Catch the classic Cuba carnival while you can.
Now they’re back to being mates with the US and Fidel has passed on, things are a-changin’ in Cuba. But some things will stay the same – like Cuba’s biggest and best party will always be carnival in Santiago de Cuba. A mix of Spanish colonial and Afro-Cuban celebrations, carnival changes a city that already spills over with music and rhythm into one massive party. Even if you’re the world’s shyest or worst dancer, you can’t resist joining the waves of conga that sweep through the city or being part of parades of colourful costumes, sultry performers, and the hypnotizing thump of the drum. Time travel in Havana, get into the Caribbean vibes of Santiago, get lost in the streets of Camaguey, check out the beach and mountains near Trinidad, and surrounded yourself with history, music and mojitos in one of the world’s most unique places.
Some of our under-30 travellers prefer to get around with people their own age. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!
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Cuba knows how to party, and nowhere does it better than Santiago de Cuba at carnival time. Shake it with the congas, move it to the drums, and join in with the crowds as performers parade through the streets
There’s more to Che Guevara than the t-shirt – find out more when you stop by the museum and mausoleum of Cuba’s most famous son
Enjoy over two free days in laidback Trinidad. Roll those Rs in a Spanish class, loll about on an unspoilt Caribbean beach or peddle through sugar plantations on a vintage bike
Peeling colonial buildings, 50s Cadillac’s, pumping nightlife and all the mojitos you can (responsibly) drink – Havana’s like nowhere else.
Funds can be difficult to access in Cuba. Ideally bring multiple credit cards from several different banks just to be sure.
There’s plenty of fresh seafood on the menu in Cuba, but other dishes can be lacking thanks to the embargo that’s stopped the country importing some foodstuffs.
You might have to save your status updates and photo posts for when you get home, as Internet is hard to find, unreliable and expensive. Treat Cuba as a holiday from social media too!
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.
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 humour will go a long way in this beautiful destination.
You’ll get to know the simplicity of rural life in Cuba’s small towns and villages, but this means you’ll have quite a bit of free time – use it to get active with optional activities or continue your education in local rum.
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Real Santiago de Cuba Carnival trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
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. To have a private room on this trip, a single supplement is bookable; subject to availability.
3. A complimentary airport arrival 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. A visa or tourist card, organised prior to arrival, is required for all nationalities visiting Cuba.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.