We particularly suggest a 3 day (2 nights) stopover in Havana. It has a rather crumbling elegance, totally historic and proud and is without doubt one of the most exciting capital cities in the world. Simply wonderful atmosphere, vibrant and bustling – and music! Our preferred hotel is The Saratoga, centrally located on the edge of the old town, with superb views the Capitol building opposite from the roof top swimming pool. Totally enhanced and now a small hotel of great quality. Within the old town area, you are now having new boutique hotels opening almost by month, converting old Spanish colonial houses into some highly interesting accommodation options. Just announced to us is the San Felipe y Santiago, a charming 27 room hotel which looks fascinating.
Discovery Tour 11 days (Havana, Vinales, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa)
For those with more time, and with a desire to see much more of Cuba we would particularly suggest our 11 day (10 night) Discovery Tour, maybe ending at one of our beach hotels in Varadero. The tour is arranged on a private basis, with your own driver and guide throughout, so it can be easily modified to suit your own requirements. You start with 3 nights in havana, where you have a full day city tour to include old Havana on foot, and on the 2nd day you have a full day drive to Vinales in the extreme west of the island, an area that has misty mountains and underground caves, visiting a commune farm en route.
You then travel east for 2 nights in Trinidad, visiting Cienfuegos en route. Onto to Camaguey for overnight, before arriving at Santiago de Cuba where you stay for 3 nights. The former capital, it is still regarded as being probably the most attractive and historic, with many of Cuba’s long line of musicians coming from the city. Continue to Baracoa for overnight and brief (hopefully) glimpse at guantanamo. Return by air for domestic flight to Havana for overnight. We would then suggest a transfer to one of our selected resorts in Varadero for 3 or 4 nights of total relaxation.
The tour will enable you to see all of the main of Cuba, with probably the 3 nights in the fascinating Santiago de Cuba being the highlight. You will see a lot in a relatively short time, so be prepared for some quite long days. Once outside of Havana and Varadero anticipate the accommodation to be simple and adequate, on this tour it’s the experience that provides the ‘luxury’ rather than the quality of the hotels.