Kayaking Cuba

Cuba Vacation

Here´s an exciting experience that will show you the island as nobody´s seen it yet. During this holidays you will be doing a lot of sightseeing from a kayak while you furrow rivers and lagoons. You´ll find the origins of our current population; you´ll visit a crocodiles farm (the largest in Latin-America) and explore natural parks and reserves. It´s the nicest combination of nature, architecture, and traditions: the Cuban culture apéritifs!


Visit: Cienfuegos, Havana, Trinidad, Zapata

8 Days / 7 Nights

Starting at:

1730

2108
Shares

itinerary

Day 1 - HAVANA

Arrival at the “José Martí” International Airport. Meet at the airport lobby with your bilingual guide and professional driver and assistance by the staff of the Agency. Transfer to a private house in Havana. Check IN and free night.

Day 2 - HAVANA - LA BOCA DE GUAMÁ - PLAYA LARGA

Breakfast at the private house. Visit to “Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez” to learn about Cuban nature, the conservation of biodiversity with a guided visit to the museum where you can appreciate Dr. Antonio Núñez Jiménez private collection. Explore the beautiful historical City of Havana, founded in 1515 by conquistador Diego Velázquez as a trading port which became the capital of the Spanish Colony of Cuba in 1607. It includes visits to sites of major interest starting with a walking tour through the main streets and squares of the Historical Centre, declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit to Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (National History Museum) and the famous Handicraft Market of Old Havana, located inside the Almacenes de Depósito San José, an old warehouse on the harbor side where you can purchase all sorts of crafts and souvenirs by local artisans.Lunch at “5 Esquinas” Paladar Restaurant. After lunch, transfer to La Boca de Guamá where you will meet with your kayak instructor and the specialized vehicle driver. Visit to Criadero de Cocodrilos (Crocodile Reproduction and Breeding Center). The facility, established in 1962, has made incredible efforts raising the near-extinct Cuban and American crocodiles and educating the public. See these unique creatures up-close and in different stages of development. If your timing is right, you can witness feeding time and capture the fleeting image of the crocodiles’ strong jaws chomping down on their snacks on camera. Transfer to Playa Larga in the specialized vehicle. Check in at a private house in Playa Larga/Caletones (Enrique´s house or similar).Dinner at Enrique´s house. Rest of the evening at leisure.

Day 3- PLAYA LARGA - PENÍNSULA DE ZAPATA - CIENFUEGOS

Breakfast at the Enrique´s house. Drive to Salinas de Brito at the southwestern side of Bay of Pigs in Zapata Peninsula. This route is a harmonious natural combination. Enjoy a road that parallels the western shore of the Bay of Pigs. On the way, you will go through several wooded areas and enjoy different types of vegetation; pass some large but very shallow lakes, where several species of birds live, including Roseate Flamingos (Phoenicopteus ruber) and Roseate Spoonbills (Ajaia ajaja). Along this route, you may also see some endemic species, such as Zapata Sparrows (Torreornis inexpectata) and Bee Hummingbirds (Mellisuga helenae). When you get to Las Salinas, you will continue your trip in kayak, paddling across mangroves and cays with sandy beaches where you can see different species of iguanas, jutías and crocodiles in their natural habitat. Box lunch in the area. Drive back to Playa Larga In the specialized vehicle and continue to Cienfuegos. Stopover at Museo de Playa Girón, dedicated to the Cuban victory against the Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion financed by the United States government on April 1961. Learn about the most important facts, documents, testimonies, photos, occupied weapons, and other objects related to the invasion. Arrival in Cienfuegos City, also known as "La Perla del Sur" (Pearl of the South) because of the impressive beauty of its bay; because of its seductive city which provokes the wonder of all who know it, and because of that innate nobility which characterizes those born in Cienfuegos. The city was settled by French immigrants from Bordeaux and Louisiana, led by Don Louis de Clouet, on April 22, 1819. Its original name was Fernandina de Jagua, in honor of King Ferdinand VII of Spain. The settlement became a town (Spanish: Villa) in 1829, and a city in 1880. The city was subsequently named Cienfuegos, sharing the name with Cienfuegos, a Captain General in this time, in the island.In 2005, UNESCO inscribed the Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos on the Cultural World Heritage List, citing Cienfuegos as the best extant example of the 19th-century early Spanish Enlightenment implementation in urban planning. Cienfuegos City Tour, visiting the main square Jose Martí Park (National Monument) and the most interesting places and buildings in the city: Catedral de la Purísima Concepción (cathedral with stained glass work, built 1833-1869), Teatro Tomás Terry built in 1889, Palacio Ferrer built in the 1890 and Arco de Triunfo (the only existing Arch of Triumph in Cuba) built 1902. The downtown contains 6 buildings from 1819 - 1850, 327 buildings from 1851–1900, and 1188 buildings from the 20th century. There is no other place in the Caribbean, which contains such a remarkable cluster of neoclassical structures. Visit Palacio de Valle (1917), an elegant eclectic mansion that combines the styles of Mudéjar, Byzantine, Venetian, Gothic and Baroque. Check in at a private house in Cienfuegos (Maikel’s house or similar). Dinner at “Cuatro Caminos” Paladar Restaurant. Rest of the evening at leisure.

