bing

'Havana and Eastern Cuba Day Walks'

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.

A mountain retreat

A mountain retreat

El Salton

In the foothills of the Sierra Maestra mountain range, El Salton is a lovely area for walking amongst forested hills and crystal clear streams.

Isolated tropical wilderness

Isolated tropical wilderness

Baracoa

Once only accessible by sea, the town of Baracoa is an enchanting town with beautiful beaches, tropical fruit farms and peaceful countryside.

Caribbean vibes and fascinating history mixed with rum and salsa

Caribbean vibes and fascinating history mixed with rum and salsa

Santiago de Cuba

A city of contrasts and one that regularly divides opinions, Santiago is a colourful mix of culture, history, arts and scenery.

Third largest rock on the planet

Third largest rock on the planet

Gran Piedra Region

Literally 'The Big Rock', La Gran Piedra offers spectacular views across the city of Santiago, the Sierra Maestra mountain range and the southeastern coastline.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Havana and Eastern Cuba Day Walks'

DAY 1

Havana

You are met on your arrival at Havana airport and transferred your hotel in Old Havana.

DAY 2
BL

Your Havana city guide collects you from your hotel and takes you on a walking tour of Old Havana, followed by lunch and a tour of modern Havana in an old American car - see ‘One day in Havana’ in ‘Your Man in Havana’ on page 9. Your evening is free: your guide can suggest a choice of restaurants for dinner.

DAY 3
BLD

El Saltón

You are collected bright and early from your hotel for your flight to Holguín in eastern Cuba, where you are met by your English-speaking private walking guide. Driving south you cross quiet plains of farms growing sugar cane, to the market town of Bayamo, and then climb into the foothills of the Sierra Maestra. Here you stay at the little mountain retreat of El Saltón for the next 2 nights.

DAY 4
BLD

Once a health spa for Cuba’s elite, El Saltón has evolved into a comfortable eco-lodge. It is set in hillside gardens at the head of a green valley, where a mountain river cascades over a rock face into an inviting pool. It’s a lovely area for walking, and today you step out with your guide to explore wooded hills and streams, and a countryside dotted with family smallholdings. You can walk as much or as little as you like–it’s your choice. The lodge offers a spa, which, although it could not be accused of pampered luxury, makes a rewarding end to a day in the open air.

DAY 5
BL

Baracoa

A glorious day of touring as you cross to Baracoa. You descend from the Sierra Maestra and cross to the town of Guantánamo, set well back from the unwelcome US base. The road winds down to the coast and becomes one of the most beautiful in Cuba, skirting the Caribbean below the mountains of the Sierra del Plurial. Turning inland you cross the viaduct of La Farola, and descend to the little town of Baracoa, for centuries only accessible from the sea. You may come across sellers of cucuruchos–a palm leaf cone holding a sticky sweet of coconut, honey and condensed milk, plain or with fruit: try pineapple, guava or orange. Settle in at your hotel, then explore the town with your guide. Baracoa’s Casa de la Trova is well worth a visit in the evening. Note: You could insert the Turquino trek (p33) to start on this day

DAY 6
BLD

Baracoa gazes sleepily across a pretty bay, set in gorgeous tropical countryside, with low palm-forested hills, scattered with small fields for cacao and bananas. Its backdrop of rugged mountains includes the impressive flat-topped bulk of El Yunque. There are several excellent walks: a fairly strenuous trek to the top of El Yunque, an easier trail to the River Toa via the Finca Duaba chocolate farm, and others. Your guide will help you decide.

DAY 7
BLD

Today you walk the Balcón de Iberia trail in the Alexander von Humboldt National Park, which (to quote UNESCO) holds ‘one of the most biologically diverse terrestrial tropical ecosystems in an island setting anywhere on earth’. The trail itself passes through gorgeous countryside and includes some lovely views. On the first, mainly level, section look for the Bee Hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world. The trail then leads up the small Mount Iberia (755m), through forest with more excellent birds, to the 25 metre El Majá waterfall where it is possible to swim. The walk usually takes about 5 hours in all.

DAY 8
BLD

Santiago and Gran Piedra

Returning via the Farola road you arrive at Santiago (p14), Cuba’s most Caribbean city. Your guide takes you on a tour of the old colonial streets at the heart of the city. At the end of the afternoon you drive up to your hotel near Gran Piedra for a 2 night stay, with distant views of the Sierra Maestra.

