Cuba itinerary: 10 or 14 days

Cuba is the biggest island of the Caribbean. From west to east, the country measures 1250 kilometers. So there is a lot to visit in Cuba! Most of Cuba's attractions are in the center or in the west of the island, and this is also where I focused most during my own tour of Cuba.

    oldtimer cuba

    You see oldtimers everywhere in Cuba! But still I couldn’t resist to make a pic with them…

    Travel to Cuba

    Cuba is a dream vacation for many tourists. Because communism is still very active here it’s sometimes difficult to know how easy it is to arrange a vacation to Cuba.
    I have to admit that I was a little anxious when traveling to this country, but once you get there everything really works out.

    Cuba is a vast and diverse country and you can travel here for a very long time. Still, I think you have plenty of time to get to know the gorgeous country with 10 days or two weeks.

    Cheap flights to Cuba

    This paradise island is ten hours or more flying from most of Europe. From the US it only takes two and a half to four hours to get here. Wherever you are, flights to Cuba don’t cost a fortune.
    To find cheap tickets, I recommend that you read this article. With these tips, you are guaranteed the lowest price for your tickets.

    Cheap flights from Europe to Cuba

    During my trip to Cuba I booked my flight tickets to Cuba via TuiFly. If you book a little in advance, you can find trips from €150 to €250! Not so expensive if you know you’re flying for over ten hours.
    Don’t forget that you also need a visa for a trip to Cuba. More information about this is available on the website of the Cuban Embassy of your country.

    Cheap flights from outside Europe to Cuba

    If you’re traveling to Cuba from a country outside of Europe, I encourage you to check flights with SkyScanner. These are my favorite flight search engines and they almost always find me the cheapest price.
    Please read this article on how to secure the cheapest flight possible.

    Hotels in Cuba

    It is very difficult to book accommodations in Cuba (Cubans don’t have internet widely accessible), but in tourist cities (Varadero and Havana) it is possible. Look for a limited offer on Trivago, Booking and AirBNB or search for a ‘Casa particular’ online.

    cuba itinerary - vinales

    One place you can’t skip is the gorgeous Viñales valley!

    Going to Cuba on your own or travel packages?

    Before you decide to go to the country of Fidel Castro, you need to decide if you are going on a group trip or traveling around individually.

    Both have their pros and cons, but the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your choice.
    A vacation to Cuba is a little strange. Online you can find a lot of info, but it’s a lot harder to book hotels, transport and trips in the Internet-free Cuba.
    I haven’t really encountered any difficulties to arrange something in Cuba, but I have to admit that the thought of not being able to plan things made me feel nervous at first.

    Travel tips for Cuba

    Before you buy a travel package to Cuba -or better yet, arrange it yourself-, I recommend to read these tips:

    • To travel around Cuba you use a Viazul bus or a taxi collectivo.
      Viazul is a public company that arranges tourist buses from one city to the next. Look for more information, destinations and rates on their website. These buses usually have to be booked in advance if you want to get a seat.
      A taxi collectivo is a shared taxi. After booking a spot, you will be picked up at your accommodation and taken along with some other tourists to your next destination. This form of transportation is a little less comfortable, but faster and you are dropped off right outside the door of your next accommodation. The price of a viazul bus and taxi collectivo is about the same.
    • Don’t try to visit too much. The distances in Cuba are big, and the roads aren’t always in optimal conditions. It’s better to see one less destination than to see another place but half.
    • Arrive and depart from Varadero. The flights to / from this destination are always cheaper.
    • Read this article on money and costs in Cuba thoroughly. Otherwise, you might not be able to get any money out of an ATM…

    My personal Cuba itinerary

    Do you want to plan your trip to Cuba yourself? Let me help you!
    What did my travel schedule look like, and what did my traveling through Cuba cost me in total? Read on and I’ll tell all of my secrets to you ?

    Day 1: Flying to Varadero

    For €150 ($170) you can fly from Brussels to Varadero (I flew to Havana, but Tui doesn’t offer this destination anymore). Ten hours later I arrived on Cuban territory.
    Chances are you are not from Belgium. But still, check the deals from Tui. From Europe it seems they offer the cheapest prices to Cuba.
    If you’re from outside Europe, I recommend to use Skyscanner.net as described in this article.
    After the flight there is still a passport and visa check before you can enter the country. Since Cuba uses a currency that is not recognized internationally, you need to exchange money right away. Be sure to review this article about money and costs in Cuba, so you will not have any unexpected issues when you’ve landed.

