Birdwatching Tour

Activity Cuba Holiday - with Private Guide
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation

Vibrant, colourful and contagiously-cheerful, it makes sense that Cuba’s sunny skies teem with exotic birdlife. The island’s diverse habitats – swamps, mountains, coastline, valleys and more – play host to around 370 species of bird, 22 of which are endemic to Cuba and many others are Caribbean specialties. The bee hummingbird, the tiniest bird in the world, Cuban trogan, sporting a plumage that mirrors the Cuban flag, and the Cuban tody, an impossibly-cute fluorescent fluffball, can all be spotted on a trip to the island. This 12-night private tour includes guided trips to some of the country’s top birding spots, including the Zapata swamp, the largest swampland in the West Indies, Cayo Coco, an idyllic beach-rimmed islet, and the lush green mountains of Topes de Collantes. You can also spot a number of migratory birds depending on the time of year of your trip.


from / per person

Excludes international flights

  • Havana + Las Terrazas + Soroa + Ciénaga de Zapata + Cienfuegos + Trinidad + Topes de Collantes + Sancti Spiritus + Cayo Coco
  • 13 days



With our own on-the-ground team in Cuba, you'll benefit from the support and advice of highly-trained, friendly, English-speaking reps. Based in Havana, Varadero, Viñales and Trinidad, our Cuba Direct reps will ensure that your holiday runs smoothly from beginning to end, giving you peace of mind.

Personalise this itinerary or build a tailor-made tour from scratch by calling us on 0207 148 3042

Day 1: Arrive in Cuba

International outbound flight to Havana. You will be met by a Cuba Direct representative at the airport. After a short meeting, you will be escorted to your transfer which will take you to your accommodation.

Discover Cuba's Lively Capital: Havana

Few cities in the Americas or the Caribbean boast the life and soul of the sultry showgirl that is Havana. To know Havana is love her – her buzzing street corners, where the bored and the busy-with-gossip congregate; her gorgeous colonial cityscape, her virtuoso musicians and dancers; her antiquated classic cars and her socialist slogans. Havana is at its busiest with tourism and private enterprise since 1959, with a new restaurant, shop, art project or hip private villa opening seemingly every week, regardless of announcements emanating out of the States. There’s never been a better time to join the party.

Day 2: Havana - Las Terrazas - Soroa

Your driver-guide will you pick up from your accommodation to start the 47-mile journey to the lush eco-community of Las Terrazas. After, you will continue to equally-beautiful Soroa, just twenty-minutes away, where you spend two nights. You will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Soroa.

Discover the Heart of Cuba's Green Revolution: Las Terrazas

Set in the mountains around an hour-away from Havana, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is home to 117 bird species, 12 of which are endemic to Cuba. The brilliantly-verdant forest rustles with colourful creatures including the Cuban tody, Cuban grassquit and the island’s national bird, the Cuban trogon with a plumage that resembles the country’s flag.

Discover "the Rainbow of Cuba": Soroa

Packed with towering trees, a picturesque 22-metre waterfall, remarkable orchid garden and of course, multitude of fascinating birds, this tiny settlement seems to overflow with natural beauty. It owes its name to from Frenchman Jean-Pierre Soroa who owned a 19th-century coffee plantation here. One of his descendants created the park as a luxurious personal retreat in the 1920s and it was opened for tourism post-Revolution.

Day 3: Soroa - Las Terrazas

Today you will enjoy a half-day tour of the region. Starting at 7 AM, you will have three hours with a specialist birdwatching tour guide with the opportunity to spot around 50 species of birds.

Day 4: Soroa - Ciénaga de Zapata

You will travel to Ciénaga de Zapata National Park on Cuba’s south coast. You will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant and visit two popular local attractions: Cuba’s largest crocodile-breeding farm (which has saved two endangered species of crocodile from extinction) and a replica indigenous village, providing an insight into life in pre-colonial Cuba.

Discover a Wildlife Paradise: Ciénaga de Zapata

An ecological treasure-trove of mangroves, swamps and marshes, Ciénaga de Zapata National Park is renowned for its excellent birdwatching. Over 170 species of bird can be found here, including 18 of Cuba’s 22 endemic species such as the Zapata sparrow, Zapata wren and Zapata rail. A highlight is the bee hummingbird: the smallest species of bird in the world. Unsurprisingly, a large number of aquatic birds live here along with flamingos. As well as birding, Ciénaga de Zapata is famed for its spectacular snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities and its idyllic beaches. The region encompasses the Bay of Pigs, where the US’ notorious failed military invasion of Cuba took place in the sixties.

