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Hola Cuba - For US Citizens

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highlights
  • Learn the local customs, folklore and beliefs behind Afro-Cuban religion as you’re welcomed into the homes of devoted residents on a colourful and unconventional Urban Adventure in Havana.
  • Relish a real garden-to-plate dining experience at a privately-owned organic eco-farm in picturesque Vinales – indulge in a variety of fresh produce all while gazing across sweeping views of the valley.
  • Receive a fascinating insight into the rise and fall of the charismatic and highly celebrated Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara at his mausoleum and museum in Santa Clara.
  • Experience Cuban hospitality and old-world charm in the coastal town of Trinidad. Wander through cobblestone streets among colourful colonial buildings and relax on the picturesque Playa Anca.
The Hola Cuba - for US citizens tour starts and ends in Havana. The Hola Cuba - for US citizens is an Explorer tour that takes 9 days taking you from Havana, Cuba and through other destinations in North America.

Experience the splendour of Cuba – a cobblestoned Caribbean gem where the rum is plentiful, the smiles infectious and dancing is essential. Join our Hola Cuba adventure and wind your way from sultry Havana and its crumbling churches, through the valleys and farms of Pinar del Rio, and on to the Afro-inspired beats of Trinidad. Along the way we’ve assembled a cast of Cuban characters to give you a proper welcome – tobacco farmers, expert chefs, local artists, historians and salsa dancers that understand where Cuba came from, where the country sits now and, more importantly, where it’s going.
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Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba! Upon arrival, soak in the decaying beauty of Havana and the surreal feeling that you have entered a bygone era. This is a very historic time to visit Cuba, as the gates finally creak open to a country so long forbidden, an opportunity has arisen to support the Cuban people and explore their incredible country. As there are no activities planned until your important welcome meeting at 6 pm – why not take a stroll to get acquainted with Cuba’s capital, where vintage cars, plumes of cigar smoke, Neo-Gothic churches and Art Deco theatres come together in a unique mesh of histories. After your welcome meeting, enjoy dinner at a local paladar, a privately-owned restaurant and a great example of Cuba’s incremental shift to a more free-market economy. Paladar means ‘palate’ but the popular usage of the word to describe this kind of restaurant references a Brazilian soap opera popular in Cuba in the 1990s.
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse
This morning, find out more about the local customs, folklore and beliefs of Cuba’s Afro-Cuban religion from an insider on a colourful and unconventional tour with Urban Adventures. Be welcomed into private homes and take the opportunity to learn from the devoted residents as you explore one of Havana’s sub-cultures at a grassroots level, something not often experienced by tourists. Next, you’ll get to see outer Havana in a convoy of classic American vintage cars. Cruise via points of interest – such as the Malecon, Revolution Square, Avenida de los presidentes and ending in Old Havana. Next, your leader will take you on a walking tour around the charming neighbourhood of Old Havana (approximately 2.5 hours). The best place to start any Havana experience is in the Old City, which is one of the best-preserved towns and in 1982 was designated a World Heritage Site. The streets are lined with colonial architecture, 16th-century fortresses and countless churches. Visit La Catedral San Cristobal de la Habana, the Palacio de los Marqueses de Aguas Claras and the Plaza de Armas. After a full day of exploration, enjoy an evening at leisure.
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse
At about 8 am, head east to Vinales. En route stop by an outer-Havana suburb to see the passion project of Jose Fuster, an artist who has turned an entire neighbourhood into a lively and colourful series of mosaics. Known as 'Fusterlandia', the inspiring and whimsical scenery is a perfect spot for pictures, and potentially have the chance to say 'hola' to the artist as he works! Continue your journey to a local community in Las Terrazas (approximately 2 hours). The village was built as part of a government reforestation project and has since received a UNESCO biosphere listing. Meet up with local community leaders who will share some insight into Las Terrazas and how the society works. You’ll also visit the ecological research centre and take a guided walk around the complex.
After lunch take a 2-hour drive to Vinales – situated in one of the most picturesque parts of Cuba, it’s a small and culturally rich village, with friendly and welcoming residents. On your way into the village, stop by the vibrant (and somewhat psychedelic) Mural de la Prehistoria – a phenomenal painting that stretches 130 metres across a cliff-face, at the foot of the verdant Sierra de Vinales. The elaborate artwork, which includes a dinosaur, sea monster and a snail, was created to symbolise the theory of evolution and took eighteen people four years to complete. Take the short journey into the centre of town and arrive in time for a brief orientation walk before heading to a privately-owned organic farm to learn about sustainable farming in Cuba. Hopefully meet local farmer Wilfredo Garcia Correa or at least his family who will show us around the farm and explain the methods used to cultivate crops without the use of pesticides, then enjoy a deliciously fresh and diverse meal prepared by the family, a truly authentic farm-to-fork experience!
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse
Today at 9 am, spend the morning (approximately 3 hours) finding out more about Cuban agriculture with a visit to a local tobacco farm to learn about the tradition of Cuban cigars. Get an insight as to how the communist system works, how much tobacco they keep, how much produce they give back to the government and how they make ends meet. Learn about the process of tobacco planting to rolling the final cigar. Share in the secret recipe of how they cure their leaves, which originated from one family and has been passed down through three generations – then drink some freshly roasted coffee from the farm while watching an expert roll a cigar. In the afternoon, get involved in a 1-hour salsa dance lesson, followed by a cooking demonstration from a local chef. Vinales is one of the more agriculturally productive areas of Cuba, so an abundance of homegrown seasonal fruit and vegetables are always on offer such as avocados, mangoes, pineapples, papaya, guava, and several varieties of sweet potatoes. Sit back, relax and enjoy the well-prepared meal while overlooking the lush scenery of Vinales.
