Classic Car Trip "Charming West Cuba" - 5 days
Classic Car Tour „Charming West Cuba“: 5 day exclusive trip to the highlights of west Cuba for fans of American Classic Cars from the 1950s.
A trip that takes you back in another century...
ORZW5 Classic car trip „Charming West Cuba“ - 5 days
A Trip in a vintage car including a chauffeur, your own travel guide and overnight stays in private accommodations
Travelling in American classic cars from the 1950s are a new/old experience for travellers in Cuba who want to experience this era today.
Havanna - Pinar del Rio - Vuelta Abajo - San Luis – San Juan - Guane - Cayo Jutías - Viñales - Cueva de los Portales - San Diego de los Banos - Angerona - Havanna
This round trip will surprise you with impressive experiences in an authentic Cuba that cannot be made on the usual round trips. Cuba travelers who would like to see the extraordinary landscape of west Cuba with its natural beauty, the colonial cities of central Cuba and the rest of the island all the way to the east will be absolutely impressed by this round trip. We will start off the tour by showing you around Havana on a very special tour. After that, the way leads into the province Pinar del Rio and first into its capital which has the same name. After a short tour through this town, we drive onward into the Vuelta Abajo with its especially fertile soil, in which the best tobacco in the world is grown. The next day is dedicated to the world-famous Cuban tobacco. In the Vuelta Abajo we will visit a famous, over 200 year old tobacco finca with you. During that time you can learn a lot about how tobacco is grown and you can watch an old tobacco farmer roll cigars. This is the home of the real and authentic Cuban cigar! While visiting a family living in the countryside you will get to know the popular religion in Cuba, the Santeria, and also take part in a ceremony with a Santero priest. During dinner you can smoke tasty Cigars from the farm, made from the finest leaves of the farmers’ precious tobacco. We will also visit the new tobacco guru, Hector Luis Prieto, in his Vega. During a side trip to a horse farm with old Spanish thoroughbred horses and bred fighting cocks with proudly colorful feathers you can also look at a fighting cock arena.
As we continue into the tropical natural landscape, across very old steel bridges, past interesting villages with the authentic life of the rural people, we make our way to Viñales. Along the way you will encounter many interesting places where you can take lots of pictures in this magnificent part of the country. We will even go on a hike through the second largest cave in all of America. After your first night and a lovely evening in Viñales, we embark on a trip into the tropical Viñales valleys with stops at the unique sights embedded in the tropical karstic landscape of the Mogotes. On the next day we go on a day trip to the snow white beach of Cayo Jutias, where you can spend a day relaxing at the seaside.
The next day brings you through breathtakingly pretty scenic landscapes again until you reach the cave of Che (Cueva de los Portales). After having visited this impressive natural monument you gonna make a short stop at the famous old coffee plantation Angerona. Afterwards you will go back to Havana, where your trip through West Cuba ends.
ORZW5 Charming West Cuba - 5 day roundtrip in a Classic Car - Car with driver and guide
The journey to Havana should be made at least one day before the round trip starts. Please ask for the organisation of the booking of overnights pre or after the trip.
Day 1: La Habana
Breakfast. At 08:30 am you are picked up at your Casa Particular or hotel. Discussion about the day’s tour.
In the morning we go on a sightseeing trip through the center of Havana. Every alley and almost every single house is lovely in the historic center Habana Vieja and you can find photo motifs and places to linger around en mas. We will take you on a walk through the historic city center La Habana Vieja, protected by the UNESCO. The city was founded in 1519 together with the first seven cities in Cuba. The city tour leads us to the Plaza de Armas, the Templete, the fort Real Force Castle, the palace San Francisco de Asis and the Cathedral Square with a visit of the cathedral in no particular order. You will also be able to have a short look at the original restored presidential carriage from 1910. On one of the rooftop decks we will enjoy a tropical refreshing drink while having an excellent view over the photogenic rooftops of Havana. Together we will take a stroll through the shopping streets Calle Obispo and Calle O’Reilly past the Hemingway Bar Bodeguita del Medio and then to the arts and crafts market. On the way we will take short breaks in the narrow alleys of the historic city and next to special buildings. We will look at colonial inner courtyards and learn a lot about the capital Havana and their stories. All drinks are optional and at your own expense!
Lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch you will be able to have a detailed tour through Havana in your vintage car. On said tour you visit the Cementerio Colon, the second largest graveyard of all of Latin America. On a round trip through the approximately 100.000 graves, of which 90% are made of marble, you will learn about many stories this museum graveyard holds. After that, the way leads across the place where the revolution took place, Revolution Square, with its memorial of freedom, an obelisk in the late art deco style. This is where Fidel Castro used to hold his famous speeches that influenced world politics in front of the masses. As soon as it opens again (currently still closed) we can use the elevator. From here you have a fantastic view across the city. We continue on to the village San Francisco de Paula, where Hemingway used to have soughing parties with many famous greats from the movie scene, the mafia and even politicians on his finca in the 50s. Hemingway acquired this manor, the ‘Finca la Vijia’, with his Nobel prize for literature. The former residence and its furniture survived the test of time really well and is nowadays the Hemingway Museum in Cuba. It can’t be entered but you can even see the writing instruments, many souvenirs brought back from various trips, as well as personal things from the life of the famous author through the open windows. (Closed on Sundays, holidays and when there is bad weather).
From there we continue on small roads and the city highway until we reach the fishing village Cojimar. This is the place where the great US American novelist and author Ernest Hemingway used to stay and listen to the tales his captain called Gregorio told him and then used those to write his nobel prize-winning novel ‘The Old Man and The Sea’.
There will be a short stop at the Ernest Hemingway bar (drinks optional) and during a visit at the memorial located here you will learn many historic details about this famous man.
Now we drive back along the Playas del Este, the eastern beaches of Havana and its seaside paradise, where the natives who come here in Summer spend their holidays, all the way to the place Casablanca with its impressive statue of Christ. The wife of dictator Batista wanted to calm down the agitated and protesting people by ordering the erection of a replica of the statue of Christ of Rio on the elevated eastern bank of the seaport. It was not as big as the original but could be seen from all of central Havana. The place Casablanca is located opposite to the historic city center on the other bank of the port entrance. Here you have an unforgettable chance to take some pictures next to the Cristo de Habana. On the elevated deck next to the Cristo, you have a fantastic panorama view over the entire city center and the outskirts, the port entrance and a part of the harbor, the fort El Morro and the Malecon and also the seaside promenade of Havana. Here you can also clearly see why the city was built in this location and why Havana is the most important Pass-Through-Port for the gold of the new world.
We underpass the port in a tunnel and drive along the Malecon into the city center of Vedado and then stop at the Hotel Nacional with its gorgeous park. From the 33rd floor of the Focsa and the highest building of the city, we can provide a breathtaking view over the skyline of Havana. On a drive through the green lung of Havana with its many parks, we can show you the Miramar district in which 90% of the embassies are located. Most of them are situated in the countless beautiful mansions. Here, we visit the famous artist Jose Fuster in his Mosaic-Street. He created a tribute to the Gaudí in Barcelona with his mosaic art. At the end of our tour we drive through the Sybone district, which is a suburb of Havana that is often compared to Beverly Hills. Afterwards we will reach your accommodation which is where the 5 – 6 hour long tour ends and also where you will be able to say that you experienced and got to know Havana for certain.
Note: The tour does not take place in a particular order and during Winter the program is subject to change due to the days being shorter. Please note that the statehouse, the Partagas cigar factory and the obelisk/tower at the Plaza de la Revolucion cannot be visited for an indefinite time due to renovations and reconstruction measures. The Hemingway museum, the Finca La Vijia, is closed on Sundays and in case of bad weather.
Accommodation: Casa Particular, B&B, Dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Tip for the evening: Attendance of the famous cannon shot ceremony, port closes at 09:00 pm (Optional and can be booked on site).
Day 2: Havana - Pinar del Río - San Luis - Vuelta Abajo
Breakfast. At 08:30 am the trip towards west Cuba, into the province Pinar del Rio will start.
Your travel guide for west Cuba: First your chauffeur takes you down the 150 km to Pinar del Rio, the capital of the province with the same name. To the right of the city entrance, the Pinar del Rio hotel is located. Your travel guide Carlos is waiting for you in the hotel’s central yard and will continue on to Havana with you from here. Carlos speaks English fluently and even a bit of German, so you will not have any problems communicating with him.
Short tour through the town Pinar del Rio. Visit of the cigar factory Francisco Donatien and the liquor factory Guayabita a bit further outside the city (in case both are open, closed on Sundays and holidays). After having had a look at these sights the trip goes into the lands of tobacco, the Vuelta Abajo.
