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HISTORY, CITY LIFE & NATURE

CIENFUEGOS, HAVANA, MATANZAS, PINAR DEL RÍO, SANTA CLARA, TRINIDAD
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8 days 7 nights / Starting at: $3,500
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 discuss the challenges of 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

Illustrate on US-Cuba relations through a lecture delivered by a recognized Cuban scholar. Afterwards, appreciate the art of rolling cigars. Visit one of Havana’s cigar factories, a place where the best cigars in the world are rolled. Take a tour around modern Havana and discover some impressive examples of modern architecture of this incredible city. Stop at 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. La Casa del Niño y la Niña is your following stop. This is an educational project in Central Havana, which brings people and culture together in the neighborhood. Speak with their members and participate in their activities. Navigate through fruits and vegetable counters at the Mercado Agropecuario (Farmer’s Market). Local arts & crafts at the Mercado San Jose will be readily available for purchase. Bring back a Cuban token! .Dinner at “El Aljibe”. This is the best grilled chicken in town, cooked in a special sauce that has been the secret of this restaurant for generations. A can’t miss. Tonight you will experience the majestic Tropicana show, a reminiscence of the Havana of the 50’s.

Day 3
ARTS / HEALTHCARE

Early in the day, participate in the activities of the seniors at the Bethlehem Convent, a senior’s center located in Old Havana. Learn about primary care in Cuba and the medical posts that are located in all the neighborhoods of every city. Afterwards, contemplate the best of Cuban Art at the Museum of Fine Arts. Speak with Santeria priest and discover the symbols of this fascinating religion as you visit Callejón de Hammel.

Day 4
THE PEARL OF THE SOUTH

Today, you will be taken along the Caribbean coast on your way to Cienfuegos, the “Pearl of the South”. There, walk around the city center and enter some of the local shops to understand the difference between the Cuban currencies (CUC vs. CUP). As you leave the city, visit two of its best architectural jewels: Teatro Tomas Terry and Palacio Valle. Arrive in Trinidad. Night visit to Casa de la Musica.

Day 5
A CITY STUCK IN TIME

Visit Trinidad: one of the founding cities in Cuba during the Spanish occupation in the 16th Century. Meet with a restoration specialist and discuss about the ongoing efforts of the city historian’s office to preserve this colonial town. At the Museo Municipal, you will discover every bit of tradition related to sugar production that characterized Trinidad in colonial times. Walk on cobblestone, admire this typical Spanish colonial architecture, meet with residents at the handicrafts market and learn the traits of pottery making at Casa Santander, followed by a trip to the ruins of an old sugar plantation. Dance Cuban salsa at local Casa de la Trova.

 

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, engage with musicians of the group Melodías Antillanas at the Decorative Arts Museum. Meet with members of the senior group Abuelos de Fiesta a talk about the project. Continue your journey to Havana. Arrive in Havana.

Day 7
TOBACCO AND FARM LIFE

Today we will appreciate Cuba’s countryside and learn about one its most famous exports: cigars. Depart to Viñales, located west from Havana and considered by many as the land that grows the best tobacco in the world. Go to a local cigar factory, walk around the town and ask locals about the process of growing tobacco. Explore the farms and meet with growers there and have an up-close look at the process of rolling cigars. “Sustainable agriculture” is the motto at Finca Paraiso, an organic farm where you will enjoy a freshly cooked lunch made with produce grown locally.

Day 9
GOODBYE CUBA!

8 days 7 nights / Starting at: $3,500
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

TRINIDAD

Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad *****

Address: Calle José Martí Nº 262 Esquina Lino Perez. Trinidad. Sancti Spiritus
Tel: +53 41 996070

Hotel Brisas Trinidad****

Address: Peninsula Ancón, Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus. Cuba.
Tel: +53 41 996500

  • Air (R/T Miami – Havana – Miami, Visa, Travel Affidavit).
  • Accommodation in 5* Hotels in Cuba (or similar) plus taxes in CP regimen.
  • 7 Lunches, 5 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.