Two day tour in Cuba to Trinidad and Cienfuegos. Visit this charming restaurant in Trinidad!

Awesome Action Packed Two Day Tour In Cuba! (2024)

If you have limited time on your Cuba holiday, and you are an adventurous traveler who wants to make sure you get the best of every destination, this two day tour in Cuba could be perfect.

While being based in Havana for the most part of two years, I took a two-day tour with Civitatis Tour Company to Cienfuegos, the Bay of Pigs, and Trinidad, and it was great.

I was picked up at home, and everything was really well organized all the way.

Cuba is still not a destination where it is super easy to just go with the flow when traveling. This is why a bit of planning and research here is super smart, like booking an organized day tour or a multi-day tour to destinations in Cuba.

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

Two Day Tour In Cuba From Havana

The first stop is a crocodile farm in Cienaga de Zapata biosphere
First stop

This two-day tour in Cuba starts around 7:30 a.m., when your tour guides will pick you up in an air-conditioned minibus from your hotel or casa in Havana.

Then, you will set off towards the southern coast.

If your departure was a bit early, rest assured that there will be a pit stop after an hour or so for a coffee to wake you up, get to know your fellow travelers, or have breakfast along the way.

First Stop At Cienaga De Zapatos Park

Cienaga de Zapatos biosphere, lush green parks, ponds, and palm trees

The first destination of the day is the Cienaga de Zapata biosphere and national park, where there is a crocodile farm.

You will learn a bit about these parts’ flora and fauna and meet the impressive crocodiles living in a natural mangrove.

This area is surrounded by tranquil waters, fields, and lush nature, and unless you live in the Everglades, the crocodiles probably will make an impression on you.

Playa Cueva De Los Pesces

Freshwater pond at Cueva de Pesca, a small oasis with crystal clear water surrounded by greenery a few hundred yards from the ocean in the Bay of Pigs
Cueva de Pesca

Next stop on your way to the infamous Playa Giron (the unsuccessful US invasion of Cuba in 1961), you will stop at a picturesque spot along the Bay of Pigs.

Playa de Los Pesces (the fish beach) is a small rocky beach with incredible waters, where you will take a dip in the crystal clear sea.

Just across the street from this amazing spot is also the deepest cenote in Cuba – Cueva de Pesca, or The Fish Cave.

So, after dipping in the crystalline waters of the Caribbean, you can freshen up in the freshwater fountains a stone’s throw away, where the ambiance is completely different.

Playa Giron In The Bay Of Pigs

Caystal clear waters along the Bay of Pigs outside a rocky shore
Along the Bay of Pigs

As you come out of the drive along the deep and narrow Bay of Pigs, you arrive at the infamous spot that was in the world’s spotlight in 1961 – Playa Giron.

You are not really here for the small beach, but for the museum where the guide tells you all about what happened here, and a bit about the history of the area before the revolution as well.

Exil-Cubans supported by the CIA attempted to invade Cuba in 1961, two years after Fidel Castro came to power in the Cuban Revolution, and that did not go well.

The invasion failed in all areas and became a huge political humiliation for the Kennedy administration.

A fighter plane outside the Bay of Pigs museum along Playa Giron on a bright summer day
Museum at Playa Giron

The US ended up paying a “fine” of around 50 million dollars, and the soldiers who were stranded in Cuba got to go back to the US after a year in Cuban captivity.

Today, Playa Giron is located in a small, sleepy village where not a lot is going on apart from the museum telling the whole story from a Cuban point of view.

If you have the slightest interest in history, you probably will find this visit to the museum interesting.

This is also where you will have lunch (not included) before you head on toward Trinidad in the afternoon.

Arriving in Trinidad Cuba

The beautiful park next to Plaza Mayor in Trinidad, with terracotta tiles, white railngs, monuments and sculptures, surrounded by palm trees on a bright summer day.
The park next to Plaza Mayor

Towards the end of this first day of your two-day tour in Cuba, you will arrive in Trinidad around 6 p.m. You will be dropped off at your casa particular, where you will stay for the night.

And you have the rest of the night at your disposal to walk a bit in the old cobblestoned streets of Trinidad (leave your heels at home).

Or head over to the Plaza Mayor, the historic heart of the city, to take in the ambiance.

Los Conspiradores restaurant next to Plaza Mayor and Casa de la Musica in Trinidad, full of purple flowers and green plants, super charmng seating area, here at night

You will find lots of open shops, restaurants, bars, a bit of nightlife, and art studios around the narrow streets between the low Trinidad colonial casas to explore before you turn in!

