Why we love this trip:
- 15 days in Cuba gives you enough time to unlock the marvellous mysteries of Cuba and the people who call her home.
- Though the tour is exhaustive, it’s certainly not exhausting, with plenty of spare time to explore Cuba on your own (particularly its remarkable nightlife).
- The beaches you used to love might not seem so special after some of the beaches you’ll experience on your 15 day Cuba group tour.
- If you don’t already have a taste for Cuban cocktails, you probably will after this tour! And of course, you’ll learn how to make your own under friendly, expert tutelage.
- Take in the French-inspired architecture of Cienfuegos.
- You’ll visit the final resting place of the iconic (and controversial) Che Guevara.
- Be excited by the nightlife on offer in Santiago de Cuba.
- Get lost in the maze-like streets of Camagüey.
- Give your tastebuds a workout with a BBQ lunch by the river in Baracoa.
- The people of Cuba. Meeting the locals might well be your most-loved part of your 15 day Cuba group tour.
Is this Cuba tour for me?
Our Cuba group tours are perfect for those who want the freedom and flexibility to travel at their own pace, along with the security, camaraderie and cultural insight that comes from travelling with a local English-speaking guide and small group.
- Age is just a number... well that's what we think anyway. Our Cuba tours suit a particular travel ethos, rather than age group. Our ideal traveller is someone that wants to immerse themselves in Cuban culture and experience everything that makes Cuba so unique.. the amazing, the confusing and the confounding.
- Cuban B&B’s (Casa Particulares) are family run business which are set-up to provide B&B style accommodation to foreigners – a unique cultural experience. Casa’s are generally much nicer than normal Cuban dwellings but can be more basic than foreigners are used to. It is important to remember that each room at a Casa is unique in its size and set-up. Whether you stay in a hotel or Casa, sometimes power cuts and breaks in hot water are unavoidable in any developing country.
- Part of the experience of traveling through Cuba is experiencing Cuban resourcefulness. Spare parts are often difficult and expensive to come by, so don’t be surprised if your notice that ‘Cuban innovation’ has been used to keep various things working.
- Access to the internet in Cuba is getting better but can still be variable, slow and unreliable. It is also relatively expensive to get online at a hotel or one of the various Wifi zones that have been set-up across the country. Traveling through Cuba offers a great opportunity to take a break from your electronic devices and have a truly relaxing experience.
- Cuba is a unique travel destination and that is what makes it so popular. It is part of the ‘laid back Caribbean’ and things don’t always go to plan or schedule. A great sense of humour and patience are qualities that will go along way in making your stay in Cuba an enjoyable one.
Estimated travel times:
Have you ever been on a tour where you’re briskly rushed from place to place? This doesn’t happen on our 15 day Cuba group tour. A leisurely pace of life is something you’ll quickly become accustomed to while in Cuba, and so in this spirit, on a longer journey we will of course stop for lunch, a chance to stretch your legs, and to take in the beauty of your surroundings. Your approximate travel times on your 15 day Cuba group tour will be as follows:
- Havana to Cienfuegos via Bay of Pigs: 5 hours
- Cienfuegos to Trinidad via Santa Clara: 3 hours
- Trinidad to Camagüey: 5 hours
- Camagüey to Santiago de Cuba: 6 hours
- Santiago de Cuba to Baracoa: 5 hours
- Plus an internal flight (2 hours) from Baracoa to Havana
To download our Cuba drive times map (click here).
All private transportation is included between destinations and for any activities/ excursions included in your itinerary that require transportation to and from the activity. Any extra transportation requirements can be organised through your Cuban guide and paid for locally in Cuba.
Public transport in Cuba can be chaotic, to put it mildly. You don’t need to navigate the transport network, since you will be driven from destination to destination in comfort and style, using private transportation. There will also be an internal flight from Baracoa back to Havana. Depending on scheduling, it might be necessary to be transported to either Santiago de Cuba or Holguin for your internal flight.
Spending money on tour:
Everyone spends their money differently while on tour. Some days you might be tempted to spend a little more, and other days you might not. It’s completely up to you. Many of your primary expenses are included in your 15 day Cuba group tour, but you will need to consider other expenses, namely drinks, food, your transport to the airport for your departure, souvenirs, tips (ask your guide about an appropriate amount), and of course, any optional excursions and activities. We estimate that you will need approximately 50.00 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos) to 60.00 CUC per person, per day to cover your local expenses.
