• Overview
  • Photos & Video
  • Pricing
  • Dates
  • Hotels
  • FAQ
Our Cuba trip is packed with adventure and variety, much like the country itself. Experience the unique architectures and cultures of colorful Old Town Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos, three of Cuba’s cities. Swim in turquoise ocean bays and waterfall pools. Learn about sustainable farming, and eat a freshly harvested meal at an organic farm. Learn how Cuban cigars are made and rolled; how to cook platos típicos (typical Cuban fare), and how to dance salsa! You’ll also learn about the political history and climate of this still-relatively-unknown island.

Designed to fulfill all the requirements of the Support for Cuba catagory for U.S. travelers, our Cuba tour gives you the chance to meet and learn about the Cuban people and their rich culture first-hand.  This Cuban tour has it all and in a short period of time.  With local Cuban guides you are sure to expereince an insiders perspective and explore all the island has to offer. 
Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Havana
Your driver will meet you at the airport to take you to your accommodations, a casa particular (Bed and Breakfast) where you will meet your local tour leader. You’ll enjoy dinner together at a local paladar, a privately owned Cuban restaurant. (D)
Day 2: Old Town Walking Tour & Classic Car Tour
Your Cuba trip guide will meet you in the B&B after breakfast to begin your tour. The day starts with a guided walking tour of Old Havana. You’ll have the chance to explore historical sites and learn about the dual-currency economy. You’ll visit commercial centers where CUC are used, and ration and peso stores, where locals buy goods in CUP. The day ends with a trip to Jaimanitas, a local fishing village. The village is home to Jose Fuster, an artist who has converted his home and neighborhood into a work of art using mosaic tiles. (B,L)
Day 3: Havana to Viñales (via Las Terrazas)
Your Cuba tour guide will meet you at your accommodations after breakfast to take you and your luggage to Viñales, one of the most beautiful parts of Cuba. Situated in the Pinar del Río province, the area is known for its limestone pincushion hills, or mogotes. On the way to Viñales, the tour will stop in Las Terrazas. You’ll meet a local guide, a community leader, who will explain how the local society functions. The arrival to Viñales coincides with a tour of a local organic farm. The farmer and his family will explain how sustainable farms are run in Cuba, including the alternatives to pesticides they use to protect their crops. By sunset, you will be enjoying a dinner made by the farmer and his family with produce from their fields – a true farm to fork experience. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Viñales
The second day in Viñales, you’ll learn the traditional way to make Cuban cigars. Your guide will meet you after breakfast and take you to meet a local farmer and cigar maker. He’ll walk you through the entire process, from growing tobacco to rolling Cuba’s world-famous cigars. You’ll also get a chance to learn more about how the communist system works in Cuba and how it applies directly to the cigar trade: how much the farmer keeps; how much they give to the government; and how farmers make their money. In the afternoon you’ll learn how to cook Cuban cuisine, including some of the platos típicos de Cuba – typical Cuban dishes – including congri, potaje, garbanzo soup, ajiaco and flan. (B,L)
Day 5: Viñales to Cienfuegos (via Bay of Pigs)
Today you’ll head to Cienfuegos. Meet your driver after breakfast and be sure to keep your swimsuit handy. On the way, you’ll get a chance visit to the Bay of Pigs. Enjoy the views of this picturesque bay with a famous history. You’ll visit a museum that explains the conflict that happened in the Bay of Pigs that led to the first defeat of a U.S.-backed takeover in Latin America. If there’s time, you’ll be able to swim in a natural sinkhole that looks like a tropical fish tank. You’ll stay overnight in Cienfuegos, also called “The Pearl of the South.” Founded by the French, the city has a decidedly European feel, with elegant boulevards and colonnades reminiscent of Paris. (B)
Day 6: Cienfuegos to Trinidad
Today you’ll meet your guide after breakfast and head to Trinidad, a colonial city with a wealth of historic churches and colonial-style buildings. The day will start with a cultural tour of the city, including visits to several museums. You will also get to visit an Afro-Cuban temple dedicated to Yemaya. Learn first hand about the deities and traditions of this religion from Israel, a local caretaker and priest.

