If you have 7-10 days, you can experience the best of Cuba at these top 4 destinations – find out which places make the list & start planning your Cuban vacation today!

#1. Havana

There’s so much to see & do in Havana, it can feel like a huge city. But for its diversity, it’s a relatively compact city & Downtown Havana can be divided into 3 main areas:

  • Havana Vieja / Old Havana – this is the historic centre of Havana, with incredible architecture spanning all styles, from baroque to art deco. atmospheric masterpiece
  • Havana Centro / Central Havana – this spectacularly dense & dilapidated area provides an insight into real Cuban life
  • Vedado – this leafy residential neighbourhood boasts Havana’s best hotels, restaurants & nightlife. There’s a distinct aura of affluence in the the air, inspired by the art deco-style skyline.

For more information, see our post Old Havana, Cuba: Self-Guided Walking Tour – we have many other posts on Havana, please use the search button on the top of the page.

Havana Vedado Avenue de los Presidentes Monumento a Jose Miguel Gomez

Step back in time in Havana

Where to next? How to Get from Havana to Vinales

Viazul runs 2 buses a day from Havana to Vinales

  • Dep. Havana 8:40 am – Arr. Vinales 2:00 pm
  • Dep. Havana 12:45 am – Arr. Vinales 5:10 pm

Price: US$12.00

We recommend spending at least 2 full days + the day you arrive in Havana. If you’re short on time, Havana Vieja & Havana Centro can be visited in 1 day – consider taking a city tour in a classic American car.

Old Havana Calle Mercaderes

Soak in the European-style culture in Old Havana

#2. Vinales

Visit Vinales, one of Fidel Castro’s favourite places in Cuba. The town lies within the Parque Nacional Vinales, Cuba’s #1 natural treasure.

The countryside here is very picturesque – within the karst valleys are fertile fields that produce some of Cuba’s best tobacco, coffee & bananas.

Hiking in the area is easy & flat and there are many trails. You can trek on horseback, hire a guide or go it alone. There are numerous tour agencies along the main street or your casa will be happy to make any arrangements.

For more information, see our posts Vinales Budget Travel Guide and Parque Nacional Finales: Free DIY Hiking! 

Incredible views from Parque Nacional Vinales

Hike or horseback ride in Parque Nacional Vinales

Where to next? How to Get from Vinales to Varadero (via Havana)

Viazul runs 2 buses a day from VInales to Havana and 4 buses a day from Havana to Varadero. These are the best options:

  • Dep. Vinales 9:10 am – Arr. Havana 12:35 pm
  • Dep. Havana 1:00 pm – Arr. Varedero 4:00 pm

Price: US$12.00 + $10.00

* We recommend spending 1 full day in Vinales. If you’re short on time, take the morning bus from Havana & spend the afternoon exploring Parque Nacional Vinales on horseback – arrange this with your casa beforehand or immediately on arrival.

Vinales Budget Travel Guide

Enjoy the simple country life in Vinales

#3. Varadero

Relax on Varadero beach, the best in Cuba & one of the finest in the Caribbean. Swim in the crystal-clear turquoise-green waters, sunbathe on the silky smooth sand or chase kites with the local kids.

The Western beaches are located in the downtown area, close to restaurants & shops to buy snacks & drinks to take to the beach.

The further east you go, the more exclusive the resorts & guests. Most are on all-inclusive packages, with no reason or need to leave their private hotel beach.

For more information, see our post Varadero: Caribbean’s Best Beach?

Excellent snorkeling can be found at Playa Coral, just 15km from Varadero – for more information, see our post Playa Coral: Free Walk-in Snorkeling.

Varadero Beach

Relax in Varadero, Cuba’s best beach

Where to next? How to Get from Varadero to Trinidad

Viazul runs 1 buses a day from Varadero to Trinidad

Dep. Varadero 7:30 am – Arr. Vinales 2:05 pm

Price: US$20.00

* We recommend spending 1 full day relaxing on the beach in Varadero – there are snorkelling & diving opportunities available too.

Snorkelling on Cristo Rei beach

Snorkel at Playa Coral, just outside Varadero

#4. Trinidad

Save the best for last with charming Trinidad, Cuba’s best-preserved colonial settlement

With horse carts, 500 year old cobblestoned streets, pastel-coloured buildings & elegant plazas, Trinidad is a special place unlike anywhere else in the country.

Lined with palm trees, Plaza Mayor is the heart of the Old Town, with many museums around the gorgeous square.

Don’t miss exploring the surrounding neighbourhoods for a taste of authentic Cuban life- far-removed from the tourist scene of restaurants & bars just a few blocks away.

For more information, see our post Trinidad: Step Back in Time to the 1800s.

For a beach escape just 15km away, head to Playa Ancon. that we don’t recommend, see our post Playa Ancon: A Bad Daytrip from Trinidad.

Museo Historico Municipal Trinidad

Get lost in the narrow, cobblestoned alleys of Trinidad

Where to next? How to Get from Trinidad to back to Havana 

Viazul runs 3 buses a day from Trinidad to Havana

Dep. Trinidad 7:30 am – Arr. Havana 5:15 pm

Dep. Trinidad 8:15 am – Arr. Havana 1:50 pm

Dep. Trinidad 4:00 pm – Arr. Havana 11:20 pm

Price: US$20.00 (1st service) or US$25.00

* We recommend spending 1 full day in Trinidad. If you’re short on time, Trinidad is small so you can see most things in half a day, after your bus arrives from Vinales.

Living Outdoor Museum of Trinidad

Stroll the colourful streets of Trinidad

 

3 Shovels

Accessible DIY travel to more distant locations via multiple connections or longer forms of transport

Visited in May-June 2016