Trekking Highlights of Cuba

16 days
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£2,502
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Traveller ratings
4.2 / 5 from 14 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
TACA
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group Adventure Holidays, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

Explore Cuba's three distinct mountain ranges

Cuba is divided by three distinct mountain ranges. To the west, we walk through tobacco fields and rustic farmlands in Vinales, a mountainous area full of limestone karsts. On the pine-covered slopes of the Sierra del Escambray we might spot hummingbirds or hear the call of the Tocororo. Travelling east we reach the Sierra Maestra and trek to Fidel’s jungle hide-out. Images of Cuba’s iconic heroes are everywhere and we learn the dramatic history which enabled two young men to incite a revolution.

Highlights

  • Walking amongst the limestone karsts of Vinales Valley
  • Trek around picturesque Hanabanilla
  • Topes de Collantes National Park: jungle clad mountains and plenty of birdlife
  • Two nights in a hotel in Old Havana, with its colonial grandeur and lively salsa beats
  • Learn about Cuba's revolutionary history and visit Che Guevara's Mausoleum
  • Cuban Tourist Cards included for all UK residents and package prices based on direct flights with Virgin Atlantic

Key information

  • 10 nights hotels (including 2 nights in Old Havana) and 4 nights Casas Particulares
  • 7 days walking
  • Travel by comfortable air-conditioned private coach
  • Some long journeys
  • Free transfers for any flights

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Tourist card visa for UK residents

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

7

Pace:

Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; good paths

Day by day breakdown
Day 26.0km/3.0miles
Day 313.0km/8.0miles
Day 512.0km/7.0miles
Day 614.0km/8.0miles
Day 712.0km/7.0miles
Day 1012.0km/7.0miles
Day 117.0km/4.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Fly to Havana.

    The group flight arrives in the afternoon and we transfer (approx. 30 minutes) to our hotel. Land only clients will meet the group at the start hotel in Havana.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Transfer to Vinales.

    This morning we drive to Vinales, nestled in the west of Cuba in the Pinar del Rio province. Vinales Valley is filled with palm trees, tobacco plantations and some of the most impressive scenery in Cuba. Huge limestone karsts (sheer-sided, flat-topped hills) rise from the valley floor, riddled with caves and covered in forest. Traditional farming methods are used in this area and it’s common to see farmers ploughing their fields with an ox and cart. Upon arrival we'll have a warm up walk along the 'Sendero de Maravillas' trail through farm land where locals grow yucca, maize and the world famous Cuban tobacco. Lunch will be taken in a typical Cuban restaurant either before or after the walk (depending on our arrival time in Vinales). This evening we head for sunset and dinner in an organic farm overlooking the Valle del Silencio. We stay overnight in casa homestays within Vinales town for the next 2 nights.

    Casa

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Day walk in rural Vinales; visit Cueva del Indio; evening free to explore town.

    We leave this morning with a picnic lunch and head off to the San Vicente area of Vinales. We will stretch our legs on a long walk that takes us along the Fogon de los Negros valley and through the Minas de Constancia mogote. The walk is reasonably challenging but we are rewarded throughout the day with beautiful views of the forests, valleys and a unique landscape of karsts. Then we visit the Cueva del Indio, a cave with an underground river running through it. In the evening the bus is available to take you from the accommodation into the charming town of Vinales, as you may want to try out one of the local paladares for dinner.

    Casa

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Drive to Sierra del Escambray in central Cuba; visit the Che Guevara Mausoleum.

    Today we depart early, as it is a travel day. We leave the Western part of the Island, and head to The Sierra del Escambray, the second highest mountain range in Cuba, dominating the central part of the island and spanning across three different provinces; Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Sancti Spiritus. On the way we stop in Santa Clara and visit Che Guevara’s Mausoleum and museum. This is the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution in December 1958, just before Fidel Castro took Havana. Che Guevara and his troops ambushed an armoured train carrying arms to Santiago de Cuba and this was the final battle before Batista fled and the Revolution triumphed. We have time for lunch downtown and visit the armoured train monument before heading for our mountain hotel for two nights.

    Today's driving time is approx. 6-7 hours

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Trek around Hanabanilla reservoir in the Sierra del Escambray Mountains.

