10 days in Cuba is the perfect amount of time to discover one of the most beautiful and relatively untouched countries in Latin America.
With doors wide open to tourism now, it’s on most people’s radars and rapidly becoming a popular tourist destination!
Cuba offers a mecca of awesome things to do that are worth adding to your Cuba itinerary such as stepping back in time in Old Town Havana, cycling through the tobacco valleys in Viñales, snorkeling and scuba diving in the Bay Of Pigs, relaxing on white-sand beaches in Trinidad, hiking to waterfalls in Sierra del Escambray and much more.
I have put together this complete guide based on my 10 Day Multi-Sport trip around the country with Cuban Adventures, the most reputable tour company in Cuba.
This Cuba in 10 days tour includes an airport arrival transfer, 8 nights accommodation in guesthouses with air-conditioned rooms and ensuite bathrooms, 1-night camping in a tent, all transport in a private air-conditioned minibus, all breakfasts, 1 dinner and 2 lunches, cycling excursion in Viñales Valley and a 2-day trek in Sierra del Escambray.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
The tour doesn’t include international flights to and from Havana, visa fees, travel insurance, meals, and drinks (except for the ones included), tips, optional activities, or airport departure transfer.
Click Here to visit the Cuban Adventures website for more details.
10 DAYS IN CUBA OVERVIEW
- Day 1: Arrival in Havana
- Day 2 & 3: Viñales
- Day 4: Bay Of Pigs
- Day 5: Bay Of Pigs & Trinidad
- Day 6 & 7: Sierra del Escambray
- Day 8: Trinidad
- Day 9: Santa Clara & Havana
- Day 10: Havana & Departure
DAY 1: HAVANA
Day 1 of the 10 day Cuba itinerary with Cuban Adventures is set aside for travelers to arrive in Havana and spend the first night in a guesthouse in the old town. An airport pick-up will be arranged for you making the transition from the airport to the guesthouse hassle-free and at no extra cost.
If you arrive in Havana during the day you have free time to stretch your legs and explore the old town on foot or take a ride in a classic convertible around town to some of Havana’s hotspots such as Faro Castillo del Morro, Malecon boulevard, Revolution Square, Havana Centro and more!
Once everyone has arrived and checked in, there will be a meeting with a tour guide from Cuban Adventures at the guesthouse around 7:00 pm. It’s a brief meeting to greet your fellow travelers, fill in some forms and get a rundown of the 10 days Cuba itinerary. After some blah blah blah, a group dinner at an inexpensive restaurant in Old Town will be arranged which is optional.
Plaza Cathedral – Intinerary for Cuba
Faro Castillo del Morro
Cruising through Old Town Havana
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
La Bodeguita Del Medio
Vintage cars in Havana
DAY 2: VINALES
The following day is the official start of this epic Cuba in 10 days itinerary beginning with a hearty breakfast at the guesthouse, another brief meeting at around 9:00 am, and then straight on to a private minibus to make the 3-hour drive west of Havana to the beautiful region of Vinales.
Vinales is an adventurer’s dream with many outdoor activities on offer to keep you entertained. Some fun-fuelled adventures to be had in Vinales include horseback riding, hiking, cycling through the valley, rock climbing, zip-lining, exploring incredible cave systems, and much more!
We arrived around lunchtime and made a quick stop to take some photos at an incredible viewpoint overlooking Vinales Valley and the town. The sweeping views of distant limestone cliffs and vast tobacco plantations below are utterly awe-inspiring!
Continuing on, we drove down into the main town and checked in to our guesthouses just two blocks back from the main square. We then had a couple of hours of free time to wander around the town and grab some lunch.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive restaurant and bar in Vinales I can recommend El Bily for 2.50 CUC cocktails and 2.25 CUC for a burger. If you’re not a fan of burgers, they have a wide range of other local and western dishes available.
