Cuba Express !

The best of the Cuban West in 2 weeks!  This trip to Cuba allows you to discover in depth the different faces of the island of the crocodiles, from the quiet valley of Viñales to the charming and festive Trinidad, accompanied by a Cuban guide-driver.
With many nights in the premises and a suitable rhythm for the exchange, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the soul of Cuba.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Havana

    Welcome to Havana by your English speaking driver and transfer to the locals in the old town.

    Dinner at your own
    Homestay

  • Day 2 Havana - Santa Clara - Mausoleum of Che - Hanabanilla

    Early in the morning you head towards the city of Santa Clara, located about 3 hours from Havana. Often nicknamed "The city of Che", it is the symbol of the Cuban revolution. Pass through the mausoleum of Che and you take the road to Lake Hanabanilla and join your hotel with a magnificent view of the lake.

    Transport: 4 hours
    Night in hotel
    Lunch not included

  • Day 3 Hanabanilla Lake - Trinidad

    You devote this day to the discovery on foot of the protected reserve of the Hanabanilla, place of refuge of many birds. The clear and gently sloping path offers a magnificent panorama of the forest and agricultural crops. From the highest point you can see the city of Cienfuegos and the plains of Santa Clara. It is also an opportunity to meet Cuban peasants working in their fields. Then you take the road to Trinidad where you spend two nights homestay.

    Transportation: 3 hours
    Homestay
    4 to 5 hours of walking
    Lunch at your own

  • Day 4 Trinidad

    Day dedicated to the discovery of this beautiful and unique city, a living museum where time seems to have stopped. You can get lost in the typical and colorful lanes, to meet the inhabitants known for their hospitality. You visit the craft market and the potter's house.

    Homestay
    Lunch at your own

  • Day 5 Trinidad - Cienfuegos - Playa Larga

    You head for Cienfuegos (the pearl of the South) founded by the French at the beginning of the 19th century. Visit the magnificent central square surrounded by the cathedral, the town hall, the house of culture and the Tomas Terry theater, true jewels of the colonial era. Small stroll along the main street and its small craft market. Continue on through the Zapata marsh and drive along the country's most important citrus groves to the famous Bay of Pigs. Arrival at Playa Larga and settlement at the inhabitant. It's beach time!

    Transportation: 3 hours
    Homestay
    Lunch at your own

  • Day 6 Playa Larga - Vinales

    You take the road in the morning, always towards the West and the region of Viñales. Arrival in Vinales and departure for a small easy hike to meet the peasants who reveal their techniques for rolling cigars. Visit a tobacco barn. During the walk you can observe the farmers plowing their fields with oxen. Quick visit of the village and installation at the inhabitant.

    Transportation: 2 hours
    Homestay
    2 to 3 hours of walking
    Lunch at your own

  • Day 7 Vinales - Pinar Del Rio - Havana

    Accompanied by a local guide, you go for a superb hike to the onslaught of a mogote (geological formation characteristic of the region reminiscent of certain Chinese landscapes) from where you can admire the magnificent panorama over the valley of Viñales and its patchwork of fields. You go back down and have lunch with Ana, a peasant woman who lives in a small house in the heart of the valley. Small digestive walk to see the Wall of Prehistory (a fresco painted on a mogote by a Cuban artist in the 60s). At the end of the afternoon, you take the road back to Havana. Along the way you stop to visit a cigar factory in Pinar del Rio. Arrival in Havana and settling down in the neighborhood of Old Havana.

    Transportation: 3 hours
    Homestay.
    4 hours of walking
    Dinner at your own

  • Day 8 Havana

    Visit of Havana and its different neighborhoods. World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, Havana is certainly the most beautiful colonial city of all the American continent.

    Homestay
    Meals at your own

  • Day 9 Havana - End of stay

    Dispersion after breakfast. You enjoy this day at your leisure and continue your stay at your leisure.

    Meals at your own

The program was established according to the latest known elements when it was written; imponderables are always possible and situations beyond our control can change the way things are done. Depending on the weather and operational conditions, our team reserves the right to modify this itinerary in order to better ensure your stay and your safety.

Period & budget

When to travel?

The best period for travelling is during the following months:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Price

From 1090 € per person (over the basis of 2 participants)

The budget is an indication of the price per person, subject to availability. Your local agent will send you a customized quote with the exact price. The price can vary according to availability, level of services, period of travel, number of participants, booking time frame and other items.

