Behind the peeling pastels and crumbling masonry, behind Cadillac chrome and the tang of cigar smoke and fresh papaya, cobbled streets and colonial relics, behind economic embargoes and a cultural time warp, there’s the real Cuba.
And the real Cuba isn’t easy to fit onto a postcard. On our Cuba tours (now open to Americans) we try to go a step beyond the clichés. Want to try a cigar? We’ll introduce you to the Viñales farmers that make them. Want to give salsa a go? Our leaders know the best clubs in Havana. From the Afro-Cuban rhythms of Trinidad to turquoise waters in Gaujimico, this is the Cuba most travellers never get to see.
Top Cuba travel deals
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Our Cuba trips
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Cuba tour reviews
Our Cuba trips score an average of 4.61 out of 5 based on 531 reviews in the last year.
Beautiful Cuba, January 2017
Authentic tour, which allowed you to experience the real Cuba with a very knowledgable tour guide! So glad we did a tour and didn't try to navigate Cuba on our own.
Review submitted 16 Jan 2017
Express Cuba, December 2016
Cuba is a rewarding destination. Full of beauty, warmth, colour, history and music. The chance to stay with locals is a real bonus.
Review submitted 16 Jan 2017
Articles on Cuba
Cuba travel highlights
Admire the classic cars and historic buildings of Havana’s Old Town
Experience Cuban hospitality while on a homestay
Travel through the majestic, tree-filled hills of Soroa
Be immersed in the Afro-Cuban rhythms of Trinidad’s music scene
Visit Cuba’s famous tobacco farms in Vinales
Maria La Gorda
Relax on the beautiful beaches of Maria La Gorda
Walk the character-filled streets of colonial Camaguey
Admire the architectural triumphs of Cienfuegos
See the remnants of Cuba’s pirate past in Baracoa
Transport in Cuba
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Cuba, you may find yourself travelling by:
Set out on the ultimate ride as you cycle through the changing scenery of Cuba. Pass plantations, mountains, national parks and beaches on this energetic and exciting ride of a lifetime.
Accommodation in Cuba
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Cuba you may find yourself staying in a:
Cuba holiday information
At a glance
Best time to visit Cuba
Culture and customs
Eating and drinking
Geography and environment
History and government
Top 10 Essential Cuba Experiences
Festivals and events in Cuba
Health and safety
Cuba travel FAQs
Tourists of most nationalities require a 'Tourist Card' which is similar to a tourist visa. These can be obtained through travel agents in your home country, or directly from Cuban embassies and consulates. Depending on the airline you are travelling with to Cuba, you may also be able to purchase the tourist card at the airport from the airline on the day of your departure - please check with your airline.
If you are an American citizen, American permanent resident, or hold any type of American Visa, and are considering travelling to Cuba, please refer to the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website - travel.state.gov - for the latest advice. If flying with a charter airline from Miami, you can purchase your tourist card directly through the charter company. Passengers transiting through a third country can purchase the card at the airport where you connect to Havana. You can also purchase cards in advance through www.cubavisas.com
With most Cubans living modest lifestyles, leaving a tip for good service is a good idea. There is almost always free entertainment in bar and restaurants; the musicians and singers are usually not paid by the venue so we encourage you to tip when you have enjoyed the performance or background rhythms. Restaurant workers, hotel porters, maids and taxi drivers will appreciate a small sum, but be sure to tip in Cuban pesos as foreign currency isn’t easily exchanged in Cuba.
Internet access isn't widespread throughout Cuba but availability is increasing. The internet can sometimes be accessed from government departments and larger hotels, and most recently the main square of most cities now have Wi-Fi accessibility. You will need to purchase an internet card from certain hotels and outlets to sign on to the internet in any location. Please note that the connection may be slow, some websites may be censored and the cost is typically high.
Your mobile phone may or may not work while in Cuba, depending on what type of phone you have. Before leaving your home country, ensure global roaming is activated with your provider, but be aware that your phone may not get reception due to Cuba having the lowest mobile phone penetration in Latin America.
Public toilets are rare in Cuba, but western-style flushable toilets are available in hotels, bars and restaurants. Bring your own toilet paper and soap as these are rarely provided. Due to the import restrictions, toilet seats can be in high demand so guesthouses may not have this luxury.
Can of soft drink = 1 CUC
Cup of coffee = 1 CUC
Cocktail = 3-4 CUC
Meal in a nice restaurant = 15- 25 CUC
It's not advisable to drink water from the tap in Cuba. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Some credit cards are accepted in Cuba (Visa and Mastercard are usually more widely accepted), although cards linked to US banking institutions won't be accepted. Debit cards (even Visa debit) generally don’t work either. We recommend you bring multiple cards from different banks to be sure you have access to funds. Ensure you also have enough cash and other forms of payment, as credit cards won’t always be accepted.
ATMs are accessible in large cities like Havana and Santiago, but are rare/non-existent in other parts of Cuba. Please note that you won't be able to use cards that are linked to US banking institutions. Ensure you have other payment options available in case you can’t access an ATM while travelling in Cuba.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey. Proof of travel insurance may be requested at Havana airport by immigration officials. Travellers failing to produce a valid document will be required to purchase a new policy at the airport, before being granted access to Cuba.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
- 1 Jan Triumph of the Revolution / Liberation Day
- 2 Jan New Year Holiday
- 14 Apr Good Friday
- 1 May Labour Day
- 25 Jul National Revolutionary Festival
- 26 Jul National Revolutionary Festival
- 27 Jul National Revolutionary Festival
- 10 Oct Independence Day
- 25 Dec Christmas
- 31 Dec Year End Celebration
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Cuba go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/cuba/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Cuba
- Be considerate of Cuba’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
- For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
- Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
- Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
- Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
- Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
- Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
- When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.