Day Two – Two Day Tour In Cuba

Casa particular breakfast in a charming backyard in Trinidad, tables with green table cloth, orange house with white doors, and a red brick stairwell to the terrace.
Casa particular breakfast

Day two of the two day tour of Cuba starts bright and shiny at 8 a.m. for breakfast in your casa particular in Trinidad.

Around 8:30, you will be heading out for a guided tour with a super knowledgeable local guide who speaks both Spanish and English, so no one needs to worry about the language.

You will get to know all about the interesting plazas and places in the city, architecture, historical incidents, art, and the important history of Trinidad and the area.

Horse and carriage on cobblestoned street in Trinidad among bright colored houses on a sunny day with blue skies
Horse and carriage in Trinidad

Once, Trinidad was the wealthiest town in Cuba. This was at the height of the sugar production era when Trinidad was one of the best places in the region for producing sugar.

There were many really rich people living here, often referred to as the sugar aristocracy, and thousands of enslaved Africans working the sugar plantations.

Then, when Cuba was priced out of the market, trade disappeared, and the city of Trinidad became a forgotten backwater while the rest of the country kept getting modernized.

This is the reason that Trinidad is so well kept, and today is protected on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list!

Check availability for this Acion Packed Two Day Tour here

Guided Tour Of Cienfuegos – La Perla Del Sud

After a few hours of walking, there are a lot of impressions and information to take in, so the drive to Cienfuegos, about an hour west of Trinidad, is a welcome break.

Cienfuegos Cuba Is “French”

The Cuban version of the Arche de Triomphe in Cienfuegos Cuba in a smaller scale, a white archway in Cienfuegos main square on a sunny summer day
Arche de Triomphe in Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos is called La Perla del Sud, and unlike the rest of the cities and towns in Cuba, it was founded by the French (but under the Spanish crown flag).

Because of this, the architecture in Cienfuegos is a bit different than that of Trinidad and other colonial Cuban towns.

We start off the tour learning all about Parque Jose Marti and the important buildings and history around it.

As it is a heavily French-influenced city, there is, of course, a Cuban version of the Arc de Triomphe in Parque Jose Marti (named after the Cuban hero, poet, diplomat, and artist) erected in 1902 after the wars of independence and the Spanish American war ended.

The Boulevard in Cienfuegos, the main street and shopping street with tiled roads and stores on both sides with palm trees in between under a blue sky
The Boulevard in Cienfuegos

The main shopping street, Boulevard, is wide and charming and has lots of shops, including clothes stores with Cuban designs!

The Cienfuegos version of Avenida de Prado is very similar to the one in Havana, and this is where you go for nightlife in Cienfuegos.

When the sun sets, the doors here open, and the avenue comes to life!

Returning to Havana

El Morro lighthouse across the bay seen from the venerable Prado Avenue lined by trees on a bright sunny summer day
El Morro seen from the Prado Avenue

After a long two days exploring a lot of Cuban nature, wildlife, cities, history, and a bit of nightlife, the drive back to Havana from Cienfuegos is perfect for contemplating – or just relaxing!

You will be back in the sizzling capital around 7 p.m. on day two.

Paladar La Guarida rooftop terrace in Central Havana at night, with beautiful seatin with white table cloths and intimate lighting with the dark city in the background
Paladar La Guarida rooftop terrace

If you have not spent all your energy, there is plenty of time for a shower, and then head out for a nice dinner in one of the many great restaurants in Havana.

And maybe a bar crawl or hit the dance floor in one of the many bars or clubs in Havana nightlife?

Day Trips From Havana

Parque Central in Havana surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings with palm trees across the square
Parque Central in Havana

If there is one destination, joining organized tours or day trips from Havana might be an excellent option.

Civitatis offers tours in all the most visited destinations in the Spanish-speaking market and bilingual guides.

Most travelers fly to Havana or Varadero for their Cuba holiday, and from both places, taking day tours or multi-day tours to amazing destinations is possible.

In two short days, you will swim in crystal clear waters and freshwater fountains, see crocodiles, and visit Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Cienaga de Zapatos, the Bay of Pigs, and Playa Giron!

If you prefer to explore on your own, you can definitely do so. Book a Viazul bus or take a taxi collectivo or privado for long-haul trips.

