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ALONG THE EASTERN RIVIERA

HAVANA, MATANZAS, SANTA CLARA
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8 days  7 nights / Starting at: $3,800
Pricing information
Prices are only estimates, per person, in double (DBL) occupancy, based on a minimum of 10 participants. Definitive trip prices will depend on final number of people and the selected travel season. Single (SGL) occupancy supplement: $300.

ITINERARY

Day 1
HAVANA: A CITY IN CONSTANT MOTION.

After a 45-minute charter flight to Havana you will arrive at Jose Marti Airport Terminal #2, where your local Caribbean Destination Travels specialist will meet you and start unveiling the reality of this beautiful island. Your experience starts with a panoramic tour of the Havana, including visits to the Revolution Square and a stroll around Old Havana while your talk to a specialist and discuss the challenges of everyday life for its inhabitants. Take a bird’s eye view picture of this 16th Century gem from the impressive fortresses across the bay. Enjoy an interactive experience with city farmers at the Finca Yoandra, where you will talk about urban, organic farming.

Then, you will continue our People-to-People experience through a visit to the Hemingway estate “Finca Vigía”, located in the outskirts of Havana. As you look through the windows and open doors of this remarkably preserved home, travel back in time to the author’s heydays he lived there, where The Old Man and the Sea was penned. After checking into the hotel, you will immerse yourself in the makings of Cuban dishes a visit at a private restaurant Paladar.

Day 2
COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL INTERACTION

Start this day with a drive around the modern city of Havana. Vedado and Miramar neighborhoods were witnesses to the huge city development of the 1930’s. Illustrate on US-Cuba relations through a lecture delivered by a recognized Cuban scholar. Afterwards, appreciate the steps of rum making and bottling.  Factory workers will gladly give you a sip of the rum, while explaining the stages of the process. Local arts & crafts at the Mercado San Jose will be readily available for purchase. Bring back a Cuban token! Tonight you will experience the majestic Tropicana show, a reminiscence of the Havana of the 50’s.

Day 3
ARTS AND MUSIC

Today you embark on an arts experience. First, appreciate the art of rolling cigars. Visit one of Havana’s cigar factories, a place where the best cigars in the world are rolled. Afterwards, contemplate the best of Cuban Art at the Museum of Fine Arts as well as the Jose Fúster community project and speak with the artist. In over 10 years of work, he has made major contributions to the fishing town of Jaimanitas by rebuilding and decorating the residents’ houses, which is now a unique work of public art. Then, dance with members of Proyecto Havana Compás: a workshop that gathers teenagers in Marianao municipality. Learn about Quisicuaba, an educational, cultural project in the community of Centro Habana which brings together people and culture in the neighborhood.  Speak with their members and participate in their activities.

Day 4
ALONG THE EASTERN RIVIERA

Leaving Havana for an enlightening trip to Matanzas, the last of Western provinces of Cuba. On your way there, stop at Bridge of Bacunayagua – which is the highest bridge in Cuba and one of the 7 architecture wonders in the country.  A moment to discover the beauty of Cuban nature cause the bridge is located in an enviable position just in front of coastal hills between the Yumurí Valley and the Straits of Florida coast. Afterwards, arrive in Matanzas; the “Venice of Cuba” and stop at the Liberty Square for a stroll and information about a region that witnessed an intensive development of sugar plantations during the colonial era. In the surroundings, you will visit the Pharmaceutical Museum, a permanent exhibition that shows the history of pharmacy in Cuba, Ediciones Vigía, an independent publishing collective that produces handmade books that are not only of literacy value but also unique pieces of art. To finish the day, you will continue your adventure towards the Xanadu Mansion, just a few steps away from the sea; a charming mansion that constitutes a tribute to Moorish architecture.

Day 5
WILD SPECIES AND PRESERVATION

Today you will enjoy and learn more about Cuban nature and native species. Spend the day at Zapata Swamp where a well-developed program ensures the recovery of the surroundings, the restoration of the natural habitat of one of the largest freshwater reservoirs of the island. Located on the Zapata Peninsula, south of Matanzas province, this is a place to be in contact with one of the ancient crocodile species of Cuba, Crocodile Rhombifer, as you visit the breeding farm where they are kept until adulthood. Another enriching visit is the Aldea Taína (Taíno Village). After 15-minute boat ride, you will explore this island as you learn about the indigenous people of Cuba through its 32molded sculptures made for the Cuban artist Rita Longa in Laguna del Tesoro Lake (Treasure Lake) will show you more about the first inhabitants of Cuba. Our lunch today will be at a private restaurant called El Caletón de Enrique, where local fisherman offers a variety of dishes that are typical of this region.

