Cuba for your Senses Tour with Home Stay - 8 Days

Overview

Join this 8 day exploratory tour of Cuba. This Cuba for Your Senses people to people program is packed with unique experiences! Throughout the tour, special presentations give a unique real perspective of today’s Cuba as well as its past. Travel from Havana to Pinar del Rio and the fertile grounds of Vinales valley before ending in beautiful Varadero. A combination of modest hotels in Havana and Varadero paired with guest house lodging in the countryside make for an authentic and sustainable experience.

 

Itinerary

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Arrive to Terminal 2 at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. After customs our local representative welcome you to Cuba. We begin with a panoramic drive in Havana to 5th Avenue and The Old City along the Malecon where the U.S. Embassy is located for a stop before we continue for your first taste of Cuba’s traditional cuisine and culture at the Algibe Restaurant. After lunch we will explore the classic cars of Cuba where members of A LO CUBANO CAR CLUB present their restored beauties. Sit back and relax while you enjoy a cool ride! Later, we transfer to our selected hotel for check in.
After settling in, meet in the lobby for a Welcome cocktail and People-to-People presentation which provides an overview of your itinerary, and your participation commitments a with Msc. Eliodoro Hernandez , a graduate from the University of Havana. Enjoy a discussion based presentation on the economic situation in Cuba and the central bank’s exchange rate. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight Havana Roc Presidente Hotel Meals LD

Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we are off to explore this sprawling metropolis of 2 million inhabitants. Founded in 1519 Old Havana, by the 18th century, was the most important port of the region. Old Havana, whose walls define it’s boundaries, retains an interesting mix of Baroque and Neoclassical monuments and an ensemble of private houses adorned with balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards. We will visit the Univesrity of Havana and stop at La Copelia Ice Cream Parlor before we begin our walk through Old Havana making our way to El Template. It is here where the City of Havana was founded in 1514. Nearby we’ll encounter the Office of the City Historian and many historical Spanish plazas including the Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja and Plaza San Francisco. Lunch serve at Restaurant Templete. Continue to Havana’s “Museo de Bellas Artes” and walk the famous Central Park where local Cubans discuss their favorite pastime, Baseball! You’ll see the Bacardi Building, famous for its Art Deco architecture, Cathedral Square and La Bodeguita del Medio Bar-Restaurant, Hemingway’s favorite stop for a Mojito Cocktail. (Mojito Cocktail included). Tonight at 9 PM, enjoy the ceremonial firing of the canon at El Canonazo. The world’s longest cigar is on display in the fort’s gift shop. Return to our hotel in Havana, Roc Presidente Meals BL

Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, it’s all about Hemingway! We visit Finca La Vigia former home of Ernest Hemingway where he wrote many of his novels. A visit to Alamar Community to meet the local leaders and discuss the historic Micro Brigades, organized in 1965 by local residents to build their own housing. Continue to Cojimar where Hemingway kept his boat Pilar, for daily fishing trips in the Caribbean where he found inspiration for his novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Lunch at Las Terrazas, Hemingway’s preferred restaurant where he frequently sat for lunch after fishing on the Pilar. Continue to the monument honoring Hemingway built by local fisherman with their boat anchors. On our return to Havana, visit El Castillo del Morro, and Fort La Cabana. The tour continues with a walk up Obispo Street and a stop at the Ambos Mundos Hotel and the room, now a museum, where Ernest Hemingway wrote his famous novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. The walk continues through Havana’s former banking district and on to famous El Floridita, Hemingway’s favorite bar for his trademark drink, the Rum Daiquiri (Daiquiri included). Overnight Havana Roc Presidente Hotel Meals BL

Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, depart Havana towards the Province of Pinar del Rio. The main highway goes along the Sierra and the beautiful landscape is quite stunning. On the way, we will visit the largest Maritime Port of Cuba, Marielos Port, to learn about the impact in Import and Export of goods. Continue to EL PARAISO AGROECOLOGICAL FARM to celebrate the local gastronomy with a traditional Cuban lunch. This organic family run farm initiative offers a combination of innovation and family tradition. The farm is terraced producing organic vegetables. Located along the hillside over looking Vinales Valley, this is a privately owned family farm, organized with others like it in a credit and service cooperative. Your hosts will share their experiences about the farm, entrepreneurial opportunities and challenges in starting a local business in this rural community. Mr. Norges Perez Santos, Government Representative in Pinar del Rio for Tourism Development, will explain with firsthand visits to new local private enterprises. This is a great opportunity to share with the locals their experiences. Drive to the Vinalles Valley National Park UNESCO World Landscape Heritage Site and an important tourist attraction with spectacular limestone Mogotes rising 900 feet above surrounding farmland. There are numerous caves scattered on the slopes inhabited for many centuries before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors. We being our exploration of the cave formations of Cueva del Indio by boat. Next, we stop at the Prehistory Mural Project before we arrive to our guesthouse lodging in Vinales. Check in to Casa de Hospedae where you will learn about this new literally “home grown” form of tourism business in Cuba offering a great opportunity for the locals. Casa de Hospedaje for overnight. Meals BLD

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we drive to San Juan Martinez in Pinar del Rio. If you’ve ever wondered where the world’s finest cigars start out, it’s here in the lovingly cultivated tobacco plantations of Cuba’s Pinar del Río province. The plantations and landscape are part of the area’s magical sense. We will follow Tobacco Road and have the unique experience to meet with the Tobacco Masters to learn how the world’s best tobacco is cultivated into the finest cigars. Learn about the main markets for exporting these unique cigars. Visit the tobacco plantation to meet and discuss with Hector Luis Prieto, the youngest to hold the prestigious Governmental award, Hombre Habano de Cuba, in 2007 and noted as Cuba’s Cigar Man for the quality of tobacco he grows in Finca Quemado de Rubi, San Juan and Martinez in Pinar del Rio. Learn about important changes in the tobacco industry in Cuba and the role this industry has in economy of the local community. Continue to Pinar del Rio’s City Central Quarter to learn about the history of this quaint town and to visit Guabina Cuban Pinto Horse Ranch and Farm for a Cuban Creol inspired lunch. After lunch enjoy a presentation by the General Manager about the ranch and farms activities. Next, we will visit a local public clinic for health services in the City of Pinar del Rio and learn about health care in this region.
Overnight at Casa de Hospedaje. Meals BLD

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast drive to Varadero with a stop for presentation of MARDIDAJE of Tobacco & Cuban Rum. Our lunch at 1830 Restaurant by the ocean side in the exclusive Vedado Neighborhood . To enjoy the taste of fresh fish or shrimp and also see how the Tobacco comes to the City in the shape of a Cigar and matches with an aromatic glass of Cuban Rum ( Maridaje, a ceremony conducted by an specialist , that will explain everything regarding the way cigars should be lit and smoked, combined with Rum at the end of any Gourmet meal in Cuba) a tradition in Cuba. After lunch continue driving to the picturesque city of Matanzas situated along Matanzas Bay. The old city buildings are mostly from XVIII and XIX centuries, while in other areas buildings are modern. The first stop will be the visit to the Pharmaceutical Museum National Monument , a French drug store from XIX century, it is the only one that remains in the world, and it preserves the original tools, instruments, furniture and building along the Matanzas Bay continue to the Varadero Peninsula for check in at Roc Arenas Doradas Hotel. Hotel Overnight Varadero. Meals BLD

