Autotour: La Vida Real

On this quite special round trip you will experience the real Cuba, get to see and meet its inhabitants during their everyday life as well as delight in the classics of the country: colorful, lively Havana, the picturesque valley of Viñales, Cienfuegos, the pearl of the south, Trinidad, the UNESCO world heritage site, Camagüey - city of Tinajones and Santiago – rhythm of the Oriente. In addition to this really very different tour where you stay with Cuban families in their private homes, there is the possibility to extend your stay at a hotel on a dream beach in Guardalavaca.

Day 1: Arrival Havana

Reception at the airport Havana. Transfer accommodation. Dinner at own expense.

Important: 
Supplements for transfers (Varadero - Havana) on arrival in Varadero. 

Included meals today: -
Included fees / tours: transfer
Total km today: 30 km
Total driving time today: 30 min

Day 2: Habana Colonial

After breakfast, an English speaking representative  will be waiting at the car rental agency. He will assist you at the delivery of documents and when filling in the contract, as well as answer questions regarding the route. B
Suggestion for today´s programme: Havana is the crown jewel of Spanish colonial towns in the Caribbean. However, this city is much more than just a museum: the pulsating street life can be just as fascinating as the many architectural treasures. The day begins with a walking tour through colonial Havana with its most important sights: Calle Obispo, El Templete, Plaza de Armas, past the palace of the Spanish Governors General, Cathedral square, Plaza Vieja and taste a Mojito at Hemingway’s favorite bar “Bodeguita”. Lunch at the Restaurant „La Imprenta“ or „Ambos Mundos“ in the old part of the city. In the afternoon visit of CDR (Committee for defense of revolution) in Centro Habana, with possibilities to talk to locals, as well as visiting a secondary school or a local medical center and a typical food store. Finally, short walk through Callejon de Hamel with paintings of the Afro-Cuban Santería. Later in the evening possibility (optional) to attend the “Havana Queens” dance ensemble (Price on request).

Important: Please note that particularly during high season longer waiting times might occur when taking over the rental car at the rental station.

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: -
Total driving time today: -

Day 3: La Vida Real - Visiting the countryside

Suggestion for today´s programme: In the morning walk through Centro-Habana, a part of the city hardly touched by tourism. Visit of different shops which give an insight into the real life of the Habaneros far away from tourism. Subsequently by bicitaxi to one of the largest farmer´s markets in Havana. Admidst the burstling life one can buy fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat and spices. In the afternoon drive to the rural surrounding of Havana and visit of two fincas. Here one learns more about the country life in Cuba as well as interesting insights into growing vegetables and keeping a lifestock. The distance between the two fincas can be covered either by foot or by horse. In the evening tasting of the products produced on the fincas in restaurant “Mediterráneo”. 

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: -
Total driving time today: -

Day 4: Havana - Viñales

Suggestion for today´s programme: The day starts with a panoramic tour through the Havana of the 19th and early 20th century: past the imposing Capitolio, Gran Teatro and Barcardí building, along the Malecón, past the legendary Hotel Nacional through the Avenida de los Presidentes to the Revolution square with the portrait of Ché Guevara and José Martí memorial, followed by a visit to the legendary cemetery Colón with the largest amount of statues in Cuba, a miniature city of marble, bronze, angels, crosses and allegories. Lunch at a Paladar e.g. “La Casa” in Vedado. In the afternoon drive on the tobacco route to Pinar del Rio, the greenest of all Cuban provinces with the best tobacco soil of the world. Visit of Patio Pelegrín a help programme especially for kids. While the visitors learn more about the programme fresh fruits and coffee are served. Further to Viñales village where time seems to stand still.

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: 210 km
Total driving time today: 2 h 30 min - 3 h

Day 5: Viñales - “Coco Solo”

Suggestion for today´s programme: In the morning hike through Viñales valley and visit of Casa del Veguero (house of a tobacco farmer) who will explain all about tobacco growing. Lunch e.g. at the friendly "Finca Paraíso" giving an interesting insight into the Cuban cuisine of an agro-ecological farmhouse. Panoramic tour through Viñales valley with its imposing limestone rocks (Mogotes).

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: - 
Total km today: -
Total driving time today: -

Day 6: Viñales - Cienfuegos - Trinidad 

Suggestion for today´s programme: Drive towards the center of the island to Cienfuegos, characterized by French colonial architecture. Stroll through the pedestrian zone to the main square with the nostalgic Terry theatre where Caruso and Sarah Bernhardt performed. Further to peninsula Punta Gorda for a cocktail e.g. on the roof terrace of the Moorish style “Palacio de Valle”. Lunch e.g. at a private restaurant, “Aché” whose loving decoration creates a special atmosphere or "Villa Lagarto" with beautiful views of the bay. Drive along the coastal road to Trinidad UNESCO World heritage site with unique colonial architecture.

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: 560 km
Total driving time today: 7 h - 8 h

Day 7: Trinidad

Suggestion for today´s programme: Stroll to the main square surrounded by the splendid mansions of the former sugar barons. Visit to one of the museums e.g. guided tour through Museo Municipal where the beautiful view from its tower can be enjoyed and quaint bar “Canchánchara” (honey liqueur bar). Spend some time e.g. at beach Ancón. After dinner stroll through the romantic night-life of Trinidad by listening to traditional music and dancing e.g. at Casa de la Música near the main square.

