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Cool Cuba

From £1045 pp

Cuba

8 days

Private Tour for 2-10 People

What You'll Do

An 8 day tour combining Havana, Viñales and Cayo Levisa.

Discover Cuba with a fun twist on this exciting 8 day tour combining Havana, Viñales and Cayo Levisa.

We’ve sourced the most exclusive experiences because we believe there’s one way to truly enjoy Cuba, and that’s by spending quality time with the locals. From cycling through the streets of Havana with veteran Cuban cyclists to learning salsa and dancing the night away with Cuban dancers, this tour is full of cool activities. You’ll leave Cuba having not only learnt about Cuban culture, but actually having experienced it through the eyes of its locals. How often can you return home and say that you’ve smoked cigars with tobacco farmers in the Viñales countryside or spent time in a recording studio with local musicians in hip Havana. This really is Cuba at its best.

This is a completely private experience where you/your group will have the guide to yourself. The lead in price is based on a group of 10.

 

 

Experience
Highlights

Cook typical Cuban cuisine in an interactive cookery class

Roll cigars with tobacco farmers in Viñales

Sample Havana’s nightlife with live music on the iconic ‘Malecon’ coastal road

Relax on a paradise island beach at Cayo Levisa

Your Local Host:

Lucy & Team

For 20 years, we have been providing exceptional and meaningful holidays to Cuba, sharing the real Cuba in an honest and positive way. Responsible travel is at the heart of what we do; from the local ground staff we employ, to the family-run restaurants and B&B’s we use, we actively support family, local businesses and communities. This i Read More

Experience Itinerary

Arrive in Havana

Welcome to Cuba! You will be picked up at Havana airport and transferred to your accommodation for the night. We’ll be staying in a restored colonial property located in the heart of hip Vedado district. Offering style and comfort, we hope that you enjoy your stay in this privately-owned boutique ‘casa particular’.

This evening you’ll no doubt be feeling a mixture of excitement, nerves and jetlag, so we’ll keep things simple and break the ice by having cocktails and dinner at a small private ‘paladar’ restaurant in the Old Town. A great way to get to know your guide for the week ahead. ‘Jama’ restaurant bar is owned and run by our friend Carlos, and he prides his business on its ability to source the best ingredients and push service levels to the best in Havana. Expect carefully crafted cocktails and a food menu inspired by the combination of Cuban and Asian cuisine, where we’ll share a platter of ceviche, bread, croquettes, salad, meat and fish dishes, vegetarian dishes, fried rice, sushi, and a desert of mango and coconut rice.

Meals included: Cocktail and Dinner

Accommodation: Boutique Casa 25 y G or similar (1 night)

City tour of Havana & travel to Viñales

This morning we’ll explore Havana, a mesmerising city full of quirks and surprises around every corner. Be sure to bring your camera, Havana is brimming with beautiful colours, textures and faces. First however, we’ll dust off the cobwebs and cover some ground on bikes this morning (approx. 2 hours, 16km route), enabling us to see some of the main sights from a different perspective. Being on two wheels will also enable us to cycle through some of the lesser-visited suburban areas of Havana. We’ll cycle from our casa to Plaza de la Revolucion, through the woodland valley of ‘Bosque de Almendares’ and past the iconic Hotel Nacional and ‘malecon’ coastal road to the Centro Habana district. Our ride will end on the edge of the Old Town. For this morning’s ride we’ll be accompanied by 1 or 2 (depending on group size) of the ‘Cuban Masters’ cycling team. These are veteran riders who compete in National competitions in Cuba for their respective age categories. In the busy maze of narrow streets that make up the Old Town, we’ll explore on foot with our Cuban tour guide explaining some of the peculiarities and customs relating to life in the city. Visit a food ration store, known as a ‘bodega’, as well as a market and some local small enterprises. Our guide will begin to explain the basics of Cuba’s economy and socialist society – this will be an ongoing discussion point and you’ll be sure to learn a lot before leaving the country.

We’ll have lunch at a small café restaurant in the Old Town before setting off on a fairly long road journey (3 hours) to our destination for the evening. In our comfortable air-conditioned private vehicle, the road journey takes us westwards along the ‘autopista’ passing through Artemisa province and in to Pinar del Rio. The last 30-minute stretch of the journey involves a winding approach on a mountain road with occasional spectacular views out into the valley.

Our destination is the picturesque town of Viñales, nestled in the valley of the same name. Upon arrival we’ll check in to a hotel which will be our accommodation for the next 2 nights. Tonight’s evening meal isn’t included, but there are plenty of restaurant options to choose from in the town. Afterwards you may wish to visit the music/dance venue ‘Polo Montañez’ next to the main plaza in the town.

Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel La Ermita or similar (2 Nights)

 

Viñales

Today we’ll explore Viñales and surrounding area, getting a feel for life in rural Cuba as well as seeing some of the island’s most spectacular natural scenery. In the morning we’ll visit the cave network at ‘Cueva del Indio’ and also go on the canopy zip lining course on the outskirts of town.

Afterwards we’ll take a stroll through the countryside to a tobacco farm located at the foot of the valleys central ‘mogote’, a dramatic limestone karst formation that juts up out of the ground, an image that characterises this particular region of Cuba. At the farm we’ll take a tour of the property, seeing the different fruit trees and learning about the process of growing and producing tobacco leaves. We’ll visit a typical ‘vega’ drying house where tobacco leaves are dried before getting selected and taken off to state-run cigar factories. We’ll try our hand at rolling some cigars for ourselves with the guidance of some experts. Cigars are synonymous with Cuba, and the province of Pinar del Rio is where internationally acclaimed cigars such as Monte Cristos and Cojibas come from. We’ll have lunch here at the farm, and afterwards there’ll be a chance to go for a short walk in the nearby vicinity of the farm. If you are wanting to buy cigars from any farms in Vinales then ‘puros’ typically cost between 2 – 3 CUC per cigar depending on where you buy and how many etc. You can bring up to 50 out of the country without requiring any special customs documentation.

