Important Information

Price

Want your own room?

$2,650 USD per person 

Days 9
Departing

December 4, 2018

Exclusive perks

An exclusive 10% OFF the regular price of this trip

Have questions about this trip? Click below to reach our team by email or call us at 1-855-702-4088.

 Contact us

 

Travel to Cuba on a legal P2P trip

Experience the splendor of Cuba – a cobblestoned Caribbean gem where the rum is plentiful, the smiles infectious and dancing is essential. Join our 9-day Hola Cuba adventure and wind your way from sultry Havana and its crumbling churches, through the valleys and farms of Pinar del Rio, and on to the Afro-inspired beats of Trinidad. Along the way, we’ve assembled a cast of Cuban characters to give you a proper welcome: tobacco farmers, expert chefs, local artists, historians and salsa dancers that understand where Cuba came from, where the country sits now and, more importantly, where it’s going.

 

Start Havana, Cuba Physical rating 3 out of 5
Finish Havana, Cuba Ages Min 15 years
Destination Cuba Group size 1-12 people
Departing December 4, 2018 Style Original

 

Why we love this trip

  • Old-world charm, rich history, exciting nightlife - evocative Havana is like nowhere else on Earth. See the difference between city and coastal life on a guided walking tour of the old capital

  • Life in Cuba's countryside evokes a bygone time. Stroll along rural dirt roads and watch as tractors, vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages roll by

  • There's a lot more to the life of Che Guevara than what you'll learn from watching 'The Motorcycle Diaries'. Pay your respects to the famous revolutionary during an included visit to his mausoleum

  • Try your hand at traditional dance moves with an informal salsa lesson

 

Is this trip right for you?

  • The guesthouses (Casas) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling but keep in mind that each and every room is unique. Regardless of where you stay, power cuts and breaks in hot water are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country.

  • Funds can be difficult to access in Cuba. Ideally, bring multiple credit cards from several different banks just to be sure (from non-US affiliated banks).

  • Luxuries such as air conditioning, and even toilet seats, are often scarce. Part of the experience here is learning to appreciate everyday Cuban resourcefulness.

  • Internet access can be hard to come by, and when it's available it's often unreliable and expensive. This is, on the other hand, a great opportunity to take a break from modern devices and have a true holiday.

  • Cuba is different, and that's a big part of its allure. Things don't always go according to plan, and many things don't work the same way as back home. Patience and good humor will go a long way in this beautiful destination.

  • Due to licensing restrictions, only one night pre-tour accommodation may be requested. Post-tour accommodation cannot be offered.

 

Itinerary

Bienvenido a Cuba! Welcome to Cuba! A complimentary arrival transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. 

Upon arrival, soak in the decaying beauty of Havana and the surreal feeling that you have entered a bygone era. This is a very historic time to visit Cuba, as the gates finally creak open to a country so long forbidden. 

There will be a welcome meeting at approximately 6pm this evening. Please expect a letter from your leader in the afternoon of Day 1 to confirm the place of your meeting (if by 5pm you cannot locate this letter then please ask your guesthouse owner if one has been delivered, or ask to call our assistance line listed in the "Problems and emergency contact information" section of this document). We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. 

Dinner tonight will be at a local paladar, a privately owned restaurant and a great example of Cuba’s incremental shift to a more free-market economy. Paladar means “palate” and is named after a chain of restaurants in a Brazilian soap opera popular in Cuba. 

 

Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information

Please see "Joining instructions" for more information about exiting the arrivals hall and connecting with your arrival transfer driver. Please trust that your driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse.

In the morning, see outer-Havana in a convoy of classic American vintage cars for a Havana city tour (1 hour urban adventure) that cruises via points of intrerest such as the Malecon, Avenida de los presidentes, Revolution Square, and get dropped off in Old Havana. 

Next, join the local guide for a walking tour of Old Havana (approximately 2.5 hours). The best place to start any Havana experience is in the Old City; it is one of the best preserved and was designated a World Heritage Site in 1982. The streets are lined with colonial architecture, 16th century fortresses and countless churches. Visit La Catedral San Cristobal de la Habana, the Palacio de los Marqueses de Aguas Claras and the Plaza de Armas. 

There will be time lunch before visiting Museo de la Revolucion, to learn about the history of the Cuban Revolution and see the infamous Hall of Cretins. 
 

Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - Vintage American car tour
  • Havana - Leader led City Tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Revolution museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Today about 8am, head east, first stopping in an outer-Havana suburb to see the passion project of Jose Fuster, an artist who has turned an entire neighborhood into a lively and colorful series of mosaics. Known as 'Fusterlandia', the inspiring and whimsical scenery is a perfect spot for pictures, and potentially have the chance to say 'hola' to the artist as he works! 

Continue on to a local community in Las Terrazas (approximately two hours). The village was built as part of a government reforestation project and has since received a UNESCO biosphere listing. Meet up with local community leaders who will share some insight into Las Terrazas and how the society works. Also visit the ecological research centre and take a guided walk around the complex.

After lunch continue with a two hour drive to Vinales - situated in one of the most picturesque parts of Cuba, among the limestone pincushion hills (“mogotes”) of the Pinar del Rio province. It is a small and culturally rich village, with friendly and welcoming residents.

