During my studies in the US, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Cuba. Even if it is not a lot, I decided to spent 4 days in Cuba as it is just 2 hours of flying from Miami (where I stayed 5 weeks for my studies). Read more in this article about my 4 days Cuba itinerary.
I knew in advance that I would see a small part of this island, but I had heard so much about Havana and the Cuban culture that I really wanted to go and discover it. I took the opportunity and I didn’t regret at all! 🤩
From visiting the colorful capital of Havana, to relaxing on Varadero’s pristine beaches, and exploring Viñales, this little Cuba itinerary is the perfect introduction to the country.
Havana is a city of paradoxes. We got the impression that time has stood still here, as the city looks ancient, but it is also all its undeniable and unique charm. As soon as you leave the airport, you are transported by this unique atmosphere that we came to seek.
Where to stay in Cuba? 🏠
Like everywhere in Cuba, you will find all kinds of ‘casas particular’, ranging from 5 CUC a night to around 50 CUC a night. The price difference is made by the service, the quality of the welcome, the breakfast, the location, and the cleanliness of the rooms.
We preferred to sleep in these houses rather than the hotel to be able to fully immerse ourselves into the Cuban culture.
I booked the accommodation via the website Hostelworld.
| How to move around Cuba? 🚘
Taxi Collectivo – Shared Taxi
To move around La Havana, you just can walk around, there is no car needed. If you cant to go to other places such as Varadero or Viñales, like I did, the best options are the taxi collectivo.
A collectivo in Cuba is a shared taxi. Instead of a taxi just for you/your group, a Cuba colllectivo taxi will pick up other passengers along the way.
Collectivo taxis in Cuba can be all different shapes and sizes. Most of these shared taxis in Cuba are regular classic cars that are iconic to Cuba. They fit 4-5 travelers (not including the driver) and usually have a heap of luggage space.
There are a couple of ways to book a collectivo taxi. It’s not as simple as downloading an app, for starters, wifi in Cuba isn’t all that easy to get working. Cuba isn’t all that easy to get working. My suggestion is to book through your Casa Particular (or hotel). You let your host know where you’d like to go, and when. Your host will then make the calls needed to complete your booking
Another option to move around is by bus. As a tourist in Cuba, one of your main modes of transport is likely to be the Cuba Viazul bus network. The Viazul Cuba Bus network is specifically designed for Cubans and tourists to get to various points around the country. I did not use this option, but you can find all the information HERE.
Day 1 and 2 – Havana
If you plan to base yourself in Havana for the duration of your stay, there are plenty of places to visit in Cuba which are doable in a day. I’ve spent the three nights in Havana and did my excursions from there.
5 things to do in Havana
If you’re visiting Havana for the first time, there are a lot of things to do. Here are 5 things I’ve done during this trip.
1. Drink mojitos and daiquiris 🍸
Drink mojitos and daiquiris in bars once frequented by Ernest Hemingway.
✔️ La Bodeguita del Medio, the place to be for a mojito!
✔️ Floridita, for the best daiquiris!
2. Havana vintage car tour 🚖
Take a Havana vintage car tour along the Malecón (the city’s seafront promenade).
3. Enjoy a meal in Habana Vieja (the city’s old town)
4. Visit Old Havana
Visit Old Havana for a trip back in time to the days of settlers and trade with the Caribbean. Between the Capitol and the Malecón (promenade by the sea), little chance of getting lost, so go randomly along the streets without losing too much sight of your goal. You have to let yourself be guided by the trumpet tunes that come out from the bars.
5. Revolution Square
Go to Revolution Square to admire the monuments in honor of José Marti, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. Main squares are flanked with buildings displaying images of Che Guevara, traditional restaurants (also known as paladares) serve up delicious local cuisine and the city’s buzzing nightlife continues until the sun comes up.
Day 3 – Varadero ⛱️
Just over 2-hours drive from Havana, is the popular beach resort of Varadero. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind after a few days in the capital. The color of the sea is amazing! 😎
It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. 🤩
Day 4 – Viñales
Here is one of the key stages of this trip to Cuba. Nestled in the middle of the Viñales Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in an atypical, green landscape.
Viñales is a town that can only seduce you by its unique charm. Located around 2.5 hours from Havana, it’s an area steeped in natural beauty, with beautiful hills, tobacco plantations and flat plains.
Things to do in Viñales
- Take a horseback ride through the Mogotes: A visit to Viñales National Park is a must. The tours are done on horseback and this is a very suitable way to visit it, and in my opinion very authentic given the importance that this animal has in the daily life of Cubans.
- Drive to the Mirador de Los Jazmines
- Visit the cave« Cueva Del Indio »
We had our private taxi for the day, as this is very cheap and common in Cuba. Our host arranged everything for us, the driver was in fact their neighbor.
He dropped us off at every main point of Viñales. Don’t try to laugh when looking at the picture of our taxi. 😝
I hope that this 4 days Cuba itinerary has inspired you for your next trip. Looking for other destinations in the Caribbean’s? Read HERE my article about Mexico.