Secrets of the East

Secrets of the East

11 days/10 nights, Cuba tour from/to Holguin


  • Bayamo
  • Granma
  • Santiago de Cuba
  • Baracoa
  • Gibara
  • Guardalavaca

Main attractions:                                  

  • Explore the 4 most beautiful provinces of “Oriente”.   
  • Get far away from the tourist streams.   
  • Enjoy the most beautiful and remote regions of Cuba.
  • Witness spectacular coastal roads with dream views.
  • Know more about Cuban Revolution.                           

Day 1: Arrival in Holguin

Transfer from the airport to the hotel and dinner at own expenses.

Overnight stay with breakfast: typical standard hotel, e.g. Hotel E Caballeriza (3*) or similar.

Day 2: Holguín – Bayamo (75 km) 

In the morning we will explore the provincial capital Holguin, which is also known as the city of parks due to its numerous squares. Of course it is a must to climb the famous Loma de la Cruz in the middle of the city.

In the afternoon drive to the carriage town Bayamo - starting point of the liberation struggle of the Spanish colonial rule. Here also the Cuban national anthem "La Bayamesa" was composed. Small city tour with the horse-drawn carriage over the main square with the birth house of the national hero Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.

Overnight stay with breakfast: typical standard hotel Hotel E Telegrafo (3*) or similar. (B)

Day 3: Bayamo – Santo Domingo – Niquero (210 km)

In the morning drive to Santo Domingo and excursion to the mountains of the Sierra Maestra. The excursion starts with a drive in jeeps or Russian trucks with a wonderful panoramic view on a steep road to Alto de Naranjo (950m). Afterwards hike on jungle-like paths, through an impressive natural world, up to the Comandancia de la Plata, Fidel Castros hiding place and headquarters in the Sierra Maestra - today a museum. Visit the well-preserved command post with its field hospital and the first transmitting station of the legendary Radio Rebelde. After a rustic lunch in the mountains, continue to Niquero. Stop at the memorial site La Demajagua where the plantation owners and national hero Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, heroically freed their slaves. 

Overnight stay with breakfast, Hotel Niquero (2*) or similar. (B/L)

Day 4: Niquero – Las Coloradas – Cabo Cruz – Marea del Portillo (110 km)

Early in the morning drive[1] to and along the coastline past Manzanillo in the direction of the National Park Desembarco de Granma; along this route the lingering spirit of the revolution is unmissable. At noon, arrive in Las Coloradas, where Fidel Castro landed in 1956 arriving from Mexico on the yacht "Granma" with 82 revolutionaries on board - including his brother Raúl (ex-president of Cuba) and the young doctor Ernesto Ché Guevara. Visit the landing site with information about the historical event. Visit of the Cabo Cruz Lighthouse, where you can have alunch (optional) in a simple, modest restaurant that takes you back to the Cuba of the 80s. Late in the afternoon arrival at Marea de Portillo and time at leisure e.g. on the beach.

Overnight stay with breakfast and all inclusive, Hotel Club Amigo Marea del Portillo (3*) (B/AI)

[1] Please note: The road between Niquero and Cabo Cruz is partly in bad conditions.

Day 5: 

Day: Marea del Portillo – Santiago de Cuba (190 km)[2]

[2] These routes are in bad condition, please note that sometimes the roads must be driven slowly. The route from Marea del Portillo to Santiago is one of the most beautiful routes of the island, off the beaten track. If one wants to get to know this very scenic, interesting and typical part of Cuba, there is no alternative. The route between Baracoa and Cayo Saetía takes aproximately 5 - 6 hours. In case of bad weather conditions the bridge to cross Río Toa could be blocked and an alternative route over Santiago de Cuba will be taken.

Today´s route is one of the highlights of the journey. Along the recently reopened road between Marea de Portillo and Santiago, enjoy sensational views over the quaint landscape. On the way we visit the monument "Primer Frente" in Uvero, where Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and the rebels won the first battle against the Batista regime. Arrival in Santiago de Cuba in the afternoon and dinner in a paladar, where an original insight into Cuban cuisine is guaranteed in a rustic ambience.