Viñales Valley viewpoint – Cuba in 10 days
Sweeping views of Viñales
Main street in Viñales
In the afternoon, our guide Natalia took us all on a moderate 2-hour walk through Vinales Valley just on the outskirts of town. We walked through vast fields of tobacco plantations and stopped at a number of farmhouses along the way.
At one of the farmhouses, Natalia knew the old couple that lived there so they invited us all into their home. The woman of the house brewed up some freshly ground coffee while the husband demonstrated the art of rolling a cigar. We sat around the table sipping on delicious coffee and puffing on the best Cuban cigar you could imagine. A haze of smoke instantly filled the room! It was an incredible experience that I will not soon forget.
The adventure continued through the valley passing by more tobacco farmers working the land with their oxes and bare hands. One farmer we came across didn’t look a day over 65 but apparently, he was 80 years of age.
I kindly asked to take his photo and after he handed me a cigar out of his top pocket. Only in Cuba right!
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Afternoon hike in Viñales
Tobacco fields in Viñales Valley
Local tobacco farmer – Itinerary for Cuba
Home-brewed coffee – Things to do in Cuba
The art of Cuban cigar rolling
Local farmer and his cattle
Hiking in Viñales
One of my favorite portraits
Beautiful landscapes in Viñales Cuba
The last leg of the walk in Vinales Valley took us up into a small cave and tunnel that is naturally carved out of limestone rock. Using our phone lights as torches, we walked from one end of the cave to the other in less than 2 minutes. When we reached the other side, the sun had already begun to set so we made the 30-minute walk back to town.
Another optional group dinner at the top-rated tapas bar in Vinales is arranged, followed by live music and drinks at the local outdoor nightclub across the road from the main plaza. If you’re keen on a boogie or interested to see how Cubans enjoy a night out, this is the best place to experience exactly that.
Safe to say that day 2 was an incredible start to the Cuba 10 days itinerary and things were just getting started!
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The cave in the mountainside
Light at the end of the tunnel
Beautiful afternoon in Viñales
DAY 3: VIÑALES
Another full day in Viñales on this 10 days in Cuba to explore Viñales Valley but this time by bicycle! We set off from our guesthouses around 9:00 am to meet our tour guide, got geared up with some mountain bikes, and made tracks out of town to the trailhead.
We spent around 3 hours riding in and around Vinales Valley with numerous rest stops to rehydrate, enjoy the sweeping views of the landscapes, and interact with the local farmers.
The pincushion limestone mountains in Vinales Valley remind me of the landscapes in the Philippines, more specifically Coron. In fact, there are only four countries in the world that play home to these limestone mountains and they are Cuba, Porto Rico, the Philippines, and Vietnam. So if you have been to either of these countries, you’ll know what I am talking about.
Cycling in Viñales Valley
Multi-tasking in Viñales Valley
Time to rehydrate
Insane views along the way
Cycling in Viñales
Great day for it
For eats, an optional group lunch is arranged at an Eco Farm in Vinales for just 10 CUC. Some of the dishes available are vegetarian, grilled fish, chicken, shredded beef, or pork, all of which come complete with a fresh garden salad and bread.
The afternoon of day 3 on this 10-day Cuba tour is free time to do one of the adventurous activities on offer such as horseback riding, caving, zip-lining, or a visit to the popular hotel on the outskirts of town which boasts an outdoor swimming pool and sweeping views of the valley.
In the evening, there are several great restaurants to choose from along the main street, with live music, tapas food, cheap drinks, and good times!
Hotel with sweeping views
DAY 4: BAY OF PIGS
A bit of an early start to kick things off on day 4 of this 10-day itinerary Cuba, making tracks east from Viñales all the way to the Bay Of Bigs, more specifically Playa Giron for one night. The journey takes around 7 hours on the bus, stopping every couple of hours to stretch the legs, use the bathroom and grab a coffee.
