Cuba Unbound - Signature Tour | Cuba Unbound

Being the only legal people-to-people sea kayaking and adventurous tour available to the American traveler, this tour of Cuba will leave you nothing but stunned. A mix of history, food, culture, water, kayaking and the outdoors awaits you. This island has a little bit of everything you will love. The atmosphere and feel of Cuba will leave you wanting to explore more of the cities, rivers, mountains, and valleys. This eight-day adventure will take you through forests and cities, beaches and wetlands. The great city of Havana will be your starting location where you will learn of the culture and diversity of such an amazing city. A local Cuban will guide you as you ask questions and admire all there is to offer.

National parks will be a big part of this journey because they offer a gateway to the true outdoors as you snorkel, hike, and become one with this breathtaking island. This trip is specifically outlined to focus on kayaking and hiking so you can explore the waters and rivers of Cuba. The history is also a key point that is available to you on the many walking tours of different cities full of life and excitement. Cuba is authentic and real because of the genuine people who keep the spirit alive and carry on the traditions of those who came before them. If you are thinking about taking a Caribbean trip, then Cuba is for you!

Itinerary

Commercial flights from the United States to Havana began December 1st, 2016 and are effectively replacing group charter flights as the standard mode of travel between the two countries.  We now ask that our guests book their own travel between the U.S. and Havana. This tour will begin in Havana at approximately 11:00 AM on Day 1. Our meeting point on Day 1 will be Havana's Jose Marti International Airport where your Tour Leader and local guides will meet you to begin your tour.

If you are unable to fly all the way to Havana on Day 1 with an arrival before 11:00 AM, we recommend that you consider a "Day 0" for your tour and choose either of the following:

Travel to Havana on Day 0.  With this option, we recommend that you overnight in a casa particular (a private home with rooms for rent) of your choosing and make your way back to the Havana Airport to meet your Tour Leader, guides, and fellow travelers the next morning. 

Travel to Miami on Day 0.  With this option, we recommend that you overnight in Miami and take a flight to Havana on the morning of Day 1.  

We are happy to offer guidance with scheduling your travel to and from Cuba, and our office staff is ready to answer any questions you may have.

Welcome to Cuba! Havana & Habana Vieja

You begin your trip at a top Cuban destination: Havana. This is a large and exciting city full of people and friendly faces. The sites await you as you arrive and you will spend the rest of the morning admiring all that Havana has to offer. The ride from the airport to Havana will ensure you that you are in a place like no other. A private Cuban restaurant will feed you dinner after you walk through Old Havana. Bed is awaiting or you have the option to take part in the Cuban nightlife scene.

ACCOMMODATION : Havana Hotel
MEALS INCLUDED : Lunch, Dinner

Criadero de Cocodrilos, the Bay of Pigs, and Arrive at Zapata National Park

A bus will take us to Boca de Guama which was named because of the Taino chief Guama who put a defense against Spanish colonists. This is where the crocodile breeding facility, Criadero de Cocodrillos, is located. Both American and Cuban crocodiles are brought up here and you will be able to learn about the different stages of their life. You can even taste some crocodile meat before we head out to the small village of Playa Larga.

A modest home will house you for the night. Spend some time relaxing or taking a stroll before we go out on a kayak excursion! Paddle the Bay of Pigs as you hear the guide tell the exciting stories about the area. The two-hour session will breeze by and you can spend some time on the beach for the sunset before an enjoyable dinner.

ACCOMMODATION : Playa Larga Casas Particulares
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kayak Zapata National Park

A satisfying breakfast before we head off on a dirt road to go on an adventure through the Zapata National Park. We will paddle across the waters of the Zapata Peninsula as a guide takes the lead. Wildlife in plenty will be seen such as flamingos, birds, and more. The tropical ecosystem is very important and will be explained further on this outing. Snorkeling in a small cay will be a time to stretch our legs or just enjoy your surroundings. Lunch will be served as a guide shares his stories and love for his land.

We return to Playa Larga so you can learn about some of the Cuban ways of dance, cultures, and theatre. The Director of the National Park will present about the mission and reasoning for the park. Dinner will follow which will be full of fresh and local foods.

ACCOMMODATION : Playa Larga Casas Particulares
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Museum Playa Girón, Coastal Snorkeling, Botanical Gardens in Cienfuegos, and Trinidad

The beautiful beaches of Playa Girón await you as we head to that tranquil town. The Museum located in this town will teach about the Bay of Pigs invasion and the stories from the Cold War. A prime snorkeling location full of colorful fish is the next stop as you learn more about the importance of the ecosystem.

