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HomeLASC Cuba 2018

Los Amigos Summer Trip
Cuba October 5-13, 2018

$3350 All-Inclusive package 

per person, double occupancy.

Includes roundtrip airfare from Miami

Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges

Accommodations for 1 night in Miami and 7 nights in Cuba 

18 meals:  8 buffet breakfasts (B), 6 lunches (L),  4/5 dinners (D)

Ground transportation

Comprehensive touring and people to people experiences and cultural tours

Admission Fees for all activities as indicated on itinerary

English speaking US Based Tour Director

Local Cuban expert guide

Cuban Visa fee

Mandatory medical coverage insurance 

Air between San Antonio and Miami NOT included

Limited Single Supplement additional


NOTE:  Due to strict Air Travel regulations to Cuba, We can only allow cancellations
and substitutions up to 120 days before departure. 
After 120 days there will be no refunds nor substitutions.
We strongly recommend, as we do with all of our trips, that you purchase
Travel Insurance to protect your investments.


Trip Leader: Elizabeth Prike

meprike@gmail.com •210-488-8066






The Main Tour Itinerary

 

A 9-day trip to the once -forbidden land frozen in time.  Take in the authentic Cuba before the inevitable commercialization takes place.

Day 1: Pre-Night in Miami

 

Your unforgettable Cuba vacation begins with a night in Miami.  After independent check in at your hotel (after 3PM), join your US Tour Director for an orientation meeting. (8PM).

Meals:            

            Hotel:              Crowne Plaza Miami International Airport Hotel



Day 2: Depart Miami/Arrive Havana (Cuba) 


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 once the gambling capital for the US mafia, yet 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 take a short drive to visit Ernest Hemingway’s house (Finca Vigia or “lookout house”), where Hemingway wrote two of his most celebrated novels: For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. You’ll then enjoy an included lunch at a famous local paladar. Following lunch, we will continue to the magical home of Cuban artist Jose Fuster, who transformed his residence (and surrounding neighborhood) into a brilliant homage to famous Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi. You’ll interact with Fuster’s family and get insight into this world-renowned artist’s life. You’ll then proceed to your hotel where you’ll be greeted with a welcome drink. Later, travel to your welcome dinner in style in old American vintage automobiles. Enjoy an authentic dinner at a local paladar. 

 

Meals:             Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel:              Four Points Sheraton


Day 3: Havana

 

After a sumptuous breakfast, explore Old Havana with a walking tour of the plaza squares. Marvel at the spectacular colonial baroque architecture while learning more about the history of this magnificent capital city from a local expert. Next, visit the Conde de Villanueva Cigar Lounge, and interact with the cigar roller, as well as learn about one of Cuba’s most recognized industries. A cigar and rum tasting follows the rolling demonstration.

Then, have a wonderful lunch at Rum paladar. Continue on to the Havana Club Museum, which is really just a rum museum. Rum is an essential part of Cuba’s culture, and this museum represents this rich heritage.

Return to your hotel and/or enjoy a night at leisure in Havana

Meals:             Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel:              Four Points Sheraton



Day 4: Havana / Bay of Pigs / Cienfuegos

 

This morning, early departure 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.

You’ll continue on towards Cienfuegos, a historic city on the southern coast of Cuba, known as the “Pearl of the South.” Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Cienfuegos is regarded as a byproduct of the Spanish Enlightenment based on its urban planning and architectural style. Enjoy an included lunch before a guided walking tour of Cienfuegos. Check in at your hotel and then enjoy an included dinner at a local restaurant

Meals:             Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel:              Hotel Jagua 



Day 5: Sancti Spiritus / Trinidad

 

After breakfast, drive to Trinidad. 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 than with a walking tour. After an included lunch, visit a Santeria temple and learn about this religion of Caribbean and Afro Cuban origin with clear influences from Roman Catholicism. You’ll also visit Palacio Cantero, which is Trinidad’s most well known museum. Return to Cienfuegos and enjoy a dinner on your own tonight

Meals:             Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel:              Hotel Jagua



Day 6: Cienfuegos / Camaguey

 



 

Following breakfast, continue on towards Camaguey, Cuba’s third largest city and home to some of the country’s greatest artistic talent. Founded in the early 16th century, Camaguey is known for its winding alleys and forked streets that lead to squares of different sizes. You’ll arrive around lunch time and enjoy a delicious lunch at a local paladar. Check into your hotel – the group will be split up into 2-3 smaller Inns – and then enjoy a tour around Camaguey before an included dinner. 

 

Meals:             Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel:              Sevillana / El Marques




Day 7: Camaguey / Holguin

 

Today, we will visit Casanova Pottery Studio before driving to the beautiful coastal Guardalavaca region in the province of Holguin. When Christopher Columbus laid eyes on the Holguin coastline in 1492, he declared it “the most beautiful land human eyes have ever seen.” The spectacular beaches set against a backdrop of rolling hills and rugged mountains will be sure to take your breath away.

