In April, we spent 2,5 weeks in Cuba. Since my husband (still sounds weird!) likes to travel at a more relaxed pace, we chose to visit just a few places and take our time exploring those. Looking back, we are very happy with the choices we made, so I will share our itinerary with you for inspiration.
We feel like we did see all the places that we wanted to see, and our itinerary combined cities, nature and beaches. Also, we had plenty of time to sit back in a rocking chair, drinking a mojito or reading a book.
In order not to make this post too long, I will share detailed stories of places we visited in a later post.
Oh, by the way: prior to our trip I bought a new, mirrorless camera. Most pictures were taken with this, and I’m very pleased with them. I’d love to hear what you think!
Day 1 – 5: Havana (3 full days)
Oh, Havana… I did not know what to expect prior to our arrival, and was a bit affraid that it would be a very dirty and chaotic city. We ended up loving Havana though, and even changed our itinerary a bit in order to have extra time here at the end of our trip. Some of our highlights: the Malecon, the oldtimers, just watching daily life and – of course – sipping mojito’s on nice rooftop terraces overlooking the city.
We had planned to spend 3 full days in Havana, which probably is enough time to see the highlights. Especially if you’re on a tight schedule I wouldn’t spend more time here. However, you could easily stay in Havana for a much longer time without getting bored.
Day 5 – 7: Trinidad (1,5 full day)
We took a taxi collectivo from Havana to Trinidad, arriving in Trinidad in the late afternoon. The next day, as well as the morning after that, we explored the town. We found Trinidad very charming, but to be honest: it is a very small town and there is not that much to do. There is a nice square and two towers to climb, but that’s pretty much it. Of course there are plenty of tours to explore the area around Trinidad, but just for seeing Trinidad, you really do not need more than 1 or 2 full days.
Day 7 – 10: La Boca (2 full days)
La Boca is a very small fisherman’s town, around 15 minutes from Trinidad (we simply took a taxi). We had pre-booked a casa particular here, looking to spend some time at the beach and relax in a more quiet environment.
Our stay in La Boca was wonderful; we stayed in a house with a wrap-around porch, hammocks and rocking chairs everywhere. If we wanted a mojito, our host (the lovely Maricela) would go pick fresh limes from her vegetable garden. She cooked us the most delicious meals in the evenings, using ingredients from her garden and fish caught by the neighbour (a fisherman) that day. The ‘camarones’ (shrimps) were the best dish we had during our whole trip. We spent our time reading books in a hammock, playing card games and cycling to the beach. Jealous, anyone? =)
Day 10 – 12: Cienfuegos (1,5 full day)
Taking a taxi collectivo (an oldtimer!) we went to Cienfuegos, a 1,5 hour drive. We immediately fell in love with this city: it is very elegant, spacious and clean, very different from Havana and Trinidad. We could have stayed here for longer, just enjoying the atmosphere, but 1 to 2 days here allows you enough time to see all sights.
Day 12 – 15: Vinales (2 full days)
We took a taxi collectivo again to get to Vinales, which took almost 7 hours. Initially we had planned to spend 3 full days in Vinales, but directly upon our arrival we knew that we would leave earlier. The town just did not appeal to us: it basically is one long street, lined with tourist shops, tour operators and restaurants.
We ended up enjoying ourselves during the 2 days we had. We spent one day going to Cayo Jutías, the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. By coincidence, we ran into another couple wanting to go to this beach, so we were able to split the taxi costs and ended up with new friends for the rest of our time in Cuba =)
The next day we went on a sunrise walking tour. We left early (6:30) but still had to walk really, really fast to get to the top of the mountain before sunrise, but we made it!
There were plenty more tours we could have done, but we were happy to leave Vinales after spending 2 full days there.
Day 15 – 17 (1,5 full days): Havana
Since we wanted to visit the botanical garden in Soroa (halfway between Vinales and Havana), we took a private taxi this time. One of our previous taxi drivers was such a nice guy, that we asked him to bring us to Soroa and Havana. He asked us if he could bring his wife, so they could combine the trip with a visit to their children, who live in Havana. It was a great experience: they would occasionally stop to buy snacks from stalls along the road, that they passed to the backseat for us to try. The orchid garden was wonderful and we arrived in Havana early in the afternoon.
This time, we booked a casa in Vedado, a neighbourhood a bit further from Havana’s center. Our first afternoon we explored the neighbourhood, that counts many huge, old mansions. Also, we found a bar around the corner of our casa that had cocktails for 1 euro. So you can probably guess where we spent our evening =)
We used our last day in Havana to visit the Revolution museum. Afterwards we met up with the couple we knew from Vinales to do an oldtimer tour, which we enjoyed a lot.
If you have any questions about the itinerary or if you’d like to know the names of the casas we stayed in, just send me a message. I’d be more than happy to refer you to the wonderful Cuban people we met!