Best of Cuba Trip Notes
Explore the unmissable sights of Cuba from the coastal boulevards covered in Cadillacs to the tobacco fields and the Caribean’s most picturesque white-sand beaches. This 10-day adventure offers up an exclusive look into the kaleidoscope of colour, chaos and charisma that is Western and Central Cuba! Get set for an abundance of Caribean sun with three nights staying between the picture-perfect Cayo Santa Maria Islands and Varadero beach. Explore the famed tobacco factories and farms of the Viñales valley and delve into Cuba’s revolutionary history at the Bay of Pigs. Get a taste of Cuba’s true colors, culture, and charm with our local, expert guides and tailored 10-day itinerary.
Duration : 10 Days
Destination : Cuba
Start/Ends in : Havana / Havana
Group Size : 13-35 People
Age Req. : 18+
Trip Theme : Discovery, Overland
Hotels : 5 & 4 Star
Departs : All Year Round
Why you will love this tour
- * This 10 day adventure through North and Central Cuba is the perfect balance of history, culture and Caribbean coastline! Enjoy all breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners included in the tour price. Plus, complimentary airport shuttle transfers.
- * Spend three nights on the Caribbean coast snorkelling, sunbathing and enjoy the endless stretches of white-sand beaches in Cayo Santa Maria and Varadero.
- * Cruise the streets of Havana in an old school convertible, try a Cuban Salsa class or jump onboard the quirky CoCo Taxi’s for a tour through Havana’s iconic Old Town!
- * Marvel at the dramatic limestone mountains of Viñales Valley with visits to the local cigar factories, tobacco farms and botanical gardens of Jardin Caridad.
- * Learn from your local guide about Cuba’s revolutionary leaders as you visit to the iconic Bay of Pigs, and Santa Clara to explore Ernesto Che Guevara Memorial & Museum.
- * Spend a night in the quaint town of Trinidad! Explore the restored sugar barons and neighbouring sugar mills by day before finishing your day at a local bar with a few Cuban cocktails in hand.
- * Discover the best hidden gems, local watering holes and historic sites with your local guide on included walking tours in Remedios, Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara and Matanzas.
The group welcome meeting with your guide and other travelers is held around 18:30 at the hotel lobby on Day 1 of your tour unless otherwise notified.
The meeting for the tour is :
NH Capri La Habana 4 Star
Address : 4JR8+WX2, Calle 21, La Habana
Phone : +53 7 8397200
Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36
Cienfuegos: Cienfuegos is a city on Bahia de Cienfuegos, a famous bay on Cuba’s south coast. This picturesque city is known for its colonial-era buildings.
Havana: Havana is Cuba’s capital city. Its 16th-century Old Havana core includes the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a fort and maritime museum.
Remedios: Also known as San Juan de Los Remedios, the city is located 5 km from the northern coast of Cuba in the center of the island.
Santa Clara: It’s known for its revolutionary landmarks. The Che Guevara Mausoleum is the resting place of Che Guevara and other freedom fighters.
Trinidad: Trinidad is a town in central Cuba, known for its colonial old town and cobblestone streets Its neo-baroque main square, Plaza Mayor, is a favorite attraction among travelers.
Varadero: Covering Cuba’s narrow Hicacos Peninsula, Varadero is a popular beach resort town. Its 20km Atlantic Ocean coastline is a sight to behold.
Vinales: Vinales is a town in western Cuba. Its main street is lined with colorful colonial-era wooden houses, including the Municipal Museum.
Cayo Santa Maria: Cayo Santa Maria is a small island off the northern coast of Cuba. It is known for its beaches and water sports on Playa Las Gaviotas Beach.
Please note that the itinerary may be subject to small changes depending on the conditions during the tour. Alternative accommodation of similar standards may be used depending on the group size and hotel availability.
