Cuba Mixed Activity

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Traveller ratings
3.6 / 5 from 7 reviews >
Moderate
Learn more
Trip code: 
AUY
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group Adventure Holidays, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Mixed-Activity Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–18

Discover the beauty of Cuba with a range of activities

Pack your bags for an adventure of a lifetime and discover the natural beauty of a Caribbean island steeped in romance and intrigue. This new active adventure features a combination of Cuba's 'must see' sights amid a fun-packed itinerary of outdoor activities. We'll soak up the history and musical heritage of Havana and Trinidad, cycle in Vinales Valley, swim at the Bay of Pigs, hike in Topes de Collantes, and receive a warm welcome from the Cubans by staying in Casas Particulares and eating in privately-run Paladares. Variety is the name of the game - a perfect way to see the real Cuba!

Highlights

  • Enjoy a Cuban salsa class in Trinidad
  • Cycle and hike in Pinar del Rio and central Cuba
  • Explore caves and go zip lining (optional) in a biosphere reserve
  • Go snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea at the Bay of Pigs
  • Stay in Cuban guesthouses and eat in local paladares
  • Cuban Tourist Cards included for all UK residents
  • Direct flights with Virgin Atlantic when available

Key information

  • 5 nights Casas Particulares, 4 nights hotels and 1 night in river huts
  • Travel by comfortable air-conditioned private coach
  • Reasonable fitness required
  • Some long journeys

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunch, 2 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Tourist card visa for UK residents

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Havana
to
Havana
  • Day 1

    Start Havana.

    The group flight arrives in the evening and we transfer to our hotel. Land only clients will meet the group at the start hotel in Havana.

    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    City tour on bike; transfer westwards through Pinar del Rio province to coastal hotel.

    This morning the group will meet in the hotel lobby after breakfast for a welcome briefing and bike fitting before setting off on our two-wheeled city tour. Traffic is remarkably light for a capital city as most people don't own a car in Cuba. We cycle through the Miramar and Vedado districts of Havana to reach the dominating Plaza de la Revolucion, whilst Buicks and Pontiacs cruise past with gleaming chrome. We continue towards Old Havana and stop at El Capitolio, the famous National Capitol Building, which is superficially similar to the Capitol in Washington D.C. After lunch we start our westward journey and drive out of the city towards the lush countryside of Pinar del Rio. The drive to Maria La Gorda on the far western coast is approx. 300 km and will take around 5 hours, we will have several stops en route before arriving in time for dinner.

    Cycling Distance: approx. 26km

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Ride within Guanahacabibes nature park; snorkel in Caribbean sea.

    This morning we will cycle (approx. 15km) from the hotel to the Guanahacabibes Park entrance. Here we will meet a local nature guide who will accompany us on cycle trip into the park. Cycling in this region takes us through some of the most uninhabited terrain on the island of Cuba. There’s a good chance that you will see the smallest bird in the world, the bee hummingbird, as well as spotting some of the more common species of endemic birds such as the brilliantly coloured Tocororo, Cuba’s national bird. The Guanahacabibes peninsula is a protected area and nesting ground for turtles. After approx. 45km more cycling and exploring the peninsula, we will load the bikes onto the bus and head back to the hotel In the afternoon, you can enjoy some time on the beach and then in the early evening we will meet on the beach for a chat with a local oenologist to learn about the marine conservation efforts being made in this part of the island. Afterwards we will go on a boat for a snorkelling excursion at the nearby coral reef before enjoying some drinks on board as we watch the sunset from the boat.

    Cycling Distance: approx. 60km

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Cycle to Vinales Valley; enjoy a sunset meal at an organic farm in Vinales.

    Today we have an early start in order to drive 2 hours to the starting place for our route down a little known road to Viñales via Guane. The peaceful ride will enable us to spend time in unspoilt and spectacular undulating scenery. We take a packed lunch to eat along the way and arrive into Viñales town in the late afternoon. Accommodation tonight will be in 'Casas Particulares' homestays all on the same quaint street in the town. Dinner is included this evening at Wilfredo's farm, beautifully situated atop a hill offering stunning sunset views across the valley. Local musicians and cuisine make this an evening to remember.

