Cuba – Road Trip From East to West

By | September 24, 2021

Experience the whole of Cuba – from the more unknown east side to the west. You get lots of history, beautiful nature. chalk-white stands and much, much more on this exciting road trip across Cuba.

Your adventure starts in the more unexplored, eastern part of the country where you will find significantly fewer tourists. Here, both in Holguín and not least in the Santiago de Cuba region, you can also experience the slightly darker sides of Cuba’s history in the form of memories from the time of slavery when several hundred thousand slaves were brought from Africa to work on the sugar plantations on the island. Today, the African influence is still great and it is very interesting to experience this part of Cuba’s history featured by ebizdir.

From the east, you then move towards the center to small, cozy towns such as Bayamo and Camagüey, you pause your road trip for a few days to enjoy the fantastic Cayo Coco.

From the north coast then the journey goes south via cultural Santa Clara to the almost obligatory but wonderful city of Trinidad where you stay for three nights to really enjoy this very special place. You continue west via historic Playa Girón and Soroa to the small but popular village of Viñales. After a couple of days here, it’s time to go to the capital Havana, which is the last stop of the trip. Here you end a journey where you have experienced many of Cuba’s all facets.

Day 1: Departure from Scandinavia and arrival in Cuba and Holguín

You travel from Scandinavia to Cuba, the journey goes counterclockwise and you land the same day. Overnight at a typical Cuban “casa particular” in Holguín.

Day 2: Holguín and pickup of the rental car

The first day is in Cuba you spend in relaxed Holguín. The atmosphere here reflects exactly a slightly larger Cuban city minus large tourist hordes. Holguín is a somewhat overlooked destination, perhaps due to the fact that the popular coastal town of Guardalavaca is only an hour away and then you skip Holguín. No less is it a fun, lively and cultural city where the inhabitants carefully adhere to old traditions. One of the most important places in the city is the Plaza Calixto García, with its pink and green marble and the famous statue of General Calixto Iñiguez García, general during the Cuban War of Independence. You can also pick up your rental car today so you are ready to go tomorrow. ( F )

Day 3-4: Baracoa

Once you have already picked up your rental car, you are ready to leave immediately after breakfast. The first stop on the journey is the coastal city, which is also the country’s oldest city. Not many tourists visit Baracoa as the city is relatively isolated. We recommend a visit to the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Asucíon where you can visit the Cruz de Parra, the wooden cross that Christoffer Columbus brought here. Stroll around the city or take a boat trip on Cuba’s deepest river; Rio Toa. On the way to Baracoa you can also stop in Birán, Fidel Castro’s birthplace. You also go through Alejandro Humboldt National Park which is well suited for a walk before you arrive and stay in your casa particular. You now have two nights here and can explore the city in peace and quiet. ( F )

Day 5-6: Santiago de Cuba

From beautiful Baracoa, the journey continues to Cuba’s second largest city, Santiago de Cuba. The road here goes along the coast and halfway you can choose to take the inner road and pass the infamous Guantanamo. In Santiago de Cuba you also have two nights as there is a lot to see and do both inside and just outside the city. Take a walk to Parque Céspedes where the locals gather to meet, chat and play board games. The beautiful, yellow cathedral Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción is also worth a visit. We also recommend the newly renovated Castillo del Morro – the city’s fort from the 18th century. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are curious about more history, you can visit Moncada, a former barrack in which the Cuban revolution began. Today it is a school and a museum, but you can still see the bullet holes in the wall from the big battle. (F )

Day 7: Bayamo

Today the journey continues to Bayamo at a slightly slower pace than Santiago de Cuba. The city is known as the “Ciudad de los coches” which roughly means “horse and carriage city” and gives an idea of ​​the atmosphere in the city. Half of the inhabitants actually use horses as their daily means of transport. Bayamo is a small time capsule where you get the opportunity to experience authentic, Cuban culture. ( F )

Day 8: Camagüey

Cuba’s third largest city is perhaps the most sophisticated of the country’s cities after the capital Havana. Local art flourishes here in Camagüey and forms a beautiful backdrop to the many beautiful colonial buildings. The city is a labyrinth of small, cozy streets and it is easy to get lost at regular intervals. ( F )