How to sum up Havana? This complex, culturally-rich, and fascinatingly contradictory city can perhaps be described in a single word: Alive. There’s a lot of hustle and bustle, but our expert local guides will ensure that your 8 day Cuba group tour will never be overwhelming. It’s important to remember that the first day of your 8 days in Cuba is considered to be a joining day, so any activities on this day will depend on what time your flight arrives. While there are no activities planned on this first part of the tour, your accommodation will have been arranged and you have the option to meet your guide and fellow tour members for a delicious dinner.
The heart of this scintillating city is undoubtedly Havana’s Old Town (La Habana Vieja). This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a sublime assault on your senses, with the beauty of the colonial era architecture combining with the spirit of the locals to make an experience that almost feels like some kind of immersive theatre production. Many of the main points of interest are within a conveniently close proximity to each other, so you can experience much of the city on foot (so be sure to pack some comfortable walking shoes). If you want to spend extra time in Cuba’s capital, we will be very happy to arrange your accommodation, and our expert guides will be able to give you some great recommendations about what parts of the city (and surrounding countryside) you should explore on your own. You can also book any extra day tours you might be interested in, through our sister organisation – Locally Sourced Havana Tours – www.havanatourcompany.com
- Airport Transfer on Arrival
On your way to the refinement of Cienfuegos, there will be time for a fascinating pitstop.
We’ll visit Playa Girón, which is otherwise known as the Bay of Pigs. This infamous spot was where the US attempted to stage an invasion of Cuba, which was ultimately unsuccessful, giving the US government of the time some definite egg on their faces (perhaps to go with the bacon of the Bay of Pigs). Then it’s time to head to the French splendour of Cienfuegos. These influences come from the French migrants who congregated and made their home here, giving it a strikingly different look to other cities in Cuba which have more of a Spanish influence. Many of these French settlers were already living in other parts of the New World but saw the fledgling settlement of Cuba as being their best bet for a bountiful life.
At the entrance to the harbour you’ll see the Castillo de Jagua, an ancient fort that allowed the city to withstand the pirate attacks that were once common in Cuba. Many buildings in the town have been given UNESCO world heritage status (as is the case with many spots in Cuba - a true acknowledgement of their importance), and you might think you’ve never seen such a beautiful town… until we show you some other places on your 15 day Cuba group tour.
- Swim/ Snorkel at the Bay of Pigs
- Visit Museum Giron
- Guided Orientation Walk of Cienfuegos City
- 1 x Drink at the impressive Palacio de Valle
On leaving the ‘Paris of the Caribbean’ your 20 day Cuba group tour will first head to Santa Clara, for a visit to the Che Guevara Mausoleum and Memorial. Although ‘El Che’ was born in Argentina, his radical actions were so central to the Cuban revolution that when his remains were discovered in Bolivia in 1997 they were transferred to this specially-built mausoleum overlooking the town. It was nearby that in December 1958 Guevara derailed an armoured train transporting weapons designed to defeat Fidel Castro. The train still lies where it derailed as a second memorial.
Then your transport will continue the journey to some travellers’ favourite destination in Cuba, Trinidad. Founded in 1514 – just 22 years after Christopher Columbus first set foot on Cuban soil – Trinidad is a jewel of early colonial architecture. Yet another of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the city is almost a living museum, with many of the buildings along its cobbled streets dating to the time of Cuba’s first War of Independence. It was a time that saw many of the country’s sugar plantations deliberately destroyed by fire. Despite this, Trinidad still has plenty to take your breath away, whether it’s the vibrant colours or the soulful music seeping from streets across the city. An evening in one of Trinidad’s lively music venues is a definite must!
The Valle de los ingenious, or the Valley of the Sugar Mills, lies just outside the city. It contains a mixture of ruined and intact mills ripe for exploration. The most intact is perhaps Manaca Iznaga, for here not only the plantation house still survives, but also barracones (slave quarters) and the mighty 45 metre high Iznaga Tower.
The three days scheduled for Trinidad as part of your 20 day Cuba group tour gives you ample time to discover all Trinidad has to offer. While in the city you might also like to spend a few hours on Playa Ancon, one of Cuba’s best beaches.