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse
Optional Activities
  • Vinales - Live Music Venues (Entrance fee) - Subject to change depending on the performer
Depart Vinales at 8 am and head to Cienfuegos – drive for approximately 4.5 hours before stopping for lunch. This afternoon you’ll visit the Korimakao Cultural Project in Ciénega de Zapata, an area famous for its wetlands. Founded in 1992, Korimakao is a project to bring theatre, music, and dancing to remote areas of Cuba. You’ll have the opportunity to meet a director of the project, who will talk to you about the importance of this venture and the number of students that have benefited from it. Continue along to the picturesque town of Cienfuegos, a slice of Paris in the Caribbean. Founded in 1819 by pioneering French immigrants – the elegant architectural influence that these settlers brought with them, earned the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site listing in 2005.
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse
This morning at approximately 8.30 am, your leader will show you around the charming streets of Cienfuegos before getting back on the road around 10 am to head to the beautiful city of Trinidad (approximately 1.5–2 hours). Located near the lovely Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of Sugar mills) and Playa Ancón, Trinidad enjoys long stretches of unspoiled, white sand beaches and is home to numerous churches and well-preserved colonial buildings. After lunch, begin with a guided cultural tour of the city (approximately 3 hours) – this includes an opportunity to visit various museums such as Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos and Museo Romantico. Later, visit the privately-owned pottery workshop of the Santander family. This family are well known in the Cuban cultural landscape for having produced pottery for generations as well as assisting in the restoration of sculptures that once existed in this UNESCO world heritage site. Support the Cuban economy by taking the chance to purchase your own pottery as a reminder of your time in Cuba. In the evening, perhaps seek out the dance scene in Cuba. You may wish to see the local Afro Cuban Folkloric dance group that perform shows at the club Palenque, which has cultural and social importance in this region. Nightlife in Trinidad is probably the most accessible and intense in all of Cuba, with numerous live music venues and many dance performances every day of the week.
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Afro-Cuban folklore show - Free -
  • Trinidad - Cave Disco (Entrance fee) - CUC 5
This morning is free for you to explore Trinidad at your own pace. Perhaps you’d like to hire a bike and cycle along the city’s colourful streets, past once-grand mansions, pastel buildings and wrought iron features – or instead you might choose to explore one of the excellent walking trails in the nearby Sierra del Escambray mountains. In the afternoon head to Playa Ancon for some beach time fun and maybe a little snorkelling, followed by a sunset picnic prepared for you by one of the privately-owned guesthouses.
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse
Optional Activities
  • Trinidad - Musical instrument lesson (guitar, double bass, tres, percussion - per hour) - CUC 10
  • Trinidad - Bicycle rental (full day) - CUC 5
  • Trinidad - Trek to El Nicho Waterfall (taxi, entrance fee & guide) - CUC 65
Leave Trinidad at 8 am to reach the town of Santa Clara (approximately 2 hours), a key city in the Cuban Revolution. Upon your arrival in Santa Clara, see the iconic statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara, built to commemorate his death and that of the revolutionaries. There will be time to explore the museum which honours Che's life. Have lunch at a small privately-owned family farm near Santa Clara and drive back to Havana at about 1 pm (approximately 3 hours) where there will be some time to freshen up before a final fun-filled night of music, dinner and dancing at Cafe Taberna – where you’ll enjoy an ensemble of Cuban classics performed live by Buena Vista Social Club!
Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse
Your adventure ends today after breakfast. There are no activities planned for the final day so remember to say good-bye to your leader before you head back to the U.S.  
what’s included
Accommodation
  • Premium Guesthouse (8 nights)
Meals
  • 8 Breakfast, 6 Lunch, 7 Dinner
Transport
  • Private vehicle
Included Activities
  • Havana - Afro-Cuban Religion Tour
  • Havana - American Vintage Car Tour
  • Havana - Leader led City Tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Jaimanitas (Mosaic-laden Neighbourhood) including Fusterlandia (Entrance fee)
  • Las Terrazas - Sustainable Rural Economy Project (Entrance fee and Guide included)
  • Vinales - Mural de la Prehistoria (Entrance fee)
  • Vinales - Leader Led Orientation Walk
  • Vinales - Farm to Table Dinner at an Eco-friendly Ranch
  • Vinales - Half-day Valley Walking Tour including Tobacco Farmhouse (Guide included)
  • Vinales - Salsa Dance Lesson (1 hour)
  • Vinales - Cooking Demonstration by Local Chef
  • Cienaga de Zapata - Korimakao Cultural Project
  • Cienfuegos - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Trinidad - Leader-led City Tour including History Museum & Romantic Museum (Entrance fees)
  • Trinidad - Pottery Centre
  • Trinidad - Sunset Picnic at Playa Ancon (Weather Dependent)
  • Santa Clara - Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
  • Havana - Buena Vista Social Club
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to/from Havana are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Hola Cuba - for US citizens tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 9 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 16 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Havana/ Havana
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Hola Cuba - for US citizens
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Good to know
Payment

