3 road journeys (longest 6.5hrs); one domestic flight by light aircraft.
Accommodation on this trip is in simple mid-range hotels and homestays. In Cuba standards of amenities and service can be erratic, but are constantly improving. You’ll find reasonably well-equipped rooms, private bathroom and air-conditioning in most and some local colour and special features.
Breakfast daily. Dinner day 3. Full board days 8-10.
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.
Guided walking tour of Old Havana.
Guided bike tour in Viñales valley.
Summary of nights
12 days, 11 nights: Havana 2; Viñales 2; Trinidad 3; Beach resort 3; Havana 1.
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.
How to take it
Cuba imposes a 10-15% charge on dollar exchange. To avoid this, you should travel a reasonable quantity of with 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This journey uses a combination of tourist bus services and private transport. Be aware that although there are timetables for buses 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 Sea, 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 and 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.
Helmets for the biking tour in Viñales can be hired from our partners in Havana, where they have to be returned at the end of the holiday.
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 can organise this for you Clients with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the Cuban consulate.