MHoppemaParticipantMay 5, 2016 at 10:50 pmPost count: 3
Hi, I’m a Dutch student and I from the 13th till the 27th of June I will be go on a solo travel to Cuba. I have made a little planning for myself but because it will be my first time in Cuba I need some expert opinion on how doable my plans are.
The plan that I made is:
13th: Arriving Havana
14th: exploring Havana
15th: exploring Havana
16th: Travel to Pinar del Rio
17th: Exploring Pinar del Rio
18th: Travel to Vinales
19th: Explore Vinales
20th: Travel to Cienfuego
21st: Explore Cienfuego
22nd: Travel to Trinidad
23th: Explore Trinidad
24th: Travel to Santa Clara
25th: Explore Santa Clara
26th: Travel to Havana
27th: Departure from Havana.
I know it is a lot in a short amount of time but I want to see as much as possible.
Maybe you have some tips on what to remove and what to keep.
MJHMarioKeymasterMay 6, 2016 at 2:22 pmPost count: 210
Your plan is ambitious. It is absolutely possible to do your plan exactly as you have written, but I wonder if this really is the best plan…
You should look at my posts over here (https://bestcubaguide.com/forums/topic/14-day-itinerary/) and see what I have recommended for other people for their 2 week stay in Cuba.
You say that “I want to see as much as possible.” An important thing to note is that it is usually better to stay in a few places where there is a lot to see rather than staying in many places where there is only a bit to see. In Havana, there is a lot to see. I recommend staying longer in Havana. In Santa Clara there is very little to see. The same goes for Pinar del Rio. Unless you have a particular thing that you want to see in these cities, you might want to bypass them.
Also, Vinales is wonderful, but you might be wasting time if you are going to both Vinales and Trinidad. They are not the same, but they are similar. My recommendation would be to explore one area thoroughly rather than spending just 1 day in each place.
Also, consider the driving time to get from one destination to the other. The drive from Vinales to Trinidad would take about 6 hours if you have a private taxi and over 8 hours in the Viazul bus. It wastes a whole day.
Also, you need time to plan excursions in each destination. If you want to go horseback riding in Vinales or Trinidad you have to plan that ahead of time. If you arrive just the day before, it might not happen. And then what if it rains and you cannot go…
I recommend you spend 4 days in Havana. See the city properly.
Then either go to Vinales or Trinidad. Or do both, but take it slow. Spend 3 days in Vinales. On the first day you can walk in the fields and see the plantations. Second day, go hiking on a hill. Third day, go on a horseback tour of the valley.
Then you can go to Trinidad. Take a communal taxi as I have described here (https://bestcubaguide.com/forums/topic/entertainment-sat-night/#post-13474)
But in Trinidad you will do similar things.. On the first day you can walk in the town. Second day, go hiking on a mountain. Third day, go on a horseback tour of the valley. But you can also go to the Topes de Collantes national park. It’s very beautiful. If you like these kinds of activities, you can easily spend 4 days in Trinidad. Plus there is a nice beach just beside Trinidad.
Then if you want, on your way back to Havana you can stop in Cienfuegos a bit. It’s a nice place, but most people only spend a few hours there or stop for the night if they are tired. There is not that much to do there.
If you take it slow in Cuba you will have more time to meet locals and learn about the culture and history. In Cuba the cities themselves are similar, in my opinion, but the people are different. I have always been happier to learn a few places very well rather than to see many places generally. Also, the advantage of seeing just a few places is that you waste less time driving around and have more time to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
have a great day,
MarioMHoppemaParticipantMay 7, 2016 at 12:18 pmPost count: 3
Hey Mario, thank you for your response!
I can see your point on staying longer in the same place and exploring. I still want to visit Vinales and Trinidad because I would like to see the beautiful valley and the colonial town aswell as the playa ancon.
My neem planning would be:
13, 14, 15, 16 Havana
17 travel to Vinales
18, 19, 20 Vinales
21 travel to Trinidad
22, 23, 24 Trinidad
25 travel to cienfuegos
26 travel to Havana
27 Departement from Havana
This will give me a more time to Explore every part.