Lunch will follow before we travel past Cienfuegos and head over to the Jardin Botanico Cienfuegos. This is one of Cuba’s largest botanical gardens full of 2000 species of plants. The staff will have the opportunity to communicate with you and answer questions to engage in an uplifting and knowledgeable discussion. An hour away the town of Trinidad will be our night destination where we will check in and then head to a local restaurant for dinner before getting a good night’s rest.

ACCOMMODATION : Trinidad Casas Particulares
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Morning Kayak, Walking Tour of Colonial Trinidad, People-to-People with Julio Munoz

Feel rejuvenated as you wake up in Trinidad! Colonial style and culture is found in this remarkable city. Kept very well this city has a lot of personality and things to do. A paddle on the river makes for an excellent view of Trinidad on this easy route.

Later, a tour guide will take you on a walking tour of the city. Explore the streets and admire the fine art and architectural detail of the buildings. A well-known photographer, Julio Munoz, will host us in his home as we discuss the history and culture of Trinidad. Dinner will be country style as we go to a traditional pig roast before heading to the local casas for the night.

ACCOMMODATION : Trinidad Casas Particulares
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Paddling in the Guanaroca Nature Reserve and on to Cienfuegos

The area of “Laguna de Guanaroca-Yaguanabo-El Nicho," or the Guanaroca Nature Reserve, covers about 10,000 acres. This is a wildlife refuge that we will arrive at in the morning before we take a paddle in a large lagoon. You will view wildlife and enjoy the serenity and peace of the scenery. Paddle through the Bay of Cienfuegos before enjoying a seafood lunch onshore.

Next, you will travel with the others to the city of Cienfuegos which is also referred as the Pearl of the South. It has a French feel because it was colonized by the French. A social life is big in this city and you can take part in that during the afternoon before the walking tour. On the walking tour we will visit Teatro Tomás Terry which is a beautiful theater located on the north side of Parque José Martí. It is an excellent example of Creole architecture that you can enjoy. The local casas will provide your accommodations for the night.

ACCOMMODATION : Cienfuegos Casas Particulares
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ernest Hemingway Museum, Cojimar, and Driving Old Convertible Cars in Havana

This will be the last full day of festivities and will start with the drive back to Havana. The Ernest Hemingway Museum is before Havana and we will stop there to learn more about the author. Artifacts and attractions will be found in this old home that has been restored. After the museum you will be able to learn as we visit the historic fishing hamlet where Hemingway parked his boat.

For dinner you will be amazed as we travel to and from in many convertibles. These classic cars will take you to visit Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución which is an extensive city square. It has quite the history and in the evening all the murals are lit on the buildings. La Casa, an authentic Cuban restaurant, will feed you dinner before you go to your accommodations for the night to prepare for departure in the morning.

ACCOMMODATION : Havana Hotel
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Adios Cuba! 

Fill up before you arrive at the airport to catch your return flight. Remember to switch your Cuban currency back to American currency before you leave!

Also note: Travel in Cuba requires a flexible attitude. Our days are full and things don’t always run on time. Note that the activities and visits listed are not guaranteed but we endeavor to do our best to provide the content intent of this People–to-People program. Visiting developing countries can be eye-opening and life-changing, and hopefully visiting Cuba is both. Accommodations may not be up to the standards you are used to. We ask all our guests to appreciate the authenticity of your cultural encounters as well as the people, food, culture, and adventures that are exceptional in their difference.

MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast

Map

Dates & Rates

USD | GBP | EURO | AUD | CAD
DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD) 
Dec 10, 2017 to Dec 17, 2017 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Dec 24, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017 $3,885£0€0$0$0$3,885£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Jan 07, 2018 to Jan 14, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Jan 21, 2018 to Jan 28, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,885£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Feb 04, 2018 to Feb 11, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Feb 18, 2018 to Feb 25, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Mar 04, 2018 to Mar 11, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Mar 18, 2018 to Mar 25, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Apr 01, 2018 to Apr 08, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Apr 15, 2018 to Apr 22, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Apr 29, 2018 to May 06, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
May 13, 2018 to May 20, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
May 27, 2018 to Jun 03, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Jun 10, 2018 to Jun 17, 2018 $3,585£0€0$0$0$3,585£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW

Dates in bold are confirmed departures.

Supplementary Information

Note: Christmas departures have a supplemental cost ($300 per person) due to our increased prices for accommodations.

Up to 16 spaces available on each tour (depending on the number of solo travelers and available accommodations)

Single Supplement: $500

If you are traveling solo and prefer private accommodations (pending availability) you may elect to pay the single supplement fee. If you are traveling solo and wish to be paired up with another solo traveler of the same gender in order to avoid the single supplement fee, please let your Adventure Consultant know at the time of booking. We will do our best to find another traveler to pair you with, however if there is not another solo traveler of the same gender willing to share on your trip, you will be charged the single supplement fee.