Reach Vinales in time for a quick orientation walk then head to an organic farm and learn about sustainable farming in Cuba. Hopefully meet local farmer Wilfredo Garcia Correa or at least his family who will show us around the farm and explain the methods used to cultivate crops without the use of pesticides. Hopefully with a beautiful sunset as our backdrop, enjoy a deliciously fresh and diverse meal prepared by the family, a truly authentic farm-to-fork experience!

Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Havana - visit to Fusterlandia (Jaimanitas)
  • Las Terrazas - Visit to Sustainable Rural Economy Project
  • Vinales - Leader Led Orientation Walk
  • Vinales - Visit to Organic Farm
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today at 9am spend the morning (approximately three hours) learning more about Cuban agriculture with a visit to a local tobacco farm to learn about the tradition of Cuban cigars. Get an insight as to how the communist system works, how much tobacco they keep, how much produce they give back to the government, how they make ends meet!! Learn about the process of tobacco planting to rolling the final cigar. Share in the secret recipe from one family passed down through three generations of how they cure their leaves for cigars, drink some freshly roasted coffee from the farm while watching an expert roll cigars. 

In the afternoon, firstly partake in a salsa dance class (one hour) with a local teacher, then a cooking demonstration from a local chef. Vinales is one of the more agriculturally productive areas of Cuba, so an abundance of local seasonal fruit and vegetables are always on offer such as enormous avocados and mangoes, pineapples, papaya, guava, and several varieties of sweet potatoes. Sit back, relax and enjoy the well prepared meal while overlooking the rolling mountains of Vinales.

Accommodation
  • Standard guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Visit to Tobacco Farm
  • Vinales - Informal Salsa lesson
  • Vinales - Cooking Demonstration by Local Chef
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today head to Cienfuegos at 8am with the bulk of the driving done first (approximately 4.5 hours). After lunch, we visit the Korimakao Cultural Project in Ciénega de Zapata, an area famous for its wetlands. Korimakao is a project founded in 1992 to bring theatre, music, and dancing to remote areas of Cuba. Here meet a director of the project, who will talk to us about the importance of this project and the number of students that benefit from such a project in this area. 

Then drive along the picturesque Bay of Pigs where there are some beautiful places to stop for a swim along the way including a sink hole which resembles a huge natural tropical fish tank, so make sure to pack your swim wear and snorkeling gear if you have any (or rent it!). Next we pass the site where the landing of U.S. sponsored counter-revolutionary exile militia occurred in 1961. Today there is a museum here that recounts the events of this conflict which resulted in the first defeat of a U.S backed take-over in Latin America. 

Drive for one more hour or so, arriving around 5:30pm into Cienfuegos the “Pearl of the South”, a city founded by the French, which lends it a distinctly European flavor, with a wide Parisian-style boulevard and elegant colonnades. Like Havana, Cienfuegos has a beautiful Malecón, where anyone can pass a peaceful evening watching fisherman cast nets and locals socialize. In the evening join together for another delicious home cooked meal with a local family.

Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cienaga Zapata - Korimakao Cultural Project
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Cienfuegos - Leader Led Walking City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

This morning about 8:30am your leader will show you around Cienfuegos before getting back on the road at approximately 10am to head to the beautiful colonial city of Trinidad (approximately 1.5-2 hours). Trinidad is home to numerous churches and many beautiful colonial buildings. Located near the lovely Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of Sugar mills) and Playa Ancón, with long stretches of unspoiled, white sand beaches. 

After lunch, begin with a guided cultural tour of the UNESCO World Heritage town of Trinidad (approximately three hours). This includes an opportunity to visit various museums such as: Museo Lucha contra Bandidos, Architecture Museum, Museo Romantico. Later, visit the pottery workshop of the Santander family. This prestigious family in the Cuban cultural landscape has been making pottery for generations as well as assisting in the restoration of sculptures that once existed in this UNESCO world heritage site. Take the chance to purchase your own pottery to remind you of your time in Cuba. 

In the evening, perhaps seek out the dance scene in Cuba. You may wish to see the Afro Cuban Folkloric dance group that perform shows at the club Palenque; this has cultural and social importance in this region. Nightlife in Trinidad is probably the most accessible and intense in all of Cuba, with numerous live music venues and many dance performances every day of the week, all amongst the enchanting setting of old colonial buildings and the cobblestone streets.

Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trinidad - Leader led Cultural Tour
  • Trinidad - Visit to Pottery Centre
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today learn about the history of the area, the local industry and biodiversity. At 9am visit the national park called "El Cubano" in the mountains of Escambay. This area is known for the struggle Cuban Militia against revolutionary forces in the early 1960s. Hike to a small waterfall with our local expert guide. Depending on the group the hike can take up to 45 minutes each way. Have a chance to experience the region's biodiversity utilising the guide's knowledge of the local birds and plants. If time permits on the way stop in a very simple campesino’s home to experience life in the rural areas of Cuba and usually lunch is at the restaurant in the area as well. Return to Trinidad about 2pm. 

Tonight, usually you’ll have dinner by the beach.

Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trinidad - Walk to Waterfalls
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

The waterfall hike does have railings however good sturdy shoes are recommended.

