Hospitality is our thing, and you’ll experience it to the full on this Best of Cuba Tour, which consists of the best from Havana, Trinidad, and Viñales. Designed for travelers seeking the complete Cuban experience from cars, cigars, natural landscapes, and culture, this 11 day / 10 night Best of Cuba Tour covers it all and more! On this tour, you will encounter a world famous cigar factory, dine at Cuba’s finest restaurants, tour the city in a classic car, learn about Cuba’s classic history on an Old Havana Walking Tour, learn how to make Cuban cocktails, enjoy a world-class show at the Mafia’s old headquarters, dance the night away in Cuban fashion, visit two of Cuba’s most pristine National Parks, learn the heart of the tobacco and coffee trade from Cuba’s local farmers, snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Bay of Pigs, and so much more. You’ll experience Cuba’s rich history, sweet-natured people, mouth-watering cuisine, unique nature, and its world famous tobacco and coffee like never before. Your professional guide will accompany you the entire way, with four nights in awe-inspiring Havana and three nights in historic Trinidad, and three nights in the jaw-dropping Viñales Valley. On this tour, it’s guaranteed that you will experience Cuban culture at its best and gain a true understanding, from experience, what this island, “frozen in time”, was like in its early years.
Experience romantic Havana, colonial Trinidad, and awe-inspiring Viñales on this once-in-a-lifetime Best of Cuba Tour!
WHAT TO EXPECT
On this Best of Cuba Tour, you will begin and end at the José Martí International Airport in Havana. You can expect your complete itinerary from transportation, accommodations, private tours/experiences, and meals (breakfasts & dinners) to be previously arranged and paid for by your guide. You will be accompanied the entire tour by at least one Gardner Tours professional guide, educated on Cuban culture, history, tobacco, coffee, etc, and all we require of you is to simply enjoy yourself! In the event that something changes or doesn’t go exactly as planned, please be patient and courteous, as it is our guarantee that our guides will handle any challenges with timely grace to ensure that you are taken care of and that you get the authentic Cuban experience you desire.
*Your accommodations will be at a Cuban BnB equipped with air-conditioner as well as a private bathroom. Each of our accommodation partners provide private rooms with a full bed and a twin bed, and can occupy up to three persons per room. If you desire to share a room with your travel companions (up to three persons per room), please specify in the details of your booking. If you’d like to upgrade your accommodations, please contact us before booking or wait for your confirmation email to view your options.
**Cigar Factories in Cuba are closed on the weekends as well as two longer holidays during the year. If you happen to book during these times, it is our guarantee that you will get to experience the same education and cigar rolling experience.
***Although the waters of the Caribbean are usually bright blue, they are not always calm. November-April provides the best all-around weather for a tour, but the waters will most likely be choppy and the wind a bit chilly. May-October usually provides the warmest weather, yet the skies might not always be clear as that is also the rainy season. Please understand that most of the time, the beaches of Cuba are gorgeous, you may encounter one of the days that the weather is ugly. In that case, we will do our best to adjust accordingly so that you can receive the best experience.
****The Vegas Grande Waterfall in the Topes de Collantes National Park is a beautiful waterfall with rushing water, however it takes about a 45 minute hike down into the National Park to get to it and about a 45 minute hike up to get out. On a difficulty level of 1 to 10, it is about a 6, but there will be no rush to get there or to return. This is your tour and you can take it as slow as you desire. Depending on the weather surrounding your hike, you might need to bring hiking boots in case the trail is wet and slippery. Please be prepared for this.
*****Coffee harvest in Cuba is during the part of the dry season, from September to January. If you book in these months, you might even get to help in harvest! However, if you happen to book from February to August, know that you might see barren coffee plants, but it is our guarantee that you will experience the same education and coffee experience as if you were visiting in-season. You might not get to witness the acts of harvest, but you will definitely encounter one of the world’s greatest coffee cultures at work.
******Tobacco season in Cuba is during the dry season, with planting season starting in late-October and harvest season from January to early-April. If you happen to book outside of these months, know that you might see barren lands, but it is our guarantee that you will experience the same education and tobacco experience as if you were visiting in-season. You might not get to witness the acts of planting or harvest, but you will definitely encounter the world’s greatest tobacco culture at work.
*******Cayo Levisa is a private island off the north coast of the Pinar del Río Provence and it is dedicated only for tourists. It is about a 45 minute ride from Viñales and requires a ferry boat ride to arrive at the island. Once on the island, you can simply relax on the beach, reserve a catamaran or schedule a snorkel or dive. There is only one option for cuisine and drinks, but what is available is usually delicious. If you happen to be a picky eater, we advise you to bring snacks. We also recommend that you bring a change of clothes, sunscreen, and a beach towel (can be borrowed from your BnB) with you.
