Small group tour to Cuba

“Travel the length of Cuba on this 20 day tour, discovering its diversity, with a focus on meeting the Cuban people.”

Highlights

Start and finish in Havana | Baracoa | Santiago | Camagüey | Trinidad | Santa Clara | Che Guevara Museum | Cienfuegos | Bay of Pigs | two days in Havana | visit community arts projects | Las Terrazas | Soroa | Viñales | visit home of tobacco farmer

Description of Small group tour to Cuba

This 20 day tour of Cuba leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to the island’s cultural and natural history with an efficient domestic flight allowing for an extended exploration between Baracoa Havana and Viñales.

As part of a small group (max 14 people) you’ll be able to share experiences and make friends as you travel with lots of opportunities to meet local people and find out more about island lifestyles in the company of a knowledgeable and experienced Cuban national guide.

Many of the experiences that you’ll encounter will take place within government-led community projects with schools, allotments and ration stores inviting a unique look at life in Cuba that few casual tourists will ever get to witness.

Accommodation, also, places you at the heart of island communities with small family-owned homestays (casas particulars) letting you live with local people and get to know them, swap languages, have fun, without feeling like your just observing from out of a coach window.

From a guided tour of Old Havana to the ballet school in Camagüey and a night on the tiles in Santiago, this small group tour allows for cultural insight as well as plenty of chances to learn more about community arts projects and what it means to be a tobacco farmer, rolling your own cigars.

Transport is by private bus, taxi and domestic flight and transfers on arrival from the airport are included. There are 19 breakfasts included in this tour, and we encourage travellers to eat at local restaurants, street vendors and market stalls for a much more authentic taste of the real Cuba.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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30 Oct 2020
£890
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Full
 
06 Nov 2020
£890
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13 Nov 2020
£890
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20 Nov 2020
£890
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27 Nov 2020
£890
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04 Dec 2020
£890
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11 Dec 2020
£930
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18 Dec 2020
£935
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25 Dec 2020
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01 Jan 2021
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08 Jan 2021
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26 Feb 2021
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05 Mar 2021
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12 Mar 2021
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19 Mar 2021
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26 Mar 2021
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23 Apr 2021
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30 Apr 2021
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04 Jun 2021
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18 Jun 2021
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16 Jul 2021
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30 Jul 2021
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13 Aug 2021
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27 Aug 2021
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10 Sep 2021
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24 Sep 2021
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08 Oct 2021
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22 Oct 2021
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05 Nov 2021
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12 Nov 2021
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19 Nov 2021
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26 Nov 2021
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03 Dec 2021
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10 Dec 2021
£930
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17 Dec 2021
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24 Dec 2021
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31 Dec 2021
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
All our staff are trained in Responsible Tourism and make this an important part of their tour. We ensure all the activities offered to the travellers take into consideration the impact on the local environment and wildlife.

We economize our use of resources as much as possible, and we also try to reduce the amount of waste we produce and encourage our guests to do so as well. One example of a measure we have taken is to include drinking water for our travelers and include this in the tour package. The tour leader (guide) is given a budget to buy large 5 litre bottles of drinking water and store these on the tour bus. The guests are encouraged to use this water to refill their own drinking bottles. This avoids the guests buying smaller plastic water bottles everyday. If they haven't brought their own bottle to refill, they can buy 1 small bottle at the start of the tour for their personal use, which they can refill with the drinking water we provide. Filtered or purified water is very uncommon in Cuba, and the vast majority of tourists buy plastic bottles of drinking water. Our method reduces the amount of plastic waste from this practice as much as possible.

Additionally, our tour leaders participate in the No Straws campaign by encouraging our travellers to use reusable straws or to decline straws altogether. All of our tour leaders have been given metal straws which not only reduces their own plastic consumption but sets an example for others in their community. They have enthusiastically supported this campaign, so much so that one tour leader found a rural vendor selling sustainably produced bamboo straws which we now purchase to use on our tours, supporting both the environment and the local economy.

Some of our tour leaders started an initiative to pick up trash en route between the provinces, not only does this maintain the health and beauty of the environment, but also sets an example for the community which has noticed the efforts of the group.

We look for ways to be efficient with our energy use and implement these methods on all of our tours. For example, we try to reduce as much as possible the use of air-conditioning. With the high levels of heat in Cuba for most of the year, and the fact that the travelers are usually unaccustomed to this, the use of air-conditioning is in many cases unavoidable. Our tour leaders are trained to include in their briefing to the guests, to stress the importance of turning off air-conditioning when they are not needing it and to close all doors and windows so that the cool air does not escape from the room. They are encouraged to see if they can sleep comfortably with just a fan, instead of having their air-conditioning turned on all night.

The treatment and care of animals is a particular concern of ours, to that end we donate a portion of tour proceeds to Cubans in Defense of Animals (CeDA) a non-governmental non-profit organization in Havana that provides care and sterilization to street animals, advocates for animal rights, and facilitates adoptions of stray dogs and cats. We encourage our travellers to bring donations of money or much needed supplies to CeDA, our guides will help arrange a drop off. We run in the Havana Marathon in November to raise funds for CeDA, and you are welcome to participate!

