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 for 2022 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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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.
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.
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 adventure, Havana is a must-see!
Planning Made Easy | 7-Days In Cuba Itinerary
If you hate planning, it is lucky for you that I don’t! I am thrilled to do it for you, and 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 route, pace and activities as you see fit for your unique Cuba experience.
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 the 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 also 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.
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!
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Day 1 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary | Havana
Start your Havana day with breakfast at El Cafe in Calle Amargura, Old Havana. 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 years old city.
The Museum of the Revolution is an interesting place to visit, to learn about the Cuban perspective of the revolution 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?
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 2022!
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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 music, and excellent service.
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 2022, 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 farm and 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!
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 pm 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.
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 2022. 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!
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 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 (FYI. 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 go exploring, the Varadero Dolphinaro has its afternoon show at 3.30 pm.
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).
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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.
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. Or take a classic car to get to know the Hicacos peninsula and Varadero as well.
Or sleep in, and spend the day chilling by a pool (it is the Caribbean, after all). Or chill on the beach, and go over to Varadero town to check out the local market.
At 4 pm, you can head for the Omnibus station and get the (pre-booked) Viasul long-haul evening bus (7,5 hours) 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-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 as 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 changes since the mid-19th Century!
Opt-in for a free walking tour of Old Trinidad if you want a bit more information and learn about colonial Trinidad.
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 and swim in a beautiful natural pool below a waterfall in the Cuban naturaleza!
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.
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 cheap 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!
Day 6 Of Your Cuba Itinerary | Return to Havana
Return to Havana with Viazul at 7 am 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.
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 place is a bit on the glam side, and people start filling up the premises around midnight.
Doors close at 5 am, 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.
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!