Contrasting Beaches

Self-Drive Holiday
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation

Explore Cuba’s diverse beachscapes, whilst still getting a glimpse of two of Cuba’s must-see cities: Havana and Trinidad. On this relaxed self-drive tour, you’ll be driving from Heaven to Paradise and back - from the bio-diverse and historically notorious beach of the Bay of Pigs, to Cayo Santa Maria (a celestial island off the coast of Cuba), and Varadero, Cuba’s most famous peninsular beach. This beach-focused tour will get you well-acquainted with the Caribbean Sea.


from / per person

Includes international flights

  • Havana + Bay of Pigs + Trinidad + Cayo Santa Maria + Varadero
  • 11 nights
  • Return International Flights Included
  • Breakfast in Havana / Bay of Pigs /Trinidad - All Inclusive in Cayo Santa Maria & Varadero
  • All Transfers Included
  • Representation Service Included
  • Tourist Cards Included



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

Days 1-4: Havana

Arrival in Havana

If you'd like to arrange your flights, please get in touch. We can get you good prices and convenient upgrades in a choice of airlines including Virgin Atlantic, Air Europa, Air France, KLM flying from most airports in the UK.

Our Reps will welcome you

A Cuba Direct representative will welcome you at the Airport, extend an invitation to a Welcome Briefing Meeting, and escort you to your transfer to the hotel. They will be your first point of contact in Cuba, provide you with an emergency number, assist you in booking excursions and day trips, and help you with valuable local information. We recommend, for Self-drive holiday in Cuba to avoid using the Airport as your pick-up point to avoid over-charging. Besides, we also recommend not taking out your car-hire whilst in Havana. It's easier and cheaper to move around by taxi. Speak to us for more details.

Private Transfer to Havana

You will transfer to your accommodation in a modern, air-conditioned car. Enjoy your first glimpses of the city and take in its electric atmosphere!

Explore 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.

Pick-up your Car-Hire

After the first few days exploring Jibacoa and Havana, it's time to hit the road and discover, at your own pace, some of the most beautiful, off-the-beaten-track towns in Cuba. Collect your car from its designated pick-up location – conveniently close to where you'll be staying.

Days 4-6: Playa Larga, Bay of Pigs

Drive from Havana to Bay of Pigs

Next step on your adventure: driving from Havana to Playa Larga, Bay of Pigs. This is an easy drive along the motorway with lots of potential interesting stops along the way. Ask your Cuba Direct travel consultant for good places to stop on your way to Bay of Pigs.

Explore Playa Larga.

Your next stop will be Playa Larga - one of two beaches invaded by US-backed exiles in 1961. A bio-diverse beach, Playa Larga is also a fisherman and diver's paradise. The other beach, Playa Giron, is only 40-minutes away. Here, you'll be able to learn all about the invasion of Bay of Pigs, visiting a local museum which is specifically dedicated to the conflict. Like Playa Giron, Guama is also a short distance away - and is certainly worth a visit. On arrival, cross The Laguna del Tesero (Treasure Lagoon) by boat, and make your way to Taino village - a staged recreation of an ancient indigenous village showing how the original inhabitants used to live. On your way back to Playa Larga, you could stop off at the Cueva de los Peces (Cave of the Fishes) for a quick dip amongst colourful schools of tropical fish.

Days 6-8: Trinidad

Drive to Trinidad

The next part of the journey will be relatively short, but the destination is just as exciting as the last. Drive west along the coastline towards Trinidad. To continue with the beach theme, there’s quite a few isolated beaches, virginal coves, and beautiful estuaries to explore along the way.

Trinidad and Ancon Beach

Trinidad offers a brilliant combination of city, nature, and beach. A lively city, musical and colourful, there’s plenty to do just by walking its cobbled streets. Just outside the town, you’ll find Ancon beach, a classic Caribbean beach with gold sands, warm waters, and a friendly, highly enjoyable atmosphere. Trinidad is also flanked by the Escambray Mountains; hidden among the nearby hills, you will discover some of the most beautiful trails, rivers, and waterfalls in Cuba. This is definitely worth a visit if you manage to drag yourself away from the beach!

Days 8 to 10: Cayo Santa Maria

Drive from Trinidad to Cayo Santa Maria

It's time to relax by the beach in Cayo Santa Maria. There are several interesting stops along the way, including Santa Clara (famous for housing the Che Guevara Mausoleum), Remedios (one of the oldest Spanish settlements in Cuba) and Caibarien (a fishing village that offers mouth-watering seafood in local restaurants).

Cayo Santa Maria: beautiful, secluded beaches

Surrounded by aquamarine waters bordering white, powder-soft sands, Cayo Santa Maria is a tropical haven, an island of true natural beauty, and the largest of the Villa Clara Key islands that make up the archipelago Jardines del Rey. Connected by a 48km causeway to the town of Caibarien, Cayo Santa Maria is one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the Caribbean.

