Authentic Havana & the Scenic Viñales Valley

Book this package
per person, double occupancy* based on Apr. 16, 2019 departure from MIA
$400 Early Bird Discount. Expires Jun. 28, 2018.*   All prices reflect savings.

Overview

Featuring Explore the magic and magnificent heritage of Cuba from the culture and communities of Havana to the spectacular vistas of the Viñales Valley
Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures Scheduled Dates; select from 10 open departures, February – December 2019
Price Includes
  • Flights
  • Coach
  • Rental Car
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Non-stop round trip flights from Miami to Havana
  • U.S. Treasury Department, OFAC License Certification and Authorization Letter
  • Cuba Entrance Visa & Departure Tax
  • All land transportation, transfers & porterage in Cuba
  • 4 nights accommodations in Havana at a well-located 'casa particular' (Cuban bed and breakfast) & 2 nights at a new, superior hotel in Viñales
  • 15 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners
  • Comprehensive educational exchange program, including entrance fees
  • Friendly Planet Tour Manager
  • Professional, English-speaking local guide, who will facilitate the educational exchanges with Cubans
  • Health insurance in Cuba (mandatory)
Optional
  • Pre-Night stay in Miami
  • Post-Night stay in Miami
  • Casa Suite Upgrade in Havana (Very Limited: Call us for availability)
Highlights
  • Explore Old Havana’s architectural treasure trove
  • Learn how Cuban masters hand-roll cigars
  • Visit the fascinating Afro-Cuban neighborhood of Regla
  • Discover the specialized care taken to breed horses at La Guabina
  • Experience the breathtaking landscapes & tobacco farms in Viñales
  • Walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway at Finca Vigia
Departs Miami (MIA); other gateways on request (flight schedule)
Themes History & Culture
What to Expect This fast-paced, escorted educational program includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.

Prepare for your trip Already booked? Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.


Authentic Havana & the Scenic Viñales Valley itinerary

Our comprehensive western Cuba tour, Authentic Havana & the Scenic Viñales Valley, takes you right into the heart and soul of Cuba! Start your immersive experience in Havana where you'll marvel at the city's unique blend of baroque and neoclassical architecture. Stay four nights in a casa particular and taste the flavors of Cuba as you enjoy included meals in privately-owned restaurants called paladares. Walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway at his famous home Finca Vigia, watch the masters roll cigars, and so much more! Then spend two days exploring the stunning views and breathtaking panoramas of the Viñales Valley as you learn about the multi-ethnic communities there that have passed down traditional agricultural techniques for generations. Visit a scenic horse farm, La Guabina, to learn about their stunning Cuban breeds. Go beneath the surface at the Santo Tomás Cave and stand in awe of the geological structures and underground pools. Stop for sunset views of the verdant valley below for a moment you won't forget.

With included flights, fully guided and legal People-to-People touring, high-quality accommodations and a fully inclusive itinerary - you don't want to miss this chance to take a step inside the daily life of the Cuban people. But hurry and book, because space is limited!

information
We're still going to Cuba!
Our People-to-People tours are still legal and not impacted by recent changes in U.S. policy. Questions? See our Cuba FAQs.

