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'Day Walks in Rural Cuba'

What makes this trip special?

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.

Rural heart of Cuba

Rural heart of Cuba

Lake Hanabanilla

Long country rambles around this sparkling lake let you explore pine-forested hills, banana plantations and family run coffee estates.

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.

Self-sufficiency in a Cuban context

Self-sufficiency in a Cuban context

Las Terrazas

A model working community, Las Terrazas was designed to explore a self-sufficient Cuba. The area has plenty of opportunities for walkers and good bird life.

Magic mountains

Magic mountains

Sierra los Organos

Amongst the flat pastures and farms of western Cuba rise unusual sheer sided limestone hills. Known here as 'mogotes' the same magical landforms are also found in Tonkin and south China. The plains below them are a patchwork of tobacco fields dotted with homesteads and sleepy villages.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Day Walks in Rural Cuba'

DAY 1

Havana

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

DAY 2
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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
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Lake Hanabanilla

You are picked up from your hotel in Havana this morning by your English-speaking private walking guide and driver for the 3-4hr journey to Lake Hanabanilla, in the countryside below the Sierra del Escambray. At Santa Clara you could visit Ché’s mausoleum and museum, and the wreckage of the armoured train carrying Batista’s men that Ché’s men overwhelmed. Your hotel for the next 2 nights is next to Lake Hanabanilla itself. It’s a fairly unlovely concrete hotel from the era of Soviet economic support but well-placed for walking.

DAY 4
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A short boat ride on the lake brings you to the start of a winding trail up Cola Cambiada (which means ‘curly tail’ in Spanish), a winding, steep trail giving panoramic views over Lake Hanabanilla. Joined by a local naturalist guide you pass by banana and coffee plantations, and a little coffee finca. It’s a good 3-4hr walk in all, ending with a late lunch by the lake before returning to your hotel.

DAY 5
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Trinidad

First a drive to the start of the trail to Salto del Caburni waterfall followed by a day’s fairly strenuous walking via waterfalls and steep paths. Look for hummingbirds and Cuba’s national flower, the white mariposa (butterfly jasmine) with its lovely scent. Listen out for Cuba’s national bird, the Tocororo, with its blue, red and white Cuba plumage. Later you drive down to the colonial town of Trinidad, staying at your beach hotel on Playa Ancón for 2 nights. In the evening you might take a taxi into Trinidad to stroll the cobbled streets and perhaps enjoy an evening’s music in the Casa de Trova.

DAY 6
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Sierra del Escambray

There is some lovely walking behind Trinidad in the Escambray mountains, with tremendous views on hillsides of mixed forest, with coconut palms, and banana and cacao plantations on lower slopes, and coffee higher up. You follow trails around Hacienda Codina, with a local nature guide to introduce you to the local flora and fauna. Mind you don’t step on the world’s smallest frog!

DAY 7
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Las Terrazas

An early start today as you travel to western Cuba, stopping en route for lunch, and arriving at the eco-community of Las Terrazas in the early afternoon in good time for a walk on one of the 6 trails. A local guide will show you around, explaining how the community works and the sustainable technologies they use.

DAY 8
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This morning you walk the Santa Serafina trail (5km approx), which offers easy walking in lovely countryside along the valley of the Río San Juan, partly by the river itself. The path passes the evocative ruins of the Santa Serafina coffee plantation, built by French settlers. The trail is especially good for birds, passing through several different ecosystems before it ends by the river at a local swimming spot. After lunch it’s a short drive to Cueva las Portales, an impressive limestone cave that was Ché’s base during the Cuban missile crisis. Continuing to Viñales for a 2 night stay, you have dinner at your hotel with a spectacular view over the Viñales valley.

DAY 9
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Viñales

Enjoy a day in the Cuban countryside, exploring this sometimes breathtakingly beautiful region known for its tobacco plantations and the sheer sided mogotes, or rugged limestone hills, which rise from a tropical plain rich with hibiscus, bougainvillea and flame trees, laid out in a patchwork of tobacco fields and rice paddies. Your guide will take you on a day of country walks, passing smallholdings where farmers still plough with oxen, and rickety drying sheds where tobacco leaves hang in loose rows developing the subtle flavours that will command the highest prices. It’s a tropical idyll, at peace with itself, though the work is back-breakingly hard.

DAY 10
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Havana

There should be ample time for a leisurely start to the day and a visit to Havana’s Botanical Park before you are driven to the airport for your flight home.

Guide prices for 'Day Walks in Rural Cuba'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
10 days/9 nights: 2 people 2 people sharing
Prices are per person and include:
  • Cuba Visa
  • airport transfers
  • all transport
  • all accommodation
  • meals where specified, B = breakfast, L=lunch, D= dinner
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • national park entrance fees

Customer reviews for 'Day Walks in Rural 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 97%

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Havana, Orchid Garden at Soroa, walk from Vinales, Hacienda Codina - in fact everything!

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The walks at Hanabanilla and Trinidad - and Trinidad town. Hard to choose - so much was good.

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Talking with Alejandro, first 2 walks, meeting local people in and around Vinales

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Fishing for merlin (didn’t catch any), sitting on the roof terrace at ambos mundos, walking in the Guayanera national park - all great

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The whole package was good, enjoyed every day the scenery, people

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All was great. All places very different so difficult to compare. Obviously would have loved a longer trip generally and stayed longer in each place.

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Havana, walk in Pinar del Rio, Trinidad

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The ad hoc bit where we did our own thing!

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Having our own guide with us the whole time - we learnt so much about Cuba. The local guides were also good and all the walks were good.

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Hacienda Codina, Vinales and Havana

Seasonal information for 'Day Walks in Rural 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 'Day Walks in Rural Cuba'

Days 1 - 2

Hotel Park View, Havana

This 3* Habaguanex hotel is a good choice of hotel for people on a budget who wish to stay in central Havana and be comfortable.  Hotel  Park View is  mid-range Habaguanex hotel - 7 floors with lift and staircase. There is a popular small bar on the ground floor. It is very conveniently situated close to the Prado and Old Havana and a short walk from Parque Central and the Malecon. The hotel rooms are small, well furnished and comfortable with air-conditioning. There are excellent views of the city from the seventh-floor restaurant, where you have breakfast.

Hotel Park View, Havana
Days 3 - 4

Hotel Hanabanilla

Sierra de Escambray, Villa Clara

Hotel Hanabanilla
Days 5 - 6

Hotel Club Ancon, Trinidad

Trinidad

Hotel Ancon is a Soviet era concrete hotel built in the 1980s to cater for working Cubans to enjoy holidays with their families. A new wing was added in the 1990s. The rooms are satisfactory, some are spacious and all have air-conditioning. The hotel is set in large grounds, has a swimming pool and tennis courts and is situated right on the beautiful Ancon beach, its greatest advantage. If you want to be close to a beach in Trinidad, the large all-inclusive hotels are currently the only hotels available.

Hotel Club Ancon, Trinidad
Days 7 - 8

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 9

La Moka, Las Terrazas

La Moka
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Average rating 4.4 (46 ratings)

Worth a visit as a place of interest in itself, La Moka is part of a fully self-sufficient eco-community called Las Terrazas, in Piñar del Rio. La Moka has nicely appointed, comfortable rooms with attractive Spanish tiled flooring and wonderful views from the bathroom, as the baths are carefully designed to look into the trees. The verdant grounds are well cared for and you will see how the local community live and work, which is an important part of the whole complex. There are various restaurants for you to choose from, and all use the home grown local fare. La Moka is also good for walking, and even has a zip line for the adventurous! Horse riding is a popular activity here.

La Moka, Las Terrazas