Zapata Swamps
14-day adventure

Cuba Discovery

Cuba
  • Kandoo Multi-activity
  • Kandoo Kayaking
  • Kandoo Trekking
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Code: CBCD

14 days
Easy

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our UK team

Kandoo's view

A 14 day multi activity adventure in the west of Cuba that is perfect for anybody who wants to experience this unique Caribbean island in an active and adventurous way. We will be exploring the old city of Havana and enjoying cocktails on idyllic beaches but you can also expect high speed zip wires, kayaking trips, horse riding and salsa dancing. We will take a boat to the paradise island of Cayo Levisa for snorkeling along coral reefs and hike through the forested mountains of the Sierra de Escambray. An action packed 2 weeks of adventure and discovery amidst the beautiful Caribbean sea.

Trip highlights

  • Kayaking through the Sierra del Escambray
  • Horse riding in the Vinales Valley
  • Snorkeling at Cayo Santa Maria
  • Guided tours of Havana and Trinidad

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Gallery

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Havana

    Welcome to Havana! A member of our local team will meet you at the airport and we transfer to our hotel in the city.

    • Accomodation: Hotel
  • Day 2

    Havana City Tour

    This morning we wake up in lively Havana and start exploring! We will take a walking tour of the colonial squares in the old city. This really is like taking a step back in time, the cobblestoned streets are dotted with cascading fountains and art galleries can be discovered in little hidden courtyards. The air is filled with music and cigars as you wonder the streets and soak up this captivating Caribbean city. After a guided tour and some lunch at a local restaurant there is plenty of time to explore independently.

    • Hiking time: 3 - 4 hours
    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch
  • Day 3

    Havana - Las Terrazas

    Today we leave Havana and head to the region of Las Terrazas. We visit a small community living within a protected natural park and take time to chat with the locals and discover the stunning flora and fauna to be found here. The highlight of the day is high speed zip line through the jungle canopy and out over the lake! In the afternoon we reach our hotel and settle down for the evening.

    • Hiking time: 3 - 4 hours
    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
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Trip information

Difficulty

This active exploration of Cuba is not very demanding but you will need to be in good health with a reasonable level of fitness. You will be hiking (3-4 hours per day), kayaking, swimming or horse riding nearly every day of the trip so a good amount of stamina is required. Our kayak expedition will stretch over 2 days with up to 5 hours of kayaking per day, if this is something you aren't used to then building up the fitness in your upper body would be recommended. 

To discuss your suitability for this trip please feel free to contact us and speak to a member of our team. 

Food & drink

During this trip all breakfasts are included. When lunch or dinner is not included on a certain day, there is a wide range of cafes or restaurants where you can find food for all tastes and budgets. 

Cuban cuisine has remained fairly simple as a result of all businesses being state owned and the American embargo. There is not always a wide variety of foods to choose from. In state restaurants, meals mainly consist of chicken, fish or pork with congri (rice and kidney beans) and plantains (cooking bananas). On the nights we stay with local families you will find the food is significantly more varied and plentiful, highlighting all the incredible local produce. Cassava, plantain, mango, guava, pineapple, coconut, pork, chicken fish and even lobster are all common ingredients. Private restaurants are now starting to emerge and offer a much more rich and refined cuisine than the state owned restaurants and hotels. 

In Cuba you can always find an excellent selection of fruit juices, local beers and of course, rum. Drinking water is not included in your trip and it is your own responsibility to make sure you stay well hydrated, especially when trekking. You can fill your drinks bottles in hotels, villages and at natural springs throughout the trip. We recommend you use a water treatment system of some kind, either a filter attached to your hydration pack or purifying tablets. We do not recommend buying plastic bottles which must be carried with you and recycled after use. 

Accommodation

Hotels and homestays
This trip includes a mix of different accommodation types with 4 star hotels in Havana, homestays with local families and basic mountain refuges in the mountains.  In most cases (including homestays) you will have a double or twin room with a private bathroom. At some homestays, there is a small possibility that a bathroom may be shared between 2 rooms.
Please note that hotels in Cuba are owned by the state and the quality of the accommodation can vary significantly. Rooms will always be clean and spacious with private bathrooms but in some cases are not up to international standards. 