    After breakfast, we set off from the hotel by boat for our trek around Hanabanilla Reservoir. The hotel and reservoir are set high in the Escambray Mountains and this was formerly a favourite spot for high level Cuban leaders to come to rest, walk and fish. The hotel is basic but the surroundings are spectacular and provide a wonderful introduction to Cuban endemic flora and fauna. Expect to see the Cuban National Bird, the Tocororo, and many others who make their habitat in the lush tropical vegetation. We will have lunch included today at a restaurant, and the evening is free to relax at the hotel pool.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Trek in Topes de Collantes reserve.

    This morning we start the day with a boat ride across Lake Hanabanilla (approx. 30 minutes) to reach the start of our trek. We walk along the banks of the lake using a dirt track and reach Guanayara in time for lunch. After a light lunch in the farm house we continue towards El Rocio waterfall for a dip in the beautiful natural pools close by. Return to Guanayara for dinner and then transfer (approx. 35 minutes) to our hotel for the night.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    'Vegas Grandes' waterfall walk; to Trinidad.

    Today we transfer by truck to the starting point of the Caburni trail, which takes us to some magnificent waterfalls and a lovely swimming spot. We continue on a steep path to visit the Vegas Grandes waterfalls where we can also enjoy a swim. We finish the trek at the village of the El Chorrito community and go for a typical country lunch at ‘Mi Retiro’ restaurant. After lunch, we descend by bus towards the Caribbean coast and our destination – the World Heritage Site town of Trinidad. We’ll be having another homestay for the next 2 nights in the heart of the old town. Dinner tonight will be a lovely experience as we all get together in one of the casas that has a restaurant/bar on its premises.

    Casa

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Free day to explore Trinidad.

    Trinidad is beautiful; a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988 and perhaps the best-preserved colonial town on the island. Exploring Trinidad can feel like entering a time warp, its colourful, cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisking us back to Colonial Times. There are many interesting museums housed in old colonial buildings and music drifts through the streets and plazas. Today is free to soak up the atmosphere of Trinidad, simply relax, or join an optional excursion to explore the surrounding areas. This evening we recommend a visit to Trinidad's Casa de la Trova (the House of Music) for traditional Cuban music and dancing.

    Casa

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    To Sierra Maestra National Park.

    Today we have a long drive to the Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra, a spectacular national park within Cuba's highest mountain range. This region is well known as Fidel Castro's base of operations during the Cuban Revolutionary War. High in the Sierra is Comandancia La Plata, the secret mountain hideout of Castro and Che Guevara used for planning the war in the 1950's and as the base of Radio Rebelde, which provided information for the revolutionaries. Our first choice is to stay in a hotel in the Sierra Maestra, however due to the popularity of the area we may stay in Bayamo, a charming colonial city with a recently renovated boulevard where the locals love to congregate in the evenings.

    Today's driving time is approx. 8-9 hours

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Maravillas Trail.

    Today we will depart on foot towards the south of the Sierra Maestra to commence the Maravillas de Santo Domingo trail. (approx. 4-6 hrs walking). Along the trail you will be able to enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery and see some of the different species that inhabit the area. There will be an opportunity to stop for a refreshing swim in the Yara River and maybe some free time in the afternoon.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Trek to 'Comandancia de La Plata'; to Camaguey.

    After breakfast in the hotel we will begin our walk up to Comandancia de La Plata, Fidel's mountain headquarters within the Sierra Maestra. We are able to visit the revolutionary army hideout and learn how Fidel Castro orchestrated guerrilla warfare on the Batista dictatorship, including the 'Radio Rebelde' site. At the end of the trail we descend to Santo Domingo in time for lunch. We then head from Santo Domingo to Camaguey, arriving late afternoon or early evening to our hotel.

    Today's driving time is approx. 3 hours

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 12

    Sightseeing in Camaguey; to Santa Clara.

    We visit Camaguey and have time to explore the historic city, characterised by tinajones - large, earthen jugs, found in the squares, churches and gardens, originally used to store water during the drought periods. This provincial capital was recently awarded World Heritage Site status. After sightseeing we have the long drive to Santa Clara.

    Today's driving time is approx. 4-5 hours

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    To Havana; city tour including the old town and Plaza de la Revolucion.

    This morning we set off for Cuba’s Capital city, arriving in time for a city tour of old and new Havana, Cuba's capital and the largest city in the Caribbean. This is a busy and bustling, energetic capital. Old Havana is described as a living museum with its marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces; this is the finest surviving Spanish colonial complex in the Americas. Preserved by a combination of minimal war damage, post revolution restoration work and the millions of dollars invested since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. We also visit the Plaza de la Revolucion with its images of the Cuban Revolution. In the afternoon, we check into our hotel in the Old town.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Free day in Havana.

