Cabaret Tropicana in Havana

Sensational 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary 2024!

So you have made the excellent choice to take the journey to experience Cuba finally, but what to do?

Here is a sensational and diverse 7 days in Cuba itinerary that you can use as inspiration for your planning!

As an ex-pat living in Havana for almost two years, I have made sure this one-week in Cuba itinerary suggests some of the most magnificent and authentic experiences Cuba can offer.

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Your Ultimate Cuba Itinerary

Classic American Car Tour of Havana!
Classic American Car Tour of Havana!
My Pick: Best Tour In Havana!

A Classic American Car Tour of Havana is, although “touristy”, an amazing way to get to know the city!

You will fly down Prado Avenue, turn left along the Malecon, and from there explore the most famous and popular places in the greater Havana area perfectly seated in the back seat with sunglasses on!

Whenever I have guests here, we always do a Classic Car Tour, and they love it!

Why Have A Holiday Itinerary For Cuba?

Cuba is not a country that aligns instinctively with impulsive souls. Quite a few of the things that are easily winged in other destinations are not as easy in Cuba.

Few things are organized online, you need to be present, or if you are lucky, you can fix things over the phone.

But taking it day by day in Cuba probably is not the best idea. You risk missing out, being stuck in lines, or outside closed offices.

Map Of Cuba!

Trip map created with Wanderlog, an itinerary planner on iOS and Android

Planning Made Easy | 7-Days In Cuba Itinerary

You may follow this 7 days in Cuba itinerary to a tee if you prefer.

Or you can take it as a starting point for your own planning and mix and match travel routes, pace, and activities as you see fit for your unique Cuba experience.

Also read: 10 Reasons To Spend Your Honeymoon In Cuba!

On your 7 days in Cuba itinerary, I recommend you stop by the paradisiacal peninsula Varadero for a couple of days!
One of the luxurious all inclusive resorts in Varadero

Day Zero – Arrival Day In Havana

Assuming that you have already traveled a few hours, it might be a good idea to spend the arrival day on acclimatization. Tend to your jet lag in Havana for a night or two.

Get yourself a nice casa particular in Old Havana, for a couple of nights, and settle in!

  • Cheap option: Los Balcones de Oficios is a casa particular super centrally located close to Havana Bay and Plaza Vieja. The casa has top reviews and offers wifi, A/C, nice spacious rooms, a balcony, and friendly service!
  • Budget option: Residencia Santa Clara is an excellent casa particular close to Plaza Vieja and the Museum of Rum. The casa has a super chic interior, beautiful spacious rooms, A/C, wifi, and breakfast included.

A Short Walk On Day Zero?

If you don’t arrive too late, take a walk around Plaza Vieja, Plaza de Armas, and along the bay boardwalk along the entry to Havana Bay.

Have dinner and a drink at Mojito Mojito, or Los Mercaderes before you turn in!

Day 1 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary | Havana

Your seven days in Cuba itinerary could start in Havana, a great center point for many other destinations nearby

Start your Havana day with breakfast at El Cafe in Calle Amargura, Old Havana.

It is a laid-back classic venue where you can get great coffee, fresh juices, scrambled eggs, or a chicken sandwich to get you fueled up.

Then, sign up for a FREE walking tour of Old Havana, where a certified guide will walk and talk you through the most important places and history of the 500-year-old city.

The Museum of the Cuban Revolution is an interesting place to visit, to learn about the Cuban perspective of the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro in late 1958.

Find your way to Parque Cristo and Bar and paladar El Dandy for lunch!

I recommend you try the tacos (I love them), and by now, it is probably not too early for a Cuba Libre?

Also read: How To Get A Tourist Card For Cuba!

During your first days of your 7 days in Cuba itinerary, you want to make sure you try some of the eclectic bars and restaurants in Old Havana. Here is El Dandy in Parque Cristo!
El Dandy in Parque Cristo in Old Havana!

Opt for a bright-colored Classic Car Tour in the afternoon that will take you flying by the Malecon.

