Discover the best of Cuba from coast to coast on this comprehensive 17-day people-to-people program. This rare travel opportunity facilitates memorable interactions between Americans and Cuban farmers, fishermen, artists, and more. Explore this beautiful island nation with its compelling history and rich culture.
Trip Highlights include:
- People-to-People interaction and meaningful exchanges with locals.
- Small group size of not more than 24.
- GUANTÁNAMO: Learn the origins of Cuba’s music at Casa del Changui
- BARACOA: Learn about the cocoa industry and meet workers at a local cocoa farm; discussion with members of the semi-indigenous Guirito community; interact with staff at the Matachin Museum; discussion at a local paladar with owner and staff
- BIRÁN: Visit the boyhood home of Fidel & Raul Castro and interact with local community members
- GUARDALAVACA: Interactive dance lesson
- VELASCO: Visit Casa de la Cultura
- GIBARA: Workshop with local fisherman; mojito-making demonstration at a local paladar
- HOLGUÍN: Discussion with workers at a traditional print shop; meet staff at a musical-organ factory
- SANTIAGO DE CUBA: Interact with workers at Jardín de los Helechos; visit the historic city center and enjoy a discussion with a local historian; scenic cruise in Santiago Bay; discussion with local fishermen; explore San Pedro de la Roca Castle; interact with a vocal group; visit San Juan Hill; interact with local university students; meet with parishioners at La Caridad del Cobra; workshop at Casa Caribe; see the Changing of the Guards at Santa Ifigenia Cemetery; learn about the history of rum in Cuba at a rum factory
- LAS TUNAS: Visit a local farm and interact with the family and workers
- CAMAGÜEY: Discussion with an award-winning artist; bici (bike) taxi tour of the city; Camagüey Ballet Company; program at Casanova Pottery Studio; paladar dinner and discussion with the owner; meet with American Car Association owners and ride in an Old Styler car
- KING RANCH: Interact with local cowboys and village residents
- TRINIDAD: Visit a Casa Particular and enjoy lunch; historic city center; discussion at a library; workshop at Templo Yemaya
- CIENFUEGOS: City orientation; interact with tobacco rollers at a cigar factory; discussion with a local artists and studio visit; performance by the Cienfuegos Choir
- PLAYA GIRÓN: Visit the Bay of Pigs Museum; interact with a local family and Naturalist over lunch
- HAVANA: Performance and discussion with jazz musicians; tour of Hotel Nacional de Cuba; discussion with architect; Old Havana; Finca Vigia (Hemingway’s home); discussion and lunch at an organic urban farm; interact with children and workers at a daycare center; Revolution Square; Colon Cemetery; workshop at artist José Fuster’s studio; performance and discussion with members of the Cuban Institute of Music; discussion with Cuban baseball players
- MEALS: Breakfast daily including a continental breakfast in Miami, 15 lunches, 13 dinners including a farewell dinner in Havana.
CUBA Coast to Coast tour map
Click here for a nice 6 minute video on Cuba Tourism:
CUBA Coast to Coast: 17-day Itinerary
DAY 1: Miami
Arrive in Miami and transfer to the Miami Airport Hotel. Tonight, meet your USA Group Leader for at 6 pm for welcome drink. This is a good time to meet your fellow program participants, get your questions answered and prepare for your trip to fascinating Cuba.
