Cuba Destination Guide: Where to Go in 30 Days
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Cuba Itinerary: Where to go in 1 Month

In Country Guides & Itineraries, Cuba by Sheena22 Comments

Take full advantage of the 30 day visa & experience Cuba before it changes forever – find out where to go in Cuba in our 1 month itinerary!

1 Week Cuba Itinerary

Day 1-3: Havana

Havana is a city of contradictions.

On on side it’s majestic, flamboyant & timeless; on the other it’s impoverished, dilapidated and stuck in time.

Explore the neighbourhoods of Havana Viejo, Havana Centro & Vedado for a taste of one of the greatest cities on Earth.

* We spent 4 nights in Havana.

Tour options:

Where to go in Cuba Havana
Live the classic Havana experience with a city tour in a classic American car
  • #2. Vinales

Visit Vinales, one of Fidel Castro’s favourite places – from the number of tourists here, it seems everyone agrees it’s one of the top places to visit in Cuba.

Hiking in UNESCO- listed Parque Nacional Vinales is easy & flat and there are many trails – trek on horseback, hire a guide or go it alone.

* We spent 2 nights in Vinales.

Tour option: Vinales Day Tour from Havana

Parque Nacional Vinales Where to go in Cuba
Go hiking or horseback riding in rural Vinales
  • #3. Pinar del Rio

Head to the down-to-earth town of Pinar del Rio for factory tours of cigars & guava brandy!

You can tour a working cigar factory at Francisco Donatien before heading out to Alejandro Robaina, Cuba’s only tobacco plantation.

* We spent 1 night in Pinar del Rio & 1 night back in Havana so we could take the Hershey train the next morning.

Robaina Tobacco Plantation Tour
Where to go in Cuba? Take a tour at Alejandro Robaina, Cuba’s only tobacco plantation
  • #4. Matanzas

Take the legendary Hershey Train from Havana to Matanzas, with a stopover to explore the ruins of the old chocolate factory.

There’s not many things to do in Matanzas but it has a big cultural legacy. In the 18th & 19th centuries, Matanzas was the cultural centre of Cuba, unmatched even by Havana.

For budget travellers, Matanzas is an excellent base from which to visit Playa Coral & Varadero.

* We spent 2 nights in Matanzas.

Danger Sign around Hershey Factory
Take the Hershey train to the old chocolate factory on the way to Matanza
  • #5. Varadero

Varadero beach is an unbroken, 20km long thin slice of paradise off the northern tip of Santa Marta.

The sand is soft & silky and the water is clear & turquoise – Varadero belongs on every one month Cuba itinerary.

The Western beaches are mainly used by locals while the Eastern beaches are lined with resorts catering to tourists on all-inclusive packages.

Excellent snorkeling can be found at Playa Coral, just 15km from Varadero.

* We visited Varadero as a day trip from Matanzas.

Tour options:

Where to go in Cuba Varadero
Relax in Varadero, Cuba’s best beach
  • #6. Playa Larga

Playa Larga is best known for the Bay of Pigs invasion, but it also has great budget diving and wildlife opportunities.

The sand leaves a lot to be desired but the water is pristine and still waist deep 30 meters out.

There are excellent snorkel & dive sites along the shoreline from Playa Larga to Playa Giron, and even inland as well.

* We spent 2 nights in Playa Larga.

Bay of Pigs Punta Perdiz Diving Tank Setup
Take advantage of the cheapest diving in Cuba at Playa Larga
  • #7. Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos is known as the “Pearl of the South” for it’s French roots – set apart from the rest of Spanish-conquered Cuba, Cienfuegos was actually established by a French-American.

The architecture in the city is clearly French-inspired but the buildings in the main square (Parque Marti) have been so excessively restored that they’ve lost every inch of their inherit elegance & antiquity.

For us, Cienfuegos was a major disappointment but we know that many people will consider it.

* We spent 1 night in Cienfuegos.