Leave Trinidad at 8am to reach the town of Santa Clara (approximately two hours), a key city in the Cuban Revolution. Upon entering Santa Clara, see the iconic statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara, built to commemorate his death and that of the revolutionaries. There will be time to explore the museum which honours Ché's life. 

Have lunch at a small family farm near Santa Clara and head back to Havana about 1pm (approximately three hours) where there will be some time to freshen up before the farewell dinner, and of course, one final fun-filled night of music and dancing!

Accommodation
  • Premium guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Say good-bye to our guide as we head back to the U.S. There are no activities planned for day nine and you are able to depart the guesthouse at any time. Check out time is at 10am. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the house.

Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Inclusions

Meals

8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Premium Guesthouse (6 nights), Standard Guesthouse (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Havana - Vintage American car tour
  • Havana - Leader led City Tour of Old Havana
  • Havana - Revolution museum
  • Havana - visit to Fusterlandia (Jaimanitas)
  • Las Terrazas - Visit to Sustainable Rural Economy Project
  • Vinales - Leader Led Orientation Walk
  • Vinales - Visit to Organic Farm
  • Vinales - Visit to Tobacco Farm
  • Vinales - Informal Salsa lesson
  • Vinales - Cooking Demonstration by Local Chef
  • Cienaga Zapata - Korimakao Cultural Project
  • Playa Giron - Museum Giron Entrance and Film
  • Cienfuegos - Orientation Walk
  • Cienfuegos - Leader Led Walking City Tour
  • Trinidad - Leader led Cultural Tour
  • Trinidad - Visit to Pottery Centre
  • Trinidad - Walk to Waterfalls
  • Santa Clara - Visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum

Everything you need to know about this trip

Physical rating

None of the activities featured in this trip require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate. Stairs are prevalent in Cuban homes, and cobblestones and uneven roads are common. If you are in any doubt, please share these concerns or issues with your sales consultant so that your leader is aware prior and can pre-empt your needs. 

 

Joining point

A Premium Guesthouse
Please read Joining and Finishing Point Instructions in the Essential Trip Information Document for details about your assigned guesthouse
Havana
CUBA

Joining point description

Cuban Guesthouses (known locally as Casas) are more similar in style to B&Bs than they are homestays. Families do not necessarily live in the residence and most houses we contract are primarily a business. While some guesthouse managers and owners speak English, interaction mostly consists of gestures, smiles and ‘Spanglish’. Just like the residences in your own neighborhood, each casa is unique; expect there to be differences between the rooms you and your traveling companions stay in (generally we arrange things so that there are 1-4 group members in each house). Each room has a private bathroom with towels, and occasionally basic toiletries are provided. Premium guesthouses at least will not have electric shower heads although as with many developing countries, power cuts do occur on occasion, meaning that hot water can’t always be guaranteed regardless of the standard.

Joining point instructions

For the "Hola Cuba - P2P " trip, rooming allocations are finalized inside a week from departure based on the configuration requests of each traveler or traveling party. Please advise bedding configuration requests to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. We have an expansive list of guesthouses across the Havana neighborhoods of Vedado, Central Havana and Old Havana. Due to the volume of passengers as well as the time constraint we cannot contact you with the name and address of your assigned guesthouse. For this reason, a complimentary arrival transfer is included with your trip; please trust that your driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 5 days prior to travel.

If you have not booked the transfer prior to departure, or will not utilize it due to independent plans, please ensure you ask your booking agent inside 7 days of departure for your confirmed guesthouse name and address.

ARRIVAL TRANSFER:
To book your complimentary arrival transfer you must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 5 days prior to travel. The complimentary airport arrival transfer is valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us.
After collecting your luggage, please continue walking through the 'Main Arrivals Hall' of the airport. Past the crowds of people, look for a free-standing pull-up banner with our brand logos on it. There will NOT be a sign with your name on it, however, a representative will be waiting at the banner to take you to your pre-arranged taxi. If you can't locate the representative, please call +53 5250 6496 (Do not rely on somebody else to call for you as they may be seeking commissions to direct you to another transfer company). The transfer will be provided in a taxi branded car; however, all drivers are specifically contracted to us so please trust they will know the address of your assigned guesthouse.

LOCAL ASSISTANCE:
We have a desk located in the listed address below; providing a 24-hour service with English speaking employees if any assistance is required.
Casa La Gargola
1st floor #82 Cuba street, Old Havana (between Cuarteles & Chacon Streets)
PH: +53 (7) 8605493

The Spanish translation of the address is "Casa La Gargola 1° Piso #82 Calle Cuba, entre Cuarteles y Chacon, Havana Vieja”.

PRE/POST-TOUR ACCOMMODATION:
Our licensing agreement allows one night of pre-tour accommodation to be booked (subject to availability) only when airline scheduling impedes your ability to arrive in time for the welcome meeting on Day 1. Post-tour accommodation cannot be offered under our license.

CHARTER FLIGHTS:
If flying with one of the charter airlines operating out of the US, please note charters often have significant flight delays (and your connecting airlines are not obliged to wait for you or re-book you if you miss your connection due to a late charter). If flying with a charter, we recommend overnighting in Miami or another connecting city in both directions to ensure you can make your flight connections.

