Classic Cuba: Havana & Cayo Santa María

7 days
Meeting students who are learning how to restore and preserve Havana’s historic buildings. Taking in a Buena Vista Social Club performance at a 1950s-inspired cafe. Learning how to salsa dance from the masters. Through these and countless other interactions with welcoming locals, get to know Cuba at its most authentic as you catch glimpses into the country’s energetic culture.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Tour group size: 15 - 26 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 1.5 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads with some hills and stairs.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 6 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 lunches, 5 three-course dinners with beer

  • Multilingual Tour Director and Local Cuban National Guide

  • Chartered flights from Miami to Havana and Santa Clara to Miami

  • Private deluxe motor coach, guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

  • Cuban Visa and health insurance

Miami, Florida 1 night Hotel info

Day 1: Arrival in Miami

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Florida! Arrive in Miami and make your way to your hotel. First, review important information with your Tour Director. Then, set out on a short tour of Little Havana, the Cuban cultural neighborhood of Miami before sitting down to a welcome dinner and drinks with your fellow travelers.

Havana 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Havana

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, board your chartered flight from Miami to Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival, head out with your group and discover the city with a local guide.  

(Please note: Charter flight times are subject to change.)

• Engage with locals as you visit Havana’s historic districts, including the Cerro, El Vedado and Miramar

• See Metropolitan Park, the beautiful green space along the Almendares River, before making your way down the Malecón, a five-mile-long waterfront esplanade

• Enjoy open discussions about important restoration projects as you view the historic National Capitol Building, Revolution Square, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de San Francisco in Old Havana 

After lunch, meet with locals across Havana to learn about Cuban culture.

• Meet a local artist for an interactive discussion about what life is like in Cuba 

• Walk through the tunnels below the Hotel Nacional de Cuba while you discuss the Cuban Missile Crisis 

• Taste a traditional mojito at the Hotel Nacional

Day 3: Old Havana

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Get to know the UNESCO-recognized neighborhood of Old Havana, the heart of the city, with a local architect leading the way.

• Engage in open discussions about recent restoration projects in Havana as you walk along the colorful main streets

• Pass through Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza de la Catedrale and Cortina de Valdés, home to the city’s ancient arsenal

• Visit workshops at the Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, a trade school that teaches restoration techniques in order to preserve Havana’s historic buildings, and interact with students as they show you their craft

After lunch, visit the Museum of the Revolution, a collection of exhibits devoted to the revolutionary war of the 1950s, housed in the former Presidential Palace. Then, interact with community representatives at the Callejón de Hamel, where you’ll learn about Afro-Cuban religion and ceremonies as you watch performers in a traditional dance.

Tonight,enjoy dinner at one of the city’s paladares, or authentic local restaurants. Then, engage with musicians and locals at a Buena Vista Social Club performance to get a taste of the lively Cuban music culture.

Day 4: Finca Vigía & Cojimar

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, get a look at some of Cuba’s world-famous cultural touchstones, including the cigar, Hemingway’s writing retreat and antique cars. 

• Interact with staff at a local cigar factory to see how Cuba’s most famous export is made from start to finish

• Take a salsa dancing lesson taught by the masters and engage with the performers at a demonstration

• Meet with a local historian at Finca Vigía, where Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his most famous works, and discuss the importance of Hemingway’s novels in both Cuba and the United States

• After lunch, visit with local fishermen at the nearby village of Cojimar, where Hemingway kept his boat, Pilar This afternoon, head back to Havana to engage with local artisans at the Almacenes San José Artisans’ Market.

Cayo Santa María 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Cayo Santa María via Bay of Pigs & Cienfuegos

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Say adiós to Havana this morning as you make your way to the historic Bay of Pigs. Along the way, stop at Zapata Swamp National Park to learn about the local wildlife. Then, discover Cienfuegos with a local as your guide.