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: -
Total driving time today: -

Day 8: Cienfuegos – Sugar Mill Valley – Sancti Spiritus - Camagüey 

Suggestion for today´s programme: In the morning drive through the Sugar Mill Valley. Visit of hacienda Iznaga, home of the former sugar barons Iznaga with its legendary slave tower. Afterwards through Sierra Escambray to Sancti Spiritus, hardly touched by tourism. Panoramic tour and visit of Yayabo-Bridge and lunch downtown at restaurant “Mesón de la Plaza”. Subsequently through the green sugar mill valley to Camagüey.

Important: Please note, climbing of the slave tower at own risk.

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: 280 km
Total driving time today: 4 h - 5 h

Day 9: Camagüey 

Suggestion for today´s programme: After breakfast city tour and ride by bicitaxi through the city center. Visit of Casa Arte Jover – José Jover and his wife are modern contemporary artists. Subsequently visit of the swiss children help organization Camaquito with interesting insight into a culture project. The programme will be arranged individually: e.g. visit of Café Literario, which serves as a gallery for young artists and a place for various cultural activities or visit of arts center Ignacio Agramonte in the old part of the town. Performance of a children dance ensemble, a youth symphony orchestra or a children´s ballets. Lunch e.g. at Paladar “1800”. 

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: -
Total driving time today: -

Day 10: Camagüey - Bayamo - El Cobre - Santiago

Suggestion for today´s programme: In the Morning drive to Bayamo, where the fight for independence from the Spanish crown started and the national anthem “La Bayamesa” was composed. Through Sierra Maestra to the pilgrimage site El Cobre. Visit of the impressing situated basilica with the patroness of Cuba. Late in the afternoon arrival in Santiago – city of the revolution and cradle of Cuban son.

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: 350 km
Total driving time today: 4 h 30 min - 5 h 30 min

Day 11: Santiago

Suggestion for today´s programme: In the morning panoramic tour past the Revolution Square and tour to the in 1953 by Fidel and his men attacked Moncada Barracks. Visit to Santa Iphigenia, a cemetery with the graves of the Barcardí dynasty and the national hero José Martí. Drive to Cayo Granma and lunch in the restaurant there. Visit to the El Morro fortress - UNESCO World Heritage site with stunning views over the bay. Subsequently, through the former villas and residential area and visit to the Vista Allegre and San Juan Hill from the Spanish-American-Cuban War of Independence. Stroll through the historic center of Parque Céspedes, Calle Heredia, Plaza Dolores, stairs alley Padre Pico and Casa Velázquez - the oldest house in the city. Viewing to Casa de las Religiones Populares. In the hidden museum one learns everything about the Afro-Cuban Santaría and other religions brought to Cuba by African slaves e.g. Regla de Palo. With a bit of luck one can experience an Orisha and Voodoo ceremony. In the evening visit to the legendary Casa de la Trova, the cradle of Cuban Son, where famous musicians such as Compay Segundo (Buena Vista Social Club) began their careers.

The Museum Casa de las Religiones Populares is closed on Sundays. 

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: -
Total driving time today: -

Day 12: Santiago - Guantánamo - Baracoa

Suggestion for today´s programme: Morning drive towards Guantánamo - the stronghold of the Afro-Cuban Santería and Haitian Voodoo cult, also known by the nearby U.S. Navy base. Continue through a desert-like landscape with cactus´ on tropical green mountains, on the breathtaking pass road La Farola down to Baracoa, where Columbus once landed. In the late afternoon visit of the city museum Matachín and walk over the main square with the church of Nuestra Señora de Asunción and the Columbus cross. Dinner e.g. at restaurant “La Punta” bordering the bay of Baracoa.
 

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: 240 km
Total driving time today: 4 h - 5 h

Day 13: Baracoa

Suggestion for today´s programme: Baracoa is located in a quaint scenery in front of Table Mountain El Yunque, midst lush tropical landscape with coffee, cocoa and banana plantations. Excursion into the beautiful surrounding of Baracoa. Drive to the outlet of Río Yumri (approx. 2 hours) with explanations about the flora and fauna and opportunity to take a bath in the river. Subsequently drive to Finca Duaba with a natural walk and introduction into the world of cocao. Rustic lunch at a Finca midst marvelous nature and boat ride at Río Toa. 

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: -
Total km today: -
Total driving time today: -

Day 14: Baracoa - Holguín (Santiago) - Havana (Guardalavaca)

Suggestion for today´s programme: In the morning along the adventurous coast road with hidden bays in direction of Moa and Holguín. Flight to Havana or Transfer to Guardalavaca and end of the journey for those who stay in Holguín – Guardalavaca for a beach extension. Afterwards no other services are included for these guests, neither domestic flights. For those who fly back to Havana, the tour ends with a transfer to the separately booked hotel in the old part or a private transfer for guests who extend their holidays in Varadero (supplement).
(Timely connection to an international flight back, due to frequent schedule changes at national connecting flights are not guaranteed and is therefore not recommended on the same day. It is recommended to book an extra night at a hotel).

Included meals today: breakfast
Included fees / tours: transfer to the hotel in Havana or Guardalavaca
Total km today: Havana 35 km / Guardalavaca 80 km
Total driving time today: 1 h - 1 h 30 min