FAQ’s Cuba Travel

Rooftop view of Central Havana from Iberostar Parque Central terrace, lots of rugged houses and structures towards the Malecon and the sea under a darkening sky while the sun is still shining on the buildings
Central Havana

What Is The Best Time To Visit Cuba?

The dry season is the high season in Cuba, which runs from November through April every year. The wet season is from May through October, and in the middle, you find hurricane season peaks from August through October.

The winter months are the coldest period in Cuba, and it can get a bit chilly in the evenings.

In contrast, the summer months are sizzling hot and humid and might be a bit too much for anyone wanting to explore and not just lounge on the beach.

My favorite time of year in Cuba is March through early June and the end of August through October. In the spring, the temperatures are wonderful, and the rains have not started yet.

And if you don’t mind a bit of afternoon rain (rain showers in Cuba rarely last for a long time), you will probably enjoy the early autumn months as well.

How To Travel Within Cuba

If you do not travel in Cuba with a travel company or an organized tour, there are still good options to travel within Cuba on your own!

You can use the Viazul bus, which has comfortable and fairly reliable departures between a variety of Cuban destinations, and it is also really budget-friendly.

A price example for the Viazul bus is Havana – Trinidad $21 (online price). This bus journey takes around 7 hours.

Taxi Colectivo Cuba

Havana architecture, classic buildings with tall archways in different pastel colors and a blue classic car driving past
A taxi colectivo could look like this

Apart from that, you can book a taxi collectivo if you are in a group, or if alone, you will buy a seat in a taxi collectivo, that you share with other people. This is a budget travel option.

Your hotel or casa will help you book a taxi collectivo Cuba; everyone knows someone in the taxi business!

A price example is one seat in a taxi collectivo from Havana to Trinidad (around 4 hours’ drive), which is around 35-40 euros.

Taxi In Cuba

Or, you can book a taxi privado, a normal taxi just for you. A normal taxi in Cuba is an expensive option, and you should also expect to pay in cash with euros or dollars.

At this price, a taxi from Havana to Trinidad for you (or your group) would cost around 140-160 euros.

Can You Travel To Cuba From US?

Yes, you can travel to Cuba from the US . If the last airport you depart from before your arrival in Cuba, you need to buy the PINK tourist card to enter Cuba, regardless of nationality.

For more information on this issue, read more about the Cuba Travel Restrictions below.

Cuba Travel Restrictions For Americans

Americans can travel to Cuba; it is not illegal. To do so, you just need to do a few more things.

American citizens traveling to Cuba need to buy a PINK tourist card for their trip, while other nationalities need a green one. You can buy both categories fast and securely with the Easy Tourist Card, which I always use.

Americans also need to choose one of 12 pre-approved reasons for travel to Cuba, as stated by the US Government. The most common one is “helping the Cuban people.”

There is no paperwork connected to this; it is just something you decide for yourself and state if asked before, during, or after your trip.

As an American traveler, you must also avoid staying in or shopping in governmental-owned hotels or stores in Cuba. Check the Cuba restricted list.

This might sound like a lot, but it really is quite easy. Book your stay with a Casa Particular, a private Cuban home, and you are helping the Cuban people (Civitatis use casa particulares for accommodation).

As Americans can not use US credit cards in Cuba, you will not be at risk of shopping in the Cuban MLC stores, where cards are required.

Non-Americans traveling to Cuba need to be aware that since Cuba was placed on the “list of states that support terrorism” by the Trump administration, a visit to Cuba is stated to disqualify from an ESTA visa to the United States.

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.

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 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, specific vaccines are not required before entering Cuba. Your country’s health department probably has recommendations for what vaccines you should consider.

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 Cuban 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.

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

Wrap-Up Two Day Tour In Cuba!

Wow, this is a rollercoaster of a two-day tour in Cuba. It will take you to the most important and interesting places in Matanzas Provinces on the southern shore.

The tour is really well organized, the guides are incredibly skilled (and nice), and everything is well executed – five stars from me!

If you prefer to explore on your own, you can definitely do so. Book a Viazul bus or take a taxi collectivo or privado for long-haul trips.

If you want to experience a lot in a short time without having to organize all the transport, tickets, and accommodation, this tour will be perfect for you.

Related blog posts:

7 Bars Havana: Ultimate Rooftop Bar Guide Havana By A Local

Easy Havana Tour Guide: 8 Best Havana Tours By A Local

How to get a tourist card for Cuba By An Expert (Easy Guide)

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