Included

- 8 nights in hotel, refuge on the farm and homestay with breakfasts.
- The lunch of the day 7 and the dinners of the days 2,3, 4, 5 and 6
- The entries in the sites planned in the program
- The accompaniment by a Spanish speaking driver from day 1 to day 8
- Our English speaking assistance 24h / 24h

Not included

- International flight
- Tourist card (necessary for entry into the country)
- Supplement in single room: Consult us
- Supplement for the accompaniment of a English speaking driver: Consult us
- Meals not mentioned in "The price includes"
- Gratuities, all expenses & personal equipment, drinks and all that is not in "THE PRICE INCLUDES"

Terms and conditions

Booking conditions

By registering for one of our travel, the customer bindingly accepts the General Terms and Conditions of Sale. Each customer must complete a registration form. The booking is definitively recorded when the customer has settled the payment of a deposit of 30 % of the total travel price (subject to availability at the time of registration). In case of short term bookings – within 30 days prior to the travel departure – the full travel price is due immediately. Payments can be settled via bank transfer (SWIFT code/IBAN number) or online, directly from our website (soon available). You will receive an email with a booking confirmation as quickly as possible.

Invoice procedure

Once your booking is registered, we send you an email with the invoice. Full payment is required at least 30 days before your arrival. If the customer does not settle the payment of the travel price within the period agreed upon, Altai Cuba reserves the right to cancel the booking free of charge.

Cancellation policy

If for any reason, you decide to withdraw from a journey, the amount already paid will be refunded subject to the following exceptions:
  • Cancellation up to 30 days prior to the agreed beginning of the journey: No cancellation fees. Unless you have given a written agreement to pay for additional tailor-made services (hotel, internal flights, activities…). In that case, you shall be charged the corresponding amount.
  • Cancellation between the 30th and 21st day prior to the agreed beginning of the journey: You will be charged 30 % of the travel price, in addition with every non-refundable expense for additional services booked on request (internal flights, site entrance tickets, activities…).
  • Cancellation less than 20 days to the agreed beginning of the journey: You will be charged 70 % of the travel price, in addition with every non-refundable expense for additional services booked on request (internal flights, site entrance tickets, activities…).

Any cancellation shall be notified in writing (email, letter or fax). Notice of cancellation will be effective upon receipt by us of your written communication. All the cancellation conditions will be specified on your booking confirmation.

If it comes apparent at an earlier point in time that the minimum number of participants cannot be reached for a travel, Altai Cuba is to exercise his right of withdrawal immediately. In such a situation, you will be informed of the cancellation of your travel no later than 21 days prior to the agreed beginning of the journey. Altaï Cuba can also cancel a travel in case of circumstances amounting to "force majeure": volcanic eruption, civil disturbances, strikes, weather and climate conditions, travellers’ security… In such cases, you are immediately refunded any payments on the travel price; however, you shall not be entitled to any compensation.

Changes to travel contract

If a change to travel contract is made at the customer’s request, any fee that might arise from this change shall be paid by the customer. In any cases, every request for changes shall be notified in writing. In case of external events that could not be foreseen, Altai Cuba might change some aspects of the travel contract. We will endeavour to advise you of any changes as quickly as possible.

Pricing

All group travel prices on our website have been calculated for the indicated number of participants for each trip. The price list is confirmed after the booking. If the number of participants is lower than expected, an additional payment charge might be applied. For each travel and program, we mention the price per person – valid for the minimum number of participants – and we provide you with detailed explanations about the services included or not. Any change in the exchange rates or in the price of travel services in particular regarding the cost of the fuel, might entail price revision.

Contract transfer

In case of assignment of the contract by the customer to an assignee, modification and cancellation conditions apply.

Insurance

We recommend that you take out personal insurance for your travel with Altai Cuba, as soon as your booking is confirmed. We kindly request you to send us the information related to your insurance contract (name of the company, name of the contract, insurance policy number, telephone number) and to bring it along with you during the journey.

Practical info

Staff

This trip is supervised by a Cuban Spanish speaking driver, part of the Altai Cuba team. During the stay, he can be assisted by Spanish speaking local guides on the sites.

