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The Explorer

7 Days
Havana, Cuba

$2,200 

From

USD

Cuba Cultural Adventure

Although the "People to People" category of Cuban travel was eliminated, the "Support for the Cuban People" category still exists and we are happy to say that this trip falls under this category! The trip is designed to ensure legitimate engagement in a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, and that result in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.

7 days, 6 nights of raw culture

Experience the best of Cuba on this 7-day fully compliant multi-sport adventure. Beginning in the vibrant and captivating city of Havana, you'll travel in classic cars with the locals, visit and lend a helping hand at a community center and then head to the coast. While at the coast snorkel in the warm crystal clear water and have a chance to help log specific animal and plant life sightings and play an ongoing role in the country's monitoring of climate change. Next, you’ll spend a night in the Art Deco, French colonial infused city of Cienfuegos, followed by a day of hiking to natural waterfalls with a private botanist. Explore Topes De Collantes park with one of our local partners as we help them develop their small business that sells coffee at the trailhead. Then travel by horseback through the countryside and stop at a local sugar cane farm with a private Cuban horseman guide. We’ll then drive to our last destination, the UNESCO colonial jewel of Trinidad, an incredible town to walk around in, with its hilly, colonial streets dating from the 1500’s. 

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Trip Package Includes
  • Private transportation (including airport transfers) and English speaking guide the entire week

  • Accommodations (6 nights in private home lodging, based on double occupancy)

  •  Breakfast on days 2-7

  • Havana classic 1950's convertible tour :)

  • Havana biking, Cienfuegos snorkeling, Topes de Collantes hiking, Trinidad horseback ride, and Trinidad snorkeling

  • Unmatched learning from and talking with local Cubans

Not Included
  • Cuban Tourist Visa (required by all visitors, not just Americans, costs approximately $60-$100, and your airline must make its sale available to you or we can assist) 

  • Round trip air to/from Havana, Cuba

  • Travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads)

  • Single supplement of $150 per person if private room is desired throughout trip

  • Lunches and dinners not included

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Optional scuba diving (about $40)

  • Guide and driver gratuities

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  • Can I go early or stay after the trip?
    Yes. We are more than happy to give you recommendations for other activities to do on your trip if you have more time! Keep in mind everything outside the trip will be on your own dime. We can not provide any outside transportation (including to or from the airport) outside the planned schedule.
  • What is your cancelation policy?
    We get it! Crap happens. Rescheduling: We allow date changes up to 45 days before your trip. Reach out to us and we can work with you to reschedule. Canceling: 20% nonrefundable deposit is due at booking. The final 80% is due 60 days before the trip and can be refunded up until 30 days before your trip. Within 30 days of your departure, trip is nonrefundable.
  • How many people will be on the trip?
    The maximum group size is 10 people, and the average is usually around 5 or 6. If you book with 6+ people, we can ensure it will be your group only.
  • What should I bring with me? Do you have a packing list?
    We will send out a Welcome Packet with a packing list for your specific trip after booking!
  • Will someone pick me up from the airport?
    Yes! All of our trips include airport pickup and drop-offs (as well as all the awesome stuff in between).
  • Wait, is it legal/ safe to travel to Cuba??
    As long as the many new rules are abided by, yes it is. This trip is hand-designed to completely and directly comply with the amended OFAC general license 31 CFR § 515.574, “Support For The Cuban People”. This general license authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are intended to provide support for the Cuban people. OFAC has amended this general license to require that each traveler utilizing this authorization engage in a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, and that result in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba. All of our trips comply with all 3 parts of that requirement, mixing in a very impressive variety of activities – cultural, historical, and adventure – while also spending time with the locals of this fascinating country. In all our years of trips here we have never had a problem with this concern.
  • How does money work in Cuba?
    There are two currencies in Cuba. The local currency, peso, and the convertible peso (CUC), which is tied to the US dollar at a 1:1 ratio. The local guide will help you change some money into local currency. Credit cards are not generally accepted, and withdrawing money from an ATM is generally not possible, so you'll need to bring all the cash you'll need for dinners, drinks, souvenirs, etc. For most people that is from $500 to $1500. We can arrange for safe, free safeguarding of your spending money throughout the trip so you can focus on having fun.
  • How do I purchase a travel visa to Cuba?
    Cuba requires all visitors - not just Americans - to purchase a travel visa. This is essentially granted automatically to anyone traveling to Cuba. If traveling through Mexico, this visa can be bought at the check-in counter of the Cancun or Mexico City airport for $20. If flying directly from the US, most airlines have their own system for this visa and they are the ones responsible for providing it to you. Most airlines are charging between $50 to $90 for this visa. Please ask us if you have any questions.
  • What are the accommodations like?
    You'll stay in private homes (“casas”). These are private, local homes that have been restored - they include private rooms with private bathrooms, often with separate entrances. They are clean and comfortable, and you get to know the local families if you want to. Like Airbnb but cooler. Many travelers say it is one of their favorite parts of the trip.
  • Are there things I need to be aware of to remain compliant while traveling?
    Yes, there are a few things to remember (don't worry that's why we're here). In general, you may eat only at privately owned (paladares) restaurants (which have the best food anyways!). Be aware our schedule is jam-packed because scheduled that free time isn't allowed under the Support for the Cuban People exception. Our itinerary does allow some flexibility for your preference during time away from the group, as long as it includes lots of authentic and organic interactions with the local people and independent, small private businesses :)
  • Will I need to be in good shape?
    Our trips are build to be very active. Fitness or adrenaline enthusiasts will get more than their fill. That being said, most of the biking in Peru is downhill and the most of the hard hikes have a horse option. Thus, you do not need to be in great shape. Average or better is totally fine! *"The Biker" trip requires intermediate to advanced skill and good shape
  • Is Airfare Included? What is the best way to get to the trip start location?
    No, airfare is not included. This trip begins and ends at the Cusco, Peru airport (CUZ). You should aim to arrive between 8AM to 10AM on Day 1 (Sunday), and depart between 3PM - 5PM on Day 7 (Saturday). We will pick you up at the airport in Cusco and drop you off there at the end of the trip. Upon booking, we will send you a complete packet which goes into this and other aspects of your trip in great detail!