Refuges
When staying in mountain refuges, accommodation will be more of an 'open-air' affair. Some refuges are large, wooden structures with palm roofs under which mattresses are laid out. The balmy, Cuban evenings need little protection so a night under the stars is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the mountains. Other refuges offer tents, shared on a twin or single basis. Both types of refuge have shared bathroom facilities onsite. If you wish to see more information on refuges in Cuba, visit our Cuba Trip Guide.

Toilets
You will be pleased to know that in Cuba they have western-style, flushing toilets. There may be some differences, as with many developing countries, and you may occasionally find toilets are missing seats or have low-water pressure. It is also common practice to put used toilet paper in a rubbish bin next to the toilet so as not to clog up the low pressure water systems. We would recommend bringing some of your own loo roll in case the bathroom stall is out of paper. In all our accommodation, rest assured there will be nice, clean toilets. However, we can't guarantee that when you're out and about, the same standards of hygiene will be available in public toilets.

Luggage

Your luggage should be packed in a flexible 70-80 litre duffel bag or backpack and not a rigid suitcase. Please limit the weight of your luggage to 15kg.  Your bags will be transported with you in minibus or 4x4 vehicles and can be safely stored at your accommodation when you are out. You should also bring a smaller 30-40 litre daypack to carry with you while trekking or exploring each day. Your daypack will be needed for carrying water, spare clothing, swimming costume, camera etc. On some nights we may ask that you leave your main luggage in storage and carry only what you need for a 1 night stay in your daypack.  

How do I get there?

You will need to arrive at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana on day 1 of your trip. The airport code is HAV.

From the UK, the best way to reach Havana is with either British Airways via Madrid or Air France via Paris. Both airlines depart the UK early in the morning and arrive in Havana in the evening of the same day. The connection times in Madrid or Paris are under 3 hours.  

Travellers from the United States are required to obtain a general license for travel to Cuba. Your reason for travel must fall under one of the 12 categories authorised by the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control).

American Airlines have flights from Dallas, Tampa and New York with stops in Miami. Delta also has this same route from New York. American Airlines have direct flights from Miami. Those people travelling from the west coast will need to connect with one of these services. Connection times in Miami are just over an hour.

On arrival

On arrival, after collecting your luggage and clearing immigration, please look out for a member of our local team in the arrivals area. They will be holding a large "KANDOO ADVENTURES" sign. 

Budget & change

Cuba's currency is Cuban Pesos (CUP). To see an up to date conversion rate, please visit xe.com.
The Cuban Peso is a closed currency so you can only exchange money within the country. Banks, Exchange Houses called CADECA and larger hotels will commonly provide an exchange service.  When you use an ATM to extract Cuban money (CUP)  at the official exchange rate, it will be approximately 150 CUP to £1 GBP. The ATMs will take Visa, Mastercard, and American International Service (AIS). However, cards issued by a US institution will NOT work in Cuba. Please ensure if your card is issued by a US institution that you have alternative methods for acquiring local currency. Given the great inflation that the country suffers, there is also a non-official exchange rate that is generally has higher rates than the official exchange rate, however this can be somewhat unstable and we wouldn't recommend using it.
A meal for two in a mid-range restaurant will cost around $80 (1920 CUP). Taxi starting prices in Havana are about:$1 USD (24 CUP). You will then pay about $0.5 USD(12 CUP) for every km of the journey. Cuba is generally a cash economy and cards aren't accepted in all establishments. Bring plenty of cash to exchange, we recommend budgeting $300 USD (7205 CUP) on top of your tips, this should give you plenty of money for meals out and souvenirs.

Please also be aware that regulations change quickly and often in Cuba, so check on the currency situation before your trip departure.

Tips

Tipping customs vary all over the world and can be very confusing when travelling to a new country. Tipping is always appreciated - it is not obligatory and should be left to the discretion of each individual in Cuba. Tips are not a substitute for good wages: our guides are all well paid and well looked after. If you are satisfied with your guide’s services, we recommend the following for the entire trip:
1200 CUP ($50) - Guide
800 CUP ($33) - Driver

On the other hand, if you receive bad service or have not been treated well, you would not be expected to tip at all. Please ensure to tip in Pesos rather than your local currency.