    Today is free for you to discover the charms of Havana at your own pace, or join an optional excursion to Las Terrazas community.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Final group lunch in Old Havana; depart Havana.

    Free morning for further sightseeing in Havana and before we meet for lunch at one of the many great restaurants in Old Havana. Those on group flights will be taken to the airport for their return journey to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 16

    Arrive London.

    Arrive London.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Cuba

British and most Western European passport holders do not require a visa but do require a tourist card. Your Cuban tourist card (valid for 30 days) is included and will be posted to you by Exodus approx. 6 weeks before travel. We will send instructions on how to fill it in but please be careful doing this as any mistakes may result in you having to purchase a new card at a cost of GBP15.00 per person.

We will send a tourist card free of charge as long as you live at a UK or Ireland address and are national of an EU country, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Japan. If you are not national of one of these countries or are not resident in the UK or Eire you must contact your nearest Cuban Consulate to check what visa is required - Exodus cannot provide a tourist card for you.

The Cuban entry immigration is time consuming and most visitors encounter delays when queuing for entry into the country.

The Cuban Government passed a law stating that all tourists visiting Cuba must have travel insurance to cover medical costs. You are likely to be asked to provide proof of your travel insurance policy when you arrive at Havana airport, so please ensure your documents are easily accessible. Whilst we hope that things will change in the near future, due to present US policy, we cannot take US citizens on our trips to Cuba.

Vaccinations

Cuba

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Hepatitis A. We are advised that there is no risk of malaria. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a. The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up‐to‐date information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 5 dinners included.

Cuba is not renowned for its culinary excellence and some ingredients are just not possible to get hold of (due in no small part to the long trade embargo implemented by the US). As such, flavours tend to be relatively simple, with most mealtimes consisting of meat or fish accompanied by rice and salad/vegetables. Seafood is widely available on the coast, including cheap and abundant lobster! Vegetarians will probably find they have the most limited choice. Snack food is not freely available in Cuba so you may wish to consider taking some with you.

Paladares are likely to be a highlight of any visit to Cuba - they are one of the few types of private enterprise allowed (although still heavily regulated), where families can set up a restaurant selling authentic, Cuban food. The atmosphere this creates, and opportunity to integrate with local Cubans, will no doubt enhance your stay!

Weather

The dry season runs from November through to April (with December to March being the peak holiday months for traditional style tourism). It can be humid between May and October, with heavy rains at times and the possibility of hurricanes. July and August are some of the most popular months to visit Cuba by sun-seekers from Europe and Canada but can be hot (average 28ºC) and wet. Cuba has an average of 6 hours sunshine per day with a more or less constant humidity of 62%. Water temperature normally ranges from 24ºC to 28ºC.

Havana

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)

This trip has a busy and active itinerary, although we have built in some free time to relax. As Cuba is prone to weather complications (rain and/or humidity), you should note that some hikes are likely to fall within the very upper level of our Level 3 Moderate grading and is more suitable for those who have previous trekking experience. Walking hours stated are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Walking conditions: Dirt vehicle width roads or single track paths, some rocky and slippery when wet. The use of two walking poles will distribute shock to the upper body and reduce damage to the knees when on the stepped paths. Some of the paths are exposed but others are shaded by jungle vegetation and trees.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Please be aware that mobile networks don’t make or receive calls particularly well in Cuba, and coverage may not be available in many locations. Not all networks work in Cuba, so please check with your service provider. Also please note that few hotels have Wi-Fi. Some will have internet cafés, and you will also find some Wi-Fi spots in the main plazas in towns. Using the internet in Cuba is relatively expensive, up to 5-6 CUC per hour, unless you purchase Wi-Fi cards at official shops, but these will always have long queues. Wi-Fi can be very slow, so it’s best to assume that you won’t be able to find a reliable internet connection whilst travelling.

A limited tourism infrastructure on the island means that some hotels and other service providers are struggling to honour their agreements. Last minute overbookings and price increases are becoming commonplace.