Each of our guides are well versed in their culture and able to answer almost any question you may have for them! You will have complete freedom to take your tour at the pace you please, deciding to sit and enjoy the view as long as you desire, asking the tobacco farmer as many questions as you want, or simply enjoying your dinner just a little longer than you normally would. Your guide will give you time and space to enjoy your lunch each day as you like (with or without them). They will meet you at the arranged time each morning to begin your day and will drop you off at your BnB each night. They will serve you along the way and ensure that you are well taken care of during your entire stay.
Gardner Tours is committed to delivering you the most hospitable, professional, comprehensive, and entertaining tours offered in Cuba! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Based upon the time your flight arrives at José Martí International Airport in Havana, your professional guide will be waiting for you at your final customs exit. Following a quick meet and greet, you will ride into Old Havana, get settled into your BnB, then kick your tour off with a bang on a two-hour Classic Car Tour of the city! You will visit Havana’s most remarkable sites such as the Christ Statue overlooking the city, the Morro Castle, Revolution Square, the Capitol, the Vedado neighborhood, and finish with a breezy cruise down the Malecón (seawall) at sunset. After your classic car tour, you will be dropped off at our favorite restaurant in the city to experience their mouth-watering cuisine and the live music that the alley offers! If you choose, your guide will drop you off at your BnB after dinner. If you desire to explore the nightlife of Old Havana, you will be free to do so.
At the arranged time you choose, your professional guide will meet you at your BnB to begin your day. You will receive a completely comprehensive education on Cuban culture, history, folklore, and much more on an Old Havana Walking Tour. You will be walked through the city to learn of and visit some of its most historic and romantic sites like the Castle of the Royal Force, Plaza Vieja, the Havana Cathedral, La Bodeguita del Medio (one of Hemingway’s hangouts), and so much more. You will meet local artists at their shops and might even bump into a few of Havana’s personalities. Who knows, you might even find yourself dancing to traditional Cuban music with locals in the street! Your Old Havana Walking Tour will begin in the morning in the oldest part of the city, and following lunch at the location of your choice (your guide can give recommendations), you will complete the walking tour in the Capitol Area visiting locations like an artisan’s market, Central Park, the Capitol, the Original Partagas Cigar Factory, and the Museum of the Revolution among others.
After your walking tour is complete, you will have the time and freedom to rest and clean up before dinner if you so choose. For dinner, your guide will take you to one of our favorite places, a quiet and private rooftop restaurant in the thick of the city. This restaurant was originally a home constructed in the mid-1800s and now serves as a restaurant, art gallery, and BnB. This is the perfect opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy your company. Following dinner, your guide will drop you off at your BnB if you so choose. If you desire to further explore the nightlife of Old Havana, you will be free to do so.
Day three in Havana comes with your choice of a Cigar Factory Tour or Cuban Dance Lesson. You will also experience a Cuban Cocktail Lesson (includes a minimum of one drink), time to purchase more souvenirs, and a fine dinner with live jazz!
Again, your guide will meet you at your chosen time in the morning, then you will be transported to your choice of either one of Havana’s famous cigar factories to receive a complete education on the process of Cuba’s world-renowned tobacco or just down the street to receive a complete education on Cuban dance!
Following your visit to a cigar factory tour or experiencing a Cuban dance lesson, you will return to Old Havana for lunch at the restaurant of your choice (your guide can give recommendations). After taking lunch, you may have a time of rest if you please, then you will get a private lesson on how to make Cuban cocktails where you will receive at least one cocktail to enjoy!
Just before dinner, you will take time to clean up and put your Cuban best on to experience one of the best nights you will have in Cuba, an incredible dinner accompanied with live jazz!
Following dinner, you will be transported to one of the most “happening” places in Havana, the Cuban Art Factory. La Fábrica de Arte Cubano (Cuban Art Factory) is an art gallery and club. The space was established inside a former cooking oil factory, and has since gained notoriety as one of Havana’s premier nightclubs and art galas. You will experience some of Cuba’s purest expressions in many forms of art. It’ll definitely be a night to remember. After returning, want to explore more of Havana’s nightlife? No problem! Otherwise, your guide will escort you back to your BnB.
After a hearty breakfast, your privately arranged taxi will pick you up to transport you directly to Havana’s most pristine beach without hassle. Following your safe arrival, you may take the short walk down to the water to secure a lounge chair and umbrella to begin your amazing day at Havana’s most amazing beach! If you desire to sail a catamaran or paddle boat, you may also arrange this directly from the beach. Drinks will easily be acquired as there are usually servers not far away.