Then, through the Vedado, Miramar, and the Plaza de la Revolucion for around an hour.

A Classic Car tour is a great way to get an overview and a feel for the city, including newer and high-end parts of Havana.

When you get back to Parque Central, walk by the Grand Theater and the Capitolio. The former parliament building looks almost exactly like the white house in the US (although inspired by the Pantheon in Paris).

Also read: 10 Perfect Day Trips From Havana Cuba!

There are giuded tours inside the Capitolio in Havana, if you want to experinece the stunning interior and history first hand.
El Capitolio is exactly between Old and Central Havana, it is possible to get a guided tour inside if you want to.

5 Top-Rated Tours In Havana

If you like a few done-for-you adventures or just getting the most out of your time, one of the organized tours in Havana will give you a lot of experience for the buck.

Here are 5 of the top-rated tours of Havana you will love!

Don’t Forget Havana At Night!

For the evening, take a bici-taxi into the conglomerate of Central Havana (it is easy to get lost on foot), and opt for a spectacular dinner!

Try either the colorful and eclectic Paladar San Cristobal (where President Obama had dinner on his famous visit in 2016) or on the top terrace of La Guarida (cash only).

The latter is a gorgeous, airy oasis for an evening meal with a stunning view of the night city, often live music, and excellent service.

The rooftop seating area at La Guarida in Central Havana
The rooftop terrace at La Guarida

Day 2 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary | Viñales

Opt for a day trip to Viñales Valley, one of the most fertile agricultural parts of Cuba. Viñales is home to the famous Cuban cigars, rum, and sugar (and honey) production!

I did this tour in July, and it really is a great way to experience the best of Viñales in a short time if you don’t want to stay the night.

On your second day of your 7 days in Cuba itinerary, you may opt for a day trip to Vinales, an incredibly fertile and beautiful valley a few hours west of Havana.
A typical Viñales house with a straw roof and front porch!

You will be picked up early in the morning at your casa particular, and can relax in a minibus all the way to Viñales, only interrupted by a pit stop underway.

Once in Viñales, you will visit a tobacco plantations to sample cigars, rum, and honey. Buy freshly rolled cigars and learn about the process.

On to a classic Cuban lunch before you visit the Mural de la Prehistoria, and the Cueva del Indio.

This cave is an amazing underground structure that ends with a majestic boat tour through the cave system and then back out into the sunlight!

In Vinales, you will visit a tobacco farm, and see first hand how the famous Cuban cigars are made!
Cigar sampling in Viñales Cuba

You can also choose to leave the tour in Viñales and stay the night in a casa particular.

Then find your own way home with Viazul the next day for $12!

If not, you will be back in Havana in the early evening, just in time to prepare for a Havana night out.

Spectacular Havana Dance Shows!

The famous Cabaret Tropicana in the Vedado is a sparkling all-nighter if you like dance shows.

The doors here open at 8:30 p.m., and the show starts at 10!

The Tropicana Cabaret dance ensemble keeps it up for an hour and a half with an amazingly energetic and colorful show.

Pro Tip: Get a cute travel duffle bag that has room for your laptop, a pair of shoes, a change of clothes, and the necessities for your flight! I love this one from Bagsmart!

The performance spans from classic 20ies-inspired parts to choreographed illustrations of history and classic dance pieces with impressively large costumes!

You can buy a dinner + show ticket as well, which I did in July.

My recommendation after that is that the show is great, and the dinner is kind of ok, so manage your expectations. (This venue is huge; it is not an intimate gourmet place).

Cabaret Tropicana in Havana Cuba
The magnificent costumes of Cabaret Tropicana

Or you can opt for dinner somewhere else, like the chic Casa Mia Paladar, or the more relaxed El Idilio. Both get reviews with standing ovations, and both are in the Vedado district.

To finish off your night, visit the remarkable Fabrika de Arte Cubano, which opens at 11 pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays).

This multi-subject art venue is unique and has several zones with different ambiances. From the chill outside seating to concerts to hot dancing venues inside!