Arrive in Guardalavaca, a seaside town in Holguin known for its white sandy beaches and warm waters. Enjoy an included lunch in Holguin before continuing on to check into your magnificent beach resort hotel and enjoy an included (yet independent) dinner this evening at this all-inclusive hotel.

Meals:             Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

            Hotel:              Melia Sol Rio de Luna y Mares  



Day 8: Holguin

 



This morning, drive to the viewpoint overlooking the city of Holguin. Embark on a brief guided tour of the city, and then you’ll be brought back to your hotel before lunch time. Enjoy the entire afternoon at your all-inclusive resort for an independent afternoon. Tonight there will be a festive farewell dinner for your group.

 

Meals:             Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel:              Melia Solo Rio de Luna y Mares




Day 9: Depart Holguin / Arrive Miami

 

After breakfast, enjoy a bit of time at leisure at your beautiful beach resort (flight time TBD). Transfer to the airport and say “adios” to your Cuba tours before boarding your return flight to Miami

Meals:             Breakfast 

Hotel:              -  

 

Hotels

 

NOTE ON TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURE

Please note that the tourism infrastructure in Cuba is more limited than what you might be accustomed to. You can expect slightly lower standards at the hotel properties with fewer amenities. On occasion, it may be necessary to make changes to the itinerary while the tour is in progress due to circumstances beyond the control of smarTours and our local partner. Please keep this perspective in mind in advance of and during your tour to this very special country.

 Miami (Orientation)


This contemporary airport hotel lies 2.1 miles from Miami International Airport. You will check in independently at the Hotel upon your arrival from San Antonio. The orientation briefing will take place at 8pm at the hotel. Your Tour Director will hand out required documents for your trip and provide you with other important information in advance of your travel to Cuba.

 

 

Havana

2 nights

 

Four Points Sheraton

Avenida 5ta A 76-80 Miramar District
Havana, Cuba

 

Mixing modern and Spanish Colonial decor, this polished hotel in Havana's Chinatown is 1.3 km from Old Havana and 1.5 km from the central train station.

The bright, casual rooms and suites come with Wi-Fi, satellite TV, minibars, and tea and coffeemakers. Suites feature living rooms and balconies. Kids age 11 and under stay at no charge.


Free breakfast is served in a refined restaurant. The property has a 24-hour lobby bar featuring regular live entertainment, and an outdoor pool with a snack bar. There's also a fitness center, and a spa with a salon and a sauna.



 

Cienfuegos

2 nights

 

Hotel Jagua

Ave. 37 No 1

Punta Gorda, Cienfuegos, Cuba

 

Built in the modernist style of the 1950's, the hotel was recently renovated in a sophisticated contemporary style. The new lobby, with its contemporary art, avant-garde furniture and three sides of glass walls, is both colorful and exciting.



 

Camaguey

1 night

Sevillana / El Marques

Calle Cisneros entre Hermanos Agueros y Marti
Camaguey, Cuba

 

Comprised of two separate buildings, located on Cisneros Street, near the Academy of Sciences and the city's oldest square, known as the Plaza San Juan de Dios, in the hub of historic Camaguey, is the refurbished private 25-room mansion now known as Hotel La Sevillana.

 



 

Holguin

2 nights

Melia Sol Rio de Luna y Mares

Playa Esmeralda

Holguin, Cuba

Sol Rio de Luna y Mares Resort is set in a beautiful environment of lush tropical vegetation by the white sands of Playa Esmeralda. This large all-inclusive resort combines the facilities of two different hotels, Rio de Luna and Rio de Mares, to provide a wealth of choices for guests.





What You Need to Know Before Traveling to Cuba


FLIGHT INFORMATION

Your flights from Miami to Cuba and back are on the following airlines with the corresponding schedules.  At your orientation meeting in Miami the night before your flight to Cuba, your Tour Director will advise you about the schedule for the following morning. There will be shuttle transportation from your hotel in Miami. Please note that flight schedules are subject to change without prior notice.

Departure

Airline

Depart

Return

 All Dates

American Airlines

6:30AM

3:00PM

If you are planning to catch a connecting flight after you return to Miami, please make sure you allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs. We recommend at least 3 ½ hours.

ADVANCE SEAT ASSIGNMENT

The airlines operating the chartered flights does not accept advance seat assignment. Actual seat assignment will be provided at the airport.

PASSPORT, VISA, AND OTHER DOCUMENTATION

The following documents and steps are required for legal travel to Cuba sponsored by the Tour Operator under a general license for people-to-people travel (Educational Activities – CFR 515.565), where each traveler follows a full time schedule of activities involving meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba to learn about their unique culture. The following information applies to U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens, except for Cuban-born U.S. citizens.

1. If you have not already done so, please send copies of the picture pages of the passports for all travelers to the Tour Operator when you submit your deposit. You passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of return.

2. Please fill out and return an original copy of the “Visa Application Form” by mail no later than the final payment due date 90 days prior to departure. The cost of the visa is included in the program price and will be arranged on your behalf. The visa will be provided in Miami prior to departure from the U.S. to Cuba. Upon arrival in Cuba, Cuban immigration officials will collect one half of this two-part card. The other half will be collected upon departure from Cuba. Please note that effective April 1st, 2015, the Cuban Departure Tax now must be collected in advance, and the Tour Operator will be covering the cost of the tax on behalf of our clients.

