Colonial Cuba by Car - Self-Drive Tour
After travelling to Cuba, see and experience more with this exciting two week self-drive tour through western and central Cuba. Thanks to this flexible style of travel you'll be able to customize your holiday to suit your personal tastes.
- 14 days, including or excluding flight
- Accommodation primarily in casas particulares
- 2 days in beach hotel with full board
- Different types of cars available for rent
On this tour of Cuba you'll have enough time to relax and appreciate each of the places you visit. This is the ideal trip for those who want to truly experience authentic Cuba without missing out on the tourist attractions. Since you'll be driving yourself, you can discover Cuba in a new, relaxed way. On this paradisiacal Caribbean island there's no rush hour, no traffic jams on the highway, and there’s always convenient parking, so you won’t have anything to stress about.
You only have to get up early twice during the entire vacation, on the 6th and 8th morning, when you'll need to catch the ferry. Colonial architecture awaits you in Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. In Santa Clara you can learn all about the history of the Cuban Revolution, and you can spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beaches in Cayo Levisa. This trip offers beauty, variety, and excitement - all from the driver's seat!
Colonial Cuba by Car
80% of the distance you'll cover on this trip will be along Cuban highways. However, unlike highways in other parts of the world, there are no traffic jams or tailgaters. They are very scenic and you'll share the road with ox carts, cyclists, and pedestrians (don’t worry, you can pass these slower travellers). Each highway has at least three lanes in each direction.
Because drivers are so relaxed you can freely stop whenever you like to grab snacks, rest, or take pictures!
Below you’ll find the day-by-day breakdown for our Colonial Cuba by Car tour.
Colonial Cuba by Car - Self-Drive Tour Itinerary
Your rental car tour begins in Cuba's bright and lively capital, Havana. If you'd like, we can pick you up at the airport and bring you to your accommodation (optional transfer).
You won't need a car to tour Old Havana as this is a pedestrian only zone – the vibrant winding streets are too narrow for cars. Because of this, the entire old town was supposed to be rebuilt in the 1960s but, fortunately, it never came to be. Today La Habana Vieja is the largest colonial city in Latin America. Stroll through the streets and let yourself be enchanted by Havana’s unique charms!
Today you'll have an information meeting with an SC Travel Adventures representative who'll give you all the information you need about your route, picking up your rental car, and tips and tricks for driving in Cuba. Your car will be available for pick up at 10 am so you'll have plenty of time to drive to and enjoy your first destination. Today you'll head westward to Viñales. There are plenty of great places to stop along the way, including several national parks, botanical gardens, and charming cities. We recommend the famous orchid garden and the waterfalls at Soroa.
There are plenty of activities to choose from today. You can go hiking, horseback riding, sightseeing, or visit the labyrinthine caves of St. Tomas. You may also just want to rest and relax on the beach in Cayo Jutias. This beautiful, secluded beach is easy to drive to. If you're willing to drive a little further, the Mil Cumbres National Park in La Guira is well worth a visit. Che Guevara used this area as a hiding place during the Cuban missile crisis in 1961.
Today you'll once again have a variety of activities to choose from. You can visit the tobacco farmers, take a tour of the village of Viñales, visit the prehistoric wall, and more! There's also a particularly beautiful hiking trip through the Viñales Valley available, the three-hour "Coco Solo Palmarito". On this tour of the valley you'll have the opportunity to watch tobacco farmers at work, explore smaller caves, and get a close look at the famous limestone cliffs called Mogotes.
It’s best to get an early start today because the ferry to Cayo Levisa leaves at 9am from the Palma Rubia dock. If you don’t want to miss the boat then you should leave Viñales no later than 7:30 am. You can park your rental car at the guarded dock. On the island there are no roads and no cars. Because of its remoteness, few tourists find their way to this lovely little island.
Hotel Cayo Levisa Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Cayo Levisa is one of the few places you can go in Cuba for a perfectly peaceful beach holiday away from the hustle and bustle. There are no all-inclusive facilities but the hotel offers charming bungalow style accommodation. Enjoy the peace and quiet and take a walk around the small island. The hotel restaurant’s specialty is fish.
Hotel Cayo Levisa Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
The ferry leaves Cayo Levisa at 8:30 am. You'll arrive back on the mainland at around 9am and you can set off in the direction of central Cuba. You have a long drive today (Cienfuegos is about 400 km away) so it’s best not to plan any activities today. Take the highway A4.
