“If you have just a week but are keen to get beyond the beaches and into real Cuban life, this trip offers it in abundance, with homestays, nightlife, history and outdoor activities.”
Old Havana | Viñales | Santa Clara | Che Guevara Museum | Stating with Cuban families | Sierra del Escambray | Trinidad | Playa Ancon | Live Cuban music | Optional: Scuba diving, snorkelling, waterfall trek, horse riding, caves, tobacco farm
Small group, 2-12 people. No min. age, minors must travel with an adult.
Homestays (casas particulares).
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
Accomm., transport, Havana walking tour, local guide. $450-$600 should cover other costs.
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?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
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.
“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?”
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: Cuba adventure tours
This trip if filled with opportunities to get to know the culture and vibrant society of the intriguing island nation of Cuba. Nearly all of the accommodation is in the homes of Cuban families, where you will get to see how Cubans live, observe their way of life, and participate in their culture.
This tour is lead by a local Cuban guide who will give you an insight into the complex Cuban history and society. The guide will demonstrate how this unique country has managed to resist many of the negative impacts of North American culture, influence, and capitalism, and how it has achieved significant social goals, and at the same time, show you the short-comings of the present system.
The maximum group size of this tour is limited to12 travelers which enables us to more easily interact with the Cubans and to visit their homes and places of work and play. It also minimises our impact on the local culture and society. You will get the chance to visit government run local community projects such as the ‘organoponicos’ (urban based community organic produce gardens), local schools, and ration stores.
All travelers are encouraged to explore with the group and on their own, learn a few words of the ‘Cubanised’ Spanish, and to interact with the locals as much as possible. The local guides are employed to help explain as much as possible about the cultural differences and the historically significant places that we visit and to make your experience in Cuba as enjoyable and as much fun as possible.
We directly run all the on ground services and do not go through a second agent as the majority of tour providers to Cuba do. We have our own dedicated staff of locals in Havana and regional centres. A network of tour leaders, local guides and local transport providers, plus local office staff. We use local coordinators in regional centres to get the best possible access to services possible and to bring in local expertise. We stay almost exclusively in are locally run homestays and Cuban run Hotel, not major chains that dominate tourism in Cuba. We also encourage our groups to eat in small Paladars run by the locals or to eat in homestays with local families. We ensure that we 'spread the wealth' throughout each town so the benefit is to the community as a whole and not a few individuals. In this we attempt to get as many local providers involved in tour tours as possible, providing a BBQ by the river, or similar activities where the group is mixing with the real locals and not just those in the tourism industry. We promote best practice in responsible tourism and actively encourage our local suppliers to work with us in this. All our staff are trained in Responsible Tourism and make this an important part of their tour. We ensure all the activities offered to the travelers take our impact on the local environment into consideration. Similarly we monitor the impact on the local wildlife. Our commitment to responsible tourism is not limited to our overseas operation and we have measures to ensure our Australian office operates according to our responsible tourism policy.
Reviews of Cuba adventure tours
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
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 12 Jul 2016 by Gina Cambridge
The whole tour was amazing, we had the best guide and group..it was all a highlight!Read full review
Reviewed on 11 Jul 2016 by Liz Schnautz
It was great! Loved our tour guide Tatiana and our driver Giovanni. Read full review
Reviewed on 09 Jul 2016 by Kristin Groves
I learned so much about a fascinating country. My tour guide, driver, and tour group were wonderful and we had a lot of fun together.Read full review
I loved the entire trip - snorkelling, salsa dancing, seafood, old cars, the people, the scenery, historical sights and our excellent tour guideRead full review
Reviewed on 12 Oct 2014 by Marie Eberhard
The best parts were chatting with the guide for hours trying to understand Cuba! Staying with the locals and eating their amazing food. Read full review
Reviewed on 14 Apr 2014 by Howard Gossington
Fantastic! I would definitely recommend Cuba to the adventurous and open-minded traveler. It was also great fun being able to share the vacation with a wonderful group of peopleRead full review
Reviewed on 12 Jan 2013 by Naranee Ruthra-Rajan
Excellent. Great homestays, great guide, met lots of friendly people, interesting excursions, plenty of opportunities to learn about Cuba and many many chances to enjoy Cuban food, rum and salsa. I can't wait to go back. Read full review
Reviewed on 01 Aug 2013 by Clare Morley
This was a fantastic trip and I wish I had gone on the 15 day one. Our guide was superb, the levels of organisation were brilliant and the company is very efficient...For me, the most enjoyable evening was our tour and meal out at an organic market garden in the Vinales valley. The welcome was great, the food was fantastic and we played lots of dominoes and salsa-ed a lot whilst an enormous thunderstorm rolled round the hills. Read full review
Reviewed on 09 May 2013 by Rachel Grubb
Excellent...Staying in the guest houses, observing local life/cultur and being part of life in Cuba made this vacation memorable.Read full review
Reviewed on 15 Apr 2013 by Elizabeth Hanan
We enjoyed our experiences in Cuba with the group and the diversity offered in locations and the casas. A very different culture and life style.Read full review
Reviewed on 14 Apr 2013 by Sue Reynolds
Havana and Trinidad were the most memorable parts of the vacationRead full review
Vinales was a beautiful town, I very much enjoyed the visit to the tobacco farm and the dinner at another farm near by. It was also a great experience to have a local person take us around and introduce us to other locals and to tell us so much about local life.
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Reviewed on 04 May 2011 by Toni Ayres
Drinking rum and coke out of a coconut while swimming in beautiful sea waters at sunset, simply brilliant...Loved it. Been on many tours, the tour guide was good and it was lovely to travel in a manageable group size.Read full review
Reviewed on 12 Apr 2011 by Sarah Lodge
Vinales, drinking rum on the Malecon, staying with the Cuban families was most memorable...Excellent, a brilliant insight into Cuban life and politics.Read full review
Reviewed on 14 Feb 2011 by Nita Dent
Most memorable? Mogotes in Vinales, or sunset over the Caribbean, or 5 course meal with full lobster for main for 10 cuc in Trinidad casa, accompanied by Guitarist, all on rooftop, under the stars, with great companions and cubre libres.Read full review
Reviewed on 13 Jun 2011 by Kalwinder Bhogal Bhogal
There was always something memorable every day, from scenery to meeting the owners of the homestays... Excellent, had a great time, learned a lot. Thanks!Read full review
Reviewed on 06 May 2011 by Rein Estigoy
Most memorable? Going to the baseball in Pinar del Rio. It was the grand finals and since baseball is the number 1 sport in Cuba, the atmosphere was amazing and we had a lot of interactions with the locals.Read full review
The whole of Cuba is magical in every way and some of my most memorable parts were all the wonderful salsa dancing opportunities and watching live bands that I got chance to do.Read full review
Reviewed on 12 Aug 2009 by Nicola Turner
I was constantly speechless by the warmth and welcome of the people, the fun and lively atmosphere and the beauty of the landscape. By far, this was the most interesting, well-organised and eye-opening trip I have been on.Read full review
Reviewed on 21 Apr 2009 by Julie Evans
One of the best vacations ever - a wonderful country with wonderful people and something for everyone.
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Reviewed on 03 Dec 2009 by Joanna O'Brien
Cuba is a beautiful country but it is the people that make it so special. Favourite moments - lunch cooked by a farmer on an open fire in the hills on the way to Trinidad.Read full review