Dancers at the tropicana cabaret in Cuba doing a piece from the slave era. 7 days in Cuba itinerary.

Sensational 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary By A Local 2024!

So you have made the excellent choice to take the journey to experience Cuba finally, but what should you do?

As a solo female traveler, I have traveled to Cuba regularly for five years. Based on my adventures and experiences, I have made sure this 7 days in Cuba itinerary suggests some of the most magnificent and authentic experiences Cuba can offer.

Here is a sensational and diverse one week in Cuba itinerary that you can use as inspiration for your planning!

Affiliate disclosure: I only recommend tours, services and purchases I know and love on this website.

Your Ultimate 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary

Cuba trips from US: How to travel to Cuba from US and go for a ride in one of these classic American cars around Havana.
Classic American car tour Havana

You may follow this 7 days in Cuba itinerary to a tee if you prefer, or take it as a starting point for your own planning and mix and match your unique Cuba experience.

Summary 7 days in Cuba itinerary:

  1. Havana
  2. Havana – Vinales – Havana
  3. Havana – Varadero
  4. Varadero – Trinidad
  5. Trinidad
  6. Trinidad – Havana
  7. Departure

Map Of Cuba!

Trip map created with Wanderlog, an itinerary planner on iOS and Android
My Top Tour Pick: Classic American Car Tour In Havana!

A Classic American Car Tour of Havana is, although “touristy”, an amazing way to get to know the city.

You will fly down Prado Avenue, turn left along the Malecon boardwalk, and from there, explore the most famous and popular places in the greater Havana area, perfectly seated in the back seat with sunglasses on.

Whenever I have guests here, we always do a Classic Car Tour, and they love it.

Planning Made Easy | 7-Days In Cuba Itinerary

Aerial photo of the Varadero Peninsula on a bright summer day, the water is deep blue, and the sky is bright blue!
Varadero Peninsula

Day Zero – Arrival Day In Havana

Assuming you have already traveled a few hours, it might be a good idea to spend the arrival day acclimatizing. Tend to your jet lag in Havana for a night or two.

Get yourself a nice casa particular in Old Havana, for a couple of nights, and settle in.

  • Cheap option: Los Balcones de Oficios is a casa particular super centrally located close to Havana Bay and Plaza Vieja. The casa has top reviews and offers wifi, A/C, nice spacious rooms, a balcony, and friendly service!
  • Budget option: Residencia Santa Clara is an excellent casa particular close to Plaza Vieja and the Museum of Rum. The casa has a super chic interior, beautiful spacious rooms, A/C, wifi, and breakfast included.

A Short Walk On Day Zero?

If you don’t arrive too late, take a walk around Plaza Vieja, Plaza de Armas, and along the bay boardwalk along the entry to Havana Bay.

Have dinner and a drink at Mojito Mojito, or Los Mercaderes before you turn in!

Day 1 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary | Havana

Havana architecture, classic buildings with tall archways in different pastel colors and a blue classic car driving past
Street view in Havana

Start your Havana day with breakfast at El Cafe in Calle Amargura, Old Havana.

It is a laid-back classic venue where you can get great coffee, fresh juices, scrambled eggs, or a chicken sandwich to get you fueled up.

Then, sign up for a FREE walking tour of Old Havana, where a certified guide will walk and talk you through the most important places and history of the 500-year-old city.

The Museum of the Cuban Revolution is an interesting place to visit, to learn about the Cuban perspective of the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro in late 1958.

Find your way to Parque Cristo and Bar and Paladar El Dandy for lunch. I recommend you try the tacos (I love them), and by now, it is probably not too early for a Cuba Libre.

Eclectic and charming colorful interior in El Dandi paladar in Old Havana
El Dandy in Parque Cristo in Old Havana

Opt for a bright-colored Classic Car Tour in the afternoon that will take you flying by the Malecon. Then, through the Vedado, Miramar, and the Plaza de la Revolucion for around an hour.

A Classic Car tour is a great way to get an overview and a feel for the city, including newer and high-end parts of Havana.

When you get back to Parque Central, walk by the Grand Theater and the Capitolio. The former parliament building looks almost exactly like the white house in the US (although inspired by the Pantheon in Paris).

The impressive white Capitolio building with the famous white dome against the blue sky in Havana
The Capitolio

Five Top-Rated Tours In Havana

If you like a few done-for-you adventures or just getting the most out of your time, one of the organized tours in Havana will give you a lot of experience for the buck.

Don’t Forget Havana At Night

Among the best restaurants in Havana is La Guarida, with two rooftop terrace seating areas that are stunning
The rooftop terrace at La Guarida

For the evening, take a bici-taxi into the conglomerate of Central Havana (it is easy to get lost on foot), and opt for a spectacular dinner!

