautiful local people of indigenous black, white and Mestizo backgrounds. Get stuck in, this is authentic travel!

SAMPLE ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Arrival into Jose Martí International Airport and transfer to Havana.
  • Also, you have an optional arrival at Varadero airport – be sure to check your international flights here also as they are often less expensive.
  • Meet our guide, nobody knows the country better!
  • Transfer to Havana and arrival at your authentic Cuban casa particular homestay to relax or catch some sleep after your flight.
  • Opportunity to take a stroll around the neighbourhood and soak up the atmosphere!
  • Food and plenty of rum in the evening you would like it!

 

Day 2

  • Breakfast at homestay
  • Walking tour of Old Havana, encompassing the Plaza de Armas, complete with a statue of Manuel de Cespedes, one of the leaders of the independence movement.
  • Visit the Bacardi Building, former home of the eponymous brand of rum. Spectacular view across the rooftops from the top. The Bacardi family fell out with the Castros after the revolution and left Cuba.
  • Visit to El Floridita, birthplace of the Daiquiri and Ernest Hemingway’s favourite spot for drinking them; he famously drank 13 doubles there in one afternoon!
  • We pass the spot where the city of Havana was founded almost 500 years ago.
  • We visit the famous Museo de la Revolución to learn more about the revolution and its history.

  • Accommodation: Havana casa particular

Day 3

  •  Breakfast at homestay
  • 8.30 am departure to Cienfuegos by private bus/car (5 hours) via Bay of Pigs
  • On the way to Cienfuegos we firstly travel along the flat central plain of Cuba where there are lots of citrus plantations. We turn off the main highway and shortly after this the scenery changes to a densely vegetated swamp where the natural fauna includes boa snakes and crocodiles. We have the opportunity to visit a crocodile farm here at Guama.
  • Once reaching the Caribbean coast we travel along the picturesque Bay of Pigs past the site where the landing of counter-revolutionary exile militia occurred in 1961.
  • Today we visit the museum here that recounts the events of this conflict which resulted in the first defeat of a US-backed takeover in Latin America. There are some beautiful places to stop for a swim along the way including a sink hole which resembles a huge natural tropical fish tank, so make sure to pack your swim wear. SCUBA diving and snorkelling are optional activities here.
  • Cubans are known to be very proud people, and the citizens of Cienfuegos call their town La Perla del Sur (the pearl of the south). Founded by the French, Cienfuegos’ appeal lies partly in the European flavour of its colonial hub, with a wide Parisian-style boulevard and elegant colonnades, and there is an ambiance to inspire Cuba’s most celebrated singer to write the words Cienfuegos is the city I like best. The historic centre of Cienfuegos was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005.
  • After checking-in with your host family, you will have time to walk around the city and take in the atmosphere.
  • Optional: Swimming (free), Snorkelling, SCUBA diving with qualified instructor in the Bay of Pigs
  • Visit to museum in Playa Girón about the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961
  • Lunch in Playa Girón paladar
  • Visit to Palacio de Valle in Cienfuegos, one of the most eccentric buildings in Cuba, to watch the sunset, cocktails on the roof
  • Dinner in a local paladar private home restaurant
  • Night out drinking on the Malecón of Cienfuegos or in the bars – go with the guide or explore on your own.
  • Accommodation: Cienfuegos casa particular
Day 4