Day 5: Ciénaga de Zapata

Today you will visit a number of birdwatching spots across the vast Ciénega de Zapata. You will spend two hours observing the forest birds of Soplillar before moving on to spend 3 hours in Bermejas, home to 5 to 7 species of woodpecker. After, you will explore Enigma de la Roca for two hours, where as well as birding, you can swim in cenotes (natural water-filled sinkholes) and Las Salinas, for 3 hours, which plays host to up to 150 bird species (depending on the time of year and migration patterns).

Day 6: Ciénaga de Zapata

Your birdwatching adventure continues with visits to the wildlife-rich areas of La Turba, where you will spend three hours, and Santo Tomás, where you will spend five hours (including a car and boat trip). Both are famed for playing host to two endemic bird species, the cabrerito de la Ciénaga and the ferminia which boasts a spectacular song and is found exclusively in the Zapata swamp. You will also travel to Río Hatiguanico to spot water birds and Cueva de los Peces, seemingly the only place in the world where you can see the Cuban partridge pigeon. You’ll pop by Casa del Zunzuncito in Palpite where you can see the world’s tiniest hummingbird and tempt one to eat from your hand.

Day 7: Cienaga de Zapata - Cienfuegos - Trinidad

You will travel to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Trinidad, stopping in nearby Cienfuegos along the way for a city tour. You’ll visit two of the city’s grandest architectural marvels, Tomas Terry Theatre and Palacio de Valle, and enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before moving on to your charming homestay accommodation in Trinidad.

Discover Cuba’s “Pearl of the South”: Cienfuegos

With its sweeping bay, Cienfuegos, popular with French settlers, was established in 1819, late for Cuba. Spacious Francophile streets offer an alternative to the small-scale chaos of other Cuban provincial capitals, and the tranquil town retains an unsullied, old-fashioned air, with horse-drawn carriages still the main transport. Cienfuegos is made for wandering and absorbing everyday provincial life. The Paseo del Prado, the longest street in Cuba, is all about people-watching. Parque José Martí, the main square, is for catching up on Wi-Fi, admiring the beautiful Catedral de la Purísma Concepción and Teatro Tomas Terry.

Discover Cuba’s Colonial Gem: Trinidad

Trinidad is simply the most handsome town in Cuba, in one of the most idyllic provinces, Sancti Spiritus. Founded by Diego Velázquez in 1514, the giant village is wedged between the towering Escambray range and the shimmering coast. Trinidad grew wealthy on sugar in the 18th century, thus its museum-piece architecture dates mainly from this era. Walk a few streets and the village peters out into red earth, drooping palms and mountains. Drive five miles and you reach a perfect stretch of beach, Peninsula Ancon. At night, things come alive at the Casa de la Musica with its peerless, romantic setting at the hiatus of a grand stone stairwell.

Day 8: Trinidad - Topes de Collantes - Trinidad

You will travel to Trinidad’s neighbouring nature reserve park, Topes de Collantes, in the Escambray Mountain range. Your five-hour tour will take place in a 4x4 with a specialist birdwatching guide. Look out for the Cuban tody and many species of hummingbird. You’ll stop for lunch in a local restaurant. You can spend the evening soaking up the lively atmosphere of after-dark Trinidad.

Discover a Lush Haven: Topes de Collantes

Home to caves, rivers, waterfalls, grottos, canyons and seemingly countless species of orchids, Cuba’s second-largest mountain range is a verdant paradise and haven for wildlife. It boasts the country’s best network of hiking trails and is popular with adventure travellers, some keen to follow the path of revolutionary Che Guevara who camped here in late 1958 on his way to the decisive Battle of Santa Clara. Rising above the valley, the cool climate here attracts more than 100 species of bird, 45% of which are endemic to Cuba.

Day 9: Trinidad - Sancti Spiritus - Cayo Coco

You will travel from Trinidad to the idyllic islet of Cayo Coco, situated off Cuba’s northern coast. You’ll stop in the colonial city of Sancti Spiritus along the way for a city tour and lunch and a local restaurant. In Cayo Coco, you will bid “adios” to your driver-guide.