In the early evening we’ll regroup and drive to the other side of the ‘Valle del Silencio’ and watch the sunset from ‘Finca de Wilfredo’ organic farm, overlooking the valley and dishing up hearty Cuban countryside cuisine.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

From Viñales to Cayo Levisa

This morning we’ll leave Viñales to the north and transfer (approx. 1 hour) to a small jetty on the coastline known as ‘Palma Rubia’, from where we’ll cross by ferry boat to the small island of Cayo Levisa. This mini paradise for beach-lovers is a small coral key off the north coastline of Pinar del Rio and part of the Archipelago de Los Colorados in the Gulf of Mexico. Cayo Levisa is best known for its white sand beach, dense mangroves, and abundant sea life. Bring your beach clothes in a day pack as we won’t be able to check in to the cabins until early afternoon.

Enjoy a relaxing time today on the beach with a mojito, or there’s optional snorkelling available. In the evening we’ll arrange a special dinner on the beach for what will be a special experience in a unique setting.

The accommodation is in wooden beach cabins. Although they are not luxurious, they are spacious and keeping with the destination.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Cayo Levisa Hotel (1 night)

 

From Cayo Levisa to Havana

After breakfast we’ll wave goodbye to Cayo Levisa and cross back over to the mainland by boat. Approaching Havana, we’ll pay a brief visit to ‘Casa de Fuster’ in the Jaimanitas neighbourhood, a mosaic artist whose remarkable work has engulfed the community. Lunch will be at a new restaurant in the heart of Vedado, owned and restored by a photographer and his family (this is the current lunch destination being used but it is subject to change). Our accommodation in Havana will involve returning to the same boutique casa in Vedado district.

Late afternoon we’ll submerge ourselves in to one of Cuba’s defining art forms – dance! You’ll have the chance to learn the steps to Cuba’s most famous musical dance genre, salsa, in an informal and fun setting. Afterwards we’ll go out for dinner at a nearby pizza and pasta restaurant. We’ll be accompanied by the same dancers from the salsa classes, who will later escort us to a dance venue in the city.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Boutique Casa 25 y G or similar (3 nights)

 

Havana

Today we’ll have a slightly later start to allow for last night’s aches and pains to dissolve. Late morning we’ll indulge in a hands-on cookery course to learn how to make a typical Cuban dish, and afterwards have lunch at the same paladar located in Vedado district.

Later we’ll visit a music recording studio and meet some musicians playing contemporary music, learning about the modern-day music scene in Cuba. From here we recommend going for dinner either at nearby ‘El Cocinero’ restaurant or alternatively inside the popular nighttime venue ‘La Fabrica’ – your guide will explain the best options.

The FAC (Fabrica de Arte Cubano) is a multi-faceted arts venue that on first impression wouldn’t look out of place in East London or Berlin if it weren’t for the very Cuban influences and clientele – entrance is included for this evening. With an ever-rotating curation, no two-weekends are the same at La Fabrica; expect to see photography exhibitions, improvised theatre, jazz ensembles, or electronic DJs. There are numerous indoor and outdoor areas to visit within the large venue, so depending on your tastes you’re likely to find something to dance to. Whilst entry is included, you’ll receive a card that you use to record drinks purchases on before paying your own bill at the main door upon leaving.

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch

 

Havana

This morning we’ll have a walking city tour of the Old Town, including a visit to a Cuban family home within the ‘Centro Habana’ district. Here you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the ‘Santeria’ religion, which is followed by many people in Cuba, and in the process we meet a veteran revolutionary who was in the Sierra Maestra with the Castros and Che Guevara. The rest of the afternoon will be at leisure for you to enjoy as you please.

In the evening, embark on a tour of greater Havana in an iconic 1950’s classic American car. The tour will feature the lush woodlands of ‘Parque Almendares’ as well as Revolution Square and Malecon coastal road before ending in the Old Town. We’ll finish with dinner at a paladar restaurant with cocktails to toast to a wonderful week in Cuba. After dinner we’ll go to the coastal road (Malecon y Prado) where there’ll be musicians waiting with some drinks. Why not end your Cuban trip by making the most of the last night in the city with your new salsa moves.

Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

Departure day

This morning is at leisure to spend as you please. And so it’s adios from us, or as we prefer to think of it, ‘hasta luego’ – see you later! Have a safe journey and we hope that you had a wonderful experience in Cuba. There are no airport transfers included today however we can arrange on request. 

Meals included: Breakfast

Location Information

This tour starts and ends in Havana.

Getting there:

Please note that prices for the holidays do not include flights. We recommend using www.skyscanner.net to check flights.

Nearest airports:

José Martí International Airport

Airport transfers:

Transfers from the airport to your accommodation are included.

  • 4 nights Casa Particular, 3 nights Hotel
  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners
  • Local English-speaking Cuban guide throughout
  • Arrival transfer from the airport
  • In-destination transfers in private air-conditioned vehicle

FAQs

You'll spend 4 nights in a privately-owned boutique 'casa particular' ("private house") during you nights in Havana. This restored colonial property located in the heart of hip Vedado district offers both style and comfort.

For your night in Cayo Levisa, the accommodation is in wooden beach cabins. Although they are not luxurious, they are spacious and in keeping with the beach destination.

The 2 nights in Viñales are spent in a hotel.

Please note that prices are based on two people sharing a twin room. A single supplement is available upon request.