Food

All breakfasts are included. For lunches / picnics, when they are not prepared by your hosts or included in your stay, you can choose to have a picnic or eat in a restaurant. You will find nearby major tourist sites or in towns and villages. Some dinners will be priced at your hosts. For others (not included in your stay), you will find restaurants for every budget at every step.
Due to the American embargo that has been raging for many years and state-owned structures (hotels and restaurants), Cuban cuisine has remained simple and variety is not always in place. Meals: Menus served in state restaurants are most often made of chicken, fish or pork accompanied by congri (rice and kidney beans) and plantains. Homestay, the dishes are significantly more varied and plentiful, highlighting more local products: fruit of the breadfruit, cassava, plantain, mango, guava, pineapple, papaya, coconut, pork, chicken , fish and sometimes lobster. Private restaurants are also beginning to emerge and offer a much more rich and refined cuisine than in the restaurants or hotels of State. Beverages: we find in Cuba excellent seasonal fruit juices, local beers (Bucanero and Cristal) and of course rum used for the preparation of some essential cocktails: mojitos, daïquiris, cuba libre, pina colada ... Water: during your stay drinks, including mineral water, are your responsibility. You can fill your water bottles in villages, springs, hotels. It is best to treat it with purifying lozenges (micropur or hydrochlonazone). Avoid as much as possible the purchase of plastic bottles which must then be recycled. If you have to buy bottled water, we advise you to buy bottles of 10 liters (or 5 liters) to fill your bottles as you go. If you want to buy these bottles, you do it at the beginning of your stay in Havana or Santiago as well as in the main cities of the country.

Accommodation

In the majority of the cases, you are lodged with the inhabitants, in the famous "casas particulares": the Cuban families welcome you to their home. You sleep in a double / twin room with private bathroom as far as possible (in some places, the bathroom can be shared between 2 rooms).
For some stages, we have chosen local 3-star category hotels, standard comfort.
Note that hotels in Cuba belong to the state. We therefore have no control over the quality of the services delivered.
The rooms are always clean and spacious with private bathroom but it may be that in some establishments, the rooms are not up to international standards. In the different Sierra, some steps require sleeping in a shelter.
These are usually quite basic. You sleep in a dormitory of 4 to 6 people. The blankets are provided but we advise you to also take a bag sheet see a sleeping bag for cool nights following the season.

Transportation

Transportation is provided by private air-conditioned vehicle.
In some cases, we may also occasionally use 4x4s on certain routes.
Our travels do not involve portering if not your business of the day.
On some hikes, you may need to leave your travel bag and carry your sleeping bag in addition to your basic business and spare for one night (overnight in a shelter or homestay).
In this case, we will take care of your business and forward it to the next step.

Budget & exchange

Two currencies circulate: the Cuban peso (CUP) and the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) which is the only currency usable by foreigners. Currently, 1 CUC is more or less equivalent to 1 €. To know the exchange rate in real time, we advise you to go on the site www.xe.com. Only Visas and Master Card credit cards are accepted by hotels. You will find cash machines accepting only Visas cards in Havana and Santiago. To exchange your cash, go to the many "casa de cambio" present at the airport and in the exchange offices of state hotels in the main cities of the country.
Attention, officially, the American Dollars is not accepted

Tips

This is a common practice and not mandatory, depending on your satisfaction.
It must be adapted according to the standard of living of the country and the duration of your trip.
As a general rule for correct service, you can use the following amounts:
- 3 CUC per day and per participant for a Francophone guide
- 2 CUC per day and per participant for a driver
- 1 CUC per day per participant for a Spanish speaking local guide

Supplied equipment

The following list is as complete as possible.
- A hat for the sun.
- A bandana, to protect your neck
- A pair of sun glasses.
- 1 or 2 tee shirts 8 (preferably made of cotton)
- 1 sweeter
- 1 coat
- A rain coat.
- 1 or 2 long shorts
- 2 pairs of confortable trousers for the treking
- 1 bathing suit
- 1 pair of shoes for the treking.
- 1 pair of light shoes for the easy walks and the evening.
- 1 pair of shoes adapted to the water for the snorkeling swimming, etc (specially for those who d ont like flippers)
- Pair of socks for the treking.

Luggage

Prefer any other bag a flexible travel bag with side closure, type sack, or at least a large backpack.
Limit the weight to 15 kg per person. You will also need a backpack (35l minimum) to store your belongings of the day. It is possible to wash the laundry in the middle of the circuit, plan your business accordingly.
As a precaution, think of carrying in your luggage "cabin" enough to survive the first days, and this in case your luggage in the hold would not arrive at the same time as you. This is rare but it is better to be prepared for any eventuality. We recommend you to wear underwear, some T-shirts, walking shoes and sandals.
Do not forget to put any sharp object, or liquid in your luggage "in the hold" because they are prohibited in the cabin.

