Cuba’s past is well-known, but what of its present? Take the family and find out for yourself on this jam-packed 12-day adventure that celebrates the island’s colonial past and vibrant modern-day culture. Here, you’ll learn to salsa in Havana, go swimming in Cueva de los Peces, explore colonial Trinidad and learn about the revolution in historic Santa Clara. Blessed with history, culture, and unspoiled natural splendour, Cuba is captivating, indoors and out.
Visit to Las Terrazas community and San Juan natural pools. Area tour of Viñales Valley, including the “Cueva del Indio”. Half-day city tour of Havana in vintage automobiles. Visit to Che mausoleum. Nature walk in Topes de Collantes. Visit to a crocodile farm.
Cruise through Havana in a vintage automobile, bliss out on a beautiful beach overlooking the Caribbean, explore Cueva del Indio by boat, walk among limestone peaks, visit a crocodile farm, learn about fascinating Cuban history.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
From 01 May 2010 all tourists entering Cuba will require “Medical Travel Insurance” that is on a Government approved list. We urge you to check with your insurance provider to ensure your policy is on the list of approved providers. If it is not, tourists will be forced to purchase a Government approved policy on arrival in Cuba. The cost of buying this insurance in Cuba will be in addition to any insurance already purchased, and it is likely the rates for these polices will be inflated compared to what you may purchase in advance from home.
G Adventures issues insurance policies at competitive rates, and our insurance provider has been confirmed as recognized by Cuban officials.
If you would like peace-of-mind and to purchase insurance from Gap Adventures, please contact our reservations team on 1800 465 5600 (from North America), or 08444 101030 (from the UK) or 39413 5820 (from Australia) or email@example.com
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They 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 countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 20, avg 10
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (8 nts), hacienda (3 nts)
My Own Room
Accommodation for family trips has been chosen to give the best location and facilities for your family. They may vary depending on the location and destination, but designed to give the most comfortable experience while travelling.
You and your family will generally be sharing rooms on a twin or triple share basis. These rooms will be either adjoining or located at close proximity to each other.
Families will be roomed together and not with other families everywhere we stay. If you have any special hotel requests at the time of booking, let us know and we will do what we can to accommodate them.
It is important to note that accommodation in Cuba tends to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have travelled in. Buildings and rooms are generally old and may not have been renovated or maintained to the highest standard.
The hotels used vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff. Staff can occasionally demonstrate less than perfect customer service. You can expect to find clean, safe, simple accommodation. Expect quirky plumbing and the odd cold shower. Some hotels may be resort-style.
Please tell your CEO immediately if have any problems with your room, and they will assist you to remedy the situation.
Ambos Mundos Hotel
Calle Obispo No. 153 esq. a Mercaderes
La Habana Vieja, Ciudad de La Habana
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.
If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer, look for the driver holding a G Adventures sign in the arrivals hall. Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!
Please note that the included arrival transfer is from José Martí International Airport (Havana – HAV) to your starting hotel. If you are flying into Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport (Varadero – VRA), a transfer must be booked independently.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (9am-9pm) Lenia Hernandez Rodriguez +53 5289 0826
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560 After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100 Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000 Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000 Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618 Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307 Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whatever you find easiest to carry). A good size daypack is also essential.
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Cash (see money exchange section for details)
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers and dossier
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and film
- Reading/writing material
- Cover for backpacks
- Flash light
- hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 2 pair of shorts
- 1 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- sturdy walking shoes
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
- Pair of closed shoes if you plan on taking in the Tropicana show, accompanied by semi formal attire (dresses/skirts/long pants/dress shirts). No sandals or shorts are permitted into the theatre.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The currency in Cuba is the Cuban Peso (CUP).
Bringing cash is the easiest way to travel in Cuba, though please take extra security precautions to avoid theft. Please note that until further notice AUD and NZD are not accepted in Cuba. Because of these difficulties we recommend that you arrive in Cuba with CAD, EUR, GBP, or Mexican pesos which can be easily converted into Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at the 8% conversion fee.
As of November 8, 2004 the US Dollar is no longer being used as official currency. The Cuban Convertible Peso is at a similar value to the US Dollar, and can be acquired at any change house or bank. Please note that any transaction involving the US Dollar in Cuba automatically incurs a 18% fee.
People traveling in Cuba with Visa credit cards can still use them for cash advances, however all transactions will be subject to an 18% fee. Bank cards from US banks do not work in Cuba, and cards using the Cirrus or Maestro systems are nearly impossible to use. The best credit cards to bring are Visa Plus. Please note that ATMs are not widespread and generally speaking debit cards do not work in Cuba from any foreign banks.
If you plan to use a bank card, it would be advisable to check with your bank directly prior to your departure as to whether the card should work in Cuba.
We do not recommend you bring travellers cheques, as it is very difficult to exchange them in Cuba.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent). Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) are extremely difficult to convert outside of Cuba, be sure to convert any remaining CUC before departing Cuba.
You are advised NOT to change money on the street outside the airport or your hotel. Reliable money exchange may only be done at Cadecas (change houses), Banks, or Hotel Reception.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
All prices are per person, estimates in either CUC amounts or USD. Please see the Money Exchange section above regarding the currency situation in Cuba.
And are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.