A deposit of 400 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 57 days before departure. For any departures within 22 August 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Hola Cuba - for US citizens tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Hola Cuba - for US citizens tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Hola Cuba - for US citizens tour. You can cancel the tour up to 58 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 57 days of departure.
Trip Details
  • Last modified (date)

    25 Jun 2019

  • Trip title

    Hola Cuba - for US citizens

  • Trip code

    QUKP

  • Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2020

  • Introduction

    Experience the splendour of Cuba – a cobblestoned Caribbean gem where the rum is plentiful, the smiles infectious and dancing is essential. Join our Hola Cuba adventure and wind your way from sultry Havana and its crumbling churches, through the valleys and farms of Pinar del Rio, and on to the Afro-inspired beats of Trinidad. Along the way we’ve assembled a cast of Cuban characters to give you a proper welcome – tobacco farmers, expert chefs, local artists, historians and salsa dancers that understand where Cuba came from, where the country sits now and, more importantly, where it’s going.

  • Style

    Comfort

  • Transport

    Private vehicle

  • Physical Rating

    3

  • Physical preparation

    None of the activities featured in this trip require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate. Stairs are prevalent in Cuban homes, and cobblestones and uneven roads are common. If you are in any doubt, please share these concerns or issues with your sales consultant so that your leader is aware prior and can pre-empt your needs. 

  • Joining point description

    Cuban Guesthouses (known locally as Casas) are more similar in style to B&Bs than they are homestays. Families do not necessarily live in the residence and most houses we contract are primarily a business. While some guesthouse managers and owners speak English, interaction mostly consists of gestures, smiles and ‘Spanglish’. Just like the residences in your own neighbourhood, each casa is unique; expect there to be differences between the rooms you and your travelling companions stay in (generally we arrange things so that there are 1-4 group members in each house).
    Each room has a private bathroom with towels, and occasionally basic toiletries are provided. Premium guesthouses at least will not have electric shower heads although as with many developing countries, power cuts do occur on occasion, meaning that hot water can’t always be guaranteed regardless of the standard.

  • Joining point instructions

    For the "Hola Cuba" trip, rooming allocations are finalized inside a week from departure based on the configuration requests of each traveler or travelling party. Please advise bedding configuration requests to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. We have an expansive list of guesthouses across the Havana neighborhoods of Vedado, Central Havana and Old Havana. Due to the volume of passengers as well as the time constraint we cannot contact you with the name and address of your assigned guesthouse. However, inside 7 days of departure, you can request the details of your confirmed guesthouse from your booking agent. For this reason, a complimentary arrival transfer is included with your trip; please trust that your driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 5 days prior to travel.

