“An enthralling tour of Cuba, exploring history before and after the revolution, as well as stunning tropical scenery and a raft of cultural experiences.”

Highlights

Havana | Tour of Vieja district | Cocktail-making class | Zapata Peninsula | Swim in a cenote | Cienfuegos | Trinidad | Stay in Casas Particulares | Optional salsa lesson | Hiking in Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve Park | Valley of the Sugar Mills | Torre de Manaca Iznaga | Sancti Spiritus | Camaguey | La Comandancia de La Plata | Santiago | Santa Clara | Moncada Barracks | Che Guevara Mausoleum | Vinales | Boat trip to Cayo Levisa | Soroa Rainforest |

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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 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.

Responsible tourism

vacations to Cuba

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

In Cuba we take the chance to visit the lesser known destination of Topes de Collantes where we sleep under the stars and stay at a couple of haciendas hosted by the local community. They cook wholesome local food for us and also provide the guides that we use on our walks in the area.

By staying at the haciendas we support local people directly and use minimal resources when compared to staying at a hotel. The night in the haciendas is always listed as a highlight of the tour by our customers as they have a chance for interaction with the locals, which is often much harder in larger cities.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key, and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

Community

Operating outside of the large state-owned hotels in Cuba is difficult, because the government controls much of the tourist infrastructure. However, where possible we use locally owned and run ‘casas particulares’ (homestays), where we stay with a local family who can supplement regular incomes with money through privately letting rooms in their house.

We also encourage our groups to eat in small Paladars run by the locals. Due to food rationing, food is more limited in the Paladars compared to the hotel restaurants, however by eating in them it not only supports the local economy but also gives our customers a real insight into the realities of Cuban life.

5 Reviews of vacations to Cuba

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 27 Apr 2019 by

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


This was our second trip to Cuba and trekking in the mountains was the highlight, particularly visiting Fidel Castro's camp in the Sierra Maestra, - a long held ambition, and then learning about all the plants and creatures in the Escambray mountains with our knowledgeable guide Rocky. A very personal highlight was getting the chance to shake hands with one of the veterans of the Bay of Pigs victory as we coincidentally visited the museum on the anniversary date of the battle!

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


As advised in the notes this is a full on vacation! Early starts and late afternoon/evening arrivals at destinations means you must be prepared to live out of your suitcase for the majority of the time!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We would have preferred to stay in casa's rather than the rather smart hotels we were booked into, but as these are state owned, or partnered, hopefully the country generally still benefitted. Visits to local farmers in Vinales, and stop offs at roadside cafes contributed to local businesses.

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


We had a wonderful vacation, and a great guide, but overall perhaps too much was packed in to a limited time scale.

Reviewed on 25 Nov 2018 by

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


We visited many different parts of Cuba. We enjoyed the rural areas the best.

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


Be prepared for walking in all kinds of weather and terrain. Recognize that not
everything works all the time in Cuba.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It benefited local people.

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


We enjoyed it very much.

Reviewed on 02 May 2018 by

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


The music and songs in every public venue.

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


Do not expect gourmet food....the choice is also very limited.You need to be reasonably fit. I was exhausted at the end.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes

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


I learnt so much. Our guide was superb. Cuba is an interesting place. It was not a Vacation but it was a great experience!

Reviewed on 20 Jun 2013 by

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


Meeting local people (farmers, doctor) during a leisurely morning spent at La Plata a village in the Sierra Maestra mountains, and the chance to talk about politics, agriculture, and history!

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


Be open to new people and places and flexible in your outlook and you will learn a lot as well as having fun. Cuba is a very diverse island and there is lots of see but the transport and infrastructure means that the longest journey is about 12 hours (but broken up with a bit of sightseeing and meal breaks). The itinerary is very full, so there is generally little time to linger in museums or historic buildings. Avoid the rainy season, as the walking in the mountains can be very muddy and slippery.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, we ate meals at a number of privately-owned family businesses, where the quality of the food and service was also far superior to that in state-run restaurants/hotel restaurants. We also travelled to the east of the country where there is more visible poverty than in the west and in Havana. This kind of tourism - off the beaten track, and away from the inclusive hotels - must support many families and communities in a country where tourism is a fast-growing sector of the economy.

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


Fast-paced and busy. A great introduction to the history and culture of Cuba. The itinerary was ambitious for a 2 week stay. There were many places - including Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus, Camaguey, and the Sierra Maestra mountains where it would have been good to have had more time to explore.

Reviewed on 12 Apr 2010 by

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


There wasn't one highlight, the whole trip was a memorable experience. At this point what I know is I don't know Cuba. I thought I had an opinion on Cuba before I left, however this is a very complex society and as our tour guide said the first day, unless you live here it is difficult to really understand.

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


Go with an open mind and you will be amazed.

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


Very beneficial.

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



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