Two day tour of Cuba from Havana to Bay of Pigs, Playa Giron, Trinidad and Cienfuegos!

Awesome Action Packed Two Day Tour In Cuba 2024!

If you have limited time on your Cuba holiday, and you are an adventurous traveler who wants to make sure you get the best of every destination, this two day tour in Cuba could be perfect!

Cuba is still not a destination where it is super easy to just go with the flow when traveling. This is why a bit of planning and research here is super smart, or an organized day tour or a multi-day tour to destinations in Cuba.

I did this two day tour to Cienfuegos, the Bay of Pigs, and Trinidad while living in Havana, and it was great! I was picked up at home, and everything was really well organized all the way, and the guides and group were wonderful!

If you love to explore on your own instead, you definitely can. Book your transport with the Viazul bus, or get a taxi collectivo or privado for long-haul trips.

Day Trips From Havana

You will be picked up from your hotel early in the morning for this two day tour of Cuba - here is the night view from Iberostar Grand Packard along the Prado in Havana.

If there is one destination, joining organized tours or day trips from Havana might be an excellent option.

Civitatis offers tours in all the most visited destinations in the Spanish-speaking market and bilingual guides.

Most travelers fly to Havana or Varadero for their Cuba holiday, and from both places, taking day tours or multi-day tours to amazing destinations is possible.

I did this two day tour from Havana in December 2022 with Civiatis, and it was amazing from start to end!

In two short days, you will swim in crystal clear waters and freshwater fountains, see crocodiles, and visit Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Cienaga de Zapatos, the Bay of Pigs, and Playa Giron!

Two Day Tour In Cuba From Havana

The beautiful and tranquil Cienaga de Zapata Biosphere and national Park is on the way to Bay of Pigs and Trinidad Cuba.
Cienaga de Zapata Biosphere

This two-day tour in Cuba starts around 7:30 in the morning when you will be picked up by your tour guides at your hotel or casa in Havana with an air-conditioned minibus before setting off towards the southern coast.

If the departure was a bit early for you, rest assured there will be a pit stop after an hour or so for a coffee to wake you up, get to know your fellow travelers, or have breakfast along the way!

First Stop At Cienaga De Zapatos Park

The ponds in the mangrove area of the Cienaga de Zapata national park are quiet and beautiful.

The first destination of the day is the Cienaga de Zapata biosphere and national park e where there is a crocodile farm!

You will learn a bit about the flora and fauna of these parts and meet the rather impressive crocodiles living in a natural mangrove.

This area is surrounded by tranquil waters, fields, and lush nature, and unless you live in the Everglades, the crocodiles probably will make an impression on you.

Playa Cueva De Los Pesces

When you stop along the long and narrow Bay of Pigs, you can immerse yourself in these waters! Bring a "snack" like a piece of bread and feed the tropical fish while snorkeling!
A perfect spot along the Bay of Pigs for snorkeling!

Next stop on your way to the infamous Playa Giron (the unsuccessful US invasion of Cuba in 1961), you will stop at a picturesque spot along the Bay of Pigs.

Playa de Los Pesces (the fish beach) is a small rocky beach with incredible waters, where you will take a dip in the crystal clear sea.

Just across the street from this amazing spot is also the deepest cenote in Cuba – Cueva de Pesca, or The Fish Cave!

So after dipping in the crystalline waters of the Caribbean, you can freshen up in the freshwater fountains a stone’s throw away, where the ambiance is completely different.

Cueva de Pesca on the first day of the two day tour of Cuba with Civitatis!
Cueva de Pesca

Playa Giron In The Bay Of Pigs

As you come out of the drive along the deep and narrow Bay of Pigs, you arrive at the infamous spot that was in the world’s spotlight in 1961 – Playa Giron.

You are not really here for the small beach, but for the museum where the guide tells you all about what happened here, and a bit about the history of the area before the revolution as well.

The museum of the failed US invasion in 1961 on Playa Giron at the tip of the Bay of Pigs! The plane is situated outside the museum building. you will visit this museum during the first day of your two day tour of Cuba!

Exil-Cubans supported by the CIA attempted to invade Cuba two years after Fidel Castro came to power in the Cuban Revolution, in 1961, and that did not go well.

The invasion failed in all areas and became a huge humiliation for the Kennedy administration.

The US ended up paying a “fine” of around 50 million dollars, and the soldiers who were stranded in Cuba got to go back to the US after a year in Cuban captivity.

Today, Playa Giron is located in a small, sleepy village where not a lot is going on apart from the museum telling the whole story from a Cuban point of view.

