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.
Your Ultimate Cuba Itinerary
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!
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!
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!
What Is A Casa Particular?
A casa particular is a privately owned home rented out by a Cuban family, where you can live like a Cuban, closer to the real Cuba!
- 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?
Day 1 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary | Havana
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!
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!
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!
- Iconic Havana Photo Tour
- Cuban Dance Class in Havana
- Classic Sidecar Motorcycle Tour of Havana
- Private Classic Car Beach Day Trip
- The Famous Havana Private Classic Car Tour
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!
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.
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.
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!
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).
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!
After a couple of days of exploring, a mini-break in the paradisiacal peninsula Varadero is exactly what you need.
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!
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!
Be aware, if you are American, there are restrictions on what hotels and venues you are allowed to stay in).
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).
Also read: 19 Best Things To Do In Varadero Cuba!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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
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.
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!
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!
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).
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!
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!
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.
You can also travel to some of the Cuban Keys, like Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Coco.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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”.
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.
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:
- Passport valid for 6 months after date of entry
- Cuban tourist card / tourist visa
- Proof of travel insurance, including health insurance
- Fill out the d’viajero.cu digital document before your journey
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 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?
- 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!
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