Cuba tour, Christmas & New Year holiday

“A one-of-a-kind 11-day, small-group fiesta of a tour which will see you ring in the New Year from a Havana rooftop. Believe us, nowhere does Christmas quite like Cuba. ”

Highlights

Havana | Old Havana walking and classic convertible car tours | Santa Clara guided walk | Parrandas de Remedios Festival | Trinidad | Informal salsa lesson | Casa de la Musica club evening | Christmas Day feast | Cienfuegos plus cocktail at Palacio de Valle | Viñales plus organic farm lunch| Tobacco farm tour | All-inclusive Havana rooftop New Year’s Eve party

Description of Cuba tour, Christmas & New Year holiday

Nowhere does the Christmas and New Year period quite like Cuba. The once-in-a-lifetime experience of our 11 Day / 10 Night Cuba New Years’ Group Tour takes in the festivities of both. In addition to seeing the sights of Havana, Santa Clara, Trinidad, Vinales and Cienfuegos, this special once-a-year tour also takes in the floats and fireworks of the Parrandas de Remedios festival, a Christmas feast in Trinidad, and a roof-top New Years’ Eve party in the capital which you’ll never forget.

With a tour group size of just 2 – 16 guests you’ll receive a personal level of service and never feel lost in a crowd while exploring Cuba’s points of interest at this very special time of year in the country. You’ll have access throughout to one of our expert local Cuban English-speaking guides so that you can get the most from your visit. Private air conditioned transport between destinations and an airport transfer on your arrival takes away all the stress of travelling from place to place, meaning you can focus on the important things – exploring Cuban culture.

Accommodation:

You’ll experience Cuban hospitality at its finest as you take advantage of the country’s unique casa particular accommodation. Unlike accommodation options anywhere else in the world, the Cuban casa system came into existence only after a relaxation in laws relating to private enterprise over recent years. Most akin to bed and breakfast accommodation, casas are small and their exact set up differs from casa to casa. Owned and run by ordinary Cuban families, they are rooms specifically aimed at foreign visitors. We ensure that whenever possible you are placed in a casa offering both ensuite facilities and air conditioning, giving you the benefits of a hotel but the sociability of a home.

Your Comfort on Tour:

Our 11 Day / 10 Night New Years’ Group Tour aims to allow our guests to experience the real Cuba over Christmas and New Year, while being as comfortable as possible. For this reason the tour includes:

- Your airport transfer on arrival.
- Bottled water on longer car journeys between destinations (2+ hours).
- Internet access card (2 hours) that you can use to access the internet.

Free time and optional activities:

Our 11 Day Cuba New Years’ Group Tour also gives you some free time to undertake a range of optional activities.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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Date
Price
Basis
23 Dec 2019
US $ 975
excluding flights
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Cuba tour, Christmas & New Year holiday

Environment

This tour is committed to showcasing the very best of Cuba, and providing travellers with an authentic and unforgettable small group tour experience in Cuba . You will have unrivalled access to local people from all walks of life while you experience an island that has so much to offer that sometimes you won’t even know where to begin (that’s what your experienced local guide is for). Our aim is to take you inside this remarkable society in a fun, respectful and meaningful way.

As an organisation our commitment to Cuba's environment and culture is unwavering as we are very much aware of the impact travel and tourism can have on a destination. For this reason we cap the number of people on the trip, so a group is no larger than 10 people. This enables us to source more authentic accommodation options and local transportation that makes a smaller footprint on the environment. Furthermore all of our tour guides are not only native to Cuba, but are passionate about the country they live in as well. This is of most importance to us, because we believe in showcasing the very best of Cuba and this starts with knowledgable guides who know the country inside out, for better and for worse. Using local guides (alongside local organisations) helps us contribute to local economies and give back to the communities we work with. We encourage our guides to speak honestly of the Cuba they have grown up in and there impressions of the outside world as a comparison. It also allows us to provide local employment and engagement in the community.

Our organisation has implemented and enforces a 7 point checklist which we share with our employees and fellow travellers that acts as a set of guidelines to help protect Cuba's natural environment. These guidelines include:

Protecting plants and wildlife - Removing rubbish - Keeping streams and lakes clean - Treating accommodation and host families with respect - Respecting Cuba's cultural heritage - Keeping to the track - Consider other people.

We also provide a set of recommendations to our travellers as to how they can can contribute, protect and enhance Cuba's culture and environment including:

- learning some of the local language,
- carrying a water bottle
- always disposing of waste in a responsible manner.
- minimise the amount of disposable goods travelled with
- be respectful with photography

We ensure that all activities and excursions we include and recommend have minimal impact on the environment and wildlife as well.