Dates, Prices & Options

Departure Dates & Prices

Early Bird Discount: Save up to $400 per person if you book by Jun. 28, 2018!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
2019 DEPARTURES
Depart / Return Package Price Early
Bird
Early Bird
Good Thru
Your
Price
Departs: Tue, Jan. 22, 2019
Returns: Mon, Jan. 28, 2019
Jan 22 – Jan 28 $2999 Closed
Departs: Tue, Feb. 12, 2019
Returns: Mon, Feb. 18, 2019
Book by Thu, Jun. 28, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Feb 12 – Feb 18 $2999 –$400 Jun 28 $2599 Select
Departs: Tue, Mar. 5, 2019
Returns: Mon, Mar. 11, 2019
Book by Thu, Jun. 28, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Mar 5 – Mar 11 $2999 –$400 Jun 28 $2599 Select
Departs: Tue, Apr. 16, 2019
Returns: Mon, Apr. 22, 2019
Book by Thu, Jun. 28, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Apr 16 – Apr 22 $2949 –$400 Jun 28 $2549 Select
Departs: Tue, May 7, 2019
Returns: Mon, May 13, 2019
Book by Thu, Jun. 28, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
May 7 – May 13 $2949 –$400 Jun 28 $2549 Select
Departs: Tue, Jun. 11, 2019
Returns: Mon, Jun. 17, 2019
Book by Thu, Jun. 28, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Jun 11 – Jun 17 $2949 –$400 Jun 28 $2549 Select
Departs: Tue, Jul. 9, 2019
Returns: Mon, Jul. 15, 2019
Book by Thu, Jun. 28, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Jul 9 – Jul 15 $2949 –$400 Jun 28 $2549 Select
Departs: Tue, Sep. 3, 2019
Returns: Mon, Sep. 9, 2019
Book by Thu, Jun. 28, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Sep 3 – Sep 9 $2999 –$400 Jun 28 $2599 Select
Departs: Tue, Oct. 15, 2019
Returns: Mon, Oct. 21, 2019
Book by Thu, Jun. 28, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Oct 15 – Oct 21 $2999 –$400 Jun 28 $2599 Select
Departs: Tue, Nov. 5, 2019
Returns: Mon, Nov. 11, 2019
Book by Thu, Jun. 28, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Nov 5 – Nov 11 $2999 –$400 Jun 28 $2599 Select
Departs: Tue, Dec. 3, 2019
Returns: Mon, Dec. 9, 2019
Book by Thu, Jun. 28, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Dec 3 – Dec 9 $2999 –$400 Jun 28 $2599 Select

Unfortunately, we don't offer late returns on this package. However, if you select the Land Only option, you're welcome to make your own arrangements to arrive early or stay later. Want to extend your trip?

Options & Fees

Authentic Havana & the Scenic Viñales Valley
Rooming Selection1
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement
Apr 16, 2019;  May 7, 2019;  Jun 11, 2019;  Jul 9, 2019;  Sep 3, 2019 +$275
All other departures +$299

1. There is limited inventory of more spacious rooms with a king size bed for an additional $80 per person sharing double occupancy. Please call us to request availability.

Optional Pre-Night Crowne Plaza Miami
Pre-Night Crowne Plaza Miami, with breakfast
Oct 15, 2019;  Nov 5, 2019;  Dec 3, 2019 +$100
Jan 22, 2019;  Feb 12, 2019;  Mar 5, 2019;  Apr 16, 2019 +$115
All other departures +$80
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement
Oct 15, 2019;  Nov 5, 2019;  Dec 3, 2019 +$80
Jan 22, 2019;  Feb 12, 2019;  Mar 5, 2019;  Apr 16, 2019 +$95
All other departures +$60
Optional Post-Night Crowne Plaza Miami
Post-Night Crowne Plaza Miami, with breakfast
Oct 15, 2019;  Nov 5, 2019;  Dec 3, 2019 +$100
Jan 22, 2019;  Feb 12, 2019;  Mar 5, 2019;  Apr 16, 2019 +$115
All other departures +$80
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement
Oct 15, 2019;  Nov 5, 2019;  Dec 3, 2019 +$80
Jan 22, 2019;  Feb 12, 2019;  Mar 5, 2019;  Apr 16, 2019 +$95
All other departures +$60
Taxes & Fees
Airline Baggage Fee (per flight)1 (paid separately) +$25
Cuba Visa Fee included

1. Baggage fees must be paid at airport for each flight: $25 for 1st checked bag / $40 for 2nd checked bag.

So that we can offer you the best deals, our packages are, like most hotels and cruises, priced based on double occupancy rooms or cabins. We charge solo travelers an extra fee to cover the extra costs of single occupancy rooms or cabins. (Consider: if you booked a $200/night hotel room solo, you would pay the $200 yourself; but if a couple booked the same room, each one would pay only $100.) But you only pay extra for the rooms or cabins, nothing else, including meals, sightseeing, tips, etc.