Inclusions & Exclusions
The tour price covers the following services:
Accomodation : 4 Star Hotel and Casa Particular
Airport Transfer: Arrival and Departure transfers on first and last day of the trip
Meals : 9 Breakfasts, 2 Lunch, 3 Dinner
Transportation : Private Air-Conditioned Vehicle
Guide : Services of experienced Travel Talk local guides licenced by the Ministry of Tourism
Sightseeing : Revolution Square, Los Jazmines Lookout Point, Tobacco Fields, Finca Campesina, Cuevo los Peces, Bay of Pigs, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Valle de los Ingenios, Ernesto Che Guevara Memorial & Museum, Santa Clara, Matanzas
What is NOT included in the tour price?
- Any flights not mentioned above
- Travel insurance
- Meals not stated above
- Items of a personal nature
- Tips & gestures
- Entrance fees to the sights and museums
- Optional activities
- Other services not stated in the itinerary
Hotels & Accommodation
Solo travellers will be roomed with another solo traveller of the same gender in a twin or triple room, or can upgrade to a solo room by paying the single supplement. You may choose the solo room option when booking online or contact us to arrange a private room. Your tour leader will allocate rooms upon arrival at the starting hotel in accordance with the rooming lists, last minute changes may not be guaranteed.
NH CAPRI LA HABANA – HAVANA – 4 Star
Located at the heart of Havana, the historic high rise hotel offers spectacular panaromic views of the phenomenal city along with luxury.
CASA P. VILLA MARILYN – VINALES
This guesthouse in Vinales will make you feel at home surrounded by Cuba’s finest tobacco fields. You will have a comfortable stay thanks to the hospitable locals.
CIENFUEGOS PUNTA GORDA – CIENFUEGOS
This local accommodation offers its guests an excellent location at the point of Punta Gorda, and spectacular views of Bahia de Cienfuegos.
CASA PARTICULAR – TRINIDAD
With a private terrace and dazzling colonial architecture, Casa Particular will take you back in time to the heart of Trinidad.
DHAWA CAYO HOTEL – CAYO SANTA MARIA – 4 Star
HOTEL MEMORIES – VARADERO – 4 Star
Hotel Memories is a luxurious beach resort on the pristine coastline of Varadero, offering a romantic getaway along with unforgettable views.
Please note that entrance fees to sights and optional activities are not included in the tour price. Optional activities are not operated by Travel Talk and may require a certain number of attendees to run. Your guide will be happy to inform you further about the available optional activities at the start of your tour. Optional activities are also listed under each day in your tour itinerary.
• Francisco Donatién Cigar Factory — 7 USD
• Casa del Veguero — 4 USD
• Mural de la Prehistoria — 3 USD
• Jardin Caridad Gardens — 1 USD
• Playa Girón Museum — 4 USD
• Palacio de Valle — 5 USD
• Casa Templo de Santería Yemayá — 3 USD
• Cocktail at the Canchánchara — 3 USD
• Ingenio San Isidro de los Destiladeros — 1 USD
Shopping for souvenirs is most affordable in places like local markets, where you can buy artisan goods straight from the craftsmen to support local communities and their families. Haggling for prices is also acceptable in these marketplaces. If you are looking for the perfect gift to buy while in Cuba, cigars and rum are the most famous and worthy products of the country. Head to Old Havana for the best prices and variety. Cuba is also appreciated for its scene of world-class art and artisanship, so we recommend checking out the artwork int he crafts markets.
Tipping is not mandatory in Cuba, but restaurants add a 10 percent gratuity service charge to the final bill. This is considered a sufficient amount for a tip when dining out.
Essential Information: Cuba
Passport & Visas
Citizens of most countries require a visa (tourist card) to enter Cuba, including Europe and UK nationals. Please check with your embassy or consulate for country-specific visa requirements. You can apply for an e-visa online.
Your passport needs to be valid for a duration longer than your stay in Cuba. We recommend at least 7 months of validity from your arrival in Cuba. You should carry your passport or travel document with you at all times.
