Highlights of Cuba Tour
CUBA TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
Whether it’s the white sand beaches, the Spanish colonial architecture or the rum fuelled nightlife that’s drawing you to this Caribbean island, our Cuba tour is perfect for any Solo Traveller. Join us for 10 amazing nights as we travel to the colourful Cuban capital, Havana, experience authenticity in the Cuban city of Santa Clara with its plentiful local music venues, and relax in Trinidad on unspoiled stretches of white sand beaches, perfect for snorkelling and diving. We also visit Cienfuegos, deemed the ‘Pearl of the South’, with the option to partake in some outdoor activities in the culturally rich village of Vinales. Whatever you’re looking for, Cuba has something for all Solo Travellers.
Step back in time and enjoy the vibrant nightlife in Havana
Stay with the locals in their casa particulares and get to know the culture
Enjoy a rum or two on the beautiful beaches of Trinidad
Discover laid back Viñales and its stunning limestone hills
Day 1 – Arrive Havana
Arrive in Havana. Today is an arrival day so there are no planned activities. If you arrive in time, you can join your guide and the rest of the group for dinner to get to know your fellow travellers! Overnight in Havana.
Day 2 – Havana
Today we will start the morning with a walking tour of the beautiful Old Havana. Havana is one of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere, and was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Adventure among the splendorous crumbling architecture of the streets of old Havana and walk through the different plazas where most of the attractions are concentrated. We will then stop at a local Cuban restaurant for lunch after which we will take a ride in one of the famous Cuban Vintage cars to see more sites of Cuba with breath taking views of the Malecon. Overnight in Havana.
Day 3 – Havana
Day of leisure in Havana. Maybe go and sit on the famous sea wall (El Malecon) to take in the view and some fresh air, and socialise with the colourful and friendly ‘Habaneros’. or maybe take a short taxi ride to visit Callejon de Hammel where you will see lots of colourful murals and sculptures by Cuban Artist Salvador Gonzales Escalona. There is of the option of course to visit some of the museums including Museo de la Revolucion and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Overnight in Havana.
Day 4 – Havana / Santa Clara
After breakfast, you will be heading inland to Santa Clara, a key city in the Cuban revolution. Upon entering Santa Clara, you will visit the statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara, which commemorates his death and those who were murdered with him in Bolivia. There is also a museum here dedicated to his life, which you will have time to visit if you wish. In Santa Clara you will experience a more authentic Cuba, with an abundance of local restaurants and music venues in this small, friendly town. Overnight in Santa Clara.
Days 5 / 6 / 7 – Trinidad
For most visitors to Cuba, Trinidad is their standout favourite destination (well, for the ones that make it this far anyway). No other colonial city in Cuba is so well preserved, and the local residents are extremely friendly and festive. The thing that visitors most love about Trinidad is the nightlife. There are no less than 10 live music venues all within a short walking distance. Many of these have lovely outdoor settings, in courtyards, and within the walls of old colonial ruins. Maybe practise your salsa with some of the locals in the main square or just enjoy a Mojito and watch the world go by. We are near the lovely Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of Sugarmills) and Playa Ancón – where you can enjoy long stretches of unspoiled, white sand beaches or visit Topes De Collantes National Park where you horse-ride or hike to the waterfalls.
Day 8 – Trinidad / Cienfuegos
After breakfast, you will travel to the French-founded city of Cienfuegos, through the densely vegetated Peninsula de Zapata swamp lands, and along the beautiful Bay of Pigs. This is where the landing of counter-revolutionary exile militia occurred in 1961. You will visit a museum here which recounts the events of this conflict. You will have some free time to explore Cienfuegos upon arrival. Overnight in Cienfuegos.
Day 9 – Cienfuegos / Viñales
Today we make our way on to Pinar del Rio and the town of Viñales. Surrounded by picturesque limestone pincushion hills (“mogotes”), Viñales is a small and culturally rich village, with friendly and welcoming residents and a wide variety of outdoor activities available. During our time in Vinales we will visit a local farm and watch the art of cigar making. In your free time you can explore the caves, go hiking, biking, or explore the stunning countryside on horseback enjoying the views of the valley and sprawling tobacco fields.
Day 10 – Viñales
Free day in beautiful Viñales, to be spent hiking, biking, exploring or simply relaxing for your last full day of this Cuba tour.
Day 11 – Depart Havana
After breakfast, you will be transferred from Viñales to Havana for international flights home.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE CUBA TOUR
- English-speaking guide throughout trip
- Walking tour of Havana
- Orientation tours of Trinidad & Viñales
- All transportation in air-conditioned vehicles (excludes airport transfers)
- Sharing a twin room in home-stays with breakfast (please note accommodation in Cuba is basic but clean and comfortable)
- Up to six weeks before departure, a place can be reserved for the Cuba tour on payment of a deposit of £150.00, after this date it would be the full amount of the trip.
- Click the book now button and fill in the details and tick the box confirming you accept booking conditions.
- The outstanding balance is due 6 weeks before travel.
- Flights are not included in the cost of this trip and will need to be booked separately. Please do not book flights until we have given the go-ahead. Feel free to ask us if you need any help with booking.
- Please ensure you have checked visa requirements. Get in touch if you are unsure.
- Ensure you have purchased travel insurance, as this is mandatory for all trips.
ESSENTIAL TRIP NOTES
You will need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry and that you have a couple of blank pages. Please ensure the name on your booking and flight tickets match your passport.
