“Take two weeks to travel across Cuba as part of a small group (max 14) and discover the cultural and natural highlights ranging from old town Havana to the Bay of Pigs and Guantanamo Bay.”

Highlights

Old town Havana | Santa Clara | Che Guevara Museum | Camaguey | Santiago | Cienfuegos | Trinidad | Baracoa | Bay of Pigs | Moncada Barracks | Yunke National Park | Optional activities, include: snorkelling, scuba diving, beach bbq's, steam train rides and horse riding |

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Small group tour:
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. Those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
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 into consideration the impact on the local environment and wildlife.

We economize our use of resources as much as possible, and we also try to reduce the amount of waste we produce and encourage our guests to do so as well. One example of a measure we have taken is to include drinking water for our travelers and include this in the tour package. The tour leader (guide) is given a budget to buy large 5 litre bottles of drinking water and store these on the tour bus. The guests are encouraged to use this water to refill their own drinking bottles. This avoids the guests buying smaller plastic water bottles everyday. If they haven't brought their own bottle to refill, they can buy 1 small bottle at the start of the tour for their personal use, which they can refill with the drinking water we provide. Filtered or purified water is very uncommon in Cuba, and the vast majority of tourists buy plastic bottles of drinking water. Our method reduces the amount of plastic waste from this practice as much as possible.

Additionally, our tour leaders participate in the No Straws campaign by encouraging our travelers to use reusable straws or to decline straws altogether. All of our tour leaders have been given metal straws which not only reduces their own plastic consumption but sets an example for others in their community. They have enthusiastically supported this campaign, so much so that one tour leader found a rural vendor selling sustainably produced bamboo straws which we now purchase to use on our tours, supporting both the environment and the local economy.

Some of our tour leaders started an initiative to pick up trash en route between the provinces, not only does this maintain the health and beauty of the environment, but also sets an example for the community which has noticed the efforts of the group.

We look for ways to be efficient with our energy use and implement these methods on all of our tours. For example, we try to reduce as much as possible the use of air-conditioning. With the high levels of heat in Cuba for most of the year, and the fact that the travelers are usually unaccustomed to this, the use of air-conditioning is in many cases unavoidable. Our tour leaders are trained to include in their briefing to the guests, to stress the importance of turning off air-conditioning when they are not needing it and to close all doors and windows so that the cool air does not escape from the room. They are encouraged to see if they can sleep comfortably with just a fan, instead of having their air-conditioning turned on all night.

The treatment and care of animals is a particular concern of ours, to that end we donate a portion of tour proceeds to Cubans in Defense of Animals (CeDA) a non-governmental non-profit organization in Havana that provides care and sterilization to street animals, advocates for animal rights, and facilitates adoptions of stray dogs and cats. We encourage our travelers to bring donations of money or much needed supplies to CeDA, our guides will help arrange a drop off. We run in the Havana Marathon in November to raise funds for CeDA, and you are welcome to participate!

We promote best practices in responsible tourism and actively encourage our local suppliers to join us in our green campaigns.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

On this tour you will have the option to visit the remote Yumuri village, an agricultural and fishing village where you can enjoy a beautiful meal and boat ride down the picturesque Yumuri river. Tourism gives this village a much needed economic boost, as it is the only available employment for many in this town between harvest seasons. This is also a good place for you to bring donations, such as clothes, shoes, linens, particularly items for children. We also support the ballet school in Camaguey. The ballet school has a costume department that runs on more creativity than resources, and would welcome donations of sewing and costuming supplies (thread, needles, sequins, etc).

This trip is 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.

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 centers. A network of tour leaders, local guides and local transport providers, plus local office staff. We use local coordinators in regional centers to get the best possible access to services possible and to bring in local expertise.

Our tour leaders are paid fair and healthy wages, and thusly are prohibited from taking commissions or other unethical business practices. We offer bonuses and other incentives to encourage honesty and transparency from our tour leaders which results in better service to our customers and has a positive influence on the local culture where they are seen as role models. The tour leaders receive annual training in several different subject areas, including responsible travel, safety, diversity, and ethics, and we encourage them to develop and grow through additional training, special projects, and leadership opportunities.

We encourage and support their charitable endeavors. We have a team of kind-hearted generous tour leaders who have initiated company-supported donation drives and fundraising for disaster relief, medical expenses, and animal welfare.

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 our 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 encourage respectful travel in Cuba. Our Cuban tour leaders will give you an insight into the complex Cuban history and society. The tour leader 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 to 14 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), 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.

Our commitment to responsible tourism is not limited to our overseas operation and we have measures to ensure our Australian and US offices operate according to our responsible tourism policy.

Climate

13 Reviews of Cuba cultural tours

4 out of 5 stars
SHOW
6
5
1
0
1

Reviewed on 09 Dec 2017 by

It was all memorable. Being in Cuba itself was an amazing experience. Every town we visited was different but everywhere the people were warm and welcoming. Outside Havana the nights were full of music - with live bands in the restaurants and squares as well as the House of Music venue in each town. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Nov 2017 by

Old Havana, Mountains around Baracoa, Ballet School in Camaguey were all highlights. Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Mar 2017 by

Very varied, exciting, fascinating, stimulating, warm and fun! Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Mar 2017 by

Horse riding in Vinales; salsa lessons in Havana was the most memorable. Read full review

Reviewed on 07 Nov 2016 by

The whole thing was pretty amazing. Constant interest and surprise. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Feb 2016 by

I still can't believe I have been to Cuba and back. I would urge everybody who is thinking of going to Cuba, go and book your vacation now, you will not regret it. We had a fantastic guide and had a lovely time out there. The weather, food, people, music and art, buildings, parks, everything is beautiful. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Feb 2016 by

The trip was excellent! We really enjoyed staying in peoples homes instead of hotels. Read full review

Reviewed on 29 Dec 2016 by

Excellent guide, nice group, learnt a lot of history (and propaganda) and saw a good part of the country. Well worthwhile! Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Feb 2016 by

Every place has its own charm and character but as I love tropical landscapes Baracoa is probably the most memorable place. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Jan 2016 by

The homestay accommodations, which allowed us to meet and interact with local Cubans in personal and meaningful ways, was one of the best things about this trip for me. Cubans are so warm and friendly getting to know the people a little bit made this a very special vacation. Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Feb 2016 by

The group were great. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Feb 2014 by

Amazing, fun, varied, good overall tour, we didn't want to come home. Five Star Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Jan 2012 by

The most memorable part was Xmas eve fireworks in Remedios. Read full review

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