    ARRIVAL TRANSFER:
    To book your complimentary arrival transfer you must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 5 days prior to travel. The complimentary airport arrival transfer is valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us.
    After collecting your luggage, please continue walking through the 'Main Arrivals Hall' of the airport. Past the crowds of people, look for a free-standing pull-up banner with our brand logos on it near exit door #8. The drivers will be waiting outside the terminal near exit door #8, holding a sign with your name on it. The transfer will be provided in a taxi branded car; however, the drivers are under contract with us so please trust they will know the address of your assigned guesthouse. If you can't locate the driver, please call +53 5438 9140 with assistance at the Ecotur office outside the terminal near the carpark (Do not rely on somebody else to call for you as they may be seeking commissions to direct you to another transfer company).

    LOCAL ASSISTANCE:
    We have a desk located in the listed address below; providing a 24-hour service with English speaking employees if any assistance is required.
    Casa La Gargola
    1st floor #82 Cuba street, Old Havana (between Cuarteles & Chacon Streets)
    PH: +53 (7) 8605493

    The Spanish translation of the address is "Casa La Gargola 1° Piso #82 Calle Cuba, entre Cuarteles y Chacon, Havana Vieja”.

  • Finish point instructions

    A complimentary departure transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 5 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. Your leader will confirm the transfer pick up time while on tour, otherwise your transfer driver will collect you from your guesthouse 3.5 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the guesthouse staff to call +53 5438 9140 or our Cuba Emergency number, listed under the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of this document.

  • Group leader

    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

  • Is this trip right for you

    The guesthouses (casas) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling and each room is unique. Regardless of where you stay, power cuts and breaks in hot water supply are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country – but we believe that this is all a part of the local experience.

    Part of Cuba’s appeal is its old-fashioned style – this includes the banking systems. Funds in Cuba can be difficult to access. Ideally bring multiple credit cards from several different banks just to be sure.

    Luxuries such as air conditioning, and even toilet seats, are often scarce. Part of the experience here is learning to appreciate everyday Cuban resourcefulness.

    Internet access can be hard to come by, and when it's available it's often unreliable and expensive. Treat this as a great opportunity to take a break from modern devices and have a true holiday.

    Cuba is different, and that's a big part of its allure. Things don't always go according to plan, and many things don't work the same way as back home. Patience and good humour will go a long way in this beautiful destination.

    Due to licensing restrictions, only 1-night pre-tour accommodation may be requested. Post-tour accommodation cannot be offered.

  • Food and dietary requirements

    To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will also be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip.

    DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
    More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, celiac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend bringing your own supply of snacks with you.

    Vegetarians should be aware that while you can get vegetarian meals in Cuba, you generally won't find much variety and you may get tired of being offered the same every day (i.e. - rice, beans, omelette and salad). Vegetarians are often surprised that their meals are no cheaper than those containing meat, and this is because vegetables on the free market in Cuba are of similar prices to those of meat.

    Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.

    FOOD IN CUBA:
    Food in Cuba has a reputation for being bland and lacking variety, however it has improved dramatically over the last two years. There are very limited snacks available in Cuba; convenience stores exist but are certainly not as prevalent nor sell the quantity or variety of snacks or junk food you may be used to at home. You may wish to bring your favourite chocolates, candy or healthy snacks like muesli bars.

    Beans and rice are the staples, with cucumber, tomato and cabbage being the conventional ingredients for a Cuban salad. Chicken and pork are the most common meats served in Cuba, however fish and a variety of seafood is also frequently on offer. Please be aware that it is a cultural trait to serve meals larger than you are expected to finish, but be assured nothing will go to waste.

    It can be hard to find a suitable place to eat while travelling in Cuba, as roadside restaurants tend to cater for large tour groups and either offer a fixed meal or a very limited selection of snacks. In the cities and towns small privately-owned restaurants, paladares, offer a little more choice but can often only seat a maximum of twelve people (the number for which they are officially licensed).
     

  • Money matters

    When it comes to money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.
    Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).

    CONTINGENCY FUNDS:
    We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to the equivalent of an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

    MEALS NOT INCLUDED:
    For this trip we recommend between CUC 25 to 50 per day. How do we work this out? These are indicative prices only.

    Breakfast. If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay approximately CUC5 in the guesthouses.