When we reached the coastline, we made a short stop at a beautiful beach for 1 hour and 30 minutes to go snorkeling along the reef and to also visit a cenote. Snorkeling gear can be rented for as little as 5 CUC (which includes mask, snorkel, and fins) and entry to the cenote is free.
Firstly, I went to check out the cenote which is set back in the forest just 100 meters from the beach featuring a large natural swimming hole and a small cafeteria on one side.
The water is clean and a perfect temperature to go for a dip. It’s around 70 meters deep which is quite impressive and similar to the cenotes in Tulum, Mexico.
Cenote in the Bay Of Pigs
Great spot for a swim
After a quick dip in the cenote, I headed across the road to the beach for some snorkeling. The clarity of the water was incredible and there were schools and schools of colorful fishes swimming around just beneath the surface. I am super glad we got to stop at the beach here to break up the 7-hour drive from Viñales.
Continuing on for a further one-hour drive to Giron, we checked into our guesthouses upon arrival and went down to Playa Giron to watch the sunset over the ocean. Unfortunately, the skies were grey and we didn’t get much of a sunset but we enjoyed a couple of beers down on the shoreline.
Optional group dinner at a local restaurant is organized otherwise you are free to eat at the guesthouse or find another restaurant around town.
Bay Of Pigs
Popular spot for scuba diving
DAY 5: BAY OF PIGS & TRINIDAD
Another half-day is spent in the Bay Of Pigs on day 5 of this Cuba tour before continuing on to Trinidad in the afternoon.
You have the option of heading to the beach for a swim, going scuba diving out on the reef, or taking a guided hike through the nearby national park.
I decided to head to the beach after breakfast to explore some more of the coastline and I found an idyllic cluster of coconut palm trees to perch up for a while. The beach was entirely empty apart from a few makeshift bars that weren’t open this early and a dozen straw umbrellas dotted along the sand.
Beach morning in Giron
A couple of the girls from the group went scuba diving with an experienced divemaster and said it was one of the best dives they had done! With great visibility and an abundance of marine life along Cuba’s Caribbean coast, this is a great activity to consider while in Giron.
Everyone else decided to go on the guided hike through the national park to see some of the native wildlife and pay a visit to another awesome cenote to cool off after the hike. For the thrill-seekers, you can find some cliff jumping spots at the cenote which is always good fun!
Crocodile in the national park
Cliff jumping into the cenote
After checking out of the guesthouses in Giron, it’s a 2-hour and 30-minute drive to Trinidad stopping in the city of Cienfuegos along the way for lunch.
We didn’t spend a great deal of time in Cienfuegos but we were able to visit the center square to take some photos, wander down the main walking street and chow down on a delicious meal at a local restaurant.
By the time we got to Trinidad, we had around 1 hour and 30 minutes of sunlight left and our guide Natalia took us on a quick orientation tour around town so we could get our bearings. At the end of the orientation, we visited a rooftop terrace bar just in time for sunset and cocktails.
Short stop in Cienfuegos
The main square in Cienfuegos
Beautiful scenes in Trinidad
Colorful streets in Trinidad
Sunset in Trinidad Cuba
Rooftop terrace bar – Cuba 10 Days
DAY 6 & 7: SIERRA DEL ESCAMBRAY
The next couple of days on this itinerary for Cuba is a 2-day hike in the stunning mountain ranges, Sierra del Escambray, just outside of Trinidad with an experienced tour guide. The best part is you don’t need to carry all of your belongings on the hike as a support vehicle will drop it all at the campsite for you. You’ll just need a day pack with some snacks, drinking water, swimmers, and comfortable walking shoes.
On top of this, camping gear such as tents, sleeping mats, and blankets are included, as well as all meals which are prepared by the national park employees.
This hike in the mountains was definitely the highlight for me. I am a lover of the outdoors, wildlife, and waterfalls so this awesome adventure ticked all boxes!