Day 6
CHE GUEVARA

On your way back to Havana, you will stop in Santa Clara. This is a rebellious city that was decisive in the beginning of Revolution in 1959. Stop by the Revolution Square to learn about Ernesto Che Guevara and his role in Cuba. Afterwards, visit to the “Casa de la Cultura” de Santa Clara Province and after, engage with the participants of the social project “Alegría de Vivir” to learn more about this interesting program developed to insert the elderly ones in the society and provide them a with an interesting, helpful use of their time based on regular basis activities liked gymnastics, psychological preparation to engage them in this new part of their life.

Day 7
RETURN TO HAVANA

After a relaxing morning and lunch at your all-inclusive hotel, you will depart on a return trip to Havana. This is a day to do some last-minute shopping in the afternoon before you gather for an amazing farewell dinner at a fine restaurant in the city.

Day 9
GOODBYE CUBA!

8 days  7 nights / Starting at: $3,800
Pricing information
Prices are only estimates, per person, in double (DBL) occupancy, based on a minimum of 10 participants. Definitive trip prices will depend on final number of people and the selected travel season. Single (SGL) occupancy supplement: $300.
SEASON 2016-2017

HAVANA

Hotel Saratoga*****

Address: Prado # 603, esq. a Dragones. Habana Vieja.
Tel:
 +53  78 681000

Hotel Meliá Cohiba*****

Address: Paseo e/ 1ra y 3ra,Plaza de la Revolucion
Tel: +53 78 333636

Hotel Meliá Habana*****

Address: Ave. 3ª, e/ 76 y 80. Miramar. Ciudad de La Habana. Cuba.
Tel: +53 72 48500

MATANZAS

Hotel Meliá las Américas*****

Address:Playa de las Américas Autopista  del  Sur  .  Matanzas
Tel.: +53 45 667600

Hotel Paradisus Varadero*****

Address: Rincón Francés. Matanzas. Cuba
Telf: +53 45 668700

  • Air (R/T Miami – Havana – Miami, Travel Affidavit).
  • Accommodation in 5* Hotels in Cuba (or similar) plus taxes in CP regimen.
  • 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners as per itinerary. Breakfast throughout.
  • Ground Transportation in Air Conditioned Motor Coach.
  • 2 bottles of water per day.
  • All activities and entrance fees as outlined in each program.
  • Caribbean Destination Travels Expert.
  • Bilingual Cuban Tour Guide.
  • Gratuities for: Tour Guide & Driver, Services (bellmen, restaurant staff, museums, etc).
  • Caribbean Destination Travels Tour Director.
  • 24 hr. Customer Service

  • Hotel incidentals.
  • Tips for Tour Director.
  • Tips for hotel maids, taxi drivers or for personal activities not outlined in the program.
  • Internet services (when not part of your hotel package).
  • Local or International phone calls.
  • Charter baggage fees. All checked bags will be charged a bag fee of $20, plus $2 per pound for weight. All baggage can weigh up to 70lbs.

  • Air schedules are subject to change at any time.
  • You must have a valid U.S. passport to enter Cuba. It must be valid at least 6 months past your scheduled return date.
  • A deposit of $500 per person is required to secure your reservation. Final payment is due at least 60 days prior to departure. To secure reservations on a trip departing within 60 days, full payment is required at the time of booking.

LEGAL TRAVEL TO CUBA

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Travel Legally

We offer you fully-scheduled programs in order to provide you with educational, enriching and rewarding face-to-face meetings with students, teachers, farmers, members of social projects, artists; all of whom will bring you closer to the Cuban people.

The long lasting prohibition on Cuba travel has been modified to allow you to take part in tours that encourage people-to-people contact trough official licensed travel agencies.

Purely recreational activities are NOT yet allowed in any programs provided by a travel agency. Although your full-time cooperation is required, you will always have time to explore the surroundings and there will always be an experienced Cuban specialist to provide you with any information you require concerning the best and most genuine places to go.

Caribbean Destination Travel will give you a tourist visa, a traveler form and a medical insurance sheet that you need to fill out and surrender upon arrival on the island . You MUST keep all of these documents for the duration of the program.

You are encouraged to report any disability requiring special attention to us at the time the reservation is made, including requiring the use of special equipment. CDTravels cannot provide special individual assistance like canes or wheelchairs for passengers with special needs for walking. Wheelchair access in Cuba exists in most locations, but is not common outside Havana. Please, contact us before planning your trip to determine what assistance might reasonably be given. CDTravelscannot accommodate women past their sixth month of pregnancy and cannot accommodate service animals.

We urge our travelers to inform us in advance details pertaining dietary restrictions, so meals can be accommodated throughout the program.

Although we guarantee and confirm all of the activities in the program, some activities are subject to change due to special circumstances beyond our control, such as holidays and events, technical problems in factories, intensive rain or unfavorable weather conditions. But there is nothing to worry about; we will inform you of the reason why the activity is being modified and we will schedule a replacement activity so we can continue on our enjoyable journey.

What do I need to travel?

A valid passport is required, and must be valid for six months after the completion of your Cuba program.

