Trek on the Highest Peaks of Cuba

Need of sun light, tropical forest, cultural approaches, interesting treks and conctact with a friendly and cozy people ? This is the trip you are looking for!! From East to West, you will get deep into the nature of the three mountain ranges that cross the island, stepping by the main cities : Santiago, Camaguey, Trinidad and Havana. 

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Welcome !!

    Arrival to Santiago de Cuba airport. Transfer to Old down town. Accommodation at a private house.

    Meals at your own
    Night at the hotel

  • Day 2 Santiago de Cuba - Visit

    Santiago de Cuba - Visit First approach to Cuba bi visiting the second most important city and most Caribbean of all. Colonial houses and streets clinb up and down the hills facing the Bay. Music and History are on the menu. We go visiting the Museum of Piracy, located on top of the hill at the entrance of the Bay in one of the Oldest forteresses from the colonial times : El Morro Castle. We suugest to look for one of those local bars downtown and get a mojito while you enjoy the music. Diner at your leisure.

    Transport by minibus.
    Night at the hotel

  • Day 3 Santiago - El Cobre – Water Fall El Saltón.

    Santiago - El Cobre – Water Fall El Saltón. Heading west, we stop at the local town El Cobre, and visit the Sanctuary of La Caridad del Cobre, the Cuban Patron Saint. Then we take the road into the heart of La Sierra Maestra. We arrive into a little paradise where we will spend the night : this small hotel is located by a 25 meters water Fall that showers the vegetationn around providing a tropical touch. After lunch, we will go exploring the surroundings….let´s not forget our bathing suits…we will need it. Diner at the local restaurant.

    Transport by minibus.
    Night at the hotel
    3 hours of walking

  • Day 4 Saltón - Bayamo- Sierra Maestra.

    Saltón - Bayamo- Sierra Maestra. Transfer to Bayamo. The Cuban historical cradle. Walking tour around the central park and the local squares. Lunch at local restaurant La Bodega. Transfer to the heart of the Sierra Maestra mountains. Accommodation at local hotel Santo Domingo. Diner at a private restaurant.

    Transport by minibus.
    Night at the hotel.
    Dinner at your own

  • Day 5 National Park Sierra Maestra : Trek to La Comandancia de la Plata.

    National Park Sierra Maestra : Trek to La Comandancia de la Plata. We leave at 8 :00hrs to reach el Alto del Naranjo and start trekking to La Comandancia de la Plata (ancient Headquarters of Fidel Castro during the guerrila fight in the 50´s) After 3 or 4 hours walking and visiting we arrive to La Platica, a Farm where we will spend the night. Diner.

    Transportation by minibus and 4x4.
    Night in Refuge
    4 hours of walking

  • Day 6 Sierra Maestra : Conquest of Turquino Peak.

    Sierra Maestra : Conquest of Turquino Peak. Today we will conquer the highest Peak in Cuba. We leave early in the morning and walk for 4 hours to arrive at Aguada de Joaquin, the camp where we will spend the night. From there we will start climbing for 2 :30 hours to attein the Peak. While we are progessing, we will enjoy very nice views. At the top, there is a statue of the National heroe of Cuba : Jose Marti. Then, we go back to the camp. Diner.

    Transportation by minibus or 4x4.
    Night in a shelter or tent
    7 hours of walking; + 1450m / -900m.
    NOTE : Getting to the top is optional. Once we arrive to camp, we can choose whether we continue or not

  • Day 7 Santo Domingo - Camagüey.

    Santo Domingo - Camagüey. We trek down to El Alto del Naranjo on a 4 hours walk. We take our jeeps to get to Santo Doming for lunch. Then we leave for Camaguey. Once we get there, 4 hrs later, we accommodate at a private hotel. Diner.

    Transportation by minibus
    Homestay
    7 hours of walking; + 500m / -900m.

  • Day 8 Camagüey - Sancti Spiritus - Banaos.

    Camagüey - Sancti Spiritus - Banaos. Tour around the Old downtown : this is a very charming city, with multiple colonial squares and churches. Then we leave for Sancti Spiritus. Lunch on the way. Tour in Sacti Spiritus downtown, walk along the boulevard. Transfer to Banaos natural Park (15min from the city). Accommodation at Jarico Farm. Diner.

