Explore the Caribbean on this exotic holiday to Colombia and Cuba that combines a group tour with a tailor-made itinerary. Start in Havana, where you’ll meet up with your group and head off to explore the city. You’ll take in the rolling hills of Viñales, people watch on the bustling streets of Trinidad and learn about Cuba’s chequered past in the Bay of Pigs.
Next, you’ll head off to Colombia, where you’ll experience colourful Bogota, the green valleys of the coffee region and the tropical beaches near Cartagena. This holiday shows off the best of the Caribbean while visiting two very different countries.
This Colombia and Cuba multi-centre itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements, so please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport. On arrival into Havana, you'll make your own way to the hotel where your tour begins. There are no planned activities today, so after you've checked into the hotel, you can relax or explore the city.
One of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere, Havana was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Wander among the splendorous crumbling architecture in Old Havana, sit on the famous sea wall (El Malecon) to take in the view and meet the colourful, friendly 'Habaneros'.
Before departing from Havana, you'll set off on a guided walking tour of the historic centre of the city (approx 2 hours).
The drive from Havana to Viñales takes around 3 hours, and you'll stop for lunch on the way. There are quite a few attractions around the heavily forested area where you'll stop for lunch. Take a short trek to a waterfall, brave a steep walk to a lookout point, or visit an impressive orchid garden.
Next, your group will continue on to Pinar del Rio and the town of Viñales. Surrounded by picturesque limestone pincushion hills (“mogotes”), Viñales is a small and culturally rich village with welcoming residents and a wide variety of outdoor activities. Here, you'll get your first experience of staying in the home of a local Cuban family.
During your stay, you can explore caves and go hiking, biking, horseback riding. When you need a rest, simply sit back and enjoy the views of the valley and sprawling tobacco fields.
Viñales is one of the more agriculturally productive areas, so you'll find an abundance of local seasonal fruit and vegetables on offer, including avocados, pineapples, papaya and guava. It's one of the cooler areas of Cuba, providing a welcome break from the hotter parts of the island. The nightlife is very active in this village, with plenty of dancing and live music.
Today, you'll head back past Havana to the French-founded city of Cienfuegos, passing through the densely vegetated Peninsula de Zapata swamps. Along the way, you'll visit the beautiful Bay of Pigs, where the landing of counter-revolutionary exile militia occurred in 1961. There's a museum here that recounts the events of this conflict, which resulted in the first defeat of a U.S backed take-over in Latin America.
You'll also stop at a gorgeous swimming hole (cenote) that resembles a natural tropical fish tank. If the weather is good, you'll also swing past the beach for some snorkelling.
Cienfuegos is a colonial hub with a distinctly European flavour. Here, you'll find the Parisian-style boulevards and elegant colonnades that inspired Cuba’s most celebrated singer to write “Cienfuegos is the city I like best”.
For most visitors to Cuba, Trinidad is a stand-out favourite destination. No other colonial city in Cuba is so well-preserved, the locals are extremely friendly, and there's a festive atmosphere all year round. Trinidad is also important for the Santeria faith, one of several Afro-Cuban religions.
What most visitors love about Trinidad is the nightlife. There are no less than ten live music venues all within a short walking distance from one another. Many of these venues have lovely outdoor settings, in courtyards or within the walls of old colonial ruins.
Trinidad is also near the lovely Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of Sugarmills) and Playa Ancón, where you'll find long stretches of unspoiled beaches. During your stay, you can try scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming in waterfalls, and horseriding.
On the way back to Havana, you'll stop in at the town of Santa Clara, a key city in the Cuban Revolution. At the entrance of the town, there's a huge statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara, to commemorate his death and those of the revolutionaries who died along with him in Bolivia. There is also a museum here dedicated to his life.
You'll have one final night in Havana, and your tour guide will suggest some lively spots for a farewell dinner and fun night out.
Your time in Cuba has come to an end – you’ll make your own way to the airport for your flight to Bogota. On arrival in Colombia, you'll be met and taken by private transfer to your hotel.
After breakfast, you'll be picked up from your hotel for a private tour of the city. You'll visit the main sights in the historic centre, known as La Candelaria, as well as the fascinating Botero and Gold museums. The afternoon will be free to spend at leisure.
This morning, you'll be driven to the airport for your flight to Pereira, in the heart of the coffee hills. On arrival, you'll be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel.
You’ll spend the afternoon visiting the coffee plantations scattering along the rolling hills that define this area. You’ll visit Hacienda San Alberto, a traditional coffee estate in the region, where you’ll learn about the production of coffee.
In the morning, you'll head for the breath-taking Valle de Cocora, located in the mountainous Parque Nacional de Los Nevados. Upon arrival, you'll hike or ride on horseback (additional cost) into the cloud forest to enjoy the biodiversity of flora and fauna. When you arrive in the valley itself, you’ll see hundreds of gigantic palm trees dotted across the hills. It’s a surreal and beautiful place.
In the afternoon, you'll continue by car towards the charming, traditional town of Salento. At the end of the day, you’ll reach Filandia to enjoy a city tour and soak up the local atmosphere in the evening. Why not try some local spirits before returning to the hotel?
Today, you'll be transferred to Pereira airport for your flight to Cartagena. On arrival, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day will be free for you to explore this beautiful city.
You’ll begin the day with a scenic tour of Cartagena. You'll start with the Monasterio and Iglesia de La Popa, from where you'll have beautiful views over the whole city and the coast. You'll continue to the San Felipe Fortress and the Old City before finishing the tour in the handicrafts zone of the Bovedas - a collection of archways built into the city walls. Used as a prison in the 19th century, the arches are now an artisan centre crammed with local art and handicrafts. It's a great place to pick up some Colombian souvenirs!
Today is free for you to enjoy at your own pace. Why not take a boat trip out to the tropical Rosario Islands or head for the beach at nearby Playa Blanca?
Spend the day at leisure in Cartagena – we’ve included late checkout as you won’t be flying back to Bogota until the evening. In the late afternoon, you’ll be picked up at the hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to Bogota. Tonight, you’ll stay near the airport, ready for your flight home tomorrow.
Today you’ll be driven to the airport in time for your flight home.
Like many islands in the Caribbean, Cuba has a tropical climate with a wet season over the summer months and a dry season in the winter. The weather in Cuba is influenced mainly by the local trade winds, these can cause temperatures to fall, but the weather is usually hot, sunny and relaxed. We recommend visiting Cuba in the spring or autumn when it’s still lovely and warm, but temperatures are a bit lower, and the crowds have thinned out.
If you'd like to get a feel for this trip, read our blog post 'Why group tours to Cuba make great sense' - written by one of our consultants who has been there.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.