The ideal road trip route for your 20-day Cuba impact trip
- Travel with a positive impact
- Stay in cozy casas particulares
- Relax on white-sand beaches
- Travel in your own rental car
During this 20-day Cuba travel adventure you will cross the entire island at a relaxed pace. You will begin your journey in Havana, a miracle of colonial architecture. Afterwards you’ll visit the center of the cigar industry, Viñales. Afterwards you will return to Havana, trade in your rental car and head off to the white-sand beaches of Playa Girón. After taking a few days to relax you’ll head down to colonial Trinidad. Via Camaguey you will then continue to Santiago de Cuba. In this city you will learn everything about the revolution and Fidel Castro. Before your last few days of relaxing on the beaches of Guardalavaca you will go to Baracoa, where Columbus first set foot. Here you will find different bays where you can enjoy some local food and sun.
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What is impact travel?
Better Places Travel is a social enterprise and certified B Corp. This means that we are committed to making a social impact above making a profit. As a social enterprise we find it important that the people in the countries we work with fully profit from tourism. This means, for example, that the people we work with receive a fair wage and have decent working hours and conditions. For you as traveller it means you’ll often stay in small-scale, locally owned hotels and accommodations and take part in local excursions that offer you a truly authentic experience. We also invest a portion of our profits in various social and environmental projects.
Route Cuba Impact Trip
- Day 1-3: Havana
- Day 4-5: Viñales
- Day 6-7: Playa Girón
- Day 8-10: Trinidad
- Day 11: Camaguey
- Day 12-13: Santiago de Cuba
- Day 14-16: Baracoa
- Day 17-20: Guardalavaca
Share your travel wishes with Julio and he will send you a tailor-made proposal
Day 1 – Arrival in Havana and beginning of your self-drive Cuba travel adventure
After arriving at the airport in Havana you will be picked up and brought to your first accommodation. The rest of the day you will have the time to recover from your flight and enjoy a mojito.
Day 2 – Havana
Today you will take a short tour of the city in one of the beautiful vintage cars and stroll to the most interesting sights in Cuba under the guidance of a local guide. The old city is a miracle of colonial architecture. Streets are filled with tasteful old-style houses. Public squares are dotted with palm trees and terraces where you can enjoy a beverage or a bite to eat. You can smell the incense burning in colonial churches, hear the live trumpet music streaming out of the cafes and watch people drinking rum everywhere.
Day 3 – Havana
Today you can visit the old Spanish fort, Plaza de la Revolución and the Capitolio. You can also go on a bike tour or take a salsa class. Have you been to Ernest Hemingway’s bar? Here you can grab a Cuban mojito in La Floridita. You can also go on an optional excursion and discover the city in a vintage car.
Day 4 – Havana to Viñales
Today you will travel in your own rental car to Viñales, the center of Cuba’s famous cigar industry. A short drive through the landscape of the Piñar del Rio province will take you to Soroa, located in the beautiful Sierra del Rosario mountains. You can also stop at Las Terrazas, a protected nature reserve. Viñales is located in a green valley from which endless limestone ‘mojotes’ break out.
Day 5 – Viñales
Viñales is a small town that consists mostly of wooden houses with verandas. Today you will take a tour of the tobacco fields with a local guide. Tobacco is harvested here between the months of October and March. In the casas de tobacco, the sheds with the sloping palm roofs, you can see the tobacco leaves being hung out to dry.
Day 6 – Viñales to Playa Girón
You will now trade in the green valleys for the white-sand beaches of Playa Girón.
Playa de Girón is a popular spot, mostly for local tourists. However, foreign tourists come here too. The vegetation doesn’t stop until it’s below sea level, creating a colourful scene as it meets the red sand and blue water. Here you can go diving, take a boat trip or try your hand at aquatic sports.
Day 7 – Playa Girón
Discover the famous bay of Pigs with the best beaches the Caribbean coast has to offer when it comes to diving and snorkeling. The marine life here is also worth a visit with its colourful coral reef. At the Playa de Girón you can also visit the Museo Girón. This museum is completely dedicated to the invasion in 1961 of the Bay of Pigs. The museum has two rooms full of objects and pictures of the invasion.
Day 8 – Playa Girón to Trinidad
Today you will travel to Trinidad, one of Cuba’s oldest cities. Nowhere else will you experience the colonial past as much as here. The city’s old centre is basically an open-air museum full of pastel-coloured colonial houses with green patios and tall wooden doors and windows. Ponies and donkeys pull carriages through the cobblestone streets. At night you can have dinner at one of the many cute restaurants and listen to live music.
Day 9 – Trinidad
Today you will take a bike tour through the city in a bici-taxi. You will explore the lively outer neighbourhoods of Trinidad and pass schools, tobacco and cigar factories and ceramic workshops. This alternative route through Trinidad is a nice addition to the popular highlights and gives a more comprehensive view of the Cuban lifestyle. We certainly recommend you take this tour to complete your Cuba travel experience.
Day 10 – Trinidad
Another day to explore Trinidad! Today you can stroll through the cobblestone streets past markets and galleries, or visit the Museo Romántico, an old house previously the property of a family that became wealthy through trade in sugarcane. The museum gives a good impression of the wealth of the sugarcane barons of that time.
Day 11 – Trinidad to Camaguey
In between the sugarcane plantations, cattle farms and the valleys, where the Cuban ‘vaqueros’, or cowboys roam, lies the lively town of Camaguey. Explore the streets, squares and patios and you will quickly discover that the city is built in a very winding manner. This was done to make invasions by pirates more difficult. The chosen mode of transportation in this city is the bici-taxi. We recommend you take a tour in it!