Day 2: Miami–Santiago De Cuba, Cuba–Guantanamo–Baracoa
Day 3: Baracoa. Excursion To Guirito
As this is known as the “Land of Cocoa,” our first stop is FINCA DUABA to learn about the world of cocoa production and the strong cocoa bean traditions in this region. Meet workers and discuss the process still used by farmers in the area. Next is an interactive exchange with the semi-indigenous GUIRITO community to experience traditional Kiriba and Nengon music and dance. Over a light lunch with the locals, sample some of the most typical foods that are found only in this part of Cuba. Visit the MATACHIN Museum, located in an old fortress. Interact with the city historian and staff, and hear tales of Baracoa’s past and some of the village’s unique citizens. Enjoy dinner this evening at a local paladar (special, privately owned restaurant). Over dessert, discuss the free enterprise system in Cuba and the U.S. with the owner and staff. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Baracoa–Biran–Guardalavaca
Today, visit the farming village of BIRÁN, Fidel and Raul Castro’s birthplace and boyhood home. Learn about the Castros’ early years, their family, life in this rural community, and interact with local residents. Arrive at your beautiful waterside resort for a 2-night stay. Enjoy an interactive DANCE LESSON before dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Guardalavaca. Excursion to Velasco & Gibara
Day 6: Guardalavaca–Holguin–Santiago de Cuba
Day 7: Santiago de Cuba
Day 8: Santiago de Cuba
Day 9: Santiago de Cuba–Las Tunas–Camaguey
After breakfast, depart for Camagüey, Cuba’s third-largest city. En route, stop in Las Tunas, where we’ll visit a rural FARM to meet workers and discuss the region’s fruits, vegetables, and spices. Interact with the farm family and enjoy a cool drink and tasting of local fruits. Tonight over dinner, learn about the city’s first Spanish settlers, the wealth that attracted pirates, and the independent-minded people of Camagüey. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Camaguey
Day 11: Camaguey. Excursion to King Ranch
Today, meet dancers with the world-renowned Camagüey Ballet Company, which has performed in more than 40 countires. You’ll have a chance to meet and interact with the dancers, teachers, and costume makers. Journey to King Ranch, an expansion of the famous Texas ranch of the same name, and its neighboring village, including stepping inside a home and school to discuss rural life and education. Then, over a barbecue lunch, connect with the cowboys who call the ranch home. Stop at Casanova Pottery Studio to learn about Camagüey’s famous tinajones—large, red pots found outside homes, a symbol of the city.
See the traditional way of making the vessels and interact with the artists to learn the local legend. A relaxing dinner is at a local paladar. Over dessert, discuss with the owner and staff the differences between paladars, co-operatives, and government-owned restaurants in Cuba. Before returning to the hotel, meet members from the American Car Association and enjoy a ride in an Old Styler car. (B,L,D)
Day 12: Camaguey–Trinidad
Travel to Trinidad, the crown jewel of Cuba’s colonial cities, founded in 1514 and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch at a Casa Particular (bed and breakfast) and discuss private enterprise in Cuba with the owners and staff. This afternoon, spend time walking the streets of Trinidad, a cobblestone showcase of colonial architecture and pastel-colored houses decorated with wooden shutters and wrought-iron grilles. Caged songbirds outside the home are a Trinidad tradition. Interact with the librarian at the local LIBRARY, built from the estate of an American woman in the early 1900s, and learn about the library system in Cuba, including censorship and how the facilities are supported. Before arriving at the hotel, visit TEMPLO YEMAYA, a tribute to Santeria’s Goddess of the Sea. After dinner this evening, you may wish to visit a local music club to hear Cuba’s traditional forms of music. You’ll hear typical salsa, rumba, and son (Cuban popular music). (B,L,D)
Day 13: Trinidad. Excursion to Cienfuegos
Travel to Cienfuegos and get acquainted on a walk around the main square. Settled by French immigrants more than 150 years ago, Cienfuegos is often referred to as the “Pearl of the South” because of its impressive beauty and colorful history. Next, an opportunity to engage with tobacco rollers at a CIGAR FACTORY, and to learn about the importance of tobacco, both culturally and commercially, for Cuba. Join in a discussion with artists at a graphic arts STUDIO and learn more about their lives, work, and how their art is created. Lunch is served at a waterside paladar. Before returning to Trinidad, enjoy a performance and discussion with the Cienfuegos CHOIR. (B,L,D)
Day 14: Trinidad–Bay of Pigs–Havana
