|Duration:||11 days / 10 nights|
|Group Size:||Private groups only. Minimum 2 / Maximum 20|
|Season:||Tour can only be run from October through May|
|Accommodation:||Twin-share. 9 nights guesthouses, 1 night trekking hut in multi share.|
|Single Supplement:||Single Room for the tour (except in trekking hut) US$245 (click here for more details)|
|Transport:||Local bus, private mini-bus, taxi, 4wd jeep.|
|Activities included:||2 day hike in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, day excursion to tanques azules in Gibara.|
|Other Inclusions:||10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner, Holguin airport arrival transfer, local guide throughout.|
|Suggested combinations:||Combine with the 8 day Original Cuba Tour, an 6 day Western Cuba Tour, or a Beach stay package near to Holguin.|
- Day 1 - Arrival Day Holguin
- Day 2 - Santo Domingo
- Day 3,4 - Sierra Maestra Trek
- Day 5,6 - Santiago
- Day 7,8 - Baracoa
- Day 9,10 - Gibara
- Day 11 - Departure Day
Please note: Itineraries for the tours in Cuba can and do change during the course
of the year due to a variety of reasons. We are not always able to advise
you in advance of these changes. We ask for your understanding and flexibility
in these cases.
The Eastern Cuba tour reaches some of the lesser visited parts of Cuba. A focal point of the tour is the 2 day trek in the Sierra Maestra mountains. Individual participants get the choice of the more physically demanding trek to Cuba's highest mountain - Pico Turquino, or a trek of moderate difficulty but equal scenic beauty and more historical interest, to the Comandancia de la Plata - the rebel's headquarters during the revolutionary struggle. We include the popular traveller destinations of Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa, and also a 2 night stay in Gibara - a charming coastal town that mass tourism has yet to discover.
With the included 2 day trek, and lots of outdoor optional activities at the other destinations, this tour is well suited to those who enjoy immersing themselves in nature and interested in outdoor activities. Particularly with Santiago de Cuba there is also plenty of cultural and historical interest value. As always, our emphasis is on contact with the Cuban people and their culture.
Day 1 - Arrive Holguin
Arrive in Holguin at any time. Today is the arrival day of the tour so there are no planned activities and you can check into the arrival guesthouse and go and explore the city. Holguin has a very pleasant town centre with a pedestrian boulevard and several pretty plazas and parks.
Day 2 - Santo Domingo
Today we make our way South and to the Sierra Maestra. It was here in these mountains that Fidel and his revolutionary troops camped for nearly 2 years while they fought against the Batista government army, before winning battles and eventually taking control of Santiago de Cuba, and Santa Clara, and then marching triumphantly across the island to Havana. We stay the night in the beautiful mountain village of Santo Domingo, where we prepare for our trek for the next 2 days.
Day 3,4 - Sierra Maestra Trek
Each member of the group will have a choice between 2 different overnight treks in the heavily forested Sierra Maestra mountains:
- Pico Turquino - grade difficult
- Comandancia de la Plata - grade moderate
Please read about the 2 different treks in more detail here. When booking on this tour we will need an indication of which of the 2 treks you will want to do. This will help us make sure we can get a place for you in the trekking hut, as these places are very limited. The trek is included in the price of the tour.
After finishing the trek, we return to Santo Domingo to spend the night before continuing our journey.
Day 5,6 - Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is known as the “cradle of the Revolution” and is home to much of Cuba’s famed music, like the Son. There are also museums, colonial churches and buildings of more recent historical importance, such as the Moncada Barracks, which are well worth exploring.
Santiago de Cuba has a very vibrant traditional music scene, which will entice even the shyest dancer out to experiment with some salsa moves. Culturally, Santiago has a different feel to the rest of Cuba, undoubtedly coming from the mix of French speaking slaves from Haiti and its proximity to Jamaica.
Day 7,8 - Baracoa
A spectacular drive past the region’s most controversial leasehold of Guantanamo Bay, then along the coast and finally through lush mountains of eastern Cuban, brings us to Cuba’s first colonial capital. When Christopher Columbus first encountered Cuba it was here, and he duly noted in his log-book that this was the most beautiful land that human eyes could set upon. You will understand what he meant when you see the beaches and verdant mountain landscape that surround Baracoa. Situated on a beautiful bay with the mountains of the Sierra del Purial in the background, Baracoa was the first settlement founded by the Spanish in Cuba, and was only accessible by sea until the end of the 1960s. There are numerous options for outdoor activities in the nearby mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and beaches, including a tough day hike to the top of El Yunke - Baracoa's impressive anvil shaped mountain. There is wide variety of delicious seafood available in Baracoa.
Day 9,10 - Gibara
We take the back roads from Baracoa along the Atlantic coast, passing the Alexander Humbolt National Park, to reach the quaint fishing village of Gibara. As yet to be discovered by mass tourism, the town and its inhabitants seem even more lost in time than the rest of Cuba. Things here happen at their own pace, and the townsfolk are friendly and sincere. The colonial buildings wear the effects of the salt leaden coastal breezes and give the town an almost otherworldly feel. We include a day excursion that takes us further along the coast to some beautiful and remote cenotes (sink holes) named los Tanques Azules (the 'blue tanks'). Exploration teams have been here from Europe to dive in the water filled caves that lead from these cenotes, and they have reported being able to follow the network of tunnels up to a distance of 3km from the cenotes. To get to the cenotes we have to trek for 1 hour on a forest trail from a part of the coast where there are some nice beaches.
Once a year, in April, Gibara hosts the Festival de Cine Pobre - a Film Festival for low budget films and documentaries.
Day 11 - Departure day
Today is set aside as the departure day and you are free to depart at anytime. From Gibara it's a 45min taxi ride to the airport in Holguin (cost approx 35cuc). There is also a collective taxi service for 1.50cuc per person to Holguin city. The spectacular Guardalavaca beach resort is about an hour drive from Gibara. Click here to see our accommodation options at Guardalavaca.
Notes - Itineraries for the tour of Cuba can and do change during the course of the year due to a variety of reasons. We are not always able to advise you in advance of these changes. We ask for your understanding and flexibility in these cases.
Summary of Travel Times
- Holguin to Santo Domingo – 4 hours
- Santo Domingo to Santiago – 4 hours
- Santiago to Baracoa – 6 hours
- Baracoa to Gibara – 7 hours
Arrival and Departure Accommodation
Late arrivals or Early departures
Late Arrival - There are no planned activities until the morning of Day 2, so you are free to arrive at anytime on Day 1. If you plan to arrive on Day 2 or after, we can arrange for you to catch up to the group. This will involve you paying transport costs to do so, and may mean you miss out on some included activities. There is no problem joining the tour if you arrive on Day 2 on the early flight from Havana (arrives at Holguin airport at 8am).
Early Departure - The group will arrive Gibara, late in the afternoon of Day 10, so a departure from Holguin airport will be possible late at night on of Day 10, or there afterwards. An earlier departure than this is also possible and may involve you paying transport costs for us to send you back to Holguin by yourself.
We estimate you will need between US$350 and US$550 for local expenses during the tour, such food and optional activities (but not including the Local Payment!), nor tips and souvenirs. Click here to see details of expenses you will have while on the tour in Cuba.