3. Please fill out and return an original copy of the “Travel Affidavit” by mail to the Tour Operator no later than the final payment due date 90 days prior to departure. Please fill out your name, date of birth, phone number, and address, and then sign and date right below the line stating “I certify that the above information is true and correct.”

4. Please fill out and return an original copy of the “CTS Charters Reservation Form” by mail to the Tour Operator no later than the final payment due date 90 days prior to departure.

5. Cuba also requires the purchase of mandatory health insurance (known as Asistur), which has been included in this package and covers basic medical needs if required during your trip.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR CUBAN-BORN US CITIZENS

Cuban-born U.S. citizens require the following documents depending on when they departed Cuba. (1) Those who departed Cuba prior to December 31, 1970: PE-11 visa (allow 6 weeks to process) or a Cuban passport (allow 4 months). (2) Those who departed Cuba after January 1, 1971: Cuban passport (allow 4 months). We recommend that Cuban-born U.S. citizens who have previously been rejected for a Cuban visa do not reapply, as repeat rejection is likely and trip cancellation fees will apply.                                                                                                                                                                                            

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING LEGAL TRAVEL TO CUBA

Although it is not legal to travel to Cuba for “tourist activities”, travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens is permitted for certain types of activities as identified by the U.S. Treasury Department in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. The Tour Operator sponsors an authorized form of travel following a general license for people-to-people travel (Educational Activities – CFR 515.565), where each traveler follows a full time schedule of activities involving meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba to learn about their unique culture. For more information about the rules governing travel to Cuba, please visit the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_new.pdf

DAILY JOURNAL REQUIREMENTS

OFAC requires that travelers to Cuba maintain a daily travel journal during their trip. This journal will serve as documentation that your trip to Cuba was consistent with the requirements of the People-to-People travel license. We recommend that you keep your journal for a minimum of five years after the trip.

FINAL DOCUMENTS

Your final instructions and travel tips will be sent to you 10 – 7 days before the scheduled departure of your tour.  Please make sure to advise us in writing in case of a change of your address.

CLIMATE

The temperature in Cuba ranges from the mid 60’s to high 70’s in January and February, high 60’s to low 80’s in  March, April, November and December, low 70’s to mid 80’s in May and October, and mid 70’s to high 80’s in September. Rainy season runs from May to October.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Immunizations are NOT currently required; however, you should consult your personal physician, local public health authorities or the Center of Disease Control (CDC) as to their suggestions.

COMMUNICATING WHILE IN CUBA

U.S. cell phones do not work in Cuba, and access to Wi-Fi is extremely limited, except that most hotels have business centers with a computer or two. You may wish to make calls from the hotel room or business center, but you should expect calls to cost approximately $2.50 (or more) per minute. You should also expect to pay $10-15 per hour for Wi-Fi.

CREDIT CARDS, ATM MACHINES AND LOCAL CURRENCY

Until recently, U.S. credit cards and debit cards were not permitted in Cuba. Although the guidelines are changing and certain credit cards/debit cards will be accepted over time, we continue to recommend that you plan to bring as much as cash as you think you will need for the duration of the trip. As for currency, the Cuban Peso (also known as “Moneda Nacional”) is the official currency. However, the Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC) is the currency that most tourists use. You can exchange your money to convertible pesos at airports, hotels, banks, and exchange offices. Please note that exchanging U.S. dollars into CUC is subject to a 13% fee, whereas exchanging Canadian dollars, Euros, and other currency is not subject to this fee. Please also note that you will not be able to exchange torn or ripped bills.

NON-INCLUDED MEALS

You may dine at either the hotels used on this tour or other nearby restaurants recommended by your guide. Average cost for dinner (excluding drinks) in a local hotel is about $20-25 per meal per person.

SHOPPING

According to new U.S. regulations, you may now bring back $400 USD worth of goods for personal use, of which $100 USD can be in the form of tobacco and alcohol products.

BAGGAGE

Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage not to exceed 44 pounds and one carry-on piece not to exceed 18”x10”x8”. Please also note that there is a $20 fee per checked bag imposed by the airlines and should be paid directly by you at the airport in Miami. This fee applies on the flight from Miami to Cuba only.



*Price quoted is per person, ground only, double occupancy. Single supplements extra. Does not include airfare or meals other than specified. All details of this trip, including final costs, are subject to change.  DISCLAIMER: Los Amigos is a non-profit organization and our trips are run entirely by volunteer members. Please understand that travel is more complicated today than ever before. Weather factors, airline industry changes, fuel costs, acts of God, business mergers, security threats, health epidemics, and other factors are all outside of our Club's control and may impact this trip itinerary and final costs. Please contact your trip leader for detailed information on our limited refund policy. We encourage everyone signing up for this trip (or any Los Amigos trip) to purchase Travel Insurance.  Los Amigos is not responsible for any loss, injuries or illness incurred on any trip.