    Lunch. CUC5-10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, a lunch meal at a more tourist restaurant can cost between CUC10-15.

    Dinner. At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between CUC15-25 for a main.

    If you are on a tight budget, unfortunately Cuba doesn’t do much in the way of cheap street food other than pizzas which cost CUC2. Alternatively, If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.

    TIPPING:
    If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations. Due to the low Government-set wages in Cuba, tipping is relied upon heavily so expect to tip for just about everything. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.

    Hold on to your smaller notes and coins to make tipping easier. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

    - Restaurants: Local markets, government and private (paladares) restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest 10%. There's no need to tip at dinners taken at Guesthouses.
    - Guesthouse: You may consider tipping the employees (not the owners) of a Guesthouse; CUC1-2 is suggested, although a clothing item, a towel or the like will be kindly received.
    - Toilet attendant: CUC 0.25 per use.
    - Musicians: CUC1-2 per session.
    - Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest CUC2 per person per day for local guides.
    - Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of CUC1-2 per day is generally appropriate.
    - Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline CUC2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

    In total, we recommend you budget approx CUC10-15 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

    CURRENCY INFORMATION:

    Cuba currency information - The official currencies of Cuba are the Cuban Peso Convertible (CUC) and the National Peso (CUP also known as Moneda Nacional M.N.). Non-Cubans deal almost exclusively in convertibles (CUC). The National Peso (CUP) has very limited use, especially for travellers. What's confusing for travellers is that the Cubans call both currencies 'pesos', so you must ask or know the value of something to know which currency they are referring to (CUC1 = US$1 and CUC1 = CUP24). Cuban law states that it is illegal to remove any bills from Cuba so ensure that you use up both currencies before departing the country.

    ACCESSING FUNDS IN CUBA:
    Travellers often experience problems accessing funds in Cuba. To avoid being caught without money in Cuba, ensure you have a variety of ways of accessing your money including cash (GBP CAD or EUR) and bank cards from various banks. Cards issued by US banks or banks affiliated with US banks are not accepted in Cuba at all; among others, this includes Travelex, Westpac and Citibank. Contact your bank prior to travel about using your bank card in Cuba. We recommend you use the ATM at the airport upon arrival; located outside the terminal, tucked in the corner of the currency exchange house. You will find ATMs dotted sparsely throughout most cities, but they can be quite temperamental, so you may have to try a couple before finding the one that works for your card.

    EXCHANGING CASH IN CUBA:
    CADECAs are the official government currency exchange houses. These can be found in every city, at the airport, and are commonly found in the larger hotels in Havana. Please note that most are closed on Sundays. For any services offered, such as money exchange or cash advances, you will need your passport to proceed. Note it is in your best interest to specifically ask for smaller bills. The only currencies that you are guaranteed to be able to exchange are CAD, EUR and GBP. The US dollar is not accepted as legal tender in Cuba, and attracts a large commission fee at exchange. The exchange rates used by the CADECA are the same in every CADECA around Cuba and represent about a 3% commission for the bank (included in the exchange rate). For cash advances and when using the ATMs, there is a 3% fee charged. This means that for value for money it's approximately the same if you are making a cash advance or exchanging cash. 


    ENTRY AND EXIT FEES:
    The below country specific information was correct at time of writing, however please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information.

    Cuba – There are no entry or exit fees. A departure tax of US$25 is included in the cost of your flight ticket.

  • A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.

    Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

    The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.

    By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

    If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

  • Accommodation notes

    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

    Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

    We have classified guesthouse rooms into two standards for the comfort levels of our trips: Standard and Premium. Most differences can be a little hard to tell at first, particularly when taking aesthetic into account which varies greatly not only between rooms but also between cities and provinces. Be assured though that the comforts to which foreign travellers are accustomed have been taken into account in classifying premium guesthouses a higher standard of accommodation.

    Premium:
    - Larger rooms
    - Imported mattresses and pillows rather than locally made
    - The linen is cotton rather than synthetic
    - Split system air-conditioning
    - In-room or in-house safe available for use

    Stairs are prevalent in Cuban homes. If this presents a problem to you, then please advise us at time of booking so we can request rooms on or closer to ground level.

    PRE-TOUR ACCOMMODATION:
    Our licensing agreement allows one night of pre-tour accommodation to be booked (subject to availability) only when airline scheduling impedes your ability to arrive in time for the welcome meeting on Day 1. We aim to confirm the first night of your tour in Old Havana however occasionally due to availability we will confirm it in either Central Havana or Vedado. Post-tour accommodation cannot be offered under our license.

  • Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

    SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

  • Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES:
    Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
    A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.

    Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

  • Accommodation

    Premium Guesthouse (8 nights)

  • Themes

    Explorer

  • Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. We have partnered with Allianz Global Assistance to provide you with a travel insurance program.

  • Transport notes

    CHARTER FLIGHTS:
    If flying with one of the charter airlines operating out of the US, please note charters often have significant flight delays (and your connecting airlines are not obliged to wait for you or re-book you if you miss your connection due to a late charter). If flying with a charter, we recommend overnighting in Miami or other connecting city in both directions to ensure you can make your flight connections.

  • Health

    All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

    ZIKA VIRUS:
    There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.

    DENGUE FEVER:
    Dengue Fever is common in Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil and parts of Mexico are currently suffering from a serious outbreak. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.

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  • Country: {{!!tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation?tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation:myRequest.country}}
  • Destination: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].destinations.join(', ')}}
  • Activity: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].activity.join(', ')}}
  • Custom Destination: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].destination}}
  • Custom Activity: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].activity}}
  • Group Size: {{myRequest.no_of_adults > 0 && myRequest.no_of_children > 0?',':''}} {{myRequest.group_type=='Single'?'1 Person':myRequest.group_type=='Couple'?'2 People':''}}
  • {{myRequest.departure_month || myRequest.duration?'Approx. Dates':'Travel Dates'}}: {{myRequest.start_date | readableDate}} to {{myRequest.end_date | readableDate}} {{myRequest.departure_month}}, {{myRequest.duration}} Not decided yet
  • Tour Type: {{myRequest.tourtype | tourtypefullName}}
  • Age Group: {{myRequest.age_group}} yrs
  • Type of Tour: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].type_of_tour}}
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  • Budget Per Person: USD {{myRequest.approx_budget_amount}}
  • Budget Flexibility {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].budget_flexibility}}
  • Trip Planning Stage {{myRequest.trip_planning_stage}}
  • Trip Details: ... Read More Read Less
How our Travel Expert Service Works
  • 1 We connect you with a hand-picked and qualified travel expert who can match your trip requirements. The advantage of working directly through a travel expert is that you get the best and unfiltered advice from the very beginning.
  • 2 The travel expert will help you with creating and customising a trip for you. If you have any questions or concerns relating to the trip, the travel expert will also be able to help you with those.
  • 3 When you feel that your trip is exactly per your wish, you'll be able to book the entire trip here on Bookmundi.
The Advantages of Bookmundi
  • Selected Local Travel Experts All our local travel experts have been chosen based on rigorous selection criteria. In fact, we reject 98 out of 100 local travel agencies, and thereby giving you access to the top 1-2% local travel experts.
  • Secure Online Payment and Financial Guarantee Each and every trip is required to go through Bookmundi's secure payment platform, powered by Stripe and supported by SSL. All payments are therefore carried out in secure manners. We are furthermore member of the Danish Travel Fund which gives you a 100% financial guarantee for any money you pay on Bookmundi, even if we went bankrupt (which we we will not!).
  • Trip Replacement or 100% Reimbursement Bookmundi has hand-picked your local travel expert. Our role, as your trusted third party, is therefore to make sure that your entire experience runs as seamless and secure as possible. We guarantee to you that in the unlikely event where a local travel expert cancels your trip after your deposit or full payment has been made, we commit to replacing these services with another equally qualified agency so that your trip can go ahead as planned, or failing to replace it, we will give you a 100% reimbursement.
New customised trip enquiry by {{getFirstName(activeuser)}}:
  • Title: {{myRequest.title}}
  • Country: {{!!tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation?tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation:myRequest.country}}
  • Destination: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].destinations.join(', ')}}
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  • Custom Destination: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].destination}}
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  • Tour Type: {{myRequest.tourtype | tourtypefullName}}
  • Age Group: {{myRequest.age_group}} yrs
  • Type of Tour: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].type_of_tour}}
  • Accommodation Option: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].accommodation_option}}
  • Budget Per Person: USD {{myRequest.approx_budget_amount}}