Your Itinerary

Day 1 

Arrive at the airport in Havana at any time. We will meet you at the airport and provide private transportation to your casa in Havana. Once you're settled, you'll embark on a short walk around town with your guide to stretch your legs and get acquainted before having a group dinner and getting a short trip briefing.

Day 2 

Explore the historic city of Havana, Cuba! You'll go for an hour drive around Havana in a classic 1950’s convertible and stop by a spot completely off the tourist path. Then we’ll make a quick visit to a community center for elderly Cubans who would otherwise be home alone. These folks actually lived through the history and it’s a tremendous opportunity to hear their stories first hand. We will head off on an hour bike ride through the back streets of Havana to a local, privately-owned food market and chat with the locals. After lunch, we will take a nice long (one to three hour) walk through historic Old Towne Havana to drop off some school supplies to a local school.

Day 3 

We will drive first to a local farm off the beaten path, for an hour hike around the jungle and a look at how the locals are now allowed to have their own private farm business. Many of them are just now being able to sell their products, and past travelers who are gardeners themselves have been able to provide a lot of insight on newer practices, organics, etc. Then we will drive to the historic Bay of Pigs. We'll head to an isolated beach for a snorkeling excursion into the Carribean Sea with one of our new, local, private entrepreneur partners who's emphasis is on protecting the environment. After lunch we continue to the bayside town of Cienfuegos where we will enjoy its classic French colonial architecture.

Day 4 

First, we’ll make a short drive to El Nicho National Park to check our ongoing social projects. We’ll hike the short but famous waterfall-laden trail with a local, private botanist who is working on cataloging all the unique flora to this region including newly discovered ones. We’ll then drive to our last destination, the UNESCO colonial jewel of Trinidad, and an amazing lunch at a private, local restaurant. With many small private vendors and optional activities like cooking classes, salsa dance, cigar vendors, and music, we will have some time to have some authentic interactions with the local people and independent businesses. Then we have the option of renting a bike for a ten mile bike ride out to the coast and sunset over the Caribbean.

Day 5 

After breakfast, head into the steep, lush mountain range above town for a rugged hike through the jungle to a waterfall and swimming hole with one of our local partners as we help them develop their small hut business near the trailhead that sells fresh coffee from the nearby mountains. After the hike, return to Trinidad for lunch. Then, a three hour afternoon horseback or hiking outing into the countryside with a small, private Cuban horseman. Included is a cool stop at a local sugar cane farm, where both rum and sugar are produced.

Day 6

After breakfast we will drive along the coast for an hour to one of our favorite places in Cuba. We’re excited about our latest project documenting the marine life, and water temperatures, over time at our small, unspoiled dive spot in the Caribbean. Your local, private guide will take you snorkeling to see some of the best preserved coral reefs in the world, or there is the option to upgrade to scuba instead. There is also the option here of a nice hike through the jungle. We’ll have lunch here (tremendous fresh seafood the specialty) before a late afternoon return to Havana.

Day 7

Depending on the time of your flight, after breakfast we will take you to the airport, or if you have extra time you can do some last minute shopping for souvenirs from the many small, locally owned shops near our casa.

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