There is nothing like a road trip. If you are the type of traveler who likes to go it alone just for the sheer independence and adventure of it all then it’s really the way to go. Cuba is one of the easiest countries to road trip in if you have a some basic support and pre arrange some great places to stay, a couple of tours and experiences and of course advice on the most appealing lunch and dinner options.
Here at Wild Cuba we have been criss crossing the Island for almost 20 years and know every by road. We set you up with a Jeep and some camping equipment as well as a Cuban Cell phone with abundant Data Package. We arrange a hard drive with our version of El Paquete for down times and catching up on your seres and make sure the route delivers your interests whether its off the beaten path beaches and wildlife with activities like fishing snorkeling and SUP or stops in the most interesting small towns for history culture and architecture. It’s a great mix of independence and the spirit of adventure, but with the security of knowing you will not miss out on the best Cuba has to offer. Here is a short introduction to some of our favorite road trips routes and what they have to offer.
The Best Car to use for your Road Trip
We like a Jeep and have a few options. They are great for those off-road moments. However, if you prefer to race along, we can organize a top of range Mercedes. Families and larger groups can choose a Mini Van or RV. We can stock you up with mountain bikes and camping equipment and make sure we pin point the best place to pitch. And if you don’t mid the lower speed and noise then why not try a vintage car or even better a vintage convertible.
There are some many Homestays, Hotels, Boutique B and B s, Rural Farms as well as resorts but only a handful that deliver the kind of experience we value at Wild Cuba. We sift through and make sure we reserve the best for you in terms of comfort, location and with the kind of design characteristics that make them stand head and shoulders above the others.
The classic Carretera Sur: Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Bay of Pigs
This is the classic and so easy to achieve in 2 or 3 days. Head south from Havana and hit our favorite seafood restaurant at the entrance of Playa Larga before exploring the Bay during the afternoon. For kids there is a crocodile farm , Bats cave and a wonderful Hummingbird project and of course the flamingos on las Salinas. If you are after some sports action then you can Snorkel , Dive or SUP or explore the Bay with our Kayaks. History Buffs can meets the last few remaining witnesses to the Bay of Pigs invasion. One can spend days here and there are many accommodation options.
Head along the Carretera Sur with beautiful views of the ocean along side. Cienfuegos is an architectural gem with some of the most beautiful Buildings in Cuba. With luck you can catch a performance at the Thomas Terry Theatre or we can arrange something privately with the excellent choir here. Lazy Lunch on an island off the coast with the best lobster and cooling swims you can imagine. Trinidad has probably the best private accommodation in Cuba on an exquisite organic farm. Splash out on the suite and take the early morning ride to visit the slave plantations. Two hours trotting through the country side like a local greeting local farmers on the way. Take in a day sailing or ride in Russian jeeps up into the mountains to swim in ice cold waterfalls or trek across the Escambray.
Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo, Baracoa
The drive takes you up to La Piedra and Park National de Baracoa. Get off the spectacular coast road to visit the crumbling mansions of the coffee route and sample some freshly roasted before zooming along the coast to Guantánamo. Little visited we love to support this special town which has so much to offer. Tumbao frances is a dance style brought to the region by Haitians on the run from the revolution there. How about a 6 day trek along the mountains to reach the Humboldt Park in Baracoa, one of the most beautiful National Parks in Cuba or if not then practice your driving skills on the corkscrew La Farola before dipping down to Baracoa. It’s a beach and foody paradise.
Mix long forgotten Taino and Siboney recipes with local fresh seafood cooked in chilli and coconut milk. Lazy days and long nights at the casa de musica before beginning the last part of your trip along the coast to Cayo Saetia where you will have to rub your eyes in disbelief to see zebras and antelopes on the picture postcard sandy island. Last stop the pine forests and cascading waterfalls or Mayari before gently dipping down to Holguin and the sandy beach of Guardalabaca.
The Jurassic Coast Santiago de Cuba to Manzanillo
Start your journey by heading out to sea to dive on one of the hundreds of sites off the coast here. There are amazing reefs Galleons and many sunken boats Spanish and American from the war of independence. A favorite is a sunken gun boat just off the coast. Sleep a few metres from the sea on a small farm and eat some of the best sea food imaginable. Ride up into the mountains and spend the day following the trails of local farmers. Drink Mountain coffee and swim in ice cold waterfalls and rock pools. Sleep in the mountains of you wish and follow the footsteps of Fidel and the Heroes of the Revolution.
If you fancy a substantial climb then with one of the excellent mountain rangers cross over the peak to Comandancia and see the remains of the main camp they used. On your return the sweeping views down to the sea are breathtaking. The rest of your drive takes you all the way around to Manzanillo and Bayamo little visited towns with wonderful histories. To make the trip truly epic jump onboard a transfer to Jardines de la Reina where you can spend a week diving in one of the least visited and even less know maritime parks in the world.
The Litoral North Havana, Matanzas, Varadero Santa Clara, Morón, Cayo Coco, Santa Lucia and Holguín
Head east from Havana past the local Havana Beaches of Playas Del Este. Head Inland to explore the Hershey site and Matanzas to hear the amazing Rumba troupe Muñequitos de Matanzas in this newly restored town brimming with Afro Cuban history. Check out Che Guevara’s mausoleum and other revolutionary sites in Santa Clara before driving to the small town Sagua or the seaside gem of Isabella with its fresh seafood restaurants on stilts.
Speed along the seemingly endless Littoral Norte through waving sugar cane fields stopping to explore the divine beaches of the Northern Cayos form Santa Maria to Guillermo and Coco. Fish for Bonefish at Cayo Romano or learn about the history of corsairs and pirates on Cayo Sabinal. Kite surf on Playa Santa Lucia or dive with sharks and enjoy some of the best seafood shacks the country has to offer. Step back in time in our exclusive solar powered wooden beach house in Manati before heading back to civilization in Holguin home of Cristal our favorite Cuban beer.
Havana, Viñales, María la Gorda- Way out West
Drive west out of Havana and stop off at the amazing Viñales Valley before visiting the keys at Cayo Ines de Soto, Cayo Jutias, and Cayos de Buenavista. Follow the road back inland and drive to the Guanahacabibes National Park, with its incredible wildlife, before ending up at Maria la Gorda for some of the best diving in Cuba and our exclusive bone fishing outfit there.
Armed with the best back up and from our Havana based team your road trip is stress free and packed full of adventures of the right kind. Cuba is over 1000 km long form one end to the other and has some of the most unspoiled nature and adventure in the Caribbean. It’s completely unexplored. Plan your road trip and come explore with us.