Print this trip dossier

Journey Latin America asks you to accept cookies for performance and social media purposes. We use cookies on our website to personalise content, evaluate website traffic and enhance performance. You can delete or restrict cookies via your web browser. To get more information about these cookies and the processing of your personal data see our Cookie Policy. Do you accept these cookies and the processing of personal data involved? Find out more


Parakeet: Cuba Beyond the beach

Send an Enquiry
*
Contact details
*
*
*
*
Enquiry
*
Print-Friendly dossier
Away from the all-inclusive resorts Cuba will capture your imagination and your heart. It is over 50 years since Castro's Revolution managed to both transform and petrify the island's society and economy. This holiday takes you to the authentic heart of the country - Cuba’s unique Latin American beat sets it apart from all the other islands of the Caribbean.

Crumbling colonial towns are characterised by dilapidated splendour, evocative of past elegance. The dusty alleys teem with barefoot boys playing baseball with bottle caps and rhythms pulsing out of every doorway. Vintage Cadillac’s still roam the streets which, beyond Havana and a few trunk roads, are virtually traffic free. The youthful population has retained a natural exuberance, expressed in dance and music, which spontaneously breaks out day and night. The tropical scenery, unspoilt and pristine, is as stunning as it is varied, and the warm waters of the Caribbean lap against palm fringed beaches, enjoyed by local people and tourists alike.

Holiday itinerary

UK clients depart Thursday on a direct flight, arriving Havana, Cuba, the same day.

Day 1

Overnight in the capital.

Days 2-3

Fly to eastern Cuba and travel on to the colonial port Baracoa.

Day 4

Drive to Santiago.

Day 5

Explore the city and take in a salsa show at night.

Day 6

Drive to peaceful Bayamo.

Day 7

Explore the Sierra Maestra; hike to Castro’s revolutionary hideout.

Day 8

Visit the university town of Camagüey.

Days 9-10

Explore and relax in Trinidad and on nearby Caribbean beaches.

Day 11

Drive to Santa Clara; visit Che Guevara’s memorial, continue to Viñales.

Day 12

Excursions and walks in and around Viñales.

Day 13

Travel back to Havana via Las Terrazas.

Day 14

Walking tour of old Havana.

Day 15

Return by bus to Havana airport. Depart on international flight or extension.

UK clients arrive home the following day, Friday.

VIEW FULL ITINERARY DETAILS
Read more

Visit Us

What our experts say

Nowhere else in the world is quite like Cuba and this tour will give you an comprehensive insight into this fascinating country. Uncover its tumultuous colonial and communist history, explore crumbling Caribbean enclaves which swing to Afro-Latino beats and stroll through verdant green hills and rolling tobacco fields.

Jim

Jim Ashworth

Travel Consultants

Places visited on this holiday

Parakeet: Cuba Beyond the beach

Back to list of places visited
Havana
Havana is one of Latin America’s most evocative and intriguing cities - famously stuck in a time warp, with crumbling façades and junk shop furnishings, it streets choked with one-gear bikes and classic American cars. Technology-free, it embodies 1950s nostalgia. Nowadays a lot is being done to restore the baroque colonial buildings and squares, there are new restaurants and smart hotels, and local people are more involved in the modern economy. But the place hasn’t lost its romance, its colour, its spontaneity, or the ever-present reminders of its unique modern history. Just shut your eyes and listen to the music...
When's the best time to visit Havana?
The high season for visitors is Dec - Apr when the weather is usually sunny, mostly dry and not too humid, though there can be cool days. Hurricane and tropical storms are possible Aug - Nov.
What's the official language in Havana?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Havana?
You can purchase Cuban Convertible Pesos at the airport or in banks or money exchanges (cadecas). US dollars are not accepted so you need to take cash in sterling. Euros are also accepted but the rate may not be as favourable.There are some ATM machines which supposedly accept debit cards but they are not always reliable. You can also get cash with a credit or debit card (not issued by a US bank). You can change surplus money back to convertible currencies at the airport at the end of your trip.
What's the time difference between Havana and UK?

