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Bienvenidos a Cuba - the island welcomes you with warmth and exuberance and transports you to its colonial past.
With the rental car you will travel around the largest Caribbean island - feel the unique flair.
Discover Havana's hidden streets and alleys, green parks and wrap up with a cool mojito or Cuba Libre.
Of course, the vintage cars in Havana are everywhere.
You will discover the breathtaking Vinales valley on a hike.
You can marvel at these surreal art formations in Vinales and even scramble up the mountain.
Trinidad, the UNESCO cultural city, is essential on every Cuba round trip.
In Camaguey you can stroll through the charming streets and alleys.
Caribbean flair is ubiquitous in Baracoa - numerous palm trees line the roadsides here.
During a hike, you will get to know the lush flora and fauna.
The last stop of your trip is Santiago de Cuba.
This city is the point of origin for Cuban culture and remains the cultural center today.
Experience the highlights of Cuba up close
Discover Cuba on your own with a rental car
Stay with Cuban families
Stroll through the alleys of Havana
Go on a hike through the Viñale Valley
On this special round trip, you will experience authentic moments in Cuba and with its inhabitants as they live everyday life.
As you stay in private homes with Cuban families, you will also get to know the highlights of the country: the lively, colorful capital, Havana, the picturesque tobacco landscape in the Viñale Valley, Cienfuegos - the Pearl of the South, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad, the winding streets of Camagüey, the vibrant, multicultural Santiago de Cuba and Cuba's oldest city, Baracoa.
Upon arrival at the international airport, you will meet and receive a warm welcome from a representative. Afterwards, you will be transferred to your accommodation in Havana. Spend the rest of the day as you wish.
Havana airport - Casa Particular (private home): 30 km / approx. 30 minutes
3 nights in a Casa Particular with breakfast in a Standard Room, Havana, Cuba
No city in the world is like Havana. The city's almost 500-year history has left many traces. Experience magnificent colonial mansions in the UNESCO-protected historic old town. You will be enchanted by the cultural diversity, the cars from the nostalgic fifties and a nightlife full of rhythm. Havana is considered the crown jewel of Spanish colonial cities in the Caribbean. But this city is more than just a museum: the life on the streets exudes at least as much charm as the numerous architectural treasures. The best way to explore colonial Old Havana is to stroll along the main sights: Calle Obispo, El Templete, Plaza de Armas, the Palace of the Captains General, Cathedral Square, Plaza Vieja and Hemingway's Bodeguita, where you can enjoy a mojito, Hemingway's favorite cocktail, for refreshment.
Our tip: In the evening, visit the Havana Queens show. Director Rosario García Rodríguez's Havana Queens dance ensemble combines traditional and modern dance, from salsa, mambo, chachacha, conga and rumba to breakdance and acrobatic interludes - all packed into a one-hour-long, 100% Cuban show.
Today you will pick up your rental car after breakfast and from now on you can flexibly discover the capital and the surrounding area. You will also be handed detailed information documents. If you have any questions regarding the completion of the contract and route related matters, our local partner agency will also be there to help and advise you.
Another possibility to get to know the real life of the Habaneros is a visit to Centro Habana. Amidst the colorful hustle and bustle of a farmer's market, you can get an idea of what is on the menu of the inhabitants. In the afternoon, we recommend an excursion to the rural surroundings of Havana. Along the way, you will find numerous fincas where you can enjoy excellent authentic food and learn more about vegetable growing and cattle breeding.
Today it is time to say goodbye. You will leave Havana and drive along the tobacco route to Pinar del Rio, the greenest of all Cuban provinces, which boasts the best tobacco soils in the world. On the way there, it is worthwhile to make a stop at Patio Pelegrín, an outreach program run by artist Mario Pelegrín. Here, children and young people in particular are given a meaningful way to spend their free time by gaining access to artistic creation and developing their own creativity. While visitors learn more about the project, they are served fresh fruit and coffee.
On the way towards Viñales, you will pass imposing limestone cliffs, called mogotes, and later reach the Viñales Valley.
Havana - Viñales: 220 km / approx. 3 hours
2 nights in a casa particular with breakfast in a standard room, Viñales, Cuba
Viñales is the perfect starting point for hikes through the eponymous valley. The fairy tale landscape, with its unusual limestone rocks, and the typical local vegetation, will also captivate you.
Our tip: Tobacco fields as far as the eye can see - a visit to a Casa del Veguero (the house of a tobacco farmer) should not be missed.
A visit to the small botanical garden of Caridad is also recommended.
