Get bronzed in the sun and dig into Cuba's golden sand on this three-day tour of Varadero. Get wet at a swimming stop at the Cueva de Saturno, then hit up Mantanzas for a short visit. These three days are still full of free time for optional activities (like the local pastime of dominoes) or simply laying by the pool.
What's Included : Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group. Matanzas visit. Cueva de Saturno swimming. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Highlights : Pop in to Mantanzas and feel the city's artistic vibe, Take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Cueva de Saturno, Challenge a local resident to a game of dominoes
Dossier Disclaimer : The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary. VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
Itinerary Disclaimer : While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Important Notes : 1. ARRIVAL DAY Please note that the first day of this tour is a travel day and involves an early departure from Havana, so arriving on time to your start location is important to being able to join the tour for the day's journey. We recommend booking a pre-tour accommodation in Havana if not otherwise completing another G Adventures tour that finishes on the same day. 2. MEDICAL TRAVEL INSURANCE From 01 May 2010 all tourists entering Cuba will require “Medical Travel Insurance” that is on a Government approved list. We urge you to check with your insurance provider to ensure your policy is on the list of approved providers. If it is not, tourists will be forced to purchase a Government approved policy on arrival in Cuba. The cost of buying this insurance in Cuba will be in addition to any insurance already purchased, and it is likely the rates for these polices will be inflated compared to what you may purchase in advance from home. G Adventures has insurance policies available for travellers from a number of countries at competitive rates, and our insurance provider has been confirmed as recognized by Cuban officials. We can assist with medical travel insurance for residents of the United States, Canada, and Australia. If you would like peace-of-mind and to purchase insurance from G Adventures, please contact our reservations team on 1800 465 5600 (from North America), or 08444 101030 (from the UK) or 39413 5820 (from Australia) or email@example.com 3. DEBIT/CREDIT CARDS Please note that debit and credit cards that are issued by American banks are not accepted in Cuba and will not work at ATMs. In addition, it is recommended to contact your bank to advise you will be travelling in Cuba regardless of your nationality, as local ATMs are likely to block your card unless a travel notification has been set up.
Group Leader Description : All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes : Max 18, average 4
Meals Included : 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Meals : Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets. Resorts, hotels, and government-run restaurants are notorious for mediocre buffets and subpar food quality, but at casas and locally run restaurants you get the chance to taste real Cuban cuisine. Options may not be as diverse as back home, but you can expect to have simple, good, quality food. Based on Cuba's economic situation, there may be fluctuations in food supply and there are occasionally shortages of certain ingredients – which provides a great opportunity to try something new! Cubans rarely uses spices for cooking, so it's recommended to bring some of your favourite spices or hot sauce for a bit of added punch.
Transport : Private vehicle.
Solo Travellers : We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Accommodation : Hotel (2 nt).
My Own Room : Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
About Accommodation : Accommodation on this trip is mostly, if not entirely, in 'casas particulares', the Cuban equivalent of a bed & breakfast. These local accommodation options allow you to participate in a typical Cuban living experience by staying with a family in their home. The family rents a bedroom or two (twin or single) with private bathroom shared amongst guests. Groups are usually spread across multiple casas with a central meeting point for evening socializing in the towns. Please note that where we use multi-share accommodations, rooming requests of any kind cannot be taken. For private accommodation please see tours in our Classic Travel Style. Hotel service standards can be fairly low in Cuba and in complete contrast to the price paid for these accommodations. Casas are usually very centrally located and a great base for exploring Cuban towns and cities. Utilizing the local accommodation puts you closer to the Cuban people and lifestyle and often provides a higher standard of service and comfort than in a hotel.
Joining Hotel : For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Arrival Complications : We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Emergency Contact : Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. AIRPORT TRANSFER If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that: Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please call the local emergency contact numbers listed below for more information. EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 4001 8474 After hours emergency number: +51 997 582 712. EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBER in CUBA (24/7): +53 5216-5408. If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our Sales team, who will happily assist you. Toll Free: North America only: 1 888 800 4100 Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000 Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000 Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618 Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307 Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take : We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying and handling your own luggage.
Packing List : Documents: • Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border) • Insurance info (required) (With photocopies) • Passport (required) (With photocopies) • Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies) • Vouchers and pre-departure information (required) Essentials: • Binoculars (optional) • Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries) • Cash, credit and debit cards • Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights) • Ear plugs • First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking) • Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal) • Fleece top/sweater • Footwear • Hat • Locks for bags • Long pants/jeans • Moneybelt • Outlet adapter • Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.) • Reusable water bottle • Shirts/t-shirts • Sleepwear • Small travel towel • Sunglasses • Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable) • Watch and alarm clock • Waterproof backpack cover • Windproof rain jacket Health & Safety: • Face masks (required) • Hand sanitizer (required) • Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.) • Quick Covid Test/Antigen Test Warm Weather: • Sandals/flip-flops • Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended) • Sun hat/bandana • Swimwear
Laundry : Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements : All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements. Visa information specific to your destination and nationality can be found in our Important Pre-Departure Information page here U.S. citizens and residents: Because of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations enforced by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), G Adventures does not accept bookings for U.S. citizens and residents at this time. Please check current travel restrictions before booking travel to Cuba. G Adventures reserves the right to cancel any reservations made by U.S. citizens, residents or other persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction. IMPORTANT NOTE FOR ALL PASSPORT HOLDERS: We recommend that you avoid flying to Cuba via the US airports. If you are connecting through the US, regardless of your nationality, you will be required to submit a signed form certifying that you are traveling under one of the 12 travel categories authorized by Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The traveller is responsible for qualifying under one of these travel categories. Tourism is not one of these 12 categories. More information can be found in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Cuba FAQs.