GMT -5 hours; usually there is daylight saving in the summer but it is a moveable feast.

What places combine well with Havana?

Anywhere in Cuba, transport links are improving all the time, there are tourist bus services and internal flights as well as car hire; Mexico’s Yucatán, with flights from Cancún to Havana, 1 hour 15mins.

How do I get to Havana?

9 hours 45mins on a direct flight.

What are the festivals, sport and cultural events in Havana?
Carnival: Havana’s carnival moves around date-wise ear upon year, but is always accompanied by parades, music, drumming and dancing.
International Jazz Festival: Havana, Dec.  Workshops and concerts. One of the world’s best.
There are many other cultural festivals in Havana most months throughout the year: dance, ballet, theatre, cinema, fishing and sailing.
Back to list of places visited
Baracoa
This alluring historical town is found off the beaten track on Cuba's south-eastern tip.  Columbus was charmed by the area's beauty when he arrived here in 1492 and it became the island's first colonial settlement twenty years later.

It's a lively place - full of local atmosphere and character. The surrounding countryside is verdant and tropical, and dominated by the tabletop mountain of El Yunque.
When's the best time to visit Baracoa?

The high season for visitors is Dec - Apr when the weather is usually sunny, mostly dry and not too humid, though there can be cool days. Hurricanes and tropical storms are possible Aug - Nov. The sea is calmer in winter on the south and west coasts (Nov - Apr) and in summer on the north coast (May - Sep).

What's the official language in Baracoa?

Language.

How do I get local currency in Baracoa?

You can use sterling cash to purchase Cuban Convertible Pesos at banks and money exchanges (cadecas) in Trinidad - the rate of exchange for euros tends to be less favourable.

N.B: The more valuable convertible person (CUC)  has been reserved for use in the tourism sector and foreign trade. In October 2013, as part of a package of economic reforms its value will be gradually unified with the lower-value CUP, ending a system resented by ordinary Cubans. 

What's the time difference between Baracoa and UK?

GMT -5 hours; usually there is daylight saving in the summer but it is a moveable feast.

What places combine well with Baracoa?
From the northern Cayes: Sancti Spíritus (89 km) small, unspoilt colonial town; Cienfuegos (177 km) the Pearl of the South; Trinidad, Cuba’s best preserved colonial city, (198 km).
How do I get to Baracoa?

A journey by road from Havana (375 km) takes up to 6 hours, by air to Santa Maria is 1 hour, by air to Holguin (for Guardalavaca) is 1.5 hours.

Back to list of places visited
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba
Cuba’s second city, at the eastern end of the island, has a different ambience from the capital. Open to influences from other parts of the Caribbean and with a notable African presence, it has a vibrant tradition of music and dance drawing on all these cultures. The centre reflects this diversity, with a chaos of architectural styles, including art deco. Elsewhere the Spanish colonial influence dominates, with squat pastel houses shaded by palms and fruit trees. The city’s history and geography is interwoven with that of the Castro Revolution and is known as the Ciudad Héroe.
When's the best time to visit Santiago?
Santiago is hot all the year around but especially in summer when there is little breeze to relieve the high temperatures (Carnival, Jul, is a strong draw though). Oct is the rainiest month but there is plenty of sun all year around. Hurricane and tropical storms are possible Aug - Nov.
What's the official language in Santiago?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Santiago?

You can purchase Cuban Convertible Pesos at banks or in money exchanges (cadecas). US dollars are not accepted so you need to take cash in sterling. Euros are also accepted but the rate may not be as favourable. There are some ATM machines which supposedly accept debit cards but they are not always reliable. You can also get cash with a credit or debit card (not issued by a US bank).

The more valuable convertible peso (CUC) has been reserved for use in the tourism sector and foreign trade. In October 2013, as part of a package of economic reforms its value will be gradually unified with the lower-value CUP, ending a system resented by ordinary Cubans.
What's the time difference between Santiago and UK?

