The Authentic Side Of Cuba

The Authentic Side of Cuba

14 days/13 nights, Cuba tour from/to Havana


  • Havana
  • Viñales
  • Cienfuegos
  • Trinidad
  • Camagüey
  • Bayamo
  • Santiago de Cuba
  • Baracoa

Main attractions:                                 

  • Travel Cuba from west to east. 
  • Stay with Cubans in their homes.
  • Gain insights into Cubans daily lives.
  • Learn cultural differences between different regions.
  • Cuban classics: old cars, cigars, landscapes.                      

Day 1: Arrival in Havana 

Reception at the Havana airport. Transfer to accommodation. Dinner on your own.

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Havana.

Day 2: Havana – La Vida Real 

The real life of Cubans is characterized by daily difficulties and challenges. However, these incredibly friendly and open-minded people do not cease to enjoy life in every moment. You will discover what it is to be a Cuban. In the morning you will ride a yellow coco-taxi (Cuban version of the Thai tuk tuk) that will take you through Central Havana, a neighbourhood with a colourful local life. To understand the dual currency in Cuba and the local economy, you will visit various shops and businesses, including the bustling and peculiar agricultural markets. In the midst of the lively internal movement, you will be able to get an idea of the daily local menu and better understand the basics of their cuisine. Continue on foot through the alleys and squares of colonial Havana to experience the ancient city full of history. After lunch, discover the other modern parts of Havana. Take a seat in a restored classic car to roll through the neighbourhoods of El Vedado and Miramar, adorned by unique mansions and wide avenues. The trip will end bordering the famous Malecon flooded at night by Cubans who enjoy the fresh sea air, good conversation and a drink of rum. Dare to include yourself!! (B/L)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Havana.

Day 3: Havana – Taste of Cuba

After a first encounter yesterday with the ingredients of local food, learn how to prepare the cuisine today. To start this day, you will cross the other side of the bay of Havana to visit the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, one of the greatest defences built by the Spanish during the colonial period. Later you will arrive at the fishing town of Cojimar, where the American writer Ernest Hemingway loved to spend his time interacting with the fishermen. Together with a local chef, you will cook a traditional Cuban dish and enjoy the meal together with a delicious cocktail. In the afternoon, immerse yourself in Afro-Cuban customs and religious traditions. With an expert you will receive an introduction into these beliefs, their deities and their connection to European Catholicism. Through this you will understand why many Cubans on the street are dressed completely in white from head to toe. (B/L)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Havana.

Day 4: Havana – Vueltabajo- Viñales (220 km)

The smell of damp soil and fresh leaves will accompany you today on our trip through Pinar del Rio, the greenest of all Cuban provinces, which has the best soil for growing tobacco. Where better to learn about this plant than at Finca Quemado de Rubí, one of the 5 best tobacco farms in Cuba, owned by Hector Luis, who was awarded the Habano Man award, the Oscar for tobacco. You will visit the land to learn about the entire production process. If you wish, after lunch, light a real cigar and immerse yourself in the sweet and spicy aroma of tobacco. We will then continue towards Viñales. The beauty of this valley, with its typical limestone formations called mogotes, form a unique landscape in Cuba that you can admire from the viewpoint of the Los Jazmines hotel. We will then reach the small town, where you will stay in one of the local houses. (B/L)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Viñales.

Day 5: Viñales – Amidst pure nature

In the morning you will walk through the valley and discover the diversity of its flora and fauna. The ecosystem here is a true mosaic. Our journey will pass alongside farmer’s homes, the plains and the impressive mogotes. On the way you will surely run into a local farmer who are generally eager to chat. Do not be surprised if you discover that you are ploughing the land with an ox as Cuba has evolved very little in its agricultural techniques. After the walk, we will enjoy a delicious lunch in a rural environment at Alberto Vitamina; the friendly owner of the restaurant, is a typical Cuban who enjoys chatting with his guests. The traditional food here has no additives: pure vitamins! Back in the town of Viñales, you will visit the small botanical garden of Caridad. The patio, built and maintained by two sisters, is privately owned and houses different plants from various regions. Afternoon at leisure. (B/L)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Viñales.

