The Essential Cuba Tour
Focusing on the must-see highlights of Western Cuba this very popular tour is ideal for those who want a comprehensive introduction to Cuba or for those who want to combine a week of touring followed by some days relaxing on Cuba’s fantastic beaches. The Essential Tour focuses on the UNESCO world heritage sights of Havana, Vinales and Trinidad.
- An afternoon cruising through Havana in a chauffeur driven old American car
- A visit to a famous working cigar factory in Havana
- A visit to the fascinating City Museum
- Authentic cocktail making with local speciality tapas
- A day exploring picturesque Vinales Valley an UNESCO World Heritage Site with spectacular scenery
- 2-nights in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Trinidad where history & the live music scene are at its best
- A visit to El Nicho Waterfalls in the Escambray Mountains
- A final farewell dinner in one of Havana’s famous private restaurants
- A final night performance by the outstanding Legendarios de Guajirito
- Weekly, year-round from Havana
- 7 Nights / 8 Days
- We use a mixture of well located, good quality casas particulares and hotels.
- After the tour why not continue your journey to the beach resorts of either Varadero, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo or enjoy a second week exploring the east on our Ultimate Cuba Tour, or perhaps stay in Havana for a few extra nights.
- Recommended for:
- Perfect for first time visitors to Cuba, who want to combine exploring the main sights of Cuba with some days relaxing on the beach or those that want a week away to explore Cuba.
Private Tour Available
The Essential Cuba Tour Itinerary Highlights
Sunday | Day 1 - Havana
After a welcome at Havana airport, a transfer will take you to your accommodation confirmed for the tour, well located in Old Havana.
Monday | Day 2 - Havana
Highlights include a visit to a working cigar factory, the Museum of the Revolution, a guided walk through Old Havana, the four famous historical squares, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de Armas.
In the afternoon you will explore the other areas of central Havana in old American vintage cars, including Revolution Square, the downtown Vedado district, the Malecon, the Miramar district, and Bosque De La Havana.
A visit to a local tapas bar, visited in 2019 by HRH Prince Charles, where there will be an authentic Cuban cocktail making lesson and homemade tapas.
Tickets for the world-famous Tropicana open air cabaret show can be pre-arranged for those interested.
Tuesday | Day 3 - Vinales Valley & Las Terrazas
Head to the immensely picturesque UNESCO world heritage site of Vinales Valley, an area known for its outstanding beauty and home of Cuba’s tobacco plantations.
Take a subterranean boat ride through the El Indio cave system, and visit a typical tobacco drying house to see how the tobacco crops are turned into the world’s best cigars.
A fabulous unique lunch will be served at a local organic farm affording wonderful views across the valley and you can learn a little more about the farm and its organic methods which attracted the attention of President Obama.
In the late afternoon you will leave Vinales and head to Las Terrazas National Park. There will be a short tour of the National Reserve, local village and an introduction to the eco-activities and farming practices.
There will be another unique dinner tonight at the organic vegetarian restaurant in the village which uses only locally sourced organic ingredients.
Wednesday | Day 4 - Santa Clara & Trinidad
The first stop will be Santa Clara, a city of major historical significance in Cuba. Visit the final resting place of Che Guevara at the very symbolic mausoleum with time to visit the museum dedicated to his life, as well as Tren Blindado, a small museum and the iconic remains of the government train that was attacked by Che Guevara and his revolutionaries, a significant turning point in the Cuba Revolution.
Travel through the Escambray Mountains towards Sugar Mill Valley where the 145ft Manaca Iznaga Tower stands as a silent witness to Cuba’s history of slavery where over 30,000 slaves worked in the sugar plantations overlooked by the tower! A ghostly visit.
Thursday | Day 5 - Trinidad
There will be a comprehensive tour of the center of Trinidad including a visit to the History Museum. Sample the unique Trinidad rum and sugar cane cocktail at La Canchanchara, an old house dating back to the 18th Century.
After lunch in a local restaurant, the remainder of the afternoon will be free to relax in the city, or perhaps take a taxi to the nearby Caribbean beach of Playa Ancon and enjoy the beach.
It is the final evening in Trinidad, and dancing to local live music is a must so feel free to visit one of Trinidad’s growing number of bars and listen to some excellent live music!
Friday | Day 6 - Cienfuegos
Visit El Nicho Park, a marvel of nature with dozens of waterfalls and natural pools in an area virtually untouched, hidden among the mountains and one of the most beautiful spots in Cuba.
During the tour, you can walk up through numerous walking paths with ‘El Reino de las Aguas’, a gentle hiking trail of 2 km (1.2 miles).
Continuing after El Nicho to the French influenced small colonial city of Cienfuegos, which sits overlooking a picturesque bay. En route there will be a tour of the famous Botanical Gardens, one of the largest in the Americas with an abundance species of plant from tropical regions. On arrival to Cienfuegos there will be a stroll through the colonial centre and along the seafront ‘malecon’ promenade.
Saturday | Day 7 - The Bay of Pigs & Havana
Continue to the Bay of Pigs, the site of the failed CIA backed invasion of Cuba that was repelled by Fidel and Che and their revolutionaries. There will be a short visit to the museum to gain an insight into one of the major world events from the 1960s and an important date in Cuba’s revolutionary history.
The next stop is Guama, a replica village of Cuba’s earliest settlers the Taino Indians who lived on the island in the 1100s, the original settlers on the island. Located on a string of small islands and reached by an exhilarating boat ride through the mangroves, there are also a number of life size sculptures depicting the life of these early settlers.
After arriving into Havana there will be a farewell dinner, before heading to a performance by ‘Legendarios de Guajirito’, This outstanding band is made with former members of the Buena Vista Social Club and the Afro-Cuban All Stars. Dancing is guaranteed, and the evening is a fitting finale to an unforgettable week exploring Cuba.
Sunday | Day 8 - Havana
Today is free to explore Havana independently, relax or leave Havana for your beach extension in Varadero, the ‘Cayos’ or eastern Cuba.
For those leaving Cuba today, a transfer will collect you from the hotel and take you to the airport for your departure flight home.