Cycling through iconic Cuba

Cycling Cuba Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Destinations:
Cuba
Programmes:
Cycling, Culture
Trip Code:
MAH
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

16 Days Flight Inclusive
15 Days Land only
16 Min age

Trip Overview

Cuba’s music, beaches, old cars, striking architecture and revolutionary history combine to make the perfect cultural destination with a lively atmosphere. Our relaxed cycle route passes through stunning countryside with a patchwork of plantations, fields and jungle, allowing us to appreciate the traditional way of life that continues today. Out of the saddle we can experience Trinidad’s vibrant music scene, the crumbling colonial buildings of Havana and learn about the revolutionary history of Santiago. After a day of cycling you'll no doubt welcome Cuba's speciality - a refreshing mojito!

A number of changes are being made to this product for travel after the 1st January 2018. The trip in 2018 will no longer pass through Camaguey twice, instead the trip will now include Playa Santa Lucia. Please click here to view the 2018 trip.

At a Glance

  • 10 nights hotels, 4 nights in Casas Particulares. All rooms are en suite and most hotels have swimming pools.
  • 10 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 90% tarmac, 10% unpaved track
  • Good level of fitness is required

Trip Highlights

  • Cycle the length of idyllic Cuba through the country's key historic colonial and revolutionary areas
  • 100% vehicle support throughout the trip with two vehicles for groups of nine or more
  • High quality, well-maintained bikes and mechanical support for the initial cycling stages of every trip
  • Cycling leaders trained to UK leadership standards (CTC Bike Tour Leader Award)
  • Vibrant culture with its rum, mojito's and salsa beats!
  • Cuban Tourist Cards included for all UK residents
  • Direct flights with Virgin Atlantic usually available

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is classified Road.
Activity Level: 3 (Moderate).
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure for more important information on classification and grading.
Average daily distance: 58km (36 miles)
Number of days cycling: 10
Vehicle Support: 100%
Terrain and route: surface 90% tarmac, 10% dirt roads, some hills.

Overall the trip is not too strenuous but a good level of fitness is required. Routes follow mainly quiet back roads and can be potholed. This tour covers some remote parts of the island. Though many of the roads are in good condition you should expect potholes and poor road conditions in some sections. The roads are generally free of heavy traffic, except in some of the bigger towns/cities visited.

Terrain varies from flat around Las Tunas to hilly, and mountainous in the Sierra Maestra. In the harder areas there are some longish climbs, requiring good fitness, (particularly as Cuba is invariably hot and humid), and also some steep descents. Day 9 is particularly strenuous as we are cycling in a mountainous region.

Please remember to drink lots of water when cycling as the heat and humidity can be high (applies especially to June/July/August departures). We have added departures over the UK summer due to the popularity of the trip. This is one of the best times to visit Cuba for sun-seekers! Levels of humidity over the summer months can be high, so it's important to bear this in mind. Some group members may want to do a slightly reduced distance each day in order to avoid cycling in the middle of the day. If this is the case our back up vehicle will be available. It is possible for the rest of the group to continue on the itinerary as planned, but please don't forget to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.

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 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.

Group

1 Guide up to 6 passengers and 2 guides from 7 to 16 passengers. A mechanic will accompany the first 2 days of cycling on this trip, to ensure that everyone feels comfortable on their bike.

Our guides are local cycle tour leaders, experienced at working with groups, English speaking, and very knowledgeable about their country.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
5
Max group size:
18

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Havana
End City:
Havana

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Havana.

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

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Tour of Havana; to Matanzas.

    In the morning we will have our trip briefing, followed by bike fitting before we set off on a warm up ride round Havana. Traffic is remarkably light for a capital city. We cycle through the Miramar and Vedado districts of Havana to reach the dominating Plaza de la Revolucion, whilst Buicks and Pontiacs cruise past with gleaming chrome. We finish our sightseeing with a walking tour in the heart of Old Havana and a stop for lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon we transfer to Matanzas for dinner and stay overnight.

    Transfer approx. 105km.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 25 km / 16 miles
  • Day 3

    Ride/transfer to Playa Larga at Bay of Pigs.

    We leave the hotel by bike and ride through Matanzas province. The landscape here is full of sugar cane and citrus plantations with the occasional sleepy village. This pretty ride takes us through rural communities to the Autopista Nacional where we load the bikes on the bus and drive to lunch. Once we pass the Australia Sugar Factory (where Fidel Castro set up his headquarters for the Bay of Pigs crisis) we enter the Cienaga de Zapata. The road is flat and is skirted by a swamp, once full of crocodiles. After lunch we continue on to the Bay of Pigs where we stay overnight in casas within the town of Playa Larga. This was the site of the failed invasion by CIA-backed Cuban Americans. Many of the beaches here are ideal for snorkelling and swimming.

