Self-Drive Tour - Cuba On Your Own - Tour Itinerary
Our 14 day hire car tour, Cuba On your Own leads you from Havana to Viñales in the West to Baracoa and Holguín in the East of the island. From Holguín you fly back to Havana. Discover Cuba individually and visit only the places that you are really interested in.
Today you will meet our colleagues in Havana who will give you your travel documents as well as your Cuba itinerary and suggestions we have put together especially for you. To make your stay in Cuba stress-free, our employees are always ready to help you out with individual questions and give advice. You can use the afternoon to explore Havana’s historical centre. Overnight accommodation is in the Hotel Plaza.
Hotel Plaza Breakfast
You pick up your rental car at 10am in Havana to start you Cuba self-drive tour. Travel on to Viñales where the legendary Cuban tobacco grows in valleys that are characterised by sprawling flat fields and towering rocky peaks. We recommend a detour to the Las Terrazas community in the Sierra Rosario, which boasts 25,000 hectares of almost untouched land and has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Nearby, the river San Juan, with its small waterfalls, flows through the thick forests of the Sierra del Rosario and you can explore lakes, ruins, coffee plantations from the 19th century, and sulphur springs. Most of the farmers in the Sierra live in communes which were formed back in 1968 under the support of a government project; the most famous of which is Las Terrazas, whose name comes from the moss‐covered terraced fields which are typical of the region. The 900 inhabitants of this community live off forestry and eco‐tourism.
Hotel Rancho San Vicente Breakfast
After breakfast you can explore the spectacular surroundings of the Viñales valley, which boasts unique rocky mounds (mogotes) and numerous bizarre cave formations. We recommend a visit to one of the many tobacco plantations which have made this region famous, as well as a visit to the impressive cave, Cueva del Indio.
The town of Viñales is dominated by low rise wooden houses complete with verandas. Around this small town, there are a many excursions to take, including a trip to the Valley of the Two Sisters and the island Cayo Levisa on the north coast.
Hotel Rancho San Vicente Breakfast
Today’s destination is Cienfuegos. On the way, the pre-planned Cuba itinerary recommends you stop off at Playa Girón, which is home to some wonderful beaches and small bays which are perfect for snorkelling. Cienfuegoes is one of the prettiest and liveliest cities on the island and is characterised by its unique French flair. The extensively restored colonial centre offers lots of architecturally interesting sights, like the Castillo de Jagua, which was built to protect the region from the Jamaican pirates and was the third biggest castle in Cuba and the only one in central Cuba during the 18th century. Elsewhere, you can visit the Cementario Monumental Tomás de Acea, whose entrance is home to a replica of the Parthenon in Athens. Again, many styles are combined gracefully together here and the cemetery is set out like a garden with paths and fruit trees.
Hotel La Unión Breakfast
Today you continue on to Trinidad, which was founded in 1514 by Diego Velázquez and has since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is worth visiting the Palacio Brunet, which is situated in the colonial style historical centre of the city, and the Palacio Cantero, which was built at the beginning of the 19th century and is now the Museo Histórico Municipal and holds many records about the history of this region. The palace is one of the most elegant houses of the city where you can find spectacular views of the old city from its tower.
Just like the Palacio Brunet, the Casa Sánchez Iznaga is located in the Plaza Mayor, which is surrounded by the palaces of Trinidad’s richest families. Today, the Casa is the Museo de Arquitectura Trinitaria, and shows an interesting overview of the different building styles made from stone and clay walls.
The planned Cuba itinerary suggests you use today to get to know Trinidad; head towards the colonial centre which is only 15 minutes away from the hotel and let yourself be transported back to the Colonial era during a stroll through its cobbled streets and colourful one‐storey houses. Arts and crafts are popular in Trinidad, too, and make great souvenirs to remember your trip by. You can also find numerous small restaurants, maisonettes, and paladares where you try local specialities and, if you like, there are many bars and discos in the town with live music.
Next, you will head to Camagüey in Central Cuba, which is home to a series of picturesque rambling streets, and attractions such as the Tinajónes, which are pottery mugs that stand about two metres high. You can find them all over the city; in parks, gardens, or the yards of the colonial houses. The most famous artwork, though, is located at the church and depicts the holy grave with a picture of Jesus. In the evening, you can check out the theatre, which was opened 1850 and rebuilt after a fire in 1926, and is home to the famous ballet of Camagüey; one of the leading dancing ensembles in Latin America. Accommodation is at the
Gran Hotel Camagüey Breakfast
After breakfast your Cuba self-drive tour continues to the East of the country, heading to the town of Bayamo. The town, founded by Diego Vélaquez, is the capital of the Granma province and is home to a long, rich history. Many of the houses and architectural landmarks have been rebuilt over the years, which means Bayamo is a particularly modern city by Cuban standards.
Hotel Royalton Breakfast, lunch, evening meal
Next, you will head to Santiago de Cuba, which is perhaps the most African, most musical, and most passionate city in Cuba. It is a lively and exciting city with residents who love to celebrate and dance in style. After Havana, it is the second biggest city on the island and is unique with a mysteriously enchanting charm as well as a variety of museums, impressive monuments, and a cemetery.
Hotel Las Américas Breakfast
In the morning you might choose to go for a walk in the city of Santiago de Cuba where you can take a detour to the restored Castillo del Morro, a 17th century castle in which the rebels were detained during the Wars of Independence. We also recommend that you see the Museum Moncada, 19th century former barracks wich now host a primary school and an informative museum on Cuban history.
The village of El Cobre is situated north‐west of Santiago and is home to the pilgrimage church, Caridad del Cobre, which was built at the beginning of the 17th century for the Holy Virgin who was the patron saint of slaves working in the mines. 40km south‐east of Santiago is the Parque Baconao, which has been recognised by UNESCO as a bio‐sphere reserve worthy of protection because of its wide variety of tree species. If you want to enjoy the nightlife, we recommend a visit to the famous Cabarets Tropicana or the Casa de la Trova where you can watch and listen to excellent live Cuban music.
For a relaxing excursion, we suggest you take a walk through the Vista Alegre area of the town where many cultural sites are located.
Hotel Las Américas Breakfast
Today we proceed to Holguín, the capital of the province of the same name, where cultural and musical traditions are kept alive. The town offers a variety of events, such as las Romerias del Mayo, a traditional festival that always begins at the start of May, and the Festival de Cultura Iberoamericano. The town of Holguín can compete with some of the prettiest squares in Cuba and is worth visiting simply for this reason. The extensive main square, the Plaza Calixto García, dominates the scene and is surrounded by diverse sites, including the Museo Provincial de Historia, the Casa de la Trova (musical events take place here), as well as the Centro Provincial de Artes Plásticas (art gallery). Other squares and tourist sites in the town include the Plaza Julio Grave de Peralta, the Catedral de San Isidro, the Plaza San José with the Iglesia San José and the only barrelorgan factory in the country (Fábrica de Órganos), and the Plaza de la Revolucíon close to the baseball stadium.
Villa El Bosque Breakfast, lunch, evening meal
Your Cuba self-drive tour comes to an end today. After breakfast you will have a short wander through the town before returning the rental car and flying back to Havana where you will be taken from the airport to the Hotel Plaza.
Hotel Plaza Breakfast
You can use today to stroll through the old town area of Havana again and pick up some last minute souvenirs. Transfer to airport or to a town hotel in Havana.