• Visit the Bay of Pigs and discuss the failed U.S. invasion of 1961 from the perspective of local Cubans

• Interact with locals as you discuss the culture and traditions of Cienfuegos, a UNESCO-recognized city 

 • Make your way through José Martí Square and view the cathedral, then pass by Teatro Tomás Terry and the neo-Gothic Palacio de Valle

Later, travel to the beautiful island of Cayo Santa María, home to pristine coastal scenery and azure waters.

Day 6: Santa Clara & Remedios

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Set out for Santa Clara, the fifth-largest city in Cuba, where you’ll learn about the city from a local perspective and discuss the significance of Cuba’s Revolution at the Che Guevara Masoleum. Before continuing on to Remedios, take in two cultural performances and interact with local artists.

• Make your way to Casa de la Cultura, where you’ll engage with members of the of the Melodías Antillanas musical group and see them play classic Cuban tunes using traditional instruments

• Interact with members of Los Abuelos de Fiesta, a vibrant retirement community, as they perform danzón, the African-influenced official musical genre and dance of Cuba 

Later, drive through the countryside to Remedios, the eighth oldest city in Cuba.

• Meet with the Parish Priest at Remedios Cathedral to discuss the church’s various community projects 

• Learn about the famous Parrandas festival, one of the Caribbean’s largest and oldest traditional carnivals, from the locals who perform in the show 

Back in Cayo Santa María, join your group at tonight’s farewell dinner.

Day 7: Caibarién & Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast

After an early check-out from your hotel, transfer to Caibarién where you’ll meet a welcoming array of community members.

• Visit Color Miel, an artist project that is centered around honey-making, and learn about the impact it has on the community firsthand

Later, drive to Santa Clara airport for your chartered flight to Miami where you will connect to your flight home.Please note: Depending on your home destination, you may spend the night in Miami before flying home on the morning of Day 8.

Go Ahead Tours is pleased to offer educational and cultural exchanges to Cuba. Go Ahead Tours qualifies for the people-to-people general license established by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“OFAC”). Under this license, Go Ahead Tours will offer educational and cultural exchanges and conversations with the people of Cuba. The itinerary is subject to change based on day of week and availability, but a complete people-to people itinerary will always be maintained.

How's the weather?

  • Miami, FL
  • Havana, Cuba
  • Cayo Santa María, Cuba
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter Cuba, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry. 
  • We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps.
  • Go Ahead will provide U.S. citizens with a visa and all other documentation needed to enter Cuba. It is important to note that we will take care of all aspects of your Cuba visa application. 
  • As part of federal requirements, you should keep a copy of your Cuban travel itinerary and airline ticket receipt on file for five years. 
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your country’s consulate for specific entry requirements.
  • The Cuban government does not recognize the dual nationality of those who are Cuban-born or the children of Cuban parents. 
  • Cuban-born citizens and the children of Cuban nationals may be required to hold a Cuban passport and/or HE-11 visa, and will be responsible for any additional costs incurred. If you were born in Cuba or are the child of Cuban nationals, please contact our Customer Experience Team at your earliest convenience. 

Documents & paperwork

You will receive all documents and paperwork necessary for travel to Cuba both through the mail. All forms must be completely filled out and returned to Go Ahead at least 40 days prior to your departure date in order to participate on this tour. The forms that you will be receiving are:

  • Travel Affidavit
  • People-to-People Reservation Form and Operator-Participant Contract
  • Visa Application Form

You will receive finalized copies of your travel documents at your hotel in Miami, where a briefing will be conducted in the afternoon prior to your departure to Havana.

Please note: The Cuban visa forms will need to be filled out correctly and cannot be lost. Should you need a new Cuban visa form, a charge of $150USD will be assessed on tour. 

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 3 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including cobblestones and unpaved paths, with few hills or stairs. 
  • Travelers should be in reasonable health to take our included walks.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at all times. 
  • Please note that the summers can get very hot and this is a very full itinerary.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team at 1.800.597.0350 so that we can review all necessary information with you.

