Meals included: Breakfasts, 2 x lunches, 1 x dinner
Why we love this trip:
- With 20 days in Cuba you’ll see all the must-see sights the country has to offer and develop a great sense of what Cuba is about.
- Our west to east 20 day Cuba Group Tour still gives you enough free time to explore Cuba on your own without being left exhausted.
- You’ll get an extensive Havana city tour including some time in a convertible vintage car, a remarkably way to delve into the capital’s sights and sounds.
- You’ll visit the final resting place of one of Cuba’s most famous faces – Che Guevara. His mausoleum and museum are located overlooking Santa Clara.
- There’s time to explore the underwater beauty of the Bay of Pigs, site of the US’s botched invasion.
- You’ll come home with a renewed sense of admiration for rum-based cocktails, both in learning how to make the perfect mojito and in sampling the result.
- The French inspired architecture of Cienfuegos will leave you in awe.
- You’ll experience authentic Cuban hospitality with your casa particular accommodation and English-speaking local guide.
Is this Cuba tour for me?
Our 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 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:
You won’t be hurried on our 20 day Cuba group tour like you might be on tours with other operators. Taking our cue from the pace of the local population, longer journeys between destinations will be broken up with lunch or stops at points of interest along the way. As a result, you’ll stay feeling refreshed throughout your 20 days in Cuba. Below we detail estimated travel times between destinations:
- Havana to Cienfuegos (via Bay of Pigs): 5 hours
- Cienfuegos to Trinidad (via Santa Clara): 3 hours
- Trinidad to Camaguey: 5 hours
- Camaguey to Santiago de Cuba: 6 hours
- Santiago de Cuba to Baracoa: 4 hours
- Havana to Viñales: 3 hours
- Viñales to Las Terrazas: 2 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.
You’ll be transported from destination to destination in comfort and style, using air conditioned private transport, so you won’t have to rely on (or wait for) Cuba’s sweaty and aging public transport system to get about. After 20 days in Cuba we think you’ll be very pleased with the fact!
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:
Most of your major expenses, such as accommodation and transport between destinations, are included as part of the 20 Day Cuba Group Tour. However, you’ll want to bring between 50 and 60 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos, 1 CUC equates to 1 US$) per person per day to cover additional expenses. As well as lunches, dinners and drinks, you’ll probably want to take home some souvenirs, and may be interested in booking some optional excursions and activities.
The first day of your 20 day Cuba group tour is free of scheduled activities to allow for your arrival. Your included airport transfer will take you from Havana’s José Martí International Airport to your casa particular/ B&B accommodation.
Having settled in and been greeted by your hosts (casas are owned and run by Cuban families, making them a great way to meet the country’s locals) you might like to begin exploring the capital’s rich history. Don some walking shoes to explore Havana’s monuments and elegant buildings at your own pace.
The heart of this buzzing city is undoubtedly Old Havana (La Habana Vieja). Its UNESCO World Heritage Status demonstrates its internationally-recognised importance. Many of Old Havana’s buildings date back to the country’s colonial period including churches and squares, yet unusually they continue to play an important part in the lives of ordinary Cubans, giving them a spirit and atmosphere far from that of a staid museum complex. What’s more, a good proportion of the main points of interest can be found close to one another.
In the evening, you have the option to meet with your guide and fellow tour members over a first meal to get to know each other before you depart for Cienfuegos tomorrow.
- Airport Transfer on Arrival
Your first planned stop after leaving Havana will be the Bay of Pigs (Playa Girón). Not only was this bay the site of the failed 1961 CIA-backed invasion of Cuba by counter-revolutionary anti-Castro Cuban exiles, but it is also a place of phenomenal natural beauty. Cave systems, a fine beach, and abundant sea life. Snorkelers love the bay too!