Day 9-11: Cayo Coco

After a lot of urban culture and beautiful landscapes, it may be time to relax a bit on a beautiful beach. And if there is one thing you have in Cuba, it is beautiful beaches. You pause your road trip a bit and stay for three nights here in Cayo Coco. The hotel is All Inclusive as it is customary at basically all beach hotels. Cayo Coco is located in the north and is like the image of a postcard – time to enjoy! ([AI])

Day 12: From Cayo Coco to Santa Clara

You wave goodbye to your Cuban paradise and set course inland again and the cultural stronghold and university city of Santa Clara for one night. The city is famous for Che Guevara’s tomb monument and here an eternal flame burns in his memory ( F )

Day 13-15: Trinidad: history, nature and music

It is difficult to avoid a stop in Trinidad when visiting Cuba. Trinidad and its surroundings offer great experiences that would be a shame to miss. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an honorary title it shares with nine other cities in Cuba. The central parts of the city are a beautiful mix of cobbled streets, pastel colored old houses and lots of soul. One of Cuba’s best beaches is just over a mile south of Trinidad and the Sierra Escambray Mountains can be reached during a day trip. In the nearby valley “Valle de los Ingenios” you can visit a historic plantation where slavery flourished until the end of the 19th century and secured the production of sugar and spirits. A slightly brighter experience is to take part in Trinidad’s nightlife with lots of live music and salsa in the evenings. ( F )

Day 16: Playa Girón

After three days in beautiful Trinidad, it’s time to get in the car and continue on the Cuban roads. The next stop on the journey is the sleepy little coastal town of Playa Girón located on the Bay of Pigs. Despite the small size of the city, there is an enormous amount of history here. It was here that the American forces landed on April 17, 1961, in an attempt to defeat Castro’s troops. It did not go quite according to plan and Castro’s victory is something that is still talked about a lot and often in little Playa Girón. In addition to history, Playa Girón also offers a small beach with the clearest blue water, perfect for a dip. On the way to Playa Girón you can also go past the city of Cienfuegos which is also called the Pearl of the South. Here you will find exciting architecture and an almost Riviera-like atmosphere, albeit a little tame. ( F )

Day 17: Soroa

The day is probably mostly seen as a day on the road, but it is needed if you are to get really far west. You spend the night in the small town of Soroa, located in the middle of the Sierra del Rosario a little way up in the mountains. Soroa is therefore cooler than on the coast, nature is incredibly lush with waterfalls and beautiful nature. ( F )

Day 18-19: Viñales

Despite its small size, the village of Viñales has been a popular stop for visitors for many years and has also managed to retain its authenticity. You go here to experience life in Cuba for real, sit on the porch at your casa particular and enjoy. You can hike in the beautiful surroundings of the Viñales Valley, see the impressive limestone cliffs or visit a tobacco plantation and taste a freshly rolled Cuban cigar. You have two nights here in Viñales with culture, nature and local life in focus. ( F )

Day 20-22: Havana – return of the rental car

You then leave Viñales and set course for the last stop of the journey, the icing on the cake, Cuba’s fabled capital Havana. No trip to Cuba is complete without a few nights here. Here is most things; museums, parks, markets, beautiful buildings – and not least the charming and unexpected contrast between the different parts of the city. Immediately upon arrival, return your car and take a taxi on your own to your casa particular. Then you have time to wander around the city, sneak into La Floridita, Ernest Hemingway’s tribal locus and grab a mojito, explore the historic part of the city, Habana Vieja and let yourself be embraced by the colorful and lively atmosphere. ( F )

Day 23: Return trip

So it’s time to say thank you and goodbye to Cuba. You have a transfer to the airport so just enjoy the city, the country and the atmosphere until it’s time to leave. ( F )

Day 24: Arrival in Scandinavia

You arrive in Scandinavia after an eventful and hopefully unforgettable trip around almost the whole of Cuba.

Overnight stays

Two nights at casa particular in Holguín
Two nights at casa particular in Baracoa
Two nights at casa particular in Santiago de Cuba
One night at casa particular in Bayamo
One night at casa particular in Camagüey
Three nights at standard hotels in Cayo Coco, All Inclusive
One night at casa particular in Santa Clara
Three nights at casa particular in Trinidad
One night at casa particular in Playa Girón
One night at casa particular in Soroa
Two nights at casa particular in Viñales
Three nights at casa particular in Havana

Cuba - Road Trip From East to West