    If you have enough cash exchanged you can take a taxi to the center of Varadero. Don’t agree immediately with the price. Negotiation is a must in Cuba!

    After arriving at your hotel or casa particular you can have a nice swim at one of the beautiful beaches of Varadero. Relax at the snow-white beaches and the transparent seas. Perhaps you will even see some pelicans or wild dolphins!

    cuba itinerary varadero

    Sunset at Varadero! For me this is still one of the most gorgeous places in the Caribbean.

    Day 2, 3 & 4: Varadero

    Enjoy a short stay in Varadero. Just to rest. There isn’t much to see in Varadero, but the beautiful beaches and the soft sand are divine!

    varadero beach

    The beach of Varadero. A dream come true!

    Day 4, 5 & 6: Trinidad

    On day three you leave from Varadero to Trinidad. Get ready for an early departure, as it’s a very long ride! You must definitely count on five to six hours. The cost for this ride is 18 to 20 euros (20 to 25 USD) per person.

    Trinidad is one of my favorite cities in Cuba. The small, picturesque village is very authentic and there is not too much traffic that speeds through the streets.
    Every day, there are a lot of tourists visiting this city, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by them. Especially when it get’s a little later, you almost have the streets for yourself.

    cuba itinerary trinidad

    A must in every Cuba itinerary: Trinidad!

    Day 6 & 7: Cienfuegos

    From Trinidad you’ll arrive in Cienfuegos with a Viazul bus or taxi collectivo in less than two hours.

    There isn’t much to see in Cienfuegos, but it is a pleasant stopover anyhow. Head to the center of the city looking for beautiful artwork, or peek at the mighty colonial buildings.
    In the evening, I recommend going to the Malécon. The sunset in Cienfuegos is divine!

    cienfuegos cuba

    Cienfuegos is a pleasant stopover, but you shouldn’t spend too much time here.

    Day 7, 8, 9, 10: Viñales

    At day eight you have to leave early. The drive from Cienfuegos to Viñales takes about five hours. There are no Viazul buses for this route. So you have to count on a taxi collectivo this time.
    Along the way you will pass Havana, so you can also visit Havana first and afterwards get on to Viñales.

    The Viñales Valley was the favorite place of Fidel Castro. In this beautiful scenery, the famous Cuban cigar is rolled.
    The mountainous landscapes are a feast for the eyes. Explore more by arranging a day excursion. With the help of a horse you can see the tobacco plantations and the impressive caves of Viñales. For an excursion with horses you pay 5 CUC per hour, if you negotiate a little 3 CUC is (sometimes) accepted too.

    Viñales valley cuba

    Viñales is another place that you shouldn’t skip while traveling through Cuba. It’s famous for its cigars and beautiful nature!

    Day 10, 11, 12, 13: Havana

    On day 10, you say goodbye to what Mother Earth has to offer in Cuba. The Viazul bus or taxi collectivo takes you along winding roads, and just over two hours later you arrive in the bustling capital of Cuba.

    There is a lot to experience in this city, and the crowds will probably amaze you. Explore the historic center and the colonial past of Cuba. Be sure to walk along the Malécon and book a ride in one of Havana’s iconic old timers.

    colonial havana

    The colonial past of Havana is well kept throughout the city.

    Day 14: Flying back home

    You can fly from Havana directly to a lot of destinations, but flights from Varadero are usually cheaper. From Havana to Varadero you can arrange a taxi collectivo or take the Viazul bus. This will take you to Varadero Airport in about two hours.
    When you have a late departure time, you have enough time to enjoy the paradise beaches of Cuba for a last time.

    communism havana

    Communism is everywhere in Havana!

    Cuba itinerary for 10 days

    Not everyone has the luxury to spend two weeks in a foreign country. With 10 days, you still have a lot to discover in Cuba. I think this is a good itinerary:

    Day 1, 2 & 3: Arrival in Varadero

    After arriving in Varadero you can stay around for a few days. Get a tan and rest from the jet lag. The beaches of Varadero are inviting enough!
    The same goes for the 15-day itinerary: immediately switch some money to the local currency. Don’t forget to read this article carefully! Otherwise, you may be in trouble once you are in Cuba.

    varadero beach cuba

    Varadero, start and end of your Cuba itinerary.