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in and depart from Miami International Airport. A Go Ahead representative meet you at the airport and escort you to the shared shuttle service, which will bring you to your first hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the shuttle at the time of your arrival. 
  • Your chartered flight to Cuba will depart from Miami and arrive in Havana, and your return chartered flight will depart from Santa Clara and arrive in Miami.
  • Once you arrive in Cuba, all included transportation is by private motor coach.
  • Using public transportation is not recommended. However, if you choose to take a taxi, please note that drivers will most likely speak only Spanish. Additionally, cab fare may be paid in USD.
  • Please note: If you are making your own flight reservations, you will need to be in Miami no later than 2pm and should plan to depart from Miami no earlier than 8pm. 

Baggage allowance

Commercial flights to and from Miami:

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. 
  • Contact your airline for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights. 
  • One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Chartered flights to and from Cuba:

  • We recommend traveling with one suitcase and one small carry-on bag (such as purse or small backpack) per person.
  • Each passenger is allowed up to 44 total pounds of checked baggage. A fee of $2USD per additional pound will be charged for any baggage that exceeds this limit. Your small carry-on (a personal item or purse) will not count toward total baggage weight.
  • On your chartered flight from Cuba to Miami, there is no charge for baggage that is less than 50 total pounds per person.

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • In addition, we recommend packing insect repellent, sunglasses, sunscreen, a bathing suit, a sun hat, hand sanitizer and wash cloths, as most hotels do not provide them. You may also want to bring your own toilet tissue for use in public restrooms. 
  • Please note that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs or shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).  


  • Emergency medical insurance is included for those traveling from the U.S. to Cuba through our chartered flight service. 
  • Coverage is limited to $25,000 medical and $500 dental. If you wish to increase your coverage, please contact our Customer Experience Team. 
  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Cuba. 
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at
  • We strongly recommend speaking with your doctor prior to your departure to review any medical concerns.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • Bring a small first aid kit that includes antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any other medications you regularly need.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team at 1.800.597.0350.
  • Drink bottled water. Aside from the hotels where you will be staying and the restaurants you will be visiting, where water is purified, it is not advisable to drink tap water. 


  • There are two currencies used in Cuba. The first is the Cuban Peso, which is used primarily by the locals for basic staple products. The second is the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), mostly used by tourists. The currency you will be using for your tour is the CUC.
  • In Cuba, you can exchange USD or CAD for CUC at the Havana airport, hotels, exchange bureaus and in some banks. Currently, there is a 13% surcharge fee for exchanging USD to CUC. 
  • When exchanging currency, your passport will be required at the time of transaction. It is also important to note that most places will not accept torn or marked bills when converting to CUC. 
  • Credit cards, debit cards and ATM cards issued by U.S. banks are currently unusable in Cuba. As such, purchases and payments for services must be made in local currency. You should plan on bringing enough cash with you for meals that are not included and anything else you may wish to purchase.
  • Although some small businesses and taxi drivers will accept USD, paying in CUC is strongly encouraged.


  • As a result of Spain’s historical colonization of the country, Cuban cuisine is known for its Spanish influences. 
  • African and Caribbean flavors also play an important part in traditional dishes. Common foods often include pork, chicken, yucca, plantains, beans and rice. Cuban coffee is also popular and is known for being strongly brewed.                     

Electricity & air conditioning

  • Cuba generally operates on 220 volts. However, there may be both 220- and 110-volt outlets in some hotels. The outlets will work with both North American plugs or European plugs and an adapter will be required. 
  • The strength of the air conditioning in Cuban hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.


  • Even with the purchase of an international service plan, U.S. cell phones will not currently work in Cuba. 
  • If necessary, you may use the phone in your hotel room by arranging payment with the hotel front desk. However, placing a call to the U.S. can be expensive, sometimes costing more than 2.50CUC ($2.50USD) per minute. Connection charges may also apply.
  • While Cuba is a technologically developing country with Wi-Fi not readily available at all hotels, some hotels may have business centers where internet service is available. Charges for use may be up to 12CUC ($12USD) per hour.

Time zones

  • Cuba is on the equivalent of U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST).
  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s  also noon in Cuba.


