Before beginning our route through Cuba, to enter this country you must have a health insurance!
In order to travel to Cuba, a compulsory travel insurance and a Visa are essential. Primary travel insurances or Iati insurances are recommended, also if you are traveling from USA to Cuba. Unfortunately, in the route through Cuba we had to use it and the treatment was impeccable.
Day 1, 2 and 3: Havana
The first stop on our route through this american country in fifteen days could not be other than Havana. We loved the country’s capital. Don’t miss this post with everything you have to see and do in Havana.
How long is recommended in Havana?
We spent four days in Habana. Three days at the beginning of the trip, and we came back on the last day so as not to rush to catch the plane back home. Depending on your Cuban Visa length, three or four days should be enough to get to know Havana.
Where to sleep in Havana?
If you want to stay in a hotel we recommend the Hotel Iberostar Central Park, located in the center.
If you decide to stay in private houses, the private house Corazón de la Habana in the area of Vedado is highly recommended. A very modern accommodation for what you usually find in private houses in Cuba.
Where to eat in Havana?
Doña Eutimia. It was our favourite restaurant in Havana. We recommend you to book a table in advance.
Los Nardos. Plentiful food at reasonable prices. A classic in Havana.
Van Van Restaurant. We discovered it in TripAdvisor. The decoration is quite surprising and the food is delicious and well priced.
El Chanchullero. Another typical restaurant that is becoming fashionable. Give it a go with time because they tend to form quite a few queues.
Day 4: Car rental + Las Terrazas + night in Viñales
After being in Havana we went to pick up our rental car that we had already booked well in advance on the Enjoy Cuba website to continue the route through Cuba.
That day we went to Viñales, but before that, we wanted to make a stop at Las Terrazas, the first ecological village in Cuba.
How much time is recommended in Las Terrazas?
If you like eco-plans, visiting Las Terrazas is recommended as long as you have plenty of days during your route through Cuba and you have a rental car.
In case you are going to stay less than 12 days in Cuba, the village of Las Terrazas is dispensable.
If you are not going to rent a car, but you want to go to Las Terrazas, you can also do it as an organized excursion from Havana.
Where to eat in Las Terrazas?
We recommend the restaurant El Romero, the best vegetarian restaurant in Cuba. The solar salad they make was tremendous.
Day 5: Viñales and Cayo Jutías
At Viñales we had a bad experience so it’s not easy for us to be 100% fair. The valley is great, but, honestly, we thought it was going to surprise us even more.
Viñales is the cradle of the Cuban cigar. You can visit a tobacco plantation, buy the authentic Cuban cigars – be careful and make sure they are authentic that there is a lot of scam – or take a ride through the valley either by bike, on horseback or on foot.
We took a walk through Viñales, saw the Cueva del Indio, the Mural of Prehistory and set course for Cayo Jutías. Don’t miss this post with everything you need to see in and around Viñales.
We wanted a beach in the vicinity of Viñales, but we didn’t know whether to go to Cayo Jutías or Cayo Levissa. Apparently, Cayo Levissa is more spectacular, but you have to get there by boat and it’s to spend the whole day there. If you feel like going to Cayo Levissa you can book an excursion.
As we were running out of time that day, we decided to go better to Cayo Jutías. The beach is fine but the road to get it is horrible. It was the worst road we encountered in Cuba. After two hours of journey, with a horrendous last stretch of the road, we didn’t want to go to the beach.
Our recommendation about Cayo Jutías is that you think seriously about whether go or not. Our opinion is that it is more worthwhile to dedicate more days to other beach places that are better conditioned and more accessible.
Where to eat in Viñales?
We really liked the restaurant El Olivo. There you will find different food to the classic Cuban food.
Where to sleep in Viñales?
We recommend the Hotel Horizontes los Jazmines. It has a swimming pool overlooking the valley and the rooms are quite modern.
If you decide to stay in a private house, Casa Vicen and Jusi have very good options.
How long is recommended in Viñales?
Unless you are very excited about Viñales and would like to do a specific hiking route, you can visit Viñales as an organized excursion from Havana. It can be sort of a beating, but it’s the best way to make the most of your time in Cuba.
Day 5: Bahía de Cochinos and night in Cienfuegos
The next stop on our route was Cienfuegos. The journey was quite long – more than 5 hours by car – so we wanted to make a stop at the Bahía de Cochinos, one of the best snorkeling areas in Cuba.