    Day 4, 5, 6: Havana

    With a Viazul bus or a taxi collectivo you travel from Varadero to Havana. In about two hours you’ll arrive in the vibrant capital of Cuba.
    There is more than enough to see and do here for three days. Everything can be done on foot, and you can still take a taxi to do some sightseeing if you’d like.

    trips to cuba havana

    Certain people from the Cuban revolution still are national heroes until today!

    Day 6, 7, 8: Viñales

    On day six, I recommend going to the Viñales valley in the morning or afternoon. From Havana it’s a two to three hour ride to see this beautiful scenery.

    Keep it calm on day one. Enjoy the cozy village, the beautiful surroundings and the delicious food. Almost daily there are also some markets where you can find beautiful souvenirs.

    You can arrange a getaway for the next day: an excursion to the Viñales tobacco plantations. That can be done on foot or with the help of a horse. Per hour you pay 3 to 5 CUC.

    cuban cigar vinales valley

    Soon these leaves will be turned into delicious Cuban cigars!

    Day 9 & 10: Havana or Varadero and return home

    On day 9, it’s time to return to the Cuban capital or to go straight to Varadero. This depends on where you take your return flight.
    Varadero is usually cheaper, but it’s two hours more driving.

    How do you want to end your vacation through Cuba? In the midst of the sultry Cuban culture in Havana, or on a paradise Caribbean beach? The choice is yours!

    Map of my trip through Cuba

    Does my (14 day) itinerary for Cuba sound interesting? With this handy map, you’ll see how many hours you’re traveling and how many miles you’re driving. I already told you before: Cuba is huge!

    Total cost of my individual tour of Cuba

    I always try to travel very cheaply. Sometimes this takes away a little comfort and often I sleep in shared rooms. In addition, prices change constantly. As a result, the costs may be slightly more or less.

    This is what I paid for my self-planned trip by Cuba in two weeks:

    Flight Tickets:

    • Brussels to Varadero and back: €320 ($358)

    Varadero:

    • Accommodation: 3 nights in a casa particular: €75 ($84)
    • Transport Varadero to Trinidad: €18 ($20)

    Total Varadero: €93 ($104)

    Trinidad:

    • Accommodation: 2 nights in a casa particular: €40 ($45)
    • Transport Trinidad to Cienfuegos: €5 ($5,5)

    Total Trinidad: €45 ($50,5)

    Cienfuegos:

    • Accommodation: 1 night in a casa particular: €20 ($22)
    • Transport Cienfuegos to Viñales: €30 ($34)

    Total Cienfuegos: €50 ($56)

    Viñales:

    • Accommodation: 2 nights in a casa particular: €40 ($45)
    • Excursion to the tobacco plantations: €20 ($22)
    • Transport Viñales to Havana: €11 ($12)

    Total Viñales: €71 ($79)

    Havana:

    • Accommodation: 4 nights in a casa particular: €80 ($90)
    • Transport Havana to Varadero Airport: €9 ($10)

    Total Havana: €89 ($100)

    Total accommodations, flights and transport: €668 ($747,5)

    In addition, of course, there is also the price for food and drink, any extra excursions, souvenirs and taxis.
    To go out to dinner you can spend as much as you like. For good food that remains affordable, you pay an average of €10 ($11), usually less. Especially in Havana and Varadero eating out can get quite expensive. If you take €10 ($11) as an average, for 14 days it becomes €140 ($154).
    Add some money for taxis as well: €50 ($56) should be enough.

    For a 14 day trip through Cuba I paid a total of €858 ($961).

    Not too expensive! But I would like to remind you that I always stayed in cheaper accommodation, visited the less expensive restaurants and arranged almost no excursions. But if you like a bit more luxury, a trip to Cuba will not be very expensive either way if you decide to plan it yourself.

    cuba old timer

    Everywhere in Cuba you can see these gorgeous oldtimers!

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      Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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      1. We had an interesting experience in Trinidad this year on a family trip to Cuba. The shopkeeper returned us change in their national pesos instead of CUCs. This meant it was more than 20x less. Being from Europe I noticed this 2 hours later and returned to the shop. After a short chat in my broken Spanish with ladies in the shop, they understood the problem and returned us the CUCs. The Cuban people are really nice.

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