GMT -5 hours; usually there is daylight saving in the summer but it is a moveable feast.

What places combine well with Santiago?
Baracoa, (234 km) small, unspoilt colonial coastal town; Camagüey (327 km); Trinidad (581 km) the most well preserved colonial town; the beach at Guardalavaca (174 km).
How do I get to Santiago?

Santiago is 861 km by road from Havana (10+ hours) or 2 hours by air; 138 km from Holguin airport.

What are the festivals, sport and cultural events in Santiago?
Festival de Baile: Santiago, 15-19 May. 
A street dance festival.Carnival: Santiago, 18-27 Jul. The biggest and best Carnival in Cuba, incorporating the celebrations of the revolutionaries’ attack on Moncada Barracks on 26 Jul. Buildings are adorned with lights and there are parades and floats.
Back to list of places visited
Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra
At the eastern end of the island are the wilderness mountain ranges of the Sierra Maestra.  Little visited and unspoilt, the isolated environment shelters a remarkable range of flora and fauna and the highest peak on Cuba, Pico Turquino (1,972m). The region’s inaccessibility has been the attraction for rebellious groups since colonial times. The area was the heart of the insurrectionary movement against Spain, and became part of contemporary Cuban lore when the Castro brothers and a handful of comrades took refuge in the lush greenery to plot their revolution. Nowadays it is a peaceful environment in which to hike, with some glorious viewpoints over the island and the Caribbean Sea.
When's the best time to visit Sierra Maestra?

The Sierra Maestra is hot all the year around but especially in summer when there is little breeze to relieve the high temperatures. If hiking, best to avoid the hottest and most humid weather Jun - Sep. Hurricane and tropical storms are possible Aug - Nov.

What's the official language in Sierra Maestra?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Sierra Maestra?
Acquire Cuban Convertible Pesos at banks or in money exchanges (cadecas) in a large city before heading off to the Sierra Maestra. US dollars are not accepted so you need to take cash in euros or sterling. There are some ATM machines in Santiago (the nearest large city) which supposedly accept debit cards but they are not always reliable. You can also get cash with a credit or debit card (not issued by a US bank).

The more valuable convertible peso (CUC) has been reserved for use in the tourism sector and foreign trade. In October 2013, as part of a package of economic reforms its value will be gradually unified with the lower-value CUP, ending a system resented by ordinary Cubans.

What's the time difference between Sierra Maestra and UK?

GMT -5 hours; usually there is daylight saving in the summer but it is a moveable feast.

What places combine well with Sierra Maestra?
Baracoa, a small, unspoilt colonial coastal town; the city of Santiago de Cuba; the beach at Guardalavaca (174 km).
How do I get to Sierra Maestra?

The Sierra Maestra is 150 km from Santiago (2 hours 10mins by road).


Back to list of places visited
The attractive colonial city of Camagüey, historically significant with revolutionary fervour running through its veins, is also renowned for its cultural life, with a highly respected ballet company. The beautiful Spanish core (a UNESCO World Heritage Site and currently being restored) sits in a labyrinth of serpentine streets so built to confuse attackers. There is an 18th century cathedral with an unusual Moorish roof and a cloistered hospital transformed into a hotel. Picturesque Plaza San Juan is graced by the national theatre and paved with original cobbles.
When's the best time to visit Camaguey?

Camagüey is hot all the year around. The drier season for visitors is Nov-Apr when the weather is usually sunny, mostly dry and less humid. Hurricane and tropical storms are possible Aug-Nov.

What's the official language in Camaguey?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Camaguey?

You can use sterling cash or a credit card to purchase Cuban Convertible Pesos at banks in Camagüey and there is an (untested) ATM. There are also money exchanges (cadecas) for cash transactions. The rate of exchange for euros tends to be less favourable.

What's the time difference between Camaguey and UK?

GMT -5 hours; usually there is daylight saving in the summer but it is a moveable feast.

What places combine well with Baracoa?

Sancti Spíritus (168km) small, unspoilt colonial town; Trinidad (61km) the best preserved colonial town; the beach at Guardalavaca (217km); Santa Lucia resort and Playa Los Cocos for beach time, (112km).

