It was on the list of destinations to be visited for a few years, so we decided that this year we will not delay it anymore and by September 2017, looking at www.fly4free.com flights to Cuba, we found, even better, a cruise offer from Venice to Havana. It was a Transatlantic 21 days cruise, for which we paid 900 euro/person for the sea-view cabin with MSC Armonia that had the following itinerary:
On December 19th, we arrived in Havana and spent a total of 3 weeks in beautiful Cuba.
Initially, we would have liked to explore the entire island, to reach the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa, but our route was interrupted by the decision to celebrate the 2018 New Year’s Eve in Havana and then it would have been too fast ahead and tiring the road up to Santiago de Cuba.
The route and places we visited were as follows:
- Havana, 5 days, the city we loved enormously!
We traveled the big city in the long and wide, exploring the Havana Vieja, the tourist area and beautifully landscaped with many rehabilitated buildings, the central area (Central Havana) where we stayed, which sometimes looks like a ghetto, but where you have a lot of affordable options for food and shops and contrary to it appearances it is very safe all day and night. We liked the Vedado and Miramar areas and for the evening we definitely recommend you a visit to the Fabrica de Arte Cubano.
- Vinales and the whole Pinal de Río area, 7 days.
Valle de Vinales is a picturesque place to visit for the famous Mogote. In Vinales now 99% of the homes are converted into casas particulares and where it was a bit too touristy for our taste.
From Vinales we rented a scooter for 5 days (costing 18 cuc / day) and we did what everyone recommended us not to do, that is, we went on the worst and isolated roads to reach Maria la Gorda, the most western point and then back. The road trip was not lacking in a small fall and a few scratches, but all the adventure was definitely worth it. Just a few hours away from Vinales we recommend you a visit to Cayo Jutias, a paradise beach! It is a must!
In Maria la Gorda we went especially for the diving, being one of the best places for such a thing in Cuba at a price of 45 cuc / person for a 1h immersion.
- Havana, 2 days to celebrate the 2018 New Year
- Varadero, 2 days. A peninsula full of all-inclusive resorts, the beach is superb but we had 2 days of gloomy weather, so we couldn’t enjoy the most beautiful beach in Cuba fully. If you do not go there with an all-inclusive package at a hotel, you will need to stay in the Varadero or Santa Marta area, and then head to the beach with public access (outside the resorts) of the Varadero Peninsula.
- Santa Clara, 2 days. Not touristic at all, the city of Che, is worth visiting at least for a day. We recommend a visit to Che Guevara’s mausoleum and the adjacent museum. From there, you can visit Remedios and the beautiful Cayo Santa Marta beach, we went to Remedios with a local bus for a super cheap price that had the final destination Cayo Santa Clara, but it was a gloomy day, so we visited only the little city of Remedios.
- Sancti Spiritus, 2 days. The most non-touristic place we’ve been to in this trip, and a city that we really enjoyed. We were almost the only tourists there. Good food and pricing for the locals, all in cup(Moneda national), we ate even with 1 CUC (=1 $) for the main dish! State-owned restaurants are good and you will pay in cup (national currency) and a dish is around 20 pesos, bringing 0.80 cents. Coffee costs 1 pesos = 0.03 cents!
- Trinidad, 3 days. Nice, we liked the city center with cobbled streets and colonial buildings, but we did not like the fact that it was invaded by tourists and, consequently, the most expensive city in Cuba. One day we went to Playa Ancon, just 20km from Trinidad and the perfect spot for a day trip to the beach.
- Cienfuegos, 1 day. The city is unexpectedly beautiful and accessible, with countless things to see and do, and where we felt sorry for not having more time and staying only 1 day. From Cienfuegos we traveled by train to Havana, more to try this mode of transport, after having traveled with almost all possible means of transport then (Viazul bus, American car taxi, local bus, whip taxi, taxi colectivo , camionetas). It cost 11 pesos / person = 0.80 cents !! But the trip lasted 12 hours for a distance of 300km. Video here
- Havana, 1 day, before flying to México City
We invite you to watch our video vlogs of every day of the trip to Cuba here.
Have you been to Cuba? Let us know your itinerary and your favorite places!