This 10-day Cuba itinerary highlights a special country in the Caribbean, where you can find an incredible blend of history, culture and nature. In this 10-day travel guide, you immerse yourself in the vibrant streets of Cuba’s capital Havana, explore the scenic landscapes of Viñales, relax on the pristine beaches of Varadero and around La Boca, explore Cienfuegos, and soak up the colonial charm of Trinidad. The communism makes it different from most other holiday countries, because there are no McDonalds to have a burger, there aren’t many hotels in the smaller cities/villages and of course the old cars give the country a sudden vibe.
This itinerary shows the travel route we took when visiting Cuba and leaves you with a clear travel plan for your 10-day visit. If you also have around 10 days available, I would advise focusing on the Western part of Cuba. However, you can further extend this itinerary when you have more days available by adding the Eastern side. However, we felt that we could also experience the different types of places by focusing on the West. Therefore, I would advise you to visit Cuba in 10 days.
In Cuba, places to stay might be slightly different from what you’re used to. In Cuba, you’ll best stay in the so-called ‘Casa Particulares’. In most cases, you won’t be able to book them online and you’ll find them by just walking around and going in. We did some online research before the trip and had a short list of Casa Particulares to visit when arriving at a new place. Your previous place will often be able to recommend a place to stay at your next destination.
When it comes to transport, we took the Viazul bus on the leg from Havana to Viñales. However, afterwards, we figured out that there are also Taxi Particulares. These are shared taxis that often can be arranged on the street or through the casa you are staying. We paid almost the same price as for the bus, but you are quicker, you might be transported in an old car and it will lead to better stories.
We arrived at Varadero airport (cheaper flights), so we first had to take a bus to Havana, which we arranged at the airport after exchanging our money for CUC. We went to the first guesthouse we booked when we arrived in Havana. It just opened and I found it through Instagram and was called Casa Obispo 307.
We took 2 days to explore the capital in which we for example visited the National History Museum, walked along the famous Malecon, and did a tour with an old car (normally, not really our cup of tea, but we didn’t want to miss this one). We mainly spend our time in Havana Vieja (the old town) as it is the prettiest.
Viñales is famous for the tobacco fields and a great salsa party. A horseback tour is one of the main activities in Viñales (around 20 CUC), where you will drive through the fields to enjoy the scenery.
We stayed at Casa Nenita, which had a great view over the de Valley. We had lunch at the restaurant El Olivo and dinner at Tapasbar 3J, which I can both recommend. In the evening, go to the main square for some entertainment. We enjoyed our evening at Polo Montanez, where the locals showed their best salsa moves.
With a Taxi Particulares, we headed to Cienfuegos, which cost around 6 hours. We already decided that we would like to go to a casa that was located at the bay of Cienfuegos. A casa I highly recommend is Los Delfines. The location where you’ll have breakfast is stunning. Unfortunately, this casa was occupied while we were there, however, we stayed in a small casa upstairs where you could make use of Los Delfines breakfast. The other night, we stayed at Villa Lagarto, where you could also enjoy a nice dinner.
Make sure to also visit the old town of Cienfuegos itself and visit for example the theatre.
Off to the next destination that is my personal favourite. Entering Trinidad, it feels like stepping back in time. We stayed at a random casa here, of which I can’t recall the name. In Trinidad, make sure to head to the stairs in the evening as that is where the locals gather. Also a not to miss experience: visit the salsa party in a cave bar (Club Ayala). A popular activity is taking a train from Trinidad to the sugar plantations, but I sure wouldn’t recommend this experience.
Do you want to see more pictures of Trinidad (in my opinion the best place in Cuba to shoot photos), definitely check out this photographic overview of Trinidad.
Closely located to Trinidad, you’ll find La Boca. A smaller village located at the water. We stayed in a very nice casa (Hostal La Caridad – located at Real 80) located at the water, with maybe the best food we’ve had whilst in Cuba!
During the day, you can rent a bike and bike towards Playa Ancon for a nice day at the beach. It is time to relax a little.
The last night of our trip we spent in Varadero, the main tourist place in Cuba when it comes to beaches. We didn’t want to spend too much time here but were curious about the atmosphere, and the beautiful ocean. Next to that, we had to fly back from Varadero the next day anyways.
Well, I wouldn’t recommend going here and would look for another beach (think of for example Playa Coco) in the North. The sea was bluer and the beaches whiter than on the south end, so keep that in mind. I expected more bars and touristy places because of all the resorts, but we were barely able to find a nice place for dinner.
Our casa though, was stunning as it was located ON the beach. It was recommended in the Lonely Planet and we were very lucky a room was still available.
To me, this travel plan made the perfect 10-day Cuba Itinerary. You’ll be able to explore all aspects of Cuba, unveiling its unique history and current beauty, leaving you with lasting memories. Cuba is a perfect holiday destination and an even better travel photography destination. It is one of the countries I might re-visit, even if it is just to visit with a better camera and spend more time capturing the unique beauty.