9 Day This Cuban Life

$1650 USDPer Person

LLegal Travel - This tour package is designed to facilitate legal travel to Cuba for Americans. Travelers from all nationalities are welcome to join.

 

$1650 USD
Green Car Trinidad

Itinerary Summary

Day 1Arrival Day Havana
Itinerary map - 9 day Cuba Tour for Americans
Day 2Havana
Day 3Viñales
via Las Terrazas
Day 4Viñales 
Day 5Cienfuegos
via Bay of Pigs
Day 6Trinidad 
via Santa Clara
Day 7Trinidad 
Day 8Havana
Day 9Departure Day

Booking Options

Tour Description

This 9 Day Cuba tour makes it easy for travelers arriving from the U.S. to comply with the travel rules for Americans. It is a fantastic introduction to Cuba that gets you out of Havana so that you can see what many visitors to Cuba do not, that Havana is not Cuba and Cuba is not Havana.  Visit the rural Viñales Valley with its gorgeous landscapes and friendly locals, stroll the romantic sea wall in Cienfuegos, a city with a French influence.  Spend time in Trinidad, a traveler favorite, with its colorful buildings and cobblestone streets.  The focus on this tour is to learn about ordinary life in Cuba, and how individuals are impacted by the government, social structure, and the embargo. You’ll learn about Cuba’s proud and patriotic culture, its tumultuous history, its thriving arts scene, and its burgeoning entrepreneurial spirit. You’ll meet with locals from different walks of life and learn about family life, favorite pastimes, the school system and the workplace. You’ll learn about the challenges that Cubans face in getting access to necessities, comforts, and luxuries, and the interesting and often ingenious ways they've developed of "resolviendo" (resolving) to get what they need.

Tour Summary

style
L Legal Tour for Americans. Making a legal trip to Cuba easy.
C Comfort Class.
duration9 days / 8 nights
group sizeMinimum 2 / Maximum 12
single supplementSingle Room for the tour - $322 USD extra (read more)
accommodation8 nights in privately owned comfort class Bed & Breakfast Guesthouses (casas particulares), double occupancy.
transportPrivate transportation in air conditioned bus.
licenseThis tour complies with the general license category Support for Cuban People for individuals (515.574). The tour provides the basis and support for your compliance with the law. Special arrangements may be available for travelers who prefer to travel under the People to People category.
Included ActivitiesOld Havana half-day guided walk, Visit to Jaimanitas community art project, Visit to Las Terrazas eco-village and explanation of their Rural Economy Project, half-day Vinales cultural/scenic trek including Tobacco Farm visit, Cooking class & dinner, organic farm visit and tour, Playa Giron museum & documentary film, Korimakao Project, Cienfuegos orientation walk, Che Guevara Mausoleum, Manaca Iznaga Sugar Plantation visit, Walk to Javira waterfall, Walking tour of Trinidad historic center, introductory group Salsa Lesson.
other inclusionsAll breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners.  Airport arrival transfer. Private local Cuban guide throughout.

Welcome to Cuba! You will be greeted upon your arrival to Havana Airport by our representative who will assist you in locating the currency exchange house CADECA and then provide a private taxi or car service to your guesthouse.

You tour leader will have left you some information at the guesthouse about the orientation meeting time for the group.

Tonight’s included dinner is at a local privately owned restaurant - a great example of Cuba’s incremental shift to a more free-market economy.

  • Included Meals: Dinner
Two classic American 50’s cars in front of the Gran Teatro in Havana

In the morning we take a guided walking tour. Apart from going to some of the standout sites of Old Havana, we will learn about Cuba’s dual-currency economy when we visit some different places where locals go to do their daily shopping. After lunch we head to the Havana suburb of Jaimanitas where we visit the home of one of Cuba’s most famous artists. Jose Fuster’s entire residence is covered in artworks made of carefully broken tiles. Over the years Fuster continued the colourful mosaic decoration and incorporated his neighbors’ houses, a local medical clinic, and a community centre into the art project. Nowadays, practically the whole neighborhood surrounding his home is covered in Gaudi inspired mosaics. Referred to as Fusterlandia, this unique work of art is internationally recognized. We meet Fuster’s family and and can view the gallery inside his home. Tonight we have free time for dinner. You can try a home cooked meal, or perhaps another local paladar. Later in the evening we head out to see a cannon blast ceremony at a fort on the other side of Havana harbour.

  • Included Activities: Walking city tour led by local tour leader, Fusterlandia Visit, Cannon Blast Ceremony
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Tourists at Fusterlandia

On the way to the spectacular valley of Viñales, we stop by Las Terrazas. This small rural village was built by the Cuban government as part of a reforestation project that has since been given a biosphere UNESCO listing. We meet a local community leader who will give us some insight into how the local society works. Upon reaching the quaint village of Viñales, we settle into our guesthouses and have a quick orientation tour of the town. After this we tour an organic farm and learn about sustainable farming in Cuba. We meet a local Cuban farmer and his family who will show us around their organic farm and explain to us the methods they use to grow their produce without using pesticides or artificial fertilisers. Our included dinner tonight will be at this farmhouse while we watch the sun set over the limestone hills that surround the valley. It’s one of the best views you will see in Cuba!

  • Included Activities: Las Terrazas Tour, Vinales Orientation Walk, Organic Farm Visit
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
A worker at an organic farm in Vinales, Cuba, watering plants at sunset

In the morning we visit a local tobacco farm to learn about the making of Cuba’s famous cigars. Vinales is one of the premier locations in the world for producing cigar tobacco. A local farmer will give us a cigar rolling demonstration and also an insight into how the socialist system in Cuba works, with regards to how much of the tobacco produced by the family that is given to the government, and how much of it they are free to sell on the private market. The whole production process will be explained, from planting the tobacco all the way to rolling the final cigar. The family will offer us to sit down with them to enjoy some coffee, freshly roasted on their own farm. Our afternoon activity is a group introductory salsa lesson at a private dance school. Even if you are a complete novice you should at least be able to learn something you can use later tonight at the local live music bar.

