A once-in-a-lifetime experience awaits participants in this rare opportunity. Be among some of the first American travelers in five decades to legally visit Cuba and its most fascinating cities. This program allows Americans and Cubans to share in special people-to-people interactions while enjoying the rich history and culture of this amazing country. Every day of your program will be wrapped in compelling education and conversation, where both Cuban and American residents can openly share their ideas and opinions. Join in a variety of discussions about Cuba’s history, agriculture, music, religion, and art. You can fully embrace Cuban culture when you meet and join in a discussion with the dancers of the world-renowned Camagüey Ballet Company,
Trip Highlights include:
- People-to-People interaction and meaningful exchanges with locals.
- Small group size of not more than 24.
- CAMAGÜEY: Discussion with an award-winning artist, city orientation, Camagüey Ballet Company, spend time at King Ranch and interact with local cowboys and village residents, program at Casanova Pottery Studio, paladar dinner and discussion with the owner; meet with the American Car Association owners and ride in an Old Styler car.
- TRINIDAD: Visit a Casa Particular and enjoy lunch, historic city center, discussion at a library, workshop at family-owned ceramic studio, and an interactive dance lesson.
- CIENFUEGOS: City orientation, interact with tobacco rollers at a cigar factory, discussion with a local artist and studio visit, performance by the Cienfuegos Orchestra.
- 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, discussion and lunch at an organic urban farm, interact with children and workers at a daycare center, Revolution Square, Colon Cemetery, Finca Vigia (Hemingway’s home), 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, 7 lunches, 6 dinners including a farewell dinner in Havana.
CUBA'S HAVANA & COLONIAL CITIES: 9-day Itinerary
DAY 1: Miami
Arrive in Miami and transfer to your hotel, the Miami Airport Marriott. 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 – Camaguey, Cuba
This morning, a short flight brings you to Camagüey, Cuba’s third-largest city. Meet your Cuban National Tour Director, who will show you the city’s beautifully restored plazas and explain why Camagüey is nicknamed the “City of Squares.” One of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards, much of the city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch, meet an award-winning ARTIST and discuss the inspiration for her work and how she has given back to the community. Then, visit a FARMERS MARKET and interact with the local merchants. Arrive at your hotel located in the heart of Camaguey. (CB,L,D)
DAY 3: Camaguey. Excursion to King Ranch
DAY 4: 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, spend time at a family-owned CERAMIC STUDIO to learn the family’s history and how this distinctive pottery is made. You’ll also enjoy a tasty Canchanchara drink. Before dinner tonight, join an interactive DANCE LESSON and discuss the rhythms and history of Cuba’s traditional forms of music. You’ll hear typical salsa, rumba, and son (Cuban popular music). (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 5: 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. Join in a discussion with artists at a graphic arts STUDIO and learn more about their lives, their work, and how their art is created. 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. Lunch is served at a waterside paladar. Before returning to Trinidad, enjoy a performance and discussion with the CIENFUEGOS ORCHESTRA. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 6: 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 7: 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. (Breakfast, Lunch)
DAY 8: 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 a former Cuban baseball player for a DISCUSSION about the history and the love of this favorite pastime in Cuba and in the U.S. This evening, join your Cuban Tour Director and Group Leader for a festive farewell dinner—the perfect ending to your time in Cuba. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 9: Havana – Miami, USA
After breakfast, depart for the airport and your return flight to Miami. Those returning to Miami on Sundays, please schedule connecting flights after 6:50 pm and those returning to Miami on Fridays, please schedule connecting flights after 2:30pm. Note: Please coordinate Miami flight connection dates and time before purchase. (Breakfast)
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.
9-Day, CUBA'S HAVANA & COLONIAL CITIES
TOUR DATES - PRICES (per person in USD) Contact us to confirm availability.
21-Jan-2017 to 29-Jan-2017: $3,519.00 Limited Space
28-Jan-2017 to 05-Feb-2017: $3,519.00 Limited Space
04-Feb-2017 to 12-Feb-2017: $3,519.00 Limited Space
11-Feb-2017 to 19-Feb-2017: $3,519.00
18-Feb-2017 to 26-Feb-2017: $3,519.00 Limited Space
25-Feb-2017 to 05-Mar-2017: $3,519.00
04-Mar-2017 to 12-Mar-2017: $3,519.00
11-Mar-2017 to 19-Mar-2017: $3,519.00
18-Mar-2017 to 26-Mar-2017: $3,519.00
25-Mar-2017 to 02-Apr-2017: $3,519.00
Reservations require a $300 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. Prices do not include air travel. Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights, not included in pricing. Estimate $543 for Miami to Camagüey and Havana to Miami airfare. Add-on connecting fares from your U.S. gateway may be available, just ask us for a quote when booking. Air price includes luggage allowance of 44 lbs per person (total for checked and carry-on). Participants are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on per person (purses and laptop cases are excluded).
