This trip is guided by an English speaking Cuban leader from Altai local team. There is also a professional driver, all the way. In some of the sites, you will be accompanied by spanish speaking local guides,
Breakfast is included during the whole trip. Lunch is usually included in local restaurants, but, when it is not, you will have the option to choose from a private or a public restaurant (there are many along the itinerary) or simply to have a box lunch. Diner is often included at your hotel or casa. If it is not, you will have restaurants for differents levels of Budget.
Cuban cuisine is not very varied or sophisticated, remeber that Cuba has suffered from un embargo for several years now. And many of the restaurants are public.....
Meals : The menus proposed at public restaurants usually include chicken fish or pork meat. along with rice and beans and plantain bananas. At private restaurants menus are much mored varied and abondant. They offer the local products: Manioc, Mangoe, guava, pineapple, papaya, coconut, proc, chicken, fish, and sea foods like lobster and shrimps.
Drinks : Varied fresh fruit juices, local beers (lBucanero and Cristal) and of course the cuban rhum used to prepare the well known coctails: mojitos, daïquiris, cuba libre, pina colada…
Water : Drinks, including water, are not included . We advice to fill up your canteen whenever you find a source. It is better to use a pill to purify it. If you choose to buy a botle of water, we suggest that you get a 5 liters botle. Do it a the beginning of the trip.
Most of the time you will be staying at private houses (the so called Casas particulares): You will be welcomed by a local family. Rooms are airconditionned and have private bathroom.
Some times you will stay at a 3* hotel. with a standard confort. Notice that in Cuba, hotels belong to the government. That is why we don t have a strong influence on the quality of the services provided and the rooms standard might not be exactly the same level as in France.
Some times you might have to camp. Confort conditions might be very basic.
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
Tipping is a common practice (no obligatory) depending on your satisfaction. For a good service you can base on the following nombers:
- 3 CUC per day per person for the main guide.
- 2 CUC per day per person for the driver.
- 1 CUC per day per person for the local guide.
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.
- Sleeping bag for the nights when camping.
Preferably a flexible bag. Eventually a big back pack. Limit the weight to 15 kgs per persone. It is also advised to get a personal back pack (minimun 35 lts) to bring your personal affairs for the day.
It is possible to do the laundry during the trip.
Just in case, think of bringing in your hand bag some of your every day items, cause it might happen that your luggage does not arrive the same day as you. This should never happen, but it is better to be prepared.
Remember to avoid liquids, sharp objets in your hand bag, caus it is forbidden.
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.
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Cuban weather is divided in two seasons:
- Rainy season from May to October.
- Dry season from November to April.
Average temperatures go between 22°C (february) eand30°C (july and August). Eastern side is slightly hotter than western side. Rainy records in Septembre and October. Hurricane season goes between June and October.
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.
In a concern of respect of 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 trash behind: put them in bins 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 you wash 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.