Day 3 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary | Varadero

After a couple of days of exploring, a mini-break in the paradisiacal peninsula Varadero is exactly what you need.

Book the 8:30 am Viazul bus to Varadero in the morning, which will have you on the beach by noon! (slumber on the bus)

If you are a group of people, you can also book a taxi collectivo to get you there; your hotel or host will be able to help you with the booking the day before.

Or, book a taxi yourself online with trusted companies.

The price will be higher than for the bus, but you will almost have the freedom of a road trip!

On your third day of your adventure packed 7 days in Cuba itinerary, head for the Hicacos peninsula and Varadero town a few hours east of Havana!
Varadero on the Hicacos Peninsula

Where To Stay In Varadero Cuba

In Varadero, you can book a casa particular in Varadero town, which is situated along the wonderful Varadero beach. The Varadero Beach was voted the second most beautiful in the world on TripAdvisor in 2019!

  • Budget option 1: Pupi y Tula Casa Particular in Varadero Town ranks high on TripAdvisor. Pupi y Tula is close to the beach, has wifi in public areas, a 24-hour front desk, a kitchenette, and a garden, and parking is free for guests.
  • Budget option 2: Guesthouse stay in Varadero is a top-ranked casa particular in Varadero Town, close to Parque Josone. Here is A/C, wifi in the room (for an extra charge), heated floors (!), and breakfast on request (extra fee).

Or if you want to go all-in on the pampering side, you can opt for one of the many luxurious all-inclusive resorts on the peninsula.

Iberostar Hotels has a variety of luxury hotels in Varadero, like the Iberostar Selection Varadero!

Check out these luxury all-inclusive resorts in Varadero!

Be aware, if you are American, there are restrictions on what hotels and venues you are allowed to stay in).

Varadero beach was voted the second most beautiful beach in the world by TripAdvisor in 2019!
The beach outside Melia Paradisus Varadero

Things To Do In Varadero

If you are ready to explore, the Varadero Dolphinaro has its afternoon show at 3:30 p.m.

You can come for just the show, or stay a bit after and interact with the dolphins with assistance from the trainers! ($20 entry, extra to go swimming).

Or book a day trip with a catamaran, go snorkeling, scuba diving, or caving in the Cueva de Ambrosio!

Also read: 19 Best Things To Do In Varadero Cuba!

Try to squize in a visit the amazing Cueva de Ambrosio when you stop by Varadero on your 7 days in Cuba itinerary!
Cueva de Ambrosio
Editors Choice Best Varadero Tour!

Best Places To Eat In Varadero

For dinner, try the super elegant Xanadu mansion restaurant by the golf course with an amazing sea view and excellent reviews!

Or the more relaxed La Gruta el Vino, which serves delicious lobster and amazing garniture but is a friendlier budget option.

If you are visiting on the weekend, there are several places to enjoy until the small hours.

Check out the Pina Coladas at Calle 62, party spot La Comparasita, or Cuevas Los Pirates nightclub.

Image from Varadero Town.
Varadero Town
Day Trip Havana – Varadero

You can also do a day trip from Havana to Varadero if you prefer to keep Havana as your holiday base.

This day trip from Havana to Varadero gets a score of 8.9 out of 10 from other travelers before you!

The tour guide will make a stop at the Saturn Cave for a little exploring before you arrive at Varadero Beach, where you will have 5 hours of paradisiacal white sands and blue waves all to yourself!

Day 4 Cuba Itinerary | Varadero To Trinidad

Start your Varadero day with one of the many day tours available for adventurous travelers, on or off the water. Take one of the amazing vintage cars, the Classic American Cars, to get to know the Hicacos peninsula and Varadero town as well.

Do you keep thinking you should have had a GoPro? Going on adventures in Cuba might be a perfect opportunity to get one!

Or sleep in and spend the full day chilling by a pool (it is the Caribbean, after all) or the beach. Check out the local artisan market in Varadero town.

At 4 p.m., you can head for the Varadero Omnibus station and get the (pre-booked) Viasul long-haul evening bus (7.5 hours) that will take you down south to the amazing colonial city of Trinidad.