Before that, we head to another family house out of town for a cooking demonstration of typical Cuban dishes. After the cooking lesson we can sit back and relax to enjoy the well-prepared meal.

  • Included Activities: Tobacco Farm Visit, Group Salsa Lesson, Cooking Demonstration
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
A farmer harvesting tobacco leaves in Vinales, Cuba

Cienfuegos was founded by the French and you can sense this when contemplating the layout of this small elegant city that also has the luxuries of a vast calm bay, and a beautiful Malecón.

It’s from this bay side walkway where you can watch fishermen casting nets and locals socialising. To get here we drive along the scenic Bay of Pigs and past the site where the landing of U.S. sponsored counter-revolutionary exile militia occurred in 1961. There is a museum here that houses articles and objects from this conflict which helped Fidel Castro cement his power in Cuba in the early days of the Revolution. Incongruously, despite the macabre history of this area, there are some beautiful places where we can stop for a swim and snorkel including a sinkhole that resembles a huge natural tropical fish tank. Snorkel gear can be rented on-site for about 5CUC. Along this route we will also visit a community centre and school where we will meet local students and learn more about Cuba's education system. Upon arrival in Cienfuegos we settle into our guesthouses before taking a walk around the city to learn some of its history.

  • Included Activities: Bay of Pigs Museum Visit, Cienfuegos Orientation Walk, Korimakao Community Centre Visit
  • Included Meals: Breakfast
Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos is a very pretty town, and you may have time in the morning for a quick stroll along the boulevard or to the main square. However we only spend a short time here as there are many interesting things ahead. In Santa Clara, we will be welcomed with the sight of a huge statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara.

We take time to visit the museum that is directly under the statue, and which tells the story of Ché’s fascinating life. On the way towards Trinidad we stop at a small rural farm where we enjoy a local farm lunch with all local produce from the farm itself or nearby farms. We will also have the chance for a quick swim in a hidden waterfall.

In Trinidad, you’ll probably find the nightlife to be the most accessible in all of Cuba. There are a plethora of small live music venues scattered around the colonial parts of town, some of which have nightly dance shows.

  • Included Activities: Che Guevara Museum, Waterfall Swim
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Tourists visit the Che Guevara museum and monument in Santa Clara, Cuba

We take a morning hike to a waterfall just outside the city of Trinidad in the foothills of the forested Escambray mountains. The walk is not steep, nor long (40min to 1 hour each way) however there are some sections that are a bit rocky and uneven. The park staff however, do a great job maintaining the trail and the handrails they have in place for the less simple sections. Along the way we stop at a very simple farmer’s house. Here we get a further sense of what life is like in rural areas such as this in Cuba. Once reaching the pretty waterfall and cooling off in its natural pools, we return to Trinidad where we take a cultural tour of the historic center of town. There were some very wealthy residents here in the 18th and 19th centuries, having made fortunes out of the sugar industry. Some of their grand houses have been made into museums. Visiting these will give you a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the elite class during that time. At a local bar we take a rest to enjoy the shade and the taste a local drink called canchanchara, which is made from Rum, lemon, and honey. If the weather permits, tonight we’ll have a dinner picnic at a nearby Caribbean beach.

  • Included Activities: Waterfall hike, Walking City Tour, Beach Picnic (weather permitting)
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
A local family poses in front of their pink casa particular in Trinidad, Cuba

En route back to Havana we pass by a historic sugar plantation. A 147 ft tower dominates the skyline. It was built here so that the estate owners could keep vigil on the slaves as they worked in the cane fields.

The village around the old mansion is inhabited by the direct descendants of those slaves. It’s an apt place for us to learn a bit more about the history of the slave trade and slavery in Cuba.

Back in Havana you’ll have time to get ready for our farewell group dinner. For those who are willing, there are plenty of options for one more night of music and dancing!

  • Included Activities: Manaca Iznaga Sugar Mill Visit
  • Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 A panoramic view over the city of Trinidad in Cuba

Today is the departure day of the tour. There are no included activities however your tour leader will be around at least until midday in case you have a few extra days planned in Havana and need some pointers or recommendations. An airport departure transfer is not included in the tour package. You can hire your own taxi or otherwise ask your tour leader for assistance.

  • Included Meals: Breakfast

Summary of Travel Times

Havana to Viñales via Las Terrazas3 hours
Viñales to Cienfuegos via Bay Of Pigs8 hours
Cienfuegos to Trinidad3 hours
Trinidad to Havana via Santa Clara7 hours

PLEASE NOTE: Travel times may vary. Times shown include stops.

Budget for additional costs

  • Spending money for meals, souvenirs,  additional gratuities: US$300-500
  • Medical Insurance (Required by Cuban Government): US$36-63 
    Note: Insurance is included in airfare for direct flights to Cuba from the U.S. 
  • Round trip flights to Cuba from Cancun to Havana: US$375-450
  • Round trip flights from Miami to Havana (including medical insurance): US$200-300.
  • Cuban Tourist Visa (Tourist Card): US$50 - 100
  • Travel insurance: Price Varies. We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance in case of unforeseen circumstances that cause you to cancel or delay your trip. We don't sell travel insurance but you can shop for insurance policies online such as insuremytrip.com .

Not included in the Tour

  • International airfare (Tour starts and ends in Havana)
  • Cuban Tourist Visa
  • Mandatory medical insurance (included in flights from USA)
  • Meals not included - 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities for guide and optional activities
  • Airport departure transfer (approx 25 EUR by taxi)

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