Problems and emergency contact information

 

While we always endeavor to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognize that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

 

 

BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES
For general inquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at:
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/contact-us

INTERNET IN CUBA: 
There are WIFI hotspots located at larger hotels and at major public squares in most cities. You will need to purchase an ETECSA internet card from the ETECSA shop or larger hotel. Usually, these come in 1 hour blocks at a price of CUC2 per hour. If the login page does not open when you select the WIFI, type this into your browser:
www.portal-wifi-temas.nauta.cu
If you do not log out correctly your time may be chewed up without use. To do so, type 1.1.1.1 into your browser and hit “Cerrar session”.

Be aware that Skype does not work in Cuba. We recommend downloading a messaging app prior to arrival to communicate with your friends and family back home, such as Whatsapp or IMO.

CRISES AND EMERGENCIES
Please be aware that communication lines in Cuba are unreliable and establishing a clear line requires patience. Please follow these instructions to ensure our operators can assist you in times of need. Since voicemail isn't an option and most incoming call phone numbers are automatically blocked, our operator will not be able to return any missed calls. The only solution to this problem is persistence. Keep calling the line until an operator answers the call. Alternatively, the emergency line is a mobile number that can be reached via text. If you cannot establish a connection to our operators over the phone, please send a text with your full name, any reference codes (if known), the issue at hand and a return contact number. You will most likely receive a response via text. 

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below (remember to drop the +xx country code if you are calling from within the country):

Cuba Operations: +53 5333 8121 or +53 5510 5525

If you cannot reach the operations manager using the above numbers, alternatively you may try our Cuba representative located in Australia +61 430 504 636

 

Finishing point

A Premium Guesthouse
Please read Joining and Finishing Point Instructions in the Essential Trip Information Document for details about your assigned guesthouse
Havana
CUBA

Finishing point instructions

A complimentary departure transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 5 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organized. Your leader will confirm the transfer pick up time while on tour, otherwise, your transfer driver will collect you from your guesthouse 3.5 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the guesthouse staff to call +53 5250 6496 or our Cuba Emergency number, listed under the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of this document.

Itinerary disclaimer

 

Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

 

 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
A selection of optional activities is listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

 

Feedback

 

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travelers. Below link will take you to the feedback site:

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

 

Essential Trip Information

Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. A single supplement is available for purchase on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Our licensing agreement allows one night of pre-tour accommodation to be booked (subject to availability) only when airline scheduling impedes your ability to arrive in time for the welcome meeting on Day 1. Post-tour accommodation cannot be offered under our license.
4. A complimentary airport arrival and departure transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
5. The airport arrival transfer driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse. If you have not booked the transfer prior to departure, or will not utilize it due to independent plans, please ensure you ask your booking agent inside 7 days of departure for your confirmed guesthouse name and address.
6. Guesthouse and rooming allocations are finalized inside a week from departure based on the configuration of each traveling party. Please advise bedding configuration requests to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
7. Intrepid US, Inc. (""Intrepid US"") is authorized to provide those who register as participants in our programs to visit Cuba legally for educational people-to-people interactions. Our ""Cuban Adventures"" program provides a full-time schedule of people-to-people educational exchange activities designed to result in meaningful interactions between our travelers and individuals in Cuba. United States law requires that all participants in our programs adhere to the full-time schedule of people-to-people activities. Due to the nature of the program, United States law requires adherence to a special set of guidelines for travel on these unique programs. Please read the guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions carefully in the ""Essential Trip Information"" Document, and call our special Cuba connection line at 1 800 970 7299 or visit www.intrepidtravel.com if you have questions.
8. As per the OFAC law, each group will be accompanied by a representative (Chaperone) from Intrepid Travel. Their role is not that of a tour leader but to simply ensure we are fulfilling our legal requirement by retaining records demonstrating a full-time schedule of authorized activities is undertaken by all travelers. ""For travel conducted under the auspices of an organization, an agent of the sponsoring organization must accompany each group traveling to Cuba to ensure that each traveler has a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities.""
9. A visa or tourist card, organized prior to arrival, is required for all nationalities visiting Cuba.
10. The Cuban government has declared that travel insurance is compulsory for all travelers. Proof of insurance may be requested at Havana Airport by immigration officials.
11. There are unprecedented changes happening in Cuba right now. It is an exciting time but it also means some patience and understanding is required for the heightened demand of infrastructure, accommodation and services. To help set your expectations correctly, please read the ‘Is this trip right for you?’ and ‘Joining point description’ sections in the Essential Trip Information Document.
12. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

Passport and visas

 

PASSPORT:
Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months' validity remaining. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

VISAS:
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. The below country specific information was correct at time of writing, however please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. Also remember to check whether a transit visa is required on route to join this trip or on the way home.
If you receive an immigration card upon entry, please ensure you keep this safe as it may be requested at point of exit. For further information regarding country entry and exit fees, please refer to the 'Money Matters' section of this document. 

 

 

Cuba - Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Cuba for the most up to date information. To enter the country visitors are required to have evidence of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay, proof of travel medical insurance, as well as onward travel ticket.

