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HAVANA IMAGINED

From $3,295 per person based on double occupancy

8 Days / 7 Nights

Group Size: Max. 6 people
Physical Rating: Easy Physical Rating

HAVANA IMAGINED map

Accredited by:

Espíritu Travel - Accredited

Member of:

Espíritu Travel - Member

What's included

Accomodations
  • Casas particulares

  • Casas particulares are Cuba's unique B&B. When staying at a casa particular you will have a private bedroom, bathroom as well all rooms have air conditioning. The casas that we use for our trips have all been hand-selected and inspected by us to ensure the highest standard.

  • Havana: Five nights
  • VIñales: Two nights
Meals
  • Seven breakfasts
  • Six lunches
  • Five dinners
Transport
  • Private transportation, modern, air-conditioned vehicles
  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Transportation between destinations and during scheduled activities
Staff
  • Professional photographer Jim O’Donnell. See his work here.
Other
  • Excursions as described in detailed itinerary (entrance fees included).

What's not included

Travel Insurance
  • Click here for a quote.
Flights
  • Commercial flights are available on JetBlue (direct from JFK), United (direct from EWR), American, Delta and Southwest.
Other
  • Tips for guides/drivers/waiters
  • Cuban tourist visa (purchased at check in)
  • Mandatory medical insurance (included with the purchase of the flight)
  • Some meals

Introduction

Experience the Cuba You’ve Always Imagined

With great grand avenues lined in a rainbow of colorful buildings, vintage cars cruising crumbling alleyways, Che Guevara’s face staring at your every turn and a sea-soaked ocean walkway full of lovers and dreamers, Havana itself is an audacious dream. Cuba stretches over 42,000 square miles but without a doubt, the city of Havana is the heart of this island nation. Both the political and cultural capital of Cuba, Havana is an unparalleled living museum. Prepare yourself!

Havana Imagined

This is a customized workshop specifically designed for photographers of ANY skill level and built on multiple visits to Cuba. We’ve put together an itinerary that maximizes photographic opportunities. This is a small group workshop limited to 6 people and is one of the most affordable Cuba photography workshops available. This tour is also built on ethical principles and is done in support of the Cuban people. We work with Cuba’s growing number of small entrepreneurs. We stay in private homes, eat at locally-owned establishments, work with local Cuban photographers and guides and seek to build relationships with the Cuban people. You’ll get the best of both worlds by visiting Havana’s impressive tourist attractions, soaking up the art and cultural scene, discovering hidden local spots around the city and breaking out into the farmlands and natural parks of the Viñales region, all while learning tips and tricks to photograph these special spots. This workshop provides an opportunity to discover and photograph things most tourists will never get to chance to see, all while meeting some of the island nation’s most interesting inhabitants, including fellow Cuban photographers. Havana Imagined is also a way to support the Cuban people. Our “Take a Camera to Havana” program will provide the opportunity for you to donate your old or unused camera equipment to Cuban photographers in need.

Day 1

Saturday, November 2. Welcome to Cuba

Welcome to Cuba

Workshop orientation meeting on the terrace of La Guarida

Day 2

Sunday, November 3. Getting Acquainted

Sunrise at the Malecón

Old Havana Walking Tour

Rumba dance and Callejón Hamel

Enjoy a free afternoon

Night photography at Fortress San Carlos de la Cabaña, street market & El Cañonazo

Day 3

Monday, November 4. Havana, Inside and Out

Classic Cars & Panoramic City Tour

Photograph the hidden gems of Havana.

Sunset photography at the Bacardi Building

Enjoy live music at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano

Day 4

Tuesday, November 5. The Boxers and The Ballerinas

Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym

Photo Session at the Cuban National Ballet

Enjoy Havana's nightlife

Day 5

Wednesday, November 6. Photographers and Musicians

Visit to Fototeca de Cuba to meet Cuban photographers

Capture Havana's musicians with your camera

Photography of cityscapes during the Golden Hour

Day 6

Thursday, November 7. Off to Viñales!

Las Terrazas and Soroa

Enjoy live music in Viñales

Day 7

Friday, November 8. Hiking and Tobacco

Viñales National Park & Tobacco Plantation

Farewell dinner

Day 8

Saturday, November 9. Adiós Cuba!