In the afternoon, you’ll meet members of an Afro-Cuban folkloric dance group, and learn the importance of dance to the local culture and society. Learn to salsa at Club Palenque, where the dance group trains and performs. Later you’ll be able to take your new moves out on the town. Trinidad has a rich nightlife and dance scene, with performances and live music every day of the week. (B,L)
Day 7: Trinidad
On your second day in Trinidad, you’ll learn about the local industry and the biodiversity of the area with a trip outside the city. After breakfast, your guide will meet you to take you to the humble home of a local campesino to see how Cubans live in rural areas. Next, take a short hike to a waterfall and get a chance to cool off in the natural pools at its base. Afterward you’ll head back to Trinidad and have the afternoon to explore and relax. For dinner, enjoy a special meal – possibly on the beach – including delicious Cuban specialties and live music. (B,D)
Day 8: Trinidad to Havana (via Santa Clara)
After breakfast your guide will collect you and your luggage for the trip back to Havana. On the way back you’ll learn about Cuba’s slave trade at Manaca-Iznaga, a plantation in the Valle de los Ingenios. The plantation has a 147-foot tower originally built to observe the slaves as they worked.

Enjoy a stop at Santa Clara, one of the cities that played an important role in the Cuban Revolution. See the statue built at the city’s entrance commemorating Ernesto Ché Guevara and his fellow revolutionaries who died in Bolivia. Enjoy lunch at a small family farm outside of Santa Clara before heading back to Havana to prepare for a farewell dinner, including music and dancing. (B,L,D) 

Day 9: Havana - Home
Say goodbye to your Cuba guide and driver, who will take you to the airport to catch your flight home. (B)

Weather (Cuba)

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Thanks to trade winds and sea breezes, Cuba enjoys a year-round subtropical climate. Temperatures are primarily in the 70’s and 80’s throughout most of the lowlands, with slightly cooler temperatures in the mountains. The eastern part of Cuba generally enjoys warmer weather than the west, with highs in the 90’s during June, July and August. Rainfall increases slightly from June to November, although on average Cuba experiences fewer tropical storms than other Caribbean nations. Sea goers can enjoy the ocean year-round: the water temperature averages about 77 degrees, with 330 days of sunshine per year.

HAVANAMin-Max Air TempAvg Rainfall
JAN62-800.12
FEB62-810.12
MAR63-830.21
APR67-860.27
MAY70-880.95
JUN73-891.89
JUL73-901.39
AUG73-902.13
SEP73-891.92
OCT71-861.35
NOV67-830.24
DEC64-810.22

SANTIAGO DE CUBAMin-Max Air TempAvg Rainfall
JAN69-830.01
FEB69-830.07
MAR70-830.5
APR72-840.18
MAY73-850.72
JUN75-870.28
JUL76-880.13
AUG76-880.16
SEP76-880.52
OCT75-870.99
NOV73-860.25
DEC71-840.07


Weather (Cuba)

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Thanks to trade winds and sea breezes, Cuba enjoys a year-round subtropical climate. Temperatures are primarily in the 70’s and 80’s throughout most of the lowlands, with slightly cooler temperatures in the mountains. The eastern part of Cuba generally enjoys warmer weather than the west, with highs in the 90’s during June, July and August. Rainfall increases slightly from June to November, although on average Cuba experiences fewer tropical storms than other Caribbean nations. Sea goers can enjoy the ocean year-round: the water temperature averages about 77 degrees, with 330 days of sunshine per year.

