Cuba, baby! The most amazing, exotic and authentic place we have ever been to. It is magical. It is definitely one of a kind. And, yes, we say that a lot, but this time we mean it. The people, the music on the streets, the cars and the history, it is all unique to Cuba. Let’s dive in and have a look at the Best Cuba Itinerary – 2 Weeks in Cuba. We can assure you that you are about to have the best vacation ever!
Put on this playlist and dive into the 2 weeks in Cuba you are about to experience!
What to Know Before You Go?
Getting around Cuba is not as easy as around other tourist destinations. Due to the fact that the public transport system is not very well developed and not really clear for tourists the most common way to get around is by long-distance buses run by Viazul bus company or shared cars. However, if you speak Spanish, go ahead and inquire about the local transport, Cubans will be happy to help and explain to you the routes.
Renting a car will be quite an expensive joy in Cuba. Usually, the cheapest car will cost around $70. The prices will be the same in most of the rentals as they are government run and regulated. However, if you can afford to rent a car – this will be the best way to experience the beautiful country.
Renting a motorbike is a cheaper and a more adventurous option. Of course, if you are traveling light and do not have much baggage to pack. You can rent a motorbike for around $20 a day if you rent it for longer than 3 days. Exploring Cuba on a bike would be our favorite way to go! You can go wherever, whenever and relatively cheaply.
Long distance bus service run by Viazul. The buses run according to the schedule and are clean and comfortable. Tickets can be purchased at the bus stations and tourism offices. Be aware that they advertise selling tickets online but it does not always work as the system is down more often than running. Havana to Viñales will cost you around $12.
Shared cars are basically the same thing as long-distance buses and cost approximately the same. A 4.5-hour ride will cost around $35, for example, from Havana to Trinidad. Shared cars work as a door-to-door service, they pick you up at your casa and deliver you at your next destination and you share the ride with other tourists, like sharing an Uber. The cool thing that differentiates this service from an Uber is that you probably will ride an old classic car.
In Cuba, two different currencies are used. CUC (Cuban Peso) is the official currency available to all the tourists, at banks and at money exchanges. CUP (Cuban Convertible Peso) is the currency locals use. 1 CUC is $1, however, 25 CUP = $1. Remember that Cubans are not keen on US Dollars so bring any other currency if you can, for example, EURO or CAD. Otherwise, you will be applied around %10 exchange fee.
Also, neither CUC nor CUP can be obtained outside Cuba, the money is worthless beyond the borders of Cuba. It is convenient to exchange most of your money in CUC, however, CUP might come in handy in markets and when using public transportation.
Interesting fact: According to the law, tourists are not allowed to bring Cuban money beyond the country’s borders. We did fly out with some CUC just because we forgot we had them, haha.
Most of the time you will be staying at Casas Particulares. Those are like Airbnb’s really, only arranged on the spot rather than booked in advance online. The process is as simple as Airbnb as well, you just pay rent to stay at a local’s house. Usually, if you are quite relaxed you can arrive in Havana and you will be greeted by Casa Particulare owners so you will have a variety to choose from. As you plan your way around Cuba one owner will recommend you the next Casa to stay in. They support each other and recommend their friends’ places.
BEST CUBA ITINERARY – 2 Weeks in Cuba
Havana – 3 Days
The gorgeous capital of Cuba. Havanas has the senses of no other place in the world. Allow yourself good 3 days to explore the bustling capital. You have to visit Old Havana, Havana Centro and wander along the Malecon promenade.
Havana should be explored on foot but you have to get that touristy dose of Havana by renting an old classic car for a couple of hours and cruising around the city. We guarantee you will be taken back in time! If you are into photography Old Havana is the perfect place to explore, wander around the old streets, among the crumbling houses and make your way to Havana Centro to get a feel of the local life. We assure you, Latino music rhythms will make it better than any city tour.
Here are some activities you could do via GetYourGuide:
Museo de la Revolución is definitely worth a visit to learn about the Cuban history, which has been very eventful and unique. Visit a cigar factory, there are plenty of those around Havana! The way cigars are made is very interesting and seeing the factories and people at work will leave quite an impact on you.
Cuba is famous for its rum and Mojitos, and E. Hemingway loving Cuba like no other place in the world. To combine it all you have to head to E. Hemingway’s favorite bar – La Floridita. However, La Floridita is quite a touristy place, thus also pricey. Our way would be to buy a bottle of rum and head to Malecon for sunset and hang out with some locals.
Viñales – 3 Days
Viñales is a must during your 2 weeks in Cuba. It has a completely different vibe than Havana and you will be able to explore the Cuban countryside and the life of farmers. Tabacco plantation visit has to be on your list!
Cayo Jutias or Cayo Levisa is worth a day trip! Those are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world with the bluest water and whitest sand we have seen! From Viñales you can arrange a day trip at any of the tourism agencies and the prices vary from $20 CUC to $35 CUC. Lunch and a drink are included and you have around 6 hours of free time.
Viñales is a very slow paced city and you will feel absolutely relaxed after the hustle and bustle of Havana. Take your time and enjoy the peace of the area and Cuban hospitality.