Spending Money : Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Money Exchange : The currency in Cuba is the Cuban Peso (CUP). Bringing cash is the easiest way to travel in Cuba, though please take extra security precautions to avoid theft. Please note that until further notice AUD and NZD are not accepted in Cuba. Because of these difficulties we recommend that you arrive in Cuba with CAD, EUR, GBP, or Mexican pesos which can be easily converted into Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at the 8% conversion fee. As of November 8, 2004 the US Dollar is no longer being used as official currency. The Cuban Convertible Peso is at a similar value to the US Dollar, and can be acquired at any change house or bank. Please note that any transaction involving the US Dollar in Cuba automatically incurs a 18% fee. People traveling in Cuba with Visa credit cards can still use them for cash advances, however all transactions will be subject to an 18% fee. Bank cards from US banks do not work in Cuba, and cards using the Cirrus or Maestro systems are nearly impossible to use. The best credit cards to bring are Visa Plus. Please note that ATMs are not widespread and generally speaking debit cards do not work in Cuba from any foreign banks. If you plan to use a bank card, it would be advisable to check with your bank directly prior to your departure as to whether the card should work in Cuba. We do not recommend you bring travellers cheques, as it is very difficult to exchange them in Cuba. CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent). Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) are extremely difficult to convert outside of Cuba, be sure to convert any remaining CUC before departing Cuba. You are advised NOT to change money on the street outside the airport or your hotel. Reliable money exchange may only be done at Cadecas (change houses), Banks, or Hotel Reception. As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com It is prohibited to enter or leave Cuba carrying Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) currency. Please make sure you have spent or exchanged any remaining CUC prior to passing through immigrations when you leave Cuba. You can do this at the CADECA exchange office at the airport but we recommend you do this before reaching the airport as queues can be long and only a maximum of CUC300 will be exchanged into another currency. Any drinks, snacks, duty free and souvenirs will now need to be paid using a credit card or cash (GBP, CAD, AUD, USD, EUR etc.).
Emergency Fund : Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Tipping : It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Tipping of your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer is very much appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $5- 7 USD per person, per day is our recommendation in the region. However, if you felt your CEO did an especially outstanding job, any additional amount will always be welcome.
Optional Activities : Varadero - Varadero Catamaran
Health : Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings in this dossier for trip specific information. For travellers over 70 years a completed Medical Form is required. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security : Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions. Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s). Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Trip Specific Safety : MAKING FRIENDS WITH LOCALS Sexuality is very open in Cuba and that can shock some travellers, especially women. There are many Cuban men and women (known as Jineteros), who make a living escorting foreigners. Offers of this service are very common in Havana. Be aware of this practice and keep in mind that some locals who approach you may do so to take advantage of your presence. NB. We advise traveling around the streets of Havana City in small groups, rather than individually (especially for women travelers). In addition, we suggest not carrying any easy targets for potential troublemakers like cameras, purses, or anything that is easy to snatch or grab. We advise this not expecting trouble, but rather erring on the side of caution.
A Couple of Rules : Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of people in the sex trade is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they utilize the services of paid sex workers, in any capacity.
Travel Insurance : Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra Foundation - the non-profit partner of G Adventures : Planeterra International Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to turning travel into impact by helping local communities earn an income from tourism. Planeterra connects underserved local communities to the benefits of tourism by developing and supporting small community-owned businesses. These businesses support Indigenous people, empower women, grant youth access to employment opportunities, and protect the environment. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating their projects into G Adventures’ itineraries globally. G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs, so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need. G Adventures Dollar-a-day Program - Make Every Day Count - Turn your travel into impact with Planeterra Foundation. Did you know? Most communities around the world do not benefit from tourism. Give back to the places you visit on your travels by creating opportunities for local people to earn an income, and protect the environment. Make every day count by donating $1/day for the length of your trip, and join us in empowering the communities you will visit when you travel. 100% of your donation goes directly to Planeterra projects.
Feedback : After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
Minimum Age : Minimum age of 18 years for this trip.
International Flights : Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Group Leader : CEO (Chief Experience Officer).
Meet your fellow travellers and CEO at an 8am briefing before departing Havana towards Varadero. En route, visit of the city of Matanzas. Continue to the Cueva de Saturno cave for a chance to snorkel in the crystal clear waters before arriving to Varadero. Check into hotel then hit the beach.
Enjoy a full free day to explore the town, snorkel or just relax on the beach. Choose from a variety of optional activities such as a catamaran tour, a visit to Josone Park or the House of Rum museum. This evening try your hand at dominoes with the CEO to experience Cuba like a local after a day of sun and sand.
Hit the beach one last time before late morning transfer back to Havana where the trip ends.
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