2 weeks is the perfect time to explore Cuba. With this awesome Cuba itinerary, you’ll explore the highlights in Havana, Viñales, Trinidad, and other fun places.
Itinerary: Cuba in 2 weeks
With this Cuba itinerary, you will visit the best places in the western and central parts of Cuba. This Cuba itinerary is not too rushed, so you have plenty of time to look around and relax on the beach every now and then. It’s actually smart to plan some extra time for unexpected events because things don’t always go as planned when you’re traveling in Cuba. And that’s the beauty of traveling!
This is the ultimate Cuba itinerary for two weeks:
Day 1, 2 & 3: Havana
Your introduction to Cuba begins in the capital Havana. This is a beautiful city with gorgeous historic buildings. There are also many restaurants where they play live music. You’ll also see colorful classic cars everywhere you look. I would suggest staying at least 2 full days (3 is better!) in Havana since there’s so much to see. Especially in Old Havana (Habana Vieja).
Take your time to explore the city! Some great things to do are:
- It is very cool to see a row of colorful vintage cars in front of El Capitolo.
- Stroll around old town Havana. Most of Havana Vieja is a Unesco World Heritage site and it’s absolutely stunning to see.
- Visit Castillo de la Real Fuerza de La Habana, a beautiful fortress from the sixteenth century, right next to Plaza de Armas.
- Go for a walk on the Malecon, a famous boulevard along the water.
- Visit the Museum of the Revolution. Here you will learn everything about the Cuban revolution from a Cuban viewpoint. It’s 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.
- Have a meal and enjoy some live Cuban music in one of the many restaurants.
- Where to stay: Hotel Inglaterra (with a beautiful roof terrace), the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba, or Casa Rene & Madelyn.
- Fun tour to learn more about the city: Havana Art & Culture Tour
Read more: 15 fun things to do in Havana
Day 4 & 5: 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 the home of the famous tobacco plantations. And in my experience, this is also one of the places with the friendliest Cuban people.
There’s plenty to do in the Viñales Valley. For example:
- Visit a tobacco farm and see how the famous Cuban cigars are made.
- Go horseback riding in the extraordinary landscape.
- Rent a bike or go on a bike tour and explore the valley.
- Visit some of the caves. There are multiple caves to explore in Viñales Valley. I myself went to Cueva del Indio which is located a little outside of town. Here, I was also able to hop on a boat and see the cave from the water. It was magical!
- Visit the botanical garden.
- Where to stay: Villa Las Arecas or Casa Caricia.
- Learn more about Viñales with this Free Walking Tour.
Day 6 & 7 Cienfuegos
Your next stop will be Cienfuegos and although the city itself is quite nice (it’s a great place to shop for souvenirs), you will definitely want to use this city as a base to explore the area. It’s a perfect place to stay a little longer since there is a lot to see in and around Cienfuegos! Here are a few great places to visit and fun things to do in Cienfuegos:
- Parque José Martí is the most important place in the city center. This is a beautiful square surrounded by colorful buildings like the theater, the cathedral, and the Palacio de Gobierno.
- Museo Historico Naval Nacional is a little fun museum about shipbuilding and the Cuban revolution.
- Passeo El Prado: a beautiful street surrounded by colorful colonial buildings. It also has many statues that are interesting to check out.
- La Punta Gorda, is a peninsula in the south of town. A somewhat fancy neighborhood with parks and beaches.
And that’s not all! There are also many great places that you can visit on a day trip from Cienfuegos:
- Bay of Pigs (Bahía de los Cochinos) is one of the most important places in the history of Cuba. This is the place where the United States sent CIA-trained soldiers to try to invade Cuba to stop the communist regime of Fidel Castro. It was a big failure. Bay of Pigs is not only an important historical place but also a fantastic place to go snorkeling, especially around Punta Perdiz.
- Jardín Botánico de Cienfuegos, an amazing botanical garden. When you arrive, a local tour guide will show you around.
- Playa Rancho Luna is the most beautiful beach near Cienfuegos and is very popular with the locals.
- Where to stay: Cienfuegos Center Hostel Raquel (in the city center) or Hostal Don Carlos y Nancy (Ponta Gorda).
