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Cuba On A Shoestring Tour

From €755pp
Flights not Included
Departure Date
19 Feb 2022 - 26 Feb 2022
Multiple departure dates throughout the year
7 Nights/8 Days
From €755pp
Enquire Now

Historic Havana to colonial Trinidad, and all the mojitos in between!

City, countryside and dazzling Caribbean coast – take an eight-day Lonely Planet Experience straight to the heart of Cuba. Set off from the charming capital of Havana, where old-time American cars, wafts of cigar smoke and laidback vibes permeate the streets.

Experience the small-village vibes of Vinales and the colonial charisma of Trinidad, and immerse yourself with the history, music and mojitos of a country caught in a bygone era.

With plenty of time to swim, snorkel, cycle and hike, this adventure combines Cuba’s old-world charm with some seriously scenic vistas in a jam-packed itinerary.

Why we love this trip:

  • Be intrigued by the colourful streets and eclectic history of Cuba's capital as your knowledgeable local leader takes you on a casual walking tour of Old Havana.
  • Venture to Cuba’s charming countryside as you hit rural Vinales. With plenty of time to explore at your own pace, you can check out tobacco plantations, explore hidden caves and tackle the dirt roads by bicycle.
  • Wander the cobblestone streets alongside cowboys and farmers in Trinidad, passing by some of the best-preserved colonial buildings in Cuba. Plus, you’ll take part in a rum tasting – muy bueno!
  • Master the lingo with a leader-led informal Spanish lesson. Learning your ‘hola’ from ‘hasta luego’, you’ll be testing your newfound skills with the locals over a cerveza (beer) in no time.
  • Pay your respects at the mausoleum of Che Guevara and receive a fascinating insight into the rise and fall of the charismatic and highly celebrated Cuban revolutionary.

This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience

  • Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The guesthouses (casas) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling and each room is unique. Regardless of where you stay, power cuts and breaks in hot water supply are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country – but we believe that this is all a part of the local experience.
  • Part of Cuba’s appeal is its old-fashioned style – this includes the banking systems. Funds in Cuba can be difficult to access. Ideally bring multiple credit cards from several different banks just to be sure.
  • Luxuries such as air conditioning, and even toilet seats, are often scarce. Part of the experience here is learning to appreciate everyday Cuban resourcefulness.
  • Internet access can be hard to come by, and when it's available it's often unreliable and expensive. Treat this as a great opportunity to take a break from modern devices and have a true holiday.
  • Cuba is different, and that's a big part of its allure. Things don't always go according to plan, and many things don't work the same way as back home. Patience and good humour will go a long way in this beautiful destination.

Day 1: Havana

Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba! There are no activities planned until your important welcome meeting at 6 pm. Once you’ve arrived, why not take a stroll in Cuba’s capital, where vintage cars, Neo-Gothic churches and Art Deco theatres come together in a colourful mismatch on the streets. If you have time, you might like to visit Museo de la Revolucion, which focuses on the events leading up to, during and immediately after the Cuban revolution. After your welcome meeting, perhaps dig into some delectable street snacks and join the group for dinner at a local restaurant – your leader will have a few recommendations.

Accommodation - Standard guesthouse (1 night)

Optional Activities

  • Havana - Tourist bus day pass - CUC10
  • Havana - Revolution museum - CUC5
  • Havana - National Museum of Fine Arts - CUC5
  • Havana - Old Havana Street Eats - Urban Adventures - USD44

Meals Included - There are no meals included on this day.

Special Information

A complimentary arrival transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. Please see the ‘Joining Point Instructions’ in the Essential Trip Information for more details about exiting the arrivals hall and connecting with your arrival transfer driver who will take you to the address of your assigned guesthouse.

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time.

Day 2: Vinales

This morning, join your leader on an two-hour walking tour around Old Havana – a district that reflects an eclectic mix of colonial, baroque and neoclassical architecture. Founded in 1519 by the Spanish, this area within Cuba’s capital remains virtually unchanged. Wander through Havana’s oldest square at Plaza de Armas, stroll around the buildings that frame 16th-century Plaza Veija, admire the basilica of San Francisco de Asis and visit the Havana Cathedral with its elaborate baroque facade. After your walking tour, head west by private vehicle to Vinales (approximately 3 hours). This charming rural village is your base for the next couple of days, so why not do as the locals do – drink rum and dance the night away.

Accommodation - Standard guesthouse (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Havana - Leader-led Walking Tour of Old Havana
  • Vinales - Leader-led Orientation Walk

Meals Included - There are no meals included on this day.

Day 3: Vinales

Enjoy free time in picturesque Vinales, which you'll soon see is home to some of Cuba’s best scenery. Together, your group will decide the best time to take an included informal Spanish lesson where you’ll learn some simple greetings like ‘hola’ and ‘hasta luego’, plus how to order an all-important ‘cerveza’ (beer)! The rest of the day is yours to soak up the slow, old-world pace of rural Cuba, where donkeys plod along the dirt roads. You might like to cruise around the area on a bicycle, hike through the tobacco fields or explore one of the Americas’ largest cave complexes up in the mountains. If you select the valley walk, you'll learn more about the lifestyle here and meet the farmers who grow tobacco for some of the world's most sought after and expensive cigars.