Fortunately, over the years we have built strong working relationships with suppliers and we have managed to prevent any major problems from affecting our groups. Nevertheless, all travellers should be aware that last minute hotel cancellations are a possibility and could affect your trip, especially during the high season in Havana (Oct to March). In the event of any necessary changes we will endeavour to ensure a property of the same standard and a similar location is used. On some occasions an overnight hotel stay may be replaced with a night in a casa, or vice versa.

In addition to being prepared for potential last minute hotel changes, it is possible that you will be confronted by other minor frustrations whilst travelling in Cuba. We encourage all travellers to go with an open mind, and with realistic expectations at what a visit to Cuba entails. If your guide announces a change of plans then please be assured that everything possible has been done behind the scenes in order to make satisfactory alternative arrangements.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and Casas Particulares

For the majority of the trip we will stay in standard hotels, with en suite rooms. We also stay in some basic accommodation in order to access some of the more remote areas that we visit on this trip, so you should be prepared for this.

Casas Particulares - All of our Cuban itineraries include staying in privately-run 'Casas Particulares' in at least one destination as an alternative to staying in standard hotels. These are traditional Cuban properties that have been renovated into guesthouses. All rooms have en suite bathrooms, hot and cold water, either a fan or air-conditioning, and breakfast is included. Water pressure can be temperamental, and decor is variable! The houses that we use will be in close vicinity whenever possible, and we do our best to ensure that those in single room accommodation are always within a house where other Exodus clients are staying. However this cannot be guaranteed in all cases.

All properties that we use have been inspected and assessed by our local operator in Cuba. Some are large multi-room houses that are home to entire families, others are run by individuals, and in some cases the owners live elsewhere.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed April 2017
    Victoria Carmichael

    trekking in Cuba

    This tour allows you to see areas of Cuba where there are not heaps of tourists. Most of the local guides were enthusiastic and knowledgable about the flora and fauna which was great.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hiking in the Sierra Maestra mountains and seeing where the revolutionaries stayed. Swimming in the pools under the waterfalls.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Carlos was excellent and a seasoned tour leader. He took excellent care of us. I was not impressed though that he was not provided with proper footwear or a backpack for a 15 day hiking trek.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take tabasco sauce

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was not totally impressed with this tour. The place where we "camped" was poorly set up, improper/ lack of tents, not great facilities for camping. I didn't get a tent and ended up sleeping in the dining area that was covered with chicken poo. Due to a change in schedule we switched 2 hikes, doing the longer hike on the day we had a long drive. The hike was a bit dangerous as it rained and the trails were very slippery and took way longer than what was anticipated. Having done another tour and had really tasty good food, I would recommend Exodus to find alternate restaurants wherever possible. The food component of this tour was not so great. The casa particulare I shared in Trinidad was pretty bad, it was on a very noisy street where vehicles frequent. I could barely talk to my breakfast companion due to the noise. There was one day with a very long drive. It would be best to have broken this day up, not so much time in the bus and also a long day for the driver.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Noreen Kitchner

    So interesting.....

    I tend to choose my long haul trekking holidays for the cultural experience as much as the walking. Cuba certainly delivered. It challenged pre-conceptions at every turn whilst being totally delightful. Music, food, architecture and people are a joy. Politics and history are fascinating.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to select one: realising in Trinidad that fantastic architecture was not confined to La Habana; eating lobster and the most delicious prawns ever; the music.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was great - fun and good-humoured, very well organised. He managed the group well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Never assume. We were proven wrong all the time - it never occurred to us, for example, that our quite sophisticated hotel would not have an international telephone line. Check with your provider in advance if you wish to use your mobile - I had no problem with texts or phone calls or using my data to access internet, but lots of people did. Likewise with banking - cash is easiest.In some ways Cuba is very modern and people are certainly very well educated, but it is still part of the developing world. The temperature was mid to high 20s during the day, but humid - which made the uphill walking tiring and sweaty!! Evenings in restaurants got quite cool sometimes. We were very pleased that we stayed an extra 2 nights in La Habana when the trip was over. We took a taxi to a lovely local beach as well as taking in more music and sights.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cuba is in transition and not to be missed and this is a very well-organised trip that gets you around the country and balances walking with culture.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Joan Maher