- Learn more about Cienfuegos with this Free Walking Tour.
Read more: 18 Top things to do in Cienfuegos Cuba
Day 8, 9 & 10: Trinidad
The next destination is the town of Trinidad. This is perhaps the most beautiful town in Cuba and this is the place to truly enjoy the colonial architecture since it’s filled with colorful historical buildings.
There are a lot of things you can do in or around Trinidad, so make sure to take your time here as well. I would suggest staying here for at least 3 full days to explore the town and its surroundings. I myself stayed here for 5 full days, I absolutely loved it here!
What are the best things to do in Trinidad?
- Just wander around. Basically, the whole town is a World Heritage Site. The streets are picture-perfect and it feels like you’re back in time.
- Enjoy the colonial architecture around Plaza Mayor, the main plaza in Trinidad. It’s surrounded by museums, like Museo Romántico.
- Visit Museo de Arquitectura Colonial. In this museum, you can see how wealthy people lived here a long time ago. You can also climb the tower, from here you have an incredible view of the town and the surrounding mountains.
- Relax at Playa Ancon. This beach is only a 15-minute ride from town and a long stretch of white sand.
- Go on a day trip to Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes. This is a beautiful national park with tropical forests, hiking trails, and (hidden) waterfalls. You can get there with a Topes de Collantes Tour, but you can also go by yourself if you want to go hiking.
- Where to stay: Casa Colonial Torrado 1830 or Hostal Casa El Ceramista.
- Learn more about the history of Trinidad with this Trinidad Free Walking Tour.
Read more: The best things to do in Trinidad Cuba
Day 11: Santa Clara
To be fair, Santa Clara is not the most vibrant place in Cuba, but it’s definitely a place to stop by for (half) a day. The most important reason why you should visit Santa Clara is because of the mausoleum of Che Guevara.
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’. The gigantic statue next to it is a very impressive sight. It is 22 feet (6.7 meters) tall. On the pedestal, you can read his farewell letter to Fidel Castro.
Other things to check out in Santa Clara are the cute parks Parque Leoncio Vidal and Parque Las Arcadas.
- Where to stay: Hostal Hyggelig or Eva y Ernesto.
- Want to see more Santa Clara attractions? Join this Free Santa Clara Walking Tour.
Day 12 &13: Cayo Las Brujas
After all the cities and great activities, you might 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 14: 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 delicious mojitos.
Cuba Itinerary Map
A map of this epic Cuba itinerary.
This is an image. Click here if you’d like to zoom in on the map.
Extend your Cuba trip
Do you have some extra time, or do you plan on moving faster? In that case, you might like to explore more beautiful places in Cuba.
Santiago de Cuba
This is the second-largest city in Cuba and is located all the way in the southeast of the island. It’s a historic city with narrow streets and some beautiful sights.
In the city center, there are a few parks and squares, that are definitely worth checking out like Parque Cespedes and Plaza de Dolores. In addition, there are some beautiful colorful buildings to see, such as the cathedral and Museo de Historia 26 de Julio.
All the way in the south on the coast, you’ll find Castillo del Morro. This is a fortress from the seventeenth century overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Guardalavaca is a resort town in the northeast of Cuba. This is one of the best destinations of a beach holiday. Long sandy beaches and a beautiful turquoise sea. Just relax!
Holguin is a bigger city not far from Guardalavaca. There are definitely some interesting historic buildings to see in the city center, but it has a somewhat different atmosphere than the other Cuban cities. This is the place to see more of the local Cuban lives and fewer tourists. The most beautiful places in Holguin can be found in the streets between Parque San José and Parque de las Flores.
Make sure to go to Loma de la Cruz, this is a mountain park on the north side of the city. From here you have a beautiful view of Holguin and the surrounding landscape.
Isla de la Juventud
Isla de la Juventud is a large island south of Cuba and a very interesting place to explore! To get here, you take a ferry from Batabano. It takes 2 to 3 hours to reach the city of Nueva Gerona. Although tourism is very important on the island, the main industries are agriculture and fishing. It’s fun to see the local farmers here between the citrus fruits.