HAVANAMin-Max Air TempAvg Rainfall
JAN62-800.12
FEB62-810.12
MAR63-830.21
APR67-860.27
MAY70-880.95
JUN73-891.89
JUL73-901.39
AUG73-902.13
SEP73-891.92
OCT71-861.35
NOV67-830.24
DEC64-810.22

SANTIAGO DE CUBAMin-Max Air TempAvg Rainfall
JAN69-830.01
FEB69-830.07
MAR70-830.5
APR72-840.18
MAY73-850.72
JUN75-870.28
JUL76-880.13
AUG76-880.16
SEP76-880.52
OCT75-870.99
NOV73-860.25
DEC71-840.07


Maps

Cuba Highlights

Pricing
Per Person
$3,850
Included in tour cost
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Visa fee

Cuba Highlights

Trip Dates
Weekly Departures. Contact us to arrange your private departure.
Sunday, January 1, 2017 to Thursday, December 31, 2020
Available
Havana
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Trinidad
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Viñales
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Cuba - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I'm not a U.S. citizen/resident. Can I still travel on this tour?
A:

Absolutely! Although our tours are designed to fulfill the requirements to allow U.S. citizens to visit Cuba, travelers from all countries are welcome.
 


Q: Are your tours only for young/old people?
A:

Our tours are best for travelers of all ages who are interested in learning about Cuba’s culture and country at an energetic, fast pace. On our tours, you’ll visit local houses, tobacco farms, rum production facilities, and can even take salsa classes. There’s a lot of walking involved, so it’s best to be in reasonably good physical shape.
 

Q: What are the entry requirements to Cuba? What are the visa requirements?
A:

Visitors from most countries can visit Cuba for up to 30 days on a Cuban Tourist Visa – also called a Tourist Card – which you can buy through your airlines, and may even be included in the price of your ticket. You can also buy the visa at the airport when you arrive, but we recommend you purchase the visa before your trip.

U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba also need the Cuban Tourist Visa. In addition, they are required to provide proof that they are traveling under one of the categories outlined in the General License. The General License is a U.S. government requirement and is needed when re-entering the U.S. Southern Explorations’ tours meet all regulatory requirements set by the OFAC of the United States.
 


Q: Can I stay extend my trip?
A:

Yes you can. You can come early, stay late or both. We can help you arrange accommodations for extended stays, too.
 


Q: Can you arrange flights for me?
A:

Although Southern Explorations does not book international flights, you can book your flight with our partners at Exito Travel by emailing southernexplorations@exitotravel.com, or by calling 1-800-655-4053.

You can also book your flights direct through your favorite airline or booking engine.
 


Q: Is flying through Mexico illegal or suspicious?
A:

No! You can now fly directly to Cuba from the U.S., but flying through Mexico is often the most convenient and cost-effective ways to get to Cuba, especially for travelers living on the West Coast of the U.S. There are regular flights to Cuba from both Cancún and Mexico City. 
 


Q: How do I get to where we’re staying from the airport when I arrive?
A:

After you have cleared customs, a Southern Explorations representative will be waiting with a sign with your name on it to escort you to the casa particular (bed and breakfast) and assist with check-in.
 


Q: Is it safe to travel in Cuba?
A:

Cuba is one of the safest countries in Latin America. There is little to no violent crime; the majority of offenses are petty crimes like pickpocketing. Travelers should take the same precautions that they would while traveling elsewhere. Listen to the advice of your tour leader and hotel reception staff and take common-sense precautions, such as not going into unfamiliar areas alone, especially at night. Use the safety deposit box at your bed and breakfast for your passport and extra money – it’s best to carry only as much as you might spend. Leave jewelry and expensive watches at home. 
 


Q: What is the currency? Are there ATMs?
A:

There are two currencies in Cuba: the CUC, used primarily by tourists and visitors, and the CUP, or moneda nacional, used mostly by Cuban citizens at ration stores and government-run businesses. One CUC is equal to 1 U.S. dollar. One CUC is equal to 24 CUP. There are ATMs in Cuba’s biggest cities, however you cannot access money from U.S. banks from Cuba.
 