Want to find a roommate and avoid single occupancy fees? We can help! Learn more
Why are single rooms more?

Flights & Departure Cities

Departure Airports
Miami (MIA)1 included
Land Only (no flights)2 –$350

1. For flights from MIA, upgrades may be available to First Class starting from $250. For actual prices and availability from this or other cities, please make your request during the reservation process so that our air team can check the availability and provide you with the exact rate for your chosen travel date. Rates and space are subject to availability with the airline, an increased deposit may be required to confirm a seating upgrade.

2. If selecting Land Only, arrival and departure transfers are included. You must provide your independently booked flight information.

This package includes round-trip flights from the city listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.

Want to fly from another city? We can arrange flights from most major cities. Ask us for a quote for flights from your preferred city when (or after) you reserve, and we'll get back to you with the price and availability within 3 business days. Of course, you can also book your own flights. More information

How to Make a Reservation

To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765. But first, check out our Things to Know section.

We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable. The balance is due 120 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 120 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.

Deposit
Deposit $600

Itinerary

Day 1: Miami/Havana

Accommodations: 3 nights El Encanto de Perseverancia, Havana. Included meals: Dinner.

  • Depart the USA on your flight to Havana
  • Welcome dinner at a local paladar

El Capitolio, Old HavanaFull Day Itinerary: Today, board your flight bound for Havana, Cuba's capital city and designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.

¡Bienvenidos a La Habana! You are welcomed by a representative holding a Friendly Planet sign outside the arrivals terminal at the Havana Airport. Board your air-conditioned vehicle and transfer to the casa.

Check into the casa and enjoy a welcome drink. You’ll meet your tour manager and have some time to rest a little or take a stroll to the nearby Malecon before dinner.

This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local paladar.

Day 2: Old Havana

Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.

  • Visit the Fine Arts Museum (Cuban collection)
  • Leisurely orientation walk through Old Havana, including the Used Booksellers' Market
  • Visit the private studio of one of Cuba's talented independent artists
  • Enjoy lunch at a local paladar
  • Learn about Cuba's two currency system at a local ration store
  • Experience a private cigar rolling demonstration & marriage

Used Booksellers Market, Old HavanaFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast this morning, experience the Cuban collection at the Fine Arts Museum. Here you can appreciate the evolution of the country's history through the work of its most famous artists. 

Enjoy a leisurely orientation walk in Old Havana with your guide through the vibrant cobblestone streets as you immerse yourself in the colors of Cuba which surround you. Explore the Used Booksellers' Market, a cross-cultural treasure trove for readers of every genre. Meet local independent booksellers and engage in friendly conversation with Cuban readers about popular Cuban and American literature.

Visit the private studio of one of Cuba's talented independent artists. During your visit, you'll learn different techniques of printmaking, sculpture and other art forms from innovative Cuban artists and their teams.  

Enjoy lunch at a local paladar.

Scale, ration storeAfter lunch, visit a local ration store. Your Cuban host will explain the system of rationing and the two-currency system as well as the difference between Ration Stores, Cuban Peso Stores, and CUC stores.

Then, experience a private cigar rolling demonstration to witness firsthand how the famous Cuban cigars are each individually hand-rolled. Afterwards, enjoy what the Cubans fondly refer to as a marriage, where you’ll have the opportunity to sample the three Cuban pleasures - rum, coffee and a Cuban cigar.

Return to the casa and enjoy the rest of the day on your own. We recommend dining at a paladar for dinner. Feel free to choose one from the list we provide or ask your guide or tour manager for recommendations.

Day 3: Havana, Regla, Alamar & Cojimar

Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.

  • Take the small ferry to Regla across the bay
  • Tour co-op community gardens in Alamar
  • Enjoy lunch in the fishing village of Cojimar
  • View the interior of Ernest Hemingway's home, Finca Vigia
  • Walk along Paula promenade and stop at the Artisans Market

Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast this morning, transfer to the ferry terminal for a short ferry ride to the other side of the bay. Visit Regla, a settlement south of the bay, and the famous Virgin of Regla Church, where you’ll experience an interesting blend of Afrocuban creeds and the Catholic faith.