As for your lunch, there are options on and near the beach for you to dine (your guide can give recommendations). You may have authentic Cuban cuisine delivered to you at your lounge chair for a fair price, you may take a short walk to eat at the hotel restaurant just near to the beach, or you may even give the street food a try.
After a refreshing lunch, you will have a few more hours to relax at the beach before being transported back to Old Havana.
Just before dinner, you will take time to clean up and put your Cuban best on to experience one of the best nights you will have in Cuba, an incredible dinner and then a world-famous show at the Cabaret Parisien, the old American Mafia’s hangout!
Once you have satisfied your appetite, you will be transported to the Cabaret Parisien. Before the show, you will get to experience History Hall, the main room where the mob bosses hung out before shows and during the “golden years.” After a few drinks and experiencing History Hall, you’ll get an unforgettable two-hour live show with music, dancers, and acrobats. Following the show, your driver will return you to your accommodations in Old Havana to rest and prepare for your departure to Trinidad the next day.
Following breakfast, at a predetermined time, you will be picked up and transported to Colonial Trinidad. On the road, you will stop and share lunch at a wonderful roadside restaurant.
Upon arrival to Trinidad, you will settle into your BnB and have an hour or so to get acclimated, wash up, or take a quick nap.
At the perfect time, your guide will escort you to one of the main squares to begin your Trinidad City Tour. You will learn the history behind some of Trinidad’s greatest sites and learn stories of great triumph and defeat in the area. Along the way, you will learn about each side of the culture from the music to the colonial architecture, many religions, and, of course, it’s folklore. On the walking tour you wander the cobblestone streets to see and learn about some of Trinidad’s most famous sites like Céspedes Park, Plaza Mayor, the Convent of San Francisco Bell Tower, La Canchanchara, a sunset view at the Museum of History, and a few more key places that you won’t want to miss.
After your educational walking tour, you will be led just up the hill for dinner at one of our favorite gourmet restaurants with a view. If you so choose, after dinner, your guide will drop you off at your BnB or, if you desire to explore the nightlife of Trinidad, you will be free to do so.
Following a hearty breakfast, you will be driven into the Sugar Valley, a valley where over 30 sugar factories have existed over the past hundreds of years. As you can imagine, this put quite the imprint on Cuba’s culture and their influence throughout the world. You casually visit The Port’s Hill, then an old sugar factory and plantation, which now serves as an archeological site, and towards the end of your tour, you will visit the former Manaca-Iznaga Sugar Factory and tower to hear quite a love story. You will have time to enjoy the valley, learn about the valley’s dark history, the process that sugar cane undergoes to become sugar, and finally, you will taste some guarapo (sugar cane juice).
Upon completion of your Sugar Valley Tour, you will be returned to Trinidad where you will enjoy lunch at a restaurant of your choice (your guide can give recommendations).
After getting your fill, you will return to your BnB where you will be picked up by an arranged taxi that will transport you to Trinidad’s most beautiful beach, Playa Ancón, for the afternoon.
Just after sunset, you will return to Trinidad and dine at another one of our favorite restaurants in the city. If you so choose, after dinner, your guide will drop you off at your BnB or, if you desire to explore the nightlife of Trinidad, you will be free to do so.
Once you have finished your breakfast, at a set time, your transportation will arrive to transport you into the Topes de Collantes National Park, one of Cuba’s eleven national parks. You will be driven into the mountains where you will then be dropped off only to hike about 45 minutes down into the mountains. There you will find Vegas Grande, a giant waterfall that measures in total 246 feet / 75 meters, nestled on the side of a mountain, giving you the most immaculate view. You will have time to swim and explore with your travel companions, or you might simply desire to kick back and take in the view.
Whenever you are ready, you will be able to eat a sack lunch that has been prepared for you.
After your lunch, you will have a bit more time to enjoy the waterfall before hiking back up to the top of the mountain to catch your transportation back into Trinidad.
Once you arrive in Trinidad, you will have time to clean up before enjoying a scrumptious meal on your final night in Colonial Trinidad. Following dinner, you may return to your accommodations to rest and prepare for your travels to the Bay of Pigs and Viñales the following day.
After breakfast, at a predetermined time, you will take off for the Bay of Pigs to snorkel at one of the best places in Cuba. After about a two and a half hour ride, you will find a place to lounge, grab your snorkel gear, and begin to explore the crystal blue waters.
Once you have worked up an appetite, you will, at your own desire, go grab a delicious lunch that is provided on the grounds.