Q: Do I need a converter/ adaptor for the electricity?
A:

Most of Cuba uses 110-volt electricity and has flat, two-pronged outlets like U.S. outlets. However, newer hotels have switched to 220-volt outlets, which will work for European travelers but not for North American appliances. Although Cuban plugs are designed to fit both European and North American power cords, plugging a 110-volt curling iron or hair dryer into a 220-volt outlet will fry the appliance. However, most modern technology – including iPhone chargers and laptops – is formatted for dual voltage, (AC100-240v 50-60Hz) which means you will not need a converter. Check the fine print on your chargers to see how they’re formatted to determine whether you’ll need a converter that allows you to plug 110-volt appliances into 220-volt outlets and vice versa.  

If you have anything with a three-pronged plug, you will need an adaptor; most Cuban power outlets are two-pronged. If your plug is polarized – one of the pins is larger than the other one – you will also need an adapter. UK visitors will need an adapter to fit their power cords into the outlets.
 


Q: Will I be able to use my cell phone?
A:

Email is the cheapest and fastest way to communicate while traveling. Cuba’s larger cities and tourist towns have email services; there are also government-run Internet cafes available – they’re called ETESCAS, and are run by the country’s telecommunications company.  Since January 2016, there are also public WiFi hotspots available to use for a fee. You will need to purchase an access code from an ETESCA to log on.

Major towns have telephone centers for international calls, although it’s more expensive to call from Cuba than from other countries. Telephone, fax and email are available at most hotels.
  


Q: What’s the food like in Cuba?
A:

Cuba’s staple foods include tropical fruits, seafood, rice and black beans. The government used to limit the number of licenses for restaurants, which led to sub-par food. However, the restrictions were loosened in 2010 and the food available for travelers is flavorful and delicious. The country is also known for its coffee and rum.


Q: Are you able to accommodate special dietary requests?
A:

 Although vegetarians are easily accommodated, this may mean animal protein will be left out instead of substituted with a different protein source. However, Cuba is known for its rice and beans, which are easy to come by.

If you are concerned about finding an adequate supply of foods that fall within your dietary guidelines, we recommend you bring supplements and packaged snacks.

If you require a special diet (vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, etc.) or are allergic to any foods and did not indicate your needs on the trip application at the time of booking, please contact us so we can make special arrangements before your departure.


Q: Can I bring back Cuban cigars and rum back through U.S. customs?
A:

Yes. Travelers are allowed to bring back up to $400 worth of goods from Cuba for personal use, including up to $100 worth of alcohol or tobacco.

Cuba - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I'm not a U.S. citizen/resident. Can I still travel on this tour?
A:

Absolutely! Although our tours are designed to fulfill the requirements to allow U.S. citizens to visit Cuba, travelers from all countries are welcome.
 


Q: Are your tours only for young/old people?
A:

Our tours are best for travelers of all ages who are interested in learning about Cuba’s culture and country at an energetic, fast pace. On our tours, you’ll visit local houses, tobacco farms, rum production facilities, and can even take salsa classes. There’s a lot of walking involved, so it’s best to be in reasonably good physical shape.
 

Q: What are the entry requirements to Cuba? What are the visa requirements?
A:

Visitors from most countries can visit Cuba for up to 30 days on a Cuban Tourist Visa – also called a Tourist Card – which you can buy through your airlines, and may even be included in the price of your ticket. You can also buy the visa at the airport when you arrive, but we recommend you purchase the visa before your trip.

U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba also need the Cuban Tourist Visa. In addition, they are required to provide proof that they are traveling under one of the categories outlined in the General License. The General License is a U.S. government requirement and is needed when re-entering the U.S. Southern Explorations’ tours meet all regulatory requirements set by the OFAC of the United States.
 


Q: Can I stay extend my trip?
A:

Yes you can. You can come early, stay late or both. We can help you arrange accommodations for extended stays, too.
 


Q: Can you arrange flights for me?
A:

Although Southern Explorations does not book international flights, you can book your flight with our partners at Exito Travel by emailing southernexplorations@exitotravel.com, or by calling 1-800-655-4053.

You can also book your flights direct through your favorite airline or booking engine.
 


