The Cuban Experience

9 days Guided Tours
  • Havana
  • Vinales Valley
  • Santa Clara
  • Sugar Mills Valley
  • Cayo Ensenachos
  • Sancti Spiritus
  • Trinidad
  • Cienfuegos
  • Cigar Factory
  • Varadero

Virgin Holidays' view

The Pearl of the Antilles, Cuba is filled with Latin rhythm, colonial charm and revolutionary zeal. Lying at the heart of Spain’s once great American empire, today it provides a rich mix of natural and historic highlights that include World Heritage sites, beautiful Caribbean beaches and the iconic reminders of one of the 20th century’s most pivotal events. Our Cuban Experience tour takes you from its bustling capital and across a landscape liberally sprinkled with historic gems, captivating scenery and wonderful colonial architecture.

Itinerary

Day 1: Thursday

Depart the UK for Havana. Upon arrival, you will be met by your Cubanacan representative, who will be located at the exit door and well identified with either Cubanacan or Virgin Holidays logo. You will then be transferred to the Iberostar Parque Central Hotel for 3 nights. Please note, on arrival, your representative will confirm the time of the welcome/information meeting where your guide will take you through all details concerning the tour, useful recommendations and optional activities. The rest of the afternoon/evening is at leisure.

Day 2: Friday

After breakfast depart for your full day city tour of Havana where you will take in the key sights of this fantastic, Spanish colonial city. Heading towards ‘Old Havana’, first stop will be San Francisco de Asis Square, surrounded by historically important buildings such as the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis. Take in the charm of the cobble-stoned, harbour side location and admire the striking white marbled Fuente de los Leones (Fountain of Lions), Next meander through Plaza de Armas, the social hub of the city with its host of bars and restaurants attracting locals and visitors alike, before stopping at the Palacio de los Capitanes (General Captains Museum), host to more than 60 Spanish generals over the years. Today, it is home to the Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum) unveiling a wealth of history and heritage about this fascinating country. Lunch is enjoyed at a local restaurant followed by an afternoon dance lesson, embracing the vibrant Cuban music scene! The afternoon continues with a visit to Revolution Square, full of historical significance being the location of Castro’s many speeches and political rallies. Next stop is a walk along Malecon, soaking up the seafront and the local scene before ending in the hustle and bustle of La Rampa Street with its many outdoor hangouts. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure before an evening dinner and the Nine Canyon Ceremony at La Cabaña Fortress. (B/L/D)

Day 3: Saturday

After breakfast depart to the Viñales Valley, a designated UNESCO World Cultural Centre. Passing through rust coloured tobacco fields you have arrived in the region where, arguably, some of the finest Tobacco in the world is produced. Continue on to the beautiful La Cueva del Indio, a cave and underground river, rediscovered in 1920 with approximately four kilometres of underground streams. The final stop before lunch is to see the 120 metre-long Mural de La Prehistoria, designed in 1961 Leovigildo González Morillo. Lunch is at a local restaurant followed by free time to explore the local craft market, or just kick back and relax in the open air in a sillon (rocking chair). Return to Havana. (B/L)

Day 4: Sunday

After breakfast depart to Santa Clara, one of the most central regions of the country and home to the final resting place of Che Guevara. Santa Clara is where the revolution was won in 1958 and the town is steeped in history and symbolism of the world’s most iconic rebel. Enjoy a fascinating city tour, including visiting Che Guevara Revolution Square, the Museum and the Mausoleum. Wander through the Parque Vidal, a large square closed to traffic, popular with locals offering a range of cafes, offices and the town library. The final stop before lunch is the Armoured Train Battle Monument, representing the site where Che Guevara and his men overpowered an armoured troop train, a vital part in the end of the revolution and prompting Batista to flee Cuba. Lunch is at a local restaurant. Transfer to the tiny island of Cayo Ensenachos and check in to the Iberostar Ensenachos Hotel, where you will stay for the next 2 nights. Rest of the afternoon/evening at leisure. (B/L/D)

Day 5: Monday

Today, after breakfast, travel back to the mainland across the causeway to the colonial town of San Juan de Los Remedios, the oldest Spanish settlement in the former Las Villas province, explore the town square, park and church. Many sugar mills across the country have been converted into museums, and a visit to Museo de Agroindustria Azucarero Marcelo Salado (Museo del Vapor) covers one of the most famous. Dedicated to the history of the sugar industry, the trip wouldn’t be complete without a ride on one of the steam trains! Afterwards, return back to the Iberostar Ensenachos for lunch and the rest of the day at leisure. (B/L/D).

Day 6: Tuesday

After breakfast depart for Trinidad, en-route visiting Santi Spiritus in central Cuba, meaning ‘Holy Spirit’ in Latin. Enjoy a walking tour to take in the true Cuban way of life in this un-spoilt town. Just before arrival in Trinidad pass through the Valley de Los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) and stop at the plantation of Manaca Iznaga, which is one of the few houses that are still well maintained. On arrival in Trinidad embark on a full tour of the World Heritage city including the Palacio de Cantero Museum, La Canchanchara Bar and Plaza Mayor Square. Lunch is at a local restaurant and overnight at the Gran Iberostar Trinidad Hotel. (B/L/D)

Day 7: Wednesday

Today’s exploring will take you to Cienfuegos, a charming waterfront city, known as the ‘pearl of the south’ and the only city in Cuba that was founded by the French. You will stop en-route at the Botanical Gardens with its impressive Caribbean flora. On arrival in the city, enjoy a city tour including visits to the Tomas Terry Theatre, the Cigar Factory and the Palacio de Valle to marvel at its architectural brilliance. After lunch at a local restaurant take a relaxing boat trip around the bay. Transfer back to Trinidad for overnight at Gran Iberostar Trinidad Hotel. (B/L/D)

Day 8: Thursday

Optional Varadero beach extension or transfer in the afternoon to Havana Airport for your flight back to the UK. (B)

Day 9: Friday

Arrive back in the UK.

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability, flights (if included) and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated, not tour only. Single room and flight upgrade prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

The first day of the tour is at leisure so allows you enough time to arrive and relax. If you wish to arrive earlier extra nights can be added to your tour in the Iberostar Parque Central in Havana. Your hotel in Havana is in a central location so there are dining options close by as well as in-house options for you to consider. We recommend extending the end of your tour with a few nights on the beach at the Iberostar Bella Vista.

Time difference

GMT -4 hours (summer) -5 hours (winter)

Tour inclusions

  • International flight with Virgin Atlantic in economy class, including all UK and overseas airport taxes and applicable fuel surcharges
  • Private air conditioned transport throughout exclusive to the Virgin Holidays group
  • Sightseeing as detailed including entrance fees
  • Services of an experienced, English speaking, local guide
  • Road taxes, parking fees, fuel surcharges and taxes.

Tour exclusions

  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips & gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required Cuban visa
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary including optional excursions.

Dining inclusions

7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners.

Included activities

Tours listed in the itinerary.

Optional activities (not included and booked locally)

Advised by your tour guide on arrival.

Accommodation

Cuba is currently in very high demand and often to accommodate the group we may have to substitute one or more of the hotels with that of a similar standard. This tour is advertised as a 3.5V due to limitations in smaller areas but please note city hotels are of a higher standard.

Journey times

Cuba journey times between destinations can vary and sometimes be long.

Group size

There is a maximum of 25 people per group.

Extensions

Beach Extension

How about an additional 4 nights at the Iberostar Bella Vista on an All Inclusive basis? Please call us to discuss your extension requirements. 

Price is per person based on a 4-night stay on twin share. Price excludes airport transfer.