Trekking vacation in Cuba

“An active addition to any Cuba vacation, this tailor made trek departs whenever you're ready, for as many days as you fancy, in the pristine forest of the Sierra Maestra.”


Sierra Maestra | Pico Turquino National Park | La Comandancia - Castro's secret HQ | La Platica eco-community | Las Cuevas | Trekking in virgin forest | Optional beach extension

Please feel free to email the Help Desk team if you need any advice on your vacation plans. We're always happy to help!

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Our top tip:
Porters are rarely available on this trip so you
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Challenging. 4-6hrs trekking/day.
1 night in 3* hotel in Santo Domingo, 2 nights in mountain refuges.
Solo travelers welcome. Price depends on number of travelers.
Accommodation, transfers to and from Santiago, meals, specialist, bilingual guides, park fees.
All meals included. Picnic lunches provided when trekking.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Trekking vacation in Cuba


When out on tour we encourage learning about the country we are traveling in, the local culture of the people we work with and the areas we pass through. Our guides and tour leaders hold informal talks with all groups to inform about and discuss with them all aspects of local life. This helps understanding of the area and appreciation of the people who live there. It is our policy to carefully dispose of all waste whilst we are on trek. All non-organic waste is carried out and organic waste is buried at a suitable depth.

Food is purchased locally and we use food products with as little packaging as possible, and encourage cooking with local products. We cook with gas and use recyclable glass as opposed to plastic wherever possible. Whilst in towns we use homestay accommodation or small locally owned hotels wherever possible, and all our staff are fairly treated and fairly paid.


We encourage everyone to stay in local homes whilst we are in Cuba so that our clients have an opportunity to meet and spend time with local people to learn something of local life. It also enables them to use their Spanish language skills, even at a basic level. Importantly, this also ensures that monies are spent at a very local level and go into the pockets of Cuban households. All our dance/music/language tutors and specialist guides are professionally trained Cubans and they are treated and paid fairly.

We support local Cuban businesses in every aspect of our trips - accommodation, transport, meals, drinks and activities - thus contributing directly to the local economy and community. We also regularly organise donations for local schools and educational projects. We recommend that clients consider donations of items such as toiletries, baby and childrens clothing, some medicines and luxuries such as soap to the families they visit and projects we support.
We also regularly provide donations to two youth theatre and drama companies in Santiago de Cuba, bringing material for costumes and stage make from the UK or buying essential items locally such as paint for props.

On our dance and music vacations, we recommend that clients bring with them any musical or dance items which they can leave for their tutors, such as shoes, strings, instruments or dancewear. On our hiking trips, we encourage the donation of appropriate items such as hiking shoes or boots, small rucksacks, water bottles, penknives and other such items for the specialist guides accompanying the tour.

Reviews of Trekking vacation in Cuba

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 11 Jan 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Getting to know the Cuban people and staying in their homes was an invaluable experience. By far my favorite moment was the tobacco wanting tour! We enjoyed it so much we returned 2 days later and had a great time visiting the owners of the different farms.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

When visiting Vinales there are many casa options even if you haven't pre-booked. The advantage of using responsible travel was not having to carry the extra cash for our stays, transportation, and tours. Best tip: Go with out fear. Cuba is beautiful and greets you amazingly. We found people resolved an problem we had by calling a friend of a friend etc.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely, we engaged with the local people and supported their businesses. We learned about the travel impact and how it is changing their own economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

5 stars! This was a trip of a lifetime and we made great connections. I felt as if I were a part of the family in each casa we stayed in. I look forward to returning.

Read the operator's response here:

We are delighted that you enjoyed your trip to Cuba with us, and that you made good connections with local people. We would be very happy to help organise your next trip to the island, and look forward to hearing from you again.

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Being in the beautiful nature of Cuba and being with local guides.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

The first day hike it a bit intense, you need to be in good shape.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent! However, not cost effective for single traveler.

Reviewed on 14 Aug 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

On the front end prior to the trip to Cuba, we had some very practical recommendations that helped harness expectations to match reality, which helped make the trip more enjoyable. Event and tour ticket pickup points and times were mostly easily understood and accurate. Most of the contracted guides were helpful, courteous, and provided a lot of insight into Cuban culture. I'll be a repeat customer.

Read the operator's response here:

Many thanks for your positive comments about your hiking trip in Cuba. I am delighted that our practical recommendations proved to be useful on the ground and that our trip instructions were correct and easy to follow. Looking forward to hearing from you again in the future!

Reviewed on 17 Nov 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Certainly interesting was the venture to see Castro's headquarters in Alta Naranjo.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Ask cost of tour before accepting offered tours. The city tour of Holquin, was more expensive than I would have thought. It was not clear to me when we were dropped off, that it was/ was not included in our payments. Also, I definitely think the trek should be condensed into 2 days in the park and not 3. When we were there we met a large UK group who did it in 2 days, and others who did it from the Caribbean side who did it in one day. The down side to only 2 days, is that the refugee on the Caribbean side, was in a nicer location.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. Due to the time spent in the park.

Read the operator's response here:

We provide a detailed itinerary for all clients, including everything that has been booked by us and whether it needs to be paid for locally or has already been included in the price paid by the client. We have no information on Holguin city tours, nor was this at any time mentioned to Mrs Parsons by us so it naturally would not have been included in our arrangements for her. We are very sorry if she misunderstood the local representative who met her at the airport and would agree with her that you should always check the cost of an additional element of the trip before booking it. If we had had this information, we would certainly have passed it on to her before departure.

Re the trekking, we have tried various options over the last 4 years for hiking over Pico Turquino, and in our opinion three days in the national park is the best length of time to spend there. The trek that was booked in this instance was our full 5 day round trip which includes 3 nights in the national park. We are able to book abridged treks in this beautiful national park but it means cutting out some aspects of the overall programme.

The first full day in the park includes a guided visit to La Comandancia, Fidel's secret HQ in the Sierra Maestra mountains, which takes the best part of 3-4 hours from the starting point of San Domingo. It is such a significant place to visit that it would be pointless to rush the visit. The latter part of that first day is spent walking to the La Platica community, an hour from La Comandancia, where the first night is spent in a refuge with dinner cooked and served by a local chef. There is usually time to explore the community and to visit the local primary school and doctors post, which is all part of the cultural tourism aspect of our trips in Cuba.

The second day in the park includes trekking for 5-6 hours to the Aguada de Joaquin refuge about 2 hours from the summit of Pico Turquino. It would not be practical to push people on to the next available refuge on Pico Cuba which is 90 mins from the summit on the other side of the mountain. The third full day in the park includes hiking from Aguada de Joaquin to Pico Cuba where the third night is spent. The final day includes a 4 hour descent to Las Cuevas on the coast and the end of the trail. I do not see how anyone can do the whole ascent and descent in one day unless they were going up and down the same route from the Caribbean side rather than going down the other side of the peak to Santo Domingo.

We are always willing to amend our programmes to suit our clients and have a number of tailormade treks which can accommodate most itineraries.

We are delighted that Mrs Parsons enjoyed her trip overall and, as she suggests, we will advise future travelers to double check prices of local tours before booking them.

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