7 days in Cuba itinerary? You will hear conflicting reports about how much time you should spend in Cuba. But let’s say that you have a week to play with. Seven days is a good solid amount of time and you can certainly see much of what Cuba is known for within 7 days.
Your Cuba 7 day itinerary needs some planning though. Because you’ll want to see as much as you can without rushing from place to place at a frantic pace.
You won’t be able to see the entire country in 7 days though. With limited time you’re better off sticking to the west of the island. Covering less ground at an unhurried pace will let you truly the best of Cuba in a limited time frame.
1. 7 days in Cuba Itinerary
DAY 1: The first of your 7 days in Cuba will likely begin with your arrival in Havana. It naturally depends on what time your flight arrives at Jose Marti Airport in Havana (it’s the main gateway to Cuba) as to how much exploring you can do on your first day. If your not meeting a guide at the airport your first step should be to get enough Cuban pesos at least for a taxi into Havana and from there your hotel or casa particular can help you get the best exchange rate for your foreign currency.
You can use the CADECO at the airpot or if you use an ATM at the airport you will need to check with your bank to ensure that your card will be able to withdraw money while on the island, US bank issued cards won’t work in Cuba. Unless transfers have been arranged, take a taxi into the city. Some drivers will suggest a flat rate which you should settle on upfront, but it’s better to have the taxi’s meter turned on.
2. Explore Old Havana
DAY 2: Chances are that you won’t be able to really start to get to know Havana until your second day there. You’ll want to start with the heart of Havana’s Old Town, Havana Vieja. This is the original settlement of Havana and the city essentially expanded outwards from these busy, sun-drenched streets.
To get a feel for Havana best start in Plaza Vieja which is the main square then. Use this as your reference point and fan out from there. Bordering Old Havana is El Malecón, a rather charming seafront walkway that is a social hub for locals. Best time to go is at sunset.
Enjoy the ocean breezes, and then get right back into exploring! It can be a great idea to book a walking tour if you want to see the key points of the Old Town.
3. Say Hello to Vedado
DAY 3: On your third day make your way west of Old Havana to Vedado. You can walk from Old Havana but taking a taxi is probably a better option.
Prior to the Cuban Revolution this was the most affluent part of the city. Since then many of the old homes have now been repurposed as restaurants, homestays, bars, and entertainment venues. Take a wander down Calle 23 as the sun goes down and hang out with the hip young things of Havana. It’s where they meet up before a night out.
4. A Trip to Viñales
DAY 4: Viñales a stunningly beautiful village 2.5 hours from Havana by road. And it’s a must-see on your 7-day Cuba itinerary. Numerous day trips are available, or you can join a guided tour.
Rich red earth here nourishes much of Cuba’s tobacco. Time seems to have stood still, and farmers still use horses and carts in their fields.
5. 7 days in Cuba itinerary: Trinidad
DAY 5: The next inclusion requires a little more travel time, but is really worth it. Trinidad speaks to the colonial wealth of Cuba that over the years has faded somewhat. The town was once exceptionally wealthy as it was the heart of Cuba’s sugar production in the 1800’s. When slavery was abolished so did the wealth. The town has been extensively restored thanks to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. You can finish your day off with a little dancing at the Trinidad Casa de la Musica!
6. Cienfuegos, the Pearl of the South
DAY 6: On your 6th day, it’s time to turn around and head back to Havana. But there is one destination en route that demands your attention: Cienfuegos. This city, largely settled by French immigrants, is often called “the Paris of Cuba”. But more commonly, “Pearl of the South.” French influences can be seen throughout the city, from the wide boulevards to the actual street names.
7. Return to Havana
DAY 7: Take your last day in Cuba to re-explore Havana with more seasoned eyes. Perhaps check out the many bars and restaurants in Old Havana or make your way back to Vedado to enjoy a club.
Naturally, this 7 day Cuba itinerary is just one of many ways to spend a week on the island. But this at least gives you a chance to experience a few different parts of the island without spending too much time on the road.
If you’ve decided after reading this, that you might need more than 7 days there are many other options you could consider! Or consider a 7 day tour as merely a “scouting mission” and you can always come back later and do a longer tour right?