  • In addition to your Tour Director, you will be accompanied by a Cuban National Guide for the duration of your trip. Your Cuban National Guide is there to assist with any and all matters, including emergencies, providing a local’s perspective and any issues that may arise. 
  • Tips for the Cuban National Guide are not required and have already been covered by Go Ahead.


  • In Cuba, tipping is an important part of the local economy. Local salaries are extremely low and many Cubans depend on tips for their livelihood. 
  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.

We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director.

  • For your convenience, your Tour Director will collect tips in Miami for the following components of your tour in Cuba:
  • Local guides 
  • Speakers 
  • Community project staff
  • Musicians 
  • Bus drivers

Please budget up to $92USD/CAD per person to cover these tips for this tour. 

  • Tips can only be paid in cash. 

Items to give or trade

  • If you’d like, it is okay to bring small items such as pens, markers, coloring books or small toys to give out to local children. 
  • It is very important to note: If you are asked at the Cuban customs area, these gifts are not to be called “donations.” A “donation” requires prior authorization and is usually given in large quantities and is not (and should not be) what you are bringing. Instead, you should refer to these items as “small gifts to hand out.”    

U.S. Customs

  • Per U.S. regulations, you are allowed to bring back $400USD worth of goods for personal use, of which $100 can be in tobacco and alcohol products. 
  • Travelers returning from Cuba may be asked questions by Customs and Immigration officers. It is possible that you may need to provide a copy of the authorization letter provided to you and undergo additional screening in the Customs area.


  • As part of the people-to-people agreement, U.S. law requires that all travelers participate on all of the tour’s scheduled activities. Deviation from this itinerary, even in part, is not permitted. 
  • Specific itinerary inclusions such as meetings with individuals and visits to organizations and homes are dependent on outside factors and may sometimes be substituted or changed while on tour.  *It is important to go into this experience with a very open mind! Your guide will be good at swapping out activities for others when needed and your flexibility is appreciated.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 6/5/2016

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Cuba "Complicado"

I will start with the "pros" on this trip. I absolutely adored our tour director Alex Pasquali and his Cuban counterpart Jorge Jorge. Both tour directors were super nice and super informative. You can tell they both loved Cuba and the Cuban culture and that was evident in their tours. Jorge played a variety of informative videos on the bus whil we were going from point A to point B. Adalberto, the bus driver, was also amazing in navigating the terrain, particularly during the downpours (more on that in a minute). I thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Old Havana and Cienfuegos. The resort in Cayo Santa Maria was absolutely lovely! The beaches there are so beautiful and pristine. I was happy that the weather cleared up by this point and I was able to fully enjoy the gorgeous island. However, the locals are quick to point out that this gorgeous island is not technically Cuba. Most of the actual city of Havana and surrounding areas looks like Beirut. Now, for the "complicado" part of the tour. First, our tour in early June, which is the start of the rainy season. I would NOT recommend this tour in June. It rained frequently, and HARD, until we crossed over to Cienfuegos and into Cayo Santa Maria. It did clear up briefly for our tour of Old Havana, which was nice, but other than that, it rained the entire time we were in Havana. Due to the rain, one of the restaurants lost power, and even our hotel lost power at one point. Due to the rain, we were unable to meet with the local historian at Finca Vigia, where Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his most famous works, or visit with the local fisherman at the nearby village of Cojimar. We did hop off the bus for a few seconds with umbrellas just to peek into Finca Vigia. We did not get to interact with the staff a the cigar factory because of the torrential downpours. While we did have a quick tour of the cigar factory, it was shutting down as we entered. We were told that the moisture in the air is not good for cigar making, which is understandable. They were literally handing the employees their paychecks and they were leaving. For reasons unknown, we did not meet with students from the University of Havana or walk through any tunnels at the Hotel Nacional. We did visit the hotel, but there was no tunnel tour. We did not visit the Museum of the Revolution. We were told that for some reason the museum was not honoring Jorge's tour guide license or something and we could pay for it ourselves to enter. We opted not to go in and were told that we did not miss much. I will note that Go Ahead promptly sent a refund for the admission in the mail. Although we did see a Buena Vista Social Club performance, we did not engage with musicians and locals there. We did not go to the Guanabacoa Museum or learn about Afro-Cuban religion and interact with artists at a traditional dance performance. We did take a salsa lesson but one of the instructors showed up in sweatpants and there was no indoor bathroom. We literally had to walk outside with umbrellas and around the pool for a bathroom. We did not go to the historic Bay of Pigs or enter the Museo Giron. We were told that the museum was closed for repairs and there was no reason to drive down to the Bay of Pigs if there was no museum. Frankly, looking at the itinerary, there was very little on it that we actually did do. The highlights were definitely the tour of Old Havana with the local architect, Cienfuegos and Cayo Santa Maria. That said, this was my sixth Go Ahead Tour and I had an amazing time despite the rain and other issues. I have discovered from all my travels, that every trip is exactly what you make of it...make some memories! I had an amazing time with my travel buddy, and I'm already signed up for my seventh and eighth Go Ahead Tour. I love this company, they are super reliable and reputable. My advice with this trip is absolutely do not go in June due to the potential for downpours and maybe wait another year until they can sort of perfect the trip; it's super new. But, Go Cuba


