One Week in Cuba

Trip Code: QUYF

Why we love it

Cycle through the culture-soaked streets of Old Havana and immerse yourself in the eclectic history of Cuba’s capital on a half-day walking tour of the city., Venture to the village of Vinales, where the small-town charms are many. Spend your time smoking fat cigars with locals and exploring hidden caves in the mountains., Learn the lingo with an informal lesson in the Spanish language. From Hola to Hasta Luego to the all-important phrases – like how to order a cerveza!, See why Trinidad is a favourite for many Intrepid adventurers. Wander the cobblestone streets alongside cowboys and farmers and clock the best-preserved colonial buildings in Cuba., Sip on Cuba’s famous liquor on a visit to a local bar for a rum tasting – as far as the rum world is concerned, Cuba is home to some of the best out there!

Is this trip right for me?

The guesthouses (casas) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling and each room is unique. Regardless of where you stay, power cuts and breaks in hot water supply are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country – but we believe that this is all a part of the local experience.

Part of Cuba’s appeal is its old-fashioned style – this includes the banking systems. Funds in Cuba can be difficult to access. Please read our Essential Trip Information to be fully prepared

Luxuries such as air conditioning, plush pillows, and fly screens, are often scarce. Part of the experience here is learning to appreciate everyday Cuban resourcefulness.

You might have to save your status updates and photo posts for when you get home, as Internet is hard to find, unreliable and expensive. Treat Cuba as a holiday from social media too!

Cuba is different, and that's a big part of its allure. Things don't always go according to plan, and many things don't work the same way as back home. Patience and good humour will go a long way in this beautiful destination.

As this trip covers a lot of land, you'll be spending quite a bit of time travelling. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

Important information

1. This is an 18-29s departure.
2. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
3. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
4. Multishare typically includes triple and quad rooms. You may be required to share with group members of the opposite gender and couples or people travelling together may occasionally be separated due to rooming configurations.
5. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 5 days prior to travel.
6. Please advise bedding configuration requests to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel to aid guesthouse and rooming allocations, which are finalised 10 days prior to departure based on the configuration of each travelling party. You may request your confirmed guesthouse name and address inside 7 days of departure from your booking agent. Rest assured, the transfer driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse.
7. A visa or tourist card, organised prior to arrival, is required for all nationalities visiting Cuba.
8. The Cuban government has declared that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers. Proof of insurance may be requested at Havana Airport by immigration officials.
9. There are unprecedented changes happening in Cuba right now. It is an exciting time but it also means some patience and understanding is required for the heightened demand of infrastructure, accommodation and services. To help set your expectations correctly, please read the ‘Is this trip right for you?’ and ‘Joining point description’ sections in the Essential Trip Information Document.
10. We recommend travelling to Cuba via Canada, Europe, South or Central America. Please refer to the ‘Passports, visas and entry requirements’ section of the Essential Trip Information for further details.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day., LAUNDRY
A laundry service is offered at some guesthouses in Cuba. You might need to wait for a two-night stop to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry is usually charged by the item, laundromats which are also an option, usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (approximately EUR5 per kilo).

GIFTS
Given the difficulty of securing basic goods in Cuba, surplus items that you have at home such as soap, shampoo, perfumes, sewing kits, toothbrushes and pens or pencils are warmly accepted. We do encourage you to discuss gift giving with your leader so that items can be distributed to organisations in need. If you decide to hand out gifts without the leader’s guidance, we suggest you distribute as a sign of appreciation after a genuine interaction, whether that be a conversation or offered help, rather than a means to create engagement. Please always refrain from handing items directly to children. It is not necessary to bring gifts for the guesthouse owners in Cuba; these are not a homestay experience and as they are a business they are most-likely run by some of the more well-off families who will be happy enough with just your good-natured presence.

Physical rating

 
2

None of the activities featured in this trip require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate. Stairs are prevalent in Cuban homes, and cobblestones and uneven roads are common. If you are in any doubt, please share these concerns or issues with your sales consultant so that your leader is aware prior and can pre-empt your needs. 

Joining your group

Casa David y Lidia, entre Lealtad y Campanario, 426 San Miguel, La Habana, Cuba, Havana, CUBA, Phone: +53 52634874

Cuban guesthouses (known locally as casas) are similar in style to B&Bs, where families do not necessarily live in the residence. While some guesthouse managers and owners speak English, interaction mostly consists of gestures, smiles and ‘Spanglish’.

Just like the residences in your own neighbourhood, each casa is unique; expect there to be differences between the rooms you and your travelling companions stay in. Generally, there will be 1-4 group members in each guesthouse.