The next hours are completely dedicated to the world famous Cuban tobacco. We will visit famous, more than 200 years old tobacco fincas from before the revolution in the Vuelta Abajo around San Luis with you. You will learn a lot about the process of growing tobacco, and depending on the season, you will also be able to see how the tobacco leaves are handled as well as see the ancient methods and even watch an old tobacco farmer roll cigars.
Today, we will visit the tobacco Vega Gustavo. It is here where you can find the real Cuban cigar, grown in unique soil and made from the best tobacco plants in the world. You should stock up on cigars here as the tobacco that is being grown here may very well have the best flavor in all of Cuba! (Optional purchase).
During a short walk through the surrounding tobacco cultivation areas, we will visit another ancient colonial neighor finca with you. In case the owners are home, you can even have a look into this historic finca and from the roof, you have a beautiful view over the Vuelta Abajo.
Lunch at the tobacco Vega Gustavo.
After that a true highlight of your trip through west Cuba is waiting for you as you will be able to take part in a real Santeria ceremony. During that you will learn a lot about the religion of the Cuban people and with an additional introduction to Cuban herbal medicine, you will spend a fascinating afternoon which you won’t forget anytime soon.
Dinner at the house of the Santero.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 3: San Luis – Vuelta Abajo – San Juan – Guane - Viñales
Breakfast. At 08:30 am, we make our way to La Virginia and a quaint cock fighting farm, the Finca Carito Peinato. This finca is well known for breeding fighting cocks and racy mozarabic horses. The tobacco is cultivated in a special way as well. A trip to this finca is another highlight on the trip through west Cuba. You get to see how the fighting cocks are raised and drilled. Depending on the day, you can also look at a cock fight or rent or buy your own animal and participate yourself. The horses bred here also impress everyone who has admiration for horses and the way of tobacco cultivation is very interesting as well of course. After having visited this lovely Finca, the trip continues to Guane.
Lunch at a restaurant along the way.
As we continue into the tropical natural landscape with tobacco fields embedded in picturesque valleys, crossing very old iron bridges and passing interesting villages with the authentic life of the countryside residents, we make our way to Viñales. On your way you will encounter many photogenic and interesting places in this marvelous part of the country. Now we pass through the tropical valleys of the western mountains until we reach our destination.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
During an evening stroll through Viñales you can enjoy Cuban live music and the
fascinating atmosphere of this place. (Optional)
Day 4: Viñales - Cayo Jutias - Viñales
Breakfast. 08:30 am day trip and bathing day to Cayo Jutias.
Before we drive on to the west coast, we will have stops to take pictures at interesting Mogotes and the lovely sights of the area. Some of them are the breathtaking observation deck Los Jazmines and the prehistoric wall of Dos Hermanas.
Trip to Cayo Jutia. This small and wonderful island on the north coast is linked to the main land with an artificial dam. You can relax at stunning beaches and enjoy the Caribbean.
Lunch at the beach Ranchon.
In the afternoon you go back to the main land and your Casa Particular in Vinales.
Accommodation: Casa Particular B&B.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Viñales - Cueva de los Portales – San Diego de los Banos - Havana
Breakfast. At 08:30 am our day starts with a trip to the interesting Mogotes and the lovely sights of the area. Visit of the cave Cueva del Indios, which has a river flowing through it that you will pass through with a boat.
We say goodbye to the surrounding tropical Viñales Valleys and lead you through an impressively captivating landscape of the tropical mountain range, Sierra de los Organos, including breathtaking views from the heights of the foothills. Along the way we will reach another highlight of our trip which is the cave of Che, la Cueva de los Portales. This is the place where Ernesto Che Guevara and his loyals were hiding during the revolution’s battles. This huge cave and rock labyrinth in an idyllic location is a very impressive natural monument which you will gaze upon.
Lunch at a paladar.
As we continue we will pass through the national park La Guira towards San Diego de los Banos, which is a Cuban health spa with old healing springs that have been visited since colonial times. In the time before the revolution many mafioso greats and rich habaneros, as well as American tourists used to come here to relax and take cures.
Today this remains an interesting place, still worth seeing but barely retained as the past greatly chipped away at it.
From San Diego we head down the Carreterra Central and on the highway to Cayajabos. We leave the highway and visit the interesting ruins of the old and famous coffee plantation Angerona. Angerona was one of the first coffee plantations of Cuba and run by 450 slaves.
After a short stay we continue back to Havana.
