PDI

A Touch of Cuba

Introduction

This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with us.

We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.


your-trip

What's Included

  • The services of our expert English-speaking local leader throughout the tour.
  • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Havana; Trinidad; Santa Clara; Pinar del Rio cigar factory; and Vinales.
  • Free time to explore Havana and Trinidad.
  • Arrival transfer

not-included

 

 

  • International flights
  • Airport departure tax
  • Visas where required
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Insurance
  • Laundry
  • Any optional tours or activities during free time
  • Tips
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Daily budget

preparing-to-travel

Visas and Permits

Cuba

Visas are required for all nationalities visiting Cuba. These visas can be obtained from Cuban embassies and consulates. All passengers must hold tickets and other documentation required for their onward or return journey unless holding special annotation issued by a Cuban Consulate. Please note that travellers to Cuba intending to transit through the United States of America should ensure that they have a loose leaf visa. There are no direct flights from the U.S.A. to Cuba. Flight sectors to Cuba should be on a separate ticket from sectors that include the United States of America.

Travel Insurance - Entry Requirements From 1st May 2010, all foreigners entering Cuba will be required to have valid travel insurance that is offically recognised by the Cuban government department that deals with insurance and customs issues. Cuban authorities have announced that they will not recognise any insurance policy issued or underwritten by any insurance company which has an affiliation with a US company. At the time of writing, the Cuban Government is yet to release their list of insurance companies whose policies they consider to be valid. On arrival in Cuba, visitors will be required to present their travel insurance policy to customs officers. If Cuban customs do not recognise their policy as valid, visitors will be required to purchase additional Cuban insurance.

government-travel-advice

Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

U.S. Department of State

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Passport

Please ensure that you have a current passport well before travelling. It also needs an accurate photo and should be valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.

Insurance

Every Peregrine traveller is required to have comprehensive travel insurance. This covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. You can arrange your own insurance or we can recommend a policy for you. Remember to bring a copy of your insurance policy with you so your tour leader can record the details at the pre-tour briefing. If you arrive at your destination without travel insurance, you'll need to organise this before you can continue on your Peregrine journey.

Medical---prep

Apart from having travel insurance and being in generally good health, some pre-holiday health preparation is advised. We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before.

Routine Background Vaccines: We strongly endorse current public health recommendations that all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella, polio and influenza, and paediatric vaccinations for children.

Travel Vaccinations: While the food and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid will apply to most of our travellers, other travel vaccines such as hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis and cholera may apply to select travellers, especially long-term travel. Travel health experts can advise on what is required and also what is not required!
It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return. To find out which, if any, vaccinations are mandatory or recommended for your destination contact your local doctor, immunisation centre or medical centre for up-to-date information. If you need to arrange vaccinations or a supply of preventative medicine (e.g. malaria tablets), you should contact your doctor at least two months before you depart. Some inoculations require more than one visit and can take several weeks to administer the full course.

For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see www.traveldoctor.com.au or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport. Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.

Carry Your Certificate

You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet that records each vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event that you fall ill whilst travelling.

copies-of-key-docs

 

 

We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller's cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you.

what-to-take

 

General Packing List

Remember - the lighter you travel the better! A soft-sided duffel or sausage bag is the ideal form of luggage. It is recommended that you keep your luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option, but preferably one without a frame.

When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Keep in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. Laundry facilities are available in some destinations.

Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.

  • Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts, final itinerary and this document
  • Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
  • Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
  • Money belt and small padlocks
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Daypack
  • Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
  • Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
  • Toiletries/roll of toilet paper/travel wipes/ tissues
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
  • Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required)
  • 2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain) and dry bags
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Phrase book
  • Warm clothes - when travelling in cooler climates
  • Wind and waterproof rain jacket
  • Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Swim wear

money

Currency

Cuba

There are two currencies in use in Cuba. One for Cuban nationals and one for foreigners. The currency for use by foreigners is the Cuban convertible peso (CUC). Notes are in the following denominations of peso - 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in the following denominations - 1 peso, and 20, 5, 2 and 1 centavos.

If the exchange bureau is open at the airport when you arrive you should change at least €100. The exchange rate at the airport is the same throughout the rest of Cuba.

Exchange rates

Refer to www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

Accessing Money

Cuba

We recommend that you take euros, UK pounds on Canadian dollars. Note - US dollars are no longer legal tender in Cuba and should be avoided. Cash money should be exchanged at official foreign exchange bureaux, banks or international airports. You should bring with you, a supply of foreign currency in cash to cover your stay.

Personal Expenses

South America & Central America

You will need to take money with you to cover those meals not included in your tour cost. Other costs to consider are drinking water, tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional sightseeing and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short!

Spending Money

Cuba is not a cheap country. The cost of a budget meal in a restaurant is approximately the equivalent of €7-€8 (about US$10).

ATM machines should not be relied upon, although ATM machines are increasingly available in Havana, Varadero and Santiago. Visa card is the most widely accepted credit card at ATM machines. Most ATM machines do not accept MasterCard, however cash advances inside banks are often possible with both MasterCard and Visa. Please note that Travelex Cash Passport Cards are NOT accepted in Cuba.

We strongly advise that you do not bring travellers cheques. However, if you do bring travellers cheques these must NOT have been issued by a US based bank (including American Express). Travellers cheques/ credit/ debit cards drawn on US banks are not accepted anywhere in Cuba.