Transfer to airport

Day 1

Saturday, November 2. Welcome to Cuba

Accommodation: casa particular
Dinner

Welcome to Cuba

Espiritu Travel Cuban Manager Carlos and Jim O’Donnell will greet you at Havana airport upon your arrival. Please make your flight* arrangements so that you arrive before 2:00pm on November 2, 2019.  If you are unable to arrive before that time, we are able to arrange a pre-night and the arrival transfer (additional costs apply).

Transfer to your casa particular, check in and get settled.

*Flights can be booked with JetBlue (directed from JFK), United (direct from EWR), Delta, American or Southwest

Welcome to Cuba and workshop orientation meeting with Jim O'Donnell

Settle into your casa and get familiar with the neighborhood.  In the late afternoon, we will head to the Welcome to Cuba orientation meeting and sunset with drinks on the terrace at La Guarida

Day 2

Sunday, November 3. Getting Acquainted

Accommodation: casa particular
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Sunrise at the Malecón

For those who are up for it, we will head to the Malecón at dawn for sunrise photos of the fishermen, city and the Straits of Florida.

Walking Tour of Old Havana

After breakfast at about 9am we begin our exploration of Havana with a walking tour in Old Havana with our Cuban guide. We will be on the lookout for street dancers with colorful costumes, unique architecture and the Havana you’ve always imagined – as well as the one you didn’t know existed. We will talk about street photography best practices and work on getting our first captures of Havana. We will uncover what part of the city has been restored and what has not.

Rumba dance and Callejón Hamel

Before lunch at about 1130am we will head to Callejón Hamel. Aside from its funky street murals and psychedelic art shops, the main reason to come to Havana's high temple of Afro-Cuban culture in Centro Habana is the frenetic rumba music that kicks off every Sunday at around noon.

Enjoy a free afternoon in Havana

After lunch there are a couple of hours to experience Havana on your own.  You are free to practice your photography or take a break from it and check out some of the sights.

Night photography & El Cañonazo

Before dinner we will head to the Fortress San Carlos de La Cabaña for sunset photography of the Havana cityscape.

After dinner we will attend the Ceremony of the Canon Blast at 9:00 pm and the nighttime street market afterwards.

Day 3

Monday, November 4. Havana, Inside and Out

Accommodation: casa particular
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Classic Cars & Panoramic City Tour

For those who are up for it, we will again wake up early this morning for more photos of the Malecón and the city at dawn.

Today we will begin with an hour and a half panoramic tour of Havana in classic American cars, stopping along the way for pictures of several Havana sites as well as pictures of the cars themselves. After that you’ll want to move your body and so we will enjoy a walking tour of Fuente de La India, Parque de La Fraternidad, Capitolio, Gran Teatro Alicia Alonso, Parque Central where we will have a chance for some photography with more vintage cars as well as some further play with street captures.

Sunset photography at the Bacardi building

We will set a time to meet back at the casas in order head over to the rooftop of the Barcardi building for sunset photography or we will prowl the streets of old Havana, depending on the light.

Enjoy live music at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano

If anyone has any energy left there is live music at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, an intellectual nexus for live music, art expos, fashion shows and invigorating debate over coffee and cocktails, in this converted cooking-oil factory in the Vedado neighborhood. Alternatively, there is a wonderful drag show at the Las Vegas Bar just around the corner from our casas. This has been a favorite with past participants but it doesn’t start until 11pm.

Day 4

Tuesday, November 5. The Boxers and The Ballerinas

Accommodation: casa particular
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym

Wake up early this morning for more photos of the Malecón and the city at dawn.

This morning we will have a photo session at the Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym.  There are few boxing rings more unique than the open-air Rafael Trejo gym in Old Havana. Tucked in between deteriorating apartment buildings, the public ring, named after a Cuban law student who was killed while leading protests against the Machado presidency in the 1930s, is home to some of Cuba’s elite athletes, as well as a training ground for young champions-to-be.

Photo Session at the Cuban National Ballet

After lunch, we visit the Cuban National Ballet in Havana Vieja, for a photo session with the ballerinas

At sunset we will stroll along the Malecón for “golden hour” captures of the city, the sea and the festive gathering of Habañeros, the people of Havana!

Enjoy Havana's nightlife

After dinner, head back to your casa or enjoy live music at La Zorra y El Cuervo, Havana’s most famous jazz club or check out another night of drag at the Las Vegas Bar!

Day 5

Wednesday, November 6. Photographers and Musicians

Accommodation: casa particular
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Fototeca de Cuba

Wake up early this morning for more photos of the Malecón and the city at dawn.