After an invigorating breakfast, you will set off today toward central Cuba. It is worthwhile to make a stopover in Cienfuegos. The city, characterized by French colonial architecture, attracts visitors with its elegant modern flair. The main square, Parque Martí, is a special attraction with the nostalgic Terry Theater. We also recommend a side trip to the peninsula of Punta Gorda. The rest of the trip will take you along the picturesque coastal road to Trinidad.
Viñales to Trinidad: 560 km / approx. 7 hours
2 nights in a Casa Particular with breakfast in Standard Room, Trinidad, Cuba
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, Trinidad is without a doubt a crown jewel of Cuba's colonial architecture and one of the island's most important tourist attractions. Take the time to explore the colonial city, decorated in delicate pastel, characterized by red tiled roofs and cobblestone alleys. Imposing mansions of the sugar barons and Cuba's only five-nave cathedral await you. The numerous museums are also worth seeing, e.g. the city museum in the Palacio Cantero, as well as the rustic "Cancháncharra" (honey liqueur bar). In addition, an excursion to a bath in the Caribbean sea at the Playa Ancón is a good idea.
Pro tip: In the evening, take in the romantic nightlife with live music at the Casa de la Trova or Casa de la Música.
Today you will leave Trinidad and head to Camagüey. On the way, we recommend you make a stop in the Valley of the Sugar Cane Mills. The region is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and should be part of every trip to Cuba. The valley looks back on an eventful past. Thus, the "enslaved tower", the Torre de Iznaga, was built to guard enslaved people working in the fields. In the foothills of the Sierra Escambray, you will find the small town of Sancti Spiritus, almost untouched by tourism. There you can admire, among other things, the Yayabo Bridge. This impressive bridge over the river of the same name owes its fame mainly to the gigantic terracotta arches.
You will spend the night in Camagüey.
Trinidad - Camagüey: 280 km / approx. 5 hours
2 nights in a Casa Particular with breakfast in a Standard Room, Camagüey, Cuba
The historic center of Camagüey was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008. Cuba's third largest city surprises the visitor with many beautiful squares, churches and typical streets that invite you to stroll. The large clay jars known as Tinajones are considered the landmark of the city.
Take advantage of the day and visit, for example, the gallery of Martha Jiménez Pérez del Carmen, the Café Literario, which serves as a gallery for young artists. It is the site of various cultural activities. Or you can also visit the Ignacio Agramonte House of Culture in the old town.
The rest of your journey today will take you to Santiago. On the way there, we recommend a stop in Bayamo, which is not only known as the city of carriages on the island. The city is considered the cradle of the Cuban nation and has a very rich history. Here the landowner, Carol Manuel de Cespedes, the "Father of the Fatherland", was born. This landowner made history by being the first to stand against Spanish colonialism and fight for the independence of Cuba. In addition, the national anthem, "La Bayamesa", was composed and played for the first time here. Take the opportunity to take a carriage ride through the small alleys.
Also take in the wild peaks of the Sierra Maestra from a distance. It was in this wild terrain that Fidel Castro fought against his adversaries more than 50 years ago. At the foothills of the Sierra Maestra, you will find the pilgrimage site of El Cobre, located just outside of Santiago. Here it is worth visiting the impressively situated basilica with the patron saint of Cuba, before finally continuing to Santiago.
Camagüey - Santiago: 350 km / approx. 6 hours
2 nights in a Casa Particular with breakfast in a Standard Room, Santiago, Cuba
After the abolition of slavery in Cuba, most of the inhabitants of color settled in the Santiago region. The magic of Afro-Cuban traditions is still part of everyday life in Santiago, and the population's love of life is undergoing a noticeable change here. Foreign religions, mystical customs and rites and a relaxed serenity are ubiquitous here. Santiago is the cultural center and remains the point of origin for original Cuban culture. Here, African rhythms and customs merge with a Spanish temperament as white beaches with cool cocktails and hot salsa create a cheerful and always sunny attitude towards life.
By the way, did you know that it is a little hotter here in the west than in the northeastern part of the island? The arid coastal areas of eastern Cuba have very hot temperatures, especially in the peak of summer. This region does its nickname, "tierra caliente" (hot land) justice. Don't forget to take plenty of breaks in the shade.
Take the day to discover this unique city. Explore the Revolution Square and the Moncada Barracks attacked by Fidel Castro and his men in 1953. The former villa and residence district of Vista Alegre and San Juan Hill, site of the Spanish-American-Cuban War of Independence, are also worth a visit. Take a walk through the historic center with Parque Céspedes, Calle Heredia, Plaza Dolores and Casa Velázquez, the oldest house in the city.