Cienfuegos – 1 Day
It is the sugarcane capital, boosting diverse architecture and fancy sugarcane lord mansions. Quite different than the rest of Cuba. There is not much to do in the city itself but it is the surroundings that are worth visiting.
Arrange a trip to the nearby waterfalls and pools – El Nicho. Another option is Laguna Guanaroca which is a beautiful lake where you can take a boat trip to observe the wildlife and enjoy some peace. You can arrange the trips in one of the city’s tourism offices or hire a driver for the day to take you around.
Trinidad – 3 Days
Again, Trinidad is a beautiful Cuban city to be included in your 2 weeks in Cuba itinerary. It absolutely deserves to be the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is like a smaller version of Havana. Colorful houses, cosy streets, buzzing nightlife. Trinidad offers some great Instagram spots if you wander around the old town. Well, the whole country is Instagram paradise, but Trinidad especially.
You have to visit the Belltower in the Municipal History Museum. The entrance is only $2 CUC, and the views are absolutely worth it. Trinidad boasts many viewpoints as it is a hilly city with cobblestone streets, thus be ready for a lot of walking. Well, look at it like a good workout to sweat out all that rum, because there is coming more of it!
Enjoy the nightlife of Trinidad and head to the famous Cave Bar (La Cueva). It is the most popular nightclub among both tourists and locals. Another great place is Casa de la Musica. It offers live performances every weekend and you can either sit outside or enter the venue for $1 CUC and dance on the stage. Get that salsa going with a delicious Mojito on your hand! Honestly, the music never stops playing in Cuba.
You can spend a day at Playa Ancon because we all know the beaches of Cuba are worth more than a day’s visit. There is another beach you can visit from Trinidad called Playa Maria Aguilar, which is quieter and more laid back than Playa Ancon. Another option is to do some hiking by taking a day trip to Topes de Collantes. All of these day trips can be arranged via tour offices in downtown Trinidad.
Cayo Santa Maria – 2 Days
Cayo Santa Maria is the perfect beach destination in Cuba. It is an island connected to the rest of the country via a causeway. It has become a popular beach destination and, honestly, after absorbing the Cuban culture it is a good idea to soak up some more of the Carribean sun. The only option here would be staying at an international hotel and basically laying on the beach and relaxing a bit.
If you are not up for that easily trade in Cayo Santa Maria for a trip to Matanzas for a night and then head to Varadero last. It truly depends how much time you want to spend at the beaches, as you might as well stay longer in Trinidad or other places mentioned above.
Varadero – 2 Days
This is another classic tourist beach destination. However, as you have explored the real Cuba you might as well see how the country has adjusted to the tourist influx and how the “all inclusive” tourists relax. Depending on your interests you might as well book an all-inclusive stay for a couple of days, but we would recommend staying in Casas Particulares. However, it is our preferred way of traveling as we love to see the real face of the countries we visit.
From Varadero, you can take a day trip to Matanzas if you did not do it before. You can rent a car or a motorbike anywhere around Varadero center, but remember to bargain hard! Also, agree on the price beforehand, always! In Matanzas, you can see more of the Cuban life and also visit Rio Canimar for a tranquil cruise along the river.
If you do not feel like laying on the beach much head back to Havana, it is only 2 hrs 30 mins away from Varadero. Soak up a bit more of gorgeous Cuba before heading back home.
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More Than 2 Weeks in Cuba
If you are lucky enough to have more than 2 weeks in Cuba you should also explore the remaining part of Cuba (far east), which includes Santiago de Cuba and Holguin. The inclusion of these two cities would make a perfect 3 week trip around Cuba and you could take a flight back to Havana from Holguin or Santiago de Cuba to fly out of the country in the end.
Santiago de Cuba
Some say that Santiago de Cuba is Cuba’s capital of culture. If you visit the city during the weekend you have to go to Avenida Victoria de Garzón for its amazingly tasty street food. By now you might know that Cuba is not a gourmet paradise but the street food here exceeds all the expectations.
You should also visit Parque Cespedes, it is one of the main city squares and right here Fidel Castro proclaimed the victory in the Cuban Revolution.
Plaza de Marte should be your last evening stop as it is full of bars and clubs. Locals enjoy drinks on the streets and dance the night away, Cuban style, truly.
In Holguin, the top tourist place is the Hill of the Cross (La Loma de la Cruz). It is a 458 step climb, so don’t say we did not warn you, but the views over the green forests are amazing. As Holguin might be the last stop of your trip you have to go to Guardalavaca for their crafts market and stack up on those souvenirs. We remember buying silver jewelry for next to nothing, a couple of CUC, really. Visit the Holguin old town and Parque Galixto Garcia and from there head to the famous 1910 Restaurant & Bar. It serves insanely good grilled octopus, steaks, and serrano. Foodies paradise!
Cuba is amazing! Hopefully, you are convinced by now that it is a must-visit destination! Especially with all the things changing non-stop you better include Cuba in your travel bucket list as soon as possible! 2 weeks in Cuba is the perfect time to explore the country and get to know the people and their culture. Follow our Cuba itinerary, pack your bags and go adventure!