Day 6: Viñales – Cienfuegos (475 km)

Today’s trip to Cienfuegos begins early in the morning. Cienfuegos is a very young city, founded by the French and popularly known as the “Pearl of the South”. The city’s port and connection to the Cuban railway network in 1860, made it an economic success. You will walk through the Martí Park, the main square, with its emblematic Terry theatre where the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso once sang. Then the afternoon will end with a refreshing cocktail at the Palacio de Valle, a Cuban architectural jewel with a splendid view of the bay and an interesting love story to tell. (B/L)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Cienfuegos.

Day 7: Cienfuegos – Trinidad (85 km)

A journey into the colonial past of cobbled streets, high windows and interior courtyards, tall bell towers and unique handcrafted pieces, is possible in the 21st century. Such a charming place can be found in Trinidad. Arrival in the city after a 1-hour drive along a road bordering the sea. Take a tour of the main squares and enjoy lunch in a private restaurant in the old town. After lunch, you will visit a pottery workshop to understand the details of typical Trinitarian crafts. Afternoon at leisure. In the evening let yourself be captivated by Cuban music and take a seat on the stairs of the main square to listen to the contagious rhythms from the Casa de la Música. (B/L)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Trinidad.

Day 8: Trinidad – A day in the Caribbean 

The colourful Caribbean Sea is our destination today. You will spend part of this day on the Ancon beach in Trinidad or take an excursion (not included) to a Caribbean island in the classic Robinson Crusoe fashion.

The transport will pick you up at 8.15 am to take you to the beach or, for those paying extra for the excursion, to the departure point for Cayo Iguana. For the latter option, you will enjoy a quiet day aboard a boat and a beautiful beach with fine sand with lunch included. In the afternoon, guaranteed transportation back to your accommodation at 4:30 pm. (B)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Trinidad.

Optional excursion Cayo Iguana:

Take a trip through the southern area of Trinidad on a catamaran that includes snorkelling in the coral reef where you can enjoy the underwater world and a day at the beach at Cayo Iguana. On this beautiful island inhabited by iguanas and jutías you will be able to enjoy the Caribbean sun and a delicious seafood lunch. In the afternoon, return to Trinidad.

(Price: $55 per person)*

* The excursion is guaranteed with a minimum of 10 pax. To reserve it contact our representative in Trinidad or include it in your initial tour reservation.

Day 9: Trinidad – Valle de los Ingenios – Sancti Spiritus – Camagüey (280 km)

The day begins with a stop at the nearby Valle de los Ingenios. It is here that sugar mills flourished in the 19th century, bringing great prosperity to Trinidad. The owners of the mills, rich proprietary families of the lands since almost the beginning of the town, made fortunes from vast plantations laboured on by African slaves. Discover the Manaca Iznaga Tower, the highest in the valley, which was used to watch over the masses of slaves. Our next stop will be Sancti Spiritus, an old town with the only colonial bridge still in use in Cuba that runs over the Yayabo River. Near the bridge, you will enjoy a delicious lunch. In the afternoon the trip continues along the central highway to Camagüey, the city of Los Tinajones. Cycle the labyrinthine layout of its streets, unique in Cuba, which can disorient any visitor, just as in past times the same effect was had on pirates and corsairs trying to loot the city. (B/L)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Camagüey.

Day 10: Camagüey – Bayamo – El Cobre – Santiago de Cuba (350 km) 

The pride of each nation arises from the value of its people. The tour today includes the city of Bayamo, the cradle of the Cuban nation, the first free city in the Spanish colony and where the national anthem was sung for the first time. Here the tradition of riding the typical local buggies through the city is still alive, which you will certainly not fail to do. Later the tour will stop at the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre sanctuary. The Patroness of Cuba, has been the spiritual guide for millions of Cubans historically and to the present day. Finally we will reach Santiago de Cuba, cradle of the Revolution and the son, perfect mix of cultures and religions. Embrace the good music that can be heard on every corner played by local troubadours. To conclude the day, enjoy a delicious dinner at your accommodation. (B/S)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Santiago de Cuba.