  • Budget Flexibility {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].budget_flexibility}}
  • Trip Planning Stage {{myRequest.trip_planning_stage}}
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Dear {{!activeuserExpert ? activeuserExpert.first_name: 'N/A'}}, Before responding to {{getFirstName(activeuser)}}’s customised trip request for {{plannerCountries}} we recommend that you carefully read these guidelines as they will help you with approaching the customer correctly and convert the enquiry into a trip booking.
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Hi ,
Thanks for your trip input. We will do our utmost to make sure that you get a trip of a lifetime.
We've noted down your trip requirements below. You can easily them.
  • {{myRequest.title}}
  • Country: {{!!tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation?tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation:myRequest.country}}
  • Destination: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].destinations.join(', ')}}
  • Activity: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].activity.join(', ')}}
  • Custom Destination: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].destination}}
  • Custom Activity: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].activity}}
  • Group Size: {{myRequest.no_of_adults > 0 && myRequest.no_of_children > 0?',':''}} {{myRequest.group_type=='Single'?'1 Person':myRequest.group_type=='Couple'?'2 People':''}}
  • {{myRequest.departure_month || myRequest.duration?'Approx. Dates':'Travel Dates'}}: {{myRequest.start_date | readableDate}} to {{myRequest.end_date | readableDate}} {{myRequest.departure_month}}, {{myRequest.duration}} Not decided yet
  • Tour Type: {{myRequest.tourtype | tourtypefullName}}
  • Age Group: {{myRequest.age_group}} yrs
  • Type of Tour: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].type_of_tour}}
  • Accommodation Option: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].accommodation_option}}
  • Budget Per Person: USD {{myRequest.approx_budget_amount}}
  • Budget Flexibility {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].budget_flexibility}}
  • Trip Planning Stage {{myRequest.trip_planning_stage}}
  • Trip Details: ... Read More Read Less
How our Travel Expert Service Works
  • 1 We connect you with a hand-picked and qualified travel expert who can match your trip requirements. The advantage of working directly through a travel expert is that you get the best and unfiltered advice from the very beginning.
  • 2 The travel expert will help you with creating and customising a trip for you. If you have any questions or concerns relating to the trip, the travel expert will also be able to help you with those.
  • 3 When you feel that your trip is exactly per your wish, you'll be able to book the entire trip here on Bookmundi.
The Advantages of Bookmundi
  • Selected Local Travel Experts All our local travel experts have been chosen based on rigorous selection criteria. In fact, we reject 98 out of 100 local travel agencies, and thereby giving you access to the top 1-2% local travel experts.
  • Secure Online Payment and Financial Guarantee Each and every trip is required to go through Bookmundi's secure payment platform, powered by Stripe and supported by SSL. All payments are therefore carried out in secure manners. We are furthermore member of the Danish Travel Fund which gives you a 100% financial guarantee for any money you pay on Bookmundi, even if we went bankrupt (which we we will not!).
  • Trip Replacement or 100% Reimbursement Bookmundi has hand-picked your local travel expert. Our role, as your trusted third party, is therefore to make sure that your entire experience runs as seamless and secure as possible. We guarantee to you that in the unlikely event where a local travel expert cancels your trip after your deposit or full payment has been made, we commit to replacing these services with another equally qualified agency so that your trip can go ahead as planned, or failing to replace it, we will give you a 100% reimbursement.
New customised trip enquiry by {{getFirstName(activeuser)}}:
  • Title: {{myRequest.title}}
  • Country: {{!!tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation?tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation:myRequest.country}}
  • Destination: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].destinations.join(', ')}}
  • Activity: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].activity.join(', ')}}
  • Custom Destination: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].destination}}
  • Custom Activity: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].activity}}
  • Group Size: {{myRequest.no_of_adults > 0 && myRequest.no_of_children > 0?',':''}} {{myRequest.group_type=='Single'?'1 Person':myRequest.group_type=='Couple'?'2 People':''}}
  • {{myRequest.departure_month || myRequest.duration?'Approx. Dates':'Travel Dates'}}: {{myRequest.start_date | readableDate}} to {{myRequest.end_date | readableDate}} {{myRequest.departure_month}}, {{myRequest.duration}} Not decided yet
  • Tour Type: {{myRequest.tourtype | tourtypefullName}}
  • Age Group: {{myRequest.age_group}} yrs
  • Type of Tour: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].type_of_tour}}
  • Accommodation Option: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].accommodation_option}}
  • Budget Per Person: USD {{myRequest.approx_budget_amount}}
  • Budget Flexibility {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].budget_flexibility}}
  • Trip Planning Stage {{myRequest.trip_planning_stage}}
""
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