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast a short drive will take us to the City of Cardenas a very important Sugar Cane center in Cuba. We’ll learn about the second railway station built in Cuba and the museum of the sugar industry & steam locomotives used in the transportation of sugar cane. Take a short ride with the local engineer on one of those ancient engines and learn how they are still in use and maintained. Return for lunch at the hotel. Afternoon visit the City of Varadero, Cuba’s foremost tourist resort town, boasting more than 20 km of white sandy beaches. The first tourists visited Varadero as early as the 1870s, and for years it was considered an elite resort. In 1910 the annual rowing regatta was started and five years later the first hotel, named Varadero and later Club Nautico, was built. Tourism grew in the early 1930s as Irénée du Pont Nemours, an American millionaire, built his estate on the peninsula. Continue to Museo Municipal for a presentation by the Museum curator. Visit “Taller de Cerámica Artística” to meet with local Cuban potters and learn about their great artworks. All art works are of high quality and perfect to bring back home. We end our days visit in the private business district in Varadero said to be home to the largest growing number of entrepeneurs in the country. Overnight Roc Arenas Doradas in Varadero. Meals BLD

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we drive to the International Airport Jose Marti in Havana to board your flight to the US.

Sequence of visits may be subject to change.

Breakfast

Includes:

  • First class hotel Roc Presidente in Havana with buffet breakfast daily
  • Bed and Breakfast lodge and all meals in Vinales
  • Roc Arenas Doradas or similar in Varadero
  • 18 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Comprehensive city tour of Old Havana including the Museo de Bellas Artes and a Mojito cocktail at La Bodeguita del Medio
  • Lectures and briefings
  • All escorted guided tours and visits including admission fees throughout
  • All transportation within Cuba
  • Government Hotel Taxes
  • Services of SLT local representatives throughout

Notes
* Air fare & Visa not included

Trip Interruption Insurance is recommended

PAYMENTS & CANCELLATIONS:

Deposit of $500 per person non refundable
Final payment due 90 days prior departure
Cancellation within 90-60 50% penalty
0-60 days prior trip date 100% penalty
REQUIREMENTS:
This program requires walking on cobblestone streets and uneven pathways, climbing stairs, and most importantly participating in a full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.
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.
This educational people to people Cuba tour is operated under Sunny Land Tours Cuba Travel License Case #20CT-2015-317165-1
Trip Interruption Insurance is required

Note:

* Tour participants must observe Strict compliance to the itinerary schedule.
* Tour Operates with min 2
* Travel Insurance required to enter Cuba
NOTICE: Sunny Land Tours is not responsible for any issues/costs resulting from delays or interruption in air transportation. All such issues should be addressed directly with the airline.

Seasonalities (check dates & prices)

High Season Nov – April
Mid Season May
Low Season Jun – Oct
Peak Season Dec 22 – Jan 02
Mandatory Travel Insurance while in Cuba is included with the airline tickets.

Optional Travel & Trip interruption insurance is available from Sunny Land

  • Roc Presidente  Hotel

    The Roc Presidente Hotel is one of our most special hotels: a hotel in the centre of La Habana, Cuba, 200 metres away from its famous pier and built in the once tallest building of the capital, with Cuban colonial inspiration and historical pieces of art in its interiors. Located only 3 kilometres away from La Habana Vieja, the Hotel Roc Presidente combines elegance and comfort at the heart of Cuba. Almost every room offers Sea Views and features, in addition, swimming pool, solarium, terrace cafeteria, parking… Immerse yourself in the real essence of Cuba.

Casa particular

Casa Particular (Spanish for “private house”; plural casas particulares) is a phrase meaning private accommodation or private homestays in Cuba, very similar to bed and breakfast although it can also take the form of vacation rental. When the meaning is clear the term is often shortened to simply casa.

The Roc Arenas Doradas Hotel

Is one of our best equipped All Inclusive resorts in Varadero, Cuba. It offers all type of 4-star services to families who want to enjoy the Caribbean to the maximum and it features special areas for children, youngsters and adults. The Roc Arenas Doradas Hotel is located at the beachfront of Los Taínos, and it stands out for its magnificent architecture: it is a hotel in Varadero overlooking the sea, with tropical gardens along the beach and rooms and suites with stunning views.