Today you head to Fototeca de Cuba.  Inaugurated in 1986 to preserve, study and promote Cuba’s photographic heritage, Fototeca de Cuba, boasts the nation’s largest, most valuable collection of Cuban photographs as well as a considerable number of documents related to the history of photography.  You will meet with Cuban photographers who will present their work. Both photographers have broad interests in everything related to street photography, portraiture and documenting the culture of Havana. This will be our opportunity to donate old or unused camera equipment through our “Take a Camera to Havana” program.

Capture Havana's musicians with your camera

After lunch we will head to the Vedado neighborhood where we will have an organized photography shoot with some of the musicians that help bring Havana to life.

Photography of cityscapes during the Golden Hour

For those that are up for it, we will enjoy the sunset from a different rooftop of where we will again have an opportunity to photograph wide cityscapes during the Golden Hour.

Dinner tonight at the one and only San Cristobal Paladar!

Day 6

Thursday, November 7. Off to Viñales!

Accommodation: casa particular
Breakfast

Las Terrazas and Soroa

It’s time to leave the bustling city of Havana behind to get out into the countryside. After breakfast, we’ll head to the small, rural community of Viñales (a 2.5 hr drive), famous for its mogotes, small limestone hills situated throughout the lush green countryside. Along the way we will visit Las Terrazas and Soroa. Las Terrazas is an eco-village dating to a reforestation project begun in 1968. Today, Las Terrazas is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the site of the earliest coffee plantations in Cuba. Options here include hiking, bird watching (and photography) and a canopy tour. Soroa is known for its waterfalls, orchids and terraced landscape.

Enjoy live music in Viñales

Check out live music at Patio del Decimista or Centro Cultural Polo Montañez. Both located in the center of Viñales.

Day 7

Friday, November 8. Hiking and Tobacco

Accommodation: casa particular
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Viñales National Park & Tobacco Plantation

After breakfast, enjoy a beautiful hike in Viñales National Park, here we will see the most spectacular views of the valley, visit caves where there are underground rivers that allow hikers to cool off from the Cuban heat. We will hike past the tobacco fields and stop to see one of the drying sheds and learn firsthand how the tobacco for the world-famous Cuba cigars is grown. We will also see the diversity of life in the heart of the valley and stop to taste guarapo (sugar cane juice) prepared by a family that still uses traditional processes. During the trip, we will get to understand the unique identity of this region and enjoy a multitude of photographic opportunities.

Farewell Dinner

This evening enjoy a final dinner with the workshop group at a place with spectacular views over the valley.

Day 8

Saturday, November 9. Adiós Cuba!

Breakfast

Transfer to airport

Transfer to José Martí International Airport. Adiós, Cuba!

Cuba is special, you will often hear this said by Cubans and visitors who have traveled to the island and you will soon understand why. It is because Cuba tends to be very different to other areas of the Caribbean or world that you may have travelled. The country’s buildings and infrastructure are generally old and may not have been maintained to an acceptable standard. Elevators, A/C, Internet often break down or are not working. Water pressure and hot water can be minimal, in general things happen slowly. Cuba is an amazing place to visit but western expectations should be left at home and a sense of adventure should be your guide.

Understanding Cuba

If you would like to get some background information about the history and politics of Cuba, check out The Cuba Libre Story on Netflix. This documentary series recounts the tumultuous history of Cuba, a nation of foreign conquest, freedom fighters and Cold War political machinations.

Passports and Cuba Tourist Visa

A valid passport with minimum 6 months validity, this rule is set by the airlines. You are required to show your passport at all accommodations even at casas particulars.

A tourist card (¨visa¨) is required for travel to Cuba. JetBlue and Delta Airlines allow you to purchase the tourist card when you check in for your flight at your layover destination (last point of departure from the US). It is important that you keep the tourist card in a safe place, as it is necessary to show it upon departure from the country.

Accommodations

Espíritu Travel uses almost exclusively casas particulares throughout Cuba.  When you make your booking with Espíritu Travel, the selection of casas particulares is never random.  All casas have been hand-selected and inspected to ensure the highest standards, in fact, most casas that we use, are ones we have been working with over the years.