How do I get to Camaguey?

Camagüey is 530km by road from Havana (6 hours) or 1 hour by air, 168km from Sancti Spíritus, 205km from Bayamo (2 hours 45mins).

What are the festivals, sport and cultural events in Camaguey?

City foundation: Camagüey first week of Feb; street parties.

Carnival: Camagüey, 24-29 Jun.

Back to list of places visited
Trinidad and the Escambray Mountains
Trinidad
Southeast of Havana, wedged between the south coast and the Escambray Mountains lies Trinidad, Cuba’s most graceful and cultured city, a UNESCO Word Heritage Site with a vibrant music scene.  For decades isolated from the rest of the country, this colonial treasure bypassed the 20th century, and is in its organic whole one of the best preserved baroque works of art on the continent, with delightful cobbled streets, palaces and museums. Not far away are sugar-white beaches, and the city has a backdrop of chunky mountains draped in woodland and studded with jade green lakes, a popular leisure area.
When's the best time to visit Trinidad?
The high season for visitors is Dec - Apr when the weather is usually sunny, mostly dry and not too humid, though there can be cool days. Hurricane and tropical storms are possible Aug - Nov.
What's the official language in Trinidad?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Trinidad?
You can use sterling cash to purchase Cuban Convertible Pesos at banks and money exchanges (cadecas) in Trinidad - the rate of exchange for euros tends to be less favourable.

The more valuable convertible peso (CUC) has been reserved for use in the tourism sector and foreign trade. In October 2013, as part of a package of economic reforms its value will be gradually unified with the lower-value CUP, ending a system resented by ordinary Cubans.

What's the time difference between Trinidad and UK?

GMT -5 hours; usually there is daylight saving in the summer but it is a moveable feast.

What places combine well with Trinidad?
Sancti Spíritus (55 km) small, unspoilt colonial town; Cienfuegos (61 km) the Pearl of the South. Beach time on one of the mangrove-fringed sandy cayes off the north coast – Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Ensenachos.
How do I get to Trinidad?

A journey by road from Havana (375 km) takes up to 6 hours.

What are the festivals, sport and cultural events in Trinidad?
Semana de la Cultura, Trinidad, second week of Jan. Live music, dancing and exhibitions.
Carnival:  Trinidad, Jun. Complete with carnival queen and other festivities.
Semana Santa: Trinidad; processions and Easter celebrations, one of only a few religious festivals in Cuba.
Back to list of places visited
Vinales and the Sierra de los Organos
Vinales and the Sierra de los Organos
Pinar del Rio, the western province embracing the Sierra de los Órganos and the Viñales valley has a gorgeous fertile landscape straight out of a fairy-tale or fantasy film. It’s not just misty pine forest-shrouded mountains, hidden caves and secret rivers, battalions of palms and fertile tobacco plantations which greet the eye. The countryside is dotted with huge vertical limestone outcrops, or mogotes, which give it the unique identity recognised by UNESCO as a World Cultural Landscape. The little town of Viñales, set in the shadow of the mogotes, is a popular base for visits and walks.
When's the best time to visit Vinales?
The high season for visitors is Dec - Apr when the weather is usually sunny, mostly dry and not too humid, though there can be cool days. Hurricane and tropical storms are possible Aug - Nov and this is when most rain falls. Rainfall and cloud, attracted by the mountains, is more frequent here than in the areas to the east.
What's the official language in Vinales?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Vinales?
You can use sterling cash to purchase Cuban Convertible Pesos at a couple of banks and money exchanges (cadecas) in Viñales and Pinar del Rio but you might be better off getting them in advance in Havana. The rate of exchange for euros tends to be less favourable.

The more valuable convertible peso (CUC) has been reserved for use in the tourism sector and foreign trade. In October 2013, as part of a package of economic reforms its value will be gradually unified with the lower-value CUP, ending a system resented by ordinary Cubans.

What's the time difference between Vinales and UK?