Pack a sandwich for when you get there; you will arrive late!

Day 5 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary | Trinidad

Waking up in the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site protected colonial city of Trinidad, you want to spend some time in the narrow cobblestoned streets.

Explore the old city’s low, colorful houses, and take in the centuries-old ambiance during your stay.

Trinidad was founded in honor of the Holy Trinity in the early 16th century and became a bridgehead for the Spanish conquest of the American continent.

Its amazing 18th- and 19th-century buildings were constructed at the height of the sugar era when Trinidad probably was the wealthiest city in Cuba!

The Plaza Mayor in Trinidad, and center of the historic city.
Plaza Mayor and the stone stairs

But as Cuba fell out of the sugar market and competition tightened, the city died down. Completely forgotten, it sidestepped all modernization taking place in other places in Cuba.

Because of this, the historic center of Trinidad is today like a perfectly contained frozen image of a colonial Cuban city, hardly changed since the mid-19th Century!

When you are there, you can opt-in for a free sunset tour to Vigia Hill or a free pub crawl tour of Old Trinidad if you want a pro guide to the Trinidad nightlife!

But there are also lots of other things you might want to explore, and you only have the seven days in Cuba itinerary!

Best Things To Do In Trinidad

Why not embark on a horseback riding adventure in Trrinidad as part of your 7 days in Cuba itinerary?
Horseback riding tour in Trinidad

Apart from exploring Trinidad city, you can visit the natural park Parque el Cubano on a horseback riding tour, visit the cigar farms, and swim in a beautiful natural pool below a waterfall in the Cuban naturaleza!

I did that, and although I have not been horseback riding since I was a little girl, it was AMAZING!

I suppose it is like riding a bike, you just don’t forget how to do it (and the horses were super friendly).

Or reserve a tour for the day to the Topes de Collantes National Park. Explore the Cuban flora and fauna, visit a coffee plantation, and swim in natural pools in the jungle.

You can also embark on your own adventure, make the short hike up the Cerro de Vigia Hill, and enjoy the infinite views of Trinidad City for the sunset.

Or get a taxi or classic car tour to the stunning Ancon Beach, 15 minutes away from the city.

View from Cierra de Vigia hill in Trinidad.
The view from Cierra de Vigia hill

Research Your Flights Here!

Places To Eat In Trinidad

Ristaurante Sapori Italiani is a nice budgeted restaurant in Trinidad with mainly amazing reviews.

With a sophisticated atmosphere, they serve great food, professional service, and low prices!

For a more elegant experience, try the Bistro Trinidad a dreamy place with one of the cutest terraces in Trinidad, with high-quality food and service, and still reasonable prices!

For the night scene, try the Casa de la Musica, or the unique La Cueva night club in Trinidad.

Situated in a natural cave underground, you enter and descend a long and crooked stairway.

Down under this huge, rugged cave is lit by dozens of lights, several levels of seating and dancing, and a truly different atmosphere!

Also read: More About Trinidad Cuba Travel!

La Cueva night club in Trinidad.
La Cueva nightclub in Trinidad in a natural cave

Day 6 Of Your Cuba Itinerary | Return to Havana

Return to Havana with Viazul at 7 a.m. the next morning. Slumber on the bus that will take you to the capital in around 7 hours (note that this route does not depart every day).

If you want to make your last day a road trip, you can get a taxi instead and drive by Cienfuegos and the Bay of Pigs on your way!

La Perla del Sud, Cienfuegos, in a photo from the 1950s.
Cienfuegos in the 1950s

Charming Cienfuegos is also called “La Perla del Sud” as it was considered very beautiful, a city uniquely settled mostly by French immigrants centuries ago.

UNESCO inscribed the historic center of Cienfuegos on the World Heritage list in 2005 as an example of early 19th-century Spanish urban planning.

No other place in the Caribbean area has such a remarkable cluster of neoclassical architecture!

The Bay of Pigs is infamous for being the scene of the failed US invasion attempt in 1961 at Playa Giron.