I am doing this trip on a budget so I’m going to look into nice cheap excursions and activities around vinales and Trinidad.
Thank you again for the advies.
MJHMario RizziGuestMay 8, 2016 at 1:15 amPost count: 195
Hi, in my opinion, you will have more fun with this new schedule. You will have much more time to really see everything there is to see in Havana, Vinales and Trinidad. And, if ever you get bored of a particular area, you can always just leave early and explore a different area.
For example, near to Vinales there are 2 beaches. You can pay a simple local taxi to take you the beach, and the cost would probably be about 15$. If you want the taxi to wait for you and drive you back at the end of the day, it would cost 30 to 60cuc, depending on where you go. You can get cheaper deals sometimes.. you just have to ask around. Your casa landlord could easily set this up for you. Or, in the town square in Vinales, right in front of the park, there is a tourist information office with all the prices for the taxis on the window. There are also drivers in front of the office who can give discounts. The closest beaches are Cayo Jutias and Cayo Levisa. Cayo Levisa is actually an island, so you would have to take the ferry to get there. There are also some cheap excursions which will take you to the beach for a day, a meal is sometimes included too. So, if you get bored of Vinales, you can go exploring the beach.
Also, for taking a taxxi to Trinidad from Vinales, here is a tip. From Vinales to Trinidad, you can use a communal taxi. In Vinales, in front of the main square, there is a tourist information office with posters and prices marked all over the windows. In front there is almost always a taxi organizer who can help you arrange a taxi to Trinidad. The cost is about 40cuc per person. The organizers name is Leonardo. His phone number is 5 240 9142. He speaks a bit if English. But either tell your landlord to call him and organize the taxi, or go visit him in front of the tourist office. He has short, black hair and he will probably approach you if you look like a tourist. He can arrange the taxi to pick you up at your casa and take you, along with a car full of other people, to Trinidad, by way of Havana. It will be a 1950s station wagon or small truck.
Near Trinidad there are many cool things to see. You have to take a taxi to see them, but it won’t be very expensive, especially if you meet some people and can share the taxi cost with other tourists.
Have you had the chance to see my Trinidad guide? It has lots of information for free places to see in Trinidad. You can download the digital edition in .epub format here, for free (http://www.filedropper.com/havanatipsandtricks). The section at the end of the book tell you all about Trinidad and some very nice places to visit. The .epub file can be read on your phone or tablet or computer.
MHoppemaParticipantMay 10, 2016 at 3:26 pmPost count: 3
- This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by Mario.
Thank you for your answers!
I have one last question. What are good places in Havana to meet other solo travellers? It would be nice to share cab rides and casas to lower the costs of the trip and of course some company. I heard of a backpackers hostel in Havana with some decent reviews. It’s called Rolando’s. Do you know if it is any good?
MJHMarioKeymasterMay 11, 2016 at 1:40 amPost count: 210
Hi, I don’t know if this specific hostal is good, but I can say that most places in Havana are adequate. In many cases, you pay for what you get, but generally the service at hostals and casas is pretty good. The Cubans are respectful and safety is always a top priority.
Hostals are great places to meet other travelers. Other good places are to hang around CADECA money exchange offices, especially in touristy places like old Havana. Bars and cheap restaurants also attract foreigners. And just walking along a street like Obispo in old Havana you will hear more foreign languages being spoken than Spanish. You can always just approach a group of people around your age and chat them up. People are usually pretty relaxed while on vacation.
Also, specifically about sharing taxi rides and stuff like that, the best place to meet other ride shares is to hang around the Viazul station. There are always dozens of people outside the station who are unable to get bus tickets and who are looking for travel buddies to share a taxi. I always find travel friends at the bus stations. You can even try the bus station for the Astro bus service. Foreigners cannot take this bus, but many still go to the station and search for cheap rides there. In Vedado, the station is located at the corner of Ave. De la Independencia and 19 de Mayo.
Take care and have a great trip.
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