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Cuba

a rum place? close but no cigar? not this time! - Trip for singles

Book From   € 1,099,-
GROUP SIZE: 9-24 | 13 DAYS

Cuba

Here you can find the day-to-day description for Cuba

Any extensions for this tour can be found at the bottom of this page.

Highlights

There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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Havana

Havana

Havana is a marvellous city where you spend hours strolling the streets with their colonial houses, listening to music at every corner of the street and meeting the friendly inhabitants that enjoy drinking a glass of rum with you. | Havana

Viñales

Viñales

The valley of Viñales is beautiful! Limestone mountains rise dramatically above the deep green, tropical fields. Lots of tobacco is grown around Viñales and a visit to a local tobacco farmer is worth your while. | Viñales

Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos

The harbour city Cienfuegos is situated at one of the most beautiful bays of the island. In the colonial age, this city was known as 'Pearl of the South'. | Cienfuegos

Trinidad

Trinidad

It seems that time has stood still in Trinidad. The streets mostly consist of pebbles and sand. You'll see more horses and carriages than cars. | Trinidad

Santa Clara

Santa Clara

Santa Clara is famous for the giant monument of Ché Guevara. | Santa Clara

Varadero

Varadero

Varadero, famous for its snow-white beaches and turquoise waters. Take a refreshing dive into the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. You can also swim with dolphins. | Varadero

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 Havana Havana
2 Havana Havana
3 Havana Havana
4 Bus Havana - Las Terrazas - Viñales Viñales
5 Viñales Viñales
6 Bus Viñales - Bay of Pigs - Cienfuegos Cienfuegos
7 Bus Cienfuegos - Trinidad Trinidad
8 Trinidad Trinidad
9 Trinidad Trinidad
10 Bus Trinidad - Santa Clara Santa Clara
11 Bus Santa Clara - Varadero Varadero
12 Varadero Varadero
13 Varadero End of tour - Varadero

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Day 1: Havana

Welcome to Cuba!

Your tour starts in Havana, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Most of your travel companions will arrive later this first day, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule. You will meet your English speaking tour leader at 8.00 hrs A.M. on day 2 in the lobby of your hotel.

The wonderful city of Havana has a unique atmosphere, with museums and baroque architecture, cosy terraces where you can sit and watch the big “fifties” American cars driving by, shining as if they were brand new. Have a mojito in one of Hemmingway’s favourite watering holes and at night, dine in one of the friendly, family-owned restaurants and listen to the ever-present Caribbean music.

Day 2: Havana

The main markets in Havana are close to the Plaza de Catedral, and open from Wednesday to Saturday 1000-1900, on the Malecón, between Calles D and E, open from Sunday to Tuesday 1000-1800, and on Calle 23 between Calles M &N open daily 1000-1800 (this one is the smallest ) But please be sure to check with your guide as timings can sometimes change unexpectedly.

Why not visit a cigar factory/shop and witness this age old tradition as the cigars are carefully hand rolled out in front of you. Tours are currently available at Real Fábrica de Tabacos Partagás, which is one of Cuba's oldest factories.

Day 3: Havana

To learn more about the revolution, visit the museums, parks and monuments throughout the city. In 1573, Philip II issued a law that required a rectangular central square, this central square, Plaza de Armas, marks the starting point of the four main streets, which follow the course of the four wind directions. The most important social, political and cultural institutions are situated around this square and their faded glory adds to the unique charm of this city.
 

Walk over the plaza to view the Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum), which occupies the magnificent old Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, once home to the highest colonial authority in Cuba and a former Presidential Palace. This popular museum offers a broad description of Havana's history and has a great gift shop - don't miss out on Cuba's only wooden 'cobblestone' street to the front of the museum!

Our Projects

In collaboration with our local agents, Shoestring supports a number of projects with a financial contribution. Since our suppliers play a major role in maintaining and supporting these projects, we know that these contributions are allocated effectively.
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Day 4: Havana - Las Terrazas - Viñales

The beautiful Viñales Valley is located to the west of Havana and is great for walking or horse riding. The eroded karst scenery is reminiscent of South China.