Friendly Planet group, Cojimar

Continue to the district of Alamar on the outskirts of Havana. Started as an expansive social housing project in the 1970's, these Soviet-style, pre-fabricated concrete apartment blocks are now home to roughly a hundred thousand Cubans. Among the buildings in Alamar are community gardens, called "Organopónicos," where residents grow fruit, vegetables and herbs for their own consumption and for local sale. Similar to co-ops and community gardens in the United States, these Organopónicos facilitate community development and offer Alamar's residents access to fresh produce. Enjoy a visit to one of these Organopónicos, which few visitors to Cuba have the opportunity to do.

You'll continue to the quaint fishing village of Cojimar, the setting for Hemingway's book, The Old Man and the Sea, and enjoy lunch at a local paladar. La Terraza Restaurant, where the book's character Santiago brings in the remains of his epic fish, still stands today, and the pier where Hemingway's fishing boat docked can be seen from the shore.

Finca VigíaDrive to Hemingway's Cuba retreat. There are many historical and cultural ties between Cuba and the United States, and one of the best known is the legacy of Ernest Hemingway, who lived more than 20 years in Cuba, from 1939 to 1960. You'll visit Hemingway's beautiful mansion, Finca Vigía, (literally meaning "lookout farm"), now a museum. While visitors cannot enter the house itself, the large, open windows and doors around the entire property allow plenty of unobstructed views of his preserved 9,000 book library, as well as his animal trophies and famous fishing boat, Pilar.

Then, walk along the beautiful Paula Promenade by the waterfront to see the changes related to the program of transformation for the Bay of Havana. Stop at the Artisans' Market, where you will find plenty of souvenirs, including handicrafts, posters and other collectibles.

Afterwards, return to the casa and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

Day 4: Havana & Viñales

Accommodations: 2 nights Hotel E Central, Viñales. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Drive to the beautiful horse farm, La Guabina.
  • Tour the farm and learn about Cuban autochthonous horse breeds
  • Enjoy an authentic lunch at La Guabina. 
  • Experience an animal exhibition
  • Continue on to the Viñales Valley with a brief stop at the viewpoint of the Jazmines
  • Enjoy dinner at local paladar.

Pinto Cubano & Appaloosa photo by Jean-Pol GRANDMONTFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast this morning, depart for Finca La Guabina, one of Cuba’s most exclusive horse farms in the Pinar del Río province.

Tour the beautiful farm to learn about their work as a farm and cattle ranch, and most importantly, their specialization in breeding Cuban horses such as the Pinto Cubano and Appaloosa.

Enjoy an authentic Cuban lunch at the Finca’s ranchón, a typical Cuban outdoor dining area.

Viñales Valley panoramaAfter lunch you’ll to learn more about life on the farm and have the opportunity to participate in horseback riding and watch an animal exhibition.

Continue on to Viñales Valley with a brief stop at the viewpoint of the Jazmines to enjoy the beautiful view of the valley. 

Check in at your hotel for a short rest before dinner.

Enjoy dinner at local paladar tonight with your fellow travelers.

Day 5: Viñales

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Explore the Santo Tomás Cave
  • Learn how tobacco, cassava and taro are grown at a local farm 
  • Enjoy lunch at a local farmhouse in the Valley 
  • Discover Viñales accompanied by a specialist to learn about its history and culture
  • Visit a rural community project, “Ventana al Valle”
  • Enjoy dinner at local paladar

Tobacco farmer, Viñales ValleyFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast this morning, explore the Santo Tomás Cave, the largest cave system in Cuba and the second largest in all of the Americas. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for your journey into the caves to experience the stalagmites and stalactites, underground pools and other unique formations.

Continue through the impressive landscape of this area and see how tobacco, cassava and taro are grown.  Tour a tobacco farm and have the chance to meet rural Cuban families and see how they live and work.

Enjoy lunch at a local farmhouse in the Valley.  

