Havana & Varadero Experience 6D/5N
Embark on an exciting 6-day trip through Cuba from Havana to Varadero and back. You will be transferred to your casa particular upon arrival to the airport in Havana with free time to wander around town and get your first taste of Cuban life. Take a tour through the city of Havana to learn about the local way of life and go out at night with a local guide in neighbourhoods that are little-visited by tourists. Visit the beautiful white sand beaches of Varadero stretching over 20km along the Hicacos Peninsula. Visit the nearby nature reserve, Caribbean islands or towns for to immerse yourself in the laid-back Cuban atmosphere. Return to Havana where your trip will come to an end with great memories after an airport drop-off.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Havana Airport Pick-Up
Today you will be picked-up at the Havana airport upon arrival and transferred to your casa particular where you will meet your local family and get settled in. You will be well situated so you can easily walk to the center of town and get to bars and restaurants. Your Cuban hosts have a profound knowledge of the city and its many sights; they can give you all the recommendations you need.
Day 2: Local Havana Walking Tour & Havana by Night Tour (B)
Enjoy an authentic Cuban breakfast and get ready for a full day ahead. Your guide will meet you after breakfast and take you on a full day walking tour (7 - 8 hours) around Old Havana. The walking tour is in a small group of 4 or less and is customised to suit the group. You will be accompanied by a young, hip, bilingual Cuban guide who will show you the real Cuba. You can choose from various options of classic half day walks that can be combined to make the full day walk:
- 1) Gardens and Parks: This tour takes you to many of the open spaces of the old part of the city, including: Luz y Caballero Plaza, Hans Christian Anderson Ecological Park, Central Plaza, Fraternity Plaza, Simon Bolivar Plaza, Ruminahui Plaza, Diana’s Garden and Mother Theresa de Calcutta’s Garden.
- 2) Art Galleries: Visit some of the many galleries and exhibition halls that make this one of the most important cultural areas in the world, including: Workshops and Galleries above La Mina Restaurant, Oswaldo Guayasamin Gallery, Carmen Montilla Gallery, Cuba’s Phototheque, Wilfredo Lam Contemporary Art Center, Habana Factory.
- 3) Traditional Malecon: A walk along the famous Malecon is always an uplifting experience. Locals flock here nightly to walk, playa music, drink rum and enjoy the cool evening air. Discover a few of the important buildings and sites surrounding it, including: san Salvador de la Punta Castle and Museum, House of Cariatides, Meruda Café, Macreo Plaza.
- 4) Museums: The city and country are a museums galore, these are to name a few that you can visit in Old Havana: San Salvador de la Punta Castle and Museum, Museum of the Revolution, Memorial Granma, National Museums of fine arts, Jose Marti’s birthplace Museum, Museum of Colonial art, Museum of the City.
- 5) Music: Visit some of the classic theaters and concert halls of Old Havana: San Felipe Neri Oratorio, Grand Theater of Havana, Amplitheater of the Historic Center, Lesser Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, San Francisco de Paula Church.
- 6) Cannon Shot, Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabana: Every night of the year, a well dressed platoon of Colonial soldiers emerge from the past to fire a cannon shot over Havana Vieja. This is to signal to the town that the gate to the harbor has been drawn and that all are safe within. We cross the bay by colonial barge and walk via Che’s first post revolution residence and on up to the Fort, in time for the 9pm spectacle.
Note: Bring some extra cash for lunch, snacks, drinks and to use the local transport.
After the full day tour, a night tour will be arranged for you (which can be done on day 1 if preferred). It begins at 8 pm and usually involves a walk down Obismo Street to enjoy free live music in a variety of bars, then onto the Malecon to get in the mood and see what the Cubans do of an evening. Enjoy some street music and dancing and then if you are up for it, head indoors to one of the great Salsa Bars and Music clubs such as Casa de la Musica, Jazz Café and the famous after hours clubs in Vedado (Entry to clubs, taxis and drinks not included).
Day 3: Bus Havana to Varadero (B)
Travel on a bus from the Cuban capital city of Havana through the Cuban countryside with beautiful landscapes toward the Hicacos Peninsula and the seaside resort of Varadero boasting over 20km of white-sand beaches along the Caribbean coast. Overnight at your hotel in Varadero.
Day 4: Free Day in Varadero
Enjoy your free day to explore the surrounding towns, caves, nature reserve and cayes just minutes from Varadero. The Hicacos Point Natural Park boast the 250m long Cave of Ambrosio as well as Mangon Lake home to abundant bird and reptile species. See La Calavera “the skull” Salt Works or take a boat trip to visit the Cayo Pidras and Cayo Cruz del Padre islands in the tranquil Caribbean Sea. Overnight at your hotel in Varadero.
Day 5: Bus Varadero to Havana
Enjoy a free morning in Varadero today to catch your last rays of sun. Take an afternoon bus back to Havana. Overnight at your casa particular in Havana.
Day 6: Havana Airport Drop-Off (B)
Say goodbye to your casa particular family and Cuba today as your trip comes to an end in Havana with great memories of an incredible journey. You will be dropped off at the Havana airport in time for your return flight.
Please Note: This itinerary can change during the course of the year due to a variety of reasons. We are not always able to advise you in advance of these changes. We ask for your understanding and flexibility in these cases.
Visa Info: To enter Cuba, all foreign travellers will need to obtain a 'tourist card' (Cuban visa) and a valid passport (must be valid for at least 6 months past the date of travel). A tourist card can be obtained from a number of different places - at the airport, at their local Cuban consulate, from their airline company. Many travellers conveniently buy it at the airport - please check beforehand that your local airport actually sells it.
Accommodation Details: A Casa Particular is a private homestay accommodation in an authentic Cuban family home which is licensed by the Cuban government. Cuban families often rent some bedrooms to tourists and offer meals which are served in the family dining room. It is a wonderful way to experience the warm Cuban hospitality and learn about their unique way of life. In a society with limited TV and internet access, Cuban people are famed for their friendly attitudes and for making eager conversation with foreigners so they can learn about the outside world. They are also happy to share their insights about life in Cuba and there’s no doubt that the interaction at a Casa Particular will be enlightening and intriguing.