Private Journeys

Trailblazer Cuba

10 days from £1,690pp

Cuba

Vinales

Essentials

Transport

3 scenic road journeys by self drive or private transfer.

Accommodation

Accommodation on this trip is of a superior quality for Cuba where standards of amenities and service can be erratic, but are constantly improving. You’ll find well-equipped rooms, private bathroom and air-conditioning in most and some local colour and special features, especially at la Moka Ecolodge.

Meals

Breakfast daily, 3 lunches and 3 dinners

Guides

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. In Cuba there is a shortage of English-speaking drivers so many will only speak Spanish or at best very basic English.

Summary Of Nights

10 days, 9 nights: Jibacoa 3, Cienfuegos 3, Las Terrazas 3.

Currency

The unit of currency in Cuba is the Cuban peso.

Daily Spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around £35 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.

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 couple more popping up in other cities, although these cannot be relied on. Maestro cards are not accepted in Cuba.

Recommended Tipping

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.

Insurance

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.

Airport Tax

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.

Journey Grade

Generally this holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors, including families.

Bear in mind that there are some walking tours on this trip, though nothing especially demanding.
In Cuba there are often delays and occasionally cancellations – patience and a flexible attitude will be a virtue in these situations.

Clothes 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 repellent are essential and you should bring swimwear. A daypack is useful for carrying sunblock, guidebook, water and any extra layers.

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.

Vaccination

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.

Country info

When's the best time to visit Cuba?

The high season for visitors is Dec - Apr when the weather is usually sunny, mostly dry and not too humid, though there can be cool days. Hurricane and tropical storms are possible Aug - Nov.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What's the official language of Cuba?

Spanish.

What's the official currency in Cuba?

You can purchase Cuban Convertible Pesos at the airport or in banks or cadecas (money exchanges) in principal towns. US dollars are not accepted so you need to take cash in  sterling. Euros are also accepted but the rate may not be as favourable. There are some ATM machines which supposedly accept debit cards but they are not always reliable. You can also get cash with a credit or debit card (not issued by a US bank). You can change surplus money back to convertible currencies at the airport at the end of your trip. 

What's the time difference between Cuba and UK?

GMT -5 hours.

What places combine well with Cuba?

Mexico’s Yucatán, with flights from Cancún to Havana, 1 hour 15mins.

What are the festivals and cultural events in Cuba?

Carnival:  There are carnivals throughout the country on different dates. Havana’s carnival moves around date-wise year upon year, but is always accompanied by parades, music, drumming and dancing. Santiago’s carnival in July is probably the biggest and the best.
International Jazz Festival: Havana, Dec. Workshops and concerts. One of the world’s best.

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office base
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land and air transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Included Excursions

  • Half day guided walking tour of Cienfuegos
  • Full day excursion exploring Pinar del Rio and the valley of Viñales
  • Optional Visit to the Che Guevara Museum in Santa Clara
  • Optional half day kayak tour to Jagua fortress
  • Optional half day walking tour of Trinidad
  • Optional half day walking tour of Old Havana

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions (Where a local company organises an optional excursion it does so as a principal and not as an agent of Journey Latin America)
  • NB Occasionally local governments may impose additional levies to taxes already paid on tickets, if this should happen, the payment is made locally.

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office base
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land and air transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Included Excursions

  • Half day guided walking tour of Cienfuegos
  • Full day excursion exploring Pinar del Rio and the valley of Viñales
  • Optional Visit to the Che Guevara Museum in Santa Clara
  • Optional half day kayak tour to Jagua fortress
  • Optional half day walking tour of Trinidad
  • Optional half day walking tour of Old Havana

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions (Where a local company organises an optional excursion it does so as a principal and not as an agent of Journey Latin America)
  • NB Occasionally local governments may impose additional levies to taxes already paid on tickets, if this should happen, the payment is made locally.

Inspired by this trip

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant

    It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Consultant

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Consultant

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our Sales team.

Meet the team