Passport holders from Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand are not required to obtain a visa prior to arrival. Instead, you get a Tourist Card (Tarjeta de Turista) valid for 30 days. In some cases, you may be required to buy the card at your departure airport, either at the check in counter or at the flight gate itself some minutes before departure. Others need to buy the tourist card from their travel agency, but policies vary (eg Canadian airlines give out tourist cards on their airplanes), so you'll need to check ahead with the airline office. In some cases, you can arrange a visa prior to departing your home country but usually this is more expensive and time consuming.

All Tourist Cards are the same, except if you are flying direct to Cuba from the US (including flights that transit via the USA). These are more expensive and pink in color, instead of the typical green Tourist Card.

If you are British, or reside in Great Britain with a passport from the European union, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, you can apply for Tourist Card here - https://www.cubavisas.com - (This type of tourist card would not be valid for travel to Cuba from the USA, Puerto Rico or US Virgin Islands). You may use this local address to apply for your Tourist Card - Casa La Gargola, 1st floor #82 Cuba street, Old Havana. Alternatively, you can apply direct (postal only) to the Consulate http://misiones.minrex.gob.cu/en/united-kingdom.

If you are an American citizen, American permanent resident, or hold any type of American Visa, and are considering traveling to Cuba, please refer to the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website - https://travel.state.gov – and the U.S. Department of the Treasury - https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/cuba.aspx - for the latest advice.

 

Medical and health information

 

All Intrepid travelers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveler is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

 

 

ZIKA VIRUS:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in parts of Central and South America. This virus is mostly concerning to pregnant women as recently in Brazil local authorities have linked the virus to an increase in babies born with microcephaly (smaller than normal skull).
In addition to the risk mentioned above WHO have reported that Zika symptoms may include mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
In line with the above, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip to Central and South America. At this stage, WHO is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions related to the Zika virus. More information on the Zika virus can be found at the following links: World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/

 

 

DENGUE FEVER:
Dengue Fever is common in Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil and parts of Mexico are currently suffering from a serious outbreak. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.

 

Food and dietary requirements

 

To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will also be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, celiac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend bringing your own supply of snacks with you.

Vegetarians should be aware that while you can get vegetarian meals in Cuba, you generally won't find much variety and you may get tired of being offered the same every day (i.e. - rice, beans, omelette and salad). Vegetarians are often surprised that their meals are no cheaper than those containing meat, and this is because vegetables on the free market in Cuba are of similar prices to those of meat.

Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.

FOOD IN CUBA:
Food in Cuba has a reputation for being bland and lacking variety, however it has improved dramatically over the last two years. There are very limited snacks available in Cuba; convenience stores exist but are certainly not as prevalent nor sell the quantity or variety of snacks or junk food you may be used to at home. You may wish to bring your favorite chocolates, candy or healthy snacks like muesli bars.

Beans and rice are the staples, with cucumber, tomato and cabbage being the conventional ingredients for a Cuban salad. Chicken and pork are the most common meats served in Cuba, however fish and a variety of seafood is also frequently on offer. Please be aware that it is a cultural trait to serve meals larger than you are expected to finish, but be assured nothing will go to waste.

It can be hard to find a suitable place to eat while traveling in Cuba, as roadside restaurants tend to cater for large tour groups and either offer a fixed meal or a very limited selection of snacks. In the cities and towns small privately-owned restaurants, paladares, offer a little more choice but can often only seat a maximum of twelve people (the number for which they are officially licensed).
 

 

Accommodation

Premium Guesthouse (6 nights), Standard Guesthouse (2 nights)

 

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

We have classified guesthouse rooms into two standards for the comfort levels of our trips: Standard and Premium. Most differences can be a little hard to tell at first, particularly when taking aesthetic into account which varies greatly not only between rooms but also between cities and provinces. Be assured though that the comforts to which foreign travelers are accustomed have been taken into account in classifying premium guesthouses a higher standard of accommodation.
For this itinerary, the standard guesthouse rooms will have an ensuite and air-conditioning however will not necessarily have a split system, an in-room or in-house safe or imported bedding.

Premium:
- Larger rooms
- Imported mattresses and pillows rather than locally made
- The linen is cotton rather than synthetic
- Split system air-conditioning
- In-room or in-house safe available for use

Stairs are prevalent in Cuban homes. If this presents a problem to you, then please advise us at time of booking so we can request rooms on or closer to ground level.

We aim to confirm the first night of your tour in Old Havana however occasionally due to availability we will confirm it in either Central Havana or Vedado.

PRE/POST-TOUR ACCOMMODATION:
Our licensing agreement allows one night of pre-tour accommodation to be booked (subject to availability) only when airline scheduling impedes your ability to arrive in time for the welcome meeting on Day 1. Post-tour accommodation cannot be offered under our license.

ACCOMMODATION OVERBOOKINGS:
Cuba is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination and unfortunately the number of rooms available is not increasing at the same rate. Hotels and Guesthouses occasionally cancel bookings at the last minute and do not always offer an alternative option that meets our standards. While these types of cancellations are outside of our control, our local team is presented with the difficult task of sourcing the next best from whatever else is available; choosing the option that will have the least impact on your experience. This overbooking is affecting all tour operators in the country and you need to be aware that it may affect your trip.

 

Transport

Private vehicle

 

Money matters

 

When it comes to money on the trip, every traveler is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.
Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).