Each room has a private bathroom with towels, and some basic toiletries may be provided. Occasionally two rooms will share one bathroom. Power cuts do occur on occasion, meaning that hot water can’t always be guaranteed regardless of the guesthouse standard.

Joining instructions

A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

For your confirmed arrival transfer, you’ll be met outside your arrival terminal by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact your transfer operator: +53 52771142, +53 53707777 or +53 52794112.

Finishing your trip

Casa David y Lidia, entre Lealtad y Campanario, 426 San Miguel, La Habana, Cuba, Havana, CUBA, Phone: +53 52634874

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking a departure transfer to the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight details at least 14 days prior to the start of your trip.

If you have a confirmed departure transfer you will be collected from your guesthouse 3.5 hours before your flight departure time. Your leader will confirm this with you the day before your departure. If your driver has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pick up time, or your departing flight is cancelled or changed, please contact the transfer operator directly: +53 52771142, +53 53707777 or +53 52794112.

A taxi from your hotel to the airport will take approximately 25mins, depending on the traffic, and cost approximately EUR30. Please ask your leader or guesthouse staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 

Lunches included: 1

Dinners included: 

To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will also be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, celiac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend bringing your own supply of snacks with you.

Vegetarians should be aware that while you can get vegetarian meals in Cuba, you generally won't find much variety and you may get tired of being offered the same every day (i.e. - rice, beans, omelette and salad). Vegetarians are often surprised that their meals are no cheaper than those containing meat, and this is because vegetables on the free market in Cuba are of similar prices to those of meat.

Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.

FOOD IN CUBA:
Food in Cuba has a reputation for being bland and lacking variety, however it has improved dramatically over the last two years. There are very limited snacks available in Cuba; convenience stores exist but are certainly not as prevalent nor sell the quantity or variety of snacks or junk food you may be used to at home. You may wish to bring your favourite chocolates, candy or healthy snacks like muesli bars.

Beans and rice are the staples, with cucumber, tomato and cabbage being the conventional ingredients for a Cuban salad. Chicken and pork are the most common meats served in Cuba, however fish and a variety of seafood is also frequently on offer. Please be aware that it is a cultural trait to serve meals larger than you are expected to finish, but be assured nothing will go to waste.

It can be hard to find a suitable place to eat while travelling in Cuba, as roadside restaurants tend to cater for large tour groups and either offer a fixed meal or a very limited selection of snacks. In the cities and towns small privately-owned restaurants, paladares, offer a little more choice but can often only seat a maximum of twelve people (the number for which they are officially licensed).
 

Climate & seasonal information

Please note that Hurricane season is June to October, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors these situations as they may arise, so that itineraries or activities can be amended as necessary.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

Intrepid's Local Operator (located in Havana): +53 52771142, +53 53707777, +53 52794112

Communication lines in Cuba are unreliable and establishing a clear line requires patience. Please follow these instructions to ensure our operators can assist you in times of need. Since voicemail isn't an option and most incoming call phone numbers are automatically blocked, our operator will not be able to return any missed calls. The only solution to this problem is persistence. Keep calling the line until an operator answers the call. Alternatively, the emergency line is a mobile number that can be reached via text. If you cannot establish a connection to our operators over the phone, please send a text with your full name, any booking numbers (if known), the issue at hand and a return contact number. You will most likely receive a response via text.

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

We have classified guesthouse rooms into two standards for the comfort levels of our trips: Standard and Premium. Most differences can be a little hard to tell at first, particularly when taking aesthetic into account which varies greatly not only between rooms but also between cities and provinces. For this itinerary, most of the guesthouse rooms will have an ensuite while just a few will have a bathroom shared between two rooms. Most will have air-conditioning but some may only have a fan. Rooms will most likely not have split system air-conditioning, an in-room or in-house safe, or imported bedding.

Stairs are prevalent in Cuban homes. If this presents a problem to you, then please advise us at time of booking so we can request rooms on or closer to ground level.

PRE-TOUR ACCOMMODATION:
We aim to confirm the first night of your tour in Old Havana however occasionally due to availability we will confirm it in either Central Havana or Vedado. If you book pre-tour accommodation through us we will also aim to book these nights in Old Havana. Please note: Late requests and requests of 3 nights or more have a lower chance of being confirmed in Old Havana.

POST-TOUR ACCOMMODATION
The final night of your tour may be booked in either Vedado, Central Havana or Old Havana. If you book post-tour accommodation through us, we aim to confirm it at the same property of your final tour-night (regardless of the area we have secured) to avoid the inconvenience of you having to move. If you specifically prefer your post accommodation to be booked in old Havana (knowing you may have to move areas on your own accord), you must inform your booking agent and we will request this. Please note: Late requests and requests of 3 nights or more have a lower chance of being confirmed in Old Havana.

Transportation


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