End of the 5 day vintage car round trip ‘Magical West Cuba’
Notice: The entire program, as well as the accommodations, are subject to change. Excursions, tours and the programs don’t have a set sequence, their order may change and they depend on the weather conditions and on how much daylight there still is. Unpredictable technical condition changes may also be a reason for last-minute cancelations or changes enforced by the tourist guide. The program order and the order of the day trips are determined by the tour guide. We apologize for any inconvenience. During the Winter months the program order changes due to the days being shorter.
Please note: Participating in trips with private means of transport like private cars, bicy-taxis, vintage cars, horse carriages etc., as well as accommodation in Casas Particulares (Private accommodations) happens upon the travelers own risk.
Annotation: Changes may occur during the program. Excursions and its order are subject to weather conditions. We ask for your understanding.
We preserve the right to changes and mistakes in the trip details, trip offer, price touch up for unpredictably strong Euro/Dollar exchange rate.
ORZW5 Classic car trip „Charming West Cuba“
Cuba Exclusive Round Trip in a classic car with own chauffeur and own tour guide
5 days and 4 nights (Classic Car Trip)
Begin of the roundtrip: daily ex Havana
Guaranteed trip with a minimum of 2 persons
Each car maximum 4 passengers or maximum 3 passengers and 1 guide.
Price per person in EUR in a double-room: from 1199,00 €
Included in the price:
- Service description: 5 day trip in a vintage car (or car/minivan)
- Pickup at the airport and transfer to your accommodation
- From 2 people upwards
- Driver and your own travel guide
- English and German speaking travel guide
- Additional German speaking travel guide is not included
- Accommodation in a Casa Particulares (Breakfast and dinner according to the program)
- Overnight stays as shown in the program
- Lunch as shown in the program
- Drinks during all meals are optional and not included in the price
- Trips and sightseeing events as shown in the program
- Secured Payment Certificate for the trip’s price
Not included in the price:
- Airport transfers at arrival and departure outside the program days
- Overnight stays outside the program
- Only/additional German speaking travel guide (33 Euros surcharge per day)
- Surcharges of any kind
- Expenses for services outside the program offered
- Optional trips, excursions and services
- Drinks in the Paladares, Casas, Restaurants or other places
- Tourist tax Cuba and handling fee (p.p. 40 EUR)
- Tourist map on arrival (p.p. 25 EUR)
- Airport tax on departure (is charged together with the ticket by the airline)
Note: Changes and mistakes in the program, the offer, changes in due to unpredictable Euro-/Dollar-fluctuation, hotel accomodation and price are subject to change!
All overnight-stays and accomodations like written in the program of the roundtrip.
Further information about private accomodation you can find here.
Booking of your flight:
We recommend to search for flights via flight search machines of your country.
But if you need help, we will assist you at any time.
Please remember to bring appropriate hiking shoes and gear on all trips and hikes, as well as a sufficient amount of water/drinks. And don’t forget your swimwear.
About travelling in classic cars (CC=Carros Classicos)
All classic cars, which are established for the roundtrips, have a taxi license for the transport of foreigners. They all date back to the time before or shortly after the revolution (1954 - 1960). Thus they are older than 50 years. In Cuba it is very expensive and arduous to refurbish those classic cars and arrange them for excursion trips. For that reason, the cars are conducted by their owners and are maintained and shepherd like museum pieces. The drivers are often hobby mechanics and tinkerers, who have refurbished their cars on their own. In the majority of cases the car is in possession of one family for already 3 generations. But the „carros classicos“, how the Cubans call them, are not designed for cross-country, but only for comfortable tours on asphalt streets. The experience of this 8 day roundtrip in classic cars is to feel the flair of the booming 50s. At the rear bench seat of the wide American 3 people will find a seat. A 4th person, either participant or guide, is able to sit in the front next to the driver.
Each car is occupied by minimum 2 participants plus guide plus driver and with a maximum of 4 persons plus driver.
The owners of the classic cars drive the cars in slow pace, with proper distance in a convoy and always in the same order. For reasons of safety the guide drives in the last car. The drivers are all hobby mechanics and they now their cars. For the case of need, all drivers are connected by mobile phones.
About the luggage limitation in classic cars and the luggage storage in Santa Clara:
The luggage trunk of the American is very big. Nevertheless, if the car is full with participants, it is only enough space for one sportsbag (soft material, canvas) each participant. There is a maximum space of 5 travel bags in each car (1xdriver+1xguide+3xparticipants).