CONTINGENCY FUNDS:
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to the equivalent of an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

MEALS NOT INCLUDED:
For this trip we recommend between CUC 25 to 50 per day. How do we work this out? These are indicative prices only.

Breakfast. If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay approximately CUC5 in the guesthouses.

Lunch. CUC5-10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, a lunch meal at a more tourist restaurant can cost between CUC10-15.

Dinner. At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between CUC15-25 for a main.

If you are on a tight budget, unfortunately Cuba doesn’t much in the way of cheap street food other than pizzas which cost CUC2. Alternatively, If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.

 

 

TIPPING:
If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations. Due to the low Government-set wages in Cuba, tipping is relied upon heavily so expect to tip for just about everything. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.

Hold on to your smaller notes and coins to make tipping easier. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

- Restaurants: Local markets, government and private (paladares) restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest 10%. There's no need to tip at dinners taken at Guesthouses.
- Guesthouse: You may consider tipping the employees (not the owners) of a Guesthouse; CUC1-2 is suggested, although a clothing item, a towel or the like will be kindly received.
- Toilet attendant: CUC 0.25 per use.
- Musicians: CUC1-2 per session.
- Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest CUC2 per person per day for local guides.
- Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of CUC1-2 per day is generally appropriate.
- Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline CUC2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

In total, we recommend you budget approx CUC10-15 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

 

 

CURRENCY INFORMATION:

 

 

Cuba currency information - The official currencies of Cuba are the Cuban Peso Convertible (CUC) and the National Peso (CUP also known as Moneda Nacional M.N.). Non-Cubans deal almost exclusively in convertibles (CUC). The National Peso (CUP) has very limited use, especially for travelers. What's confusing for travelers is that the Cubans call both currencies 'pesos', so you must ask or know the value of something to know which currency they are referring to (CUC1 = US$1 and CUC1 = CUP24). Cuban law states that it is illegal to remove any bills from Cuba so ensure that you use up both currencies before departing the country. Travelers often experience problems accessing funds in Cuba due to unique banking arrangements on the island. To avoid being caught without money in Cuba, ensure you have a variety of ways of accessing your money including cash (GBP CAD or EUR), emergency cash, and bank cards from various banks. Cards issued by US banks or banks affiliated with US banks are not accepted in Cuba at all. Among others, this includes Travelex, Westpac and Citibank. Contact your bank prior to travel about using your bank card in Cuba. ATMs are not widely available and not always reliable. We recommend you use the ATM at the airport upon arrival.
CADECAs are the official government currency exchange houses. These can be found in every city, at the airport, and are commonly found in the larger hotels in Havana. Please note that most are closed on Sundays. For any services offered, such as money exchange or cash advances, you will need your passport to proceed. Note it is in your best interest to specifically ask for smaller bills. The only currencies that you are guaranteed to be able to exchange are CAD, EUR and GBP. The US dollar is not accepted as legal tender in Cuba, and attracts a large commission fee at exchange. The exchange rates used by the CADECA are the same in every CADECA around Cuba and represent about a 3% commission for the bank (included in the exchange rate). For cash advances and when using the ATMs, there is a 3% fee charged. This means that for value for money it's approximately the same if you are making a cash advance or exchanging cash. Eurocheques are not accepted in Cuba. Visa and Thomas Cook traveler cheques issued in USD are not a problem, except that you will incur the 10% charge for exchanging from US$.

 

 

ENTRY AND EXIT FEES:
The below country specific information was correct at time of writing, however please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information.

 

 

Cuba – There are no entry or exit fees. A departure tax of US$25 is included in the cost of your flight ticket.

 

Packing

 

Most travelers prefer to take a small to medium wheeled suitcase, which is a great size for the packing capacity in our private vehicles. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even walk short distances. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. You'll also need a day pack/bag for activities and day trips.

Other than the items and clothing you always need on a trip, below we have listed packing suggestions specific for this trip:

ESSENTIAL:
- Warm as well as light clothing. Central America is often assumed to have hot weather, but it can get cold in the countryside, mountains and at night in the winter so we suggest you check the expected temperatures en route and bring clothing that you can layer
- Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses

RECOMMENDED:
- Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, travel insurance etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments
- Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
- Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and Band-Aids.
- Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
- Swimwear
- Travel beach towel
- Tissues &/or toilet paper &/or wet wipes
- Insect repellent
- Camera with spare memory card, charger &/or batteries
- Toiletries. We recommend you to take your own supply of shampoo, soap and toilet paper to use in the guesthouses and public toilets. We also encourage women to take their own supply of sanitary items as these items are not widely available for purchase
- Despite their low income levels, Cubans love to dress up smartly and fashionably whenever they can. For going out in the evenings, casual dress is acceptable everywhere although one collared shirt for males is recommended, otherwise there's no need to bring clothes or footwear especially for this

OPTIONAL:
- Ear plugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate
- Phrase book
- Gifts for Cubans, read below

VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your safe if available. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.

