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- DAY 1 ARRIVE HAVANA
- Meet your driver at the Havana airport when you arrive for a ride to the Saratoga Hotel, a colonial-style gem where you’ll stay while you’re in Havana. This hotel is across from the National Capitol Building and has views of Old Havana from the rooftop bar, swimming pool and restaurant. Today you’ll get settled into your accommodations and learn more at an orientation about what you’ll see and experience on your Luxury Cuba tour.
- DAY 2 HAVANA (OLD TOWN HAVANA / CLASSIC CAR TOUR / BUENA VISTA SHOW)
- Meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel after breakfast for a walking tour of Old Havana. Wander through Fusterlandia, a magical section of the Jaimanitas neighborhood near the sea that is now whimsically decorated with mosaics artwork. Meet José Furster, the artist who converted several blocks of the neighborhood from a poor borough into an iconic place to visit. Spend some time perusing the old classic cars that have helped inspire Cuba’s reputation for being trapped in time. Enjoy the sunset and a cocktail at the Hotel Nacional, one of the most famous hotels in Cuba, before heading to Café Taberna for the Buena Vista show and drinks. (B,L)
- DAY 3 HAVANA (ART DECO & HEMINGWAY TOUR / COOKING CLASS)
- Meet your guide in the lobby after breakfast to enjoy an Art Deco Tour of Old Havana and a trip through Hemmingway’s old haunts from when he lived in Cuba in the 1950s. Get ready for a cooking class in the evening, where you’ll learn to make some of Cuba’s signature dishes for dinner. (B,D)
- DAY 4 HAVANA - BAY OF PIGS - CIENFUEGOS (SNORKEL & SWIM / GIRON MUSEUM / PALACIO DEL VALLE)
- After breakfast you’ll bring your luggage with you to the lobby, where you’ll meet your guide for the trip to Cienfuegos. The “Pearl of the South” is ripe with French influence and Parisian-style boulevards. First, you’ll pass by the Bay of Pigs, a picturesque bay and the scene of the first failed U.S.-backed invasion in Latin America in 1961. Don’t forget to have your swimsuit handy – you’ll have time to snorkel and swim at Playa Larga, and to explore the Giron Museum to learn more about the nearby battle.
Once you reach Cienfuegos, you’ll get a lay of the land with a walking tour of the area, plus a visit to Palacio del Valle, an opulent early twentieth century mansion with echoes of the famous Moorish palaces of the Alhambra in Spain.
Tonight you’ll stay at Palacio Azul, a well-preserved Renaissance-style mansion perched beside the bay. Enjoy the hotel's terrace and bar for great drinks, stunning views and ocean breezes. (B)
- DAY 5 CIENFUEGOS - TRINIDAD (CITY TOUR / SANTERIA / SALSA LESSON)
- Today you’ll meet your driver with your luggage in the hotel lobby after breakfast for the trip to Trinidad, a colonial style city. Once you arrive your guide will give you an orientation of the city, including a visit to a Santeria priest’s house. You’ll learn more about Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religion practiced both in Cuba and the world over. You’ll also get a chance to kick up your heels at an introductory salsa lesson. Afterward, you’ll settle into the Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad, an elegantly updated 16th century World Heritage hotel with private terraces and modern conveniences. (B,L)
- DAY 6 TRINIDAD (WATERFALL HIKE)
- Today you’ll meet your guide in the lobby after breakfast. Bring your swimsuit for the walk to Salto de Javira Waterfall, where you’ll have a chance to swim in the cool fresh water. Dinner will be a specially prepared picnic on the beach, weather permitting. (B,D)
- DAY 7 TRINIDAD - HAVANA (CHE GUEVARA MUSEUM / FAMILY FARM LUNCH)
- After breakfast, you’ll meet your driver in the lobby with your luggage for the trip back to Havana. On the way, you’ll stop in Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum in the city that played an important role in the Cuban Revolution. Savor a farm-fresh lunch at a family farm outside Santa Clara before you head back to Havana. You’ll finish up your Cuban tour where you started, with one last night at the Saratoga Hotel. Enjoy a final farewell dinner before your departure the next day. (B,L,D)
- DAY 8 HAVANA - HOME
- Your driver will take you to the airport to catch your international flight home, ending your Luxury Cuba tour with Southern Explorations. (B)
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- Per Person$4,975
- Included in tour cost
- All airport/hotel transfers
- All hotel accommodations
- All listed activities
- English-speaking certified guides
- Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
- Meals as indicated
- 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)
- Trip Dates
- Weekly Departures. Contact us for details!Monday, January 1, 2018 to Friday, December 31, 2021Available
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.