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24 Dec 2016
US $ 2099
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26 Dec 2016
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31 Dec 2016
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07 Jan 2017
US $ 2799
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14 Jan 2017
US $ 2799
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21 Jan 2017
US $ 2629
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28 Jan 2017
US $ 2629
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04 Feb 2017
US $ 2629
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11 Feb 2017
US $ 2629
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18 Feb 2017
US $ 2629
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25 Feb 2017
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04 Mar 2017
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11 Mar 2017
US $ 2629
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25 Mar 2017
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24 Jun 2017
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01 Jul 2017
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12 Aug 2017
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28 Oct 2017
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11 Nov 2017
US $ 2629
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25 Nov 2017
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09 Dec 2017
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16 Dec 2017
US $ 2799
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18 Dec 2017
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30 Dec 2017
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Vouchers
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Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Cuba budget vacation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism, we ensure minimal social and environmental impact in the places we visit by traveling in small groups, using local transportation and staying in locally owned hotels. We also work with experienced local guides who are knowledgeable of local culture, history, flora and fauna.

On this tour you may have the opportunity to visit a local bike workshop in Old Havana developed by BICYCLES CROSSING BORDERS (BCB), a non-profit organization that promotes cycling by shipping unused and repairable bikes to Cuba.

BCB has trained up to 30 Cubans in bicycle repair and maintenance, the majority being women and encourages more Cubans to set up efficient bike shops across the island. We support this project through our non-profit organization, the Planeterra Foundation, developed as a way to give back to the people and places that we visit on our tours.

Reviews of Cuba budget vacation

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 19 Aug 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The whole experience was amazing. Cuba is a fantastic place to go and one which is going to change so dramatically in our lifetimes. The atmosphere across the whole island was so warm and vibrant, with live music being heard on every street corner.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Check that the tour operator/local agents have checked flight availability from Baracoa and that there are seats for the trip you want to book on. Otherwise, you may have to endure a 6 hour drive back to Sanatiago to catch a flight, when Baracoa's airport is 10mins away. Also check that the flight time won't be 1am in the morning, meaning you miss one night back in Havana and only get to bed at 6am!! That was not a fun day at all!!!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The homestays were excellent and really benefited a certain proportion of local people. As did eating in local restaurants who would feed you a feast and whatever was left over would go to the families and friends who do not have access to this food due to their poor currency and rations.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Guide – excellent. Itinerary - good as standard, we added more destinations to it, so that made it excellent, as you got a real feel for the island. Homestays – excellent. The country – excellent. The relation between the tour operator and the local agent - very poor.

Reviewed on 20 Jan 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Wandering the cobbled streets of Havana and Trinidad. Jungle walks near Trinidad and Baracoa. Staying with friendly hosts in their own homes.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


1. Be flexible and prepared for anything! Cuba can be a very frustrating place, as government control means that things operate in a completely different way to most countries you will have been to. Don't let it get to you - it's all part of the experience!
2. Be prepared for some long days of bus travel from one city to another.
3. Learn as much Spanish as you can before you go - it will really help you communicate with your hosts in the casa particulares. Take some photos of your family / home / pets with you - even if you don't speak much Spanish they will give you something to 'chat' about!
4. Don't expect wonderful food, especially if you're veggie!
5. Choose some of the optional activities that allow you to get out into the countryside. The national parks are beautiful, and make a pleasant change from the hustle and bustle (and yes, hassle) of the cities.
6. Talking of hassle, don't worry about it too much - it isn't nearly as bad as some guidebooks would have you believe. Just use a bit of common sense, as you would anywhere in the world.
7. Take LOTS of spending money - Cuba isn't a cheap destination. Don't rely on credit or debit cards (although I was able to use an ATM in Havana and Santiago de Cuba.)
8. Talking of money, change a few pounds / dollars into the local currency - this will allow you to buy food from the bakeries and markets used by the Cuban people (when you can find them!) Not only is this MUCH cheaper than the tourist shops and restaurants, but it helps you distribute your vacation spending across a wider range of the population (see comment below.)
9. Should have put this as number 1! Book a few extra days in Havana either before or after the tour - or both! The company will arrange an expensive hotel for you, but I'd book a Casa via the internet - cheaper and nicer.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Staying and eating in the casa particulares meant that the money spent on accommodation went straight into the pockets of the local people (although they have to pay a lot of it to the government in taxes!) However my impression was that, in many cases, these families were much better off than most people. It was difficult to find ways of supporting other local people (other than by giving to people who asked for soap / money.) It was a shame an internal flight was necessary, but traveling the length of the island by bus once was enough. I'd consider finding a tour covering shorter distances (e.g., Havana, Vinales and Trinidad) with less bus travel and no need for the internal flight.

Reviewed on 17 Jun 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Swimming in a cave, with bats over head! Meeting people from completely different cultures (and dancing with them...)

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Learn Spanish - it will really help. I've never wished so much that I knew the language better. Buy a few ordinary pesos, you won't need more than 4 or 5 CUCs worth, in order to buy street food and ice cream, and eat at peso restaurants. Do what the Cubans do - buy a bottle of rum and a few mixers instead of a round of cocktails. It's cheaper. Don't forget that often there is no loo paper and no soap so plan accordingly. Everything is negotiable - taxi fares, goods at market stalls, meal prices at home stays... and don't feel obliged to eat at your home stay. I took pens, soap, note books, plant seeds and sweets with to give away. You'll get asked on the streets for pens and soap. Toothpaste was also a common request!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Hard to say really. It benefited the owners of the home stays who obviously had a better standard of living than many of the dwellings we saw. We were happy to buy drinks for, and invite some of the people we met to join us.

Reviewed on 21 Jun 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Nothing that exiting happened on this vacation.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


You have a relaxing time and you see a few different places on the trip, but if you want to find out about Cuba then this isn't the trip.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We gave the locals a lot of tips and stayed in a casa particulares in one place, so the locals directly benefited form us.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Friendly people on the tour and you travelled on a private minibus so very comfortable. The places you see are different and you see a couple of different places in this part of Cuba. However you were not given any local information about how the Cubans live, work etc. So if you want to find out about the culture then you don't really want to do this trip. No information at all about the revolution, communism (current, past or future), politics, how the country works, what the Cubans can or cannot do etc. This was very disappointing. But if you want to see a few different places without any hassle of getting around then it is a good trip.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your comments. We have logged these and will ensure more cultural aspects are included in future tours.

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