City tour $15-25
Las Terrazas $38
Tropicana show $60-$100 (prices depend on seat location)
Museum entrances $2-$3
Dance lesson $12-$15/hour
Scooter/moto rental $20/$30 (24 hr rental. Hourly rates available)
Cueva de los Indios $5
Mural de la Prehistoria $1 (entry)
Horseback Riding $5/hour ($25 max)
Santo Tomas Caves: CUC 8 plus transport CUC 4
Afternoon through tobacco fields and visit to local farmer house CUC 5.00
Climbing 10-14 CUC
Salsa Lessons 5 CUC
Bicycle rental $5 full day
Horseback riding 15 CUC
Day trip $30 (Valle de los Ingenios)
Snorkelling (rental) $5
Diving $60 (2-tank dive)
Museum entrances $2-$3
Topes de Collantes Park $30 (price per taxi, round trip) $6.50 (entry)
Conga Lessons 10$
Tour to Cienfuegos 48 CUC
Sunset cruise (minimum 10 people) 15 CUC per person
Music House entrances: $1-$3
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings in this dossier for trip specific information. For travellers over 70 years a completed Medical Form is required. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please click here.
Trip Specific Safety
MAKING FRIENDS WITH LOCALS
Sexuality is very open in Cuba and that can shock some travellers, especially women. There are many Cuban men and women (known as Jineteros), who make a living escorting foreigners. Offers of this service are very common in Havana. Be aware of this practice and keep in mind that some locals who approach you may do so to take advantage of your presence.
NB. We advise traveling around the streets of Havana City in small groups, rather than individually (especially for women travelers). In addition, we suggest not carrying any easy targets for potential troublemakers like cameras, purses, or anything that is easy to snatch or grab. We advise this not expecting trouble, but rather erring on the side of caution.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEO has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy 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. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org
Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our G Adventures for Good projects.
To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
Minimum age of 6 years for this trip. Please see the activities for any specific minimum age requirements.
This trip is recommended for children aged 7-11 years old.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD480-625 for meals not included.
PRODUCT_LINE: CCFA, ID: 23274
Day 1 Havana
Arrive in Havana at any time and enjoy the city.
A G Adventures representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel.
It is important to note that Cuba tends to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have travelled in. Buildings and infrastructure are generally old and may not have been maintained to the highest standard. Elevators, internet and A/C often break down, things happen very slowly and water pressure and hot water can be minimal. Cuba is an amazing place to visit but to fully enjoy and relax, western expectations should be left at home and your sense of adventure should be your guide.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Arrival Airport Transfer
Day 2 Havana (1B)
After arriving in Havana, spend the day exploring the city. Discover the history and culture of La Habana Vieja in style, taking a classic American car tour through the city.
In the afternoon, get a chance to stretch your legs taking a salsa class. It’s a great opportunity for dad to show off his dancing skills!
Havana City Tour in Vintage Car
Day 3 Havana/Viñales (1B)
Take a sightseeing tour of the valley, including a visit to the Caverna de Santo Tomas. Get up close to the valley’s incredible geological formations. Tour a section of the cave by boat!
Caverna de Santo Tomas Visit
Take a sightseeing tour of the valley, including a visit to the Caverna de Santo Tomas. Get up close to the valley’s incredible geological formations, and tour a section of the cave by boat!
Private Vehicle (2.50-3.50 hours, 280km)
Day 4 Viñales/Las Terrazas (1B)
From Viñales, continue on a short journey to the nature reserve of Las Terrazas. Located in the Sierra del Rosario mountains, the reserve is filled with lakes and waterfalls and is a great place for the kids to play in all day.
Las Terrazas Tour
Pools of San Juan Visit
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours, 128km)
Day 5 Las Terrazas/Playa Girón (1B)
Continue to the south of the island, heading for Playa Giron, the scene of the attempted invasion of Cuba by American forces. Along the way, stop at Cueva de los Peces where the kids can have lunch and swim among brightly coloured fish.
Cueva de los Peces Visit
Day 6 Playa Girón/Cienfuegos (1B)
In the morning, take a short ferry across the bay to Castillo de Jagua. Located in the entrance of the Bay of Cienfuegos, the fortress was built in the 1740s by the Spanish to protect the bay from pirates. You and the kids can pretend to protect the bay from invaders all over again.
Continue to Cienfuegos, where the rest of the day is free. Spend the night.
Castillo de Jagua Visit
Day 7 Cienfuegos/Trinidad (1B)
Take a short drive along the coast in the morning to the southern coastal city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad.
Enjoy an included tour of the area to get your general bearings. The rest of the time is free to wander the cobblestone streets, shop, and experience the great music scene that has made this city famous.
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours, 80km)
Day 8 Trinidad (1B)
Have a free day to enjoy optional activities. Visitors looking for outdoor activities will find Trinidad a haven for horseback or bicycle riding (don’t expect any modern mountain bikes though!). If a beach sounds like what you’re looking for, try snorkelling or diving in nearby Playa Ancón, just 12km (7.5 mi) from town.
Day 9 Trinidad (1B)
Cuba is an island well known for its natural beauty, and we can see a lot of natural wonders visiting the Topes de Collantes reserve, located in the Escambray Mountains. Filled with caves, rivers, waterfalls, and pools, this is a natural playground.
Enjoy the day here, before transferring to the hacienda accommodation for the night.
Topes de Collantes Visit
Day 10 Trinidad/Santa Clara (1B)
Head inland to visit the site of some of the most important moments in Cuban history at Santa Clara. Kids will be fascinated by the stories of the Cuban revolution, and can see the armoured train used by the revolutionaries to attack the government troops that helped to turn the revolution for them.
Che Guevara’s Mausoleum Visit
Day 11 Santa Clara/Havana (1B)
In the morning, drive back to Havana. On return, the rest of the day is free. Explore the city at leisure, visit some of the bars and restaurants in the city, or sit at a café and watch the world go by.
The evening is a great opportunity to have one final meal with newfound friends and family.
Making Musical Instruments
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours, 95km)
Day 12 Havana (1B)
Transfer to the airport where the trip ends and we say goodbye to newfound friends.