- Che Guevara Memorial and Museum
- Guided Trinidad Township Walk
- Informal Salsa Lesson
Named after an indigenous village close by, Camaguey has existed since 1528. It is said to have been built with a deliberating confusing layout – giving it the moniker of ‘La Ciudad Confusa’, or the maze – as a way of defending the population against attack by pirates. The labyrinth of winding streets, blind alleys, and forking roads can still confuse. But don’t worry, you will be accompanied by your English-speaking guide, of course, and have the opportunity to get your bearings as you are guided around the city on the back of a bicycle taxi.
An alternative story has the city’s unusual layout resulting from unplanned development, with everyone wishing to remain as close as possible to their local church, with Catholicism still playing an important part in the life of modern Cuba.
Its large number of squares and parks, colonial architecture and enriched spiritual persona, has made Camaguey a mecca for Cuban arts and culture. There are a myriad of art galleries and handicraft exhibits in the city, which is dotted with historical monuments. Look out for that of Ignacio Agramonte in the park named after him, and the clay water pots dotted around the city. Called tinajón, they were used in earlier times to capture rain water and help maintain its freshness. With some large enough to swallow people whole, they have been a symbol of Camaguey since 1911.
- Guided Orientation Walk of Camaguey City
- Bicycle Taxi Tour of Camaguey
- Dance School Visit
The second largest city in Cuba is possibly also its most dynamic. With a myriad of ethnicities calling Santiago home, it’s hard not to get swept away in its joyous and prepossessing surroundings. A further reason your 20 day Cuba group tour stops at Santiago is that its music and dance scenes are perhaps the best in Cuba.
Santiago was one of the original seven settlements founded by Spanish colonists. Throughout its 500 year history is has endured various military assaults, most recently ending with Fidel Castro declaring the Cuban revolution a victory from a balcony on Santiago’s city hall in 1959.
Some of Cuba’s most famous musicians, including several members of Buena Vista Social Club, have called Santiago their home, contributing to the country-like musical style the city is famous for. Dance is also important to the city. Salsa derived from Santiago’s traditional Son, while guaguancó is another distinct dance which has a percussive accompaniment. During Carnival you will see Conga music played on trompeta chinas, a traditional form of trumpet.
Santiago has shared its heritage with those of African descent for at least two centuries, and many of the city’s residents continue to follow santería, a vibrant faith combining Roman Catholic and West African practices.
Make sure you leave enough time to visit one of Santiago de Cuba’s famous tobacco factories, and take in a famous music venue or two in the evening on your 20 Day Cuba Group Tour.
- Guided Orientation Walk of Santiago de Cuba City
- Music Night Tour including Entrance Fees and 1 x Drink
Situated almost as far east in Cuba as it is possible to go, Baracoa’s position made it a very early destination for European explorers crossing the Atlantic. Christopher Columbus himself visited what is now Baracoa in 1492, during his first voyage to the Americas. The city became not only the first Spanish settlement on Cuba, but its first colonial capital too. Havana (your next port of call) had to wait 100 years for the honour to be transferred.
What makes Baracoa special today is natural beauty, nestled on the evocatively-named Bay of Honey and set amid a mixture of palms, chocolate plants and banana trees. The city is blessed with many rivers, and a healthy annual rainfall producing some of the lushest rainforest you’ll find. Taken together with the expanse of flowers and plants that come down into the city from the surrounding high mountains, it’s therefore no surprise Baracoa has come to be called the greenest city in Cuba.
Largely unchanged for decades, several buildings date back to the nineteenth century, when a series of fortifications that are still in existence protected the city from potential attack. Part of the system of fortifications were the forts of Matachin and La Punta.
What’s more, there is plenty of options when it comes to excursions from Baracoa. For example, it’s very easy to arrange a boat to guide you between the tall cliffs at the mouth of the Yumuri River. Baracoa is only a few kilometres away from Salto Fino, the Caribbean’s tallest waterfall, which plunges a staggering 305 metres. Also nearby is the world-renowned Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt, a haven for Cuba’s endemic flora and fauna.
You won’t want to miss the chance to sample what Baracoa has to offer when it comes to cuisine either, which you can do during the group BBQ.