    Trekking highlights of Cuba

    Good holiday for anyone wanting to see lots of different areas of Cuba. Quite a lot of internal travelling involved but worth it to see so much of the country. Combines mountains with small towns, rural life with city. Worth staying a few extra days in La Habanna at the end of trip and making it out to the beach independently. Despite rumours to the contrary, the food is great. Sierra Maestra is the best trekking but this is not really a trekking holiday. Most of the walks are short enough - if tiring due to the humidity and occasional steep ascent. Glad to report no major insect bite issues - sufferers like me will always need the antihistamines handy, but needed just for occassional bites rather than mass attacks on this holiday. Take the advice on bringing cash - my card was declined even when I found an atm. And best to relax into the culture - queueing is a way of life and food on offer is whatever's available not what's written on the menu. Prepare to be managed - independent forays off to the side are possible but require a relaxed mindset - just as well you're on holiday and not in a hurry.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were welcomed into a mountain home in Sierra Maestra where the lovely woman of the house ground her own coffee beans and brewed us a pot while chatting happily. From our point of view she owned next to nothing yet I have never felt so welcome in a stranger's house.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Energetic. Hard working. Full of local knowledge. Put in extra effort for everyone. Could have relaxed a bit rather than rushing off to next venue after evening meal.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare to be managed. The tourist industry is not quite ready for independent travellers and forays off route can be a challenge. Bring cash not cards. Don't expect internet or access to your mobile network.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cuba is so different from anywhere else it's kind of a 'must see'. Great trip.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Rachel Gamester

    Trekking Cuba

    Great accommodation in the Casas. Comfortable transport. Well planned itinerary, but far too rushed in some places. The hikes were definitely in the top end of 'moderate'. The bunkhouses were a great rural experience. Food can be limited, but I am vegan and had no problem. Do not be pushed into the "set menu" all the time though, its not necessary and is much cheaper off the menu instead.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The rest of the group! Their fitness levels inspired me,!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ray was definitely a people person, friendly and fun, his experience of the tour, hotels and local information was clear.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do some training before you go! If you want an indepth tour of the country and revolution history, this isnt the tour for you.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Roy Gambie

    Trekking highlights of Cuba

    A comprehensive trip around Cuba with very challenging walking due to the very humid conditions. Full of different experiences, flavours, history and lively music.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the peak of Pico Turquino Bicotaxi ride around Camaquey.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ray was an excellent leader, very keen to safeguard the group. He had an excellent knowledge of the country, its education, people, topography and was honest about Cuba's economical and financial problems. He was fun to be with and very anxious that we all had a very good holiday. Unfortunately, owing to back problems, he was unable to join us on the Sierra Maestra trail and ascent of Pico Turquino---a major problem.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of the humidity and extremely difficult walking conditions. An increase in height could be nearly trebled with the very steep undulations.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The bunkhouse at Camp Joaquin was appalling. There had been double booking and there were only 11 bunks for 16 of us, the toilets were disfunctional and more importantly, the porters did not arrive with our dry clothes and sleeping bags until it was dark. This meant that we were shivering in wet clothes for a couple of hours with no hot drinks or food. Only 1 snack was provided on the ascent and no food on arrival, until 7.30pm. We were accompanied by 1 very inexperienced Exodus rep who was on his first trip and by a local guide. No advice or information was given about the walk and on the return from Pico Turquino and onwards to Camp Platica, the group spread and there was no supervision whatsoever, the guides following much later. Many times each small group thought that they were lost but no amount of shouting brought anyone to their aid. Thankfully the last group eventually arrived at the camp just before dark. We were only provided with 1 litre of water per person to last for 18 km--nowhere near enough. Any extra had to be bought. The arrangements for this part of the trip were extremely disappointing and disastrous if an injury had occurred.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Catherine Macmichael

    Trekking in Cuba

    Another excellent trekking holiday from Exodus. This trip offers the chance to see a lot of Cuba travelling from one side of the island to the other side and the opportunity to enjoy trekking as well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to pick just one - getting to the top of Pico Torquino, swimming in the Caribbean Sea and under the waterfall, drinking pina colada cocktails, salsa lesson, staying in the Casas, seeing Cuba which is like being transported back in time, the classic cars and of course the trekking. Trinidad and Havana being the highlights of my trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was professional and an excellent group leader. He filled some long bus journeys telling us lots of information about Cuba its history, politics, culture and geography. How Tony remembers all the facts, figures and dates I don't know but he was a source of information. Very patient with all our questions! Good sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip is correctly classed as 3 moderate however the Pico Torquino walk is more than a grade 3 but the walk is optional. If you use poles take them. The itinerary is well constructed and this is the first trekking holiday I have been on where I've had the opportunity to relax and spend time in places we stopped rather than a quick turnaround. Read the trip notes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In Trinidad I had read the reviews about getting a taxi to Playa Ancon beach which I did with some of the group. It was lovely to spend a morning at the beach and then pass the afternoon in Trinidad. The taxi was 20CUC return and the same taxi will drop you off and collect you at the time you want to return. Another must is the classic car ride in Havana which you can expect to pay 30-40CUC for (per car) for one hour tour - a must. Pina Colada's in the casa in Trinidad the best!
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Sally Lofts

