Cuba holiday, Havana to Santiago de Cuba
Description of Cuba holiday, Havana to Santiago de Cuba
This private Cuba itinerary follows the most carefully crafted itinerary from west coast to east across this, the largest island in the Caribbean. Starting in Havana you take a fascinating journey all the way to the Oriente region, which is what Cuban people call the east of the island.
This coast to coast holiday is all about connecting with local communities, learning about contemporary culture as well as cultural heritage, but also enjoying the natural landscapes that this wonderful island has to offer. We think we have created a perfect mix of say heritage one day, horse riding the next. Or the paladares and playas of Trinidad, followed by hiking in the Sierra Escambray mountains.
We always endeavour to ensure that there is a genuine cultural exchange on these holidays and we find that the best way to do that is by staying in traditional Cuban casas particulares along the way. Carefully selected by our team with superb local knowledge, we are sure that you will get the most fantastic Cuban Caribbean welcome wherever you go.
The landscapes will vary all the time, from coastal treats such as Cienfuegos, otherwise known as the "Pearl of the South" and set on its own exquisite bay, to the rainforests of Baracoa in the east. You will even get to trek to the top of El Yunque, a 575metre table mountain overlooking the bay. And in case you thought you weren’t able to top that, your last day is in Santiago de Cuba, a steamy tropical city, with steamy and vibrant Afro Haitian culture, far from the tourist crowds of Havana. Yet packed with music and fine food, all to be explored on a guided tour. Or simply from the balcony of Hotel Granda, a favourite spot to enjoy your last Cuban cocktail.
PlanetAs responsible citizens of planet earth, we are painfully aware of the impact humans are having on the climate.
Espiritu Travel now offers carbon-neutral travel for all trips to Cuba. We see it as yet another important step in our journey towards creating a more sustainable travel company. Greenhouse gas emissions are calculated for all our customized trips to Cuba, taking into account the use of fuels in local travel, emissions from food, and energy used in accommodations. We work with Carbon Credit Capital to ensure accurate results and come up with simple metrics like emissions per person, per trip while in-country.
As part of our commitment, we support a carbon offset project that reduces emissions by the same amount as what you emit during your trip! We have chosen to support a project in the Amazon rainforest that fights deforestation in one of the most highly deforested areas of Brazil. The project protects over 149,000 hectares of the virgin rainforest from deforestation, housing 44,000+ species of plants and animals, including over 30 vulnerable species. The project also provides improved quality of life for over 6,200 local community members—including paths to land title ownership, and improved diversity of the local economy with capacity building for cultivating new and highly valuable forest crops and products.
In a place like Cuba, where sustainable tourism is practically unheard of, it is not so easy to make a difference. However, we provide travelers with information before they depart on how they can reduce their negative impacts and make positive contributions to the communities they will visit in Cuba. This includes reducing waste, avoiding plastic bags and straws as well as being aware of water consumption. Furthermore, we encourage travelers to use filtered water bottles by offering a discount to purchase one before their trip. In the future, we hope to be able to offer travelers a free gift of these types of bottles.
The issue of animals in captivity is a sensitive one for our company. We do not promote visits to any place where there are captive wild animals. The situation for domestic animals in Cuba is often appalling. Horse taxis and scenic rides. We do not recommend these activities as nostalgic as they may seem, many of these horses are in poor condition. In addition, the majority of them work extremely long hours, oftentimes in extreme heat and humidity with poor tack that leaves open wounds on their bodies. Horses around the country have borne the brunt of the transportation crisis in the country especially outside of Havana. While there are animal welfare laws, they are not enforced and it is obvious the suffering they endure horses. We promote the use of bicycles taxis to get around the cities and towns. In places where horseback riding excursions are part of the itinerary, we have carefully selected the stable in which we work ensuring the highest standards are met for the welfare of the horses.
Our guides are not permitted to take clients to places where animals are used as entertainment or are kept in poor conditions.
In Cuba, solid waste pollution is a problem all over the island and in particular in the cities and towns. Waste disposal systems are just not adequate on the island and with a rapid increase in tourism this year alone, the problem could get worse. We provide suggestions on how travelers can reduce their impact.
We suggest bringing canvas carrier bags so that you can use them for when you purchase water or souvenirs rather than the one-use plastic bags. We provide discounts for purchasing filtered bottled water before the trip, reducing the need to purchase bottled water. In the near future, we hope to be able to provide these filtered water bottles to all travelers.
We provide information to travelers on ways to reduce water consumption during their trip.
We encourage travelers to use bicycle taxis or walking for exploring the cities. Bicycle taxis are a great way to enjoy all the towns and cities throughout the island.
PeopleWe work directly with Cubans and Cuban businesses, Our customized trips create jobs and help local families. We collaborate with local businesses, artisans and endorse real connections between countries and people
As an example, one of our eight-day trips to Cuba supports a number of entrepreneurs/small businesses and their families as well as the subsequent indirect linkages with other sectors. Over the last seven years, we have maintained working relationships with a plethora of small businesses, from casas particulares, family-owned restaurants to local guides and shop owners.
We endeavor to provide plenty of information so that travelers can also support small businesses that sell unique souvenirs or one-of-a-kind home decor or even locally designed fashion. This support allows businesses to flourish, grow and expand.