Along the way you'll visit Las Terrazas, a cooperative of 850 inhabitants, located in the beautiful Sierra del Rosario, a UNESCO world heritage site. Today ecotourism is the main source of income, replacing the coffee industry. The name Las Terrazas refers to the landscaped terraces of pine trees for which the area is famous. This is a nice spot to take a walk here and there are also hot springs to be enjoyed.

Day 5: Viñales

Spend today continuing to explore and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of this karstic landscape.

How green can you go? TIP

While in Viñales, you stay in a 'casa particular' (home stay). This is like a bed and breakfast in a Cubans' home and is a special experience! The group will be divided among the various 'casas particulares', which are close to each other. Between 2 and 4 people will stay in each family home. Staying in a casa means that you are a guest of a Cuban family but you have your own room, usually with private shower and toilet. It is often possible to dine at 'your family' home too, depending on the demand for this possibility. Breakfast is excluded, you pay for this on the spot.

Day 6: Viñales - Bay of Pigs - Cienfuegos

Today you'll travel to the Bay of Pigs. This region is famous (or rather infamous) because of the Cuban exiles trained here by the CIA in 1961, in order to invade Cuba. Playa Girón has a small museum that focuses on the invasion. The bay is part of the Zapata peninsula, a protected area that consists mainly of swamps and mangrove forests.

You continue to the port city of Cienfuegos with one of the most beautiful bays of the island. In the colonial era Cienfuegos was known as the "Pearl of the South". The city was founded in 1819 by the then Governor General of Cuba, Jose Cienfuegos. Feel the French atmosphere in the sprawling city which the city planner Declouet gave her: decorative palaces, theaters and shady parks. The Teatro Tomás Terry with its elegant facade is worth a visit. Just outside town is the Cementerio General La Reina, declared a national monument. Its built between 1830 and 1840 and there are beautiful images on the graves, like that of La Bella Durmiente (Sleeping Beauty).

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Day 7: Cienfuegos - Trinidad

Our journey continues to Trinidad.

How green can you go? TIP

Trinidad is a beautiful colonial town where time seems to have stood still. You will stay here for three nights in 'casas particulares' (See day 5 for description). There is plenty of opportunity to visit both Trinidad and the surroundings.

Day 8: Trinidad

You are free to discover Trinidad, a place known for its lovely pastel coloured houses and cobblestone streets as well as beautiful palaces and plazas. It is best to explore Trinidad either by foot or from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage.

Later in the afternoon, when many tourists are back in their resorts on the coast, the town comes to life. A salsa band starts playing and soon there is dancing on the square in front of the Casa de la Música and in the music bars themselves.

Day 9: Trinidad

Another free day in Trinidad. Culture lovers may choose to visit the Museo Romántico in the Palacia Cantero or instead explore the more rural surroundings. The Valley de los Ingenios or Valley of the Sugar Mills is a series of three interconnected valleys about 12 kilometers (7 miles) outside of Trinidad. You can explore these by bicycle if you wish, taking in the splendid scenery that surrounds.

You may also like to spend the day relaxing at the white sandy beach of Ancon for example. This beach lies about 12 km from the city and the turquoise sea here lends itself to good diving.

Day 10: Trinidad - Santa Clara

Today we head for Santa Clara, home of the monument and mausoleum in honour of the famous freedom fighter Che Guevara. The Cubans nicknamed Ernesto Guevara ‘Che’ because of his greeting; "che" (hey!).

In 1956, he arrived in Cuba with a group of revolutionaries in a boat called the Granma and In 1957, he became Commandante and an important figure at Fidel Castro's side during the first years of the revolution. In Santa Clara on the Plaza de la Revolucion you will find his monument ‘Hasta la victoria siempre’, which means ‘Forever onwards towards victory‘.

Day 11: Santa Clara - Varadero

After visiting Santa Clara we continue to Varadero, a resort located 140 km east of Havana which boasts stunning white beaches and a turquoise waves.

We drive down the coast for a while, so enjoy the beautiful scenery rolling past. Varadero is also great for those looking for diving, snorkelling, taking a boat trip or deep-sea fishing.

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Day 12: Varadero

In addition to the quite stunning beaches, Varadero has other natural exhibits such as caves and a chain of easily reached virgin cays or if you prefer, curl up with a good book in the shade of a palm tree or take a swim in the beautiful water. This is the good life ...!