A deposit of $500 per person is required to secure your reservation. Final payment is due at least 90 days prior to departure. To secure reservations on a trip departing within 90 days, full payment is required at the time of booking.

Money

There are two types of currencies in Cuba: the Cuban peso (CUP), also known as national currency or “Moneda Nacional”, and the Cuban Convertible peso (CUC).

While in Cuba, you need to exchange US dollar to CUCs. You can do it at the airport upon arrival or at any hotel, exchange bureau or bank. The current fee (13%) for exchange is the same no matter where you change. You will need a passport and it’s recommended to request smaller denominations as merchants may not be able to give change for larger notes.

Cuban people receive their wages in national currency and they use it to buy the basics. The CUC is the currency mostly used by tourist and for Cubans in “dollar shops” where they buy groceries, clothes and wares. The word “peso” may refer to both non-convertible and convertible money. Be mindful of this, as Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) are 25 times more valuable than Cuban pesos (CUP).

The use of US credit or debit card is now permitted in Cuba. Before you travel to Cuba, please check if your banking institution has authorized transactions there. Do NOT rely solely on this form of payment unless you are absolutely sure first because financial channels are still being created between the US and Cuba. Cash continues to be your safest option. For you for your personal expenses (purchases, taxis, meals on your own, tips), CDTravels suggests bringing around $100 USD per day.

It is customary -and expected- to leave a tip for such personal outings that involve restaurant service, pictures taken to people on the street, hotel maids, taxi drivers, and others in the hospitality industry. Do not hesitate to ask your CDTravels specialist for advice on this matter.

What to wear?

Almost any month is good to come to our island. Cuba is a tropical island with high levels of humidity. Depending on the season, you may experiment, in average, a temperature variation between 80 F (27C) and 69 F (21C).

The standard dress code in Cuba is casual. Lightweight clothes are essential to survive to hot, humid temperatures. If included in your program, a more formal attire (dress, slacks) is required for theaters, concert halls, nightclubs and formal venues.

Comfortable shoes are highly recommended for the many walks, as many Cuban cities are in constant restoration and often have the original cobblestone streets.

Cuban women and girls clothes are very feminine and colorful. It is common to find them wearing tight jeans, short skirts, light blouses, lot of jewelry and colorful nail polish. Cuban men usually wear jeans, cotton pants or Bermuda shorts and a T-shirt. Also you’ll find some men wearing “guayaberas” which is a traditional shirt with two or four front pockets, and two groups or closely spaced pleats on the front as well.

What to bring?

Basic needs will be covered in your accommodation throughout the trip. However, given the supply shortages of Cuban stores, CDTravels advices bringing basic essentials such as:

-Sunscreen

-Bug Spray

-Hats

-Sandals and/or flip-flops

-Sunglasses

Food

Caribbean Destination Travels selects the best traditional/gourmet restaurants of the island. A continental buffet-style breakfast will always be included in your accommodation.

Since Cuba is a country with high humidity levels, hydration at all times is advised. Even though tap water is purified, it is recommended to drink bottled water.

It is safe to drink beverages with ice cubes wherever you go during the program. Bottled water is NOT necessary to brush your teeth.

Water will be provided throughout the trip ( 2 bottles a day).

Donations

Donations will be appreciated by the people and institutions you will interact with while on the trip. These may include, but are not limited to:

-cosmetics -personal hygiene items -over the counter medicines -school supplies -baby clothes -sports equipment ( baseballs, soccer balls, soccer boots, gloves ) -candies -toys -headphones, usb sticks, old GSM cell phones, mp3 players.

Safety

Cuba is probably one of the safest places to travel. Nevertheless, it is always best to watch your belongings and not to ever leave them unattended. Most hotel rooms are equipped with safety deposit boxes where you can leave your important documents, money and other valuables.

Do NOT trust strangers or their advice for directions, places to eat, drink or buy souvenirs. Always rely on our representatives’ advice. If you wish to trust your own judgment and go against this, it is at your own risk. CDTravels does not take responsibility over incidents occurring outside the program or of our Cuba staff’s instructions.

We offer a full-time bus service for all the activities throughout the program. Your things will be safe when left during the activities or overnight. Your tour manager, local specialist and bus driver will be keeping custody of all your belongings at all times.

Telecommunications

Internet service is available in hotels for an extra charge of around 8 CUCs per hour. Nevertheless, most hotels are equipped with free wi-fi for their guests.

Cell phone service is restricted to the Cuban company CUBACEL, that operates on GSM technology at a 900 MgHz frequency. Roaming services are now available for American phones operating with Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Cameras and Photos

Except for restricted areas that are of a military nature, outdoor photos and video may be freely taken. It is polite to always ask for permission when taking someone’s picture. In many cases, pictures will come with a fee of 1 CUC per camera.

Some places like museums or memorials have their own specific regulations on this matter. Ask your guide for specifications on given locations. These fees will NOT be included in our itinerary.

For more information, please check our Frequently Asked Questions regarding travel to Cuba.