We are closely monitoring the latest travel updates to Cuba and follow the advice of the UK Foreign Office. For the latest travel advice from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, please visit
We recommend all travellers to check their Government National Travel Advisory prior to their departure:
Australia – https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
Canada – https://travel.gc.ca/
New Zealand – https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
All passengers travelling with Travel Talk are required to have personal travel insurance before participating in any of our tours. Your guide will collect your travel insurance details on the first day of your trip. It is your responsibility to make sure you have an adequate and suitable travel insurance for you in place, you may read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/travel-insurance
Health & Safety
The health and safety of our passengers, staff and communities visited is of utmost priority. As we monitor and comply with the official advice from the UK Foreign Office, as well as World Health Organization and government authorities regularly, we have implemented several policies and precautions on our tours for your wellbeing. You may find our Safe Travels Protocols at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels
Travel Talk Adventures has received the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which allows travellers to recognise companies around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.
Please make sure to regularly check your Government’s travel advice before travelling and be well-informed of any requirements. Your tour guide will also notify you of the regulations and protocols to follow throughout your trip with us.
Please note that if any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary or possess a potential risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to remove them from all or part of a trip.
Please consult with your doctor for the latest medical travel information and any vaccinations you may need. We recommend that you bring any personal medical requirements and medications with you as these may be difficult to obtain while on tour.
The best time to visit Cuba in the high season is from June to August when the weather is perfect for enjoying the beaches of the Caribbean. Temperatures rarely drop below 30°C, making frequent visits to the beach essential. It is the favorite season among travelers despite the high humidity. Cultural hotspots like Havana host some of the most vibrant festivities along with the crowds. You will have the time of your life exploring Cuba’s cultural nuances as long as you packed the essentials to make your trip comfortable in the hot weather.
Cuba’s tropical climate makes it possible to enjoy the country’s highlights all year round. The low season from November to April offers balmy weather with an average temperature of 25°C. The entire island is perfect for visiting at this time thanks to dry weather. Breezy nights and quiet time make exploring the best places to visit in Cuba blissful. Pay a visit to the historical Cienfuegos and Santa Clara to make deeper connections with Cuba’s profound past.
For more, check out our Cuba weather guide.
The currency in Cuba is the Cuban Peso Nacional (CUP) and Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). We recommend that you wait until you go to the city center to change your money. Exchange rates are usually more favorable in the city. US Dollars are widely accepted, especially at upscale hotels and restaurants. For smaller services (including local meals or public transportation), be prepared to pay with colónes. Travel Talk recommends you do not exchange bulk sums of money at the airport, as the exchange rates are usually more favourable in the major cities.
Please remember that everyone has different spending habits, some prefer to spend more on souvenirs, some on experiences and others on a night out! Make sure to budget your trip to your spending habits for shopping, drinking, and tipping
Tipping is not compulsory in Cuba though some services such as restaurants add a ‘service charge’ on the final bill that includes 10% gratuity. If a ‘service charge’ is not already added to a bill, 10% is considered a sufficient amount to tip in appreciation of good service. You may also tip service staff such as maids and
bartender. Leaving a few extra colons if the service exceeds your expectations, is also appreciated. Tips for such services usually range within 1-5 USD per day. You may also consider tipping your leader and driver for outstanding service at the end of your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference.
Eating & Drinking
The most vigorous sides of African, Caribbean, and Spanish culinary traditions come together in Cuban cuisine to offer you the gastronomic experience of your life. Expect to find rice and beans in most dishes similar to the rest of the Caribbean, but Cubans have their own touches to these fundamental ingredients that make the scene unique. Boasting a fruitful, tropical climate, Cuba uses fruits and root vegetables as main ingredients in most meals. Here are a couple of our favourites to get you started.
For more, check out our Cuba food guide.
Ropa Vieja: Shredded beef gets blended with a flavorful sofrito-based sauce and forms the main element on a multi-dish plate. Sides include rice, fried plantains, and fried yuca.
Cuban Sandwich: The original Cuban sandwich has Swiss cheese, dill pickles, roasted pork, ham, and mustard tucked in two golden slices of Cuban bread.