The trail in the mountains is very well maintained and suitable for all sorts of travelers who don’t mind a bit of exercise. It is shaded by trees for the most part but there are some sections where it gets quite hot under the sun so make sure to have a hat and sunscreen so as to not get a sunburn. There are also quite a number of creek crossings and tree-log bridges which adds to the adventure.
Tree log creek crossings
Birdlife is amazing out here
On the first day of the hike at Sierra del Escambray, we spotted many species of birds, a variety of different plant life and we even spotted a large snake wrapped around a tree.
Just before lunch, we stopped for a swim inside an epic cave featuring a natural swimming pool filled with fresh, crystalline water. Definitely not something I expected to find on this trek and it was so good to go for a dip having worked up a sweat from the hike.
A further 20 minutes or so hiking, we arrived at a restaurant tucked away in the woods and enjoyed a hearty meal with some drinks.
The last leg of the hike to the campsite takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes arriving just before sunset. It’s a pretty decent campsite with hot showers, toilet facilities, a restaurant and bar, undercover tables and chairs, a natural cascading swimming hole, and of course, sleeping tents.
Small swimming hole
The cave pool
Lush green hiking trails
Ending the day on this ridge
Our tents for the night
On the second day in the mountains, we were up at sparrow’s fart to hike a little further into the valley in search of El Rocio waterfall. We set off after breakfast and followed the creek upstream which takes around 1 hour to reach the waterfall. This part of the hike is mostly flat with a slight incline so it’s nothing too crazy.
We passed by a large swimming hole on the way to the waterfall which we would be stopping at on the way back. The waterfall itself is huge, with limestone features, and standing around 50 meters tall.
El Rocio reminded me of Tumalog Falls on Cebu Island in the Philippines. We spent around 30 minutes here exploring and taking photos before heading back on the trail to the swimming hole.
Again, it was a great opportunity to go for a dip in this swimming hole to cool off. There are also a number of spots to do some cliff jumping if you’re up to it.
The final stretch of the hike takes about 45 minutes back to the campsite and a delicious lunch will be served once again by the national park employees.
After lunch, a 4WD passenger truck was waiting to take us all back to the jump-off point where we transferred onto our minibus and traveled back to Trinidad, arriving in the afternoon around 2:00 pm.
Following the trail upstream
Incredible swimming hole
Is this place even real?
El Rocío Waterfall
The squad couldn’t be happier
Taking a well-deserved dip
Rock jumping into the falls
The 4WD trucks
All smiles at the end of the hike
The afternoon in Trinidad is free time for you to explore the city on your own and as always, an optional group dinner will be arranged at a local restaurant.
If you’re not too tired after hiking in the mountain, there are a number of great nightlife options in Trinidad. One of the most unique places that are worth checking out is the Cave Bar which opens at 11:00 pm till late. The entrance fee is 5 CUC and includes a drink.
The main square in Trinidad
Vibrant city of Trinidad Cuba
DAY 8: TRINIDAD
Day 8 of this Cuba itinerary is a full free day to explore Trinidad on your own.
There are many great things to do in this beautiful colonial city such as a guided walking tour, a visit to the nearby beach, salsa lessons, horseback riding, art galleries, beer garden, handicraft markets, museums, and much more!
Your tour guide will be more than happy to make any of the above arrangements for you, just be sure to let them know the day before so it can be organized.
I personally spent the morning on a guided walking tour in Trinidad which was fantastic and after lunch I jumped in a taxi to the beach which costs 16 CUC for a return trip, taking only 20-minutes each way.
One spot in Trinidad that is not to be missed and I highly recommend checking out is the bell tower, costing only 1 CUC to enter.
Take the internal steps inside the tower to the top for extensive 360-degree views of Trinidad City, the distant mountain ranges and the Caribbean Sea.