Try either the colorful and eclectic Paladar San Cristobal (where President Obama had dinner on his famous visit in 2016) or on the top terrace of La Guarida (cash only).

The latter is a gorgeous, airy oasis for an evening meal with a stunning view of the night city, often live music, and excellent service.

Day 2 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary | Viñales

The green valley of Vinales west of Havana, with vast plains, trees, fields, and the famous mogote hills
Vinales Valley

Opt for a day trip to Viñales Valley, one of the most fertile agricultural parts of Cuba. Viñales is home to the famous Cuban cigars, rum, and sugar (and honey) production!

I did this tour in July, and it really is a great way to experience the best of Viñales in a short time if you don’t want to stay the night.

You will be picked up early in the morning at your casa particular, and can relax in a minibus all the way to Viñales, only interrupted by a pit stop underway.

Once in Viñales, you will visit a tobacco plantation to sample cigars, rum, and honey. Buy freshly rolled cigars and learn about the process.

On to a classic Cuban lunch before you visit the Mural de la Prehistoria, and the Cueva del Indio.

This cave is an amazing underground structure that ends with a majestic boat tour through the cave system and then back out into the sunlight!

A woman with red nail polish rolling a Cuban cigar from the dried tobacco leaves
Making a Cuban cigar

You can also choose to leave the tour in Viñales and stay the night in a casa particular. Then find your own way home with Viazul the next day for $12!

If not, you will be back in Havana in the early evening, just in time to prepare for a Havana night out.

Spectacular Havana Dance Shows!

The colorful show at the Tropicana, dancers with vibrant red costumes in a fierce dance
Cabarett Tropicana

The famous Cabaret Tropicana in the Vedado is a sparkling all-nighter if you like dance shows.

The doors here open at 8:30 p.m., and the show starts at 10. The Tropicana Cabaret dance ensemble keeps it up for an hour and a half with an amazingly energetic and colorful show.

The performance spans from classic 1920s-inspired parts to choreographed illustrations of history and classic dance pieces with impressively large costumes!

You can buy a dinner + show ticket as well, which I did in July. My recommendation after that is that the show is great, and the dinner is kind of ok, so manage your expectations. (This venue is huge; it is not an intimate gourmet place).

Or you can opt for dinner somewhere else, like the chic Casa Mia Paladar, or the more relaxed El Idilio. Both get reviews with standing ovations, and both are in the Vedado district.

To finish off your night, visit the remarkable Fabrika de Arte Cubano, which opens at 11 pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays).

This multi-subject art venue is unique and has several zones with different ambiances. From the chill outside seating to concerts to hot dancing venues inside!

Day 3 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary | Varadero

After a couple of days of exploring, a mini-break in the paradisiacal peninsula Varadero is exactly what you need.

Book the 8:30 am Viazul bus to Varadero in the morning, which will have you on the beach by noon! (slumber on the bus)

If you are a group of people, you can also book a taxi collectivo to get you there; your hotel or host will be able to help you with the booking the day before. Or, book a taxi yourself online with trusted companies.

The price will be higher than for the bus, but you will almost have the freedom of a road trip!

The award winning white sands and calm seas of Varadero Beach on a sunny summer day
Varadero Beach

Where To Stay In Varadero Cuba

In Varadero, you can book a casa particular in Varadero town, which is situated along the wonderful Varadero beach.

The Varadero Beach was voted the second most beautiful beach in the world on TripAdvisor in 2019!

  • Budget option 1: Pupi y Tula Casa Particular in Varadero Town ranks high on TripAdvisor. Pupi y Tula is close to the beach, has wifi in public areas, a 24-hour front desk, a kitchenette, and a garden, and parking is free for guests.
  • Budget option 2: Guesthouse stay in Varadero is a top-ranked casa particular in Varadero Town, close to Parque Josone. Here is A/C, wifi in the room (for an extra charge), heated floors (!), and breakfast on request (extra fee).

Or if you want to go all-in on the pampering side, you can opt for one of the many luxurious all-inclusive resorts on the peninsula.

The paradisiacal beach outside the Melia Paradisus Resort in Varadero
The beach outside Melia Paradisus in Varadero

Be aware, that if you are an American citizen, there are restrictions on what hotels and venues you are allowed to stay in.

Things To Do In Varadero

If you are ready to explore, the Varadero Dolphinaro has its afternoon show at 3:30 p.m. You can come for just the show, or stay a bit after and interact with the dolphins with assistance from the trainers! ($20 entry, extra to go swimming).

