Start your trip with a Havana airport pick-up on Day 1. Meet your host family and get a taste for this lively city on your own. Take a full-day Local Havana walking tour on Day 2. In the evening, after a guided walk along the Malecon with street music and dancing, head indoors to one of the great Salsa clubs with Cuban guides as your chaperones. Spend one last night at your casa particular before ending with an airport drop-off on Day 3.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Airport Pick-Up in Havana & Homestay
(Estimated Time on Tour: 3 Hours)
Welcome to Cuba! You will be picked up from the Havana airport upon arrival and taken to your casa particular Casa Leonel for the night. Casa Leonel is located centrally, so it will be easy to walk to central Havana with your guide to take in all of the sights and sounds of this amazing city. Marvel at the decaying and grandiose architecture, hear the purr of American classic cars, and drink in the vibrant Cuban culture. Delve into Havana’s rich and rapidly-expanding food scene and enjoy a delicious and authentic Cuban dinner with your guide at Los Nardos, an institution in Havana. Touted in some quarters as one of the best eateries in the city, the humble and dilapidated exterior promises little, but the rich leather and mahogany decor and astoundingly delicious dishes inside suggest otherwise. This is the perfect place to be introduced to the vibrant culture and cuisine of the Cuban People. Overnight in Havana at Casa Leonel Homestay.
Day 2: Local Havana Walking Tour & Havana by Night Tour (B)
(Estimated Time on Tour: 10 Hours)
Enjoy an authentic and home-cooked Cuban breakfast and get ready for a full day ahead. Your guide will meet you after breakfast and take you on a full day walking tour (7 - 8 hours) around Old Havana. Your guide, an expert in Cuban culture, will teach you about local lifestyles, history, society, and their current realities and political situation. Stop and talk with locals along the way who will tell you about their experiences living in this unique country and show you the real Cuba.
In the morning take a guided walking tour of Havana’s lush gardens, parks, and plazas. Visit the Plaza de la Revolucion, the epicenter of Cuban politics and home to Havana’s rallies, protest, and public gatherings. Stand on the ground where millions of Cubans have gathered to listen to the speeches of Fidel Castro under towering portraits of national revolutionary heroes Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos. Take a rest in the lush Diana Garden, one of Havana’s few non-communist memorial site, dedicated to Princess Diana of Wales. Stop at the famous and historic Colon Cemetery, considered to be one of the most ornate cemeteries in the world and the final resting place of many famous and influential Cubans. Learn about the history of the city and the Cuban Revolution as well as the current political situation from your guide, an expert in Cuban culture, politics, and history, and by stopping to talk with locals in each location.
In the afternoon take an expertly guided walk through Havana’s vibrant arts scene. Visit some of the many galleries and exhibition halls that make this one of the most important cultural areas in the world. Visit the Workshops and Galleries above La Mina Restaurant and see photographs of Authentic Cuba by local artists at Cuba’s Phototheque. Next stop is the hip and contemporary Havana Factory, a vibrant visual and performance art space with an energetic vibe and popular nightlife. At each stop have the chance to talk with hosts and curators about Cuban art culture and its place in Cuban society. With your guide, enjoy an authentic Cuban lunch at La Bodeguita del Medio, a typical restaurant-bar, famous for the personalities who have patronized it in the past: Salvador Allende, poet Pablo Neruda, artist Josignacio, and many others. La Bodeguita also claims to be the birthplace of the classic Mojito, prepared in the bar since its opening in 1942, although this is heartily disputed by other Havana contenders.
After the full day guided tour, get ready for a fun night out, dancing salsa and partying on the Havana 'By Night' Tour! After a guided walk along the Malecon to get in the mood, some street music and dancing, head indoors to one of the great Salsa Bars and Music clubs with Cuban guides as your chaperones. Get the opportunity to interact with Cuban musicians, learn about the importance of music in Cuba, and immerse yourself in Havana’s rich dance culture. Havana has hundreds of different musical venues, and you will have the chance to visit such cultural institutions as the Casa de la Musica, Jazz Café and the famous after hours clubs in Vedado, depending on your guide and where the night takes you! Overnight in Havana at Casa Leonel Homestay.
NOTE: Please bring an extra 15 CUC per person for cover fees, taxis, and drinks on the Havana By Night Tour.
Day 3: Havana Airport Drop-Off (B)
Enjoy a typical breakfast at your casa particular before saying goodbye. Your trip will come to an end with a Havana airport drop-off. We wish you safe travels!
NOTE: This itinerary and the listed accommodations can change during the course of the year due to a variety of reasons. We are not always able to advise you in advance of these changes. We ask for your understanding and flexibility in these cases.
VISA INFO: To enter Cuba, all foreign travellers will need to obtain a 'tourist card' (Cuban visa) and a valid passport (must be valid for at least 6 months past the date of travel). A tourist card can be obtained from a number of different places - at the airport, at their local Cuban consulate, from their airline company. Many travellers conveniently buy it at the airport - please check beforehand that your local airport actually sells it.
ACCOMMODATION: You will most likely stay in the Casa Particular that is listed here in the itinerary (Casa Leonel), but please know that this is subject to availability and may change another location. A Casa Particular is a private homestay accommodation in an authentic Cuban family home which is licensed by the Cuban government. Cuban families often rent some bedrooms to tourists and offer meals which are served in the family dining room. It is a wonderful way to experience the warm Cuban hospitality and learn about their unique way of life. In a society with limited TV and internet access, Cuban people are famed for their friendly attitudes and for making eager conversation with foreigners so they can learn about the outside world. They are also happy to share their insights about life in Cuba and there’s no doubt that the interaction at a Casa Particular will be enlightening and intriguing.