Formalities & health

Passport

You will need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your departure from Cuba.

Visa

All travellers to Cuba are required to obtain a "Tourist Card" which is basically the same as a visa. This is a physical document that you must have with you when you travel and keep with you while you are in the country. It is best to use a visa agent who will take care of the whole process for you and send the Tourist Card to your home address. For those travelling from the UK, visacuba.com provide a fast and reliable service with prices starting from GBP27.

For travellers from the USA, travel to Cuba for tourism purposes is not permitted. Your reason for travel must fall under one of the 12 approved reasons for travel to Cuba. People who would like to join a trekking trip will often give their reason for travel as supporting the Cuban people. This is because by booking the trip, you will be supporting the economies of the areas and communities you visit. Travellers from the USA must obtain the more expensive pink visa rather than the normal green visa.

To arrange for a visa, we recommend that travellers from the USA contact their airline or the Cuban Embassy.

Vaccinations

There are no mandatory vaccines required for travel to Cuba. However, it is recommend that you have Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Typhoid, and Diphtheria.

Health

Malaria

Cuba is considered very low risk for Malaria. The risks of contagion via mosquito bites is highly unlikely. It is advisable to protect yourself by applying repellent creams and covering your arms and legs in the evenings. We do not encourage the use of preventive treatments as they are not needed.

Water

During your trip you can fill your water bottles at natural springs, hotels and villages. We recommend that you bring a water filter or purification system with you to treat your water before drinking. This will greatly reduce the risk of an upset stomach or diarrhea and allow you to enjoy your experience to the full.
It is essential that you avoid dehydration during your trip by drinking 2 to 3 litres of water every day. Cuba can be very hot and humid even at the cooler times of year and especially in the jungle where you will be trekking. Failure to get enough fluids can result in headaches, fatigue and nausea which will spoil your enjoyment of the trip.

First Aid

Although your guide will always carry a comprehensive first aid kit in case of injury, we recommend you also carry a small first aid kit for your own use. Useful things to bring along are painkillers such as paracetamol or Ibuprofen, anti diarrhea medication, antihistamine, plasters and antiseptic cream.

Equipment & clothing

Clothing to bring

  • Sun hat (wide brim for protection)
  • Scarf or bandana to protect your neck
  • Cotton T-shirts
  • Long sleeved T-shirt
  • Comfortable trekking trousers or shorts
  • Shorts for the beach / city tours
  • Waterproof and windproof hard shell jacket
  • Waterproof and windproof hard shell trousers
  • Warm jumper, fleece or soft shell
  • Swimming costume / sandals
  • Walking boots (sturdy soles and good ankle support)
  • Comfortable trainers for the evenings
  • Socks for trekking (not too warm)
  • Thin socks for evenings and touring

Equipment to bring

  • Sun glasses
  • Sun cream
  • Personal medication (pain killers, anti-diarrhea, antihistamine etc)
  • Daypack - 30-40 litre
  • Duffel bag or backpack - 70-80 litre
  • Sleeping bag liner for use at mountain refuges (optional - blankets are provided) 
  • Water bottles or hydration pack
  • Water purification system (charcoal filter, chlorine tablets or similar)
  • Quick drying travel towel
  • Head torch with spare batteries

Dates & prices

From To Price Availability Book Enquire
04/01/2025 17/01/2025 $3,375 £2,599
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08/02/2025 21/02/2025 $3,375 £2,599
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08/03/2025 21/03/2025 $3,375 £2,599
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30/03/2025 12/04/2025 $3,375 £2,599
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Want to ask us a question or book a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!

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Price includes

  • 13 nights accommodation in hotel, homestay or refuge
  • Return airport transfers
  • All transportation as outlined in your itinerary
  • Entrance fees to any sites / attractions listed on your itinerary
  • Services of an expert Kandoo Adventures guide
  • 13 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 8 diners

Price does not include

  • International flights
  • Visa (tourist card)
  • Travel insurance
  • Any meals not listed on your itinerary
  • Drinks, tips and personal expenses

Options

  • Additional nights accommodation before or after your trip
  • Single room supplement