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'Classic Cuba'

What makes this trip special?

Cuba's unforgettable capital

Cuba's unforgettable capital

Havana

There is no other capital city in the world quite like Havana. Impossible to sum up in only a few words its combination of magificently restored buildings, crumbling apartment blocks, classic cars, lively atmosphere and sense of defiance will stay with you for a long time.

Cigars, gardens & village life

Cigars, gardens & village life

Vinales

The small town of Vinales offers visitors a peek into everyday rural cuban life, as well as stunning botanical gardens and a number of family run tobacco farms.

Colonial elegance

Colonial elegance

Cienfuegos

Founded by French immigrants, Cienfuegos has elegant colonial squares and boulevards. It is a pleasant place to stroll around and absorb the local culture and history.

Colourful and lively colonial town

Colourful and lively colonial town

Trinidad

The magnificent colonial town of Trinidad has recently been restored under UNESCO World Heritage, with brighly painted facades, cobbled streets, bands playing and horse drawn carts the town feels very much alive.

Sweet like sugar

Sweet like sugar

Valle de los Ingenios

The eastern slopes of Sierra del Escambray were once the hub of slave-powered sugar production in Cuba.  Today the valley is scattered with ruins of old sugar mills.

Pine-forested hills, crystal clear rivers and tumbling waterfalls

Pine-forested hills, crystal clear rivers and tumbling waterfalls

Sierra del Escambray

Rising up behind Trinidad, the Sierra del Escambray provides a gorgeous setting for countryside walks, with good nature viewing and coffee plantations along the way.

Memories of Che

Memories of Che

Santa Clara

The 'armoured train' in Santa Clara, still showing the bullet holes, that Che and his men derailed days before winning the revolution.  Just outside the town is Che's mausoleum and a small museum in his honour.

A story to tell

A story to tell

Havana Vieja

Narrow streets, lively plazas and romantic decrepitude all make up Old Havana. Explore by foot with your guide the area, history and encapsulate an aspect of Cuban life.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Classic Cuba'

DAY 1

Havana

You are met on arrival and transferred to your mid-range or upper range hotel in Old Havana.

DAY 2
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Three days to explore Havana with a private city guide

DAY 3
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Explore Havana with a private city guide

DAY 4
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Explore Havana with a private city guide

DAY 5
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Pinar del Rio

This morning your own private touring guide, with a comfortable vehicle, collects you at your hotel and you set off on your 6 day trip around western Cuba. Heading west you reach the truly stunning area north of Pinar del Río, a limestone landscape with dramatic mogotes rising above peaceful farmlands awash with hibiscus, bougainvillea and flame trees. You visit the famous Cueva de los Portales, the cave from where Ché Guevara directed military operations during the Cuban missile crisis. You also stop at Hacienda Cortina, an estate laid out in classical style, with imposing gates, sweeping drives, and landscaped gardens that deserve to be better maintained. You stay for 2 nights near the little town of Viñales, pretty as a postcard, where there are some notable paladares (family run restaurants) for dinner. Your driver is on hand if a lift is needed.

DAY 6
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You walk round Viñales this morning, pausing at the Jardin Botanico de Caridad, an intriguing garden valiantly run by two sisters who carry on their family project of growing all of Cuba’s native garden plants and fruits. Another of Viñales’ quirks is its uniform factory on the main street. You can peer in as you walk by, and stop at the village shop for a packet of biscuits or some fruit, before leaving town to explore tobacco farming area of Vuelto Abajo–the cigar enthusiast’s equivalent of the Haut-Médoc. Here you visit the vega of Alejandro Robaina, one of the masters of Cuban tobacco. Any time remaining in the day is free with your guide and vehicle at your disposal.

DAY 7
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A leisurely start for a morning at the beach. You drive out to Cayo Jutías–a coral island with a near-perfect long white sand beach facing clear turquoise waters sheltered by a reef. Facilities are simple: shade and loungers for rent, a small beach cafe for a sea-food lunch, and a dive shop that also rents snorkelling gear. If you head back to Viñales in the mid-afternoon there will be time to visit the extensive orchidarium at Soroa.

DAY 8
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Cienfuegos

A morning or so’s drive to the colonial port of Cienfuegos (p13), founded by French settlers in the early 19th century. On arrival your guide takes you for a tour of the city’s highlights. The evening is free, your guide can recommend a restaurant.