Included:
•    Experienced English-speaking guide(s)
•    Specialized activity guides based on activity of trip (kayaking, biking, hiking, etc.)
•    Specialized equipment needed for activities such as kayaks, bikes, helmets, paddles, personal flotation devices, etc.
•    Private pre-tour orientation meeting
•    Cuba Unbound hand-crafted itineraries
•    Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
•    All meals as noted in itinerary
•    Certification of travel to Cuba under the U.S. Department of Treasury general license
•    Small group size (Custom tours for 2, group tours are 16-18)
•    All entrance fees to include events and activities
•    All in-country ground transportation
•    Clean drinking water available at all times
•    Gratuities for presenters, luggage handling, and restaurant staff

Not Included: 
•    Round-trip air to/from Cuba 
•    Cuba Tourist Visa Fee  (ranges from $50-$100 depending on where you buy it)
•    Guide and driver gratuities
•    Personal expenses such as souvenirs, gifts, additional drinks/entertainment, and incidentals

Images & Videos

FAQ & More

Do I need experience to join the kayaking adventure?

Whether you are an avid sea kayaker or stepping into a sea kayak for your first time, you’ll enjoy these incredible trips. For those new to the sport, kayaking is easy to learn in the sheltered waters that we visit, and we provide all of the kayaking equipment and guidance needed. In addition, we keep our groups small so that you not only travel intimately among nature, but receive the necessary attention from our guides as well. Your guides will give you an introduction to paddling and you’ll have plenty of chances to practice. We take plenty of paddle breaks to observe the biodiversity and learn about the area from our knowledgeable guides. We do recommend that you get some paddling in before your trip as kayaking uses muscles you may not know you have. Getting a little experience and building some strength will help your enjoyment of the trip.

What type of kayaks does Cuba Unbound provide?

For our Cuba tours we use polymer Necky Kayaks and you'll find specific information on these models if you follow the link. These kayaks provide a qality paddling expereince and are durable enough to hold up with our active itinerary.

Will single Kayaks be available?

We have both double and single kayaks in Cuba. At this time we are not offering the choice for a single kayak rental. Rather, we plan to bring between one and three singles on each tour to be shared among participants, depending on expressed interest.

How much paddling will we do on the kayaking trip?

Sea kayaking distance is best measured in hours rather than miles. We usually paddle from 2 to 4 hours each day but this can be influenced by several factors: weather, tide and currents. We start off each kayak tour with a planned route, but there is always some flexibility available.

What kind of equipment or gear should I bring?

All of the kayaking equipment is provided as well as personal flotation devices and a dry bags, so just bring your clothing and personal gear. Do bring snorkeling gear and paddling gloves. A complete packing list will be sent to you upon reservation. We highly suggest traveling “light” for this adventure.

Are there restrooms available on the kayak tours?

We recommend you use the restrooms available in your Casa Particular/Hotel before leaving on a kayaking adventure. Restrooms will be limited or non-existent in some kayaking excursions. Be prepared to use the outdoors. Pack toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Who are the kayak guides and what skills do they have?

We know your guide will make the biggest difference on your trip! This is why we pride ourself on employing only the best local guides for all of the incredible locations that we visit. Part of this is to support our eco-tourism efforts, but we also believe that there is no better way to experience a new destination than through the eyes of a local! We find talented and skilled local guides, train and certify them, and provide a positive and consistent source of income to them and their families. Most of our guides are with us for the long-term, despite the seasonal nature of the industry. Cuba Unbound guides know their outdoor skills as second nature. Each trip will have 2-3 guides to assist, inform, and lead the way so you get the most out of your adventure. They love to share conservation, knowledge, games and laughter. 

How much snorkeling will we be doing?

Cuba has some beautiful beaches that are perfect for snorkeling. The flourishing ocean life is an ecological treasure. We have two specific times dedicated to snorkeling but you will have multiple opportunities to snorkel during our kayaking adventure. We do recommend you try snorkeling ahead of time for your trip to get the most out of your experience, if you have never done so.

Do I need to bring my own snorkel and fins?

While snorkel gear is sometimes available for rent in Cuba, we advise that you bring your own snorkel and mask (fins and wetsuits not required). Your own equipment also ensures a better fit and better hygiene, as well as prescriptions if needed.

How can I prepare for the hiking & kayaking portions of my tour?

The trip is not extremely strenuous, but it is quite active and physical by nature. The more prepared you are for the trip, the more you'll enjoy it, and the more you’ll be comfortable. Walking a few miles per day, climbing stairs, working out with light weights, and other cardio and strength training exercises are all highly recommended activities. At the very least, we recommend that participants take long walks and condition muscle groups of the upper body and core by exercising for a full month prior to the trip to avoid overuse injuries of the wrists and arms.

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