Accommodation - Standard guesthouse (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson

Optional Activities

  • Vinales - Live Music Venues (Entrance fee) - Subject to change depending on the performer - CUC2
  • Vinales - Palenque Cave - CUC1
  • Vinales - Cueva del Indio (Cave visit with boat trip) - CUC5
  • Vinales - Salsa lesson (per hour) - CUC10
  • Vinales - Half-day Valley Walking Tour including Tobacco Farmhouse (Guide included) - CUC10
  • Vinales - Farm to Table Dinner at an Eco-friendly Ranch - CUC12

Meals Included - Breakfast

Day 4: Bay of Pigs / Trinidad

Today, travel by private vehicle to the World Heritage-listed city of Trinidad. En route, you’ll stop at the Bay of Pigs for a dip in the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea, and if there’s time you can hire snorkel gear and swim among the tropical fish that call these waters home. Be sure to ask your local leader about the Bay of Pigs Invasion – a battle between the USA and Cuban revolutionaries which resulted in the first defeat of a US-backed takeover in Latin America. Continue to Trinidad where you'll spend the night.

Accommodation - Standard guesthouse (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Bay of Pigs - Coastal Swim Stop
  • Trinidad - Leader-led Orientation Walk

Meals Included - Breakfast

Day 5: Trinidad

Trinidad is a standout destination for many visitors to Cuba, in no small part to well-preserved colonial buildings, friendly locals and its old-school feel. Today , you’ve got the full day to do as you please. For some beachside fun and perhaps a little snorkelling, head down to Playa Ancon – just be careful you don't stand on a sea urchin! Hiking and cycling are equally good options, and there are some excellent walking trails in the nearby Sierra del Escambray mountains. For an insight into the colourful post-revolutionary period, why not visit the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos and the Casa de los Martires de Trinidad. Nearby is the sprawling Valle de los Ingenios, where sugar plantations stretch out as far as the eye can see. In the evening, your leader will take you to a local bar for a rum tasting – Cuba is home to some of the best!

Accommodation - Standard guesthouse (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Trinidad - Rum Tasting in a Local Bar

Optional Activities

  • Trinidad - Live Music Venues (Entrance fee) - Subject to change depending on the performer - CUC2
  • Trinidad - Musical instrument lesson (guitar, double bass, tres, percussion - per hour) - CUC10
  • Trinidad - Trek to El Nicho Waterfall (taxi, entrance fee & guide) - CUC65
  • Trinidad - Ancon beach shuttle bus - CUC4
  • Trinidad - Cayo Blanco island catamaran cruise - CUC45

Meals Included - There are no meals included on this day.

Day 6: Santa Clara

This morning, travel by private vehicle to the historic city of Santa Clara – less crowded and slower paced than the bustling Havana, and home to all things Che Guevara. On arrival, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of the town and point you in the right direction. Santa Clara is renowned for being the resting place of physician-turned-guerrillero leader Che Guevara (whose mausoleum you’ll get to visit tomorrow). Why not take the short walk up to one of the best lookout spots in town, Loma del Capiro, where you can share sweeping views of the city with a statue of – you guessed it – Che Guevara! Or, if you’re a cigar aficionado, you might like to take a tour of one of Cuba’s best tobacco factories where they produce a range of top-quality Montecristo, Partagas and Romeo y Juliet cigars.

Accommodation - Standard guesthouse (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Santa Clara - Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Santa Clara - Leader-led Orientation Walk

Optional Activities

  • Santa Clara - Derailed train - CUC1

Meals Included - There are no meals included on this day.

Day 7: Havana

In the morning, visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial. Che's remains were brought to rest here after they were found in a remote corner of Bolivia in 1997, where he was assassinated by the CIA-backed Bolivian army. The memorial is home to an impressive bronze statue of Che bearing his rifle, and inside the museum you can learn about his amazing life and see photos and exhibits such as his famous black beret. Afterwards, travel back to Havana (approximately 4 hours) where you’ll return to your guesthouse and enjoy some free time. Tonight’s again up to you, so why not head out with the group and hit the town for a night of salsa.

Accommodation - Standard guesthouse (1 night)

Optional Activities

  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club - CUC30
  • Havana - Cigar factory tour - CUC12

Meals Included - Breakfast

Day 8: Havana

There are no activities planned for today, so you are free to leave your guesthouse at any time, provided you comply with any internal check-out times. This doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! If you’ve got time, consider heading out in a 1950s convertible on a Classic American Car Tour of Havana with Urban Adventures. Take to the streets in style as you cruise through the capital – visit urbanadventures.com/havana-tour-classic-american-car-tour-of-havana for more information and to book.

Optional Activities

  • Havana - Murals & Mosaics: Community Projects Tour - Urban Adventures - USD114
  • Classic American Car Tour of Havana - Urban Adventures - USD56

Meals Included - There are no meals included on this day.

Special Information

As there's a great deal to do here, we recommend staying an extra day or two to make the most of this exciting city. If you would like to spend more time in Havana, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).

Price is based on 2 adults sharing and includes:


  • 3 breakfasts


  • Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi


  • Standard guesthouse (7 nights)

Included activities

  • Havana - Leader-led Walking Tour of Old Havana
  • Vinales - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Bay of Pigs - Coastal Swim Stop
  • Trinidad - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Trinidad - Rum Tasting in a Local Bar
  • Santa Clara - Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Santa Clara - Leader-led Orientation Walk

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Please ask us about adding great value:

  • Flights - we will source the best priced flights for your travel dates
  • Travel insurance
Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply. 

For more information please call us on 021 427 7094, email info@shandontravel.ie, request a call back using the red button or submit an enquiry through the form below.

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