Where to go in Cuba CIenfuegos
Visit the “Paris of Cuba” in Cienfuegos
  • #8. Trinidad

The clip-clop of horses’ hooves on the 500 year old cobbled-stone streets is one of the many charms of Trinidad – this Unesco gem is in a league of its own!

With elegant plazas & pastel-coloured buildings, Trinidad is Cuba’s best-preserved colonial settlement and one of the best places to visit in Cuba.

For a beach escape just 15km away, you can head to Playa Ancon but we don’t recommend it.

* We spent 2 nights in Trinidad.

Museo Nacional Lucha Contra Bandidos
Step back in time in colonial Trinidad
  • #9. Sancti Spiritus

Despite what people might tell you, Sancti Spiritus is no little Trinidad.

Nevertheless, it’s a nice city to wander around, with an impressive collection of colonial buildings around Parque Serafin Sanchez in the centre square.

* We stopped in Sancti Spiritus for a few hours, while travelling between Trinidad & Ciego de Avila.

Sancti Spiritus Parque Serafin Sanchez
Admire one of Cuba’s loveliest colonial plazas in Sancti Spiritus
  • #10. Ciego de Avila

Much like the Mason-Dixon Line in the U.S., the La Trocha wall in separated Cuba in half.

It used to run through Ciego de Avila but these days, no trace of it remains.

Instead, if you find unexpected find yourself here, settle for a few run-of-the-mill attractions.

* We spent 1 night in Ciego de Avila, due to transport issues.

Where to go in Cuba Ciego de Avila
Imagine the days of La Trocha at Ciego de Avila
  • #11. Bayamo

The revolutionary spirit is alive & well in Bayamo.

From the first declaration of Cuban independence to Castro’s last speech, learn about the legacy of 4 major events that took place in this historic city & stand on the grounds on which they happened in.

Bayamo also hosts a famous street party every Saturday night so keep it in mind when planning where to go in Cuba.

* We spent 1 night in Bayamo.

Where to go in Cuba Plaza de la Patria
Visit the birthplace of Cuban independence in Bayamo
  • #12. Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba has played an enormous role in the history of Cuba.

This is where the Cuban revolution began and where Fidel lived & studied in his formative years.

There are many important plazas, churches, museums & birth homes in Santiago so plan your time here accordingly.

The region is also home to Valle de Prehistoria which is one of the quirkiest attractions in Cuba!

* We spent 4 nights in Santiago de Cuba.

Santiago de Cuba Catedral
Visit the Cradle of the Revolution in Santiago de Cuba
  • #13. Baracoa

Make your way to Baracoa on the eastern tip of Cuba & enjoy the local regional cuisine.

Try Baracoan delicacies such pescado con leche (fish with coconut sauce) & cucurucho (dried coconut mixed with sugar, honey, guava, papaya mandarins and/or nuts).

There’s a taste of the lush countryside in Baracoa but the natural environment of the region is best experienced out of town.

* We spent 2 nights in Baracoa.

Where to go in Cuba Baracoa Bay
Experience the seaside charm of Baracoa
  • #14. Guardalavaca

The coastline of Guardalavaca is a long stretch of tropical beaches with turquoise water.

It lies against a backdrop of green fields & rolling hills.

Guardalava beach is pleasant but nothing outstanding, but nearby Playa Pesquero is stunning.

* We spent 1 night in Guardalavaca.

Palapas at Playa Pesquero Cuba
Relax under the shade of a palapa at Playa Pesquero, one of the beaches near Guardalavaca
  • #15. Las Tunas

If you’re in Cuba on a Saturday night, head straight to Las Tunas, where the streets come alive with a smorgasbord of food, drinks, music & dance!

The prices are in pesos & the locals are friendly & merry. Here, it’s all about eating & drinking and roast pork is the king of the party.

We were the only tourists in town – shhh this party is Cuba’s best-kept secret that you should put on a one month Cuba itinerary!