REQUIREMENTS:
  • The “Cuba For Your Senses” program requires walking on cobblestone streets and uneven pathways, climbing stairs, and most importantly participating in a full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.
  • 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.
  • This educational people to people Cuba tour is operated under Sunny Land Tours Cuba Travel License Case #20CT-2015-317165-1

Trip Interruption Insurance is required

Note:

* Tour participants must observe Strict compliance to the itinerary schedule.
* Tour Operates with min 2
* Travel Insurance required to enter Cuba
* Visa will be provided with Airline Tickets

REGISTRATION FORM

USEFUL TIPS

*What Do I Bring? Currency & Money

•Currency: Bring bills only, no coins. US dollars subject to a 10% surcharge

•You will need your PASSPORT to exchange money

 

• Credit Cards & Traveler’s Checks: US-issued credit cards, debit cards, and ATM cards do not work in Cuba.  Only credit cards issued in other countries may be issued (other than US).  You must have cash in order to make any purchases in Cuba or pay for any services.  Most places will not take USD, so you must exchange currency upon arriving.  Tips however can be given in any currency.  Traveler’s Checks may also be difficult to cash while in Cuba.

•Parallel Currencies CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) and the CUP (Cuban Peso) 1 CUC = 24 CUP. You are unlikely to come across, or need, the CUP if you are staying at a resort hotel.

 

*Exchange:  You can exchange USD for CUC at any airport, hotel, exchange bureau in town centers and some banks.  The current fee for exchanging is 13%, i.e. for 100 USD you will get 87 CUC.  The fee is the same no matter where you exchange your currency. In Cuba, they will not accept bills that are torn or written on when exchanging into CUC. When exchanging money into CUC , try to get small denominations to make purchases easier ,as many places(little stores, bars and restaurants do not always have the possibility to break down smaller notes for you).

*Clothing: Despite its subtropical climate, Cuba has distinct summers and winters. Winter is between November and April, with nice temperatures between 75º to 80º F. Cool, Periodically it rains due to cold fronts moving through the island. The climate is very similar to South Florida in comparison. May through October is off-season and is the hottest period with temperatures between 85º and 90º F, and the possibility of severe storms and hurricanes, most notably in July – September. Casual, comfortable, and light clothes are your best bet. It is always wise to bring a poncho or light wind-breaker (water resistant) in case it rains. Unless you are in Cuba for business, there is little use for a suit and tie. However, a cocktail dress or pair of kakis may be needed for a night out at the club or restaurant. Always bring comfortable walking shoes, and pack a lot of socks.

*Adapters/Electric Converters: All of Cuba runs on 110 volts and 60hz. The outlets are for flat prongs. However, the Parque Central Hotel has 220 volts. If staying there, make sure you bring an adapter/converter like the ones use in most of Europe (round prongs).

*Hair Dryers: The rooms at are equipped with hair dryers, however, they are attached to the wall and are not the most convenient and comfortable to use. For the ladies that are accustomed to blowing their hair properly, you may want to bring your own compact hair dryer.

*Medical Supplies and Sundries: Although larger hotel stores carry some goods, travelers to Cuba should bring their own medicines, vitamins, bandages, contraceptives, sunscreen, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo, soaps, prescription medications (in their original bottles) and other essentials as none of these items are readily available. It is best to assume you will have difficulty finding daily essential items in Cuba. It is recommended that travelers also pack rolls of toilet paper, tissues, pre-moistened towelettes, and anti-bacterial wash to anticipate the chronic shortages one can encounter on the road at locations outside of the hotel.

*Laundry: There are no coin laundries in Cuba, and most hotels offer a laundry service that charges on a per piece basis.

*Water: We recommend that you only use island water for brushing teeth etc. Drinking water should be bottled.

*Tipping Is expected in Cuba. Suggest 10% on Tipping.

CALLS AND INTERNET

*Cell Phones: US cell phones do not work in Cuba, even if you have an international plan.