LAUNDRY:
Laundry is available at many hotels and towns during this trip as well as guesthouses in Cuba, although you might need to wait for a two-night stop in order to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry at hotels is usually charged by the item, laundromats usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (about USD 2 per kilo).
GIFTS:
We encourage you to discuss gift giving with your leader so that items can be distributed to organizations in need. Given the difficulty of securing basic goods in Cuba, items that you would consider throwing out at home such as second hand clothes or menial things such as soap, shampoo, perfumes, sewing kits, toothbrushes and pens or pencils are warmly accepted. If you decide to hand out gifts without the leader’s guidance, we suggest you distribute as a sign of appreciation after some sort of interaction, whether that be a conversation or offered help, rather than a means to create engagement. Please refrain from handing items directly to children.
Though they would be most happy to receive them, it is not necessary to bring gifts for the guesthouse families, as they are probably some of the more well-off families in Cuba and will be happy enough with just your good-natured presence.

 

Climate and seasonal information

 

WEATHER CONTINGENCIES:
Please note that Hurricane season is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors these situations as they may arise, so that itineraries or activities can be amended as necessary.

 

 

Intrepid US's People to People Program

You will travel with Intrepid US on a people-to-people educational exchange program, operated under a general license issued by the United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and you will therefore be legally licensed and authorized to travel to Cuba. You should be aware that you are not traveling to Cuba as a “tourist.” You will be traveling as part of a people-to-people educational exchange program and must participate in all activities of the program. This means that in order to comply with the terms of OFAC's people-to-people license, we must arrange all activities, as well as hotel and guiding services.

 

 

Learning a few phrases of Spanish will help enhance your experience in Cuba. Because we stay in guest houses run by local families and aim for as much local interaction as possible, a few phrases learned in advance will certainly come in handy!

 

 

Making a Booking

You can book these programs as you would any Intrepid US tour. Payment must come directly from you to Intrepid US using any of our accepted forms of payment. You may not make payment directly to a travel agent. Your travel agent may assist you in making the payment by mailing the check or providing Intrepid US your credit card information.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

• What is the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and what does it do?

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website, OFAC “administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign policies and regimes … and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.” As of January 16, 2015, Intrepid US is authorized to provide people-to-people trips pursuant to a general license under 31 C.F.R. 515.565(b), rather than needing a specific license.

• What does people-to-people travel mean?

Intrepid US's people-to-people itinerary has been carefully planned to provide engaging, intimate experiences with Cuba’s dynamic residents, immersing you in everyday life, and allowing you to interact with locals and foster a better understanding of what makes Cuba such a fascinating place. People-to-People travel allows for very little, if any, free time, as your time will be spent experiencing Cuba at its most authentic, through one-on-one talks and in-person visits.

• Do I have to participate in all the scheduled activities?

Under the requirements set forth by OFAC, you must participate in all scheduled activities on your itinerary. You are traveling to Cuba under OFAC’s people-to-people general license, and the U.S. government requires you to participate in the guided, educational activities. Hence, unlike other Intrepid US trips, you cannot opt out of activities. By not participating in any scheduled activities, you may be individually liable for criminal or civil penalties.

• Am I allowed to explore my surroundings before or after the day’s itinerary?

While full participation in our scheduled program is required during the day, you are able to explore on your own before or after your scheduled itinerary is complete.

• What currency does Cuba use?

Cuban residents use the peso, or Moneda Nacional or CUP. However, Cuba operates as a dual economy, and its hard currency is the Cuban convertible peso (CUC). Travelers must use CUCs to pay for personal consumption in Cuba or to purchase informational materials (as described in more detail below) in Cuba.

• Are U.S. dollars accepted in Cuba?

U.S. dollars are not accepted in Cuba and cannot be used for purchases. You will need to convert U.S. Dollars to CUCs for use in Cuba upon arrival. The CUC is equal to the U.S. Dollar at a 1:1 ratio, but exchange is subject to a 10% Cuban tax in addition to all exchange rates. This rate is subject to change at any time. Visit xe.com for details.

• Will I be able to use my credit card or debit card in Cuba?

It depends on your financial institution. While U.S. financial institutions are now permitted to process credit card and debit card transactions in Cuba related to authorized travel expenses, currently most U.S. financial institutions and Cuban vendors are not set-up to process such transactions.

ATMs can be quite temperamental in Cuba, so funds may not be accessible electronically. Please plan to travel with sufficient cash; how much cash you bring is a matter of preference. However, prices in Cuba are similar to those in the United States, so this may be used as your guide.

• Where can I exchange money in Cuba?

Generally, money may be exchanged at the airport, some hotels or banks. Do not rely on Travelers Cheques because they are not insured and are not accepted from U.S. banks while in Cuba. It is therefore essential to travel with enough cash for your entire experience in Cuba. Visit xe.com for current information on exchanging money in Cuba.

• May I purchase items in Cuba and bring them back with me to the U.S.?

You may acquire in Cuba and import as accompanied baggage into the United States merchandise with a value not to exceed $ 400 per person, provided that no more than $100 of the merchandise consists of alcohol or tobacco products and the merchandise is imported for personal use only.

There are no monetary limits on acquisition in Cuba and import into the U.S. of informational materials, such as books, paintings, posters, photographs, films and music CDs.

• Are there any limitations with respect to personal consumption spending while in Cuba?

There is no limit on personal consumption spending (e.g., food, beverage, etc.) while in Cuba.

• Will my cell phone, smart phone or PDA device work in Cuba?