Day 4 - CIENFUEGOS CITY - LA MILPA - HANABANILLA

Breakfast at the private house in Cienfuegos. Drive to La Milpa where the kayaks will be launched and start paddling. Enjoy a panoramic view of Castillo de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua, a fortress erected in 1745 for protection against Caribbean pirates, corsairs and buccaneers. When you get to the opposite shore you will momentarily leave your kayaks and take a short path up a hill to visit this fortress. This is a great opportunity to learn about the local and national history through a guided visit. Once the visit is over the kayaks will be launched again and you will paddle from the Jagua Fortress to “Rancho Cristal” Paladar Restaurant, passing by El Perché a fishermen neighborhood and Punta Milpa. Enjoy a typical food at this very nice restaurant by the sea with a beautiful view of the Cienfuegos Bay. After this delicious lunch, drive to the Hotel Hanabanilla from where we can enjoy the Lago Hanabanilla’s wonderful view. This beautiful intra-mountainous lake has three outlets: Río Negro, Hanabanilla and Guanayara rivers. It is 364 meters above sea level and has an approximate surface area of 15 square kilometers. It is a truly majestic place. Check in Hotel Hanabanilla. Dinner at the hotel. Rest of the evening at leisure.

Day 5 - HANABANILLA HOTEL - RÍO NEGRO - HANABANILLA HOTEL - VILLA GUAJIMICO

Breakfast at the hotel. Kayaks will be launched in the lake to paddle towards the amazing waterfall “Los Helechos”. Walk along the trail of the same name. Take a bath in the waterfall cold and clear waters or simply take a moment to enjoy this fantastic spot. You will launch your kayak again this time towards Río Negro, another beautiful spot located half way down the lake, where you have the opportunity to walk along the trail “El Mirador” which will lead us up to a higher spot with a magnificent view of the lake. Lunch at the “Río Negro” Restaurant. After lunch, you will paddle across the lake and its steep mountains rising up from the shoreline back to Hanabanilla Hotel. Drive in the specialized vehicle from Hanabanilla Hotel to Villa Guajimico, in the central south coast. It is a hidden inlet paradise, full of vegetation, attractive forests, caves and small hidden beaches. This atmosphere of pure nature with a stable and nice climate the whole year complements with quiet waters and sea bottoms where corals inhabit, which make it ideal for the practice of nautical and diving activities and full relaxation. Check in at Villa Guajimico. Launch your kayak here for a short paddle on the Caribbean Sea to enjoy the sunset from the water. Dinner at Villa Guajimico´s restaurant. Rest of the evening at leisure.