Or book a day trip with a catamaran, go snorkeling, scuba diving, or caving in the Cueva de Ambrosio!

Cueva de Ambrosio, with light sifting through the ceiling from the outside creating light colored walls and ceiling
Cueva de Ambrosio
Editors Choice Best Varadero Tour!

Best Places To Eat In Varadero

For dinner, try the super elegant Xanadu mansion restaurant by the golf course, which has an amazing sea view and excellent reviews!

Or the more relaxed La Gruta el Vino, which serves delicious lobster and amazing garniture but is a friendlier budget option.

If you are visiting on the weekend, there are several places to enjoy until the small hours. Check out the Pina Coladas at Calle 62, party spot La Comparasita, or Cuevas Los Pirates nightclub.

An area of Varadero Town, with teracotta tiled walkways and houses with terracotta colored roofs amidst greenery and palm trees on a sunny summer day
Varadero Town
Day Trip Havana – Varadero

If you prefer to keep Havana as your holiday base, you can also take a day trip from Havana to Varadero.

This day trip from Havana to Varadero gets a score of 8.9 out of 10 from other travelers before you!

The tour guide will make a stop at the Saturn Cave for a little exploring before you arrive at Varadero Beach, where you will have 5 hours of paradisiacal white sands and blue waves all to yourself!

Day 4 Cuba Itinerary | Varadero To Trinidad

Start your Varadero day with one of the many day tours available for adventurous travelers, on or off the water.

Take one of the amazing vintage cars, the Classic American Cars, to get to know the Hicacos peninsula and Varadero town as well.

EpicNomadLife Tip: Do you keep thinking you should have had a GoPro? Going on adventures in Cuba might be a perfect opportunity to get one.

Or sleep in and spend the full day chilling by a pool (it is the Caribbean, after all) or the beach. In Varadero town, check out the local artisan market.

At 4 p.m., you can head for the Varadero Omnibus station and get the (pre-booked) Viasul long-haul evening bus (7.5 hours) that will take you down south to the amazing colonial city of Trinidad.

Pack a sandwich for when you get there; you will arrive late!

Day 5 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary | Trinidad

Waking up in the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site-protected colonial city of Trinidad, you want to spend some time in the narrow cobblestoned streets.

Explore the old city’s low, colorful houses and take in the centuries-old ambiance during your stay.

Trinidad was founded in honor of the Holy Trinity in the early 16th century and became a bridgehead for the Spanish conquest of the American continent.

Its amazing 18th—and 19th-century buildings were constructed at the height of the sugar era, when Trinidad was probably the wealthiest city in Cuba.

The park next to Plaza Mayor, with terracotta floor, palm trees and sculptures on a sunny summer day.
The park next to Plaza Mayor in Trinidad

However, as Cuba fell out of the sugar market and competition tightened, the city died down. Completely forgotten, it sidestepped all modernization taking place in other places in Cuba.

Because of this, Trinidad’s historic center is today like a perfectly contained frozen image of a colonial Cuban city, hardly changed since the mid-19th Century.

When you are there, you can opt-in for a free sunset tour to Vigia Hill or a free pub crawl tour of Old Trinidad if you want a pro guide to the Trinidad nightlife.

But there are also lots of other things you might want to explore, and you only have the seven days in Cuba itinerary.

Best Things To Do In Trinidad

Horseback riding in Vinales on red dirt roads on a sunny day
Horseback riding tour in Trinidad

Apart from exploring Trinidad city, you can visit the natural park Parque el Cubano on a horseback riding tour, visit the cigar farms, and swim in a beautiful natural pool below a waterfall in the Cuban naturaleza.

I did that, and although I have not been horseback riding since I was a little girl, it was AMAZING.

I suppose it is like riding a bike; you just don’t forget how to do it (and the horses were super friendly).

Or reserve a tour for the day to the Topes de Collantes National Park. Explore the Cuban flora and fauna, visit a coffee plantation, and swim in natural pools in the jungle.

You can also embark on your own adventure, make the short hike up the Cerro de Vigia Hill, and enjoy the infinite views of Trinidad City for the sunset.

Or get a taxi or classic car tour to the stunning Ancon Beach, 15 minutes away from the city.

Infinite views from Cierra de Vigia hill in Trinidad, of the vast green plains, small houses, and the sea in the distance under the blue skies
Cierra de Vigia hill

Research Your Flights Here!

Places To Eat In Trinidad

Ristaurante Sapori Italiani is a nice budgeted restaurant in Trinidad with mainly amazing reviews.

With a sophisticated atmosphere, they serve great food, professional service, and low prices!

