Heading to Cuba for the first time? I’ve created a 7 day Cuba itinerary that will give you the full Cuba experience. Everything from how to get there, what to do, and where to eat. Get ready to book your trip to Cuba!

You’ve finally decided to take a trip to Cuba and now you have to figure out how long to go and what to do and see while there. I spent a week in Cuba and this is pretty much the itinerary we followed. There isn’t a specific order you have to do things in so feel free to mix it up.

I highly recommend visiting the cities of Havana, Trinidad, and Vinales. These three very different cities will give you a good picture of what life in Cuba is like. From the capital of Havana to the countryside of Trinidad & Vinales, get ready for an amazing 7 days in Cuba!

Getting to Cuba

There are multiple countries in the world that have direct flights to Cuba including the United States. If you’re an American wanting to travel to Cuba you will have to follow some rules in order to visit.

  1. Arrive at the airport and get your Tourist Card (visa) at your gate.
  2. You’ll be asked your reason for traveling to Cuba so you’ll have to read the list of 12 categories of authorized travel before you leave and choose one. Support for the Cuban People is the most popular choice.
  3. Fill out your Tourist Card before arriving in Cuba.

Important Cuba Information

Accomodations: Cuba has hotels but the most popular (and best) places to stay are casas particulares. Those are rooms or homes that are for rent in a local’s home. You can find these on Airbnb or you can find a place when you arrive by looking for the casas particulares signs outside of homes.
Language: Spanish is the official language in Cuba but Cubans are required to learn English in school so you won’t have a problem communicating if you don’t speak Spanish. NOTE: we did have a few taxi drivers that did not speak any English.
Currency: The currency in Cuba is the Cuban Peso.
Transportation: You’ll find plenty of taxis everywhere in Cuba from the common yellow colored taxis to the American classic cars to pedicab.

Money in Cuba

You will have to figure out exactly how much money you might spend in Cuba and bring it all with you in cash. You won’t be able to use a credit card while in Cuba. American issued credit and debit cards DO NOT WORK in Cuba.

People from other countries in the world might be able to use there credit cards but the majority of businesses deal with cash. I’ve written all about what we spent during our time in Cuba so you’ll have a better idea of how much money you’ll need to bring with you. I recommend around $150 a day per couple.

7 Day Cuba Itinerary

For this Cuba Travel Itinerary you’ll spend 2 nights in Havana, 2 nights in Trinidad, 2 nights in Vinales, and 1 night back in Havana before leaving to go home.

Day 1: Arrive in Havana

You’ll arrive at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. Once you’ve gone through customs walk outside and choose a taxi to take you into Havana. All official taxis charge a flat rate of $30 to get from the airport to Havana so there’s no need to try and find a better deal or negotiate. This flat rate is set by the Cuban Government.

Havana is the capital of Cuba and is also known as “La Habana”. It’s the largest city and the most popular tourist destination in Cuba. There are three sections to Havana: Old Havana (Habana Vieja), Vedado, and Miramar.

Old Havana is where most people spend the majority of their time and where the tourist spots are. You can see most of Havana just by walking because this area isn’t all that big. You can get from the Malecon to the Capitolo Building in about 20 minutes by foot. Unless you’re like me and easily distracted by all the things around me and have to take a million photos.

Depending on what time you arrive, you could see a few things after checking into your accommodation. One of THE most popular things to do is to take a ride in a classic car and an evening sunset ride would be an amazing thing to do on your first day. It will likely be the most expensive thing you do in Cuba but you cannot visit Cuba without doing this.

Sitting in a red classic car  in Revolution Square in Havana Cuba

Day 2: Explore Old Havana

A good way to start your first full day in Havana is by taking a free walking tour. There are multiple companies that offer these walking tours and it’s a great way to really get to know the history and culture of Cuba. These walking tours last 2-3 hours are hosted by locals who are very knowledgable in everything Cuba. I’ve listed a few walking tour options below for you to choose from.

  1. Free Walking Tour Havana – Meet at either 9:30am or 4:00pm at Central Park
  2. Civitatis Walking Tour – Meet at either 10:00am or 5:00pm at Parque 13 de Marzo
  3. Guruwalk – Guruwalk offers 72 free walking tours in Havana including art tours, a nightlife tour, history tours, and more.

All tours are free but you should absolutely tip your guide at the end. This is how they make their living. You’ll need to register for the tour on their website and then just bring up your electronic ticket when you arrive.

Top Things to do in Havana

I have a whole list of things to do in Havana but these are some of the top things to do and see. Don’t forget to save some of them for your final day in Havana on day 7.