  • Breakfast at homestay
  • Walking tour of Cienfuegos, including its pedestrianised shopping Boulevard and handicraft market selling locally-made artisanal souvenirs
  • Visit to beautifully decorated historic theatre Teatro Terry Tomas
  • Brief visit to Tomas Acea Cemetery
  • Depart Cienfuegos for Trinidad – (2 hours)
  • Lunch in roadside Paladar on the outskirts of Trinidad
  • The beautiful colonial city of Trinidad is home to numerous churches and many beautiful colonial buildings. It is another UNESCO World Heritage site, but its narrow winding streets, deliberately laid out to confuse marauding pirates, provide a huge contrast with the orderly wide boulevards of Cienfuegos.
  • La Villa de la Santisima Trinidad was founded by Velazsquez in 1514 and the defender of indigenous rights in the Americas, Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, attended over the settlement’s first mass. The future conqueror of Mexico, Hernan Cortés, recruited sailors here for his future expedition into that land. It is a charming, small town with the green mountains in the background, and the turquoise waters and pure white sand beaches of the Caribbean Sea just a short distance away. The town was fairly inactive until the 1800s, when French refugees fleeing a slave revolt in Haiti landed here en masse and brought with them sugar cane cultivation. The new residents settled and farmed in the Valle de Los Ingenios, just northeast of the town. Vast wealth flowed into the local economy from sugar cane cultivation and the area produced one third of the country’s sugar at one point. The sugar boom was terminated by the two wars of independence, but the wealth generated by the industry remains visible in the town’s once grand mansions, colourful public buildings, wrought iron grillwork and cobble-stoned streets. The town and area also saw a lot of action during and following the triumph of the Revolution, as gangs of counter revolutionaries hid out and struck from the safety of the mountains.
  • The 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, all amongst the enchanting setting of old colonial buildings and cobblestone streets.
  • Short walking tour of the historic centre
  • Visit to The Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra los Bandidos (Museum of the Fight Against the Bandits) for a breathtaking view of the city and surrounding countryside from the top of its tower
  • Visit to a Santeria temple to learn about Cuba’s fastest-growing religion, a blend of Catholicism and traditional African religions.
  • Group dinner in a local Cuban home, obviously accompanied by rum.
  • Visit to Trinidad’s unique Disco Ayala night club ($5), situated in a huge underground cavern
  • Accommodation: Trinidad casa particular

Day 5

  • Breakfast at homestay
  • Free day. Optional (extra cost) activities include swimming in <waterfalls, horse riding, diving, salsa dancing class and a visit to Playa Ancon, where you can enjoy long stretches of unspoiled, white sand beaches. Another option is a steam train ride to the beautiful and historically important Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar mills) where you can see how the sugar which brought so much wealth to Cuba was processed in the days of slavery.
  • If time allows, visit to the beach to watch the sunset
  • Accommodation: Trinidad casa particular
Day 6

  • Breakfast at homestay
  • Journey by private bus/car to Santa Clara (3 hours)
  • Today we travel to the city of Santa Clara, which was a key city in the triumph of the Revolution.
  • Depending on road conditions we can take a number of different routes around or through the Sierra del Escambray perhaps making a few stops along the way.
  • Options include a stop at a very beautiful and secluded waterfall on the way, with al fresco swimming followed by rustic local lunch at a farmer’s house.
  • Upon entering Santa Clara there is a huge statue of Ernesto Che Guevara, beneath which is the mausoleum where he is buried. We visit the museum here that is dedicated to his life.
  • We take a walking tour of Santa Clara where we come across significant sites such as the armoured train derailed by Che and his troops.
  • Visit to Che Guevara monument, mausoleum and museum
  • Visit to the site of the final battle of the Cuban Revolution
  • Accommodation: Santa Clara casa particular
  • Evening – option to visit el Mejunje, famous cultural centre and nightclub with live music, favourite of young locals.

Day 7

  • Breakfast at homestay
  • Journey by private bus/car to Havana (4 hours)
  • (optional) – Visit to Che Guevara’s house overlooking Havana, where he was based after the Revolution.
  • Visit to open-air museum showing featuring Soviet nuclear missiles (thankfully now inert!) of the period in 1962 when the world came closer than ever to the brink of nuclear war
  • Visit to the Havana Club Museum of Rum. Free samples!
  • Meet up for dinner and evening out, Cuban-style on the Malecón or in one of Havana’s new elite private night clubs
  • Accommodation: Havana casa particular
Day 8

  • Breakfast at homestay
  • End of tour! It is completely fine to leave your things at the homestay whilst you either wait for your flight, or go exploring the city further. We can arrange a private taxi to the airport for you if you wish.
  • Departure Havana / Varadero Airport

Tour EXTRAS

Varadero Extension (+ 2 -Days)