An old square in Trinidad Cuba
Birdseye view of the city
Impressive art galleries
Beer garden in Trinidad Cuba
Playa Ancon Trinidad
The clock tower view
Trinidad taxi rank
Colonial architecture in Trinidad
Picturesque scenes around every corner
DAY 9: SANTA CLARA & HAVANA
Day 9 is a travel day from Trinidad to Havana which takes around 6 to 7 hours on the bus, stopping at Santa Clara along the way to visit Che Guevara Museum and Memorial.
The Che Guevara Museum in Santa Clara features a large stone statue of Che holding a rifle and beneath it is where you can find the museum and memorial. Inside you’ll get to see some awesome artifacts, old black and white photos, and other trinkets that belonged to Che and his fellow revolutionary commanders.
Entrance to the Che Guevara Museum is free and it’s also optional, meaning you are not subject to visit the museum if you don’t want to.
It’s a late afternoon arrival to Havana, checking into the same guesthouses and spending the last night as a group in the Old Town. Your tour guide will offer an orientation tour of the 4 main squares in Havana Old Town followed by dinner and drinks at a local restaurant.
Che Guevara Museum
Che Guevara Santa Clara
DAY 10: DEPARTURE
Sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to your newly found friends and tour guide before checking out of the guesthouse. An airport transfer isn’t included in the tour price but your tour guide will be able to help you organize this in advance if you wish.
A taxi from the Old Town to Havana Airport generally costs around 20 to 30 CUC per vehicle, so if there are a few of you heading to the airport around the same time you can split this cost between you.
If you have some more time up your sleeve to spend a few more days in Havana I highly recommend it. There is so much to see and do and there is no other place in the world quite like it!
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MAP OF CUBA
WHAT TO PACK FOR CUBA
When visiting Cuba, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you;
- Sunscreen – the Cuban sun is very strong, so make sure to pack some high-quality sunscreen.
- Quick-dry travel towel – the most compact and lightweight towel for traveling.
- Reusable water bottle – stay hydrated by bringing along a reusable water bottle.
- Backpack – The Nomatic 30L Travel Pack is the ultimate backpack for everyday adventures.
If you’re interested in taking awesome photos and videos on the trek, this is the camera gear that I use and recommend;
- GoPro HERO10 – the most popular camera on the planet for action-packed adventures.
- Canon EOS R – perfect for traveling, this is the most affordable, compact camera on the market.
- DJI Mini 3 Pro – take your photos and videos to new heights with this user-friendly drone camera.
MORE CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA TRAVEL GUIDES
- Guatemala: 2 Week Guatemala Itinerary
- Peru: Backpacking Peru – 3 Week Itinerary
- Bolivia: Things To Do In Bolivia
- Brazil: 2 Day Rio De Janeiro Itinerary
- Argentina: Things To Do In Argentina
- Chile: Things To Do In Chile
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!
- BOOKING.COM – search and book accommodation worldwide
- SKYSCANNER – compare and book cheap flights to anywhere
- VIATOR – find tickets, tours, and experiences around the world
- BOOKAWAY – book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance
- RENTAL CARS – search all rental cars in your next destination
- GROUP TRIPS – join one of my epic small group trips
- TRAVEL INSURANCE – purchase World Nomads travel insurance
- TRAVEL MONEY CARD – get a Wise card today for free
Looking for more? Check out my Travel Resources page for further help with your trip planning!
Having only done only a little bit of research before traveling to Cuba, I can honestly say the 10 Day Cuba Tour with Cuban Adventures exceeded expectations. The epic landscapes, kind people, delicious food, experienced tour guides, and perfect weather were just some of the reasons that made this a trip to remember!
The only thing that I can fault is the lack of good wifi connection throughout the country. Given the work that I do, it made things quite challenging at the best of times, but in the end, it was nice to take a break from being online and enjoy the moment.
All in all, if you are planning a trip to Cuba I can’t recommend Cuban Adventures enough. They have been operating tours in Cuba since 2005 and I guarantee you’ll get an experience of a lifetime with this company!
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can. For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
THANKS FOR READING
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