Cuba from West to East

Cuba is not only an island paradise where colonial cities compete with the Caribbean seabed, it is also and above all a country "to live": smells, music, meetings and a history beyond standard! This great crossing of the island takes you from Santiago to Vinales in 3 weeks and immerses you in the heart of Cuban history and culture. In the footsteps of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, in the heart of the Sierra, in the Vinales valley or in the streets of Havana and Trinidad, this trip is a step back in time and will undoubtedly be one of the most beautiful you have done!

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Welcome in Havana

    Appointment at the end of the afternoon to your accommodation. Welcome by our local team and presentation of the stay.

    Homestay

  • Day 2 La Havana

    Today, you visit the different neighborhoods and colonial squares of Old Havana and immerse yourself in the heart of Cuban history.

    Homestay

  • Day 3 Havana - Las Terrazas - Viñales

    Departure to Las Terrazas, classified World Biosphere Reserve. Visit the ruins of the Cafetal Buena Vista farm and swim in the San Juan Basin. Las Terrazas is a peasant community founded thanks to the reunion of families in the 60's, to work as a cooperative. The village...

    Short walks
    Dinner and accommodation in homestay

  • Day 4 Valley of Vinales

    Accompanied by a local guide, you hike in the valley of Viñales. This route allows you to appreciate the beauty of the valley, the nature, the traditions of the peasants living in the heart of a beautiful landscape. You meet the family of Alexis, tobacco planter who makes you visit his ...

    Duration of walk flexible
    Dinner and accommodation in homestay

  • Day 5 Cayo Jutías

    You go for a relaxing day on the Cayo Jutia. Opportunity to snorkel and discover the barrier reef.

    2 hours on the road
    Homestay

  • Day 6 Vinales - El Salto - Havana

    You go towards the East. On the way, visit the cigar factory of Pinar del Rio, stop at the cascade of El salto and the garden of Orchids. Arrival in Havana at the end of the afternoon and settlement at the inhabitant for the night.

    2 hours and a half on the road
    Homestay

  • Day 7 Santa Clara - Mausoleum of Che - Cienfuegos

    You leave for Santa Clara and visit the Mausoleum of Che Guevara. Continue to Cienfuegos and visit the old town and its many squares and monuments. Homestay installation and late afternoon free.

    4 hours and a half on the road
    Free afternoon and night
    Homestay

  • Day 8 Cienfuegos - Trinidad

    Road to Trinidad and visit of the city. You discover this beautiful colonial city, architectural jewels of Cuba. Dinner and overnight at the inhabitant.

    1 hour and a half on the road
    Dinner and accomodation in homestay

  • Day 9 Topes de Collantes

    Departure for the Natural Park of Topes de Collantes, located in the Sierra del Escambray. Several trails are available to you in this ideal place for hiking. To envisage: Bag of 20 to 30 liters with swimsuit, water bottle. Easy and very varied walk along a river ...

    Free afternoon
    Dinner and accomodation in homestay

  • Day 10 Catamaran for Cayo Blanco

    Transfer to the Ancon marina and departure by catamaran for Cayo Blanco. You spend a relaxing day discovering this island paradise. Return in the late afternoon to Trinidad.

    Lunch included
    Homestay

  • Day 11 Trinidad - Sancti Spiritus - Camaguey

    Departure to Sancti Spiritus. On the way, visit the village of Manaca Iznaga. Climb to the top of the tower and visit the main house. Continue to Sancti Spiritus and visit the central square. Lunch and then continue to Camaguey. Visit of the historic center: Plaza de San ...

    4 hours on the road
    Homestay

  • Day 12 Camaguey - Bayamo - Sierra Maestra

    Still further east, continue to Bayamo (city tour) and then to Sierra Maestra. Homestay installation.

    4 hours on the road
    Homestay

  • Day 13 Comandancia de la Plata - Santiago de Cuba

    Hike to the Comandancia de la Plata: the former clandestine headquarters, isolated in the mountains where Fidel Castro took refuge to prepare the revolution at the beginning of the "guerrilla". You visit the old facilities: the country hospital, the site of "Radio Rebelle", the residence ...

    3-4 hours of walking
    Homestay

  • Day 14 Santiago de Cuba

    Visit the main monuments of "the most Caribbean of Cuban cities", whose colonial houses and alleys climb on the hill facing the bay of Santiago. In the afternoon, stroll in the old center to soak up its atmosphere and visit the fort Castillo del Morro which keeps the ...

    Homestay

  • Day 15 Santiago de Cuba - Baracoa

    You take the road towards Baracoa. The south coast of the island contrasts with that of Baracoa by its aridity: the coconut trees here give way to cacti. You join a winding road that offers beautiful views and arrive in Baracoa, the first city founded in Cuba. Town tour..

    4 hours on the road
    Homestay

  • Day 16 Visit of the farm "La Esperanza

    On board a rowing boat, you cross the Toa River to go to La Esperanza, typical Cuban farmhouse. Visit the farm and return in the afternoon to Baracoa.

    Free afternoon
    Homestay

  • Day 17 Baracoa - Yunque - Maguana

    Accompanied by a local guide, you go for a 5-hour hike to the summit of Yunque, the famous tabular mountain overlooking Baracoa. In return, road to Maguana and installation in bungalow by the sea.

    5 hours of walking
    Bungalow accommodation next to the sea

  • Day 18 Maguana

    Relaxation day by the sea in Maguana.

    Relaxing day by the sea
    Bungalow accommodation by the sea

  • Day 19 Humbolt National Park - Holguin

    Accompanied by a local guide, by boat or on land, you discover the Humbolt National Park then continue to the city of Holguin. City tour and homestay for your last night before your return to Havana

    Homestay

  • Day 20 Holguín - La Havane

    Vous prenez un vol pour La Havane. Arrivée dans la capitale Cubaine en tout début d'après-midi. Installation chez l'habitant dans la vieille ville et fin de journée libre.

    Domestic flight
    Homestay

  • Day 21 Havana - End of stay

    After breakfast, continue your stay at your convenience. End of stay

    Free meals

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 2490 € per person (based on 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

- 21 nights in hotel, refuge on the farm and homestay with breakfasts.
- The meals of the days 3, 4, 9, 10, 13 and 16 the lunches of the days 6 and 17 and the dinners of the days 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15 and 19
- The entries in the sites planned in the program
- The accompaniment by a Spanish speaking driver from day 1 to day 21
- Domestic flight Holguin - Havana on day 21
- Our English speaking assistance 24h / 24h

Not included

- International flight
- Tourist card (necessary for entry into the country)
- The supplement in individual room: Consult us
- The supplement for accompaniment by a driver Francophone: Contact 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

  • A guide for more than 10 years
  • Works for Altaï Cuba Sales
  • Languages: Spanish, English and French
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Region
Centre East La Havana West
Activity
Road Trip Trek & Hiking
Duration
21 days
Code
CUBAFIT3
Price
From €2,490
Level
2/5
Comfort
4/5

Strengths

  • A crossing from West to East from Santiago to Vinales
  • The colonial cities of Trinidad, Havana and Santiago
  • Many hikes and walks.
  • Homestays for a privileged contact with the local population.

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