Inside the museum of the invasion of the Bay of Pigs, are portraits of all the fallen Cuban soldiers and citizens in commemoration. You can visit here on your first day of the two day tour of Cuba with Civitatis.

If you have the slightest interest in history, you probably will find this visit to the museum interesting.

Here, you will have lunch (not included) before you head on toward Trinidad in the afternoon!

Arriving in Trinidad Cuba

Night at Plaza Mayor Park Trinidad Cuba
Night at Plaza Mayor Park Trinidad

Towards the end of this first day of your two-day tour in Cuba, you will arrive in Trinidad around 6 p.m.

You will be dropped off at your casa particular, where you will stay for the night.

And you have the rest of the night at your disposal to walk a bit in the old cobblestoned streets of Trinidad (leave your heels at home) or head over to the Plaza Mayor, the historic heart of the city, to take in the ambiance.

Restaurant Los Conspiradores on Plaza Mayor in Trinidad, a stones throw from the Casa de la Musica in Trinidad!
Restaurant Los Conspiradores Plaza Mayor Trinidad

You will find lots of open shops, restaurants, bars and a bit of nightlife, and art studios around the narrow streets between the low Trinidad colonial casas to explore before you turn in!

Day Two – Two Day Tour In Cuba

Breakfast at your Casa Particular in colonial historic city of Trinidad in Cuba
Breakfast at your Casa Particular

Day two of the two day tour of Cuba starts bright and shiny at 8 a.m. for breakfast in your casa particular!

Around 8:30 you will be heading out for a guided tour with a super knowledgeable local guide that speaks both Spanish and English, so no one needs to worry about the language.

You will get to know all about the interesting plazas and places in the city, architecture, historical incidents, art, and the important history of Trinidad and the area.

Horsa and carriage is just as common in the streets of Trinidad as the old classic american cars!
Horse and carriage are just as normal as cars in the Trinidad streets.

Once, Trinidad was the wealthiest town in Cuba!

This was at the height of the sugar production era when Trinidad was one of the best places in the region for producing sugar.

There were a lot of really rich people living here, as well as a lot of slaves working the sugar plantation.

Museo de la Lucha Contra Bandidos bell tower with spectacular views over Trinidad Cuba!
Museo de la Lucha Contra Bandidos bell tower

Then, when Cuba was priced out of the market, trade disappeared, and the city of Trinidad became a forgotten backwater while the rest of the country kept getting modernized.

This is the reason that Trinidad is so well kept, and today is protected on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list!

Check availability for this Acion Packed Two Day Tour here

Guided Tour Of Cienfuegos – La Perla Del Sud

After a few hours of walking, there are a lot of impressions and information to take in, so the drive to Cienfuegos, about an hour west of Trinidad, is a welcome break!

Statue of Cuban hero and poet Jose Marti in Parque Jose Marti Cienfuegos Cuba
Statue of Cuban hero and poet Jose Marti in Parque Jose Marti

Cienfuegos Cuba Is “French”

Cienfuegos is called La Perla del Sud, and unlike the rest of the cities and towns in Cuba, it was founded by the French (but under the Spanish crown flag).

Because of this, the architecture in Cienfuegos is a bit different than Trinidad and other colonial Cuban towns.

The French influence is apparent in the architecture in Cienfuegos, Cuba, and also in the city details. Here is a miniature version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris!
The Cienfuegos version of Arc de Triomphe

We start off the tour learning all about Parque Jose Marti, and the important buildings and history around it.

As it is a heavily French-influenced city, there is, of course, a Cuban version of the Arc de Triomphe in Parque Jose Marti (named after the Cuban hero, poet, diplomat, and artist) erected in 1902 after the wars of independence and the Spanish American war ended.

The main shopping street Boulevard is wide and charming and has lots of shops, including clothes stores with Cuban designs!

The Cienfuegos version of Avenida de Prado is very similar to the one in Havana, and this is where you go for nightlife in Cienfuegos.

When the sun sets, the doors here open, and the avenue comes to life!

Returning to Havana

Mischifu restaurant in Central Havana is a perfect place for your Havana dinner, with amazing food, before you hit the city for a night out or go home to relax)!
Mischifu restaurant Centro Habana

After a long two days exploring a lot of Cuban nature, wildlife, cities, history, and a bit of nightlife, the drive back to Havana from Cienfuegos is perfect for contemplating – or just relaxing!

You will be back in the sizzling capital around 7 p.m. on day two.

If you have not spent all your energy, there is plenty of time for a shower, and then head out for a nice dinner in one of the many great restaurants in Havana.

And maybe a bar crawl or hit the dance floor in one of the many bars or clubs in Havana nightlife?