  • Classic car ride
  • Walk along the Malecon
  • Visit the Cathedral
  • Have a daiquiri at what was Ernest Hemingways favorite bar, El Floridita

Where to eat and drink in Havana

There is no shortage of places to choose from to eat at in Havana. Honestly, some are great and some are not so great. These are the places we liked the most and had a good experience.

  1. ChaChaCha is one of the nicer restaurants in Havana that we ate at. It has two floors and the place was packed. You know it’s good if the place is full of people!
  2. El Louvre has an amazing rooftop with tables so if that is available try to go up there. We ordered pizza from El Louvre and it was delicious!
  3. El Balcon de los Hermanos was this surprising little place with the best lobster. The lobster was huge and it only cost $10 for the entire meal. They also had a band with an amazing singer!

Day 3 & 4: Trinidad

It’s Day 3 of your Cuba travel itinerary and today you’ll leave Havana and head to the city of Trinidad. Trinidad is about a 4 hour drive from Havana by car. You could take a bus but the bus will take several hours longer and you’ll only save about $10-15. I recommend hiring a taxi.

Head to the main bus station in Havana and once there you’ll see taxis and classic cars lined up to take you wherever you want to go. You’ll want to agree on a price (per person) and check out the vehicle before agreeing. Some are nicer than others.

One thing we noticed about the cars in Cuba is that some of them reek of gasoline. You do not want to be sitting through that for 4+ hours! The drive to Trinidad should cost somewhere around $35 each.

These taxis are called colectivos, or shared taxis. They don’t leave until all the seats are filled up and paid for. If you want more room then you could buy another seat. Otherwise you have to wait until enough people are there and ready to go.

You’ll arrive in Trinidad early enough to do some siteseeing in the afternoon. Climb the Bell Tower, check out the church, and head to a rooftop bar for the sunset.

Top things to do in Trinidad

Trinidad is an old colonial town with colorful pastel buildings, cobblestone streets, and yes the American classic cars exist here too. It’s a slower pace of life than Havana and much less crowded. There are mountains to the north that you could hike in and the coast to the south if you wanted to relax at the beach on day 4.

  • Climb the Bell Tower
  • Horseback ride and swim in waterfalls at the El Cubano Natural Park
  • Check out Disco Ayala – a nightclub in a cave

Where to eat and drink in Trinidad

  1. La Botija is a very popular restaurant with live music in the evenings and they are open 24 hours a day.
  2. Restaurante El Criollo has a great rooftop where you can watch the sunset, listen to live music, and drink mojitos all night.
  3. Casa de la Cerveza does not serve food but it’s a really cool bar in some old ruins. They also serve what I believe is the coldest beer in Cuba. They have a stage for live music too. If you can’t tell, Cuba loves music!

Day 5 & 6: Vinales

It’s day 5 of your 7 days in Cuba and today you’ll leave Trinidad and head to Vinales. Vinales is about 6.5 – 7 hours from Trinidad so it will be a long travel day. You might have to catch a colectivo back to the Havana Bus Terminal and from there hire another one to take you to Vinales.

We spoke with our host in Trinidad when we arrived and told her that we needed to get a driver to take us to Vinales and she arranged the entire thing for us. We did not have to find another driver in Havana because the driver took us all the way there.

If you leave Trinidad in the morning (we left at 7:30am) you will arrive in Vinales by early afternoon. We stopped for lunch for an hour and arrived in Vinales around 3pm. Once you get checked in you can head over to the Mural of Prehistory and/or Vinales Valley for the sunset.

Top things to do in Vinales

Vinales is where all the good Cuban cigars come from so the number one thing to do here is to tour a Tobacco Farm. There are quite a few of them in the area and your host at your casas particulares will be able to arrange things for you. Our host had a list of things to do in the area and we picked what we wanted to do and they drove us to the places (for a small fee).

  • Vinales Valley
  • Tobacco Farm
  • Indian Cave
  • Mural of Prehistory

Where to eat and drink in Vinales

  1. El Bily was so good that we ate there twice! Live music inside is very loud so I recommend you eat outside.
  2. Restaurante Bar Razones was good and fast. This was after we sat at another place for almost 2 hours waiting for food. At lunch. We left, went to Razones and has our food in like 15 minutes.
  3. Cubar is a little more pricey and I can’t tell you personally if the food was good but it was recommended to us. We stopped there after eating at El Bily and had drinks and played dominos. Great atmosphere too. It’s a very large restaurant.

Day 7: Back to Havana

It’s your last full day in Cuba and like Trinidad, you can check with your host to see if they will arrange a driver to pick you up to go back to Havana. The drive to Havana is only 2-2.5 hours so you’ll arrive early enough to have at least a half a day to see what you haven’t seen yet. Spend the day soaking up the last bit of Havana taking photos and drinking mojitos before leaving tomorrow.

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