Your "excess luggage" can be left in Havana in a Casa Particular (fee=1 CUC each suitcase). But if the round trip does not end in Havana, the luggage has to be brought to Trinidad on your own expenses. Your guide can organise this for you.
We suggest to pack your luggage in the right way already at home.
About the transfers:
All transfers are organised with taxis (normally oldtimers), which are able to drive to Casas Particulares.
The transfers at day 1 from the airport to your Casa Particular in Santa Clara and the transfer from Santa Clara to the airport at day 8 are both included in the price.
All other transfers are possible on application and with extra costs. Please ask for it with the booking.
Because all transfers need to go to Casas Particulares, it is necessary to book all transfers together with your roundtrip.
Regarding accommodation in Casas Particulares (CP)
Every night, after the vintage car trips, you will find accommodation in so-called Casas Particulares (CP) (Private Guest Houses). All rooms have a separate bathroom including a shower and a toilet as well as warm water and AC. In many cases the rooms also have fans. Not all rooms have 220V power outlets (Careful with dry shavers or hair dryers that don’t support 110V – 220V!) and normally all power outlets are designed for American tabs or American 3-pin plugs (2 Flat, 1 round). In Cuba you can’t buy any power adapters, therefor you should bring them in your baggage. A simple flashlight or chargeable lamp, or even candles can be very useful in case of a power outage. In many cases the rooms have 1 double bed and 1 single bed. The rooms can be used as single rooms, double rooms and also rooms for 3 people. In case 2 single beds, instead of 1 double bed are needed for 2 people, or 3 single beds are needed, they have to be requested during booking. All reservations at Casas Particulares include breakfast. The landlords of the rooms mostly cook the tap water, which they offer as drinking water, and have it cool down in the fridge. Only the carbonated water which can be bought everywhere in green plastic bottles is completely safe. Towels are provided by the landlords and are normally replaced every 2 days. Because of the climate in Cuba, mostly only thin sheets and a blanket are provided instead of a thick duvet.
Regarding windows in Casas Particulares (CP)
In hot Cuba, fresh air from outside and open windows or even incoming sunlight means unwanted heat in the rooms for the Cubans.
Because of that nobody in Cuba likes to open windows and let the sunlight into the room unimpeded. For Europeans this is quite unusual, but if you want to experience Cuba in the most real and authentic way, you should try your best to understand these circumstances caused by the climate and adapt.
Windows in the Casas Particulares are often covered with curtains to not let the light, i. e. the heat in.
In many cases the AC was built into a window subsequently as cooling is a lot more important than windows that open in Cuba. The windows there are normally not made out of glass, as the moist air would only end up as condensation on the glass, but are rather only horizontally arranged wooden planks that can be tilted and opened a bit to let some cooler air in at night. In Cuba, windows function less as a means of looking outside but rather letting air flow through. This is unfamiliar for Europeans but it can’t be changed. Everything was adapted to the climate and is therefor accordingly convenient. Most travelers prefer accommodation in a town’s center for understandable reasons. Hotels in Cuba are mostly located outside the center. But with Casas Particulares it is easier to fulfill the wish to be accommodated in the center, which is a great advantage that CPs have over hotels. In most cases the CP is not a small house at a corner but is rather just located beside 2 neighboring buildings wall-to-wall. The only windows that let you look outside are mostly at the house’s forefront that faces the street. This is also where the living room and the balcony are located most times. The bedrooms that are rented out are usually inside the house with a simple window facing the backyard to let air in. The backyards are also usually designed and built in a way so they don’t let a lot of light into the rooms, which is for heat prevention.
You can expect windows with a good view over the landscape maybe in the countryside or in suburbs but not in Cuba’s cities’ centers. This applies especially for Casas Particulares in Havana’s popular city center.
Participation in trips with private means of transportation like for example a Bicitaxi and vintage cars, as well as accommodation in Casas Particulares happens at the traveler’s own risk. Getting accident insurance coverage for abroad is recommended.
Please consider that you are in a tropical country, or respectively, on an island, and in the accommodations you might find all sorts of insects, geckos etc. commonly found in the country!
-Don´t leave valuables, phones, laptops, cameras etc. in the car.
-Please bring good footwear for trips and swimwear for the beach
There is the possibility to go diving during or in connection with your trip. Please let us know in advance, if you would like to go snorkeling or diving and we will be pleased to assist you in finding the right choice.