    Transfer approx. 90km.

    Casas Particulares

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 63 km / 39 miles
  • Day 4

    Rural cycling; transfer to Cienfuegos.

    Continuing south to cross the island, our route today covers a variety of landscapes. We ride through the biggest swamps in Cuba (Zapata’s Peninsula), and then cut through agricultural routes to reach the main road towards Cienfuegos. This is a day for discovering the rural heart of Cuba as we pass through small communities dedicated to agriculture and charcoal production. A stop at Playa Giron gives us the chance to learn about CIA backed invasion of Cuba in the early 60’s. From here we have a short ride to lunch in Caleta Buena, a natural sea pool teeming with tropical fish. There should be the opportunity to have a dip upon arrival. Afterwards we continue by bus to Cienfuegos. Casas may be located in the town centre or close to the coastal road.

    Transfer approx. 90km

    Casas Particulares

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 43 km / 26 miles
  • Day 5

    Coastal ride to Trinidad.

    Today's ride takes us further along the coastline to 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.

    Casas Particulares

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 80 km / 49 miles
  • Day 6

    Free time in Trinidad.

    Today is free to soak up the atmosphere of Trinidad or join an optional excursion to explore the surrounding areas. For example you can walk the 'El Cubano' trail in the nearby national park. This evening we recommend a visit to Trinidad's Casa de la Trova (the 'House of Music') for traditional Cuban music and dancing.

    Casas Particulares

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Ride to Sancti Spiritus; transfer to Camaguey.

    We ride inland towards the city of Sancti Spiritus. The road rises and falls through the beautiful scenery of the Alturas de Banao, where coffee plantations and farms adorn the landscape, passing the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) which was once Cuba's most important sugar producing area. At the village of Manaca Iznaga we can stop to visit the farmhouse and the famous 'run away slaves' tower; for a small entrance fee you can climb the 136 steps and enjoy the view. Upon arrival in Sancti Spiritus, we enjoy some free time in the town's colonial centre and then transfer to Camaguey.

    Transfer approx. 200km.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 67 km / 41 miles
  • Day 8

    Transfer/ride to Bayamo.

    Our day starts with a transfer to Las Tunas, where we saddle up to ride across this lively city. We continue to Bayamo, located in the province of Granma, one of the island's most important regions from a revolutionary perspective and consisting mainly of the floodplain of the river Cauto (Cuba's longest). The area contains many sugar cane and rice plantations, and lies below the Sierra Maestra Mountains. The charming city of Bayamo is the capital of the province, and has a pleasant, relaxed ambience full of poignant monuments and revolutionary atmosphere.

    Transfer approx. 180km.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 68 km / 42 miles
  • Day 9

    Ride into the Sierra Maestra Mountains.

    A challenging ride from Bayamo into the Sierra Maestra. As we head deep into the mountains, today's route is dominated by Pico Bayamesa (at 1,730m above sea level it is Cuba's third tallest peak). This is an area of stunning natural beauty and is rarely visited by tourists. After passing through numerous villages we reach our hotel where we can relax after probably our hardest day's ride.

    Standard Hotel

    *See Accommodation section for occasional tour alteration that affects today and tomorrow.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 75 km / 46 miles
  • Day 10

    Short walk; ride to 'El Cobre'; transfer to Santiago de Cuba.

    This morning we take a short break from the saddle to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Sierra Maestra. Starting early, we take a gentle stroll into the mountains with a local, passing through tropical forest and coffee plantations before stopping for coffee and fruit in a local farmer's home, before returning to the hotel for lunch. We take a transfer from Salton to just beyond Palma Soriano, then it's back on the bikes and ride to El Cobre. After visiting Cuba's most important Holy Shrine, we transfer to Santiago de Cuba. The city is rich in traditions, folklore and legends, making almost every street corner famous. But it is at night that Santiago really comes alive with legendary Cuban music and dancing.

    Transfer approx. 70km.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 35 km / 21 miles
  • Day 11

    City tour; transfer to Gibara.