    Trekking Highlights of Cuba

    Varied, action-packed trip, including spectacular scenery, different places to stay, and variety of experiences music, cocktails as well as mountains and wildlife

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Trek up Pico Turquino most memorable Havana very interesting Staying in casas relaxing

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Patient, humorous and well-informed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some people found the Turquino trek tougher than expected. Lot of sitting in buses.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Long bus journeys inevitable in order to cover as much of the island as we did, but if there was a way of reducing that the holiday would have been even better.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Sharon Chollet

    Trekking Highlights of Cuba

    A fantastic Cuban adventure with a great group of people. We laughed, walked, danced and drank cocktails from West to East and back. Well constructed itinerary, plenty of diversity and still time for relaxation. I felt that the grading was right, all the relevant information is in the Trip Notes re. walking conditions and fitness.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to choose one - stays at the Casa's in Vinales and Trinidad. The tour and meal at the Organic Farm. Swimming under the Waterfall, the beautiful town of Trinidad. The walking, of course. Salsa lessons. Last but not least beautiful vibrant Havana.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was professional and very patient with our group which covered a wide age range. His talks about Cuban history, politics and geography were great, the right length and content which passed the time on the longer travel days.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are willing to be patient and flexible (things don't always run to plan) you will have a brilliant time. Read the Trip Notes carefully before you go. Do change enough money at Havana airport for several days if you can, saves worrying about it in more remote areas.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks Exodus for another brilliant trip.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Linda Dawson

    Trekking holiday in Cuba

    A very interesting, educational and busy trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having the opportunity to climb 3 peaks of Pico Joaquin, Regino & Turquino

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Laz was enthusiastic, more than capable of dealing with our group, and provided considerable information with regard to his country and its history for which I was very grateful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Nothing comes to mind over and above that contained within the trip notes. I found a copy of The Rough Guide to Cuba very useful.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    June Smith

    Trekking Highlights of Cuba

    I loved every minute of this trip. We walked through some of the most beautiful countryside, visited many of the main cities, met interesting people and had many new experiences.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of highest mountain Torquino after a 4.5hr walk in to the base which was described as 'undulating' but was gruelling and 3hr struggle up to the top. It was also amazing to be at Castro's camp in the mountains. I loved being driven in a 1949 Chevvy with what the driver described as an original engine.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Freddy was our leader. He was exceptionally good. He was patient, helpful, funny and insightful. He told wonderful stories to bring history to life and made a complex situation appear easier to understand.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes a couple pieces of advice. Don't go on this trip unless you are fit. It is more than a moderate walk especially 3 of the longer walks at the end. Secondly, don't take any sculptures or pieces of wooden art through security. I bought a vase from a gallery in Havana. I met the artist himself and I loved the piece. Because it was pottery and I didn't want to break it, I decided to carry it through in my rucksack. It was wrapped up. At security it was confiscated because the guard said it could be used as a weapon. After trying to discuss this and pointing out that people were buying bottles in duty free which were more dangerous. He agreed that if a KLM representative agreed I could take it on board, I could have it. I found an air stewardess who supported me but he decided to renege and refused to let me have it. Other people got their sculptures taken away too. I saw people being allowed to take 250ml of suncream through and bottles of water both on the official banned list but I didn't get my vase. This is a SCAM and left me feeling upset. It hasn't spoiled my memory of a beautiful country but if people are warned in advance about this they can avoid losing something they have bought. Put it in your suitcase.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I know everyone says the food in Cuba is bad but I we arrived 4 days before the group and we had some beautiful and wonderful food. However, when we joined the group the food was mainly poor and repetitive. It was possible to get great food in some of the group venues. but there were too many which gave us which can only be described as canteen food. This needs to be looked into. Secondly, I would not go into Vinales. This would ave 2 days which could be spent in the South. I would have loved to have gone to Santiago instead or have an extra day in Santiago.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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