Today you will leave Santiago for Baracoa. On the way there, you will pass Guantánamo, which became famous mainly because of the military base built here by the Americans. But the capital of the eponymous province is also a stronghold of the Afro-Cuban Santería and the Voodoo cult originating from Haiti.
The tour then continues through a desert-like cactus landscape over tropical green mountains on the breathtaking pass road of La Farola down to Baracoa, where Columbus once landed. Here, a visit to the Matachín City Museum and a tour of the main square, where the Church of Nuestra Señora de Asuncíon with the Columbus Cross is located, pays off.
Santiago - Baracoa: 240 km / approx. 5 hours
2 nights in a Casa Particular with breakfast in a Standard Room, Baracoa, Cuba
Baracoa lies against the picturesque backdrop of the table mountain of El Yunque, embedded in a lush tropical natural landscape with coffee, cocoa and banana plantations - a pure Caribbean atmosphere. Only after the Spaniard Diego de Velázquez moved his base to Santiago de Cuba and it became the capital of the country. Until shortly after the revolution, Baracao was almost exclusively dependent on trade by sea, because no roads led here by land. Due to the rather remote location - today, of course, there are roads - you will find few tourists in Baracao today, but this makes this place rather more interesting.
Our tip: Take a trip to the beautiful surroundings of Baracao and explore the diverse flora and fauna on a hike. There is the possibility to swim in many rivers, like the Río Yumuri - don't forget your swimwear.
After breakfast, we will drive along the adventurous and bumpy, but still scenic and fascinating road to Holguín. The fourth largest city in the country is one of its most important cultural and industrial centers. Besides churches and museums, a lively nightlife including Bolero, Beatles and local beer awaits you. Holguineros affectionately call their hometown the "City of Squares”. In the center, visitors can stroll from one leafy square to the next and watch the hustle and bustle.
Run last-minute errands and buy some souvenirs for your loved ones back home. Please note: The road to Holguín is in poor condition in some parts. Therefore, it is often necessary to drive slowly and to expect a longer car ride.
Baracoa - Holguín: 260 km / approx. 6 hours
1 night in a Casa Particular with breakfast in a Standard Room, Holguín, Cuba
Your exciting journey through this enchanting country comes to an end today. It is time to pack your bags for the last time and get into your rental car. Carrying many unforgettable memories in your luggage, you will drive to the airport to start your journey home.
If you are interested in an individual extension or a stay at one of the picturesque beaches of Cuba, please contact us.
itravel - for that moment.
"Casa particular" literally means "private house" but in general it is - since 1997, when the Cuban government allowed private people to rent rooms to foreign overnight guests in order to get a much needed additional income during the "special period" - the usual name for a private overnight accommodation. Since all other overnight accommodations (hotels, motels or the so-called "campismos") belong to the state, the "casa particular" designation is also an indication that this type of overnight accommodation is for the benefit of private individuals in exchange for payment.
The rooms are generally clean and up to tourist standards. They range from simply furnished rooms with only a bed and a closet to almost luxurious, fully equipped apartments according to higher standards. Additional amenities may include a telephone or television. Food and beverages may be included in the form of a minibar (e.g. a small refrigerator in which, for a fee, snacks and drinks are stored).
Usually the room rate includes breakfast - similar to other B&Bs - but you should ask about this in advance. A lunch or dinner is often offered, but this is usually not included in the price. In addition, the house owners often offer other services, from laundry to the sale of cigars, to earn extra money.
Why stay in a Casa particular? Staying in a Casa particular can be one of the most interesting experiences of your stay in Cuba. Here you will have close contact with Cubans and learn about the Cuban everyday life. Another point is the price: An overnight stay in a casa particular is often cheaper than an overnight stay in a hotel.
Attention - Watch out for the "Jineteros", people who stop your vehicle at the entrance to the village or at the exit of the bus stations and lead you to believe that they want to help you find the casa you have booked in advance. They often pretend to be relatives of the casa owner and tell you that the casa you booked is closed or full and that they have reserved an alternative casa for you. Do not believe them: Go to the address of your casa, knock and wait until they open the door instead.
Duration of the trip: 15 days/ 14 nights
All rental car companies in Cuba are state owned. itravel or Caribbean Tours, our local partner, is only an intermediary. The rental contract is concluded directly between the customer and the rental car company.