Thank you so much for your review! We are delighted that you enjoyed your time with Alex, Jorge and Alaberto. We regret to learn that there were aspects of your tour that did not meet your expectations, and some itinerary items that were unable to take place. As you’ve seen, Cuba is a destination unlike any other in the world. The thrill of taking our travelers there is coupled with the unique challenges encountered when traveling in Cuba. We regret to learn that inclement weather had such a profound effect on the scheduled activities of your tour. Weather patterns can be difficult to predict, and it is regrettable that this June was as rainy as it was. One of our colleagues has tried to reach out to you but was unable to connect. If you would like to discuss your experience any further, please feel free to call 1(800) 597-0350 and ask for the Quality Control Team.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | September 09, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 5/29/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NY

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Traveling back in Time! Cuba Experience...

I had a great time in Cuba; beautiful place and lovely people for the most part. I am very pleased I did it with you guys. On the other hand, the tour director was not that great and wasn't involved for the most part. The bus driver and tourist guide in Cuba were excellent. My suggestion is to a bit more organized for the next trips in the future and also have an age range for the people that travel. I will love for the next adventure to be with people around my age. Overall, I will totally recommend this trip to anyone. It was pricey, but worth it all. Thank you for a great trip and beautiful memories for a lifetime :) Cuba you are enchanting!!!


Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me today about your experience in Cuba. I am so glad that you and your sister were able to share this adventure together, and that you are looking to go to Italy with us next year! We are thrilled to offer this exciting tour of Cuba, and will be sure to keep your suggestions in mind when discussing this itinerary. As discussed, your Tour Director has received additional mentorship, and has exceeded his performance goals on his recent departures. We look forward to welcoming you on your next Go Ahead tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | September 09, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 5/29/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: FL

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Cuba is fantastic!

This was a great tour, especially if you are in good shape. It should be made known to participants that it is very strenuous, especially as Cuba is very warm and there is very little air conditioning. Our Cuban tour guide, Jorge, was fabulous, and so knowledgeable about history and dates! There is so much too CN absorb about Cuba as the Embargo is lifted and things change in that country. There was a lot crammed into a few days, and it was very difficult for those of us who are even minimally Mobility impaired. I would like to see a little downtime factored in. The hotels could be compared to a 1970s Club Med. The common areas were not air-conditioned and the beds were as hard as rocks, and there was a mustiness that helped exacerbate my asthma.. All American tour director was not engaged and not helpful. One of our fellow Travelers was conversant in Spanish and much more helpful and engaged. She should have gotten the tips.