For a more elegant experience, try the Bistro Trinidad a dreamy place with one of the cutest terraces in Trinidad, with high-quality food and service, and still reasonable prices!

For the night scene, try the Casa de la Musica, or the unique La Cueva nightclub in Trinidad.

Situated in a natural cave underground, you enter and descend a long and crooked stairway.

Down under this huge, rugged cave is lit by dozens of lights, several levels of seating and dancing, and a truly different atmosphere!

Seating area in La Cueva night club in Trinidad, the walls and ceiling is rugged stone, and people are seated on bright yellow chairs elevated from the dance floor in colored lighting
Have a seat in the cave night club

Day 6 Of Your Cuba Itinerary | Return to Havana

Return to Havana with Viazul at 7 a.m. the next morning. Slumber on the bus that will take you to the capital in around 7 hours (note that this route does not depart every day).

If you want to make your last day into a road trip, you can get a taxi instead and drive by Cienfuegos and the Bay of Pigs on your way.

An old photo from Cienfuegos street ambiance in the 50s, with old fashioned cars in the street and people gathered outside a venue with a large photo of Che Guevara over the entrance
Old photo from Cienfuegos

Charming Cienfuegos is also called “La Perla del Sud” as it is considered very beautiful. UNESCO inscribed the historic center of Cienfuegos on the World Heritage list in 2005 as an example of early 19th-century Spanish urban planning.

No other place in the Caribbean area has such a remarkable cluster of neoclassical architecture, and it is the only town in Cuba that was founded by French settlers.

The Bay of Pigs is infamous for being the scene of the failed US invasion attempt in 1961 at Playa Giron.

A small place, today it is a sleepy town, but if you are interested, there is a museum of the invasion here that tells the story from a Cuban perspective.

Also read: Playa Giron Diving: Scuba Diving Bay of Pigs By A Local

Scuba divers in the water ready to go outside Bay of Pigs in Cuba, the water crystal clear blue, and the sun sparkling in the water
Scuba diving outside the Bay of Pigs

Last Magic Night In Havana

For your last night in Havana, after this whirlwind of a journey, you might just want to grab a quiet dinner and tuck in in your casa particular in the Vedado (try a different ambiance than Old Havana?).

If you still have energy left, you might try out the Bar LM, a typical Cuban nightclub in Miramar with Latino pop, rock, and disco music.

This is a great place to party, a bit on the glam side, and people start filling up the premises around midnight.

Doors close at 5 a.m., so no rush!

Overview photo of the Vedado neighborhood in Havana at night, the streets with warm golden lighting, and you see the lights of the city stretching out for miles
Vedado Havana at night

Day 7 Of Your 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary

Flight-day! Have breakfast at your casa particular, or ask your host for a suggestion close to where you live, and chill.

From Havana, a taxi to the airport is around 25-30 Euros, and hopefully, you have a flight pillow and maybe a mask to shut out the world and relax on your way home.

The Most Popular Cuban Destinations

For a one-week multi-destination holiday, starting in Havana is a good idea. Several unique destinations are attainable for day trips from here, or you can do a round-trip stay a night in different destinations.

From Havana, you will reach Viñales Valley, Varadero, Santa Clara, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, the Bay of Pigs, and Playa Giron easily.

You can also travel to some of the Cuban Keys, like Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Coco.

Also read: 18 Best Beaches In Cuba By A Cuba Expert

Malecon at sunset, people sitting relaxing on the boardwalk wall in the light from the setting sun
Malecon boardwalk around sunset

On the eastern part of the island, you find Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey, and the Sierra Maestra mountain range and natural park.

It is a bit of a challenge to combine the Santiago region with the Havana region in a week unless you embark on a domestic flight (which is absolutely possible). Or a super long Viazul bus journey.

This 7 days in Cuba itinerary will focus on Havana and the destinations in proximity to the Cuban capital. Filled with history, sights, culture, music, and weird adventures, Havana is a must-see!

What To See In Cuba In 7 Days?

Plaza Vieja, the old square in Old Havana around sunset, the square is full of people exploring surrounded by beautiful light colonial beige stone buildings with thousands of elegant details and ornaments.
Plaza Vieja in Old Havana

Cuba is not a country that aligns instinctively with impulsive souls. Quite a few of the things that are easily winged in other destinations are not as easy in Cuba.

Few things are organized online; you need to be present, or if you are lucky, you can fix things over the phone. There are lines, delays, and bureaucracy.

So my advice is to plan your Cuba vacation a bit more meticulously than you normally would do.

Are 7 Days In Cuba Enough?

street art in Havana, a dancer with a black hat smiling looking happy and vibrant
Street art mural in Havana

Whether or not seven days in Cuba is enough for you will depend on what kind of traveler you are, what makes a great holiday for you, and what your Cuba holiday goals are.