Day 12 – Camaguey to Santiago de Cuba
Today you will go from Camaguey to Santiago de Cuba. The route will take you through the plains surrounding Camaguey and to the mountains near Santiago de Cuba. As with every trip, you’ll be amazed at how much the landscape can change.
Day 13 – Santiago de Cuba
Santiago is where the people rallied for the first time against the Spanish. But it is also the place where the Fidel Castro revolution began. Since then it seems like time has stood still here. It’s like you stepped into a time machine with all the neon lights, vintage cars and little streets. Santiago has lively streets where you can always find bands playing in bars. Visit the Museo de la Lucha Clandestina and learn everything about the rebellion and the revolution.
Day 14 – Santiago de Cuba to Baracoa
The drive from Santiago de Cuba to Baracoa is a varied one. You will drive over the ‘farola’, the famous road built in the 60’s to connect Baracoa to the rest of Cuba. On the way you will see street vendors selling all kinds of delicious local food. You will drive through the only desert on Cuba and along the south coast of the Guantanamo province. If you look properly, you can see Guantanamo Bay and the American base as you drive by.
Day 15 – Baracoa
Baracoa lies between the cacao and coconut plantations and is surrounded by bays. The old city centre will give you a glimpse into traditional Cuba. On the verandas of old colonial houses you will see old ladies knitting, there is lively music coming from the open windows and vintage American cars drive around everywhere. Visit the central square at night and dance to the live music.
Day 16 – Baracoa
Not just the centre of Baracoa is worth a visit. The village also has a beautiful beach. After a refreshing dive you can walk along the coast or read a book in the shade of a palm tree. The sand is pearly white, and the waters are crystal clear.
Day 17 – Baracoa to Guardalavaca
Today you will go on to Guardalavaca. A paradise on the northern coast of Cuba. In roughly four hours you will drive from Baracoa to Guardalavaca. You can enjoy some pleasant sights along the way.
Day 18 & 19 – Guardalavaca
These last few days you will stay in Guardalavaca in a four-star hotel to relax. Guardalavaca is a popular destination for beach lovers. The seawater is crystal clear, and the beach has fine sands. There is also a coral reef where you can snorkel. Surrounding the beach there is colourful tropical vegetation.
Day 20 – End of your Cuba holiday
Today marks the end of your Cuba travel experience. Take in the last of the 1950’s scenery before you leave to go to the airport.
Tour Havana in a classic car
With an authentic vintage car you will drive past Havana’s most interesting spots. You will see the Parque Central, the Paseo del Prado, the Avenida del Puerto, Fortalezas de Havana Vieja, a rum museum, the train station, Plaza de la Revolución and the statue of John Lennon. Of course, you will make plenty of stops for pictures.
Stay in casas particulares
It’s getting increasingly popular to stay with local Cuban people instead of in hotels during your Cuba travels. You can compare a stay in a casa particular to a bed and breakfast. A stay in a casa particular will add another dimension to your holiday as you will get a much better view of the life of the Cubans. An added bonus is that the local people benefit from your stay.
Stroll through tobacco fields
Take a stroll under the guidance of a local tobacco farmer. This farmer will tell you all about the cigar-making process. You will also get to know more about the religion, habits and common practices in the rural areas. You can also opt to discover the area on horseback.
Trinidad bike tour
Bike through the city in a so-called bici-taxi. With this tour you will also visit the lively outer-neighbourhoods of the city. You will pass tobacco factories, ceramic workshops and cigar factories. You’ll try different kinds of fruit and a drink made from sugar cane. This alternative route through Trinidad gives you a good image of Cuban life.
A better future thanks to tourism
Tourism in Cuba has developed greatly in the last few years. This is a great opportunity for the local people who can benefit from the tourists. This is why more and more people are welcoming tourists into their homes, the casas particulares. This is a type of accommodation which we heartily encourage at Better Places Travel. Not only does it provide you with an authentic experience during your travels in Cuba, it also ensures a better living standard for the locals.
Dine with locals
Since a few years ago, it is now legal for Cubans to open a paladar, or living-room restaurant, in their own homes. You can find them in every city, and more and more are turning up all over Cuba. You can dine deliciously here, and the food is made with love. Also, by dining here you are directly supporting the local economy.
Share your travel wishes with Julio and he will send you a tailor-made proposal
Sustainable Development Goals
At the end of 2015, the United Nations set up 17 global goals to bring an end to poverty, inequality and climate change: the Sustainable Development Goals. These goals set guidelines to make the world a better place for everyone. At Better Places Travel, we believe that by travelling in a responsible way, tourism can make the world a better place. The great thing about responsible travel? Making the world a better place is goes hand-in-hand with making memories and having unique and authentic travel experiences. Want to know how you can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals while travelling? Click here to learn more.
Book a Direct Flight
By booking a direct flight you significantly reduce the CO2 emissions of your trip. And that’s just one of the many reasons to choose for a non-stop flight. Read more
We strive to make all our trips plastic-free by 2020. This means no more use of single-use plastic bottles. As a traveller you will on average use 15 water bottles per person in one week! This leads to a large amount of plastic waste, which unfortunately often ends up in the sea. Have a look at our many practical tips on how to reduce your plastic waste while travelling. Read more
Better Places Travel compensates the CO2 emissions of your entire trip, including the international flight you book separately. We use an award-winning carbon calculator to accurately compensate for all parts of your trip. We do this by investing in a Gold Standard project for efficient cooking appliances in Ghana. Read more