Airport Taxes

Cuba

In most countries you must pay an airport departure tax. Many of the departure taxes are now added in the cost of your airline tickets and paid for at the time of purchase. Others must be paid at the airport of departure and will need to be budgeted for. Please check with your travel agent for the latest information. Cuba, Havana Airport (International) US$25. There currently is no airport tax payable for domestic departures.

Tipping

Your local leader also works hard to ensure that you have a great holiday and a tip for them is also appreciated. If you are happy with their service we recommend €2 per person per day.


while-you-are-travelling

On arrival

Please refer to your itinerary for the joining hotel name and address. Your final itinerary is provided approximately two weeks prior to departure.

If you wish to take advantage of the complimentary arrival transfer offered in conjunction with this trip, please ensure we have been advised of your correct flight arrival details at least 2 weeks prior to departure. When you arrive at the airport, exit through customs and look for the driver holding a sign with your name on it and/or our company logo. If you experience further problems, please call our local operator for assistance:

Cuba: Big Planet Adventures

24 Hour Emergency phone: +61 430 504 636 or +61 412 363 731

If you have not pre-booked an arrival transfer you will find taxis available on arrival. You should agree to a price before your set off into town! Expect to pay approximately EUR20.

There will be a pre-departure meeting on the evening of Day 1 at 6pm. Please check on the message board for a note from your tour leader, confirming the time and location of the meeting.

Photo etiquette

If you want to take someone's photograph, please ask first . This is just normal courtesy and if you are refused permission please abide by that person's wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may be forbidden, or may incur an extra charge for camera-use. Do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, army barracks, and police stations).

Flexibility and patience

Travelling with us can provide you with some really rewarding travel experiences. Our tours visit countries where travel modes and lifestyles are often not as sophisticated as our own. There is also a laid-back attitude amongst workers and there will often seem to be huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy when doing the simplest things. You will enjoy your trip much more if you slip into the rhythm of local life and are prepared to take things as they come.

A word on drugs

In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.


other-important-information

 

A Word on Cuba

Cuba is different and that’s what makes it such an fascinating destination. You will find that things don’t always go according to plan or work the way they do back home. Regulations concerning foreigners and currency may appear strange to you, buses and planes often run late and sometimes the water in your bathroom can run cold and the electricity fail. In order to get the most out of your holiday, a degree of patience, good humour and understanding is a definite advantage. Cuba may not be wealthy in a monetary sense, however if you approach your holiday with an open and enquiring mind, the warm welcome you receive from Cubans will ensure you a rich and rewarding holiday experience. Please note that your group will be joining our 'Cuba In-Depth' trip in Trinidad and will then continue on with this group until your tour finishes back in Havana. During your time in Havana at the start of the tour you will be with a local guide. On Day 3 they will transfer you to the bus station for the day trip to Trinidad. In Trinidad you will meet the other members of your group and your tour leader.

Cuba: Big Planet Adventures

24 Hour Emergency phone: +61 430 504 636 or +61 412 363 731

Partner organisations on the ground

We work with partner organisations in each country we visit. This ensures we provide employment opportunities within local communities, including our experienced local leaders. We minimise the negative impacts of travel and maximise the benefits to the regions we travel, through working with our ethical services providers.

For any assistance prior to travel, please contact your travel agent.

For assistance whilst you are travelling, please contact the local numbers listed on your travel itinerary, as your call will be received in the same time zone. Alternatively, if you have already joined your tour, please direct your enquiries to your local tour leader.  
 


daily-itin

A Touch of Cuba

Trip Length

Trip Code

8 days

PSTC

 

Maximum Passengers

16 people

 

Countries Visited

Cuba

 

Start City

End City

Havana

Havana

 

psbc

Day 1: Havana

Activities:

  • On arrival at Havana airport you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel.
  • In the evening you will meet your local guide and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing.
  • Please check the notice board at reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. The briefing is generally followed by an optional group dinner.

Day 2-3: Soroa - Vinales

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Activities:

  • This morning your leader will take you on a walking tour of Old Havana, including the cathedral, Plaza de Armas, San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja and Central Park.
  • Drive west to Soroa where you will stop for lunch and tour the impressive orchid garden.
  • Continue on to Vinales where tobacco and sugarcane fields lie side by side and limestone outcrops dot the landscape.
  • The scenery here is some of the most picturesque in Cuba and there are many outdoor, optional activities available to help you enjoy it. Choose from cycling, hiking through tobacco fields, or hiking to mountain caves.

Day 4-5: Trinidad

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Activities:

  • Today you will board the bus and drive to Trinidad. UNESCO declared the town and its surrounding hills a World Heritage site in 1988.
  • Established by the Spaniards in 1514 and lined with cobblestone streets and colourful houses, the town of Trinidad is easy to wander around and almost every scene offers superb photographic opportunities – from locals casually smoking their huge cigars on the doorsteps of their homes to old Chevrolets cruising by. It is easy to see why Trinidad is one of the most visited towns in Cuba.

Day 6: Cienfuegos

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Activities:

  • A short drive will take you to Cienfuegos today.
  • While you're here you will visit the Palacio del Valle - Cienfuegos' architectural pride and joy, dripping with ornate carvings in Venetian alabaster.

Day 7-8: Havana

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

Activities:

  • You will stop in at Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial on the way back to Havana.
  • Upon arrival in Havana, you will prepare for a final night celebration of salsa dancing and dinner.
  • Your trip will come to an end after breakfast on Day 8. If you wish to extend your stay in Havana it is possible to book additional accommodation - this should be done at the same time you book your holiday.

about-this-re-departure-inf

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version.  If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

7 April 2014

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