After breakfast, travel through the countryside, passing sugar cane fields and banana plantations. We’ll stop in Playa Girón for a guided visit of the BAY OF PIGS MUSEUM. Nearby is the old sugar mill used by Fidel Castro as his center of operations during the 1961 invasion. Over lunch, join in a DISCUSSION with a local Naturalist as well as the family that runs the restaurant. Arrive in Havana, Cuba’s vibrant capital city. Before dinner this evening, meet with jazz musicians from the CUBAN INSTITUTE OF MUSIC. Enjoy a discussion to share the importance of music in everyday life and then be treated to a performance. Afterward, enjoy a tour of the illustrious HOTEL NACIONAL DE CUBA, a symbol of history, culture, and Cuban identity. The hotel has hosted celebrities and world figures over the decades, including Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, and Steven Spielberg. (B,L,D)
Day 15: Havana
Your day begins with a DISCUSSION with a local architect. Topics include Havana’s unique architecture, the challenges of renovating the city’s exquisite historic building, and the future of these restorations. Then, the opportunity to explore the charming cobblestone streets of OLD HAVANA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while participating in open dialogue with the local architect on architectural topics of interest. Our attention then turns to Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Cuba for over 30 years and left behind an enduring legacy. It is here that he wrote several books, participated in fishing contests, and enjoyed the laid-back ambiance and warmth of the Cuban people. Engage with staff at FINCA VIGIA, his beloved home, and see his fishing boat, El Pilar. Lunch is at a local ORGANIC FARM, where you’ll join a discussion with the owners and learn about organic urban farming in Cuba. Before returning to Havana, visit a DAYCARE CENTER to interact with the children and workers who run the program. (B,L)
Day 16: Havana
A photo stop is made at REVOLUTION SQUARE before exploring the world-famous COLON CEMETERY with its elaborately sculpted memorials. Hear the cemetery’s captivating history, folklore, and stories about the many noteworthy people laid to rest here, including musicians, filmmakers, writers, politicians, Major League Baseball players, and La Milagrosa—the “Miraculous One.” Next, enjoy a visit to JOSÉ FUSTER’S STUDIO, cleverly nicknamed the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” Here, you’ll discover a surreal world—like nothing you have seen before. Interact with members of the neighborhood to discuss the project’s impact on the surrounding area. Enjoy an afternoon choir performance, and join a discussion with choir members and their director from the CUBAN INSTITUTE OF MUSIC. Before dinner, meet former Cuban baseball players for a DISCUSSION about the history and the love of this favorite pastime in Cuba and the United States. This evening, join your Cuban Tour Director and Globus Group Leader for a festive farewell dinner—the perfect ending to your time in Cuba. (B,L,D)
Day 17: Havana–Miami, USA
After breakfast, depart for the airport and your return flight to Miami. Please schedule connecting flights from Miami after 6:50 pm. Note: Please coordinate Miami flight connection dates and time before purchase. (B)
While full participation in the scheduled program is required during the day, you are able to explore on your own during early morning hours or in the evenings.
17-Day, CUBA Coast to Coast
2016 & 2017 TOUR DATES - PRICES (per person in double room) Contact us to confirm availability.
1/6/2017 to 1/22/2017 $6,199.00
1/20/2017 to 2/5/2017 $6,199.00
2/3/2017 to 2/19/2017 $6,199.00
2/17/2017 to 3/5/2017 $6,199.00
3/3/2017 to 3/19/2017 $6,199.00
3/17/2017 to 4/2/2017 $6,199.00
Reservations require a 500 per person deposit and final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.
45-22 days prior to commencement of services: 20% of total price
21-8 days prior to commencement of services: 30% of total price
7-1 days prior to commencement of services: 50% of total price
On departure day and later: 100% of total price
1. The tour price includes: airport transfers, gratuities to wait staff at restaurants, porters at hotels, motorcoach driver, Cuban National Tour Director, and your Group Leader, Baggage fee on your charter flight from Miami to Cuba (combined luggage cannot exceed 44 lbs).
2. Prices do not include air travel.
Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights, not included in pricing. Estimate $623 for Miami to Santiago de Cuba and Santiago de Cuba to Miami airfare. Add-on connecting fares from your U.S. gateway may be available - just ask for a quote from your home city. Air price includes luggage allowance of 44 lbs per person (total for checked and carry-on), required Cuba Health Insurance ($46), and applicable taxes. Flight availability is limited and pricing subject to change.