Bunuelos: Anise is used to spice the dough and later in the making of a sweet dip sauce for the figure eight-shaped donuts.
Maduros: The best maduros are made with ripe plantains. They make a delightful sweet treat on their own, but you will also love them alongside salty dishes like meats and rice dishes, as it balances the flavor perfectly.
Essentials to Bring & Internet
-Face mask/cover and hand sanitiser enough for your personal use throughout the trip – See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/
-Travel Documents: Passport, Visa (if required), flight or transport ticket (and photocopies)
-Travel Talk Tour Voucher (printed or digital)Travel Insurance Policy (and photocopy)
-Personal medical kit and medicine
-Money (cash, credit card, travellers’ cheques)
-Reusable water bottle
-Ear plugs and eye mask
-Sun protection – hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
-Comfortable, closed walking shoes
-Wind/water proof jacket
-Warm clothes, hat, and gloves for cold weather
-Sandals, swimwear, shorts for warm weather
Wi-fi is readily available throughout Cuba. In many locations, including inside Cuba’s two international airports, restaurants, cafes, hotels, and some cities’ central parks, Wi-Fi access is free, however, the connection quality may differ. If you wish to use your own 3G/4G Data, be sure to enable data roaming on your mobile. Purchasing a Cuban SIM card for the duration of your tour may be a cost-effective alternative. Make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave home so a local SIM will be compatible.
Your local guide will be able to provide advice on where to purchase SIMs.
Culture, Religion, and Traditions
Frisky, vibrant, and full of culture, Cuba’s reputation precedes it. Blending Catholic and Yoruba traditions, Cuban culture is all about the celebration and appreciation of the country’s natural and historic values. As you visit the myriad attractions in Cuba, you will get to know several cultural symbols of Cuba that are a calling card for its traditions. Cigars are one of them, so enjoy or at least observe the ritual of cigars from the very first step of production to consumption. So take your time enjoying your cigar as you engage in some heart conversations with the locals while you are there. Another symbol is salsa, a cultural element that is almost identical to Cuba’s dynamic spirit.
Etiquette and How to Dress
Cuban people are friendly and very hospitable. However, there are a few things you should take into consideration to avoid any disturbance as you travel. We advise not taking pictures of anyone without asking for permission. Also, littering the streets is considered highly intolerable and also illegal. For a comfortable stay in Cuba, you can pack lightweight clothes made of natural fabric, as the country has a hot and humid climate.
We have many solo travellers joining our tours. Solo travellers will be roomed with another traveller of the same gender. If you would like a private solo room, please contact us. You may see out solo travels page for more details.
Rules to Follow
We are committed to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. We do not tolerate any form of violence (physical or verbal), bullying or harassment involving customers, partners, Travel Talk staff or locals. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a passenger are forbidden.
We will not tolerate any illegal activity, including but not limited to: use and possession of illegal drugs, trespassing, and disrupting public order. If you consume alcohol, please ensure that you drink responsibly and follow the local laws and regulations.
You must follow the advice of your tour leader and local officials regarding health and safety measures. We operate all tours under Safe Travels protocols for the wellbeing of our passengers, staff and communities visited. Please ensure that you have read the https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/ and are fully prepared for your trip.
If someone is acting inappropriately regarding these matters, please notify your tour leader immediately or contact us on the emergency contact number provided below.
Your tour leader has the right to remove from the group anyone not abiding by these rules, with no right of compensation or refund. See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/booking-terms/
Please remember that our travellers come from different parts of the world and will have various needs and preferences. Be understanding and patient with your fellow travellers, and always strive to be on time.
We believe that travel is a force for good and show our support through various initiatives and charity organizations, as well as keeping the principals of responsible and sustainable travel at the core of our ethos. These values are engrained in our business culture and the design of our trips just the same. Together with you, we strive to make a positive impact on local people and economies, respecting the local culture, environment, social fabric and customs; encouraging respectful and meaningful cross-cultural exchange. Read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/responsible-travel/