Authentic Havana & the Scenic Viñales Valley

Explore the magic and magnificent heritage of Cuba from the culture and communities of Havana to the spectacular vistas of the Viñales Valley

Overview

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Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of no more than 24 likeminded travelers (and often much fewer), escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures Group Size 16 travelers max
Themes History & Culture
Activity Level Moderate
What to Expect This fast-paced, escorted program includes a significant amount of walking or hiking, sometimes on uneven terrain and slippery terrain with the caves in Viñales, requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip.
Already booked? Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.

Package includes

  • Flights
  • Coach
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Non-stop round trip flights from Miami to Havana, including taxes and fees
  • Health insurance in Cuba, included in the cost of your airfare
  • U.S. Treasury Department, OFAC License Certification
  • Cuba Entrance Visa
  • 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 exchange program, including entrance fees
  • Friendly Planet Representative
  • Professional, English-speaking local guide, who will facilitate the exchanges with Cubans

Optional add-ons

  • Pre-Night stay in Miami
  • Post-Night stay in Miami
  • Casa Suite Upgrade in Havana (Very Limited: Call us for availability)

Why you'll love it

  • Gain an authentic, friendly Cuban experience by staying at a casa particular, located in a Centro Havana neighborhood.
  • Acquaint yourself with Old Havana on a walking tour through the lively streets.
  • Converse with locals about popular Cuban and American literature at the used booksellers market.
  • Learn how the leaves are grown, aged and rolled into world-famous cigars at a privately-owned tobacco farm.
  • Meet rural Cuban families and see how they live and work in the Viñales Valley, a region renowned for the cultivation of tobacco, cassava and taro.
  • Visit the community project, Clave Sol, a cultural initiative program dedicated to teaching children how to play musical instruments.
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. Go beneath the surface at the Indio 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 tours are still legal and compliant with recent changes in U.S. policy. Questions? See our Cuba FAQs.

Dates & Prices

Departure Dates & Prices

Departures & Prices, with flights
per person, double occupancy*
2019 DEPARTURES
Depart / Return Price
Departs: Tue, Nov 5, 2019
Returns: Mon, Nov 11, 2019
Nov 5 – Nov 11 $2999 Departed
Departs: Tue, Dec 3, 2019
Returns: Mon, Dec 9, 2019
Dec 3 – Dec 9 $2999 Closed
Departures & Prices, tour only
per person, double occupancy*
2019 DEPARTURES
Depart / Return Price
Departs: Tue, Nov 5, 2019
Returns: Mon, Nov 11, 2019
Nov 5 – Nov 11 $2649 Departed
Departs: Tue, Dec 3, 2019
Returns: Mon, Dec 9, 2019
Dec 3 – Dec 9 $2649 Closed

Options & Fees

Authentic Havana & the Scenic Viñales Valley
Rooming Selection1
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement +$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 +$100
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement +$100
Optional Post-Night Crowne Plaza Miami
Post-Night Crowne Plaza Miami, with breakfast +$100
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement +$100
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
New York City (NYC)

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.

This package offers round-trip flights from the cities listed above, subject to availability. 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

Itinerary

Day 1 Miami/Havana

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

Accommodations:El Encanto de Perseverancia Included meals:Dinner

Full Day Itinerary
El Capitolio, Old Havana

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

  • Walk through Old Havana, stopping at the used booksellers market
  • Enjoy lunch at a local paladar
  • Learn about Cuba's two currency system at a local ration store
  • Visit community projects, and an artist's studio in New Havana

Accommodations:El Encanto de Perseverancia Included meals:Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Used Booksellers Market, Old Havana

After breakfast this morning, 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.

After 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.

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

  • Take the small ferry to Regla across the bay
  • Tour a co-op OrganopĆ³nico community garden in Alamar
  • Enjoy lunch at a paladar in the fishing village of Cojimar
  • Stop at the Artisans Market and visit Fusterlandia

Accommodations:El Encanto de Perseverancia Included meals:Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Friendly Planet group, Cojimar

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.

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 "Organopónico," 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, the Organopónico facilitates community development and offer Alamar's residents access to fresh produce. Enjoy a visit to an Organopónico, 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.

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

  • Transfer to the scenic ViƱales Valley
  • Visit a family-owned tobacco farm
  • Enjoy an authentic lunch at the farm

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

Full Day Itinerary
Viñales Valley panorama

After breakfast this morning, depart for Finca Quemado de Rubi, one of Cuba's beautiful tobacco farms in the Pinar del Río province (approx. 3 hours). Tour the farm to learn about the work they do, and most importantly, their specialization in growing and harvesting the highest quality tobacco in the world.

Enjoy an authentic Cuban lunch at the farm.

After lunch you'll experience a cigar rolling demonstration and have the opportunity to taste Cuban rum and a Cuban cigar.

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

  • Meet rural Cuban families at a tobacco, cassava and taro farm
  • Enjoy lunch at a local farmhouse in the Valley

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

Full Day Itinerary
Tobacco farmer, Viñales Valley

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

Then explore the Indio Cave, or Cuevo del Indio, located on the banks of the San Vicente River. Take a boat ride through the cave and learn about the cave drawings from the first inhabitants of the land. Be sure to wear walking shoes or hiking boots for your journey into the caves to experience the stalagmites and stalactites, underground pools and other unique formations.

Enjoy lunch at a local farmhouse in the Valley.  

After lunch, return to town and discover more about Viñales with your guide.

Tonight, enjoy dinner at local paladar.

Day 6 Viñales & Havana

  • Return to Havana this morning
  • Visit a community project such as Clave Sol
  • Enjoy lunch at a local paladar
  • Stop by the workshop of artist Beatriz Santacana
  • Join your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner at a local paladar

Accommodations:El Encanto de Perseverancia Included meals:Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Hotel Nacional

After breakfast this morning, depart for Havana. 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.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. 

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.

Continue 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

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

Included meals:Breakfast

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 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.

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