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A Trip to Cuba

Tour Details

Cuba is an untouched country with the right mix of natural beauty, history, and culture.

The biggest airports in Cuba are Havana, Santa Clara, and Cienfuegos. We flew into Santa Clara. Tourists typically fly to Cuba via Mexico or as of 2016, through the U.S. (usually through Miami). Some European airlines, like Air France and Swiss Air, fly to Cuba. However, these flights may be more expensive.

There are two types of visas that can get you entry into Cuba – a tourist visa that you apply for at the Cuban embassy in your country, and tourist cards that you obtain at airports in Mexico or by applying online via a US airline. However, depending on your nationality, you may only be eligible for one of these visas. This information is constantly changing therefore it’s best

Pro tips for getting around Cuba:

Traveling around: The easiest way to travel between cities in Cuba is pre-booked taxis. We used ‘Taxi Vinales’, which was very reliable and affordable. The exact price depends on the number of people and the duration (e.g., ~20-25 CUCs per person for a 2 hour drive). You should submit a request online before getting to Cuba – they are very prompt in getting back to you. It will help to have your Cuba travel itinerary ready in advance. This company accepts U.S. issued credit cards (which not all companies do).

Accommodation: There are only few hotels in Cuba, so we decided to stay in homestays booked through Airbnb (links here for Trinidad and Havana). These are houses where the owner and family live in one part of the house and the rest is rented out. It was a pretty unique experience. Best of all, the hosts at these homestays cook you a fresh breakfast every morning (including some of the freshest fruit) – a great way to start your day!

Currency: Most credit and debit cards don’t work in Cuba. It’s easiest to carry Euros or Canadian Dollars and exchange them for the local currency (the CUC or Cuban Convertible Peso). The CUC is pegged to the USD and the current exchange rate is around 1 CUC = 0.9 USD. You can exchange USDs too, but the locations are limited and there’s an additional 10% fee. Note that locals use a different currency from tourists (CUP or the Cuban Peso).

Connectivity: In general, expect to be disconnected throughout the country. Some network carriers have spotty service, but there are no international roaming packs, so be aware that any connectivity is expensive. The bigger cities have ‘hot-spots’ where you can purchase wifi cards if you want to be connected. 1 hour access usually costs 3 CUC (or USD 2.7).

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Day 1,Trinidad: Explore the main square at night

After flying into Santa Clara airport (SNU), we went to Trinidad (~2 hour drive). In Trinidad, you can stay either near the center of the town, or near La Boca, a nearby beach area. We opted for the second option. After arriving in Trinidad around 7pm, we spent the rest of the evening in Plaza Mayor – the main square of Trinidad. This square is buzzing with tourists and has several options for restaurants and bars. We picked a restaurant with an open rooftop (called Salon), and grabbed one of the mojitos in the square while we waited for our table. Post dinner, we went to Casa De La Musica, an open-air bar right on the square. If you are interested in salsa dancing, then you should definitely check out this place. The music was great, the drinks were affordable and there was a 1 CUC entrance fee.
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Day 2,Check out the beach and explore some local monuments

Spend the entire morning on the second day at Playa Ancon beach (a 10 minute drive from La Boca). The beach has clear waters, and multiple bars and restaurants so make sure to try the daiquiris and mojitos there! There are beach chairs which you can rent for 2 CUCs for the afternoon. Additionally, there are street vendors serving fresh coconuts at inexpensive prices that are definitely recommended! In the afternoon, we went back into town to walk around Plaza Mayor. The square takes on a different character in the day, when it is quieter and has less tourists, so we spent some time walking around the cobblestone streets. Make sure to climb the La Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco – a bell tower which had a bird’s eye view of the entire town. Probably one of the best views I’ve seen! Close by, make sure to visit the souvenir shops for some local art pieces as well as funky magnets.
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Day 3,Havana: Grab sunset drinks and visit a club in an art gallery

After getting to Havana by the afternoon (~4.5 hour drive from Trinidad booked with the same pre-booking taxi mentioned earlier), we spent some time exploring our neighborhood. Havana is filled with history and culture! We stayed in the Vedado area, which was a ~15 minute cab ride away from Old Havana. Close to our Airbnb was Hotel Nacional de Cuba, one of Havana’s historic and majestic hotels. Some of the art in the hotel dates back to the 1930s. The hotel has a large open courtyard which looks upon the waters of the Bahia de la Habana, so we got cocktails here in the evening. The views during sunset are phenomenal! Finally, at night, we went to Fabrico de Arte Cubano (or FAC). Definitely visit this place – it’s a contemporary art gallery that has been turned into a party spot. Different rooms throughout the gallery have different setups, ranging from live EDM bands to movie screenings. The lines get pretty long so be prepared to wait.
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Day 4,Day trip to Vinales

Vinales is a small town located ~2 hours outside of Havana. A day trip is ~ USD 75/person and includes lunch. The tour includes 5 stops: A viewpoint: panoramic views of the entire Vinales valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch at an organic farm: a true farm-to-table experience! The food is fresh and absolutely delicious. The meal includes everything from fresh meat and fish, to fresh vegetables cooked in Cuban spices. Cueva del Indo: an underground boat ride through historic caves of Vinales Viñales Mural de la Prehistoria: a large colorful mural painted on the side of a mountain. The mural represents evolution from early sea-organisms to humans. A tobacco farm tour: Vinales valley is known for its tobacco plantations. You will have the opportunity to see a farmer roll a cigar live and also buy some Cuban cigars at a great price (~20-30 CUCs for 10 cigars).
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Day 5, Explore Old Havana

Spend the entire day exploring many of Havana’s key landmarks. Start in the center of Old Havana and see the 4 main plazas – Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Plaza del Cristo, and Plaza de la Cathedral. These areas have a similar charm to many of Europe’s old cities: cobblestone streets, quaint houses, cathedrals and other local monuments all line the square. Walking through these streets will give you a chance to explore many of Havana’s old, colorful buildings and souvenir shops.

Additional Info

  • Duration : 5 Days
  • Availability : 40
  • Price : $2750
  • Location : Cuba

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