Cultural Cuba: Havana to Sancti Spíritus

9 days
Make your way from Havana, Cuba’s vibrant capital, through the Spanish colonial city of Sancti Spíritus to the beautiful coastline of Cayo Santa María. Local artists, musicians, historians, naturalists and students will show you their country from an insider’s perspective as you go, opening up this lively island nation cut off from much of the western world for decades.

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

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 7 lunches, 6 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

Map of Tour of Cuba

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. 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 & sightseeing tour

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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, then enjoy dinner at one of the city’s paladares, or authentic local restaurants

Day 3: Old Havana

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

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, Plaze de San Francisco, Plaza de la Catedrale and Cortina de Valdés, home to the city’s ancient arsenal

After lunch, continuing learning about Cuban culture while meeting with locals during this afternoon’s activities. 

• Interact with locals at Arte Corte, a community project centered around a hair salon and barber school

• Enter the National Museum of Fine Arts, where you’ll take a guided tour led by a local art historian and discuss a vast a collection of Cuban work

• Engage 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, 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

Sancti Spíritus 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Sancti Spíritus 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

Day 6: Tope de Collantes & Trinidad

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Before leaving Sancti Spíritus, set out to explore the city on a guided walk. 

• Stroll through the charming historic center and enjoy an open discussion about restoration projects in Sancti Spíritus

•Visit the Sancti Spíritus School of Art, an elementary and middle school for talented youth, and engage with the students to learn about their studies and interests

Then, continue on to learn about the history of the frozen-in-time town of Trinidad. 

• Explore and discuss the UNESCO-recognized Spanish colonial zone, passing by Plaza Mayor, the Church of the Holy Trinity, Brunet Palace, Sánchez Iznaga Mansion and the bell tower of the old San Francisco Convent

• Interact with locals at the Romantic Museum (located inside Brunet Palace) and view the ornate furniture, artwork and sculptures that members of the Cuban aristocracy once used to decorate their homes

• Meet and interact with local artists in Trinidad to learn about their lives and work

Cayo Santa María 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Sancti Spíritus city walk & Cayo Santa María via Santa Clara

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Before leaving Sancti Spíritus, set out to explore the city on a guided walk. 

• Visit the Sancti Spíritus School of Art, a high school for talented youth, and engage with the students to learn about their studies and interests  

• Stroll through the city’s charming historic center and enjoy an open discussion about restoration projects in Sancti Spiritus 

Then, stop in Santa Clara to discover this vibrant city from a local perspective. 

• Visit Parque Vidal, named a national monument in 1988 for its eclectic and historic surrounding architecture and statues

• Marvel at the impressive Che Guevara Mausoleum

• Listen to traditional Trova music and interact with the local musicians who play it

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

Day 8: Caibarién & Remedios

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Head out to the agricultural and cultural center of Caibarién today. 

• In Caibarién, engage with local artists and children at a community center dedicated to the arts 

• Discuss the tools and machinery used in sugar production at the sugar factory-turned-exhibit, Marcelo Salado Sugar Mill Museum 

• Board a steam train back to Remedios, where you’ll enjoy lunch, and interact with the conductors en route 

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

Day 9: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast

After a late check-out from your hotel, transfer 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 10.



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.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 7 lunches, 6 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

Map of Tour of Cuba

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. 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 & sightseeing tour

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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 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, then enjoy dinner at one of the city’s paladares, or authentic local restaurants

Day 3: Old Havana

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

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, Plaze de San Francisco, Plaza de la Catedrale and Cortina de Valdés, home to the city’s ancient arsenal

After lunch, continuing learning about Cuban culture while meeting with locals during this afternoon’s activities. 

• Interact with locals at Arte Corte, a community project centered around a hair salon and barber school

• Enter the National Museum of Fine Arts, where you’ll take a guided tour led by a local art historian and discuss a vast a collection of Cuban work

• Engage 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, 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 craft 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 area 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 the 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 of  the Immaculate Conception, then pass by Teatro Tomás Terry and the neo-Gothic Palacio de Valle

Then, continue on to the beautiful island of Cayo Santa María, home to pristine coastal scenery and azure waters.

Day 6: Caibarién & Remedios

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Head out to the agricultural and cultural center of Caibarién this morning.

• Engage with a local artist to learn about Cuba’s vibrant creative scene 

• Discuss the tools and machinery used in sugar production at the sugar factory-turned-exhibit, Marcelo Salado Sugar Mill Museum 

Then, board a steam train to Remedios, the eighth-oldest city in Cuba, and interact with the conductors en route.