A small place, today it is a sleepy town, but if you have an interest, there is a museum of the invasion here that tells the story from a Cuban perspective.

Also read: Create Awesome Solo Holidays To Cuba!

Today, the Bay of Pigs, and Playa Giron is a quiet place. The only remnants of the invasion is the museum. Alfhough you only have a 7 days in Cuba itinerary, you may make time for a short stop here if history is an interest of yours!
Playa Giron today

Last Magic Night In Havana

For your last night in Havana, after this whirlwind of a journey, you might just want to grab a quiet dinner and tuck in in your casa particular in the Vedado (try a different ambiance than Old Havana?).

If you still have energy left, you might try out the Bar LM, a typical Cuban nightclub in Miramar with Latino pop, rock, and disco music.

This is a great place to party, a bit on the glam side, and people start filling up the premises around midnight.

Doors close at 5 a.m., so no rush!

Also read: Brilliant Cuba Tips For Travel You Need To Know!

Arial photo of the Vedado at night. Make sure you choose Vedado for the last night of your 7 days in Cuba itinerary!
Aerial view of the Vedado, Havana, (Habana) in the evening hours

Day 7 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary

Flight-day! Have breakfast at your casa particular, or ask your host for a suggestion close to where you live, and chill.

From Havana, a taxi to the airport is around 25-30 Euros, and hopefully, you have a flight pillow and maybe a mask to shut out the world and relax on your way home.

The Most Popular Cuban Destinations

For a one-week multi-destination holiday, it is a good idea to start in Havana. Several unique destinations are attainable for day trips from here, or you can do a round-trip stay a night in different destinations.

From Havana, you will reach Viñales Valley, Varadero, Santa Clara, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, the Bay of Pigs, and Playa Giron easily.

You can also travel to some of the Cuban Keys, like Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Coco.

Also read: 18 Of The Unquestionably Best Beaches In Cuba!

Any itinerary for Cuba with respect for itself will tell you to walk the Havana Malecon at sunset, and mayb stay for a rom and coke in a plastic cup in the Havana night like the locals do!
The Malecon boardwalk from Old Havana over to The Vedado

On the eastern part of the island, you find Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey, and the Sierra Maestra mountain range and natural park.

It is a bit of a challenge to combine the Santiago region with the Havana region in a week unless you embark on a domestic flight (which is absolutely possible). Or a super long Viazul bus journey.

This 7 days in Cuba itinerary will focus on Havana and the destinations in proximity to the Cuban capital. Filled with history, sights, culture, music, and weird adventures, Havana is a must-see!

Are 7 Days In Cuba Enough?

Street details from Old Havana

Whether or not seven days in Cuba is enough for you will depend on what kind of traveler you are, what makes a great holiday for you, and what your Cuba holiday goals are!

You will have time to see and do a lot in seven days in Cuba if you plan well and make a great itinerary.

And if lots of activities are your goal, I do recommend you plan a bit.

Cuba is famous for its cocktails!
Cuba is famous for its cocktails

Combining impulsivity with the Cuban transport system and perception of time might not always work like a charm.

So if you enjoy fun-filled and busy vacations with lots of content, plan well, and book stuff ahead of arrival, that will probably work close to ideal.

Things sometimes se complica in Cuba, “make themself complicated”! So, manage your expectations and be prepared for alternative plans.

You can spend a week in Varadero, or in Havana, or in Vinales, and still have things left to do!

Maybe you want to spend a whole week on the beach! The Varadero beach was voted the second most beautiful beach in the world on TripAdvisor in 2019!
Maybe you want to spend a whole week on the beach in Varadero or Cayo Coco

Multi-Day Tours Of Cuba!

Civitatis also offers several different packages of organized multi-day tours of Cuba, which might be an idea if you like to have everything sorted and planned for your holiday.

There is a 5-day tour to the west (Vinales, Cayo Levisa), another 5-day tour to the east (Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Varadero), and a 15-day tour of the whole island available!

I have not done any of these, and they do not have any reviews yet, so I can not comment on the quality of the execution of these tours.