    Santiago de Cuba is known as the city of heroes, for the important role it played in Independence and Revolutionary struggles. The morning is spent sightseeing, including the Moncada Barracks - where the opening shots of the Revolution were fired on 26 July 1953 when Castro and his men attacked the barracks. There is a rich tradition of dance, music and festivals, largely based on the Afro-Cuban population. Afternoon transfer to Gibara.

    Transfer approx. 135kms.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 12

    Coastal cycle ride; transfer to Camaguey.

    Today we cycle directly from our hotel in the morning and head towards Puerto Padre where we stop for a picnic lunch. From here we transfer to Camaguey, the capital of the province.

    Transfer approx. 145km.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 72 km / 44 miles
  • Day 13

    Transfer to Majagua; ride to Mayajigua.

    After breakfast we transfer to the town of Majagua and enjoy a final cycle ride to the rural setting of Mayajigua, our base for tonight. The route today will be challenging as we make our way over the northern range of hills, but the support vehicle is on hand just in case!

    Transfer approx. 180km.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 60 km / 37 miles
  • Day 14

    To Havana via historic Remedios and Santa Clara.

    Today is a long day so we leave Mayajigua early in the morning and return by road to Havana via Remedios, one of the earliest Spanish settlements in Cuba. We will stop in Santa Clara to visit the Che Mausoleum and armoured train exhibition. The evening is free to soak up the vibrant atmosphere of charming Havana.

    Transfer approx. 350km.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Sightseeing in Havana; transfer to the airport.

    Today there is a city tour of old Havana, described as a living museum, with its marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces. We will stop for lunch at one of the many great local restaurants in Old Havana. After lunch we transfer to the airport for those on the group flight to London. Passengers travelling independently will leave the group in Havana.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels & Casas Particulares

You will spend 10 nights in hotels and 4 nights in Casas Particulares (in Trinidad, Playa Larga & Cienfuegos). 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 enable you to have a rewarding insight into the local lifestyle and culture by staying as a guest in a Cuban home. Rooms are on a twin-share basis, with air conditioning, and some hotels have swimming pools. Please note that power cuts do regularly occur in Cuba, and hot water supplies are not always guaranteed.

*Despite confirmed reservations for our groups, it occasionally occurs that we cannot stay in our usual choice of hotel in the Sierra Maestra on day 9. When this happens we instead transfer at the end of the ride to Santiago and compensate for the change with an upgraded hotel for this two night stay in the city. The following morning we ride approx. 20km from Santiago to El Cobre, before returning for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. This change does however mean that there isn’t the opportunity to go for a short walk in the Sierra Maestra as per the usual itinerary.

Single supplement from £340.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

14 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 5 dinners included allowing the option to try some local restaurants on the other evenings.

We provide packed lunches during the day and 3 litres of bottled water pp on cycling days. There are also plenty of refreshment stops for water and fresh fruit. 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 - particularly energy snacks for cycling days. 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! We recommend that you allow CUC 30 pp per day for the lunches and evening meals on the days where food is not included. You may also spend money on bottled water, which will normally cost about CUC 1.50 per bottle if bought from the coach (less if you purchase from local shops).

Transportation

The support vehicle will carry all of your luggage and personal belongings, and will follow the group all of the time, allowing you to cycle as much or as little as you like. The majority of the tour is spent on two wheels but the shape of the island does mean we have a long drive on the return to Havana on day 14 - transfers are done by private, air-conditioned coach.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

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 28degC) 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 24 to 28degC.

Weather Information

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 24 to 28ºC.

Weather Charts

Havana

Trinidad

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive

16 days, normally depart London Thu, return Fri

Itinerary Start

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Virgin Atlantic (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up-to-date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

If you arrive on the group flight then you will be met in the arrivals area by an Exodus representative who will be clearly visible with a sign.

Travelling land only

15 days, normally start Havana Thu, end Havana Thu

Itinerary Start

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Havana in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Free Transfers

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients, so no matter which flight you choose to arrive on you will be met and transferred to your hotel. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance; unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre-tour) hotel; transfers to other hotels in the same city may attract an extra charge; transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Havana
Location end:
Havana

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Cycling helmet (compulsory on this trip)
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Cycling shorts
  • Waterproof jacket
  • High factor sun cream
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Hand sanitiser

Optional Equipment

  • Your own saddle
  • Your own pedals
  • Cycling gloves
  • Walking shoes
  • Long sleeved shirts and light trousers are good for helping to keep mosquitoes off during the evenings.
  • Mosquito repellent containing DEET is generally thought to be the most effective deterrent.
  • GPS systems are not allowed to be brought into Cuba.