Day 11: Santiago de Cuba – The heroic city 

"Rebel yesterday, hospitable today, always heroic" is the slogan of the second largest city on this island. After breakfast the tour of the heroic city will begin. It will pass through the Moncada Barracks, a police station attacked by Fidel Castro in 1953 that marked the beginning of the road to the Revolution. Then you will visit the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, a beautiful churchyard with the graves of the most prominent patriots in Cuba: José Martí, our National hero; Fidel Castro, former president of the nation; Mariana Grajales, the mother of the Maceo generals. Also buried here are the remains of the Bacardi dynasty, creators of the famous Cuban rum and of which we will discover the details during a tour in the Rum Museum. You will learn how sugarcane is transformed into rum and at the end you will taste a delicious drink of Ron Santiago considered by Cubans to be the best in Cuba. The morning will end with a walk through the city centre where you will be able to appreciate well-known places such as Parque Céspedes and Calle Ramada. In the afternoon the tour will continue south of the city to the San Pedro de la Roca fortress, a jewel of military engineering in the Caribbean. From here you can enjoy a unique view that fuses together the sea and mountains. The rest of the day is at your disposal. (B)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Santiago de Cuba.

Day 12: Santiago de Cuba – Guantánamo - Baracoa (240 km)

Today's route is an unparalleled example of Cuban geography. Through small towns, cultivated fields and all kinds of vendors on the road side, you will reach Guantánamo, the cradle of the French Tomb, a dance originating from the mixture of the customs of the French colonists and the Haitian slaves who arrived here fleeing from the Haitian Revolution. Also in Guantánamo is the US Naval Base, a bay usurped from Cuba by the United States and which you can see from afar at the La Gobernadora viewpoint stop. The landscape changes drastically from a coast with an intense turquoise blue sea and a semi-desert of cacti to a tropical paradise full of forests and high mountains where the highest rainfall is recorded in Cuba. In the last kilometres, the impressive La Farola highway will pass, one of the 7 wonders of Cuban engineering. If you spot odd cone-shaped objects called Cucuruchos on the side of the road, stop by and try one of the local coconut and fruit delicacies. In the afternoon arrival in Baracoa where you will have an included visit to the Matachín fort and the main square where the Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de la Cruz Church is located and where the only cross that belonged to Christopher Columbus is kept. Traditional Baracoese cuisine is unique in Cuba and is based on local products such as coconut, cocoa, banana and seafood. Savour a delicious meal at your accommodation tonight, giving you Caribbean touch to your day that you will not forget. (B/S)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Baracoa.

Day 13: Baracoa

Baracoa is in front of the beautiful scenery formed by the Yunque Plateau, in the middle of exuberant tropical nature, with coffee, cocoa and banana plantations. You will take an excursion through the majestic tropical environment of Baracoa, including a trip to the mouth of the Yumurí River. On the way you will receive explanations about the flora and fauna of the region, and you can also cool off in the river. Later, the walk will continue in the direction of a Cuban farm that has created an ecological route to teach you the peculiarities of cocoa cultivation. Lunch will bear a local seal and will be served in rustic vessels on the organic farm, surrounded by wonderful nature. The rest of the day will be at leisure. (B/L)

Accommodation with breakfast in a selected Casa Particular in Baracoa.

Day 14: Baracoa – Guardalavaca (265 km)

On your last day you will travel carefully through a deserted highway in poor condition, skirting the coast of the Humboldt Park and exotic bays full of palm trees and then cross the Moa area, one of the nickel extraction areas in Cuba. Later you will arrive in Holguin and then 40 km further, to the beaches of Guardalavaca where the tour ends for those clients who want to continue their stay on the beach. (B)

((We cannot guarantee the connection with a national or international flight and therefore it is not recommended to book a departure flight on this same day. For that reason, we recommend booking an additional night).

Services Included:

  • Transport in air-conditioned vehicle (taxi/minivan/microbus) of local standard with local driver:
    • With 2 people in a taxi (maximum one suitcase per person).
    • For 3 - 6 participants in a minivan/microbus (6 - 10 seats).
  • Transfer from Havana airport to Havana accommodation. (If necessary this transfer may be carried out with a Caribbean Tours representative).
  • Excursions, visits and entrances according to the program.
  • From days 1-14 local guide.
  • 13 nights in Casas Particulares mentioned in program.
  • 13 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 2 dinners.

Services Not Included:

  • Food and drinks not mentioned in the program.
  • Optional excursions (see rates).
  • Additional nights (e.g. in Guardalavaca).
  • Transfer to Holguín airport after an extension in Guardalavaca.
  • Personal costs and tips.
Havana ⇢ Viñales ⇢ Cienfuegos ⇢ Trinidad ⇢ Sancti Spiritus ⇢ Camagüey ⇢ Bayamo ⇢ Santiago de Cuba ⇢ Guantanamo ⇢ Baracoa ⇢ Guardalavaca