Turquino Peak
15-day adventure

Peaks of Cuba

Cuba
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Code: CBPC

15 days
3/5

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our UK team

Our local team

Our local team in Cuba is managed by Ivan, he has spent a lifetime exploring every hidden corner of the island and has been guiding travellers here for more than 20 years. He is supported by a team of 10 guides and a further 10 operational staff who will take care of every detail of your trip from beginning to end. The team are 100% Cuban, speak Spanish, English, French and Italian and have been providing exceptional travel experiences for over...
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Kandoo's view

The Caribbean island of Cuba may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of trekking destinations but take a few steps away from the normal tourist sights and you will find there is a whole lot of adventure on offer. On this trip we will cross the island from east to west, exploring the beautiful Sierra Maestra and climbing to the summit of Turquino, Cuba's highest peak. We continue to the Escambray Mountains to discover waterfalls and natural swimming pools amidst the jungle. Of course there is also time to relax on Cuba's famous white sand beaches and experience the sights and sounds of Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Trinidad. This trip is a great mix of activity, culture and discovery on a Caribbean island that is full of surprises.

Trip highlights

  • Climb to the summit of Pico Turquino, Cuba's highest mountain
  • Discover the Escambray and Maestra mountain ranges
  • Enjoy guided tours of Havana, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba
  • Chill out on the beautiful Playa Ancon

Experiences

  • Trekking & Hiking
    Hikers in Thorong, during the Annapurnas Tour
    Our core collection of treks and hikes, through some of the world's most outstanding landscapes

Gallery

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Havana

    Arrival in Havana where a member of our local team will be waiting to greet you at the airport. Transfer to your hotel in the city where you can meet your guide and the other member of your group before sleeping off the journey.

    • Accomodation: Hotel Parque Central
  • Day 2

    Havana

    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.

    • Accomodation: Hotel Parque Central
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch
  • Day 3

    Flight to Santiago de Cuba

    This morning there is a little more time to walk the streets of Havana before we transfer to the airport and board a domestic flight to Santiago de Cuba on the opposite side of the island. On arrival in Santiago, we transfer to our hotel accommodation and begin exploring our second Cuban city.

    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Breakfast
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Trip information

Difficulty

The trekking elements of this trip are of moderate difficulty.  The mountain trails we follow can be steep and arduous, the trails are often uneven and great care will be needed to keep your footing and avoid slips and trips. In tropical forests, the humidity can be very high which makes the trekking feel more difficult. The maximum ascent in a single day is over 1400m, you will need to be confident in your fitness and have recent experience of walking for up to 8 hours on steep and difficult terrain.  We recommend that you prepare for this trip by doing training hikes with over 1000m of ascent on a regular basis before departure. If you are unsure about your suitability for this trip, please feel free to contact us with any questions.  

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

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, a bathroom may be shared between 2 rooms. When staying in mountain refuges, accommodation will be basic with dormitories of between 4 and 8 people and shared bathroom facilities. 

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. 

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).

United Airlines have direct flights from Houston and New York. Southwest Airlines fly direct from Tampa and American Airlines have flights from Miami. Another option is Jet Blue who offer direct flights from New York and Fort Lauderdale. Those people travelling from the west coast will need to connect with one of these services. 

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 has two main currencies, Cuban Pesos (CUP) and Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC).

As a tourist you will mainly be using CUC, pronounced "Kook".  This is the currency that you can use to pay hotel and restaurant bills or buy souvenirs such as cigars and rum.  CUP also know as "Local Pesos" are accepted by street vendors, low budget restaurants, local markets etc.  1CUC is worth 25 CUP.

Cuba is a closed currency so you can only exchange money within the country. Banks and larger hotels will commonly provide an exchange service. Try to avoid exchanging US Dollars if possible as you will be charged a 10% penalty which does not apply to other currencies. 

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

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12/11/2022 26/11/2022 $3,715 £2,849
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10/12/2022 24/12/2022 $3,715 £2,849
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07/01/2023 21/01/2023 $3,715 £2,849
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18/02/2023 04/03/2023 $3,715 £2,849
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11/03/2023 25/03/2023 $3,715 £2,849
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08/04/2023 22/04/2023 $3,715 £2,849
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Want to add flights or create a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!

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Price includes

  • Meet and greet at the airport
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic flight from Havana to Santiago de Cuba
  • Services of an expert local guide
  • All accommodation as outlined in your itinerary
  • All transportation as outlined in your itinerary
  • Entry fees for sites included in your itinerary
  • 14 breakfast, 12 lunches, 9 dinners

Price does not include

  • International flights and visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Drinks, tips and personal expenses
  • Personal trekking equipment
  • Meals not specified on your itinerary
  • Single occupancy costs

Options

  • Additional hotel nights before or after your trip
  • Single supplement (subject to availability)