There is no better way to Support the Cuban people than staying at one of these ‘micro B&Bs’. What they lack in amenities such as a pool or spa, they make up for in oodles of charm, genuine hospitality and the opportunity to speak to locals in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Your understanding and appreciation of Cuba will grow far richer as a result. Casa owners are excellent hosts and their houses can be deceptively small from the outside. The rooms will have a private bathroom, hot and cold running water, air conditioning and some of have kitchens and/or fridges. However, the hosts are more than happy to store food for you if you there isn’t one available in your room.

Everyday items that we take for granted in the US are often difficult for Cubans to acquire so please be understanding.

Please note that breakfasts at casas particulares tend to be big, this is just the way they do it.

Meals

Lunch and dinners that are part of the program include 1 starter, 1 main course, dessert, coffee and 1 drink (water, soft drinks, or beer but not wine or cocktails such as mojitos). Any other additional items are at the participant’s expense. In addition, we budget for mid-range paladares, if you want to experience high-end paladares, there will be a supplemental charge. The tour leader will give you the allocated budget for that meal and you simply pay the rest of the bill.   Please note that paladares often serve big portions.

Dietary restrictions

Please advise us if you have any dietary restriction, such as vegetarian or vegan. This information will be given to your tour guide. However, there is no guarantee that these restrictions can be accommodated at every meal. It is important to be as flexible as possible because paladares/ restaurants may not be able to accommodate these special needs. If you feel you can’t be flexible, it might be wise to carry some energy-dense snacks with you.

What can I bring back?

Visitors can bring back $400 worth of art and an unlimited amount of cigars and rum.

Artwork

You can buy so-called tourist art on the streets of Havana. These do not require an exportation procedure. However, when purchasing art from a gallery, it needs to be authenticated. You should receive a receipt or export permit to show Cuban customs, provided the artwork was purchased at an official shop. If the gallery can’t provide an export permit or you didn’t receive an official receipt, you can obtain documentation for the art from the Registro Nacional de Bienes Culturales (National Registry of Cultural Goods) and Centro de Partimonio Cultural (Center of Cultural Heritage) in Havana. Permits are also available at regional offices in provincial capitals when traveling outside of Havana. It generally takes two days to process art licenses, and artwork must be brought to the office directly. If the piece of art is too large to bring into the office, a photo will suffice. Either way, it’s important to plan ahead.

Cigars

Now you are allowed to bring back as many cigars as you would like. However, the cigars should only be bought at government stores, Casa del Habano. Please do not ask your tour guide to try to get you a better deal from somebody he might know at the factory. This puts the tour guide in an awkward position if the cigars turn out to be fakes. We have advised our tour guides that they are not to participate in this type of transaction.

Paladars vs Restaurants

Paladars are small, family-run restaurants and are one of the best ways to enjoy local cuisine. Many paladares appear and operate much like a normal restaurant but often the owners have converted part of their home. Restaurants are government owned and as such are part of the larger state-run tourism apparatus.

Money Matters

The Cuban Convertible (CUC) is pegged to the US dollar, 1:1 but when you exchange your dollars for CUC, you will be charged a 10% commission since the bank likes to make money too. It is not necessary to exchange your US dollars for another currency such as Euros before arriving to Cuba.   In addition, Cuban Pesos can not be obtained outside of Cuba.

Dual currency

Cuba has a dual currency system, Peso Cubano (referred to as moneda nacional, abbreviated MN) and Peso Convertible (referred to as CUC$). In general, travelers will pay almost exclusively in CUC, so it is not necessary to get Peso Cubano (CUP).  For CUCS, try to ask for some smaller bills like 5s and 10s as sometimes local vendors or souvenir stands are unable to break 20 notes.

Credit cards

U.S. credit cards are generally not accepted in Cuba, and even so you would not be able to use them in many places (it is an evolving situation). Cuba is still a cash economy so we recommend that you bring all the money you will need for your trip in cash. Bring a credit card for emergencies only. In some government shops, in major hotel chains and in some of the more upscale paladares you should be able to use a credit card, if the Internet is working.

Exchanging money

Cuban bureaus de changes are called Cadecas. Only exchange at Cadecas or a major hotel chain. Make sure that you receive a receipt for the transaction and count your change. Do not ever change money on the street; these hustlers are trying to fleece you with money-changing scams. After you have exited to the arrival hall at the airport, you will be taken directly to a Cadeca to exchange money. 

Cash declarations

You may bring an unlimited amount of money to Cuba but you must declare amounts that exceed US $5,000.

Money Scams

A few scams to look for while in Cuba.