GMT -5 hours; usually there is daylight saving in the summer but it is a moveable feast.

What places combine well with Vinales?

Beach time on Cayo Levisa, a white sand beach-fringed island off the north coast with excellent diving and snorkelling.

How do I get to Vinales?

A journey by road from Havana to Pinar del Rio or Viñales (185 km) takes up to 2.5 hours.

What are the festivals, sport and cultural events in Vinales?
Carnival:  Viñales, March. 4 days in the middle of the month.
Beauty pageant: Viñales. Complete with parades and other festivities.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

Tailor-made holiday

Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today. Parakeet: Cuba Beyond the beach

  • Cayo Levisa beach extension 5 days from £654pp

    Spend a few days unwinding on Cayo Levisa, a sugar-white sand beach on a coral islet situated close to the coast of western Cuba. With its and turquoise seas of glassy translucence and remote location this low key beach property offers the perfect alternative to the major resorts in other parts of the island.  Settle down and read a book, sip mojitos or venture into the warm waters of a turquoise sea: there are good snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities.

    Day 1: Private transfer by road from Havana to the small pier at Palma Rubia. After a serene 30 min boat ride, continue on foot to the beach. All cabins have wonderful sea views.

    Days 2, 3: At leisure.

    Day 4: Transfer to Havana via the tobacco plantations and limestone hills of rural Viñales to connect with your international flight.

    UK clients arrive home the following day.

    Full board on days 2 & 3.

Articles you may like

Browse our inspiration area of the site. It's packed with insider travel tips, Top5s, competitions, events, recipes and holiday ideas for Central and South America sure to whet your travel appetite.

More inspiration

Other holidays you may be interested in

View all holidays
Havana

Luxury Cuba: Colonial classics and coast

Private journey

10 days from £2,385pp

Vinales

Active Cuba: Hike, cycle and salsa

Private journey

16 days from £3,194pp

Cuban musicians

Value Cuba: Cuba at a glance

Private journey

11 days from £1,175pp

Cuban Kids

Family Cuba: Salsa, beach and vintage cars

Private journey

15 days from £2,877pp

 

Do you have a question?

Ask about this trip

Or speak to an expert on 03098589426

Close

Please select from the following:

Start Date
End Date
Price pp
Single
Supplement
Start Date

14 Nov 2019

End Date

28 Nov 2019

Price pp

£2,898

Single
Supplement

£389

Start Date

19 Dec 2019

End Date

2 Jan 2020

Price pp

£2,898

Single
Supplement

£389

Start Date

6 Feb 2020

End Date

20 Feb 2020

Price pp

£2,770

Single
Supplement

£405

Start Date

9 Apr 2020

End Date

23 Apr 2020

Price pp

£2,770

Single
Supplement

£405

Close

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our twice monthly newsletter and be the first to know about our latest news, offer and competitions.

Sign up with...

Your email

Or...

Using a social account is fast and means you don't need to remember a password.

We never share your data either - see our terms & conditions

Facebook Connect

Remember, you can unsubscribe at any time.

To see how we take care of your data please review our Privacy Policy

Thanks for subscribing – we’ll be in touch!

You are not subscribed. Some error happened.

Share this Page

Social share page will open in new window

Send a friend

reCaptcha_try_again

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/destinations/cuba/holidays/parakeet-cuba-beyond-the-beach

Page ID: {FC0A8BB8-A9B0-4CB3-85E7-28BA3AB1BC90}

Page Name: parakeet-cuba-beyond-the-beach

Page Display Name: Parakeet: Cuba Beyond the beach

Page Template Name: T013-Group-Tour-JJ

Page Template ID: {94BF26AA-F5AF-4715-95D3-405F5E74AE8F}

Parent ID: {5FE76091-EA8E-4B5E-866E-F05857FC3A9B}

Parent Name: holidays

Parent Display Name: Holidays

Parent Template Name: T007-Tours

Parent Template ID: {C007F36D-3091-4A02-8D0A-2302CE1DCA8E}