We promote best practices in responsible tourism and actively encourage our local suppliers to join us in our green campaigns.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

On this tour you will have the option to visit the remote Yumuri village, an agricultural and fishing village where you can enjoy a beautiful meal and boat ride down the picturesque Yumuri river. Tourism gives this village a much needed economic boost, as it is the only available employment for many in this town between harvest seasons. This is also a good place for you to bring donations, such as clothes, shoes, linens, particularly items for children. We also support the ballet school in Camaguey. The ballet school has a costume department that runs on more creativity than resources, and would welcome donations of sewing and costuming supplies (thread, needles, sequins, etc).

This trip is filled with opportunities to get to know the culture and vibrant society of the intriguing island nation of Cuba. Nearly all of the accommodation is in the homes of Cuban families, where you will get to see how Cubans live, observe their way of life, and participate in their culture.

We directly run all the on-ground services and do not go through a second agent as the majority of tour providers to Cuba do. We have our own dedicated staff of locals in Havana and regional centres. A network of tour leaders, local guides and local transport providers, plus local office staff. We use local coordinators in regional centres to get the best possible access to services possible and to bring in local expertise.

Our tour leaders are paid fair and healthy wages, and thusly are prohibited from taking commissions or other unethical business practices. We offer bonuses and other incentives to encourage honesty and transparency from our tour leaders which results in better service to our customers and has a positive influence on the local culture where they are seen as role models. The tour leaders receive annual training in several different subject areas, including responsible travel, safety, diversity, and ethics, and we encourage them to develop and grow through additional training, special projects, and leadership opportunities.

We encourage and support their charitable endeavors. We have a team of kind-hearted generous tour leaders who have initiated company-supported donation drives and fundraising for disaster relief, medical expenses, and animal welfare.

We also encourage our groups to eat in small Paladars run by the locals or to eat in homestays with local families.

We ensure that we 'spread the wealth' throughout each town so the benefit is to the community as a whole and not a few individuals. In this we attempt to get as many local providers involved in our tours as possible, providing a BBQ by the river, or similar activities where the group is mixing with the real locals and not just those in the tourism industry.

We encourage respectful travel in Cuba. Our Cuban tour leaders will give you an insight into the complex Cuban history and society. The tour leader will demonstrate how this unique country has managed to resist many of the negative impacts of North American culture, influence, and capitalism, and how it has achieved significant social goals, and at the same time, show you the short-comings of the present system.

The maximum group size of this tour is limited to 14 travellers which enables us to more easily interact with the Cubans and to visit their homes and places of work and play. It also minimises our impact on the local culture and society. You will get the chance to visit government run local community projects such as the ‘organoponicos’ (urban based community organic produce gardens), and ration stores.

All travellers are encouraged to explore with the group and on their own, learn a few words of the ‘Cubanised’ Spanish, and to interact with the locals as much as possible. The local guides are employed to help explain as much as possible about the cultural differences and the historically significant places that we visit and to make your experience in Cuba as enjoyable and as much fun as possible.

Our commitment to responsible tourism is not limited to our overseas operation and we have measures to ensure our Australian and US offices operate according to our responsible tourism policy.

Climate

9 Reviews of Small group tour to Cuba

4.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
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Reviewed on 01 Dec 2018 by

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


Staying in Soroa surrounded by lush greenery, mountains and silence.

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



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


This vacation benefited local people by the infusion of cash into the neighborhoods we visited. We contributed to environmetal impacts by the bus fumes and drinking bottled water.

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


Wonderful to get a glimpse of the "real" Cuba and its people.
Op to possibly respond? Chris informed - 07/11/18 LJ

Reviewed on 06 Aug 2018 by

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


Mixing with local people and having a great local guide.

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




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


Yes

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


A great trip. We got to do everything we wanted to do and more.

Reviewed on 13 Feb 2018 by

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


I enjoyed all of the 20 day trip, but Soroa and Baracoa stand out, largely because they were least touched by tourism, we had amazing casas, met wonderful people and enjoyed the lovely scenery in these areas. Snorkelling en route from Cienfuegos to Havana was also a treat. Cubans were very friendly, who seemed to enjoy sharing their country and time with us.

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


We found the food to be better than the tour books suggested, with no need for supplementary spices or snacks from home. Meals were generally huge so we
were never hungry.

We did the 20 day trip which was a combination of a 15 day eastern tour and 5 day tour of the western part of the island. The Vinales component could easily
have been done on our own.

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


Yes, by staying at private casas and eating at private restaurants. We were given large water containers from which we could fill our small bottles brought
from home, thus eliminating the need to buy water in plastic containers along the way.

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


It was a great trip and I would recommend it to anyone interested in Cuban history and culture, and in adventure travel generally.

Reviewed on 08 Jun 2017 by

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


Exploring different areas of Cuba. Areas visited on this tour were all well chosen to show diversity of Cuba... Swimming on beautiful beaches, visiting ballet school, learning about Cuban history, beautiful art and architecture, lovely people. Being in a small group of travelling companions. Having the most excellent travel guide Osvaldo Mojena!!!

