Private Journeys

Signature Cuba: The best of the highlights

14 days from £2,920pp

(based on two people sharing & excluding flights)

Cuba

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Essentials

Transport

8 scenic road journeys.

Accommodation

Accommodation on this trip is of a superior quality for Cuba where standards of amenities and service can be erratic, but are constantly improving. You’ll find well-equipped rooms, private bathroom and air-conditioning in most and some local colour and special features, especially at la Moka Ecolodge.

Meals

Breakfast daily; lunch days 8-10; full board days 10-12.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners; their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by clients on their return. In Cuba there is a shortage of English-speaking drivers so many will only speak Spanish or at best very basic English.   

Summary Of Nights

14 days, 13 nights: Havana 2; Viñales 2; Las Terrazas 2; Cienfuegos 1; Trinidad 2; Cayo Santa María 3; Havana 1.

Currency

The unit of currency in Cuba is the Cuban peso.

How To Take It

Cuba imposes a 10-15% charge on dollar exchange. To avoid this, you should travel a reasonable quantity of with sterling or euro cash (no more than is covered by your insurance). Notes should be in good condition, soiled or torn ones may be refused. Both euros and sterling are accepted in most banks and some of the larger hotels. You can change these into convertible Cuban pesos (CUC) on arrival. Keep the official receipt from your transaction, because you will need this should you want to change any currency back to sterling or euros at the end of your trip. 

Credit cards (not issued by US banks) are also accepted in some places, but be aware that there is a 11% surcharge on payments made by card, including on cash advances. Havana has a few ATMs and there are a couple more popping up in other cities, although these cannot be relied on. Maestro cards are not accepted in Cuba. 

Daily Spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around £35 per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

Tipping

Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants.

Many Cubans lack what we consider to be daily necessities, such as soap, plasters, bras, aspirin and stationery.
If you have room in your case for some such things, they will be hugely appreciated by the islanders.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Cuban authorities require visitors to have travel insurance, and specifically for the medical and repatriation element of cover to be from an approved provider. For example, Journey Latin America’s recommended insurance company is Campbell Irvine, and their medical and repatriation cover is handled by International Medical Assistance, who are approved by Cuba. Please check with your insurance company that their provider is similarly approved.

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport Taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Departure tax from Cuba is now (as of May 2015) included in  the price of your ticket.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins.  A completed Cuban tourist card is essential for all UK citizens travelling to Cuba, we will organise this for you. Clients with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the Cuban consulate.

APIS – Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

Trip Suitability

Generally this holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors, including families.

Bear in mind that there are some walking tours on this trip, though nothing especially demanding.  
In Cuba there are often delays and occasionally cancellations – patience and a flexible attitude will be a virtue in these situations. 

Climate

As Cuba lies in the Caribbean Sea, it has a tropical climate that is split into two seasons, one wet and one dry. 

However, Cuba is generally hot throughout the year (18-32°C) with regular rainfall and high humidity. The rainy season runs from May to October and from July to September, humidity can be very high. The east of the island is hotter and more humid that the west. Hurricanes and tropical storms are possible from July to October.

Clothing And Special Equipment

No special clothing or equipment is required although comfortable walking shoes or trainers, and sandals would be useful. Light, summer clothing will be adequate for these hot temperatures, and the dress code is very casual everywhere. Thin, long-sleeved garments may be useful for evenings, and a lightweight raincoat is the best protection against tropical downpours. We also recommend that you pack a torch as lighting can be poor at night.

Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear. A daypack is useful for carrying sunblock, guidebook, water and any extra layers.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Cuba.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP. 

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website. 

Country info

When is the best time to visit Cuba?

The high season for visitors is Dec - Apr when the weather is usually sunny, mostly dry and not too humid, though there can be cool days. Hurricane and tropical storms are possible Aug - Nov.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What's the official language of Cuba?

The official language of Cuba is Spanish.

What is the official currency in Cuba?

The Cuban National Peso (CUP) is the only legal cash currency in Cuba. We recommend you bring funds in US$ cash to exchange into CUPs at banks or Cadeca exchange offices. You can also exchange Euros but we don't recommend Sterling. Your bank notes should not be damaged in any way. As a foreign tourist you should receive a considerably better exchange rate than the ‘official’ rate used for commercial transactions.
ATM are available but charges can be high and the official rate of exchange is given which makes them much less attractive.
Changing small amounts at a time into CUPs will help to avoid having leftover currency when you leave Cuba (it is not always easy to exchange CUPs back to hard currency).
Private hotels, bars, restaurants often accept payment directly in US$ (or Euros) cash. For these transactions bring small denominations if possible, and note that coins will not be accepted.
You’ll generally need to use a credit/debit card to cover transactions in most shops, as well as hotel extras and car-rental extras such as petrol. However some clients have issues using cards in Cuba so don’t rely on them as your only source of funding. Be sure to check with your bank that your cards are accepted in Cuba (cards linked to US banks are not accepted locally). At Cadeca exchange offices it is now possible to purchase a prepaid card (Tarjeta Clasica) which can be bought in cash with US Dollars/Euros.
Using street money changers is not recommended as it is illegal and you are more likely to receive forgeries.

What is the time difference between Cuba and UK?

The time difference between the UK and Cuba is GMT-5 hours.

What places combine well with Cuba?

Mexico’s Yucatán is a great place to combine with Cuba. Flights from Cancún to Havana take approximately 1hr 15mins.

What are the festivals and cultural events in Cuba?

There are carnivals throughout the country on different dates. Havana’s carnival moves around date-wise year upon year, but is always accompanied by parades, music, drumming and dancing. Santiago’s carnival in July is probably the biggest and the best.

International Jazz Festival takes place in Havana in December. This is one of the world’s best, and there are workshops and concerts to enjoy.

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land and air transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Included Excursions

  • Half day guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Half day guided walking tour of Viñales Valley
  • Half day guided walking tour of Cienfuegos
  • Full day excursion, exploring Trinidad and visiting the Sugar Mill Valley
  • Half day city tour of Santa Clara with visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to Latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions

What's included in the price

  • Services of our team of experts in our London office
  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • All land and air transport within Latin America
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified, including entrance fees

Included Excursions

  • Half day guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Half day guided walking tour of Viñales Valley
  • Half day guided walking tour of Cienfuegos
  • Full day excursion, exploring Trinidad and visiting the Sugar Mill Valley
  • Half day city tour of Santa Clara with visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • International flights to Latin America
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Alex
    Alex Walker - Travel Expert

    A globetrotter since her childhood, Alex spent a year studying abroad in Guadalajara and has returned to Latin America countless times since then.

  • Juliet
    Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert

    After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!

  • Maggie
    Maggie Wilson - Travel Expert

    Maggie visited Latin America on her first backpacking trip when she was 19. Since then, she has taken every opportunity to travel, and has managed to explore a lot of the region in subsequent trips.

  • Lina
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Millie
    Millie Davies - Travel Expert

    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

  • Carrie
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

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