- Guided Orientation Walk of the Baracoa Township
- Group BBQ lunch by the River in Baracoa
You return to the Cuban capital today by air to allow for a more in depth exploration of Cuba’s most important city and experience its nightlife. A full day tour of the city including time in a classic American car and an Old Havana Walking Tour is included as part of your 20 day Cuba group tour.
If you haven’t already seen what Old Havana has to offer now is your chance. Surrounded by high fortified walls, La Habana Vieja is swathed with Spanish-style plazas and buildings of the baroque and neoclassical styles favoured by the colonial authorities. Exemplified by the Gran Teatro (Grand Theatre), the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception and the Fort of Saint Charles (known locally as La Cabana), these early Spanish colonists spared no expense in creating a grand city in the style of the cities of their birth. The result has to be seen to be believed.
The Vedado neighbourhood is Havana’s other main draw for tourists. Developed during the first half of the twentieth century, it is the capital’s central business district. It is possibly the most affluent part of the city and here that you’ll find the famous Coppelia ice cream parlour, the towering FOSCA building, and John Lennon Park complete with a statue to the Beatle. From Vedado you’re never more than walking distance from Havana’s Malecón, a seawall used by locals for promenading come evening.
As a special treat on day fourteen we’ll take you to a rooftop in Havana’s Old Town that makes a sublime mojito (or a non-alcoholic alternative). You’ll be taught how to make a classic rum-based Cuban cocktail before enjoying a dinner with your group and guide, with an unbeatable view over the rooftops of the city.
- Old Havana Walking Tour
- Convertible Classic Car Tour
- Roof-top Mojito Making Lesson and Farewell Dinner
The last day of your tour is designated as the departure day. It’s left free of organised activities so that you are able to depart for the airport whenever you need, without feeling you are missing out.
Our single supplement policy:
It can be a common annoyance when you travel by yourself. Why do you need to be charged a single supplement fee for your accommodation? We don’t know why this is, and we don’t like it anymore than you do! This is why we don’t have a single supplement fee if you happen to be making your way to Cuba as a solo adventurer. You will still have the option of sharing a room, but it’s entirely up to you.
Your 15 day Cuba group tour includes being picked up at Havana’s José Martí International Airport and delivered to your accommodation in the city. For your departure, your guide can help you to arrange transportation at a time that’s convenient for you - all at the best possible local price.
While there are some optional activities and excursions that could be considered to be physically strenuous, the vast majority of your 15 days in Cuba will not be physically demanding. Having said that, you will need to have an average level of fitness and mobility. There will be a lot of exploration on foot, and so you should be able to walk without the assistance of another person. Please also remember that you will be required to carry your own luggage in many instances, as well as being able to enter and exit the tour bus. Some attractions also require you to climb stairs.
Accommodation on tour:
We just know you’re going to love staying in a Casa Particular. These Cuban bed and breakfast establishments offer a taste of authentic life on the island. Their increasing popularity is a reflection of how Cuba is easing a lot of former restrictions on private enterprise. This allows Cuban families to convert a section of their home into accommodation, giving them a stream of income, while also allowing visitors to stay in a more welcoming environment than most hotels are able to offer. You’ll have privacy while still being able to interact with the locals as much as you want. It’s a stark difference to most types of accommodation, and you will truly be made to feel welcome – you might forget that you’re a paying guest and not a long lost member of the family, and this is all part of the fun. Some accommodation providers are in older buildings without an elevator. If you believe that your physical capabilities will make it difficult to climb stairs, simply let us know. We will be able to find you a suitable alternative. And if you should want to spend a few extra days in Havana (and who wouldn’t?), please let us know. You can easily use our online form when making your booking to arrange additional accommodation as needed.
Our 20 Day / 19 Night Cuba Group Tour uses standard Casa/ B&B accommodation. You can learn more about staying in Casa's here.
Supporting the Cuban people:
All of our Cuba group tours are dedicated to supporting the Cuban people, patronizing privately owned small businesses across Cuba.
Your itinerary is designed to introduce you to the local Cuban people and steer funds towards its citizens. On our Cuba group tours you will stay in Casa Particulares (privately run Cuban B&B’s) and eat at Paladares (privately run restaurants). You will also have the chance to interact with Cuban’s from all walks of life, listening to their stories, and sharing your own.