    Transport by minibus.
    Night in a simple hotel

  • Day 9 La Sabina - El Naranjal.

    La Sabina - El Naranjal. Climbing for 3 hours to get to La Sabina: a Farm on top of the mountain, where we will spend the night. After lunch, we continue our walk to explore the surroundings and visiting another Farm: El Naranjal. We will be back to La Sabina for diner. Let´s sit on the rocking cahirs at tyhe front of the Farm, to enjoy the wonderful view of the valley.
    NOTE : think about leaving your luugage at Jarico Farm, and bring only the necessary for one night.

    Transport by minibus.
    Night in a shelter
    5 to 6 hours of walking; + 400m

  • Day 10 La Bella waterfall - Trinidad.

    Last trek in the Escambray mountains. We take the trail down back to the Jarico Farm. We have the chance to dive and swim into the natural pools by the river. After lunch, we head for Trinidad, where we arrive in 1 hr. Accommodation at a private house, by a nice family. Diner.

    Transport by minibus.
    Homestay
    3 hours of walking

  • Day 11 Trinidad - Playa Ancon - Trinidad

    Trinidad - Playa Ancon - Trinidad We enjoy a free morning to enjoy again the charms of the city and leave for Playa Ancon, one of the most beautiful beaches in southern Cuba. Idleness, swimming and stroll on the fine sand are on the program. Return to Trinidad late afternoon. Dinner and evening in the city.

    Transport by minibus.
    Homestay

  • Day 12 Trinidad - Cienfuegos - Zapata

    We take the road for the Bay of Pigs. On the way, we will stop at Cienfuegos: the so called Southern Pearl, for a short visit: this neoclassic city was founded by French families in the 19een century. We continue for Zapata swamp, also known as the Bay of Pigs. Stop by the beach for a swim and lunch. At the end of the day we go to a small village called Caleton, where we accommodate and have Diner.

    Transport by minibus.
    Night at homestay by the sea

  • Day 13 Playa Larga - Havana.

    Playa Larga -  Havana. Transfer to Havana, where we arrive for lunch at a nice local restaurant. In the afternoon, walking tour around the Colonial squares located in the heart of Old Havana. This is a date with the past!!! Cobblestones streets showered by colonial fountains. Interior yards transformed into Art Galleries that we can visit without fee. Cigars, music, steamed glasses. Accommodation at a private hotel. Diner at your leisure.

    Transport by minibus.
    Night at homestay
    Dinner at your own.

  • Day 14 : Havana - End of the trip.

    Morning for the last visits and shopping. Transfer to the airport.

    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.

Dates & prices

Departures for English-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: UCUT-EN

Included

- Transportation by private vehicle according to itinerary
- Accommodation Full Board except meals not described in Not Included.
- The entries in the sites planned in the program
- An English speaking Tour Guide.

Not included

- International flight
- Tourist card (necessary to enter the country)
- The supplement in a single room: contact us
- The meals of the days 1 and 14, the dinners of the days 2 and 13 (about 15 € by meal).
- Repatriation insurance
- Tips, all expenses and personal equipment, drinks and everything that is not in "THE PRICE INCLUDES"

Notes

For many years, we put our know-how and our experience of Cuba to the service of travelers coming from different horizons. You will be able to find in your groups participants coming from our various partners.

Terms and conditions

Inscription

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.

Facturation

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.

Annulation

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.

Modification du contrat

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.

Prix et révision des prix

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.

Cession du contrat

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 English speaking tour guide, part of the Altai Cuba team. During the stay, he is assisted by a Spanish speaking driver. Spanish speaking local guides also accompany you to some 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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Ivan

My local agent
Ivan

  • Native to Havana
  • A guide for over 20 years
  • Director of Altaï Cuba
  • Languages: Spanish, English and French
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Region
Centre East La Havana
Activity
Local living Trek & Hiking
Duration
14 days
Group
2 to 15 people
Code
UCUT-EN
Price
From €1,330
Level
3/5
Comfort
2/5
Language(s)
English

Strengths

- Trek on the main Cuban mountain chains.
- Colonial cities of Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad and Havana. 
- Contact with the local population.
- The Conquest of the cuban highest Peak: Turquino.

Required level

The trek to Turquino Peak at Sierra Maestra can be hard depending on the weather.
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