    Cycling Distance: approx. 45km

    Casa

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Caving at 'Cueva de Santo Tomas'; afternoon walk through tobacco growing countryside.

    Today we will set out to explore some of Viñales Valley, a world heritage site and producer of the world’s finest tobacco. Included we will visit the Cueva de Santo Tomas, the biggest cave network in Cuba. Tours last for two hours and a specialist guide as well as helmets and headlamps are provided, although you might want to bring a more powerful torch if you have one. The cave is spectacular and has 45 kilometres of galleries on eight levels - we will visit 2 or 3 of the levels.

    Around midday we'll head back to Viñales for lunch and then have some time to explore the little town. In the late afternoon we'll set off on a walk through the valley, visiting farmers and seeing how they grow tobacco. Tonight's evening meal will be at leisure and we recommend that you try one of the Paladar restaurants on the main drag of Viñales. Afterwards you could go to the Polo Montanez club, an open air meeting spot where locals gather to chat and dance to live music.

    Trekking Distance: approx. 7km

    Casa

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Cycle to caves used in 1962 Missile Crisis; optional zip lining at Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve.

    We set off this morning on our bikes and take the backroads out of Viñales valley, passing the spectacular mogotes which rise up from the valley floor. Our destination today is Cueva de los Portales, where Che Guevara had his headquarters during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We enjoy a picnic lunch there and explore the cave before getting onto the bus and heading for Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve. Upon arrival, if weather permits, there will be a chance to try out Cuba’s only zip lining course! The course is over 5 lines and for approximately 1.5kms you soar over the forest and the community getting a bird's eye view of the environment below. (Cost per person CUC25) This evening we will have dinner at Tito's Farm and spend the night in simple cabins beside by the River San Juan.

    Cycling Distance: approx. 45km

    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Swim in San Juan river; walk La Serafina nature trail; drive to Playa Larga at Bay of Pigs.

    What better way to start the day than with a refreshing swim in the Rio San Juan! After breakfast we drive to the start of our trail for today's walk. La Serafina Trail is relatively easy going but gives you a great introduction to the reserve. Expect to see plenty of natural flora and endemic birdlife in the area. We then set off towards the centre of the island, with a quick lunch stop in Havana, on what is a 4-5 hour journey to the Bay of Pigs. Tonight we stay in casas particulares in the small coastal town of Playa Larga, where the CIA backed troops attempted a coup d’etat on Fidel Castro’s Revolutionary Government. This evening we recommend you trying some of the region's seafood.

    Trekking Distance: approx. 6km

    Casa

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Snorkel at Bay of Pigs; drive to UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad; salsa class.

    After breakfast we head straight out to the welcoming Caribbean Sea for a morning of snorkelling*. The Bay of Pigs is one of Cuba’s most spectacular snorkelling spots with a wonderful array of soft and hard corals which can be reached easily from the shore. We will snorkel in Caleta Buena and have lunch before driving along the shimmering coastline (approx. 2 hour journey) to Trinidad. This lively and colourful town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one Cuba’s most famous destinations. Entering Trinidad is like stepping back in time; cobbled streets and pastel coloured houses haven’t changed since they were built at the peak of Trinidad’s Sugar producing years. In the early evening we will enjoy a fun introductory salsa class with local teachers in a Cuban home close to the casas particulares where we will be based. The class will last about 1 hour and will give you the confidence to try your moves tonight in the many dance bars! The town is a wonderful place to discover live music, handicrafts, Paladar restaurants and beautiful colonial squares. This evening we will have a meal together in the patio of Alberto and Osmary's lovely house.

    Casa

    *Please note in 2018 the itinerary will include a kayaking excursion instead of the snorkelling.

    Today we have a kayaking excursion as we take to the water in the iconic bay of Cienfuegos. The tour will include a stop at the Jagua Fortress and afterwards a lunch.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Morning walk in Topes de Collantes; swimming at Vegas Grandes waterfalls; free afternoon.

