Classic Cuba holiday, 11 days

“We loved the tailor made itinerary of this holiday in Cuba. It included all the classics and with a few secret gems thrown in. Such as some of the very special locally owned accommodations.”

Highlights

Highlights Havana |Viñales | Horseriding | Las Terrazas | Santa Clara |Trinidad | Havana | Stay in casa particulars and eco lodge

Description of Classic Cuba holiday, 11 days

This Cuba holiday is a tailor made trip for eleven days 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. Starting with Havana, your trip gets into the Cuban swing, taking a tour of the old city and Malecón in an iconic vintage car, dancing the salsa at some of the city’s famous clubs, or just enjoying its crumbling yet wonderful architecture.

This itinerary moves from urban to rural with ease, and so from Havana you can explore the lovely laid back village of Viñales enveloped by the "sugarloaf" limestone mountains, farms and tobacco plantations. No better way to explore it than on horseback. Another rural idyll awaits at Las Terrazzas, an eco-community created in the 1960’s and which is now a thriving community of painters, sculptors and other artisans. Stay at the wonderful ecolodge here for a very unique and special Cuban experience. And given that you are surrounded by their coffee plantations, there is no better place to wake up and smell it.

Waking up in Trinidad is a whole other Cuban experience. Although sleeping isn’t always on the agenda here, as it is one of the country’s best live music destinations, with the colourful Spanish colonial plaza beating to the salsa rhythm until the early hours. For a more sedate time in Trinidad, there is always the beach, such as Playa Ancon which is an easy and lovely cycle from the city. Stay in a traditional casa particular here too, one of Cuba’s welcoming homestays. They will always be able to recommend the best dance spots, beach spots and secret rum bars!

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

Explore the Cuban swing over just ten days! Dancing salsa through cobbled backstreets. Imagine vintage cars, classic cocktails, jungle-clad mountains and rolling tobacco hills. It’s a glimpse into the real Cuba, bursting with great warmth, rumba bands and revolutionary history.
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Classic Cuba holiday, 11 days

Environment

Wherever possible we prioritise accommodation with low environmental impact. We pride ourselves in sourcing small-scale, locally owned accommodation with plenty of Cuban character. During this itinerary you’ll stay in a casa particular in both Vinales and in Trinidad. This type of accommodation is similar to a B&B here in the UK and is owned and run by local Cuban families. With only a few rooms the environmental impact is much lower than a hotel.

In Las Terrazas we’ve found an eco-hotel with great sustainability credentials which will also operate your excursion through this unique biosphere. Your guide is part of an eco-project in which farmers are trained to be local guides. Not only does this help improve the living conditions for all those involved, it also helps promote nature conservation efforts. Since farmers now have an additional income as tourist guides, they no longer need to destroy forests to create farmland.

We also give our customers the option to travel through Cuba using more sustainable methods. During this itinerary you can travel most routes by shuttle bus. These are group transfers that shuttle between different hotels at set times - much kinder to the environment than everyone taking a separate private transfer!

Community

As well as supporting local projects in all of our destinations through support from our customers, we also do a little fundraising at home for local and international causes. As music is such an important part of Cuban culture, we’ve chosen to support Music fund for Cuba, a UK based charity that was established in 2001. They support education and development of music and performing arts in Cuba. The project provides much needed support and equipment for children and young Cuban musicians, dancers and artists through the island.

We work with local partners in Cuba who only employ local people, ensure that they're given flexible working hours and our paid above the legal minimum wage.

We believe in putting people first not just in the destinations we offer but also here in the UK. We believe that happy staff lead to a happy working environment, so with this in mind we offer a wide variety of staff rewards at our office in sunny Brighton. This includes ethically sourced daily lunches, a ride to work scheme and one paid charity day per employee.

4 Reviews of Classic Cuba holiday, 11 days

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 25 Jun 2017 by

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


Horseback riding in Vinales

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


Skip Trinidad or spend only a couple of days there. The best part of Trinidad is the beach around 12km away. I was also told some caves/ waterfalls nearby
are good.
Havana is a unique place but quite touristy, be prepared.
Try to get at least 3 days in Vinales, explore the scenary on bikes, scooty or hire a car.
Food quality is variable, the best place to eat is not Havana but Vinales. Be very aware of tourist traps in Havana. Also government restaurants are not
always a bad thing, do explore them

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




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


The holiday was well managed by the operator and I can't fault their planning or service levels. It was a unique experience travelling in a country so staunchly communist. We saw the winds of change, quite a few locals openly unhappy with the current state of affairs. Many in Havana and Trinidad trying to make a quick buck and most of them tourist traps. Nevertheless, the people are always polite, friendly and respectful, they are also good to each other which is refreshing to see. The scenery in Vinales blew us away and we spent most of our best moments there.

