Day 1-3, Havana: Museo de la Revolucion, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Plaza de la Revolución, explore Colonial Havana and Finca Vigia, where Hemingway lived.
Day 4, Vinales: Meet local tobacco and coffee farmers and learn to roll a classic Cuban cigar.
Day 5, Cienfuegos: Bay of Pigs and Giron Museum, Palacio del Valle
Day 6-8, Trinidad: Walking tour to discover the colonial architecture and what makes this city a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Excursion to the sugar plantations in Valle de los Ingenios. Take a beach break at Playa Ancon.
Trips that follow this itinerary:
Beautiful Cuba with Intrepid - 8 Days, premium trip
Cuba Unbound, Adventure Tour with ROW Adventures - 8 Days, value trip
Central Cuba Adventure with G Adventures - 8 Days, value trip
Or see All Cuba in One Week Trips
Day 1-3, Havana: Museo de la Revolucion, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Plaza de la Revolución, explore Colonial Havana and Finca Vigia, where Hemingway lived. Community arts project at Muraleando.
Day 4-6, Cienfuegos: Playa Giron, Bay of Pigs and Giron Museum, go snorkeling in the blue waters of the Caribbean, Palacio del Valle
Day 7-9, Trinidad: Che Guevara mausoleum, Topes de Collantes National Park, walking tour through the city’s cobblestone streets, marveling at the colonial architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a salsa lesson and enjoy local musicians. Take a beach stroll on Playa Ancon.
Day 10-11, Camaguey: Enjoy a walking tour through this well preserved colonial city. Shop in local markets and explore art galleries.
Day 12-14, Santiago: El Morro Castle, take in the Afro-Cuban heritage in museums and music. Excursion to Baracoa through Humboldt Nation Park.
Trips that follow this itinerary:
Best of Cuba with Intrepid - 15 Days, value trip
Cuba Colonial with G Adventures - 15 Days, basic trip
Cuba: A Bridge Between Cultures with Overseas Adventure Travel - 12 Days, value trip
Or see All Cuba in Two Weeks Trips
Day 1-2, Havana: Museo de la Revolucion, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Plaza de la Revolución
Day 3, Cienfuegos: Bay of Pigs and Giron Museum, go snorkeling in the blue waters of the Caribbean, Palacio del Valle
Day 4-6, Canarreos Archipelago: Explore among these beautiful islands. Snorkel, go fishing, enjoy local, fresh, island cuisine. Bask in the bright blue Caribbean waters and sunshine.
Day 7-8, Havana: Return to Havana and take an excursion to Finca Vigia, where Hemingway lived. Finish your trip with a visit to the Buena Vista Social Club
Trips that follow this itinerary:
Sailing Cuba with G Adventures - 8 Days, value trip
Cuba Sailing Adventure with Intrepid - 9 Days, value trip
Cuba Cruise Adventure with SmarTours - 10 Days, premium trip
Or see All Cuba Cruises
Long closed to most U.S. travelers, Cuba is now subject to fewer travel restrictions, and Americans are discovering what the rest of the world has known for years: the island nation 90 miles south of Florida has friendly people, a vibrant culture, beautiful beaches, and 1950's-era cars that still run. No matter the politics, Cuba and its people are sure to leave a lasting impression on you.
Visiting Cuba is like entering a time warp. Because of longtime Cuban government restrictions placed on the purchase of imported cars, many Cubans have had to ingeniously make do with American cars dating from the 1950s and early 1960s. Replacement parts are scarce but clever mechanics have found ways to keep them running. Hence a trip to Cuba is much like watching a classic car rally, except that these classic cars are in full use as taxis and private vehicles.
The time warp continues in the aging houses and mansions you encounter in Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and probably the best preserved city center in the Caribbean. Many have Spanish-style balconies, arcades, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards. Some appear to be on life support but remain standing, much as the classic cars keep running.
Cuba is experiencing a surge in interest due to the recent restoration of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuban governments. This beautiful and elusive country is now more accessible to one of its closest neighbors and American travelers are itching to visit.
There are still some travel restrictions in place for US citizens however. As relaxing as it might sound, it's still technically illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba to laze on the beach, mojito in hand.
However, the OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control) does permit American travel to Cuba, provided it fits within 1 of 12 general categories. One of the most popular of these is 'educational activities' and tour operators have long led 'people to people' tours, which include activities like visiting with local musicians, farmers, and artisans. This is how the majority of American citizens have legally traveled to Cuba for the past few years.
Options for guided tours in Cuba are vast and taking a tour is one of the best ways to have an authentic experience in this rich and diverse country. Taking a tour doesn't mean being stuck in a large group on a coach bus either. Some companies limit their groups to 10-15 like-minded travelers to provide an intimate, accessible experience.
There’s something about being in Cuba that brings out the dancer even in those who travel with two left feet. It’s no mystery: the music -- salsa, jazz, rumba, merengue, and other genres, often combined into a unique Afro-Cuban sound -- is both ubiquitous and irresistible. You’ll hear it in clubs, bars, restaurants, bodegas, or just emanating from the nearest homes.
Art is also central to Cuban life, from Havana’s excellent National Museum of Fine Arts to street corner painters and much in between.
You might be surprised to learn that American author Ernest Hemingway -- a longtime resident of Havana, where he wrote "The Old Man and the Sea" and "A Moveable Feast" among other works -- is still venerated in Cuba. His finca, where he lived just outside Havana throughout the 1940s and ‘50s, is maintained as a museum. Everything is kept the way he left it, except that a new set of cats (many of which have six toes, the progeny of Hemingway’s own fleet of stray cats), now curl up on his desk for naps.
You can also visit many of his old haunts such as La Floridita, said to be the birthplace of the daiquiri (one of Hemingway’s favorite libations) and La Bodeguita del Medio, which serves as a virtual Hemingway memorial (though still a working bar, with plenty of atmosphere).
Cuba’s Spanish legacy dates back to the early 16th century, and is on display in several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, topped by Old Havana. Not to be missed is the city of Santiago, Cuba’s second largest, with its massive 17th-century-era fortress, San Pedro de la Roca Castle. The city of Trinidad in central Cuba is another World Heritage Site, both for its own architecture and the string of 18th and 19th century sugar mills that extend for miles through the nearby Valle de los Ingenios.
While Americans can’t go to Cuba just for a beach vacation yet, other nationalities can -- and if you’re in a position to visit one of the island’s 300-some sandy beaches, you may find yourself mostly alone despite the glorious settings. Among Cuba’s finest beaches are the white-sand Playa Ancon (on the southern, Caribbean side of the island) and 12-mile-long, white-sand Varadero Beach, the best known beach in the country. Both offer crystal clear waters for swimming or snorkeling.
Cuban food is often thought of as beans and rice, which are indeed served at many meals and can be delicious, but there’s much more to it than that. The cuisine has Spanish, French, African, Chinese, Portuguese, and Arabic influences, along with Caribbean favorites such as fried plantains, similar to but different from bananas. Stews and many other dishes use a base of sofrito (onion, green pepper, garlic, oregano) for flavoring; more contemporary cuisine includes Spanish-style tapas. Coffee is on the strong side and Cuban sandwiches -- ham, pork, pickle, cheese, and mustard on bread -- are among the world’s best. Besides regular restaurants, a number of private homes now serve as eateries offering authentic local cuisine.
Ultimately, the Cuban people themselves are the stars of any visit to the island. And the best way to meet them is by organized tour, featuring people-to-people encounters. Stride can help you find the right ones that will be legal, educational, and enjoyable.