Just after lunch, you will have time to stretch your legs and prepare for the long ride to Viñales. Don’t worry, we will stop as many times along the way as you desire.
Upon arrival to Viñales, you will get settled into your BnB, then head into town for dinner at one of our favorite spots along main street.
Following dinner, if you so choose, your guide will drop you off at your BnB. However, if you desire to explore the nightlife of Viñales, you will be free to do so.
Your morning will begin at your leisure with a delicious country-Cuban breakfast. Following, you will first be escorted to a local farm for an extensive education on Cuban coffee from a local farmer. There you will have the opportunity to learn the entire process that Cuban coffee undergoes from plant to espresso. Depending on the season and availability of coffee, you might even get to help in harvest and join in the process all the way from picking the beans to brewing your own espresso!
Once the coffee experience is complete, you will have the opportunity to kick back in some of the farm’s homemade hammocks for a while. Then, as you wish, you can return to town for lunch at a local restaurant of your choice.
After some time of rest as you enjoy the slow pace of Viñales, you will have the choice of taking off for a tour of a local tobacco farm where you will receive an education on Cuban tobacco from seed to harvest from a local campesino (farmer). Depending on the season and availability of tobacco, you might even get to help in the process of harvest or roll your own cigar! At the end of the Tobacco Farm Tour, you will have the opportunity to kick your feet back with the farmers and enjoy a smoke, a drink, and the view as long as you please. Or you can choose to visit the Cave of the Indian, a relaxed tour, where you will encounter a performance by natives, explore the insides of a great cave, and finish on a boat through the mouth of the cave.
Following, you will be transported to what many claim as the best view in all of Cuba, a panoramic view of the Viñales Valley. You will see farms and mogotes (random mountainous formations in the valley) for miles and dream of what life was like as the natives roamed the land.
There, you will get the chance to relax for a bit and take some photographs at the viewpoint, then you will be taken just a short walk away to a restaurant with one of the best views in all of Viñales. You will taste their exquisite cuisine and relax as you soak in the view and assume the slow-paced lifestyle of the campesino. And if you’re one to enjoy a Cuban cocktail, this restaurant places a bottle of rum on your table and simply explains, “Here is a bottle for your table, in case you would like to add more rum to your cocktail.”
After dinner, if you so choose, your guide will drop you off at your BnB. If you desire to explore the nightlife of Viñales, you will be free to do so.
You will quickly find that no one in Viñales is in a hurry, and you can take your breakfast whenever you wish. Following your meal, at an appointed time, you will make your way to the central park to catch a bus for Cayó Levisa, a private island just off the north coast.
It will take about 45 minutes by bus to reach the ferry, of which you will take a cross the waters to get to Cayó Levisa. Once you have arrived, you can choose a place to relax, explore the island, schedule a snorkel, dive, or catamaran, and begin to enjoy your day!
Very much like at the Bay of Pigs, once you have worked up an appetite, you will, at your own desire, go grab a delicious lunch that is provided on the grounds.
You will then have a few more hours to enjoy the waters at your own leisure. And at the appointed time, you will return to the ferry for your trip back to Viñales.
To finish your tour in the most immaculate style, after cleaning up, your private transportation will take you into the valley to a former tobacco farm that has been converted into an acclaimed restaurant manned by a Cuban chef that can’t be matched (he was trained by the King’s Chef in Spain). You will dine at what we and many around the world claim is Cuba’s best restaurant. Here you will experience the most attentive Cuban hospitality and the fine food that comes with it! We can guarantee that this will be the best dining experience that you will have in all of Cuba. The view, the hospitality, the cuisine, and the atmosphere simply can’t be beat.
If you choose, after dinner, your guide will drop you off at your BnB to relax as you wind down your evening before your departure the next morning. If you decide to explore the nightlife of Viñales on your final night in Cuba, you will be free to do so.
Depending on the departure time of your flight, you might have the opportunity to relax and enjoy your last few hours in Viñales. If so, you will have time to purchase any last-minute souvenirs from local artisans and/or take those photos that you may have missed. At the appointed time, you will be picked up by your private transportation, escorted directly to the José Martí International Airport, and dropped off three to four hours prior to your departure. This will allow for an ample amount of time to purchase any last-minute souvenirs, check your bags, go through security and customs, and arrive at your gate for a safe flight home.
Gardner Tours is committed to delivering you the most hospitable, professional, comprehensive, and entertaining tours offered in Cuba! If you have questions or would like to adjust this tour in any way, feel free to contact us and we will gladly accommodate your desires.
If you have questions or would like to adjust this tour in any way, please contact us using the form below.