fbpx

Cuba Up Close

From
  • $2899
    Air+Tax Included
  • 8
    Days

HAVANA, CIENFUEGOS, TRINIDAD & SANTA CLARA

Immerse yourself in Cuba’s culture and local life with this unique program! As more and more travelers flock to this once-forbidden destination, the costs of travel to Cuba has increased year over year, making it difficult for many travelers to visit this incredible destination.

With this program, you’ll have the opportunity to stay in Casas Particulares or private homes belonging to local families. The Cuban government first allowed Cuban families to register their home as a privately owned business in 1997 – a huge first step toward economic freedom. Our smarTours destination expert has scoured Havana and Cienfuegos for the best Casas Particulares and handpicked our featured casas based on factors like privacy, location, and more – bringing travel to Cuba within reach and offering a unique and intimate travel experience!

JUST IN: Cruises to Cuba can no longer operate, but smarTours People to People Programs for 2019 and 2020 are officially authorized. Under the new regulations, pre-existing reserved people to people programs to Cuba are protected, so we can offer you our full range of Cuba programs- from our culturally immersive and experience-rich Cuba Up Close to our inclusive multi-city Best of Cuba and our exciting new launch of Cuba Highlights for 2020! Due to increased demand, there are limited spots left for 2019 and 2020, so book today!

Itinerary at
a Glance

  • 1 night in Miami
  • 3 nights in Havana
  • 3 nights in Cienfuegos

Tour
Highlights

  • Ernest Hemingway’s home (La Finca Vigia)
  • Traditional Cuban cooking/cocktail class
  • Jose Fuster’s home and art gallery
  • Visits with several unique Cuban community projects and musical groups
  • Fine Arts Museum
  • Callejon de Hamel
  • Classic car ride
  • Benny More Art School
  • Walking tour of colonial Trinidad
  • Julio Munoz
  • Che Guevara Memorial

Activity Level: Explorer 

Your Tour
Includes

  • Round-trip international airfare from Miami
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
  • Health insurance in Cuba (mandatory)
  • Cuban Visa (for US Citizens) & Cuban Departure Tax
  • Intra-Cuba ground transportation and transfers
  • Pre-night in Miami Airport Hotel
  • Accommodations at handpicked Casas Particulares
  • 16 meals: 7 breakfasts (B), 6 lunches (L), and 3 dinners (D)
  • Comprehensive Support for the Cuban People experiences and cultural tours including admission fees, following U.S. regulation CFR 515.574
  • Experienced Cuban English-speaking guide and a USA Tour Director throughout

Tour Itinerary

Click the Day by Day itinerary above (or swipe on mobile devices) to see the experiences that await on each day of your tour.

Pre-Night in Miami

Your unforgettable Cuba vacation begins today with a night in Miami. After independent check-in at your hotel, join your US Tour Director for an orientation meeting!

Miami / Havana

This morning, you’ll grab a quick breakfast before heading to the airport for your short flight to Havana, the largest and liveliest city in Cuba (and the Caribbean). With over 500 years of fascinating and tumultuous history, Havana was once a slave port for the Spanish and a gambling capital for the US mafia. Despite ups and downs, Cuba’s capital has emerged at the forefront of modern Latino culture.

Upon arrival in Havana, you’ll be greeted by your English-speaking Cuban guide and taken to Ernest Hemingway’s house (Finca Vigia or “lookout…

Old Havana

After breakfast this morning, meet your group for a walking tour of Old Havana! Marvel at the spectacular colonial baroque architecture while learning more about the history of this magnificent capital city from a local expert. Visit a graphic artist’s workshop where artists prepare plates and prints as well a local Rations Store. During your touring, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and interact with artists and entrepreneurs along the way! After, visit a local community project and meet its creator: the visionary entrepreneur, Pepito. His aim is to help at risk Cuban youth by…

Havana

After breakfast, visit a cigar factory to learn about one of Cuba’s most recognized industries. You’ll interact with the factory workers, witness a rolling demonstration, and see how famous Havana Cigars are made. Next, enjoy a tour of the Fine Arts Museum, or Museo de Bellas Artes, where you’ll see stunning art & sculpture pieces on your guided tour with an opportunity for open questions about the museum and their work. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the art and cultural project, Callejon de Hamel. Continue to the Artisans Market Almacenes de San Jose where you’ll…

Havana / Bay of Pigs / Cienfuegos

This morning, depart vibrant Havana for Cienfuegos and Trinidad with an important stop at Playa Giron to visit the Bay of Pigs Museum along the way. The Bay of Pigs, known as Invasion de Bahia de Cochinos, was a CIA-sponsored counter-revolutionary attack by the US government in 1961 that was rebuffed by the Cuban armed forces led by Fidel Castro, leader of the revolutionary left-wing government. At the museum, you’ll see the Cuban perspective on the conflict and will have the opportunity for questions and discussions.