DAY 9
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Trinidad

In the morning you drive along the coast from Cienfuegos to Trinidad, a stunningly beautiful town dating from the 1500s. Its great wealth from sugar was short-lived, and the town became a backwater retaining its original character, cobbled streets and architecture to the present day, when it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your guide takes you on a walking tour of this delightful town including a visit to the Museo Romantico for insights of settlers, colonial life, slave and sugar trades. You can then explore the town at leisure in the company of your guide or independently if you prefer. The town is set back from a lovely beach, and you can either stay in the town itself (B&B or half-board)or by the beach, where there is a reasonable all-inclusive resort. This evening is free but your guide and driver are on hand for a lift to and from town.

DAY 10
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Cuba's second mountain range, the Sierra del Escambray serves as a backdrop to the cities of Trinidad and Cienfuegos. Today you opt for either a delightful walk among waterfalls in the hills above Trinidad or a more sedate and less strenuous excursion to an old coffee plantation including lunch at the old hacienda and an easy stroll in the nearby forests with a naturalist guide from the hacienda.

DAY 11
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Santa Clara and Ché

Today you leave Trinidad and return to Havana airport in time for your international flight home, stopping en route at Santa Clara to visit the wreck of the train ambushed by Ché, his mausoleum and the small museum in his honour Beach options Instead of returning to the airport from Trinidad you could stay on at the beach there, or be taken across the island via Santa Clara to the lovely beaches of the Northern Cays (Cayo Las Brujas or Cayo Santa Maria) or to Jibacoa.

Guide prices for 'Classic Cuba'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Mid-range hotels 2 people sharing
Upper range hotels* 2 people sharing
Prices are per person and include:
  • Cuba Visa
  • airport transfers
  • all accommodation
  • meals where specified, B = breakfast, L=lunch, D= dinner
  • English-speaking local guide/driver "on tour"
  • entry fees to attractions/museums described below
  • all transport
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc

Customer reviews for 'Classic Cuba'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average customer rating 98%

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We loved Havana in particular the art museum and architecture etc.

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The varied and fascinating excursions. Having our own guide who spoke excellent English and was good, informative and fun company.

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Cuban people, Havana, Coco taxis

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All places were good for different reasons - not able to pick out one place! Excellent holiday overall.

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Trinidad in particular - we could have done with another day or two.

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Havana and Cayo Levisa

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Old Havana, Vinales and the beach at hotel Ancon.

Seasonal information for 'Classic Cuba'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Classic Cuba'

Days 1 - 4

Tejadillo

The Hotel Tejadillo is composed of three restored colonial mansions dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The location is ideal, just around the corner from Cathedral Square in the heart of Old Havana. Most of the hotel’s 32 rooms are arranged around a small, pleasant and tranquil courtyard adorned with a central fountain and pierced dramatically by a tall, tropical tree.

Hotel facilities include a bar, lifts, TV room, restaurant and tour booking desk.

Tejadillo
Days 5 - 6

Los Jazmines

Vinales

With stunning views over the valley of Vinales, Los Jazmines is an ideal spot to bask in the area's beauty. Rooms are clean and comfortable and feature French-doors opening onto a small balcony with fabulous views. The swimming pool is suspended on the very edge of the valley. Like all hotels in Vinales the food is poor and we recommend trying out a Paladar in the village.

Los Jazmines
Day 7

Hotel Horizontes Villa Soroa

Villa Soroa

Hotel Soroa is located in Pinar del Río, the westernmost province of Cuba, surrounded by the spectacular Sierra del Rosario, defined since 1984 as  a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  Only 75 km from the City of Havana, Hotel Soroa provides an attractive and yet relaxing environment for nature lovers, from bird watchers to trekkers and horse riding. Close to the Hotel, there is a 21-meter waterfall and the largest orhidarium and orchid gardens in the country, with over 700 varieties of orchids. From here you will be able to visit old coffee plantations originally owned by French settlers that fled to Cuba from the Haitian Revolution over 200 years ago.

Hotel Horizontes Villa Soroa
Day 8

Hotel Jagua, Cienfuegos

Punta Gorda
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Average rating 4.5 (8 ratings)

Spacious, clean rooms (149 rooms)  and well run hotel next door to the Byzantine folly Palacio del Valle at Punta Gorda. Modern hotel. Great views. Large swimming pool. This hotel is used by groups. Services include curreny exchange, internet, laundry service,satellite TV area, parking.

Hotel Jagua, Cienfuegos
Days 9 - 10

Costa Sur Hotel

Small all-inclusive hotel with swimming pool and plenty of daily activities to choose from, Costa Sur was refurbished in 2008 and is situated a ten minute drive from Trinidad at Playa Aguilar. Rooms are a mixture of two storey hotel, garden and bungalow rooms, some of which open straight onto a small private beach (good for snorkelling) set apart from the rest of the hotel and the main beach.

Costa Sur Hotel