*Calling Home: It is possible to call home from your hotel by visiting the business center or dialing direct from your room.  If you wish to use the phone in your room, you will need to leave a cash-deposit at the front desk, so that they activate your line.  It can be expensive to call home, sometimes more than 2.50 CUC per minute, and connection charges may also apply. You can also purchase local calling cards to use at pay phones or land lines.

*Internet: Wi-Fi is not available throughout Cuba except at some hotels. Most hotels also have a business center with computer, with limited hours, where internet service is available. Charges can up to 12 CUC per hour depending on the hotel.  Because of the limited technology in Cuba, it is not uncommon to have internet outages.

*Communication with the US: Though internet is the best way to communicate with family back at home, you may want to warn them of the difficulty in communications between Cuba and the US.  Not only can it be costly, but sometimes business centers are not open at the hours that are convenient to your schedule, internet may be experiencing difficulties, or you may have problems getting a line to the US from Cuba, since they are often rerouted through third countries.

*Electrical Current

Both 120 and 220 watts are used in Cuba. The older historical hotels have 120 watts in the rooms. The newer or remodeledhotels, run on 220 watts.

Important Contact Information

US EMBASSY:

CALZADA E/ L Y M

VEDADO, HAVANA

53-7-833-3352 / 833-2326

53-5-286-1607 AFTER HOURS

WHAT CAN I BRING BACK?

$400 Total of all Cuban goods (except as noted below). This includes a maximum of $100 of both Cuban alcoholic and/or tobacco products. Please note that the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) impose duties if more than one liter of alcohol, 50 cigars or 300 cigarettes are imported into the US—even If the total value was less than $100.

Any value of Art and Other Informational Materials. There is no value limitation on informational materials (including art, books, magazines, CDs, DVDs).

CBP will seize Cuban items that exceed the value limitations above.

SAFETY

-Safety Deposit Boxes: Hotels are equipped with safety deposit boxes and may charge a per day fee.  Check with the front desk.  It is advisable to leave valuables, including passports in the safe.  A copy of the passport should suffice for ID purposes.  You will however need your passport for exchanging of currency.

–Pick-pockets: though Cuba is generally a very safe place to travel (more than other parts of the world), it is always best to watch your belongings and beware of pick-pockets and purse snatchers. Leave expensive jewelry in the safe and only carry what you need for that day. You may see some kids or older adults begging on the streets, sometimes asking for soap, pens, etc.  Though a nuisance, this is not considered to be dangerous

If you have purchased air transportation with us note:

Baggage policy and DAY OF TRAVEL

Licensed persons are expected to check-in 3 hours before the charter flight is scheduled to depart. The direct air carrier will close each charter flight 70 minutes prior to departure. If any passenger arrives after the flight has been closed, ABC cannot process the passenger. In this case, the passenger will not be permitted to board the charter flight.

BAGGAGE POLICY:

ABC Charters guarantees to transportation of checked baggage per person.

CHECKED BAGGAGE FEES:

$20.00 will be charged for each checked baggage.

ADDITIONAL EXCESS BAGGAGE FEES:

Each passenger will have all of his or her baggage weighed—including the carry on luggage. Anything over 44 lbs. will be charged at EXCESS FEE. Excess Baggage Fee charges are to $2.00 per pound, boxes are $3.00 per pound.

CARRY ON ALLOWANCE:

Passengers may one small carry-on bag, plus one personal item. The carry-on bag cannot exceed the dimensions of the airline baggage size: 22 long x 14 wide x 9 tall

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Cuba for your Senses Tour with Home Stay
From $3,799.00
per Adult

Trip Facts

  • Car
  • Hotel
  • Sight Seeing
  • Breakfast
  • HAVANA

Weather

Havana31°CPartly Cloudy
SUNRISE07:05
SUNSET20:03 CDT
Feels like: 36°CWind: 10km/h EPressure: 1016.59mbarUV index: 11
Daily Forecast
Sun31/23°C
Mon31/23°C
Tue31/24°C

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