Day 13: Varadero

The last day of your tour. You can use your hotel room in Varadero until check out time (most times at 12.00 hrs noon). We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Cuba.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 13) is not included.

Please note: the tour leader will accompany you up until Varadero. A representative will be present however who can help with booking the excursions locally.

Please note – flexibility in Cuba

This journey goes through a developing country with a lower standard of living than you are used to at home.

In Cuba, a flexible attitude is vital as you will find that issues are also handled in a different way compared to what you may be accustomed to. It is still a communist country that is rapidly changing. That means that things do not always runs smoothly! The accommodations are sometimes simple. An accommodation may suddenly show as fully booked so there has to be a diversion to another location or to a casas particularas. Sometimes, unexpected route changes occur. Travel distances may be longer than expected due to the circumstances.

This is precisely the charm of travelling; unexpected events often provide the most fun experiences. A flexible and positive attitude is just as important as physical fitness. If you prepare yourself correctly, you will undoubtedly have a great trip!


Extend your trip

  • Havana extension

    You can choose to extend your stay in Cuba with a longer stay in Havana (please request when booking). This three day extension can be added to either the start or the end of your itinerary. An airport transfer and the two nights in a centrally located hotel are included in the price of the extension.

    If you wish to extend in Havana, please indicate this on your booking form and also advise us through the comments section of the booking form whether you would like the extension at the start or finish of your trip.

    The price of the 3-day extension in Havana: 195 euros per person based on double/twin occupancy.
    An extension on the basis of a single room is 245 euros.
  • Spanish lessons in Havana

    Have you always wanted to learn Spanish? Combine Spanish verbs with a tropical setting! Before your trip, we offer you the chance to learn the first principles of the Spanish language. A perfect start: with a little vocabulary you'll find it easier to get to know Cuba and its' people.

    Duration: 8 days / 7 nights

    Day-to-day description

    Day 1
    Havana, arrival
    Classes begin on a Monday, so you can fly to Havana on Sunday. You will be met by our local representative on arrival in Havana. They bring you to your hotel in a quiet neighborhood of Havana about 20 minutes walking distance from the school and 3.5km from the beach. This is the same hotel where you will stay during the group trip.

    Day 2-6
    Havana, Spanish lessons

    During your stay in Havana you will get 5 days of individual instruction in the Spanish language. The course is tailored to your needs and interests (in consultation with your teacher), and is the quickest and most intensive way to learn the language in a short period. Every day you get 4 x 45 minute lessons, the lesson times are organised in consultation with your teacher.

    After and between lessons, you are free to explore fascinating Havana. Havana is a fantastic city full of charming streets and squares, museums and beautiful baroque architecture. Particularly noteworthy are the American motors from the 50s, gleaming like new. You can look for the bars where Hemingway gained his inspiration. Here you can enjoy a mojito, a Cuban drink of rum, lime juice, mineral water and mint leaves- very tasty! In the evening you will probably eat in one of the cozy family restaurants while enjoying the Caribbean music that is heard everywhere. Havana swings!

    Day 7
    Havana, end of extension
    Today ends the extension of this trip.

    Day 8
    Havana, group arrival

    Tonight the group arrives in Havana. Everything is very easy because the group will stay in the same hotel. Now you can make a good impression with all that you've learned in this first week!

    Cost: € 699 per person (based on double occupancy)
    Single supplement: € 100 per person
    High season surcharge: to follow

    Included:
    - 7 nights in a hotel in Havana
    - 4 x 45 minutes private Spanish lessons for 5 days
    - Qualified Spanish teacher
    - Course certificate

    Excluded:
    Meals, excursions, entrance fees, personal expenses and tips

    Surcharges:
    - Surcharge for transfer to and from the airport: € 35 pp (one way € 20 pp)
    - Surcharge salsa dance course: from € 105 pp per week

  • Varadero extension

    You can also choose to extend your stay in Varadero for three days/2 nights (please request when booking). A transfer to the airport of Havana and two hotel nights are included in the price of the extension. If you wish to extend in Varadero, please specify this when making your booking.

    The price of the 3-day extension in Varadero is: 375 euros per person based on double/twin occupancy.
    An extension on the basis of a single room is 575 euros.
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