Days 10 - 12: Varadero Beach

Drive to Varadero

Most people would agree we are saving the best for last. Time to head to Varadero, Cuba’s most popular beach. Worthy stops along the way include Remedios (one of Cuba’s oldest colonial settlements), & Santa Clara (for a short stop at the Che Guevara Mausoleum).

Varadero: Cuba's most popular beach.

With its crystal-clear waters and powdery soft sands, Varadero is the ideal haunt for couples and families alike, and the perfect ending to your self-drive holiday across Cuba’s contrasting beaches. A beach as vibrant underwater as it is above land, Varadero is the perfect place for relaxation and water-based activities. Spend your days basking in the beautiful rays of sun in an all-inclusive beach-front resort, or scuba diving and snorkeling in the tropical sea, discovering thousands of varieties of fish and colourful coral.

Car-Hire Drop Off

Arrive to Varadero, rest for the night at your resort, then the following morning drop-off your car at the designated car-hire office. Dropping off your car at this stage of your holiday will save you quite a bit of money. In Varadero you won't need a car. If you still want to move around (there's over 20 km of sand beach to explore after all) you can use inexpensive mopped hires, hop-on hop-off bus services, or local cabs.

Day 12: Havana Airport

Transfer Varadero to Havana Airport

Around lunchtime you’ll be collected from your hotel and taken back to Havana International Airport. You will arrive with enough time to check in your flight at one of the airline desks, clear immigration, and enjoy some snacks at the airport lounge before boarding your flight back to the UK.

Casa Castellon

One of the capital’s top-rated accommodation options, this modern homestay property offers comfort, location and some of the world’s friendliest hosts! The two apartments that make up the <em>casa particular</em> sit just five minutes from the lively streets of Old Havana, making it perfect for those eager to explore the city’s delights but who don’t want to sacrifice a quiet night’s sleep. Each of its five guestrooms features its own private bathroom and come equipped with a minibar, hair dryer, air conditioning and ceiling fan. The communal living room and balcony are great spots to relax with a Cuban coffee and chat with the gregarious owners. There’s direct lift access to the apartments.

Hostal Nueva Vida

Nestled in the enchanting Playa Larga, roughly 30-metres away from the beach, you'll discover Hostal Nueva Vida. Sat on the edge of the historic Bay of Pigs, Playa Larga is a wonderful place to visit - perfect for those in search of a tranquil escape - and the hosts at Hostal Nueva Vida do all they can to ensure that their guests will receive exactly that. The host, and experienced tour fishing and birdwatching guide, really walks the extra mile to make guests live an authentic experience and enjoy Cuban hospitality.

Casa Osmary y Alberto

Easily spotted thanks to its bright-pink exterior, Osmary y Alberto is one of Trinidad’s largest and finest casas particulares. Its simple, comfortable rooms are dotted around a pretty courtyard full of greenery and woven hammocks for relaxing. The location is fantastic, with the main square just a short-walk away, though the excellent on-site restaurant and bar make a night-in a tempting option. The friendly owners can even organise private salsa dance lessons to be enjoyed on the grounds, best enjoyed before a round of Alberto’s cocktails!

Playa Cayo Santa Maria

Boasting breathtaking sea views, Playa Cayo Santa Maria is an idyllic place to unwind and spend time with loved ones. The popular beach resort boasts a wide range of services and superb all-inclusive package with unlimited access to all its seven bars, five restaurants and ice cream parlour and plenty of on-site entertainment. You can find six swimming pools (two exclusively for children) dotted around its lush foliage-filled grounds as well as gym, Finnish sauna, Turkish sauna and clubhouse. On the paradise beach, you can enjoy  non motorised water-sports as part of your all-inclusive package or simply chill out and enjoy the view. When night falls, professional performers delights guests with live music shows and more. Its 793 rooms are spread across three floors with views of the sea, surrounding gardens and resort pools. Each is air-conditioned and comes equipped with a hairdryer, iron and ironing board, safe, satellite television, minibar, telephone and tea and coffee-making facilities.

Starfish Cuatro Palmas

An all-inclusive, adults-only (16+) retreat nestled along the sandy beachfront of Varadero, Starfish Cuatro Palmas offers a vibrant atmosphere and quality accommodation. Its lush gardens are dotted with Mediterranean-style buildings, hosting three restaurants and three bars. There's a gorgeous sparkling swimming pool and a variety of organised activities to get involved in. It's an intimate resort with just 160 rooms, all air-conditioned and equipped with a satellite TV, safe and hair dryer. The shops and restaurants of Varadero are just a stone's-throw away.

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