On the island, you can explore the hiking trails and find some waterfalls. In the south, there’s Parque Nacional Marino de Punta Francés Punta Pedernales. A green national park with long stretches of sandy beaches. There’s also a beautiful coral reef, which makes this a great place for snorkeling.
About this Cuba itinerary
This is the itinerary of my trip in the summer of 2013 and for us, it was the perfect Cuba itinerary. 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 2-week Cuba itinerary is suitable for travel by public transport, rental car, or taxi. I mainly traveled by bus and found this a great way to explore the country, especially when you’re on a budget.
Please note that 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. In this case, you’ll know that you’ve got a spot and you don’t need to travel to the bus station again. In my experience, almost all tickets were sold out on the day of departure.
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, only local ones and they are owned by the state.
It is wise to book your rental car far in advance through a travel agency, like Tui Cars.
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 it is also way faster. Most of the time it is cheaper than renting a car. Taxies can be used for every distance. If you really like the driver, you can even ask him if he’d like to take you out for more trips or on a classic car tour. Make sure to agree on a price with the driver before you head out.
More Cuba tips
Before you travel to Cuba, there are certain things you need to know.
Best time to visit Cuba
The best time to visit Cuba is from October to April. These are the driest months when it comes to the weather. January is usually the cheapest month to travel to Cuba.
Hurricane season is from June to November. You can certainly travel to Cuba safely during these months, but it can rain a lot. And when it pours, electricity might fall out. Don’t worry about that, it’s normal. I visited Cuba in July, and the weather was beautiful most of the time. There were some big thunderstorms, but if you just stay inside, it’s fine.
The money situation in Cuba can be quite complicated. There used to be two currencies: the Cuban Peso (CUP) for tourists and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) for locals. The last one is no more, although locals can now also use Moneda Libremente Convertible (MLC).
Keep in mind that you have to pay cash almost everywhere, so you always have to carry (a lot). Be aware of pickpockets! There are ATMs, but they rarely work. You can exchange money at special offices in the cities. Here you can use a credit card or cash. Euros usually give the best exchange rate.
Communicating with locals
One of the best experiences in Cuba is getting to know some of the locals. They don’t always speak English, so make sure to learn some (basic) Spanish. I myself use Duolingo a lot, I absolutely love this educational app.
Locals won’t always tell you about the turbulent history of the country, please treat them with respect. It’s also a good idea to bring some small gifts, like soap or shampoo, since it’s not that widely available over there.
What to pack?
You basically need to pack everything you need before traveling to Cuba. There are not a lot of stores to buy things and stores only have very limited supplies, especially when it comes to hygiene.
Book a trip to Cuba
Would you like to travel to Cuba? Here are some tips to book your trip:
- You can find the cheapest plane tickets via WayAway. For international flights, it’s easiest to fly to José Martí International Airport in Havana. The easiest way from the airport to the city is by booking a transfer.
- 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 Hostelworld. Here you can not only find beds in a dorm but also a lot of (private) bed & breakfasts. Staying in a casa particular is also highly recommended. This is when you stay with locals and they are usually really friendly. For hotels and more B&B options, you can also use Expedia.co.uk.
- It is mandatory to take out good travel insurance when you travel to Cuba. I would suggest checking out Insubuy to find the travel insurance that fits your needs.
- Interesting in tours and fun activities? Check Civitatis.
Cuba package tour
Don’t feel like booking everything separately? You can also choose to do a package tour and travel in Cuba with a professional guide. Here are a few options:
- 7 Days in Cuba: Havana, Viñales, and Varadero. Including pick up and drop off at the airport, English-speaking tour guide, accommodation, and transportation.
- Cuba 15-day Tour: Havana, Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, Camagüey, Holguín, Baracoa, Santiago de Cuba, Bayamo, and Trinidad. Including pick up and drop off at the airport, English-speaking tour guide, meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), accommodation, and transportation.
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:
- Cuba Travel Tips: useful tips & the best sights
- The best things to do in Trinidad Cuba
- 15 fun things to do in Havana
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This article was published in November 2021. Last update: November 2022.
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