The first stop at the Bahía de Cochinos was Playa Larga. Honestly, we didn’t like it very much. We thought it was more paradisiacal and what we found was a sloppy and dirty beach. Being a bay where several rivers converge, the color of the water is not the same as other beaches in Cuba. There are much better beaches in other areas.
We really loved Cueva de los Peces, halfway between Playa Larga and Playa Girón. You can park your car for 2 CUC and snorkel in crystal clear waters with lots of colorful fish. If you like to snorkel this place is awfully recommended.
The next stop was Playa Girón. This beach is better than Playa Larga but has a dike that totally spoils the view.
After a day spending a lot of time in the car we arrived in the afternoon to Cienfuegos.
Do you recommend Bahía de Cochinos?
Unless you’re going snorkeling, this area is expendable on a ten or fifteen day trip through Cuba. If you want to go to the beach, there are much better beaches in other areas of this amazing country.
Day 6: Cienfuegos + (El Nicho) + Night in Trinidad
We loved Cienfuegos. The pearl of the Cuban trip is a colonial city that has a lot to offer tourists in one day.
Another place to highlight is El Nicho, halfway between Cienfuegos and Trinidad.
Unfortunately it rained and we had to cancel the plan so we decided to drive directly to Trinidad.
Where to stay in Cienfuegos?
We propose our accommodation in BR & Hostal Sunrise with very modern facilities and very good location in the center of Cienfuegos.
Where to eat in Cienfuegos?
We recommend Paladar Aché. You will find good traditional Cuban cuisine.
Day 7: Trinidad
Trinidad is an important tour on any route through Cuba.
Havana, Cienfuegos, Varadero beaches or Los Cayos are the places we liked most in Cuba.
We also recommend going to Playa Ancon. It is only 10 kilometres from Trinidad and is one of the best beaches in Cuba.
Where to sleep in Trinidad?
We recommend private houses like El Ceramista with very modern rooms and perfect location.
If you prefer a hotel, you know that good hotels in Cuba shine by their absence beyond Havana and the beaches, but the exception is the Iberostar Grand Trinidad Hotel. The price is quite high, but if you don’t want to stay in private houses, this is your only option in Trinidad.
Where to eat in Trinidad?
We read good reviews about the restaurants El Dorado and La Botija, but we had no chance to try it.
Days 8 and 9: Cayo Santa María
From Trinidad we drove to Cayo Santa María to enjoy our hotel in Cayo Santa María. We spent two days in the paradise but we had no luck with the weather.
However, we have seen pictures of this place with good weather and calm sea and it’s incredible. Everyone says that Cuba’s best beaches are in Los Cayos. It is perfect for a relaxing holiday in Cuba.
Where to sleep in Cayo Santa María?
We recommend the Starfish Cayo Santa Maria. From 100 euros per night you can stay in an all-inclusive resort, super recommended!
In Cayos there is no other accommodation than all-inclusive hotels. If you are looking for a cheaper option, you must sleep in the village of Remedios or Caibarién, about 50 minutes by car from the beaches of Cayo Santa María.
How long is it recommended to stay in Cayo Santa María?
Two or three days will make you feel great.
Day 11: Transfer from Cayo Santa María to Varadero with stopover in Santa Clara.
After our visit to Cayo Santa María we booked other beach days in Varadero. During the trip from Cayo Santa María to Varadero we wanted to stop in Santa Clara to see the mausoleum of Che Guevara.
To be honest, the Che Museum and the Mausoleum did not surprise us very much. We had expected something more spectacular as the Lenin’s Mausoleum in Russia, but that was not the case. However, it might be interesting to understand the story of one of the main commanders of the revolution a little better.
By the way, did you know that Che Guevara was Argentinian?
Days 12 and 13: Varadero
We loved Varadero. We know that it has many disadvantages, but it is a 20 kilometers beach with many options regarding the acommodation.
Besides, a few meters from the beach there are restaurants and private houses.
Where to sleep in Varadero?
We recommend the all-inclusive hotel, the Hotel Sol Meliá Varadero. It has huge pools, good food and access to the Varadero beach.
Another good option is the Blue Varadero Hotel, which is only adults and some rooms offer sea views.
How much time is recommended to stay in Varadero?
It all depends on whether you combine Varadero with a cayo or not. If so, we recommend that you spend a few days in Varadero. However, if your only beach days in Cuba are reserved exclusively for Varadero, four or five days can be the last key to say goodbye to your holiday. That depends, of course, on whether you like the beach.
Day 14: Return to Havana
Before finishing our route through Cuba and going back to Spain we spent our last night in Havana dancing salsa before the feared return to reality took place.