Varadero is located on the 20km-long Hicacos Peninsula, with incredible white sand beaches. It is Cuba’s premier beach destination. This is where many foreign tourists will come having purchased a Cuban resort holiday from abroad. Varadero in and by itself could not be described as a full authentic Cuba experience, but it can be the perfect way to either finish or kick off a more off the beaten path and authentic Cuban holiday. The beach is one of the best in the Caribbean. In typical Global Village Tours fashion, we still aim to set ourselves apart from the huge resorts here. So, we can offer authentic, Casa accommodation along with BBQs on the beach. As part of your tailor made Cuba tour, we can include a (minimum 2-day) extension to Varadero.

  • Pickup from Havana casa / hotel
  • Transport to Varadero (150 km / 2.5 hrs)
  • Check in to Accommodation
    • Accommodation options include:
    • Casa Particular (home stay) – 1 block from the beach. Breakfast included
    • OR All-inclusive resort hotel – 3*, 4* or 5* according to your budget
  • Pickup from Varadero casa / hotel
  • Transport to Havana city or airport (150 km / 2.5 hrs)

 

Viñales Extension (+ 2-Days)

One of Cuba’s most beautiful natural wonders, UNESCO listed Parque Nacional Viñales is surrounded by green mountains and limestone cliffs. The quaint, and so relaxed it’s horizontal, Viñales town is the perfect spot from which to explore (and swim in) caves in the surrounding countryside, visit a tobacco farm, go horseback riding or just take off on a bicycle. We have wonderful accommodation that we stay at regularly in Viñales where our family casa hosts will prepare a traditional creole meal in the evening. Viñales is now very much on the tourist map, while maintaining its authentic rustic feel so there are plenty of bars and restaurants in town also, with cocktails abound. There is a beautiful hotel here that has unspoiled views across the valley. Even if you choose not to stay here we can easily arrange access to the Hotel’s perfect valley side pool for small extra fee.

 

  • Collection from casa/hotel in private car
  • Early morning departure to Viñales (2.5 hrs / 180 km)
  • Stop at the viewpoint over the Viñales valley. Take in the outstandingly beautiful view over this area, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Your choice of activities according to preference:
  • Horseback riding through the valley
  • Visit to a tobacco farm to see the cigar making process. Some of the best cigars in the world come from this region.
  • Zipline canopy tour
  • Guided tour of one of the many caves in the area
  • Lunch in paladar (private restaurant)
  • Early evening return to Havana, or stay overnight in Viñales
  • Early evening sunset walk with expert local guide. Visit the spot with the best view of the sunset, which changes according to the season…
  • Traditional Cuban family home-cooked dinner

 

Optional Day Trips

Havana Architecture Tour – Our architecture day trip can be tailored specifically around the needs of you, depending on if your interests are based around old colonial Spanish architecture, Cuban designs, or our personal favourite Soviet stuff! Alternatively we can offer a mixed trip that takes in the lot.

Jewish Havana Tour – This day trip takes us to the three synagogues, the one Jewish cemetery, as well to have a meeting at the Havana Jewish Cultural Association.

Cuban Hemingway Tour – This day trip takes us to everywhere that is important for Ernest Hemingway and his life in Cuba, including his house and museum, the hotel he lived at, every bar (there are a lot) he allegedly frequented, who knows we may even be able to sneak in a daiquiri.

Pinar Del Rio Cigar Lover’s Day Trip – We get up nice and early for the 3 hour drive to Pinar Del Rio, home of the best tobacco in the world, where we visit a tobacco plantation and watch some of the best cigars in the world being made. It is also possible to buy some to take away with us! 

Communist and Cold War Day Tour – If you like Soviet kitsch, statues of Lenin, Russian built apartments, and Revolutionary squares then this is the Havana day trip for you! This is a whole day of the stuff us Pioneers love, with us even offering a meeting with a genuine Cuban Communist (if you fancy it)

Interested In This Trip?
Lets Start Planning

Contact us where we will be able to guide you through the itinerary to help you decide if this tour is right for you.