The 7-day tour will get you the best of Havana, Vinales, and Varadero, but you will miss out on the UNESCO-protected city of Trinidad on the southern shores and Cienfuegos and Bay of Pigs.

The 15-day itinerary really will get you almost everything about Cuba in a fortnight.

All the history, culture, and places you may or may not have heard about, including the eastern part of the island, Sierra Maestra, and Santiago de Cuba.

FAQs Cuba Travel

Why are US citizens not allowed to travel to Cuba?

This is NOT correct. US citizens ARE ALLOWED to travel to Cuba.

Americans can choose a reason for Cuba travel among 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba, determined by the US Government (not the Cuban government).

Can US citizens travel to Cuba as a tourist?

Technically, US citizens are NOT allowed to travel to Cuba as a tourist. Americans choose between 12 pre-approved reasons for Cuba travel, among which the most common one is “to help the Cuban people”.

American citizens still need to buy a tourist card, also called a tourist visa, to enter Cuba.

What are the 12 requirements to travel to Cuba?

You can read about the 12 pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba for US citizens here.

The easiest and most common reason for Cuba travel is “to help the Cuban people”. There is no paperwork or application process connected to this, you just choose your reason and state that reason if anyone asks.

What happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba?

Nothing happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba, apart from hopefully, the US citizen will have a fabulous holiday and encounter with Cuban culture.

US citizens need to choose one of the pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba and need to buy the PINK Cuban tourist card, also called a tourist visa.

Selected airlines sell this visa/tourist card, or you can buy one online.

What documents do I need to travel to Cuba?

You need the following documents to travel to Cuba:

Do Americans need to be vaccinated to enter Cuba?

No, there is no requirement for specific vaccines prior to entering Cuba. Your country’s health department probably has recommendations for what vaccines you should consider before entering Cuba.

How Do I get a tourist card for Cuba?

You can buy a tourist card online from Easy Tourist Card, or from the Cuban embassy in your country.

You might also be able to buy a Cuban tourist card from your airline or at the airport prior to departure.

It is possible to buy a Cuban tourist card at Miami International Airport at the check-in counter with American Airlines and Delta Airlines.

How Do I Get A Tourist Visa For Cuba?

A tourist visa is the same as a tourist card for Cuba. You can buy it from the following places:

  • Buy one online from Easy Tourist Card
  • Buy one from your airline if they offer this
  • Buy one at the airport of departure if they offer this
  • Buy one from the Cuban Embassy in your country

Is Travel To Cuba Allowed Right Now?

Yes, Cuba travel is allowed right now. There are no COVID or health restraints from entering Cuba right now.

There are no political constraints from entering Cuba right now for most international travelers.

American citizens need to, in addition, choose one of the 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba (citizens of the United States can not travel as “tourists”) and follow some simple guidelines for traveling in Cuba.

Wrap-Up 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary

As an advocate of slow travel and taking your time when traveling, obviously, this itinerary does not check the boxes for that kind of experience!

This 7 days in Cuba itinerary is an adventure-packed suggestion, and for some places, you have several options and need to prioritize.

Maybe you want to extend your holiday after reading all this, there are so many things to see and do in Cuba!

Or take this as a starting point to make your own perfect Cuba holiday!

Compare Flight Prices To Cuba Here!

Do you love the Caribbean? You might also like to read these articles:

14 Most Amazing Ocho Rios Tours In Jamaica!
7 Fabulous Days In Grand Cayman Itinerary | A Complete Guide!
7 Perfect Itineraries For How To Spend A Day In Miami (Or 7 Days)!

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My Resource Go-To List For Best Travel Booking Deals!

Best Airfare bookings: Skyscanner, Wayaway,

Best tour companies: Civitatis (for Cuba), Viator

Best Hotel Bookings: Booking, Expedia

Travel Insurance: IMG Medical Travel Insurance

VPN Secure Internet: ExpressVPN

Cuba Visa Online: Easy Tourist Card

Car Rentals Online: Discover Cars

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