    In the morning we will drive from Trinidad to Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve. Our destination is the starting point of the Caburní trail, which will take us to some magnificent waterfalls and a lovely swimming spot. We then continue on a steep path to visit the Vegas Grandes waterfalls where you can also enjoy a swim and have a picnic lunch. We finish the 12km trek at El Chorrito community where we are picked up and transfer back to Trinidad. The rest of the afternoon is free time to relax, explore, shop or go to the beach. Playa Ancon is 12km away and a perfect Caribbean beach with white sand and calm blue waters. Tonight is the perfect opportunity to eat in one of the local paladars and then sample some mojitos in the town.

    Trekking Distance: approx. 12km

    Casa

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Drive to Havana stopping at the Che Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara.

    We wave goodbye to Trinidad after breakfast and begin our journey back towards Havana, stopping on route for a visit to Che Guevara's Mausoleum in Santa Clara. We will arrive in Havana early evening and check into our hotel. The evening is at leisure and we have included a transfer to and from the Old Town. You can enjoy a final Cuban dinner and an evening out if you want to make your own way back to the hotel.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Sightseeing in Havana; walking tour of old town; end.

    This morning we'll do some sight-seeing in Havana (old and new parts of town) including a walking tour of Old Havana. There is time for lunch and then those on the group departure flight will transfer to airport.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Cuba

British and most Western European passport holders do not require a visa but do require a tourist card. Your Cuban tourist card (valid for 30 days) is included and will be posted to you by Exodus approx. 6 weeks before travel. We will send instructions on how to fill it in but please be careful doing this as any mistakes may result in you having to purchase a new card at a cost of GBP15.00 per person.

We will send a tourist card free of charge as long as you live at a UK or Ireland address and are national of an EU country, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Japan. If you are not national of one of these countries or are not resident in the UK or Eire you must contact your nearest Cuban Consulate to check what visa is required - Exodus cannot provide a tourist card for you.

The Cuban entry immigration is time consuming and most visitors encounter delays when queuing for entry into the country.

The Cuban Government passed a law stating that all tourists visiting Cuba must have travel insurance to cover medical costs. You are likely to be asked to provide proof of your travel insurance policy when you arrive at Havana airport, so please ensure your documents are easily accessible. Whilst we hope that things will change in the near future, due to present US policy, we cannot take US citizens on our trips to Cuba.

Vaccinations

Cuba

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Hepatitis A. We are advised that there is no risk of malaria. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a. The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up‐to‐date information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 4 dinners included.

Cuba is not renowned for its culinary excellence and some ingredients are just not possible to get hold of (due in no small part to the long trade embargo implemented by the US). As such, flavours tend to be relatively simple, with most mealtimes consisting of meat or fish accompanied by rice and salad/vegetables. Seafood is widely available on the coast, including cheap and abundant lobster! Vegetarians will probably find they have the most limited choice. Snack food is not freely available in Cuba so you may wish to consider taking some with you.

Paladares are likely to be a highlight of any visit to Cuba - they are one of the few types of private enterprise allowed (although still heavily regulated), where families can set up a restaurant selling authentic, Cuban food. The atmosphere this creates, and opportunity to integrate with local Cubans, will no doubt enhance your stay!

Weather

The dry season runs from November through to April (with December to March being the peak holiday months for traditional style tourism). It can be humid between May and October, with heavy rains at times and the possibility of hurricanes. July and August are some of the most popular months to visit Cuba by sun-seekers from Europe and Canada but can be hot (average 28ºC) and wet. Cuba has an average of 6 hours sunshine per day with a more or less constant humidity of 62%. Water temperature normally ranges from 24 to 28ºC.

Havana

Trinidad

Is this trip for you?

This trip is a Mixed Activity trip with an activity level grading of 3 (Moderate). Please see the introductory pages of the Discovery & Wildlife brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading.
Number of days cycling: 4 (including Havana city ride) You should be comfortable riding a bike up to 45km but there is a support vehicle for anyone wanting to ride in the bus. 3 litres of mineral water per person on cycling days is included.
Vehicle Support during cycling: 100%
Number of days walking: 3. The first is within Vinales valley through tobacco growing countryside. The second is a morning walk in Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve, and the third is within Topes de Collantes National Park featuring a waterfall swim.
Other activities: snorkelling, cave tour, zip-lining, kayaking, salsa class, swim at waterfall. You should be comfortable in water for several of the activities.
Overall the trip is not too strenuous but a basic level of fitness is required.