3. Cuba visa fee (estimate $85) is additional and mandatory. These fees will be added to your tour package.
4. Cuba health insurance (estimate $46) is additional and mandatory. These fees will be added to your tour package.
5. Cuba departure tax (estimate $25) is additional and mandatory. These fees will be added to your tour package.
6. For your convenience, as credit and debit cards issued by U.S. banks have limited use in Cuba, Program Gratuities ($386) are additional and mandatory. These fees will be added to your tour package.
7. Prices based on double room occupancy. A Single Room Supplement is $925. Triple rooms are not available.
8. For extra overnights in Miami, add per person: In single room $212; in twin room $117
9. Tour operated under the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) authorized People to People programs to Group Voyagers, Inc. (doing business as Globus), License No. CT-298139-1. The itineraries provide a full-time schedule of people-to-people educational exchange activities designed to result in meaningful interactions between the travelers and individuals in Cuba. United States law requires that all participants in the Cuba programs adhere to the full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.
10. The program requires walking on cobblestone streets and uneven pathways, climbing stairs, and participating in a full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.
11. Due to the special requirements to visit Cuba, participants will be required to complete visa application and travel reservation forms and sign an affidavit confirming that they are traveling under a people-to-people license and are aware of the travel rules. Participants are also required to send a copy of their passport photo page.
12. In Cuba, activities that have been scheduled far in advance can sometimes become unavailable for a number of different reasons. The purpose of the trip is to have meaningful interactions with the locals and if the planned people-to-people educational exchange isn’t available, rest assured that another that will be just as enriching will be substituted.
13. Small-Group Discovery – Never more than 24 participants in a group.
PASSPORT & VISA
Previous to arriving in Miami you will be sent an application (with instructions) that is MANDATORY for ALL travelers to fill out. Once all travelers have filled out the application you will send them back to us with copies of your passports, to which we will forward to the Cuban ground operator to be processed. When you have sent back your completed visa application, your visa will be shipped to you.
Participants holding all other passports should check with the consulate for regulations and instructions.
Due to the special requirements to visit Cuba, after reserving you will be required to complete the following forms and return them within 7 days of making a reservation:
- An affidavit confirming you are traveling under a people-to-people license and that you will participate in a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities
- Travel Reservation Form
- Visa Application Form
- A color photocopy of the photo page of your valid passport
No vaccinations are required for entry into Cuba or return to the USA.
The Cuban climate is mild subtropical. Thanks to its proximity to the Tropic of Cancer and its narrow configuration, Cuba receives a refreshing action of trade winds and marine breezes. Average Fahrenheit temperatures are as follows:
Please travel as lightly as possible so as not to restrict space in your cabin. Soft bags are more practical than hard suitcases. Sports or casual clothes are more useful. Swimwear for the pools. A pullover is recommended for cool evenings. Comfortable walking shoes are suggested.
Be sure not to pack sharp items in your hand luggage. Pack things such as scissors, nail clippers, pocketknives or knitting needles in your checked luggage.
Always carry your travel documents, medication, jewelry, traveler's checks, keys and other valuables in your hand luggage. Items such as these should NEVER be packed in luggage that you plan to check.
Bring all personal-care items with you. Many products can be bought, but purchasing them can be inconvenient. We suggest you carry toilet tissues with you on excursions.
Dress is generally casual, however the “usual practice” for men is to wear long pants to meetings, exchanges and nicer restaurants. Ladies may want to bring a dress or pantsuit for dinners.
Special Note: Monasteries and churches do not admit people in shorts or bathing suits, shirtless men, or even women wearing sleeveless blouses. For women rules may even be stricter, a skirt or dress is a must, as you may not be allowed to visit some of the monasteries and religious sites in shorts or pants. These rules are not always followed to the letter. Bathing suits are prohibited from being worn on all archaeological sites.
Jewelry, money, documents etc., should be deposited in the hotel safes. The company and its personnel bear no responsibility for valuables kept by passengers.
For safety reasons it is requested that physical disabilities of any kind be advised at time of reservation. It is understood that participants requiring special attention or treatment will be traveling with their personal escorts.