Passport

The following informations could be changed any time by the local authorities. It is advised that you double check them up before the trip.

Your passport should be valid 6 months after the end of the trip. When confirming the trip, you are asked to provide you passport informations ( Surname-Name-Birthdate-Passport Numbre- Expiring Date) We need them to book the domestic flights and some entries and activities.   

WARNING : 
- You must send the information related to the passport that you will bring on the trip. If you need to renew your passport, wait until you have the new one to send us the informations.
- Kids, no matter their age, must have a passport.   

Visa

The so called Tourism card is required to enter the country. To obtain it you have to go to the cuban Consulate in your country. Some airlines sale the visa to Cuba at their offices or airport.

Mandatory vaccines

Even if no vaccine is required, you will ensure that vaccines commonly used in western countries (tetanus, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, typhoid) are still valid. Hepatitis A and B vaccines also recommended.

Health information & recommendations

Pharmacy

Our guides have a basic pharmacy including: Local antiseptic, bandages, compresses. We advise you to have a small pharmacy kit to take with you for the "little sores" everyday, and a second kit more complete to leave in the main luggage. In case of special treatment, thank you to let your guide know on arrival.

Recommendations

No compulsory vaccination, however, make sure you are up to date with "classic" vaccinations: tetanus, diphtheria, polio and typhoid. Malaria (or malaria): the country is classified in zone 1. The risks of contagion by mosquito bites are low. It is advisable to protect yourself by applying repellent creams. We do not encourage the use of preventive treatments when they are not needed. Indeed, besides the undesirable effects that they afflict with our organism, these can cause a resistance of the parasites. However, we recommend that you follow the advice of your doctor.

Hygiene

Observe basic hygiene measures such as washing your hands regularly, especially before meals. Be careful, the water is not drinkable.
Viruses transmitted by mosquitoes It is advisable to protect yourself by applying repellent creams. We do not encourage the use of preventive treatments when they are not needed. Indeed, besides the undesirable effects that they inflict on our organism, these can cause a resistance of the parasites. However, we recommend that you follow the advice of your doctor.

Weather

The subtropical climate of Cuba is influenced by the mild trade winds of the northeast. The thermometer varies little during the year and only two seasons are frankly marked:
- The wet summer, lasts from May to October.
- The drier winter is from November to April. Average temperatures range from 22 ° C (February) to 30 ° C (July to August).
The east of the island is slightly warmer than the west. September and October hold rain records and correspond to the peak of the hurricane season.

Electricity

Most electrical outlets are flat plugs and deliver 110 V (as in the USA). Some places are equipped with 110V but also 220 V. Ask always before plugging anything. It is essential to provide an adapter for electrical outlets.

Sustainable tourism

In a concern of respect for the environment, Altai engages for a minimum impact on the environment. Altai has always worked for a more responsible tourism and is part of a journey organization that respects equitable and sustainable principles. Harmonization of practices ensures a fair distribution of economic benefits and improved working conditions of local teams and their awareness of the protection of the environment Adopt, you too, simple actions during your travels and act in favor responsible tourism.
- Avoid leaving garbage behind: drop them in garbage cans or bring them back with you
- Use drinking water sparingly (prefer showers to baths and report leaks) and avoid wasting it (prefer biodegradable soaps for washing etc.)
- Avoid degrading cultural sites: do not touch the statues, do not move stones and objects etc.
- Prefer exchanges to donations (gifts too important given the standard of living of the country can destabilize the local economic balance)
- Take a walk, especially in some fragile ecosystems, observe the wildlife from a distance, do not leave the trails, limit trampling and do not bring back "memories": give up picking rare flowers, collecting fossils, etc.
- In some hotels, you will have individual air conditioning. It is strongly recommended to avoid excessive energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to cut it systematically when you are not present in the room.
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Vitalio

My local agent
Vitalio

  • Guide for more than 10 years
  • Sales in Altai Cuba
  • Spanish, English and French speaking
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Region
La Havana West
Activity
Local living Road Trip
Duration
9 days
Code
CUBAFIT2
Price
From €1,090
Level
3/5
Comfort
3/5

Strengths

  • Discovery of Havana and Trinidad.
  • Varied hikes to discover the different faces of the Cuban landscape from Hanabanilla Lake to the Viñales Valley.
  • Homestay accommodation.

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