Make sure to check your restaurant bill to make sure that only the items which you ordered are on the bill. Most of our tours include all the meals but there are some tours where you have few nights with dinner on your own. The Nature of Cuba program has the least amount of meals included.

When paying in CUC, make sure that the change you get back is also CUC and not CUP (the national currency). It is common to give change back in Peso Cubano which is virtually worthless.

The Million Dollar (or peso) Question

How much money do I bring? As a general rule, you should plan to bring as much money as you would spend on any other vacation of this type in the U.S. Prices are similar to those in the U.S. (average prices). Think about your spending habits to answer the questions: Do you like to go out for drinks after dinner? Or do you love to buy lots of souvenirs? Do you plan to buy cigars (a box of Cohibas is expensive), rum or ‘real’ art? This would require that you bring more money. As mentioned above, for any meals you might have on your own, budget for an average priced dinner in the U.S. Usually, 50CUC per day per person is sufficient to cover incidental expenses if you are on one of our tours, excluding the items mentioned above. If you bring too much money, you can always bring it back and you can exchange CUCs back to U.S. dollars before leaving Cuba.

Americans in Cuba

Like all visitors in Cuba, Americans are welcomed by Cubans and will genuinely be curious to know where you are from. Cubans feel a close kinship to the U.S. not only due to the proximity but most Cubans have a relative and/or friends who reside in the U.S. Cubans aren’t necessarily outwardly friendly but most will be eager to engage in conversation if it arises. As Americans, they are eager to give you a warm welcome and discuss the recent changes to Cuban-American relations and the positive hope for the future. The best way to get to know Cuba and its people is from these spontaneous interactions.

Group Travel

Our scheduled trips never have more than 6 people on any given departure.

All trips are organized with a professional Cuban tour guide who is bilingual, you have specialist or local guides where appropriate. Working with Cuban tour guides provides you with opportunities to meet locals and experiences what you would not otherwise be able to attend. All tour guides are professionally certified but more importantly, they have a wealth of knowledge about their island that they can share with you.

Full participation in the scheduled trip is required under the OFAC regulations, participants are able to explore once the scheduled activities have finished.

Communications

American cell phone service providers have now some coverage in Cuba. T-mobile, AT&T and Verizon offer roaming. As an example AT&T will charge $3/minute for voice, .50/text and $2.05/ MB for data. Check with your provider for exact rates. Again, this is an evolving situation.

For more budget-friendly Wi-Fi and Internet service, you can visit the state-run Etecsa (telepuntos); you will find one of these air-conditioned offices in almost every provincial town. And it is your best point of call for fast and reliable Internet access. Often these areas are located near the central park of provincial towns so you will able to sit in the park and check your emails. You will have no trouble determining which park has Wi-Fi as it will be full of Cubans and foreigners busy on their cell phones and laptops. Your tour leader can point you in the right direction.

In order to access Wi-Fi, you will need to purchase an access card which will have a printed password. Please note that the connection speed in Cuba may be slower than what you are accustomed to in the U.S. and Skype does not work anywhere in the country. Also due to slow speed, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites might not work either.

In most cases, private homes are not permitted to have Internet including the casas where you will stay. However, as with other things in Cuba at this time, it is an evolving situation.

Participants on our trips will receive a complimentary 1 hour Wi-Fi card upon arrival in Cuba.

We have also been advised by returning travelers that accessing your work emails may not be possible due to servers being blocked, the Cuban government controls and censors the Internet.

Water

Tap water in Cuba is not reliably safe to drink. Bottled water is available almost everywhere but it is advisable to buy it in the morning as stores often run out by the end of the day. You will need to budget around $5 each day for purchasing water, usually between 2-3 liters per day per person. See the responsible travel document for information about an alternative to buying bottled water.

Weather

Nov – Apr is the dry season and the temperatures ranges between 70 and 80 degrees. May – Oct is the wet season, with high humidity and temperatures ranges between 80-90 degrees.

Electricity

The electrical current is mostly 110 volts AC (same as the U.S.). You do not need an adapter.

Female Travelers

Cuba is one of the safest countries in the world. Sexual assault of any kind is practically unheard of and women are typically free to go wherever they want, whenever they want without worry. That being said always use good judgement and take precautions when necessary. Women do tend to receive unwanted attention in the form of catcalling when walking by groups of local men and it is best to walk by without acknowledging it.