* We spent 1 night in Guardalavaca.

Where to go in Cuba Las Tunas
Hit the Saturday night street party in Las Tunas!
  • #16. Playa Santa Lucia

Playa Santa Lucia needs some TLC, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting – there’s excellent diving, shark hand-feeding & the secluded Playa los Cocos made it a great stay for us.

There’s a serious lack of tourist infrastructure at Playa Santa Lucia (eg. no casas & 1 hotel) so you’re best off staying at an all-inclusive resort.

* We spent 2 nights in Playa Santa Lucia.

Playa los Cocos Sun Sand and Shade
Enjoy paradise at Playa los Cocos near Playa Santa Lucia
  • #17. Camaguey

If you love Havana, you’ll adore the equally dilapidated streets of Camaguey as well as its many plazas, churches, sculptures & tombs.

It’s a faded gem of a city – undoubtedly once majestic, as still evident in the glorious architecture, but perhaps also unloved for decades or centuries too long.

* We spent 1 night in Camaguey.

Unesco Streets of Camaguey
Lose yourself in the dilapidated streets of Camaguey
  • #18. Santa Clara

Join the ultimate Che Guevara pilgrimage to Santa Clara & dig into the geographical & revolutionary heart of Cuba!

Travellers here can see relics from the Battle of Santa Cara as well as many commemorations to the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959).

Of course, there are numerous tributes to Che Guevera, including a massive monument, mausoleum & museum complex.

* We spent 1 night in Santa Clara & our last night back in Havana.

That’s it from us & our Cuba Itinerary! For more inspiration check out Lonely Planet’s Cuba travel guide!

Che Guevara Mausoleum & Museum
Take the ultimate Che Guevara pilgrimage in Santa Clara

Did you enjoy reading our list of Places to Visit in Cuba?!

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Old classic red car on road with palm trees near beach in Cuba
3 Shovels

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

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means that we receive a small commission if you click on a link & purchase something that we’ve recommended, at no extra cost to you. 

Visited in May-June 2016

Updated in May 2019


  1. I haven’t been to Cuba and your post made me add it to my ever growing list of places to see. I’m fascinated by Latin and South America’s colorful architecture just like Trinidad’s. Ooh.. a 20km white silky sand beach with clear water? I’m off to check your post on Varadero now.

  2. Great compilation and brief information about places to visit in Cuba… Thanks for this, hope I can explore this country as well…

  3. Cuba is high on my bucket list so I’m always keen to discover new places to visit. I think I need to go there before it changes.

  4. What an amazing itinerary. We didn’t nearly get to see as much of Cuba as I wanted to on our first visit. Your post has definitely inspired me to plan another trip to Cuba soon. I am particularly interested in the Bay of Pigs budget diving.

  5. Cuba is really an exotic location and there is so much to see and do in this country. We do not see much blogs about Cuba and hence your post comes as a welcome relief. It has a lot of valuable information which will come in handy when planning a trip there.

  6. Latest destination in everybody’s list… mine too. 🙂
    I like the elaborate break up of days given to visit the different place. It gives a good idea to chalk out a plan for yourself.

  7. oh wow seems like there’s so many authentic to see and do in Cuba, I find it really interesting. Didn’t know that Cuba has so much to offer.

  8. If Cuba is really close from me now, I would definitely want to fly ASAP. The Varadero beach looks stunning and I wanna experience the nostalgic feeling on the roads with those old American muscle cars.

  9. Pinal de Rio is what caught my interest. I’d love to see how tobacco is made. That being said it looks like Cuba had made it to my must-visit places list. There’s many beautiful things to see there.

  10. I didn’t know there’s so much stuff to see in Cuba. All I know about it are the parties, rich-colored houses and the food and cigars. 🙂 I love nature so the Varadero beach got my attention.

  11. Your beautiful pictures bring back great memories of this colourful island and joyous people. A lovely thought on this cold day 🙂

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