This tour features some remote parts of the island. Though many of the roads are in good condition you should be prepared to encounter occasional potholes and poor road conditions in some sections. The roads are generally free of heavy traffic, except in some of the bigger towns/cities.

We provide good quality mountain bikes with hybrid road tyres and flat bars and have experienced local staff to help out with any mechanical issues.

Please be aware that mobile networks don’t make or receive calls particularly well in Cuba, and coverage may not be available in many locations. Not all networks work in Cuba, so please check with your service provider. Also please note that few hotels have Wi-Fi. Some will have internet cafés, and you will also find some Wi-Fi spots in the main plazas in towns. Using the internet in Cuba is relatively expensive, up to 5-6 CUC per hour, unless you purchase Wi-Fi cards at official shops, but these will always have long queues. Wi-Fi can be very slow, so it’s best to assume that you won’t be able to find a reliable internet connection whilst travelling.

A limited tourism infrastructure on the island means that some hotels and other service providers are struggling to honour their agreements. Last minute overbookings and price increases are becoming commonplace.

Fortunately, over the years we have built strong working relationships with suppliers and we have managed to prevent any major problems from affecting our groups. Nevertheless, all travellers should be aware that last minute hotel cancellations are a possibility and could affect your trip, especially during the high season in Havana (Oct to March). In the event of any necessary changes we will endeavour to ensure a property of the same standard and similar location is used. On some occasions an overnight hotel stay may be replaced with a night in a casa, or vice versa.

In addition to being prepared for potential last minute hotel changes, it is possible that you will be confronted by other minor frustrations whilst travelling in Cuba. We encourage all travellers to go with an open mind, and with realistic expectations at what a visit to Cuba entails. If your guide announces a change of plans then please be assured that everything possible has been done behind the scenes in order to make satisfactory alternative arrangements.

Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Casas Particulares, Hotels and River Huts

All of our Cuban itineraries include staying in privately-run 'Casas Particulares' and this trip features 5 nights in casas in several different locations (Vinales, Playa Larga and Trinidad). These are traditional guesthouses with bed and breakfast accommodation. All the properties are located within a few blocks of each other, around a central meeting house. Two nights are spent at the beach-side hotel in Maria la Gorda, and one night in simplistic huts at the river-side setting at Rio San Juan. Throughout the tour we will therefore experience a range of interesting and genuinely Cuban lodging choices.

Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed May 2017
    William Galloway

    Disappointing Cuba

    We had booked the mixed activity trip, having been on previous Exodus holidays. Unfortunately both aspects of the holiday and the way the senior management have dealt with the issues from our holiday have been very disappointing. There were many issues with the holdiay: 1. The snorkelling trip was on an overcrowded boat and the correct safety breifing was not given. This was potentially a serious situation that combined both a dive trip and a snorkel trip. 2.We had an unauthorised passenger on our bus for a leg of the journey - the guide should not have allowed this 3.On the Tobacco tour, the guide accepted a gift of cigars worth cuc 25 (a lot of money locally) - this we now know is allowed by Exodus 4.River San Juan - accommodation was not as described and Exodus have agreed to change their wording on the website. It did not say that there was a 10 foot ladder climb to a heavy trap door for each hut. Also, none of us considered the river clean enough for swimming. 5.There was an extra stop on the last day which caused us to be late back into Havana and we missed the bank opening to exchange money. 6. We did not receive the account of the tipping kitty as we were promised 7. We tried to raise these issues with the local Exodus staff member and had an appointment, which he did not keep Since returning to the UK, we wrote to the MD as suggested for customers that have been disappointed, but both he and senior colleagues have tried to simply sweep the matters under the carpet rather than address them. As an example, in respect of the over crowded boat on the snorkel trip, we have been told "the operator has been told that we do not expect a repeat of this situation in the future. We do not recommend this trip and we will not be using Exodus in the future because of the way we have been treated on our return by the company.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Havana was the best asspect of this trip

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were disappointed

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We have carefully investigated and responded to concerns raised by Mr Galloway, so we are really sorry that he remains unhappy with elements of his holiday. I am also sorry that Mr Galloway feels that we have swept matters under the carpet as we do not feel this the case. In our multiple correspondence with Mr Galloway we have certainly been happy to admit errors or where things could have been better, but unfortunately we weren’t able to find common ground on all the points he raised.