Discover a Little-Known Time Capsule: Sancti Spiritus

Founded in 1514, Sancti Spiritus was one of the first European settlements in Cuba and though it brims with colonial charm remains relatively undiscovered by tourists. Cobbled streets play host to pastel-hued houses and a quaint quadruple-arched bridge stretches over the Yayabo river. Its venerable blue church dates back to the 16th-century, one of the oldest in the country standing on its original foundations, and the Colonial Art Museum sits in a beautiful 17th-century home that once belonged to the Iznagas, a wealthy sugar merchant family.

Discover and Idyllic Islet: Cayo Coco

Named after the white ibis, known locally as coconut birds, Cayo Coco is a 142-sq-mi key set off the coast of Cuba. It forms part of a chain of islands with a near-mythical beauty called the King’s Gardens (Jardines del Rey) and is linked to the mainland by a 17-mi causeway. It’s famed for its long white-sand beaches and the stunning coral and marine life that lie close at hand. Its isolated position makes it a haven for local wildlife and the islet plays host to many birds, including wild pink flamingos. Cayo Coco and neighbouring Cayo Guillermo provided settings for Ernest Hemingway's "Islands in the Stream" and "The Old Man and the Sea".

Day 10: Cayo Coco

Get an early-morning start and set off with a local birdwatching specialist guide on a 5-hour tour. If you’d prefer a lie-in, your tour can start in the afternoon though will be reduced to 3 hours. Expect to see forest and water birds along with some migratory species depending on the time of year. You may also see flamingos building nests.

Day 11: Cayo Coco

Spend the day relaxing at your all-inclusive resort, soaking up the sun and enjoying the breathtaking scenery.

Day 12: Cayo Coco - Havana

You will travel back to Havana for your final night in Cuba.

Day 13: Havana - Airport

Transfer from the city to the international airport for your flight home. If you would like to extend your stay in Cuba, we would be delighted to make further arrangements for your stay.

Hotel NH Capri

An iconic hotel, with lots of history and character. Fully refurbished very recently and famous for its rooftop swimming pool – one of the best panoramic views of Havana - the ground floor night club and concert venue, the Salon Rojo del Capri, and its location at the centre of Havana’s nightlife. Operated by experienced hotel chain NH, Capri made quite a come-back from anonymity to top of the ratings over the past couple of years.

Casa Los Sauces Jorge y Ana Lidia

A secluded spot in the outskirts of Soroa, Casa Los Sauces is the perfect place to enjoy the paradisaical scenery of this lush region.  Each room has its own veranda, equipped with classic Cuban rocking chairs, where you can watch butterflies, geckos and hummingbirds visit the countless flowers that occupy the grounds. The house is modern and clean with spacious guestrooms equipped with air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms. The friendly, helpful hosts offer delicious homemade meals which can be enjoyed on the main garden veranda.

Casa Kirenia

Set in the heart of Playa Larga, this bright-orange house is relatively new on the scene but already a firm favourite amongst travellers. Its three spotless rooms are large and light with ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning. The charming host family are always up for a chat and serve a plentiful breakfast of fresh fruit, baked goods and eggs to order. Dinner is also available here and comes highly recommended.

Hostal Casa Jose y Fatima

This beautiful colonial property was one of Trinidad’s first casas particulares and its gregarious owners have been welcoming guests for over twenty years. It boasts five lovely, cool rooms with high ceilings, equipped with comfortable beds, ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning. Upstairs rooms have private balconies where guests can enjoy excellent views of Trinidad’s centre. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available. Make sure to try the mango jam!

Meliá Cayo Coco

Centred around a large lagoon-style pool, this all-inclusive, adults-only resort is an oasis of rest and relaxation. It plays host to beach side guestrooms and bungalows that stand on stilts over a saltwater lagoon. All rooms have flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, air conditioning, minibars stocked daily with water, soft drinks and local beers. The en-suite bathrooms feature complimentary toiletries and hairdryers. Each room boasts its own balcony or terrace. Guests can choose from three themed restaurants as well as buffet, seven bars and a 24-hour snack bar serving pizza, hot dogs, sandwiches and fruit. The all-inclusive package includes unlimited hot, soft and alcoholic drinks including cocktails, served all day and night.


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