DAY 9
BLD

Lots of walking today, roughly 12 miles but mainly flat or downhill, with lots to see, all with your guide. First a short hop up the steps to the top of the Gran Piedra outcrop for its great views, then a visit to the atmospheric ‘Isabelica’ coffee plantation, one of the best preserved slave plantations in Cuba. You descend to the valley via a hillside garden, a sculpture park, and Granjita Siboney (where Fidel and his followers gathered for their fateful assault on Santiago’s Moncada Barracks)-all before lunch! Your trail then takes you to the bizarre ‘Valley of Prehistory’ to end at the quirky ‘Museum of Transport’ where you meet your driver.

DAY 10
BL

Havana

arly start to see El Morro fort before you are driven to the airport for your afternoon flight to Havana. You are met on arrival and driven to the Hotel Nacional for your final night in Cuba.

DAY 11
B

There is lots to see in the Vedado district close to your hotel, or you could take a taxi to art galleries or museums. You need to be back at the hotel in time for your transfer to the airport for your flight home, usually late in the afternoon.

Guide prices for 'Havana and Eastern Cuba Day Walks'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Guide price 2 people sharing
Prices are per person and include:
Prices do not include:

Customer reviews for 'Havana and Eastern Cuba Day Walks'

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 100%

rating

Seasonal information for 'Havana and Eastern Cuba Day Walks'

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 'Havana and Eastern Cuba Day Walks'

Days 1 - 2

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 3 - 4

Hotel Villa El Salton, Sierra Maestra

Sierra Maestra

Within a couple of hours drive from Bayamo or Santiago de Cuba, Villa El Salton is located in the middle of the Sierra Maestra, Cuba’s highest mountain range, surrounded by beautiful scenery. There is a natural cascade and pool. This small hotel is set within a delightful verdant setting, the staff come from the local rural community and are warm and welcoming. The rooms are spacious and adequate with air-conditioning and balconies and there is a lovely traditional restaurant terrace and patio area. English is spoken and the hotel has excellent naturalist guides who will be delighted to take you on longer or shorter trails to explore this beautiful area.

Hotel facilities include cafeteria, sauna, bar, entertainment, gym, games room, and medical services.

Hotel Villa El Salton, Sierra Maestra
Day 5

Hotel El Castillo

El Castillo  (originally Seboruco Castle built in 1739) is a characterful mid-sized 3* hotel right in the centre of Baracoa.  The hotel was developed from one of the original forts protecting the town and has panoramic views of this beautiful area.  The hotel is attractive, very comfortable with an excellent  swimming pool  and patio area. The staff are efficient and friendly. There are steps leading up to the hotel or you can walk up the steep driveway to the hotel entrance. There are plenty of taxis available. It is possible to drive straight to the entrance and limited parking is available. This in our view is probably the nicest hotel in the area and one of our favourites. Most rooms are twin bedded and have air-conditioning, TV.

Hotel El Castillo
Days 6 - 7

Hotel Villa Maguana

northeast of Santiago
rating

Average rating 4.2 (6 ratings)

Overlooking a small cove alongside  Maguana beach, this tiny complex of 4 wood built cabins each comprising of 4 separate units is in a truly delightful setting and perfect for people who enjoy peace and quiet and the sound of the sea. The rooms are spacious and very comfortable, the staff are delightful and there is a restaurant. A truly idyllic retreat with snorkelling close by but there is no actual official snorkelling here. Villa Maguana is also ideally situated for those wishing to explore the Alexander Humboldt National Park and is only 22 kms from Baracoa.

Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar, parking area, laundry service and private beach.

Hotel Villa Maguana
Days 8 - 9

Villa Gran Piedra

This is a simple collection of small "villas" nestling amidst the trees and plants at Gran Piedra (lit. Big Rock), high in the Sierra Maestra range to the east of Santiago de Cuba. The accommodation is satisfactory and the location very peaceful and picturesque. There is a friendly bar and restaurant within the complex.

Best when travelling in a group as can be rather lonesome if travelling solo. Pack a torch to walk from your cabin to the restaurant.

Villa Gran Piedra
Day 10

Hotel Nacional, Havana

rating

Average rating 4.1 (48 ratings)

The historic Hotel Nacional, a short taxi ride away from Old Havana and overlooking Havana's seafront Malecón, has enjoyed the patronage of many distinguished guests in its time, Winston Churchill and Franklyn Roosevelt to name but two. There is oodles of atmosphere and the hotel is always lively. It has a lovely terrace and gardens overlooking the Malecón - a great place for that evening mojito. This is a hotel to watch people and it is a meeting place for Cubans doing business with non-Cubans. The rooms are standard business hotel type rooms but the majestic lobby and regal gardens add a certain frisson.

Hotel Nacional, Havana