Everyday Items

It is important that participants bring all the personal items that they will need during the trip. Goods are scarce in Cuba and everyday items such as toiletries and clothes can be difficult to find.

LGBT Travel

Havana’s LGBT community scene has really taken off in the last couple of years. The focus of gay life is around Centro Havana and Vedado. Nightlife centers on Humboldt, 52 and nearby Pico Blanco disco in Hotel St John and Caberet Las Vegas.

Tipping

Tips go a long way in supplementing the average Cuban’s income. Customary end-of-tour tips for your tour leader; local guides, driver, and casa owner (end of stay) are left to the participant’s discretion and should be based on the guest’s satisfaction with the level of service received.

The dual currency system has created a have-and-have-not society. Many everyday items in particular, good quality food, clothing and household items are only sold in CUC, however most State employees are paid in Cuban Peso (CUP) which means that accessing CUCs is critically important and it is part of most people’s daily struggle, which in Cuban parlay is La Lucha, literally the struggle. Cubans who are able to earn CUCs will share their tips with family and friends who don’t have access to them.

Tipping guidelines

1) Restaurants (10% of the bill if no tax/service already added)

Many restaurants (state and private) now add 10% service to the bill. This is annoying since you feel cheap leaving the exact money but equally no one wants to be the sucker paying twice. In some places, they will suggest that this is a tax in line with new tax legislation. It is unclear if this is actually true but typically in private places they will simply say that this is a service charge. If your waiter has been good and you like him, then splashing another 5% will do no harm. If service has not been added, then 5-10% is reasonable. More than 10% is unnecessary.

2) Toilet attendants (10-25c)

Often even if there is a toilet attendant, the bathrooms can still be not the cleanest person. Yes, it would be nice if toilets had running water, toilet paper and some semblance of hygiene but let’s face it, sitting outside a toilet collecting cash is not the best job either. So get some change, grin and bear it.

3) Musicians (CUC 1-2 per group)

If you like a musician who is playing in a bar or a café and they play a few songs especially for you, then there is an expectation that you should pay something. There is no need to pay more than a dollar or two. But, nevertheless, music is the life of Cuba and a peso here or there is appreciated.

4) Guides for local excursions (CUC 10 – 15 per person)

As is the case anywhere, do what you think feels right especially if you have really enjoyed the excursion.

5) Casa Owners

Similar to how you would tip at a hotel or again, if you feel that the casa owners have gone out of their way to help you and make your stay as enjoyable as possible, tip them more.

5) Tour Leaders

Tips can be anywhere from 50 – 150 CUC per person depending on how many days is the tour.

These are not hard rules, these are just suggestions. If you feel you want to tip more, than tip more.

Vaccinations to Travel to Cuba.

We are not able to provide any health related recommendations regarding immunizations.

You must contact the Center for Disease Control (CDC). www.CDC.gov or 404-639-2888. Typically travelers to Cuba do not require special vaccinations.

Security & Safety

Cuba is very safe. Visitors have little reason to worry about personal safety on the streets even in Havana. Cuba is not prone to violence and it has the lowest crime rate in all of Latin America.

However, since you will need to bring cash with you, we recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your cash. Leave your valuable jewelry at home – you won’t need it while travelling.   Although the casas particulares are secure, a lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns.  While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location after your scheduled tour has finished please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night even one as safe as Havana.  Again, it is up to you to use your good judgement.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities have a balanced approach to safety.

Swimming, including snorkeling and Scuba diving are always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety.

Making Friends with Locals

Sexuality is very open in Cuba and that can shock some travelers, especially women. There are many Cuban men and women (known as Jineteros), who make a living escorting foreigners. Offers of this service are very common in Havana. Be aware of this practice and keep in mind that some locals who approach you may do so to take advantage of your presence. We advise traveling around the streets of Havana in small groups, rather than individually (especially for female travelers). In addition, we suggest not carrying any easy targets for potential troublemakers like cameras, purses, or anything that is easy to snatch or grab. We advise this not expecting trouble, but rather err on the side of caution.

Traveling during Cuban Public Holidays as well as over Christmas and New Year

If you are traveling during one of the public holiday or during the week between Christmas and New Years, please be aware that many places will be closed, such as art galleries and some activities might not be available during this time. activities if possible.

Public Holidays

January 1 & 2 March 30 May 1
July 25 & 26

October 10 December 25 December 31

Maps

There is a useful application for offline maps https://maps.me. You are download to your phone

for use in Cuba.