Cuba highlights holiday

“A tailor made week in Cuba, from Havana to heavenly Hemingway territory. I thought it would be impossible to experience some real Cuba in a week, but these guys proved me wrong. ”


Havana | Viñales | Cayo Levisa Island

Description of Cuba highlights holiday

This Cuba holiday is a tailor made trip for a week and so this is only our suggested itinerary, which of course we can adapt according to your interests. Although we believe it captures many of Cuba’s highlights, both cultural and natural, focusing on the west of the country. Starting in the historic and hopping city of Havana, tour the city in one of the iconic vintage cars, take in some salsa, enjoy a mojito or two in a shady plaza and settle into life in Cuba.

From urban to rural, your next stop is the Valley and village of Viñales, set into the ‘Sugarloaf’ limestone mountains, with rolling hills, tobacco plantations, caves and lagoons. Staying in a typical Cuban ‘casa particular’, take a few days to explore the region on foot or on horseback, wander through ancient villages in this home territory of the country’s cigar industry. A very important aspect of Cuban heritage of course.

Beach life is also very important to Cubans, and Cayo Levisa, an island just half an hour off the west coast is one of the most beautiful places to enjoy all things Caribbean in Cuba. Beach, music , fresh fruit, snorkelling, swimming, café life and of course, cocktails. This is part of the archipelago which Ernest Hemingway famously discovered as part of a fishing trip and it hasn’t changed much since then. Its simple rustic charm is still the Cuba that most people want to experience. And love.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

Everything is tweak-able, giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen date. Upgrade your accommodation for all - or just part - of your trip, slow down the pace with few extra nights here and there or add a few more active adventures along the way.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

In Cuba we always prioritise low impact, small-scale accommodation such as our Casa Particular in Vinales. Not dissimilar to a B&B, it’s owned and run by a local family. Since finding this Casa, we’ve implemented more across the country and our work is never finished – we’re always on the look out!

We work with local partners in Cuba who feel the same way about protecting the environment as we do. They’ve worked hard to reduce their energy consumption and have implemented energy saving bulbs throughout their offices.

Whilst on tour, we explore in as low an impact way as possible, for example in Viñales, Cuba’s rustic cigar region, you’ll explore the valley on horseback and on foot, learning about the art of cigar-rolling and meet the local guajiros.

In our office in sunny Brighton we work hard to recycle as much as we possibly can. We even buy our paper off the same company we recycled it with resulting in a closed loop system. As we provide our staff with a healthy lunch every day, we also collect our food waste for compost so that it doesn’t end up in the land fill.


The Impacts of this Trip

In Cuba we support a local project and give our customers the option to make a small donation. As music is such an important part of Cuban culture, we’ve chosen to support Music fund for Cuba. They support education and development of music and performing arts and provide much needed support and equipment for children and young Cuban musicians, dancers and artists through the island.

We’ve searched high and low in Cuba and found hotels offering small-scale, local charm to give you a real taste of Cuba. Our Casa in Vinales is a real highlight; owned and run by a local family, staying here provides them a much-needed additional source of income. As most casas only have 2 rooms, it also lowers the impact that tourism has on the local culture.

Our local partners only employ local people and offer them flexible working hours so they can fit their work around other commitments.


3 Reviews of Cuba highlights holiday

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 28 Apr 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Cuba is such an exciting and different part of the world that we found the whole holiday exciting.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Try and get city/town maps, non/very difficult to find on island

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, they need tourism income

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good.

Reviewed on 25 Mar 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Vinales was exciting, but interacting with the people was the most memorable. Warm, friendly, inquisitive and caring.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you bring gifts, think of how best to distribute. If not for our driver pulling off to a small rural schoolhouse, we would have been challenging to know how effective our ideas might prove. Also, when in Vinales, do not change money at the local banks. Use the currency exchange office to get best rates and much better service. If you're an American, bring Euro's. It seemed our Canadian currency was treated (extra conversion fees) as though it were USD in the banks.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes to local people, but conservation and environmental efforts really need direction in recycling, cleanliness and the over utilization of plastic. Poverty, of course, was evident, but the people's pride and desire to do better economically were very evident.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent time and great value for the money spent. The operator did an excellent job in putting together a very comprehensive, fun, educational experience with quality accommodations, delicious food and wonderful hosts. Food was much better than proposed.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Jim,

Thanks so much for the wonderful review, I'm so pleased you all had a great time in Cuba!

Cuba in my opinion is completely unique to anywhere else and I'm glad you were able to enjoy all the highlights along the way! Please do think of us for your next trip. We offer 22 countries across the globe... question is... where's next?

best wishes

Reviewed on 31 Oct 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

So many different experiences make it hard to pinpoint one, but tropical storm at La Tarazzas, horse riding followed by Saturday night in Vinales, snorkling on coral reef at Cayo Levisa and Cuba in general.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Allow a little more time for travel between locations as the roads are really poor quality off the main highway and there are no road signs so it is easy to get lost. In fact I would suggest taxi transfers rather than self drive. Make sure you take everything you need (wish I'd packed Vic vapour rub and Lemsip)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I feel that our holiday definitely benefited local people, particularly where we stayed in Casa's or ate in people's homes (which highly recommend) our money clearly contributes to an improved standard of living. Not sure about the environmental impact in Cuba. I was a little uncomfortable when I realised Cuban's are unable to visit Cayo Levisa and are only allowed on the island to work, the island was beautiful but it did feel a little flat without the Cuban people, although I can't fault the staff.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was the most amazing experience and the arrangements worked like clockwork. Rickshaw's local knowledge clearly paid off in the choice of Casas and in itinary planning.

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