It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure they have the correct visa for travel. Information can be found for British nationals on the FCO website. For this trip, you will need to have obtained a tourist card before you enter the country and this can be purchased in advance or via your airline before you board your flight. If you hold any other nationality passport or originate from any other country, please check your relevant embassy website.
You may want to take a copy of your passport and flight confirmations with you – if you lose the originals it is easier to get replacements if you have copies.
FLIGHT TICKETS AND ACCOMMODATION
Please ensure you have proof of return travel tickets and details of your hotel accommodation to hand for arrival as you may need to present details of this.
Travel insurance is mandatory for all trips and you need to carry a copy of your certificate with you. If you haven’t purchased insurance already, we have partnered up with Columbus Travel Insurance and you can buy your policy through us. You will need to keep a copy of your travel insurance documents to hand for when you arrive in Havana airport as this is occasionally checked by immigration.
MONEY & COSTS
The tourist currency in Cuba is CUC’s (Cuban Convertible Pesos). This is different to the currency used by the locals. We recommend taking cash to exchange on arrival in Cuba. There is an exchange bureau (also known as CADECA) at the airport when you arrive, and your guide will advise you of the best place to change. You can also find a CADECA on Obispo Street in Old Havana. Credit cards are not widely accepted so do not rely on these. ATM’s are available in all the larger towns, so we recommend taking a debit card with you as a back-up.
We recommend budgeting £20 – £25 a day for meals, water, drinks (not including alcohol) etc. but this is just an indicative amount and can vary from local restaurants to more western style, so you may end up spending less or more. Any souvenir shopping you wish to do would be on top of this. You will have a better idea of how much you usually spend when on holiday, so please plan accordingly.
If you feel as though you have received a good service, please reward your local guides and drivers with a tip. We recommend £3 – £5 per person, per day for local guides, and £1 – £3 per person, per day for your drivers. Small gifts are also welcomed by casa owners if you wish to thank your hosts after your stay. Tipping is of course voluntary but gratefully accepted in recognition of good service. You will also need to keep some small change for the toilet attendants, although this will not be necessary everywhere.
If you would prefer to have your own room on this trip, the additional cost would be £299. Please let us know at the time of booking as it cannot be guaranteed closer to the time.
We will be covering a lot of ground on this trip and there will be a couple of long drives involved, so if you ever feel like you need to take a break or want to get out and stretch your legs, let your guide or driver know so that we can stop. You will be travelling in private air-conditioned buses.
WHAT TO PACK
- Comfortable walking shoes or trainers
- A mixture of lighter clothing and the odd jumper for the evenings
- Swimwear, for optional beach visit in Trinidad or other areas
- Adequate sun protection – hats, sunglasses, sunscreen
- Waterproof jacket (just in case!)
- Toiletries, snacks and basic first aid items, such as paracetamol, rehydration sachets and even plasters, are very limited in Cuba so it’s best to take everything you think you might need
- Insect repellent
- Re-fillable water bottle (if it has built in filters)
- Good book or music to entertain you during the drives
- Camera with spare batteries and memory cards – you’re going to want to take some photos!
- Power bank
- Plug adapters – These can be viewed via the link: https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/cuba/
We never recommend taking more luggage than you can personally carry as there might not always be someone on hand to help you. One suitcase, ideally that can be wheeled, and a small day pack will be more than enough.
Whilst travelling around Cuba is generally very safe, we recommend you don’t bring anything you won’t really need – expensive jewelry and watches are not necessary, you can leave them at home. Be vigilant in larger towns and avoid carrying large amounts of money around with you. You could invest in a money belt to go under your clothes to keep cards, money or air tickets in for extra safety.
HEALTH & MEDICAL
You should visit your doctor or travel nurse a minimum of 8 weeks before departure to make sure that your vaccinations are all up to date. Please check the government website if you need more information.
It is not recommended to drink the tap water in Cuba. Although it is clean and safe for locals to drink, what you are used to at home will differ and you could end up with an upset stomach. You should keep hydrated whilst you’re out there, so make sure you always have a bottle of water with you.
If you take medication for anything or think you may need something whilst you are away, it’s better to take it with you from the UK as items may not be as readily available as they are here. You may also be required to provide a doctor’s prescription when trying to buy medication over the counter.
If you are travelling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever, you will need to take a valid certificate with you to prove you have had the vaccine.
We recommend you read the travel advice for any country you are visiting ahead of your visit. This can be accessed on the FCO website.
Wi-fi is very limited in Cuba, so please be prepared for a digital detox. In order to use the wi-fi, you will need to purchase an ETECSA internet card by visiting an internet shop, one of which can be found in Obispo Street (you can also ask your guide to take you to the correct place). You will need to take your passport with you, as you will only be able to purchase a wi-fi card if you have your passport. There may be a long queue when you arrive at the shop, so please factor this in.
You then need to look out for wi-fi hotspots – you will be able to see Cubans congregated in a small area, all using their phones. Once you turn your wi-fi on in this area, you will then be prompted to choose a wi-fi network to use. The details of this can be found on the card. You will then be prompted with a login username and password, which are also found on the card, when you try to use the internet.
Only purchase Cuban Cigars from shops of the cigar factories/plantations. You may encounter people trying to sell you cigars at markets, however they could be fake and can be confiscated at customs. We have found that the price of cigars is cheaper at the official shop in Viñales, than the official shop in Havana.
When paying for items and services, please check the change given back to you to ensure you receive it in the correct currency for tourists (CUC), as this has a higher value to the Cuban Peso (CUP) used by locals.
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