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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


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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.
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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!

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.

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

  • Enjoy 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.
  • Tour a privately-owned tobacco farm and learn how the leaves are grown, aged and rolled into world-famous cigars.
  • 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.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Miami/Havana

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

El Encanto de Perseverancia Dinner

Full Day Itinerary
El Capitolio, Old Havana

¡Bienvenidos a La Habana! Upon arrival to Cuba's capital city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, you are welcomed by our 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 in to the casa, and enjoy a welcome drink. Then have some time to rest a bit or take a stroll to the nearby Malecon before dinner.

This evening enjoy your welcome dinner at a local paladar (privately-owned restaurant).

Day 2 Old Havana

  • Walk through Old Havana, including stops at the used bookseller’s market, Hotel Ambos Mundos (Ernest Hemingway’s first home in Havana), and at various private enterprises to engage with and support Cuba’s growing private business sector
  • Meet with staff at Clandestina, Cuba’s first online clothing retailer
  • Enjoy lunch at a local paladar
  • Visit an artist’s private studio
  • Step into Cuba’s world of dance with a private demonstration and lesson

El Encanto de Perseverancia Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Used Booksellers Market, Old Havana

After breakfast, take a guided leisurely walk through the labyrinthian streets of Old Havana. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors of Cuba while walking along the cobblestone streets. 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. Stop at Hotel Ambos Mundos, Ernest Hemingway’s first home in Cuba, and learn about his strong connection to Cuba and its culture. 

Among the private businesses you'll discover during your walk, Clandestina, is one shop that is making plenty of waves both in Cuba and abroad.  Founded by Idania del Río and Leire Fernández, two creative, entrepreneurial women who believe in a sustainable, fair and ethical fashion industry. Clandestina is the country’s first online clothing retailer and has even appeared as a pop-up store in New York. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at a local paladar, or private restaurant. 

Visit the private studio of one of Cuba's talented independent artists. During your visit, learn different techniques of some of Cuba’s most popular and contemporary artistic styles, such as printmaking, sculpture or other art forms from innovative Cuban artists and their teams.  

Step into Cuba’s world of music and dance with a private dance class just for us. First, experience Cuba’s most traditional dances through a demonstration by your talented and personable teachers. Engage with them about the importance of music and dancing to life here in Cuba. Then, stand right up and participate with them to learn the basic steps for yourself. 

Return to the casa and enjoy dinner on your own. We recommend dining at a paladar for a delicious Cuban dinner. Choose one from the list we provide, or ask your guide for any additional recommendations.

Day 3 Havana, Cojimar, Guanabacoa & Lawton

  • Travel to Cojimar, the local fishing village that was the setting for Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea
  • Participate in a traditional Cuban cooking class experience, from gathering ingredients from a local "organopónico" organic garden, to putting them to use in the kitchen (and bar) itself
  • Learn about Afro-Cuban culture with private enterprise Beyond Roots in Guanabacoa
  • Visit an inspiring community project, such as Muraleando
  • Stop at the independent Artisan’s Market

El Encanto de Perseverancia Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Friendly Planet group, Cojimar

This morning drive to the quaint fishing village of Cojimar, which served as the setting for Ernest Hemingway’s masterpiece The Old Man and the Sea

Learn the secrets of the Cuban kitchen by taking part in a traditional Cuban cooking class experience. Begin your experience by meeting the staff of the paladar Café Ajiaco, who will take you on your culinary journey today. First, stop at the paladar’s “organopónico” (organic garden) to see where their products and ingredients grow. Pick some for yourself and bring them back to the restaurant to help elaborate your dishes. Learn from the experienced chefs of Café Ajiaco as they take you through the process of making some of Cuba’s most delicious traditional food, and even learn to prepare an authentic Cuban mojito along the way.

Enjoy lunch courtesy of your morning cooking activity at the paladar Café Ajiaco. 

Visit the municipality of Guanabacoa, a town known very well for its deeply-rooted traditions and connections to the Afro-Cuban culture. Get a first-hand look into a temple dedicated to Afro-Cuban religion, and learn about the religion and culture through an educational and dynamic conversation led by members of Beyond Roots, a private organization that celebrates and educates others about Afro-Cuban heritage and culture in Cuba. 

