We are Mathilde and Julien from @thecheerfulist. In this blog we will outline the ultimate two week Cuba itinerary based on our experiences in Cuba. But first a little bit about ourselves: we are from the Southwest of France and met during our studies in Bordeaux. It was love at first sight!
The first time we met, we had this dream of travelling around the world together. So a year later we started! We launched The Cheerfulist before going around the world – basically to share our adventures with our family. Then people got interested and wanted to be part of our adventures.
Our goal is always to inspire people to believe that anything is possible and to give people the courage to pack everything into a backpack and go on an adventure. Above all, we like to share the good side and bad side of a destination or travel experience which is not always shared online.
For a long time it was our dream to visit Cuba. Quite simply because this is a curious place – old school in many ways (like what we see in films or documentaries) and very few people have taken the plunge to visit! We travelled to Cuba three years ago when tourism was not yet easy to access. It was an intriguing and beautiful experience that we will never forget.
Our Two Weeks Travelling in Cuba
We spent a total of two weeks in Cuba. This included ten days of adventure and four days at the beach! We enjoyed three days in Havana, two days in Vinales, two days in Cienfuegos, two days in Trinidad and three days in Cayo Guillermo. The rest of our time was spent travelling between destinations.
It’s safe to say that we fell deeply in love with Cuba. The light was wonderful, the landscapes were unique and beautiful, the architecture was stunning, the old cars were amazing to see, the locals who dance, drink and smoke were awesome – everything was really special in Cuba.
Vinales was our favourite. It was such a special place. Everything from the colourful houses with the locals sitting outside on their chairs, to the children playing with chickens, to the amazing horse rides. The TV’s were so old that the soccer players were impossible to see. It was a real throwback.
Ultimate Two Week Cuba Itinerary
Our recommendation for a two week Cuba itinerary would be to do a similar route to the trip we did: Havana, Vinales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Cayo Guillermo. We found it to be an amazing two week Cuba itinerary. Lots of research from guides went into this itinerary before we arrived.
It was a fantastic mix of experiences such as diving, horseback riding, salsa lessons, visiting tobacco fields and rum distilleries, and above all mixing with the locals of Cuba who are such an interesting and friendly bunch!
Immersing in the Cuban Culture
We had the opportunity to meet, talk and exchange with quite a lot of Cubans because we can speak Spanish. It’s very interesting to see how they perceive Europeans and also to understand their mentality. Communism is still present here and it’s quite funny to see everyone taking life so easy.
One of the biggest aspects of Cuban culture is food. We found the cuisine to be very good – especially the fish, cooked bananas and rum! Ideally, you want to eat at restaurants where you see locals, not tourists. Even if you are starving do not stop at the first restaurant. Look for smaller, local joints.
Accommodation for a Two Week Cuba Itinerary
There are many hotels in Cuba but we chose to be surrounded by locals and stay at “Casa Particular”. These are private rooms/homestays that locals rented to us for cheap. In return, you talk to them and take their advice. If you are looking for hotels there are plenty in Cayo Guillermo!
Favourite Memory from Cuba
Some of our best memories from our two week Cuba itinerary were from Vinales. One day we went for a bike ride in the small streets of Vinales, climbed a small hill and admired the life of the inhabitants from the top. It was incredible to look out over people’s daily lives in a wonderful scene.
Seeing eight years olds on horseback searching for chickens to eat for the evening meal was like being transported back in time. The kids stop on the side of the road, kill the chicken and leave with the chicken on horseback. For us it was crazy! We saw the lives of people from 60 years ago.
Need to Know Before you Go
If you can speak Spanish, this will add an extra dimension to your trip as you will be able to converse with the locals. Even with a little bit of Spanish, you will get a better experience. Otherwise, remember to bring a small dictionary with you because very few people can speak fluent English.
Getting around by collective taxi where you can negotiate the price (sometimes more than half) is much better than taking the bus. Indeed, travelling by bus in Cuba takes you like 100 km in close to three hours!
Make sure you purchase WiFi cards with ETECSA. They charge 1.50 CUC per hour. There is only one place in each city where you will have a WiFi signal – so you will have to get used to travelling with less Internet access.
Cuba is not a dangerous country, despite what you hear in the news. We had no problems. Just keep your wits about you like you would in any other country. Don’t hang out in the city down small alleyways late at night, etc.
You can get around Cuba in a tuk-tuk which is practical and inexpensive. Overall though, Cuba is a fairly expensive country. Allow for a budget of around €1300 for 14 days per person. Don’t forget to count the travel time in addition to the days because to get around you easily need half a day.
As for the casas particulares, you will find them everywhere in the cities. All the houses offer accommodation. So you can book in advance or see on site as well. That’s it from us! We hope you found this two week Cuba itinerary to be inspiring and informative for your trip. You will love it!