Dear Kathleen, We’re glad you would describe this as a great tour. You’re right that this is a relatively fast-paced itinerary and requires travelers to be in good shape, especially considering the hot climate. We appreciate your suggestion to provide more free time on this tour and will be sure to communicate it to our Product Development team. We’re happy to hear you enjoyed your Cuban local guide and found him to be a wealth of knowledge. There is so much to learn about this intriguing country! We regret to hear that the beds in your hotels were uncomfortable and that your asthma bothered you in your rooms. We will also be reporting this to our team. Regarding your Tour Director, we are alarmed to hear that he did not seem engaged or helpful. We will certainly investigate this matter and speak to your Tour Director’s supervisor directly. Thank you for sharing your experience, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 14, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 4/10/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Viva Cuba!!!!!

This was an excellent way to see Cuba. What a country, what a people, what an experience!!! We were very, very busy from the moment we got there with not only seeing a good part of the country, but also understanding the history, culture and lifestyle of the people. That happened as the result of our excellent Cuban Tour Guide, Jorge and our equally knowledgeable driver, Yuri. Only disappointment was not getting to see the Bay of Pigs, which was initially scheduled as part of the program. However, in fair balance, that area was restricted at that time as it was being used by the Cuban government to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the event and was closed to all but government officials.. The hotels and meals were fine. No complaints at all. The bus was great. Roomy and comfortable. Our Tour Director was new to this tour so there were a few hiccups, but nothing to derail a wonderful experience. A few items that I am sure will be corrected in the short term: 1. During our initial group meeting at the hotel in Florida, there was a lack of specific direction regarding filling out the paperwork to get into Cuba. That session was very confusing. I am sure that with more groups taking the trip that aspect will become a very simple and stress free time. 2. As far a currency, it is important to note that there a money exchange in the Havana Airport on your way out of the facility. Getting some CUC's there will allow you to have some money to spend during the first day as you will not get to your hotel until late in the afternoon and you will have already been to several places where you wish you had Cuban currency. 3. It is important to know that the Havana airport is very rudimentary. Staying together as a group is important as there are many small "checkpoints" you will have to go through before you can leave the airport. If you have an approved size luggage you can carry on versus checking it in Miami. This will save you the anxiety of looking for your luggage in a very rudimentary facility. It took our group about 1 1/2 hours to exit the airport to our bus from the time we landed. Be prepared to be very calm and very patient. 4. Our Tour Director asked at our initial meeting for an "upfront payment" for the tips that would be necessary for the tour. Although I was initially skeptical, I found it to be a very good methodology for this program, especially in a country like Cuba where tours are "guided" globally by the government. My only complaint about this tipping methodology was that it was a surprise. In the future, it would be great to just state in the tour literature that there is upfront tipping for the program and state the amount per person. I found the upfront tipping reduced my concern about how, where, when and who to tip in Cuba! So, great idea, just did't like the surprise. 5. Currency is happily accepted in Cuba. We had some Canadian money left over from a trip to Montreal and used that as well as american dollars. Exchange rate is different, but Cuba accepts Euros, US/Canda. I would recommend this trip to any and all! It is exciting and educational to understand such a different culture and understand the outside influences as well as the internal pride of this country. Well worth the time.


Hi Keiren! Thank you for your thorough review! We’re so glad you would recommend this tour. Though you were unable to see the Bay of Pigs due to the government celebration of its anniversary, we are happy to hear that most other aspects of the tour were enjoyable. You provide some great tips for future travelers, such as being calm and prepared at the airport in Havana and participating in upfront tipping. We appreciate your feedback regarding your experience at the hotel in Florida. We will be sure to communicate this to our team, so that we avoid any confusion in the future. We’re so glad you were able to travel to Cuba, and we thank you for choosing Go ahead. We hope to welcome you on tour again soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 12, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/10/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: NC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

CUBA: An Invaluable Educational Experience

This might have been my favorite trip of all! My husband & I just returned from the April Trip to Cuba and it was fabulous! The experience was one I'll never forget...the people were wonderful and so welcoming even though they have endured so much. The Cuban guides were well informed and proud of their beautiful country. This is a trip that will change you..for the best. I will be an Ambassador for Cuba forever! Beth D.