    In terms of the snorkelling excursion in question, a member of our safety team went on this last year and was impressed with the set-up. Prior to Mr Galloway’s experience, we had not received any feedback highlighting any concerns with the operation of the excursion, but we have addressed the issues that Mr Galloway brought to our attention and we are confident that future excursions will run in line with our safety expectations. I was reassured to read some very positive feedback from other members of Mr Galloway’s group, although I am sorry that Mr Galloway remains disappointed.

    Mike James - Exodus Operations Director

  • Reviewed January 2017
    Gordon Barr

    Mixed Activity Holiday Cuba 2017

    Overall a very well organised and activity filled holiday, with a group of liked minded individuals.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day spend in Havana was the most interesting, it was easy to imagine what the place was like pre revolution, and interesting to see what will become of it post Fidel.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Elena was very knowledgeable, had load of facts and figures to impress us with, and she was very lively and good fun. 10 out of 10.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the places we visited were very basic, so best adjust your expectations. E.g. If you need to change money it's not a quick process, likewise there was limited access to WiFi, which was quite nice actually.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There was an issue with proposed tipping in your holiday notes which had changed (increased) from version to version, this could be considered as an underhand way of increasing the cost of the holiday, in this case by an extra £75 per person, which wasn't immediately obvious. Aside from that everything else went to plan.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Sara Whitby

    Cuba taster

    Locations included squares of Havana with European vibe, old Trindad, rural communities which offer step back in time and beautiful beach at Maria de la Gorde at very west of Cuba, which as had hoped gave good taste of Cuba. Many of places would have happily lingered longer and in future would like to see how Cuba develops and visit more for example east of the island. Although Cuba is starting to change think at least in some of more underdeveloped places visited, this change will be slow hence, still time to see before changes too much. Roads in Cuba are poor; pot holders are an understatment therefore travel between locations does take time. There is long periods on coach but as had whole large coach for 10 there was plenty of space and we found it very comfortable for napping between all activity!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved staying in tree huts as very different experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erik was very friendly and socialable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cycling is tough for non cyclists but not impossible with reasonable fitness and there is bus to fall back on if get bored or for hills that are too daunting! Guide will facilate donations of items hard to get in Cuba for example clothes, pens or any old mobiles have. Although not outrageously expensive, not dirt cheap especially in Oct 2016 with exchange rate if 1.17 or less. Beer average price, cocktails excellent value. Allow min £30 a day for every day no matter which meals included.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Andrew Mason

    As good as I'd hoped

    We got to see a real mix of Cuba, from the beautiful beaches of Maria La Gorda and Playa Larga to the valleys of Vinales to old Trinidad and improving Havana. Exactly what I wanted from the trip around this incredible country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The salsa class in Trinidad was a highlight, we'd only wished we'd done it earlier so had had more chance to practice on subsequent evenings out.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eric was great, hugely knowledgeable and provided great context to the country and ongoing entertainment throughout the tour.
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Angelina Robertson

    A great balance of activity!

    This was such a great holiday and a great introductory for me into a cycling holiday. I have always been interested in taking one but unsure how challenging it would be for me. With a great amount of activity as well as cycling I was able to get a great feel for that type of holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment from my trip is hard to narrow down. the Che Guevara museum was spectacular and defiantly a highlight as well as ALL of day 6 where we were able to visit the caves used in the 1962 Missile Crisis as well as spending the rest of the day at Las Terrazas Biosphere. The accommodation was amazing and the area was beautiful. I felt as if I was back in the Amazon.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was great! He was such a hard worker and did everything that he could to best accommodate us. He was also keen to ensure that we used our free time to the best of our ability by giving us tonnes of local tips and tricks. What topped it off was how well he took care of myself when halfway through the trip I became quite unwell.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the days are long so packing snacks is a good tip! The support vehicle when cycling is a life saver, so don't be too shy to use it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was such a great way to get a proper taste of Cuba. I have been in the past on holiday, but stayed only on the resort and had no idea this beautiful country had so much to offer!
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Robert Pearson