Community

Our ties to Cuba and its people are strong. We have built a network of people across Cuba who we affectionally call our 'Cuban family'. These include tour leaders, local guides, classic car drivers, Casa Particular (homestay owners), local restauranteurs, bar tenders and dance instructors all with there own stories to tell and experiences to share. We believe that giving something back to the community is essential, because it is this community that makes our tours such a success. We work with our fellow travellers, clients, employees, and local contacts to ensure the successes of our business go directly back into the community. This is not only good for the towns and cities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.

Our tours are committed to using local homestay accommodation, making your Cuban experience even more unique and memorable (not to mention fun!). Known as Casa Particulares, this type of accommodation is comfortable for guests and generally has very good facilities. They provide you with a great way to experience Cuban culture and interact with Cuban nationals.

Furthermore the activities we include and recommend in our tours, are ones that most benefit and are representative of the community.

All of our staff and local contacts are treated like family, enabling us to instil a sense of ownership amongst our stakeholders and deliver ongoing support to the Cuban people and economy. We know the country and its people inside out and our endeavour is to show the Cuba we love, live in and respect.

2 Reviews of Cuba tour, Christmas & New Year holiday

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 06 Jan 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It's hard to pick one sight or sound - Cuba is an amazing country, unlike anywhere on earth. Trinidad was a great place to visit, with everything you'd need - museums, restaurants - even a disco in a cave (get there before 11 to avoid queuing too long!) - and unlike Havana, you're not bothered by touts as much. However, the country is changing rapidly, especially since US citizens have been allowed to travel there from 1 January 2016.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Bring slippers/flip flops, ear plugs, mosquito repellant/sting relief, lots of diahorrea relief and most of all, you must bring a sense of humour and patience when queuing.

Don't expect anything to be like home - shortages are common - lots of menu items will not be available. And double check all restaurant bills - items are routinely added and overcharged for.

Read all you can about Cuba before you go.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


No, there was a disjoint between the environmental information you sent and the holiday we experienced. We did lots of touristy things, but didn't mix with many local people, just other tourists and people working in the tourist industry. We used the coach more than necessary, as our guide didn't want to walk. The Cuban tourist industry is still learning, and hopefully will adapt, when every day life isn't such a struggle for them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The holiday would have been better had our tour guide told us about Cuba, rather than nursed a hangover all the time. Sometimes he forgot that we were on holiday, not him! However, the tour ran smoothly enough - mainly thanks to our excellent driver!

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Bryan.

Thank you for your feedback regarding the Christmas/ New Year Group tour of Cuba. We really appreciate your honest appraisal of our services and are always looking for ways to improve and tweak our tour offerings.

I am sorry to hear that you feel like you didn't get the chance to mix with the locals, as this is something we very much encourage. The tour used Casa Particular/ Homestay accommodation, giving you the chance to stay with local families, offering a unique insight into Cuban culture and way of life. Hopefully you had the opportunity and made the effort to interact with these families on a one-to-one basis (although the language barrier can sometimes be difficult). Many of those people working in the tourist industry are English-speaking which makes things easier sometimes when it comes to engaging with the locals. Learning about the emergence of a new breed entrepreneurial Cuban locals is a fascinating aspect of travel to Cuba.

With regards to your guide on tour, we certainly actively encourage our guides to interact and engage with our clients on tour, and celebrate with them during what is a very festive time of the year. We also like our guides to host our clients in the evenings, showing them Cuba's thriving nightlife. In saying this, we will be speaking to your guide and reminding him of his responsibilities on tour as a host, educator and chaperone.

Viva Cuba!

Reviewed on 11 Jan 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


New Years Eve Party

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Expect very basic accomodation (too basic)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I suppose it may have but with the present regime there it is difficult to see how that would work.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


100% for Tour Guide, Coach and Driver. Everything else on a decresing scale. Leave out the Santa Clara/Remidious Festival.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Gerry,

Thank you for your honest feedback of our tour services.

I am really happy to to hear that you had a wonderful time in Cuba and really enjoyed your time with your Tour Guide and driver.

Your feedback is a great way for us to improve our tour services so we can continually improve as an organisation.

I am sorry to hear that you found the Casa accommodation a little too basic. We are constantly updating our list of preferred Casa's based on client feedback, so will definitely be reviewing which Casa's you stay in to see where we can make improvements. Casa's generally rank highly with our tour participants on their Cuba tour highlights reel and offer a great cultural experience at affordable prices. During December it is peak season in Cuba so often accommodation options are very limited but we always try to source the best possible Casa's available for our clients.

Many thanks again for your valuable feedback and all the best for 2015!

Best regards,

Dan S

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