Overnight stay with breakfast and dinner: Hotel Iberostar Imperial (3,5*) or similar (B/D)

Day 6: Santiago de Cuba

In the morning, visit the cemetery Santa Ifigenia with the graves of the Bacardí dynasty, the national hero José Martí and Fidel Castro. Later, visit the El Morro fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site with stunning views over the bay. Continue to Cayo Granma and enjoy lunch in the restaurant. Panoramic tour through Santiago de Cuba, past the Revolution square and the Moncada Barracks. Stroll through the historic centre and discover Parque Céspedes, Calle Heredia, Plaza Dolores, the Padre Pico stairway and the rum museum. In the evening, visit the legendary “Casa de la Trova“, the cradle of the Cuban Son, where famous musicians such as Compay Segundo (Buena Vista Social Club) began their careers. 

Overnight stay with breakfast: see former night. (B/L)

Day 7: Santiago de Cuba – Guantánamo – Baracoa (240 km)

In the morning, drive towards Guantánamo - the stronghold of the Afro-Cuban Santería and Haitian voodoo cult, also known for its proximity to the U.S. Navy base. Continue through a desert-like landscape with cactus´ across tropical green mountains, along the breath-taking pass road La Farola down to Baracoa, where Columbus once landed. In the late afternoon, visit the city museum Matachín and walk over the main square where the church of Nuestra Señora de Asunción and the Columbus cross stand. The cross is considered the oldest Christian symbol in the New World and Columbus himself brought it to Cuba on his first voyage in 1492.

Overnight stay with breakfast: Hotel Castillo (2,5*) or similar. (B)

Day 8: Baracoa (60 km)

Baracoa is located in front of the picturesque backdrop of El Yunque, nestled in a lush tropical landscape with coffee, cocoa and banana plantations – a Caribbean bliss. Excursion to the magnificent surroundings of Baracoa. Drive to the mouth of the Río Yumuri. Hike (about two hours) and learn about the diverse flora and fauna of this area; later enjoy the possibility to take a break and have swim in the river. Afterwards drive to the Finca Duaba and stroll through the surroundings while receiving a small introduction to the world of cocoa. Enjoy a rustic lunch on the finca. 

Overnight stay with breakfast: see former night (B/L)

Day 9: Baracoa – Cayo Saetía (165)

Early in the morning drive through the National Park Alexander von Humboldt along the adventurous panoramic coastal road, past deserted bays, through Moa (centre of nickel mining) to Cayo Saetía. Time to swim and snorkel and in the evening dinner. 

Overnight stay with breakfast: Hotel Villa Cayo Saetía (2,5*). (B/A)

Day 10: Cayo Saetía – Birán – Gibara (155 km) 

In the morning, drive towards Cueto with an excursion to the Finca Manacas at Birán. The birthplace of Fidel Castro was opened to the public just a few years ago and offers interesting insights into his life and the conditions before the revolution. Continue to Gibara, a town that is rarely visited by tourists, and located 30 km outside of Holguín in a beautiful coastal area. Time to explore the village. 

Overnight stay with breakfast: Hotel E Ordoño (3*) or similar. (B)

Day 11:  Gibara –Holguín Airport / Guardalavaca (35 or 80 km)

In the morning transfer to Holguín airport or to Guardalavaca for those with beach extension. (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:

  • Meeting with Caribbean Tours representative to hand over documents at Holguin airport/ Holguin hotel/ Guardalavaca hotel
  • Caribbean Tours car rental package Comfort (see Caribbean Tours Rental Car manual)
  • 10 overnight stays in the mentioned accommodations (according to availability)
  • 10 x breakfast, 1 x All-Inclusive

Services not included

  • Car rental- minimum 10 full days - (to be booked separately as per manual). It is highly recommended to rent a jeep or SUV.
  • Meals and drinks (exception during the stay in Hotel Club Amigo Marea del Portillo).
  • Entrance-fees, sightseeing, guide & driver (the mentioned programmes are only a proposal)
  • Insurance (compulsory), fuel, drop-off fees (when applicable), deposit, additional driver have to paid on spot
  • Optional excursions and shows incl. transfers (see supplements)
  • Extending nights e.g. Guardalavaca
  • Transfer to Holguin airport after the extending nights
  • Personal expenses and tips
Holguin ⇢ Bayamo ⇢ Santo Domingo ⇢ Marea del Portillo ⇢ Santiago de Cuba ⇢ Guantanamo ⇢ Baracoa ⇢ Cayo Saetia ⇢ Holguin/Guardalavaca