Q: Is flying through Mexico illegal or suspicious?
A:

No! You can now fly directly to Cuba from the U.S., but flying through Mexico is often the most convenient and cost-effective ways to get to Cuba, especially for travelers living on the West Coast of the U.S. There are regular flights to Cuba from both Cancún and Mexico City. 
 


Q: How do I get to where we’re staying from the airport when I arrive?
A:

After you have cleared customs, a Southern Explorations representative will be waiting with a sign with your name on it to escort you to the casa particular (bed and breakfast) and assist with check-in.
 


Q: Is it safe to travel in Cuba?
A:

Cuba is one of the safest countries in Latin America. There is little to no violent crime; the majority of offenses are petty crimes like pickpocketing. Travelers should take the same precautions that they would while traveling elsewhere. Listen to the advice of your tour leader and hotel reception staff and take common-sense precautions, such as not going into unfamiliar areas alone, especially at night. Use the safety deposit box at your bed and breakfast for your passport and extra money – it’s best to carry only as much as you might spend. Leave jewelry and expensive watches at home. 
 


Q: What is the currency? Are there ATMs?
A:

There are two currencies in Cuba: the CUC, used primarily by tourists and visitors, and the CUP, or moneda nacional, used mostly by Cuban citizens at ration stores and government-run businesses. One CUC is equal to 1 U.S. dollar. One CUC is equal to 24 CUP. There are ATMs in Cuba’s biggest cities, however you cannot access money from U.S. banks from Cuba.
 


Q: Do I need a converter/ adaptor for the electricity?
A:

Most of Cuba uses 110-volt electricity and has flat, two-pronged outlets like U.S. outlets. However, newer hotels have switched to 220-volt outlets, which will work for European travelers but not for North American appliances. Although Cuban plugs are designed to fit both European and North American power cords, plugging a 110-volt curling iron or hair dryer into a 220-volt outlet will fry the appliance. However, most modern technology – including iPhone chargers and laptops – is formatted for dual voltage, (AC100-240v 50-60Hz) which means you will not need a converter. Check the fine print on your chargers to see how they’re formatted to determine whether you’ll need a converter that allows you to plug 110-volt appliances into 220-volt outlets and vice versa.  

If you have anything with a three-pronged plug, you will need an adaptor; most Cuban power outlets are two-pronged. If your plug is polarized – one of the pins is larger than the other one – you will also need an adapter. UK visitors will need an adapter to fit their power cords into the outlets.
 


Q: Will I be able to use my cell phone?
A:

Email is the cheapest and fastest way to communicate while traveling. Cuba’s larger cities and tourist towns have email services; there are also government-run Internet cafes available – they’re called ETESCAS, and are run by the country’s telecommunications company.  Since January 2016, there are also public WiFi hotspots available to use for a fee. You will need to purchase an access code from an ETESCA to log on.

Major towns have telephone centers for international calls, although it’s more expensive to call from Cuba than from other countries. Telephone, fax and email are available at most hotels.
  


Q: What’s the food like in Cuba?
A:

Cuba’s staple foods include tropical fruits, seafood, rice and black beans. The government used to limit the number of licenses for restaurants, which led to sub-par food. However, the restrictions were loosened in 2010 and the food available for travelers is flavorful and delicious. The country is also known for its coffee and rum.


Q: Are you able to accommodate special dietary requests?
A:

 Although vegetarians are easily accommodated, this may mean animal protein will be left out instead of substituted with a different protein source. However, Cuba is known for its rice and beans, which are easy to come by.

If you are concerned about finding an adequate supply of foods that fall within your dietary guidelines, we recommend you bring supplements and packaged snacks.

If you require a special diet (vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, etc.) or are allergic to any foods and did not indicate your needs on the trip application at the time of booking, please contact us so we can make special arrangements before your departure.


Q: Can I bring back Cuban cigars and rum back through U.S. customs?
A:

Yes. Travelers are allowed to bring back up to $400 worth of goods from Cuba for personal use, including up to $100 worth of alcohol or tobacco.