Probably not; generally, your U.S. cell phone, texting and smart phone-based Internet will not work in Cuba. Any phone calls may be placed from your guest room in each hotel. Inquire about rates before placing calls, as they are generally very expensive and must be paid for in cash. Also, please note that satellite phones are not allowed in Cuba.

• Is there Internet access in Cuba?
It's not easy but there is some. Some hotels and public internet store provide internet access however, it may not be reliable or up to the standards you are accustomed to at home.

For more information, we strongly encourage you to visit OFAC's website at:
http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cub...

 

Group Leader

 

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavors to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialized knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

 

Safety

 

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while traveling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while traveling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before traveling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

 

 

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

 

 

LUGGAGE PROTECTION:
Past travelers have advised their luggage was broken into when flying on international and/or domestic flights in Cuba. It's advisable that you use small padlocks to secure your luggage. This will also come in handy to lock your valuables at your hotel or in the Guesthouse rooms.

 

 

PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While traveling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

 

 

MONEY WITHDRAWAL:
In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.

 

 

LOCAL LODGINGS:
On this trip you will be staying in some restored houses and local lodges - these are one of the charms of this journey, but their staircases, balconies and passages etc may not always comply with western safety standards. Please do not expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state.

 

 

FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

 

 

SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

 

A couple of rules

 

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travelers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders, local operators or locals.

Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.

 

Traveling on a group trip

 

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travelers booked on your trip prior to departure.

 

 

SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travelers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

 

Travel Insurance

 

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When traveling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

Please contact Travel Guard directly in order to purchase travel insurance for this particular trip. Travel Guard's website is:http://www.travelguard.com/ or you can reach them on: 866-420-2408

 

Responsible Travel

 

Traveling responsibly is all about making good choices. It's about ensuring you have an incredible trip while also having a positive impact on the local environment, community and economy you're traveling in. How can you be a Responsible Traveler? See our tips below:

- Choose to travel with a responsible travel company like us! We've already offset the main carbon emissions of your trip, so your footprint is already lighter.
- Consider offsetting your flights when you book your trip/flights with us or your travel agent.
- Bring a refillable water bottle and some water purification tablets (or a Steripen) to cut down on plastic bottle waste.
- Be an animal-friendly traveler. Only go to venues that respect animals by allowing them to live normally in their natural environment. Steer clear of venues that use animals for entertainment or abnormal activities and/or keep animals in poor and unnatural conditions.
- Eat at local restaurants, buy from regional artists and support social enterprises so you can contribute directly to locals and their economy.
- Always be respectful of local customs and ask permission if you want to take a photo of someone.
- Learn a few words of the local language and engage with the people around you.
- Carry a cloth or re-usable bag so you can avoid plastic bags.
- Give back by making a donation to a local project via The Intrepid Foundation.

Share your thoughts with us by completing your feedback form after your trip. This helps us to continue to improve our commitment to responsible travel.

 

 

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

 

The Intrepid Foundation

 

Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travelers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travelers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organizations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

 

 

http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. A single supplement is available for purchase on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Our licensing agreement allows one night of pre-tour accommodation to be booked (subject to availability) only when airline scheduling impedes your ability to arrive in time for the welcome meeting on Day 1. Post-tour accommodation cannot be offered under our license.
4. A complimentary airport arrival and departure transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
5. The airport arrival transfer driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse. If you have not booked the transfer prior to departure, or will not utilise it due to independent plans, please ensure you ask your booking agent inside 7 days of departure for your confirmed guesthouse name and address.
6. Guesthouse and rooming allocations are finalised inside a week from departure based on the configuration of each travelling party. Please advise bedding configuration requests to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
7. Intrepid US, Inc. (""Intrepid US"") is authorized to provide those who register as participants in our programs to visit Cuba legally for educational people-to-people interactions. Our ""Cuban Adventures"" program provides a full-time schedule of people-to-people educational exchange activities designed to result in meaningful interactions between our travelers and individuals in Cuba. United States law requires that all participants in our programs adhere to the full-time schedule of people-to-people activities. Due to the nature of the program, United States law requires adherence to a special set of guidelines for travel on these unique programs. Please read the guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions carefully in the ""Essential Trip Information"" Document, and call our special Cuba connection line at 1 800 970 7299 or visit www.intrepidtravel.com if you have questions.
8. As per the OFAC law, each group will be accompanied by a representative (Chaperone) from Intrepid Travel. Their role is not that of a tour leader but to simply ensure we are fulfilling our legal requirement by retaining records demonstrating a full-time schedule of authorized activities is undertaken by all travellers. ""For travel conducted under the auspices of an organization, an agent of the sponsoring organization must accompany each group traveling to Cuba to ensure that each traveller has a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities.""
9. A visa or tourist card, organised prior to arrival, is required for all nationalities visiting Cuba.
10. The Cuban government has declared that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers. Proof of insurance may be requested at Havana Airport by immigration officials.
11. There are unprecedented changes happening in Cuba right now. It is an exciting time but it also means some patience and understanding is required for the heightened demand of infrastructure, accommodation and services. To help set your expectations correctly, please read the ‘Is this trip right for you?’ and ‘Joining point description’ sections in the Essential Trip Information Document.
12. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

 

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