After lunch, discover more about Viñales on a tour with a specialist to learn about the history, culture and restoration work in the area.

Visit a rural community project “Ventana al Valle”. 

Tonight, enjoy dinner at local paladar.

Day 6: Viñales & Havana

Accommodations: 1 night El Encanto de Perseverancia, Havana. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Visit the workshop of artist Beatriz Santacana
  • Visit the project, Clave Sol or another interesting community project
  • Enjoy lunch at a local paladar 
  • Stop at Plaza de la Revolución and visit the Christopher Columbus Cemetery
  • Tour the modern part of Havana with a stop at Bar la Fama at the Hotel Nacional
  • Join your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner

Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast this morning, depart for Havana. Visit the private home and art gallery of independent artist, Beatriz Santacana. Ms. Santacana’s works in ceramics, oils and sculpture are unique and exhibited in major cities throughout the world.

Visit the community project, Clave Sol, a cultural initiative program dedicated to teaching children how to play musical instruments. If Clave Sol is unavailable, another interesting community project will be provided.

Coconut taxis, Plaza de la Revolución

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. 

Continue on to stop at the Plaza de la Revolución, the most famous and politically most important square in Cuba and a fine example of the modern movement of architecture in the 1950’s. The square has witnessed many rallies and revolutions, which have altered the course of Cuban history. Here you'll view the 109-m tall tower and 18-m statue of José Martí.

Visit the famous Christopher Columbus Cemetery, a miniature city of mausoleums, crypts, family chapels, vaults, sculptures and ornate gravestones, which has been named a National Landmark. 

Hotel NacionalContinue on a panoramic tour of the urban area that lies west of Old Havana and shows the progression of the city over time: from a neighborhood along the city walls after its demolition, passing through the transitional Midtown (Centro Habana), to the extensive and more modern Vedado and Miramar neighborhoods. Stop at Bar la Fama at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, one of Havana’s most iconic, historical properties and enjoy a cocktail at the bar or on their beautiful outdoor terrace. 

Tonight, join your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner, served in a privately owned restaurant. Be sure to wear your dancing shoes as you enjoy live, traditional Cuban music and salsa dancing, reminiscent of the Buena Vista Social Club.

Day 7: Havana/Miami

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Transfer to the airport and board your flight back to Miami

Full Day Itinerary: Today, bid farewell to Cuba as you transfer to Havana's Jose Marti International Airport and check in for your flight back to Miami. ¡Adiós, Cuba! 

Note: Itinerary sequence and visits are subject to change based on local availability.

This itinerary provides a full time schedule of educational activities that will result in meaningful interactions between you and individuals in Cuba. U.S. law requires that all persons who participate in this program adhere to this full time schedule, and imposes on Friendly Planet the obligation to ensure such adherence.

Infrastructure in Cuba, including even the best hotels, may not always be up to U.S. standards. The hotels really do try to maintain quality accommodations, and in the properties we select for our tours, they generally do a good job. However, Cuba's resources and climate do sometimes impact a hotel's ability to keep up with maintenance and indoor air quality. For example, in Cuba's tropical climate, you might notice musty odors in some buildings, including hotels. We do our best to select the highest quality hotels, restaurants and paladars that Cuba has to offer, but we appreciate your flexibility and understanding when you encounter a minor imperfection. Cuba has a long way to go before its hotels, highways, public restrooms and other features reach U.S. levels, but all in all, you will not suffer any major difficulties in tolerating the small issues that may occur. If you have any medical or dietary concerns, however, please inform us when you make your reservation, so we can take whatever special precautions are required to assure your comfort and wellbeing.

Reviews

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We went on a tour to Cuba and have never been as well cared for on a trip as was done by Trish Oliveira. I hope you know what a treasure you have in her. She ensured our accommodations were perfect, answered myriad questions with patience and grace. The experience in Cuba was without equal. We will continue to book with your agency because of the excellence and professionalism at all parts of the booking and tour process. Please extend our gratitude to Trish and let he know that the Blums love her!

Lawrence Blum, Long Beach, CA

Things to Know

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