This afternoon visit Muraleando, where art, music and community spirit have transformed a once-drab neighborhood into one of beauty and color.  See garden sculptures, paintings, mosaics and all types of recycled materials that have been transformed into stunning and colorful artwork. It is remarkable to see how the project’s beautiful murals have literally resurrected the neighborhood's appearance and pride. The center also provides free workshops for the community including voice lessons, drumming, dance classes, ceramic art, painting, cinematography and much more.  Muraleando helps to inspire and cultivate artistic skills in children from the entire neighborhood and has won awards in Cuba for being the most effective community project in the country.

Stop at Havana’s independent Artisans Market, where you will be able to engage with local private artisan stands, and find plenty of souvenirs, including handicrafts, posters and other collectibles.

Day 4 Havana & Viñales

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

Hotel E Central Viñales Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Viñales Valley panorama

Depart for Finca Quemado de Rubi, one of Cuba's beautiful tobacco farms in the Pinar del Río province (approx. 3 hours). Tour the family farm to learn about their specialization in growing and harvesting the highest quality tobacco in the world. Then have 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, perfectly paired with their authentic and natural flavors. 

Continue on to Viñales Valley with a brief stop at the viewpoint of the Jazmines to enjoy the beautiful view of the valley. The panoramic view will take your breath away!

Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.  

Day 5 Viñales

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

Hotel E Central Viñales Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Tobacco farmer, Viñales Valley

Today, experience the impressive landscape of this area on a walking tour and see how tobacco, cassava and taro are grown. Visit a farm and meet rural Cuban families to get an authentic glimpse into their daily work and life in the Cuban countryside. 

Explore the Cuevo del Indio (Indian Cave), 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 natural pools and other unique formations.

After lunch at local farmhouse in the Valley, return to town and discover more about the history and culture of the town of Viñales with your guide. 

Dinner is on your own tonight, we recommend dining at a local paladar. 

Day 6 Viñales & Havana

  • Return to Havana this morning
  • Experience the future of Cuban acrobatics with the children’s community project Angeles del Futuro
  • Have lunch at a local paladar
  • Stop by the workshop of artist Beatriz Santacana
  • Explore modern Havana; stop at a famous Havana plaza and bar
  • Take a ride in a classic American convertible to tour picturesque Havana in style
  • Join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at a local paladar

El Encanto de Perseverancia Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Hotel Nacional

After breakfast this morning, depart for Havana. 

Experience the future of Cuban acrobatics with a meet-and-greet and show from the incredibly talented Angeles del Futuro. This community project trains children in the art of circus acrobatics in the municipality of Marianao, a short drive outside of the city center. The director, coaches, volunteers, and parents all work together as a team to provide the training, costumes, and equipment free of charge to the children and their families. It is truly a project that supports Cubans, their dreams, and the arts. Watch an example of the circus show and see for yourselves the talent of these kids – and after the show, get to know these young acrobats themselves. 

After lunch, visit the private home and art gallery of independent artist, Beatriz Santacana. Ms. Santacana’s unique works in ceramics, oils and sculpture are exhibited in Cuba as well as 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 one of Havana’s most iconic, historical properties and enjoy a cocktail at the bar or on their beautiful outdoor terrace.

Return to your casa to rest before dinner.

Travel back in time by taking a tour in one of Havana’s classic American cars. You will get some picturesque views of Havana from your incredibly-maintained automobile, and arrive to dinner in style. 

Tonight, join your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner at one of our favorite paladars. 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


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.


El Encanto de Perseverancia

More information

Hotel E Central Viñales
Tourist Class

The Hotel E Central Viñales is situated in the heart of Viñales. This charming hotel is distinguished by its colonial architecture, a reflection of the town’s heritage. Its privileged location allows easy access to the main square, Parochial Church, Polo Montañez cultural center, art gallery, and the Culture House – a former Spanish colony, among other attractions.Each of the hotel’s 23 rooms are equipped with individually-controlled air-conditioning, satellite TV, telephone, coffee maker, minibar, and private bathroom with hair dryer. Breakfast is served daily in the lounge, Amanecer. Enjoy an afternoon beverage at Carretero, the lobby bar.

More information

In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.

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