If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.
Departure tax from Cuba is now (as of May 2015) included in the price of your ticket.
2 domestic flights; 5 road journeys.
Accommodation on this trip is superior mid range. In Cuba standards of amenities and service, though constantly improving, can be erratic. You’ll find well-equipped rooms, private bathroom and air-conditioning in most and some local colour and special features.
In Trinidad you’ll be staying in a Cuban family home. The homestay concept in Cuba is not dissimilar to that of the bed and breakfast in the UK. The main difference is that in Cuba generally all meals can be taken in the house and the food is generally of a high standard! Often an evening meal is obligatory on the first night but this could well be a sizable lobster. Rooms are rudimentary but homely and comfortable with en suite facilities. The level of interaction can depend on the owners – most have some basic English ̶ and of course the guests. Most homestays in Trinidad are in a good central location. When we send your final confirmation we'll be able to give you the name of the house in which you'll be staying.
Breakfast daily, lunch days 4, 9, 11, 14. Dinner day 3.
We carefully select our local partners; their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by clients on their return. Drivers on short transfers are likely to have very limited English.
• Havana: Guided cycling tour of the old city.
• Trinidad: Hiking in Topes de Collantes.
• Viñales: Guided cycling tour of the countryside.
• Santiago: Jeep safari and walk up La Gran Piedra.
• Santiago: Salsa lesson.
• Bayamo: Hike in the Sierra Maestra.
• Baracoa: Trek up El Yunque mountain.
Summary of nights
16 days, 15 nights: Havana 2; Trinidad 2; Viñales 2; Havana 1; Santiago 2; Bayamo 2; Baracoa 3;
Included in the journey price
• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees
Not included in the journey price
• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified.
• International flights to Latin America.
• Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
• Optional excursions.
The unit of currency in Cuba is the Cuban peso.
It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around £25 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more although in Cuba the best food tends to be in the smaller family-run eateries.
How to take it
Cuba imposes a 10-15% charge on dollar exchange. To avoid this, you should travel with a reasonable quantity of sterling or euro cash (no more than is covered by your insurance). Notes should be in good condition, soiled or torn ones may be refused. Both euros and sterling are accepted in most banks and some of the larger hotels. You can change these into convertible Cuban pesos (CUC) on arrival. Keep the official receipt from your transaction, because you will need this should you want to change any currency back to sterling or euros at the end of your trip.
Credit cards (not issued by US banks) are also accepted in some places, but be aware that there is a 11% surcharge on payments made by card, including on cash advances. Havana has a few ATMs and there are a few more popping up in other cities, although these cannot be relied on. Maestro cards are not accepted in Cuba.
Travellers’ cheques are another option, though these are gradually falling out of use (in Cuba those drawn on a US bank, eg American Express, will be refused).
In October 2013 President Castro announced the abolition of the artificial Cuban Convertible Peso, allowing Cubans and visitors to exchange hard currency for ordinary pesos. This change is predicted to be in place by the end of 2014.
Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income.
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
Many Cubans lack what we consider to be daily necessities, such as soap, plasters, bras, aspirin and stationery.
If you have room in your case for some such things, they will be hugely appreciated by the islanders.
Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier
Travel insurance is essential. Cuban authorities require visitors to have travel insurance, and specifically for the medical and repatriation element of cover to be from an approved provider. For example, Journey Latin America’s recommended insurance company is Campbell Irvine, and their medical and repatriation cover is handled by International Medical Assistance, who are approved by Cuba. Please check with your insurance company that their provider is similarly approved.
Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
Generally this holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors. The hiking and cycling is not strenuous, but some experience is advantageous.
In Cuba there are often delays and occasionally cancellations – patience and a flexible attitude will be a virtue in these situations.
As Cuba lies in the Caribbean, it has a tropical climate that is split into two seasons, one wet and one dry.
However, Cuba is generally hot throughout the year (18-32°C) with regular rainfall and high humidity. The rainy season runs from May to October; from July to September, humidity can be very high. The east of the island is hotter and more humid that the west. Hurricanes and tropical storms are possible from July to October.
Clothing and special equipment
No special clothing or equipment is required although comfortable walking shoes or trainers, and sandals would be useful. Light, summer clothing will be adequate for these hot temperatures, and the dress code is very casual everywhere. Thin, long-sleeved garments may be useful for evenings, and a lightweight raincoat is the best protection against tropical downpours. We also recommend that you pack a torch as lighting can be poor at night.
Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear. A daypack is useful for carrying sunblock, guidebook, water and any extra layers.
You might wish to bring your own helmet and padded cycle shorts , though helmets can be hired in Havana if you don’t have one.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Cuba.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.
You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. A completed Cuban tourist card is essential for all UK citizens travelling to Cuba; we will organise this for you. Clients with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the Cuban consulate.