Its then time for your 20 day Cuba group tour to continue on to Cienfuegos, sometimes called the ‘Paris of the Caribbean’. The comparisons to France’s capital comes from the French settlers that made the city their home and influenced the style of its architecture. Founded in 1819 by Don Luis de Clouet, Cienfuegos’s wide boulevards and beautifully laid out parklands have long been a draw to visitors. In fact, pirates would try their luck too, attacking the city. However, the city’s population was protected by the ancient Castillo de Jagua fort, which you can see at the entrance of the harbour.
Also dubbed the ‘Pearl of the South’, Cienfuegos’ French origins remain in many of its street names. The city’s downtown area contains one of the finest collections of neoclassical buildings anywhere in the world, and listed – like Old Havana – as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its style. Nearby, the 1930s built Malecón is the longest waterfront esplanade in Cuba. After a guided orientation walk and strill along the Malecón, you’ll be glad to end your second day with an evening cocktail at the impressive Palacio de Valle.
- 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 Dinner
In the heart of the Pinar del Rio valley, most of Cuba’s tobacco production takes place in and around Viñales. It makes up an important part of the local economy along with coffee growing and fishing. So of anywhere in Cuba, Viñales is the best place to see where these world famous cigars come from, and to get some for yourself. The geography in the area is stunning, and the town is ringed by stark mogotes – small hills with sheer rock faces.
Smaller than some of the towns on your 20 day Cuba group tour so far, Viñales mostly comprises single storey wooden houses bedecked with porches. Since most of the physical work required for tobacco cultivation in earlier times came from slave labour, there are several attractions related to this period in Cuba’s history. The Museo Paleontológico,
Palenque ensures the survival of a Maroon (or escaped slave) village, while a number of nearby caves in the Valle de Viñales National Park acted as refuges for others. Another cave now doubles as a nightclub.
- Guided Orientation Walk of Vinales Township
- Lunch at an Organic Farm
- Tobacco Farm and Drying House
Today you will travel to Las Terrazas via the small village of Soroa. Referred to as ‘the Gate to the Garden of Eden’, this stunning village is the starting point for many hikes to the soaring Sierra del Rosario mountain range. After exploring the village you will visit the famous Orchid Gardens of Soroa, the second largest in the world boasting 700 species of the plant, and the nearby Cascadal el Salto waterfall.
The next stop is the mountain community of Las Terrazas (the terraces). A very early ecovillage, Las Terrazas was constructed as a reforestation project in the 1960s and has since been named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. In addition to its natural wonders, Las Terrazas has a number of art, woodwork and pottery studios that are open to the public. You will have time in the afternoon for a walk around the town to meet the friendly locals and for a swim in the gorgeous San Juan mountain stream.
- Guided Orientation Walk of Las Terrazas Township
- Swim in the San Juan River
- Soroa Orchid Garden and Waterfall
As your 20 day Cuba group tour comes towards its end, you return to Havana one final time. You can tick off any last minute activities or excursions you would like to do before our guide and team bid you a fond farewell.
Maybe you’d like to visit the home of novelist and Nobel Prize laureate Ernest Hemingway at finca vigia for example. Our guides will do all they can to help. Just 25 kilometres from Havana, it was here that Hemingway wrote both For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, about a man fishing off the Havana coastline. Reopened to tourists in 2007 after an extensive restoration, visitors can explore rooms complete with much of their original contents.
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:
We believe that you should be able to have the privacy that comes with having your own room on a tour without having to pay anything extra for this simply because you have chosen to travel alone. That’s why it’s our policy to waive the single supplement fee on our 20 Day Cuba Group Tour. Should you choose to, you can still opt to share with a fellow tour member, as its part of the fun of travelling and can lead to lifelong friendships, but we believe the choice should be yours.
Our 20 day Cuba group tour includes your arrival transfer from Havana’s José Martí International airport to your joining accommodation on arrival.
Our 20 day Cuba group tour is designed to allow anyone with an average level of fitness and mobility to join. Small group travel can be more physically demanding when compared to conventional holidays, so as a minimum you should be able to walk alone without the aid of another person, climb a couple of flights of stairs, step from buses and other forms of transport, and be able to carry your own luggage.
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.