Day 6 - VILLA GUAJIMICO - TRINIDAD

Breakfast at Villa Guajimico´s restaurzant. Launch to the water of kayak and paddle on the Caribbean Sea to an isolated beach with rock cliffs on both sides. Beach time and snorkeling in the coral reef. Paddle back to Villa Guajimico. Drive to “Hacienda La Vega” Restaurant for lunch. Hacienda La Vega, a bucolic cattle farm surrounded by fruit trees is an ideal place to taste Creole food. After lunch, you can enjoy some horseback riding along 5 km to Caleta de Castro, a small cove with sand reef where there will be free time for a quick bathing. Ride back to Hacienda La Vega and continue the drive to Trinidad which original name was La Villa de la Santísima Trinidad founded by Don Diego Velázquez in 1514 and declared Cultural World Heritage by UNESCO in 1988. Tour around the historical centre of the city: Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad (Church of the Holy Trinity) built in 1892, Palacio Brunet (Romantic Museum) built in 1812, Palacio Cantero (Municipal History Museum) built in 1828, Casa de los Sánchez-Iznaga (Museum of Colonial Architecture). Visit the Canchánchara (a mansion built in 1723 that sells special drinks typical of the city), La Casa del Alfarero (a private pottery workshop) and the Plaza de Santa Ana. Check in at a private house in Trinidad (Casa de Tito y Vicky or similar). Free time to rest up. Dinner at the “Jazz Caffe” Paladar Restaurant. After dinner, enjoy and dance to the rhythm of good Cuban music at Casa de la Música.

Day 7- TRINIDAD - MARÍA DOLORES RESORT - GUAURABO RIVER - CASILDA - SANTA CLARA - HAVANA

Breakfast at the private house in Trinidad. Drive to a spot near Ma. Dolores Resort where kayaks will be launched to paddle down Guaurabo River until the fishermen village La Boca, at the mouth of the river. From this place, Hernán Cortés sailed in 1518 towards Mexico to conquer the Aztec empire, reason why that maritime region participated actively and directly in the new discoveries of Mexico. Continue paddling until María Aguilar Beach in Peninsula Ancón. Beach time and snorkeling. Drive to Casilda fishermen town for a good seafood lunch at “La Marinera” Paladar Restaurant. After lunch drive back to Trinidad where your vehicle will pick you up to take you to visit the “Conjunto Escultórico Memorial Comandante Ernesto Ché Guevara” in Santa Clara. This monument houses the remains of the revolutionary Ernesto "Ché" Guevara and twenty-nine of his fellow combatants killed in 1967 during Guevara's attempt to spur an armed uprising in Bolivia. After visiting the memorial, you will continue to Havana. Check in at a private house in Havana.Dinner at “La Fontana” Paladar Restaurant.

Day 8 - HAVANA - HAVANA AIRPORT

Breakfast at the private house. Transfer to “José Martí” International Airport according to the flight schedule.

Map placeholder

details

Putting away the conventional itineraries and out of the comfort zone of being on the road the whole trip, we came up with this program that takes you most of the time on a kayak through some pretty spectacular sceneries that only in Cuba you could find. 

After arrival and a first-night resting, we´ll depart to Guamá in Península de Zapata where you´ll visit an authentic aborigine village to  meet Dayamí, the dreamer Indian young girl; Cajimo, the jutía hunter; Abey, the great crocodile hunter; Yaima, a playful young girl or Maguanay, the mother of a family preparing "casabe". You´ll also visit a crocodiles farm and go through several wooded areas and enjoy different types of vegetation on the way to Cienfuegos via Playa Larga. You´d love Juagua Fortress while you sail on your kayak on the way to Guajimico with a visit to a fishermen town. The night camping in Hanabanilla will be the most awesome moment of the experience cause sleeping beneath the stars and the freshly Cuban breeze could stay on your mind forever. Finally, having a meeting with history and architecture in Cienfuegos and Trinidad will be the icing on the cake of this 10-days wild trip. Hope you dare to try it.