Cuba is one of those rare countries that is still relatively untouched. Although European and Canadian tourists have been flocking to its beach resorts for decades, its cities were left for only true adventurers.
Today the cities have been opened up via tours, helping tourists delve deep into the country’s colonial past, showing off its architecture and putting you in touch with locals.
Whether adventure, beaches, history or a mix of all is your thing, we’ve broken down your options by interest, travel style, budget and more so you get the most out of your trip abroad.
The world’s largest small group adventure tour leader is also one of the most eco-friendly in the world. Intrepid brings adventurers of all ages and levels to destinations across the globe for small and action-packed tours.
Best for: Active travellers, small groups.
Our favourite itinerary: The Cuba Explorer is ideal for travellers wanting to get a deeper sense of Cuba, its history, architecture and its scenic sites in just 10 days.
Small groups, eco tourists, giving back to community and more, G Adventures is one company that is supportive not only of its travellers but the areas that they bring visitors to. G Adventures will take you around Cuba and beyond for a trip suited to your travel style, from classic to active and everything in between.
Best for: Eco tourists, small groups.
Our favourite itinerary: We love the Cuban Rhythms tour which combines the history and city sites with natural landscapes and adventures such as hiking and snorkelling.
Tap into budget-friendly tours that let you live the local life via local homestays and independent self-guided tours with Bamba Experience.
Best for: Local living.
Our favourite itinerary: The Cuba Express Homestay Experience is an 8-day blitz across three cities that’s friendly on the wallet. It costs $124 per day, which includes accommodation, breakfast and transport.
Cuban Adventures: Cuban Adventures has local tour leaders that give visitors an authentic and true Cuban experience.
Intrepid: Intrepid focuses on small group tours that are environmentally friendly and offer tours catered to all activity levels.
G Adventures: G Adventures connects people to locals and brings small groups to destinations catering to many travel styles.
G Adventures: G Adventures has a number of sailing Cuba tours so you can explore the coast and Havana with the wind in your hair.
Scenic: This luxury cruise line has a 13-day tour around the islands which calls in at Long Island, Mayaguana Island, Santiago de Cuba, Casilda, Havana and more.
Intrepid: Intrepid has one sailing tour that was built with minimal stops for maximum relaxation and exploration time.
Explore!: Explore! offers small group adventure tours with a number of cycling tours in Cuba that include highlights, backroads, beaches and more.
ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours: Find cycling tours across the world with ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours, with 2 founders who were named 2 of the world’s top 10 guides by National Geographic Traveler.
WoWCuba: Find cycling tours all across Cuba both on and off the beaten path with a focus on authentic experiences.
G Adventures: G Adventures has strived for years to be eco-conscious and it’s no different with its small group tours throughout Cuba that connect you to communities and the environment.
Gondwana Ecotours: Gondwana Ecotours only offers one tour in Cuba but it’s one of only a few eco-friendly tour companies in Cuba. It offers sustainable travel for groups and families.
Cuba Nature Travel: Cuba Nature Travel has a large selection of tours that include a focus on everything from diving to fishing, birdwatching to trekking and more.
Popular Cuba tour routes
Most tours of Cuba highlight western Cuba with tours beginning in Havana and moving towards popular spots such as Las Terrazas, Soroa and Vinales. It gives visitors a good mix of Cuba’s larger cities, natural scenery and colonial history.
Western Cuba from TourRadar
Explore the historical past of Havana, learn how to salsa dance in Vinales, immerse yourself and learn about Afro-Cuban culture, stop by local farms and float across waters from an undiscovered beach on a one-week tour of western Cuba.
Central Cuba tours dive deep into some of the most popular spots in Cuba which the majority starting from Havana with stops in Santa Clara and Trinidad. Like western Cuba, central Cuba gives travellers the opportunity to delve more into the unique Cuban culture and cuisine, and provides direct access to beautiful waters along the coast with history added into the mix too.
Central Cuba Adventure from G Adventures
This tour explores Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a spot for active travellers to jump into the water. Santa Clara gives visitors an inside look as to what happened during the revolution and Cienfuegos showcases a different side of Cuba that many pass by.
Cuba is not a large country but getting between places can still take time. The good news is that a week in Cuba allows you to cover all of the must-see highlights of the most popular regions, either western or central Cuba.
Spend two weeks in Cuba and you’ll be able to explore more in-depth. If time allows, give yourself three weeks in the country and you’ll happily be able to see the entire country in-depth without rushing.
Best week-long tour:
8-Day Original from TourRadar
This eight-day tour of Cuba is ideal for travellers with limited time as it just touches base in western Cuba for the scenic highlights surrounding Vinales before heading to the coast and historic cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad. It’s a true best of Cuba experience.
Tour company: Cuban Adventures
Best for: Visitors with a limited amount of time
Places visited:Havana, Vinales, Bays of Pigs, Cienfuegos, Trinidad
This tour was made for adventure lovers. Get the chance to explore western Cuba and its scenic valley surrounding Vinales before heading east to learn about the history and then sailing off to Cuba’s most untouched islands for a truly idyllic holiday.
This tour will really take you for a spin around Cuba for three weeks of in-depth exploration that includes a Spanish lesson, trekking, city roaming, dramatic coastlines, national parks, off the beaten track beaches and more. Get to see the highlights and then dive deeper into Cuba’s troubled past and colourful culture.
Tour company: Intrepid
Best for: First-time visitors craving adventure and history
Places visited: Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Camaguey, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, Soroa, Vinales, Cayo Jutias
Up to 50% off experiences + extra 10% off with code
Valid on all dates, including over Christmas on activities like skydiving, quad biking, bridge climbing, canyoning, hot air ballooning, helicopter scenic flights, abseiling, scuba diving, cruises, ghost tours and more. T&Cs apply.
Valid for use on any activities like skydiving, quad biking, bridge climbing, canyoning, hot air ballooning, helicopter scenic flight, abseiling, scuba diving, ghost tours and more. Minimum spend of $80. T&Cs apply.
Valid for use on select purchase. Minimum spend of $100 applies on activities like whale watching, sailing, jet ski, scuba diving, flying experiences, kayaking and more. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and all major cities across Australia. T&Cs apply.
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Valid on select dates and activities like whale watching, sailing, jet ski, scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing, fishing and more. Destinations are Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Melbourne. T&Cs apply.
Stephanie Yip is the travel editor at Finder and has been writing about travel and lifestyle for over a decade. She has written for Travel Weekly, Escape, Thomas Cook Magazine, Showpo, The Nibbler and Hostelworld. She was also the editor of kids magazine DMAG. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Technology Sydney and has visited over 50 countries (and counting). She has a passion for sharing her experiences and knowledge of travel and helping readers stretch their dollars while on holiday.
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