Equipment Hire

Local Bike Details: Trek FX 7.2 hybrid bikes.

A quality local hire bike is now included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.

2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.

3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment

4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

 

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

Reading List

Reading List

Cuba Handbook Christopher P.Baker (Moon Publication)The best and most comprehensive guidebook available. 
Insight Guide to Cuba (APA Publications) Good photography, with a profile of Fidel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
In Focus: Cuba Emily Hatchwell & Simon Calder (Published by Latin America Bureau) A guide to the people, politics and culture.

Travellers Survival Kit: Cuba Simon Calder & Emily Hatchwell Probably the most popular guidebook used by independent travellers in Cuba. Strong on practical advice for independent travellers. 

Guide to Cuba Stephen Fallon (Bradt Publications) Good general guidebook - but not as useful as the Cuba Handbook. 

The Rough Guide to Cuba Good general guidebook.

Land of Miracles Stephen Smith Recently published account of travels in Cuba by a British journalist. Highly recommended.

Enduring Cuba Zoe Bran (Lonely Planet Publications 2002)

For novels based in or about Cuba try:

The Old Man and the Sea, To Have and Have Not and Islands in the Stream All by Ernest Hemingway.
Our Man in Havana Graham Greene.

MAPS

Map of Cuba

www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/caribbean/cuba

 

Practical Information

Passport

Cuba

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

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. 4 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.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

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.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

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.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

We are advised that there is no risk of malaria on this trip.

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Cuba's Timezone:
America/Havana CST (GMT -05:00)

Electricity

Cuba's Electricity:

110 Volts. Plug types A & B; establishments often take two flat parallel pin plugs.

Money

Cuba's Currency

The national currency of Cuba is the Cuban Convertible Peso(CUC), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (June 2017) of approximately 1.28 to the GBP,  0.76 to the CAD, 1.12 to the EUR, 0.76 to the AUD and 0.72 to the NZD.

Please note this is the official exchange rate, however in practice, the exchange rate on the ground at official 'cadecas' changes every day.

P

ATM Availability

ATMs are increasingly available in Cuba, but are not yet widespread. They are presently confined to the larger cities and resorts and should not be relied on, hence why we suggest that you take cash with you. Credit cards may be accepted for expensive purchases in tourist shops, but acceptance is not widespread and like ATMs should not be relied upon.

Important Note: Using cards for banks which are fully or partially US owned is not possible in Cuba. Australian and Canadian travellers in particular should check with their banks prior to travel if they intend to withdraw cash. Banking in Cuba is not developed at all, meaning it is a highly costly process with a worst exchange rate.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We strongly advise that you take all spending money in Euros or Sterling cash, which can be easily exchanged into local currency upon arrival in Cuba. Scottish currency is not accepted in Cuba. Travellers cheques are difficult to exchange and there is limited time to stop for this purpose. In addition, credit/debit cards drawn on US banks are not accepted anywhere in Cuba. The hotel in which we spend the first night in Havana has an exchange bureau situated in the back left of the lobby, around behind the main reception desk. Otherwise you can exchange money at the airport.

Optional Excursions

Note that all prices are correct at the time of writing but prices in Cuba can increase at short notice. All optional excursions are also dependent upon availability.

Catamaran trip in Trinidad (incl lunch) CUC 55:
Departing from Playa Ancon, this is a full day trip on a Catamaran, sailing out to the Caribbean island of Cayo Macho or Cayo Blanco. Lunch is also included.

El Cubano Excursion CUC 35:
‘El Cubano’ Nature Park is a reserve nestled in countryside on the outskirts of Trinidad. We’ll walk through tropical forest to reach a waterfall where we can stop to take a refreshing dip.

Parisien Nightclub CUC 45:
Located at Cuba's famous landmark the Hotel Nacional, where the likes of Frank Sinatra and Lucky Luciano would stay. Entrance includes tickets to the show, one cocktail and a buffet dinner.

 

Tipping

If you are happy with the services of the guide and driver, we recommend a tip of 50 CUC per person, which you can divide in favour of the guide.

Tipping is at your own discretion but is very much part of the culture in Cuba and is usually expected. Your tour leader will offer to arrange and look after a group tipping kitty which will be used to tip local guides at individual museums and attractions, musicians and waiting staff for included meals etc. throughout the holiday. The guide will collect 30 CUC from each group member at the start of the trip to cover this.

Tipping is also expected in restaurants - normally add about 10% to the bill.

Responsible Tourism

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… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

 

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.