Most the the hotels can provide service at additional costs.
The currency in Cuba is Cuban Pesos. It is possible to convert dollars to Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUCs) at the airport. There is a kiosk before leaving the baggage area where money can be converted. The tour leader will assist in this as well. If you do not convert then, there are many places to convert money - for example, hotels, and the local Cuban guide will assist in this.
With regard to the use of Credit or Debit cards in Cuba the following applies: No card issued by a bank that has any connection with the United States will be accepted in Cuba, although MasterCard now say said it will lift a block on U.S. bank-card transactions in Cuba after March 1st 2015. Travelers are advised to check with their institution before traveling to Cuba to determine whether their institution has established the necessary mechanisms for its credit or debit cards to be used in Cuba.
Under the new (Jan 16, 2015) regulations, American travelers to Cuba will be able to use an American credit card. However, it is not clear how long it will take for banks to begin offering the service. There are few ATMs in Cuba, and many establishments do not have the means to process credit card payments, so cash will be king for some time to come. You may also take pounds and euros, which get a better exchange rate in Cuba than the United States dollar.
You should plan to bring as much cash as you would normally spend on incidentals while traveling elsewhere.
Your local guides speak English! The primary language in Cuba is Spanish and your tour guide is fluent in both Spanish and English.
The power supply in most all of Cuba is 110 volts, the same as in the USA.
COMPUTERS & WIFI
There is limited WIFI.
Cuba is on Eastern Standard Time. When it is noon in New York and Miami, it is also noon in Havana, Cuba.
1. Given the spending restrictions, how much money do you recommend bringing?
We suggest about $100 a day just in case, but of course, everyone is different. If you plan to purchase a lot of art, for example, the amount will be different. If not, you will mostly likely not spend that amount as many of the meals in the program are included. There are no longer daily spending limits while in Cuba for American travelers. Travelers are authorized to bring back $400 per person in merchandise, provided no more than $100 of the merchandise consists of alcohol or tobacco.
2. I have heard that "licensed U.S. travelers" are allowed to bring back from Cuba $400 of merchandise of which $100 can be tobacco/alcohol. Does this apply to us?
Under the new (Jan 16, 2015) regulations, American travelers to Cuba may now bring back up to $400 worth of souvenirs, including $100 worth of cigars.
3. Is the 44 lbs baggage limit for checked & carry-on combined or just checked?
Combined. Excess weight (above 44 pounds) is charged at $2 per pound and is payable in cash at the airport. Any additional checked bags are $20 per bag plus any excess weight fees. Carry-on bags should not exceed the dimensions of 12"x11"x6".
4. Is it like the USA?
Things are and do sometimes work differently in Cuba than here in the USA. Activities that have been scheduled far in advance can sometimes become unavailable for a number of different reasons. The purpose of the trip is to have meaningful interactions with the locals and if the planned people-to-people educational exchange isn’t available, rest assured that another that will be just as enriching will be substituted.
5. What about trip insurance?
As required by Cuban government regulations, Cuban health insurance is included in the charter airline ticket cost. This protects you should you need medical assistance while in Cuba. The following coverage applies: $25,000 to cover emergency medical costs incurred in Cuba and a maximum of $7,000 evacuation insurance provided only if a Cuban doctor states that evacuation must happen in order to receive adequate treatment. You should consider buying additional trip insurance for trip cancellation protection, lost luggage, etc. Contact us for details.
5. What about payments and cancellation fees?
A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit of $300 per person is required to reserve. We accept checks, money orders, Visa, MasterCard, Discover/Novus, and American Express. Your booking is not confirmed and payment is not deemed made until the deposit is received and you receive a confirmation invoice. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.
The following cancellation fees apply:
75-57 days prior to commencement of services: 20% of total price
56-29 days prior to commencement of services: 50% of total price
28-16 days prior to commencement of services: 75% of total price
15-0 days prior to commencement of services:: 100% of total price
There are additional cancellation fees associated with airfares.
You are welcome to call us anytime at 1-239-992-9660, or toll free at 800-446-9660 or email us at travel"at"GoExploring.com.
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