A trip to Cuba was definitely a surprise on the year for us. I almost feel like I spoke it into existence. Dave and I talked about wanting to go, found cheap flights and a little over a month later we were on our way. To say the least I was incredibly excited and a little apprehensive at the same time. There just isn’t tons of information out there yet about family travel to Cuba as a U.S. citizen. So after we booked our flights, I went straight to work researching and pieced together what I think turned out to be a pretty incredible itinerary!
- Please Note – As of this post, July 2018, travel to Cuba as an American citizen is still restricted to certain visas. We traveled to Cuba under the visa “Support for the Cuban People”. Under this visa there is certain criteria that we were required to meet and other rules to follow. I strongly recommend doing your own research on what visa would work best for your family and what current restrictions the government has put in place at the time of your travel.
Day 1: Fly into the Jose Marti International airport in Havana, Cuba
- Prearranged classic car to pick us up from the airport and transfer us to the city of Vinales (2.5 hours away)
- Check in to Casa Particular and arrange dinner with the host family.
- Explore the city of Vinales on foot until dinner time around 6:30 p.m.
- Dinner at Casa prepared by host family
- Find a WiFi connection in the town to let everyone we made it safely
- Early to bed for a full day of exploring tomorrow
Day 2: Vinales, Cuba
- Breakfast prepared by host family 7:00 a.m.
- 8:00 a.m. Horseback riding tour to the valley and tobacco farm. (4-5 hours)
- 1:00 p.m. Walk back to Casa from the horse ranch to clean up and possible lunch. We were so busy we actually skipped lunch but this is a good spot for it.
- 2:00 p.m. Hire a taxi for the afternoon for sightseeing. Stops included the Cave, Zip Lining, the Mural de la Prehistoria and a stop at the hotel that overlooks the valley for some stunning photos.
- 5:00 p.m. Taxi dropped us off in town square and we wondered around until we found a spot for dinner. I highly recommend El Olivio – one of our favorite spots in Cuba
- Shopping at the town markets
- Find ice cream and enjoy the rocking chairs on the front porch of our Casa
Day 3: Playa Larga, Cuba
- 6:00 a.m. Prearranged taxi for a transfer to Playa Larga. (4.5 hour drive)
- Arrive at the Casa Particular around 10:30-11 depending on stops and check in.
- Hire a taxi to go to Punta Perdiz and “all inclusive” “beach” area. Arranged for a taxi to pick us back up at 4:30 p.m..
- Beach afternoon with lunch and a lot of snorkeling
- 4:30 p.m. head back to the Casa and clean up for dinner
- Dinner right along the beach with a sunset view
- Cards on the beach at the Casa (Playa Larga is a small town with no shops or anything, we were there for the snorkeling only.) Good thing I always bring card games when we travel
Day 4: Trinidad
(So unfortunately, my husband late in the night, came down with food poisoning. We had plans to stop along the way to the El Nicho waterfalls and spend some time there hiking and swimming before continuing on to Trinidad. Because he was sick every hour on the hour, we canceled our taxi that was scheduled and waited until he felt better to travel)
- 9:00 a.m. We hired a taxi to take us from Playa Larga to Trinidad (stopping along the way when my husband felt ill). The trip took about 3 hours with all of our stops.
- 12:00 p.m. Check into our Casa and tucked Daddy into bed.
- 12:30 p.m. Girls lunch at Giroud, which we ended up eating there everyday in Trinidad. Really good pizza and ham sandwiches.
- Afternoon and Evening – Since Dave was still ill, Addie and I used this opportunity to explore Trinidad together. The streets are just laced with markets around every corner. We did some serious shopping and snacking while Daddy rested
- 9:00 p.m. It started to get dark so Addie and I headed back to the Casa to play cards until bedtime.
Day 5: Trinidad and El Nicho
- 8:00 a.m. Breakfast at the Casa – Dave is feeling better!
- 9:00 a.m. taxi ride to the El Nicho Waterfall. Your taxi driver will wait for you and then drive you home for an agreed upon price
- 10:30 a.m. arrive at El Nicho and guided hike back to the waterfalls for swimming and pictures
- Lunch and drinks at the El Nicho snack bar.
- 2:00 p.m. head back to Trinidad
- 3:30 p.m. arrive at Casa and rest and clean up for dinner
- 5:00 p.m. Evening walking around Trinidad with dinner. Drinks and snack later on the curb listening to live music
- 10:00 p.m. Walk back to casa for a good nights sleep
Day 6: Trinidad and the Jariva Waterfall
- 8:00 a.m. Horseback ride to the Jariva Waterfall with stops along the way for fresh squeezed sugar cane juice, food, cigars, coffee – you name it, we stopped at it.
- 10:00 a.m. We left the horses with the guide and hiked about 10 minutes into the jungle to the Jariva Waterfall. Here we did a lot of swimming and jumping off rocks into crystal clear water!
- 11:45 a.m. Hike back to the horses for the ride home
- 12: 30 p.m. stop for coffee at a hut
- 1:45 p.m. arrive back into Trinidad on horseback
- 2:15 p.m. Late lunch in Trinidad
- 3:30 p.m. Hire a classic car taxi to take us to Playa Ancon for a leisurely beach afternoon
- 5:30 p.m. Taxi back to casa to clean up for dinner
- 7:00 p.m. Pre-dinner drinks on the street and WiFi time
- 8:30 p.m. Dinner and live music in the main square in town
- 10:00 p.m. Back to the casa for bed
Day 7: Havana
- 8:00 a.m. Scheduled Taxi to Havana booked the night before in Trinidad
- 12:30 p.m. dropped off at Casa in Havana and check in
- 1:00 p.m. Lunch next door to our casa at Azucar Bar
- 2:30 p.m. Classic Car tour through Havana
- 3:45 p.m. End of the classic car tour and walking sightseeing through Plaza Vieja and around
- Evening – Dinner and walking around Havana.
- 10:00 p.m. Back in casa for bed
Day 8: Havana
- 8:00 a.m. breakfast in Casa
- 8:30 a.m. taxi to Fusterlandia (Mosaic neighborhood) right outside of the city
- 10:30 a.m. taxi ride back to Plaza Vieja in Havana
- 11:00 a.m. Chocolate milk at the Chocolate Museum
- 11:30 a.m. Churros from the cart and then lunch because, dessert first!
- 1:00 p.m. Climb the Bell Tower of the Cathedral for stunning views
- 2:00 p.m. Daiquiris at El Floridita
- 2:45 p.m. Coco taxi ride to Burner Brothers (as seen on the Profit) for baked goodies
- 4:30 p.m. back to the Casa to clean up for dinner
- 6:30 p.m. Classic Car ride to dinner at Paladar La Guarida (reservations required)
- 7:00-9:00 p.m. Dinner and drinks on the rooftop
- 9:30 p.m. drive down the Malecon
- 10:00 p.m. Bed and packing
Day 9 – Havana and Home
I realized after I had already titled this we were actually in Cuba for 9 days, but on the 9th day we literally woke up, had breakfast and went to the airport. So it really was an 8 full days in Cuba itinerary.
All three of us had such an amazing experience in Cuba. The people are so friendly and gracious and always willing to stop and chat to help out if we needed it. I felt very safe in every destination during our trip. So safe, that Addie and I did leave Dave in the room while he was sick to explore on our own – even when it started to get dark. Cuba is also very family friendly. Everywhere we went, there were plenty of activities that sparked my daughter’s interest. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more in depth about each of the destinations and linking them to this page. So if you’re interested in more information make sure you keep checking back!