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


Try to take advantage of Cuba's poor internet access and switch off from the outside world. I didn't use internet for 3 weeks and can honestly say this was one of the best holidays I ever had. Have a toilet paper with you at all times.

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


Yes

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


Trully excellent

Reviewed on 09 Sep 2017 by

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


The history that comes alive when you visit all the sites and gives one a true sense of Cuba

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


Single travellers be prepared for alot of male attention which can just be ignored. Alot of people rely on tourism so tipping is expected for almost everything. Stay an extra couple of days in Havana to see the sites and wander around the old town. Not all phones pick up social media and not all bankcards work so have a back up. There is a place in every main town to buy internet and exchange money. There is a bunch of extra activities to do and your guide normally advises the best one which is well worth it. Enjoy!

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


As we stayed in local families houses we did benefit them, hopefully this would have extended into the broader community.

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


Our tour operator was really good, definately would recommend them. It's invaluable having a local guide who takes you through the history, culture and the Cuban way. Doing the 21 Cuban day tour gives a fantastic overview of Cuba

Reviewed on 26 May 2017 by

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


Taking part in the Salsa band and dance in Santiago

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


Research what you want to get out of the holiday before coming . Travel light, but include beachwear and something to keep the rain off. Be flexible.

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


Certainly benefitted local people. Was low impact. Not sure about supporting conservation.

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


Fascinating glimpse of a very different society.

Reviewed on 04 Apr 2017 by

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


The entire eastern Cuba tour. I felt like we were really exposed to the culture, the history, and the people of Cuba. From the Bararumba Afro-Cuban dance
performance in Baracoa, to the "noche de salsa" in Santiago, we were enthralled by Cuba. The western portion of the tour took us through beautiful countryside, but since it is so accessible from Havana, it tends to be more touristy- especially Vinales.

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


Go for the combined eastern and western tours, if you have the time and money. It is definitely more comprehensive, and you'll truly come away feeling you
know the real Cuba. Be prepared to not have internet access readily available. When you are gone for almost 3 weeks, that can be an issue.

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


Yes, tourism is really the only economy the country has at this point. They need people to visit to keep afloat. Perhaps the money we bring in will eventually
improve their infrastructure and communications access. Perhaps the money will stop them from strip mining for nickel in eastern Cuba.

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


All in all it was excellent.

Reviewed on 26 Dec 2015 by

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


* "Fusterlandia" neighbourhood
* BBQ suckling pig dinner 'al fresco' in Baracoa
* Cuban cabaret in Havana ('live' Cuban band and 'living legends' singing)
* Volunteering at the organic farm in Vinales

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


* Follow the tips/advice on what to bring, estimated daily expenditure.
currency/credit cards, etc that is posted on your web site. Very insightful and
accurate.
* verify/set-up your credit card limit with your bank before the visit (we were
limited to withdrawing 300 Euros/week which was insufficient for 2)
* bring OTP medication for sore throat, colds, coughs. Due to the temperature
variation outdoor heat/humidity and indoor/in-vehicle aircon chill, almost everyone in our group developed a hacking cough/cold.
* If you have any issues, do not hesitate to immediately raise them with your guide. He/She is there to solve your problems and ensure that your visit is enjoyable.
* If possible, learn some Spanish - it'd make for a richer experience.

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


Yes indeed, although we would have loved to see the benefits spread to more Cubans beyond the home stay owners, restaurants and tour companies. Our guide set a good example - he chided a tourist who was leaving an empty plastic bottle in a tree rather than walk to the garbage bin; he would discreetly ask the waiter or other guide to ask tourists to stop smoking near our dining table.

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


Good! We could have shortened the stay in some cities (Baracoa, Trinidad, Havana). Our holiday combined 2 tours so we were in Havana thrice. It would have been preferable to start in Havana; and end in Havana once instead of twice. Our guide Alex Jorge was fantastic - knowledgeable, good command of English, candid, funny, patient and a problem-solver. All home stays were clean although the welcome, plumbing, noise level, and décor varied, and may appeal differently to different tourists.

Reviewed on 04 Jan 2014 by

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


Too many to list, but the airport episode and the plane journey from Baracoa to Havana is up there with the most memorable and incredibly exciting! Hugging an iguana was pretty different, smoking Cuban cigars and drinking Havana Ron (and loving it) is very different to my everyday life. The scenery is spectacular, the homestays are excellent, and the availability of options for what you would like to do in particular areas is great.

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


This is Cuba....don't expect everything to go according to plan! Be adaptable, expect the unexpected, and be prepared to laugh....a lot! It is what it is! I loved it.

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


Staying at homestays benefits the local people, and once you are there and you have a better understanding of the history and its economic impact, it becomes even more obvious why the tourist dollar is so very important.

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


Absolute blast! Learnt so much, laughed so hard, appreciated the music and the cars....there is no other place like Cuba.

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