    Tropical Island in Transition

    Varied activities and highlights of Western Cuba. A good introduction to Cuba.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Most relaxing - Snorkelling in the Bay of Pigs. Most energising - cycling to Vinales. Most humbling - wandering among the crumbling ghettos of Havana.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Maurece was excellent. Both he and the driver Gabriel worked very hard to give us all a very good taste of Cuba.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Understand that this multi-activity tour is in its development phase. Our connecting flight was cancelled, & re-arranged for the following day and we are grateful to Exodus and the local guide for arranging transfers for us to catch up with the group. Although Cuba is undergoing major economic changes, there are still major shortages of basic commodities – e.g. petrol and toilet seats. Travel also appears to restricted – needing compulsory local guides in the national parks and Vinales areas. These issues raise substantial challenges for the guide and the driver who coped admirably with the 18 travellers with diverse needs. When our guide Maurece found that most of the Russian trucks for the Topa de Collares trip had broken down – he quickly arranged a different and interesting itinery for the day. We had been warned in the trip notes that travel, transport and accommodation arrangements could be subject to last minute rearrangement i.e. the trip notes need to be interpreted as very approximate! Transport: large coach with seats down one side and at the back, rest of space given over to stacking up the bikes. I had imagined that we would have had a small coach and a bike trailer but I don’t know how a tow bar would have coped with state of Cuban roads. Bikes : good quality Trek mountain bikes with bontrager rims, shimano gearing and disk brakes. Chunky Continental tyres coped well with the roads that could be rough and pot-holed in places. Not aware that there were any punctures but there were two ripped chains during the trip. The bus crawls behind the last cyclist to pick up anyone whose bike or backside needs a rest. Travel – some moderate transfers – “Cuba travel hours” – add about 50% onto estimated duration! Food – mostly plentiful and of moderate variety. Black beans and rice will be on most menus but is not the only foodstuff. Occasional roadside expresso stops though not many fruit stands. Accommodation: Casa particulares are ensuite B&B rooms in private dwellings, some are mini-hotels. The house owners may speak little or no English, so learning some Spanish and practising charades can be handy. Activities: cycling 30-45km on 4 days; the “treks” were all very short, less than 2 hour walks. The snorkelling 11Km east of Playa Larga was better than off Maria La Gorda. Essentials to pack: Deet spray minimum 50% especially for Playa Largo; Change robe for the beaches Padded lycra cycling gear, breathable tops; aeratable trainers or Teva’s for the walking If this trip could be extended to a full 2 weeks, then would suggest extra days for walking especially in the hilly areas. We had a decent morning snorkelling in the Bay of Pigs; it was so good, that a whole day and getting to Trinidad later would have even better. Trinidad would be worth a whole day wandering around. Communications: each town usually has one road or square where you can buy 1hr wifi connection cards. But you needed to have the time to cue when the office is open. Better still, go for 10-14 days without phone or internet connection which helps to make the trip a real holiday break. Currency change – most towns have a change Cadeca. Conversion rates are fixed nationally. Havana airport has a Cadeca near the check in points, and also a single currency change point near the gates (after emigration and security) if your have left over pesos.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Again many thanks for Maurece and Gabriel for working so hard.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Linda Pearson

    Cuba mixed activity 7th March 2016

    This is I believe the first time this trip had been run- it showed. The staffing level was inadequate in my opinion a second 'leader' was needed. Communications were not great lots of information was not given eg fact that in some places the person running the home-stay expected to be paid direct at the time of leaving. Embarrassing all round when they were demanding money and we were telling them Exodus would pay. Needed to have been communicated to hosts before we arrived. Also assumption that travellers would know the date clocks changed - we did not so were all late

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling bay of pigs

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stressed out

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Give it a while lots of potential just needs additional organisation.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Linda for her review, although we are sorry that she was disappointed with some aspects of her trip. Given the amount of work that goes into designing new tours, we would not expect them to fall below our normal high standards, but Linda’s feedback has been reviewed and improvements made. Direct involvement in tourism is still new to some of the Casa owners, meaning that communication problems can sometimes arise, but we were sorry to read that this caused some unease during Linda’s stay.

    Adam Roberts - Product Manager for Cuba

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