Bar 212 rooftop terrace in Central Havana, where you can both watch sports or dance the salsa! Downstares is also a club venue.
Bar 212 Galiano Street Centro Habana

FAQ’s Cuba Travel

What Is The Best Time To Visit Cuba?

The high season in Cuba is around Christmas, and in the summer months, which is also the most expensive period to travel to Cuba.

The winter months are the coldest period in Cuba, and it can get a bit chilly in the evenings.

In contrast, the summer months are sizzling hot and humid and might be a bit too much for anyone wanting to explore and not just lounge on the beach.

The rooftop at La Guarida restaurant in Central Havana is stunning!
The rooftop at La Guarida restaurant in Central Havana is stunning!

Also, the dry season runs from around November through April/May, and the wet season is from June through October. The highest likelihood for hurricanes is normally in August and September.

My favorite time of year in Cuba is March through early June and the end of August through October. In the spring, the temperatures are wonderful, and the rains have not started yet.

And if you don’t mind a bit of afternoon rain (rain showers in Cuba rarely last for a long time), you will probably enjoy the early autumn months as well.

How To Travel Within Cuba

If you do not travel in Cuba with a travel company or an organized tour, there are still good options to travel within Cuba on your own!

You can use the Viazul bus, which has comfortable and fairly reliable departures between a variety of Cuban destinations, and this is also cheap!

A price example for the Viazul bus is Havana – Trinidad $21 (online price). This bus journey takes around 7 hours.

Taxi Colectivo Cuba

My taxi collectivo from Havana to Trinidad a couple of years ago!
My taxi collectivo to Trinidad a couple of years ago!

Apart from that, you can book a taxi collectivo if you are in a group, or if alone, you will buy a seat in a taxi collectivo, that you share with other people. This is a budget travel option.

Your hotel or casa will help you book a taxi collectivo Cuba; everyone knows someone in the taxi business!

A price example from January 2023 is one seat in a taxi collectivo from Havana to Trinidad (around 4 hour’s drive) is around 35-40 euros.

Taxi In Cuba

Or, you can book a taxi privado, a normal taxi just for you. A normal taxi in Cuba is an expensive option, and you should also expect to pay in cash with euros or dollars.

The whole taxi for you (or your group) would be around 140-160 euros from Havana to Trinidad at this price.

Can You Travel To Cuba From US 2023?

Yes, you can travel to Cuba from the US in 2023. If the last airport you depart from before your arrival in Cuba, you need to buy the PINK tourist card to enter Cuba, regardless of nationality.

For more information on this issue, read more about the Cuba Travel Restrictions below!

Cuba Travel Restrictions For Americans

Per 2023, there are no more COVID-related travel restrictions or regulations for visiting Cuba.

Americans can travel to Cuba in 2023; it is not illegal. For Americans traveling to Cuba, you just need to do a few more things.

American citizens traveling to Cuba need to buy a PINK tourist card for their trip, while other nationalities need a green one. You can buy both categories fast and securely with Easy Tourist Card, which I always use.

Americans also need to choose one of eleven pre-approved reasons for travel to Cuba, stated by the US Government. The most common one is “helping the Cuban people.”

There is no paperwork connected to this; it is just something you decide for yourself and state if asked before, during, or after your trip.

As an American traveler, you must also make sure you do not stay in governmental-owned hotels or shop in governmental-owned stores in Cuba. Check with the Cuba restricted list.

This might sound like a lot, but it really is quite easy. Book your stay with a Casa Particular, a private Cuban home, and you are helping the Cuban people (Civitatis use casa particulares for accommodation).

And as Americans can not use US credit cards in Cuba, you will not be at risk to shop in the Cuban MLC stores, where cards are required.

Non-Americans traveling to Cuba need to be aware that since Cuba was placed on the “list of states that support terrorism” by the Trump administration, a visit to Cuba is stated to disqualify from an ESTA visa to the United States.

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.

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 (Americans can not travel as “tourists”) and follow some simple guidelines for traveling in Cuba.

Wrap-Up Two Day Tour In Cuba!

Wow, this is a rollercoaster of a two day tour in Cuba, taking you to the most important and interesting places in Matanzas Provinces on the southern shore.

The tour is really well organized, the guides are incredibly skilled (and nice), and everything is well executed – five stars from me!

If you love to explore on your own instead, you definitely can. Book your transport with the Viazul bus, or get a taxi collectivo or privado for long-haul trips.

But if you want to experience a lot in a short time, without having to do the organizing of all the transport, tickets and accommodation, this tour will be perfect for you!

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

Similar Posts