Reviewed on 05 Apr 2017 by

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


It is difficult to choose the most memorable part of my holiday as we had so many wonderful experiences! So... my top three experiences were: spending the afternoon on the beach in Trinidad, the horse-back-riding tour of the tobacco fields in Vinales, and swimming in the natural pools at El Nicho.

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


Go to Cuba sooner rather than later - there are already many tourists, especially in Vinales, so don't wait!

Book all of your excursions before you go or through the tour office - we got burned booking a walking "tour" with a local "guide" organised through our casa owner.

Be aware that the tipping culture in Cuba in strong: I would advise to decide how much you want to tip each person (guides, drivers, musicians in the restaurants) upfront and include that in your holiday budget.

We felt that 11 days was the perfect amount of time.

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


Yes: it was evident that staying at the casa particulars directly helps the local owners. In general, tourism creates wealth for the Cuban people.

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


Wonderful!

Reviewed on 02 Feb 2017 by

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


Havana and the opportunity to visit the wonderful museums and enjoy the daily life. Our casa was perfectly located right next to Plaza Vieja and it was very easy to get around. Our guides were absolutely terrific.. in Havana and elsewhere. All the connections were perfect...how did you do that?? We really enjoyed the museums (especially the Museum of the Revolution and the Museum of Beaux Arts/Cuban Art...terrific!), the art work, the music, the architecture. And.... the beautiful countryside, the gorgeous palm trees and vegetation around Vinales and around Soroa and La Terrazas. Walking out for hours across the tobacco fields with our lovely young guide whose environmental knowledge of flora and
fauna was terrific..and who called birds for us using her AP! Cowboys casually riding down the streets....roosters and dogs everywhere. Pictures of Che and political slogans everywhere.

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


Do not take too much luggage, dress simply. No problems with insects in the winter... weather can be very warm...or drop down at night or if there is a heavy rainstorm...which there can be. Spend time planning your holiday....do you want to travel about frequently or stay at least a few days in each place. Be pragmatic and go with the flow, and appreciate the small interactions with locals..and fellow tourists..as these add so much to the journey.

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


We certainly hope that it did all these things. We are aware that people in the tourist industry in Cuba have more access to income than others and are concerned there may be a growing discrepancy?

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


We are not going to say we are reborn..that is impossible...and we are very lucky to have been on some other wonderful holidays too. So we are giving 4 stars but it deserves 5. We suggest you alter your wording for five stars!.

The service from Ross and all the staff and partners in Cuba has been outstanding.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Marcia

Thank you for your amazing review of your trip to Cuba and for taking the time to email and speak with me about your fantastic trip.

It is great that you loved our style of travel and you jumped straight in to the Cuban culture to really give yourself that authentic trip that is so important.

We look forward to planning your next adventure and our services once again which we pride ourselves on.

Kind Regards,

Ross

Reviewed on 07 Jul 2017 by

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


A private renter driver to visit Vinales and surroundings (Cueva del Indio, El Palenque, Mural de la Prehistoria, hotel Los Jazmines for the Mirador of the Valle de Vinales ....)

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


Avoid public transportation buses, they really do "eat" up your time. Skip "Las Terrasses" if possible (I guess that the government makes it nevertheless mandatory to visit it) because it is too artificial.

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


Local people certainly did benefit a lot through tips, staying overnight is some casas, .... However, this vacation was not beneficial for the environment: we did take too many "old" taxi-cars polluting enormously.

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


A nice experience going back 60 to 70 years back into time. A right moment to see these ancient buildings (almost ruins) and cars from the 50tiesbefore "McDonalds" will arrive in Cuba.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Eddy,

Many thanks, I am pleased that you and Christa both enjoyed a great time in Cuba experiencing the 50s cars and seeing Cuba before it becomes modern. There is a shortage of new cars and we encourage travellers to use group transfers instead of private taxis is to minimise the environmental impact though appreciate they do take slightly longer. A shame you did not really your time at Las Terrazas as our customers often describe this experience with a local guide to be most informative and a highlight. We are pleased to know that you felt the locals benefitted directly from your visit by staying in the carefully selected casa particulares.

Kind regards,

Ceri
Team Leader

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