Private Journeys

Trailblazer Cuba

10 days from £1,690pp

Cuba

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Transfer from the airport to your hotel in Jibacoa

After arriving in Havana or Varadero airport, you’ll be driven by private transfer to Playa Jibacoa. Here you will stay in a peaceful resort located on Arroyo Bermejo beach, with a backdrop of forested hills.

Day 2-3

Relax on the beach at Jibacoa

Current arrival rules in Cuba say you need a covid test on arrival followed by 48 hours at a hotel while you wait for the all clear – a good excuse to spend a few days relaxing the golden sands and aquamarine Caribbean waters of Arroyo Bermejo beach. The comfortable and attractive beach-side resort has a huge outdoor pool, fully equipped gym, tennis courts and a range of restaurants and bars to choose from. You’ll collect your hire car in the evening of Day 3, ready for your drive the next day.

Jibacoa

Day 4

Drive to Cienfuegos, optional visit to Che’s Mausoleum near Santa Clara

Drive for around three hours to the elegant city of Cienfuegos, where you’ll stay in a peaceful waterside guesthouse on the peaceful edge of town with unrivalled views over the bay. The open-fronted nautically themed restaurant in the property and the fresh seafood is exceptional.

If you are happy to add an extra hour and a half to your drive, we highly recommend travelling to Cienfuegos via Santa Clara, a city steeped in revolutionary history where you can spend some time exploring the mausoleum of Che Guevara.

Che Guevara memorial

Day 5

Walking tour of Cienfuegos and optional kayaking in the bay

Spend the morning on a guided stroll around the historic port city, known as 'the Pearl of the South' during the colonial era. Amble along cobbled streets and French-inspired boulevards, taking in the relaxed maritime ambience. The city's historical and cultural importance is in evidence as you discover its key attractions, from fortifications to elegant balconied mansions.

In the afternoon you’ll have the option to explore the calm, sheltered waters of Cienfuegos Bay on a guided kayak tour. There is plenty to see and depending on your preference you can explore the bay not too far from your hotel, or go further afield to paddle among ghostly sunken ships and cross paths with the immense Spanish colonial Jagua Fortress, built following the instructions of King Felipe V in 1742.

Cienfuegos

Day 6

Free day for optional day trip to Trinidad or waterfall jeep safari

There are a number of exciting excursions to choose from on this day.

It’s an hour and a half drive to the vibrant colonial city of Trinidad, a UNESCO world heritage site with unique charm. On a guided tour through cobbled streets you will discover elegantly crumbling town houses and leafy plazas that are frequently filled with live music and salsa dancing. After visiting the Plaza Mayor and the Museo Romántico, you’ll sample traditional cocktails at a rustic local bar before rounding off your tour at a ceramics workshop.

Alternatively, those looking for a more intrepid adventure can opt to explore the tangled woodlands and gushing cascades of El Nicho Natural Park in the Escambray Mountains. You’ll be driven by Jeep through twisted paths teeming with bird-life and sumptuous flora before arriving at the El Nicho waterfalls. This is the ideal spot for a dip, as the cool cascades feed into inviting freshwater pools.

There is also an option to visit the Bay of Pigs, the site of a failed CIA invasion in 1961. The bay is home to a number of sparkling beaches with vibrant corals to explore offshore, as well as a small museum celebrating Cuba’s revolutionary victory which is worth a visit.

Trinidad

Day 7

Drive to Las Terrazas, with an afternoon to explore

You’d do well to set off in the morning as it’s a four-hour drive to Las Terrazas, a UNESCO biosphere reserve bursting with tropical flora and fauna, hidden lakes, gurgling streams and winding footpaths.

Our comfortable hotel here, where you will spend three nights, is secluded in acres of lush forest in the Sierra del Rosario Nature Reserve. With no internet access, this is the perfect opportunity to switch off completely and instead enjoy the large swimming pool and verdant landscaped gardens.

Activities on offer include hiking, bird watching, bathing in natural pools 2km away, and a canopy tour whizzing through the jungle foliage by zipline.

Las Terrazas

Day 8

Full day excursion in Pinar del Rio and Viñales

Enjoy a scenic drive to Pinar del Rio through the tropical and semi-deciduous forests of Sierra del Rosario, visiting a small tobacco plantation en route.

Thanks to its fertile red soil, the province of Pinar is ideal for cultivating tobacco and the countryside is peppered with thatched curing barns for drying the leaves. In the town of Pinar del Rio you can visit a small cigar factory to learn the ins and outs of the production process.

Travel north to the breathtaking Viñales valley, with dramatic limestone mountains jutting into the sky from lush, verdant plains. Beyond admiring its landscapes, you can also explore the bucolic town of Viñales where horse and carts clatter down sleepy streets lined with small, red-roofed houses. There is a prehistoric mural, and an underground river to explore by boat ride.

Return to Las Terrazas by car later in the day.

Vinales

Day 9

Optional Guided Walking Tour of Havana

You may wish to spend the day enjoying the facilities and serene setting of your hotel today. However, we highly recommend driving a little over an hour to the elegant, crumbling capital of Havana. On a guided walking tour you’ll discover the city’s highlights, strolling along wide, cobbled streets between grand, pastel-hued mansions.

Feel the rhythms and timeless atmosphere of La Habana Vieja, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is undoubtedly one of Latin America's finest colonial quarters. Strains of lively music float from every doorway and classic 1950s American cars cruise along the potholed streets.

Havana

Day 10

Drive to the airport

You have the morning at leisure to enjoy breakfast and perhaps take one last stroll or a dip in the pool. In the afternoon, you’ll drive to the international airport for your international flight.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • JimAshworth
    Jim Ashworth - Product & Marketing

    Jim first caught the Latin American travel bug in 2001 when he decided at the last minute to join a friend travelling around Central America – he hasn't looked back since.

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    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Consultant

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our Sales team.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Consultant

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.

Meet the team