2. Cuba visa fee ($80) is additional and mandatory. These fees will be added to your tour package.
3. For your convenience, as credit and debit cards issued by U.S. banks have limited use in Cuba, program gratuities ($191) are additional and mandatory. These fees will be added to your tour package.
4. Cuban Departure Taxes: Estimate $25 per person not included - to be added to cruise cost.
5. Cuban Medical Insurance: Estimate $46 per person not included - to be added to cruise cost.
6. Prices based on double room occupancy. A Single Room Supplement is $545. Triple rooms are not available.
7. For desired extra overnights in Miami, add per person: in single room $212; in twin room $117
8. 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.
9. The program requires walking on cobblestone streets and uneven pathways, climbing stairs, and participating in a full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.
10. 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. These items must be sent within 7 days of making a reservation.
12. Small-Group Discovery – Never more than 24 participants in a group.
The Miami Marriott Hotel offers comfort and convenience, with sleek new interiors, bright colors, and redesigned rooms. Amenities like the outdoor pool, fitness center, and a fantastic dining scene will make your stay in Miami exceptionally comfortable.
The Hotel Santa Maria is located opposite the church of Solitudem, with a beautiful eclectic style that blends with the environment and is distinguished by its elegant facade. The hotel displays works of art by the most famous artists of the city, and is only minutes away from the city's main restaurants, theaters, museums, cinemas and art galleries.
Brisas Trinidad del Mar is just a few kilometers from the charming colonial city of Trinidad, on the spectacular beach front of Playa Ancón, surrounded by the Escambray mountains. Colonial arches, red tiles, and cobblestone pathways characterize this hotel's architectural style. This hotel is designed to let you embrace Cuba's finest colonial city, Trinidad. All rooms are air-conditioned and offer views overlooking the sea or the pool and the Ancón peninsula. The resort offers several restaurant options, a snack bar, three bars, as well as organized entertainment in the evening.
The Melia Cohiba is a modern five-star property featuring 462 rooms. It is located in the El Vedado district, facing the famous Havana Malecón and is near Havana's historic center. The hotel has an outdoor pool, fitness center, sauna, squash court, spa services, hair salon, business center, gift shop, five restaurants, coffee bar, cigar bar, lobby bar, nightclub, and 24-hour room service.
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. Before visiting Cuba, it is recommended that you are up to date on all your routine vaccines ( measles, mumps, tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine etc) You may need to get the following vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination: Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid and Rabies. Although there are pharmacies open 24 hours, they only give you the essential medicines, as most are scarce and the ones you can get will be expensive. Therefore it is desirable to take, in addition to the remedies prescribed by your doctor, a basic kit with analgesics, tablets for diarrhea, antacids, antihistamines, calamine lotion, sterile gauze, Band-Aids, insect repellent and sunscreen.
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. However US Dollars are widely accepted and used. 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. In Cuba, the official currency is the Cuban Peso which is also known as the “Moneda Nacional" (MN). The Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC) is the currency that tourists must use. You can exchange your money to convertible pesos at airports, hotels, banks, and exchange offices (subject to daily fluctuations). To exchange U.S. dollars into the CUC there is a 10% surcharge, while exchanges from Canadian dollars, Euros, UK pounds and Swiss Francs will not incur a surcharge.
You will be paying for most everything in dollars. Cubans want American dollars, so don’t change excess money to Cuban pesos unless you want to take the money home as a souvenir.
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 and you may take a tablet or laptop.
All forms of Telecommunications are expensive in Cuba. If you wish to make a phone call the best option is to purchase a pre-paid phonecard (usually available on resort) and use the public cardphone. Calls from the hotel phones are much more expensive than the public cardphones. USA cell phone operators have no roaming agreements in Cuba because of the USA embargo on Cuba. You MAY be able to use a replacement SIM Card, see http://www.onesimcard.com/cell-phone-rates/cuba/
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 (two boxes) and 2 bottles of rum.
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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