You’ll continue on towards Cienfuegos, a historic city on the…

Cienfuegos / Trinidad / Cienfuegos

After breakfast this morning, drive to Trinidad, a quaint yet much- heralded town. Considered one of the best-preserved cities in the Caribbean from the time when sugar cane dominated the region, Trinidad is as charming as it is old, and there’s no better way to see this historic town that with a walking tour including one of the city’s museums, and the woodcarvers’ workshop with the opportunity to interchange with the workers! You’ll also enjoy an Afro-Cuban musical performance and exchange with the Congos Reales before your lunch with live music. After lunch, visit the home and…

Cienfuegos

Enjoy breakfast, and then depart for the Benny More Art School where students learn music, dance and art! Here, you’ll have the chance to interchange with students and professors. Visit the Trazo Libres community art project and learn about hteir work with the community, and then continue to at El Largato. Enjoy a brief walk to the restaurant as you pass by a unique avenue with homes and architecture influenced heavily by the style in found in Louisiana at the time. The balance of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore Cienfuegos independently. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a local…

Cienfuegos / Santa Clara / Miami

Depart this morning after breakfast for Santa Clara where you’ll visit the Che Memorial. Here you will be able to view the final resting place of one of the most infamous historical figures. Loved and revered by many, and a figure of controversy for others. After, visit with the Abuelos de Fiesta which is a community project that works directly with local senior citizens. Here, you’ll meet with seniors and learn more about life for seniors in Cuba. Enjoy a light lunch before boarding your return flight to Miami. Your memorable Cuba vacation comes to an end as you arrive back in…

Guided Tour Pricing

There are currently no future departures for this tour.

Request a Future Date

Cuba FAQ

Meet Jorge, our Cuba destination expert! Jorge has over 6 years experience working in travel to Cuba and has visited Cuba five times!

Is travel to Cuba legal?
YES! Under the new regulations, travel to Cuba is legal under 12 different categories of pre-approved travel that are available to all US citizens. Our smarTours programs adhere fully to the legal requirements for group travel following the US regulation CFR 515.565 (b)

What documents do I need to travel to Cuba?
Passport, OFAC Affidavit and Visa — all supplemental documents will be provided by smarTours as part of our full service.

I was born in Cuba, can I participate in one of your tours?
Yes, you can travel on our tour to Cuba. Cuba considers all people born in Cuba, regardless or current nationality to be Cuban citizens. You will need either a valid Cuban passport or HE-11 visa prior to entering Cuba if you were born in Cuba and left Cuba prior to December 31,1970. If you were born in Cuba and left Cuba after January 1,1971, you will need to obtain a Cuban passport regardless of holding US citizenship and a US passport. You don’t have the option of applying for an HE-11 visa. If you were born in Cuba please notify our reservation agents immediately since attaining either the HE-11 or Cuban passport takes several months. We cannot assist with this process but we can put you in contact with a Cuba Service company that will help in acquiring the proper documentation needed for legal travel.

How much money should I bring to Cuba?
We would recommend about $100 dollars per day. You will probably want to budget more if you are considering purchasing art, souvenirs, cigars, rum, or other gifts. If you are planning on taking part on optional excursions or nighttime activities then budgeting more is always best.

Can I use my credit/debit cards in Cuba, will there be access to ATMs?
No, American credit cards cannot be used in Cuba and there are no ATMs either. Please bring as much cash as possible to cover any emergencies while in Cuba. Access to money while in the country will be very difficult. Please note that the current fee for exchanging money in Cuba is 13% i.e. for 100USD you will get 87 CUC. You can exchange money at the airport, as well as all major hotels.

Will I have access to the internet while in Cuba?
Access to the internet in Cuba has been made easier over the last several years. Most hotels & casa particulares will have Wi-fi available, and there are hot-spots at popular locations such as the Malecon. However, the access is very limited and you will need to purchase an internet card that will give you access to a designated amount of internet use. In most cases you will not be able to connect to the internet during your daily activities.

Can I use my cellphone in Cuba?
Yes, most US carriers do work in Cuba. Please contact your cell phone provider to ask about their daily talk and text rates.

Do I need to tip while in Cuba?
Yes, tipping is not required but it is considered customary to do so. Tipping has been included into your tour price when traveling with smarTours so you will not need to worry about tipping unless you go out on your own.

Is Cuba safe?
Very! Cuba is one of the safest nations in all of Latin America. Cuba boasts an almost non-existent crime rate & drug trade. As with all places you do need to be careful and conscious of your surroundings. We recommend leaving valuables such as your passport, visa, laptops in a safe and only carry what you need for the day. Overall Cuba is a very safe destination!