1 / 4

Hi Beth! We’re so glad you and your husband had a fabulous time on tour. You’re right that the people are warm and welcoming, and the Cuban guides are very proud of their country. We’re thrilled to hear this tour left you feeling changed for the better – that’s the power of travel! Thank you for sharing your experience, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 06, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/10/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MS

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Best Tour in Western Hemisphere

My trip to Cuba was a wonderful trip of a lifetime. The tour directors (U.S. and Cuban) were very knowledgeable and accommodating. We were surprised with a ride in some convertibles through Havana and this was a highlight for me. The food was superb at all the restaurants. The hosts were great. The hotels were outstanding and swimming was nice. I also enjoyed the floor show with the Cuban performers. They were all great dancers and singers. Seeing all of the preservation of old buildings was a hopeful sign that Cuba will not change quickly. Visiting the E. Hemingway home and grounds in Cojimar was an education in itself since it was much the same as when he was there. The Little league team was still practicing. We were able to see the Hotel Nacional and much of old Havana forts, churches and buildings to be preserved. Our driver was excellent and the ride to Cienfuegos, Remedios and Santa Clara was safe and comfortable. Enjoyed seeing the Ernesto Guevera monument and battle monument at Santa Clara. Also enjoyed seeing the keepers of the bees at their house and the children singing and acting in Remedios. The Cayo Santa Maria was a resort beyond compare and seeing the ocean and beach was one of the most beautiful in the world. The people were all welcoming, the guides informative and overall, it was one of the best tours I have ever taken. I would recommend it to anyone. C.N. Fitts


Hi Cecil! We’re so glad you had the trip of a lifetime! It sounds like all aspects of this tour went off without a hitch, and we’re happy to hear it. Cuba is certainly an incredible destination with a rich history and culture. We’re thrilled that you would recommend this tour, and we hope to welcome you on another in the future!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 16, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/10/2016

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: MD

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A World Finally Discovered by Americans

Thank you GoAhead for investing in educational/cultural tours to Cuba! From every aspect, educational, political, cultural, and most importantly the people, our trip to Cuba -- after only two days -- soared to among the top 3 of the 10 trips we have taken with GoAhead. We've never been disappointed. We are most grateful for our local tour guide Jorge, who did a wonderful job of covering every detail of a busy itinerary with good humor, a fount of knowledge, and flexibility as necessary changes arose. He even offered some surprises -- no hints -- you'll have to take the trip to find out. But we all loved them. The hotel in Havana was wonderful, old world luxury -- you can almost imagine dignitaries from around the world in the lobby and well appointed rooms. The staff was very accommodating and appreciative of tips -- if you go, please be generous. You'll understand when you get there. The hotel in Cayo Santa Maria for two nights was not a great experience. It takes an hour each way from the mainland, and was way too busy for our taste. It's an all inclusive resort, with bad food and 3,000 people from around the world. Please GoAhead, find a quaint hotel on the mainland that can accommodate 26 people. There must be another alternative. The real gem in Cuba is the people, beautiful, congenial, and full of life. They embraced us as Americans and it quickly became true that it's the politics and not the people who have the problem. Everywhere we went we were met with open arms and enthusiasm about America. From artists to children to octagenarians, to salsa dancers, to taxi drivers and cigar rollers, we were thrilled to meet and chat with all. One improvement would be for GoAhead put a Spanish-speaking Tour Director in charge who might work more effectively with the local guide. Our Tour Director's leadership was a sore spot among nearly all on this trip and very very far from the quality we are used to from GoAhead.


Hi Joseph! Wow, we’re so glad you enjoyed your tour of Cuba! It’s our pleasure to offer travelers an opportunity to explore this vibrant island nation. We’re pleased to hear you were impressed with your local tour guide. It certainly sounds like he added a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm to your experience. We appreciate your feedback regarding your hotel in Cayo Santa Maria and will be sure to communicate this to our team. We couldn’t agree more that the Cuban people are a delight, so genuine and welcoming. We’re happy you were able to meet and interact with locals from many walks of life. We regret to hear your Tour Director did not meet your expectations and will also be making note of this feedback. Thank you for sharing your experience, and we hope to welcome you on another tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 10, 2016