You will have time to see and do a lot in seven days in Cuba if you plan well and make a great itinerary.

Legal drinking age in Cuba: how old do you need to be to enjoy these colorful cocktails in Cuba?
Cuba is famous for its cocktails

If you enjoy fun-filled and busy vacations with lots of content, plan well, and book stuff ahead of arrival, that will probably work close to ideal.

Combining impulsivity with the Cuban transport system and perception of time might not always work like a charm.

Things sometimes se complica in Cuba, “make themself complicated”! So, manage your expectations and be prepared for alternative plans.

White sandy beach in Varadero surrounded by palm trees, and you see the blue ocean below the beach on a sunny day
Beach in Varadero

Multi-Day Tours Of Cuba!

Civitatis also offers several different packages of organized multi-day tours of Cuba, which might be an idea if you like to have everything sorted and planned for your holiday.

There is a 5-day tour to the west (Vinales, Cayo Levisa), another 5-day tour to the east (Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Varadero), and a 15-day tour of the whole island available!

I have not done any of these, and they do not have any reviews yet, so I can not comment on the quality of the execution of these tours.

Based on the listed itineraries, these are my comments.

The 7-day tour will get you the best of Havana, Vinales, and Varadero, but you will miss out on the UNESCO-protected city of Trinidad on the southern shores and Cienfuegos and Bay of Pigs.

The 15-day itinerary really will get you almost everything about Cuba in a fortnight.

All the history, culture, and places you may or may not have heard about, including the eastern part of the island, Sierra Maestra, and Santiago de Cuba.

FAQs Cuba Travel

Why are US citizens not allowed to travel to Cuba?

This is NOT correct. US citizens ARE ALLOWED to travel to Cuba.

Americans can choose a reason for Cuba travel among 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba, determined by the US Government (not the Cuban government).

Can US citizens travel to Cuba as a tourist?

Technically, US citizens are NOT allowed to travel to Cuba as a tourist. Americans choose between 12 pre-approved reasons for Cuba travel, among which the most common one is “to help the Cuban people”.

American citizens still need to buy a tourist card, also called a tourist visa, to enter Cuba.

What are the 12 requirements to travel to Cuba?

You can read about the 12 pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba for US citizens here.

The easiest and most common reason for Cuba travel is “to help the Cuban people”. There is no paperwork or application process connected to this, you just choose your reason and state that reason if anyone asks.

What happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba?

Nothing happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba, apart from hopefully, the US citizen will have a fabulous holiday and encounter with Cuban culture.

US citizens need to choose one of the pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba and need to buy the PINK Cuban tourist card, also called a tourist visa.

Selected airlines sell this visa/tourist card, or you can buy one online.

What documents do I need to travel to Cuba?

You need the following documents to travel to Cuba:

Do Americans need to be vaccinated to enter Cuba?

No, there is no requirement for specific vaccines prior to entering Cuba.

Your country’s health department probably has recommendations for what vaccines you should consider before entering Cuba.

How Do I get a tourist card for Cuba?

You can buy a tourist card online from Easy Tourist Card, or from the Cuban embassy in your country.

You might also be able to buy a Cuban tourist card from your airline or at the airport prior to departure. It is possible to buy a tourist card at Miami International Airport at the check-in counter with American Airlines and Delta Airlines.

How Do I Get A Tourist Visa For Cuba?

A tourist visa is the same as a tourist card for Cuba. You can buy it from the following places:

  • Buy one online from Easy Tourist Card
  • Buy one from your airline if they offer this
  • Buy one at the airport of departure if they offer this
  • Buy one from the Cuban Embassy in your country

Is Travel To Cuba Allowed Right Now?

Yes, Cuba travel is allowed right now.

American citizens need to, in addition, choose one of the 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba (citizens of the United States can not travel as “tourists”) and follow some simple guidelines for traveling in Cuba.

Wrap-Up 7 Days In Cuba Itinerary

As an advocate of slow travel and taking your time when traveling, obviously, this itinerary does not check the boxes for that kind of experience!

This 7 days in Cuba itinerary is an adventure-packed suggestion, and for some places, you have several options and need to prioritize.

Maybe you even want to extend your holiday after reading all this; there are so many things to see and do in Cuba.

Or use this guide as your starting point to make your own perfect Cuba holiday.

Related blog posts:

What Is Cuba Known For? 22+ Unique Things About Cuba!

Is There Uber In Cuba? Cuba Transport Options From A Local

Can You See Cuba From Key West? (Hint: The Curve Of The Planet)

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