After yesterday’s long journey you'll be pleased to find that today you'll only need to go for a short, coastal drive to nearby Trinidad. On the way you can stop at the beautiful Botanical Garden of Cienfuegos, the largest of its kind in Cuba. If you're planning a trip to Topes de Collantes National Park then take the route via Trinidad. It's not possible to drive on the Cumanayagua road from Cienfuegos to Topes de Collantes with a normal car.
Spend today as you please. You can go swimming in the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea, stroll through Trinidad’s open-air museum or take the 30 minute trip to the Topes de Collantes National Park where you can hike the famous Guanayara trail. This three-hour hike is very straightforward as you simply follow the Rio Melidioso River to a waterfall. Don't forget your bathing suit! If you still have energy in the evening you can check out live music at the techno disco Ayala!
Spend another day as you please. We recommend visiting the famous slave watchtower just east of Trinidad. From here you'll have a stunning panoramic view of the Valle de los Ingenios and you'll get to learn about the sugar trade and slavery, which were so prominent here during the colonial period. If you continue a little further east then you'll pass through the verdant Vinales Valley and arrive at Sancti Spiritus, an important religious site for the Cuban people.
Even if it looks tempting on the map, the road from Trinidad to Santa Clara via Topes de Collantes and Manicaragua is in rough shape and is therefore not a shortcut. The significantly faster, safer, and more convenient route is the one through Faro Luna. Take advantage of the time saved by exploring the many revolutionary monuments in Santa Clara.
The highway back to the capital is ideal for a smooth and scenic drive. In the afternoon you can return your rental car. If there's time, you can visit one of Havana’s numerous museums, go see the famous Tropicana show, or simply spend the evening relaxing with a cocktail at one of Havana’s many bars.
This is the last day of your self-drive adventure in Cuba. If you wish to extend your stay then our staff are more than happy to help you do so! We can also take you to the airport (optional transfer). See you next time!
No other form of travel gives you as much flexibility and independence as rental car travel. You decide when you leave in the morning, how fast you want to go, and what places you want to visit. Thanks to accommodation in casas particulares (private guesthouses) you can get to know the Cuban people and learn more about their daily lives. Your route begins in vibrant Havana and takes you through the green western part of the island, and then onward through the colonial towns of central Cuba.
We recommend that you read this information carefully before booking or departure. Here you will find important information about our Colonial Cuba by Car tour. Be aware that you may need to get some vaccinations in advance. This trip includes several excursions, but there is also allocated time for optional activities. Let one of our friendly tour guides help you book any additional adventures.
Important advice regarding entry and exit, necessary vaccinations and general information about the country and people can be found here. If you have any further questions one of our staff members would be more than happy to help.
- Accommodation as described
- Meals as described
- Rental Car
What's not included?
- International flight to/from Cuba
- Cuba Entry card (tourist visa): Available on request
- Optional Excursions
- Departure Tax
- Travel Insurance
- Transfer IN/OUT & extensions of tour
- Optional Services
- Festive Dinner on 24. and 31.12.2015
Prices & Dates
Colonial Cuba by Car Prices & Dates (per Person)
|Car Category: Economy||High Season||Peak Season||Insurance|
|Single Room||1 Person||£1340||£1680||--|
|Double Room||2 People||£700||£880||--|
|Car Category: Medium||High Season||Peak Season||Insurance|
|Double Room||2 People||£800||£1050||--|
|Double Room & Single Room||3 People||£720||£840||--|
|Double Rooms||4 People||£560||£800||--|
Mid- Large Sized Car**
|Car Category: Medium-Large||High Season||Peak Season||Insurance|
|Double Room||2 People||£970||£1040||113 CUC|
|Double Room & Single Room||3 People||£830||£880||75 CUC|
|Double Rooms||4 People||£640||£680||57 CUC|
*Prices include fully comprehensive compulsory insurance fees.
**Extra insurance prices shall be paid in CUC upon rental pick-up
Please refer to our rental car site for more information
High Season: 01.11.-15.12.2017, 04.01.-15.07.2018, 16.08.-31.10.2018
Peak Season: 16.12.2017-03.01.2018, 16.07.-15.08.2018
To book one of these tours, please fill out our booking form