Would you like to explore Cuba in 3 weeks? With this awesome Cuba itinerary, you’ll explore the highlights in Havana, Viñales, Trinidad, and other great places.
Itinerary: Cuba in 3 weeks
With this Cuba itinerary, you will visit the most beautiful places in west and central Cuba. It is not too rushed, so you have time to look around and relax on the beach every now and then. This is the ultimate Cuba itinerary for three weeks:
Day 1 to 4: Havana
Your introduction to Cuba begins in the capital Havana. A beautiful city with gorgeous historic buildings and many restaurants where they play live music. You’ll also see the colorful old-timers everywhere you look.
Havana has many beautiful sights, so take your time. For example, it is very cool to see the colorful old-timers at El Capitolo, go for a walk on the Malecon, and visit the Museum of the Revolution. Here you will learn all about how Fidel Castro and his associates recaptured Cuba from the Americans. A very interesting part of history. Interesting detail: the bullet holes are still clearly visible in the walls.
Day 5 & 6: Viñales
After a few days in Havana, it’s time to leave the city and get into nature. Viñales is a fun little Cuban village in a gorgeous place: the Viñales Valley.
This is a very green valley with some weird little mountains. It’s a really pretty landscape. In the Viñales Vally, you can visit caves go for a bike ride through the beautiful landscape. This is also the center of the Cuban tobacco industry, you can actually visit some cigar makers here.
- Hotel tip: Horizontes Los Jazmines
Day 7 to 10: Trinidad
The next destination is five hours away by car or nine hours by bus: the town of Trinidad. This is perhaps the most beautiful town in Cuba and is full of colorful historic buildings.
Trinidad is an ideal location to visit the beach (Playa Ancón) and go hiking in the Topes de Collantes mountain range which is full of waterfalls. It is, therefore, a perfect place where you can stay a little longer.
- Hotel tip: Hotel Cubanacan Las Cuevas
Day 11: Santa Clara
To be fair, Santa Clara is not the most vibrant place in Cuba. The only reason why you should visit Santa Clara during a Cuba vacation is because of the mausoleum of Che Guevara.
The gigantic statue next to it is a very impressive sight. There is also a museum, which is actually quite funny. The objects in that museum are mainly of the category ‘Che once ate from this bowl’.
- Hotel tip: Central Villa Clara
Day 12 to 15: Cienfuegos
Your next stop will be Cienfuegos and although the city itself is quite nice (a good place to shop for souvenirs), you will definitely want to use this city as a base to explore the area. There is a lot to see in the area!
For example, you can visit a beautiful botanical garden (where you’ll get a private tour), you can relax at the beach at Playa Rancho Luno and you can enjoy fantastic snorkeling in the Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). Tip: there’s a great (free) spot between Playa Gíron and Playa Larga.
Day 16 to 19: Cayo Las Brujas
After all the cities and great activities, you will undoubtedly also need a few days of rest. There are many beach destinations in Cuba where you can enjoy yourself for a few days. Many people choose Varadero, but Cayo Las Brujas is also a beautiful place. It is really quiet here and it’s an amazing place to relax. From here, you can go on several tours, or just relax on the white sandy beach.
Tip Are you traveling by bus? Then it is difficult to get to Cayo Las Brujas. In that case, you better choose to relax for a few days in Varadero.
Day 20: Havana
Fully charged you will travel back to Havana. You have one more day to enjoy this vibrant city, the colors, the music, and the mojitos.
About this Cuba itinerary
This is the itinerary of my trip in the summer of 2013. We traveled by bus most of the time and got a rental car in Cienfuegos for the last week. Although quite a lot has changed in Cuba since then, these cities and towns are still the places that are really worth visiting.
Traveling by bus in Cuba
This 3-week Cuba itinerary is suitable for travel by bus, rental car, or taxi. I mainly traveled by bus. In Cuba, things are different than in most other countries. As a tourist, you travel with Viazul’s buses, which usually travel from one major city to another once a day.
Viazul has a website, but buying tickets online doesn’t always work. It is therefore advisable to buy your bus ticket at the bus station. Do this in advance, because the buses fill up soon. The best thing to do is to buy a bus ticket for the next destination immediately upon arrival. Then you know immediately whether there is room and you do not have to go to the bus station an extra time.
Rental car in Cuba
Traveling around Cuba by car is amazing, but also quite expensive. Would you like to rent a car while you’re in Cuba? In Cuba, you don’t have the big well-known international car rental companies, but only local ones.
It is wise to book your rental car in advance through a travel agency, like Cuba Travel Network. I traveled to Cuba from The Netherlands and made a reservation through Riksja Travel. They were really helpful and everything was arranged perfectly.
Please note: GPS is not allowed in Cuba. It is therefore always wise to take a paper road map with you. This Nelles Map is highly recommended.
In Cuba, it’s really easy to get a taxi to travel around. It’s more expensive than taking the bus but way faster (and it might be cheaper than renting a car). Taxies can be used for every distance (if you like the driver, you can even ask him if he’d like to take you out for more trips. Make sure to agree on a price with the driver before you head out.
Book a trip to Cuba
Would you like to book a trip to Cuba? These are some useful websites and things to consider:
- You can find the cheapest plane tickets via Skyscanner or Momondo.
- When I traveled to Cuba it was still very difficult to book a hotel room or room in a casa online. Now you can just use Booking.com which is so convenient!
- It is mandatory to take out good travel insurance when you travel to Cuba. I would suggest checking out Insubuy.
Want to read more about Cuba?
Are you looking for more information about a trip to Cuba? These travel guides are full of tips:
You can also find more information about a trip to Cuba on this website. Check out these articles:
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