• Meet with a parish priest at the Remedios Cathedral to discuss the church’s work and community projects 

• Learn about the famous Parrandas festival, one of the Caribbean’s largest and oldest traditional carnivals with roots stretching back to the 18th century

• Hop on board a bicycle taxi for a tour of Remedios, heading into the main square where you’ll meet the drivers and share coffee

Sancti Spíritus 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Sancti Spíritus via Santa Clara

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Travel to Sancti Spíritus, stopping in Santa Clara to discover the vibrant city from a local perspective. 

• Visit Parque Vidal, named a national monument in 1988 for its eclectic and historic surrounding architecture and statues

• Marvel at the impressive Che Guevara Mausoleum

• Listen to traditional trova music and interact with the local musicians who play it

Continue on to Sancti Spíritus, one of the oldest European settlements in Cuba.

Day 8: Sancti Spíritus & Trinidad

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Set out to explore Sancti Spíritus on a guided walk. 

• Stroll through the charming historic center and enjoy an open discussion about restoration projects in the city 

•Visit the Sancti Spíritus School of Art, an elementary and middle school for talented youth, and engage with the students to learn about their studies and interests

Continue on to learn about the history of the frozen-in-time town of Trinidad. 

• Explore and discuss the UNESCO-recognized Spanish colonial zone, passing by Plaza Mayor, the Church of the Holy Trinity, Brunet Palace, Sánchez Iznaga Mansion and the bell tower of the old San Francisco Convent

• Interact with locals at the Romantic Museum (located inside Brunet Palace) and view the ornate furniture, artwork and sculptures that members of the Cuban aristocracy once used to decorate their homes

• Meet and interact with local artists in Trinidad to learn about their lives and work

Back in Sancti Spíritus, join your group at tonight’s farewell dinner.

Day 9: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast

After a late check-out from your hotel, transfer 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 10.



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
  • Sancti Spíritus, 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. 
  • 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 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).  

Health

  • 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 cdc.gov.
  • 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 goaheadtours.com 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. 

Cuisine

  • 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.

Currency

  • 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.

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.

Connectivity

  • 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.

Guides

  • 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.

Tipping

  • 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 $132USD/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.

Participation

  • 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.

How's the weather?

  • Miami, FL
  • Havana, Cuba
  • Cayo Santa María, Cuba
  • Sancti Spíritus, 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. 
  • 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 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).  

Health

  • 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 cdc.gov.
  • 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 goaheadtours.com 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. 

Cuisine

  • 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.

Currency

  • 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.

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.

Connectivity

  • 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.

Guides

  • 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.

Tipping

  • 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 $132USD/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.

Participation

  • 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.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 10/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 7

From: TN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Real-Life Cuba

My wife Betsy and I have had the good fortune to travel many places overseas, but this was one of our most memorable trips. Lyn, our tour director, has done a wonderful job of organizing this "People to People" tour so that group members can really meet the Cuban people, and see some of the beautiful Cuban countryside and beaches as well as Havana with its 500-year history, colorful old cars and lively traditional music. We knew in advance that our trip was intended to see Cuba before it opens up to thousands of American tourists and gets potentially "Disneyfied." We also knew that our tour would be pretty much full-time activity, comparable to some foreign Christian mission trips we have been on. And of course we knew this is still a Communist country, where you can't just rent a car and wander wherever you want. Many of the people are living in poverty, but they are very warm and hospitable. But those full days were filed with remarkable experiences. A Cuban architect helped us tour the historic squares of Havana, which are being restored as the city nears its 500th anniversary. We ate at a restaurant near the Bay of Pigs, site of the 1960s invasion attempt. We visited schools, dance halls and artists' studios. We saw Cuban crocodiles at a verdant nature preserve. Members of our group were interviewed at a historic town by international TV networks about our Cuban experience. Our Cuban guide Manny and bus driver Alberto each did a great job. And Lyn made sure our group got to ride in colorful 1950s cars; horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs; and a train pulled by a steam locomotive. Great tour; good value for the money. Two of the three hotels were very nice, and the older one was OK. Most of the meals were OK, and some of them were 5-star, especially in Havana. The Tennessee-Georgia members of our group spent a night in Miami going down and one on the way back, because of scheduling. We stayed at a comfortable Springhill Suites near the airport. And Lyn guided us to fun restaurants each of the Miami nights. Getting to meet Cuban people, young and old, was truly the highlight of the trip for Betsy and me.

 

Hi Allen! We’re ecstatic to learn that this was one of your and your wife’s favorite trips! We completely agree that Lyn does a fantastic job, and we’re glad that her efforts enhanced your experience. You’re right that this is a relatively active itinerary and offers a plethora of unique experiences, such as visiting local schools, artists’ studios, and admiring the breathtaking landscapes. How cool that members of your group were interviewed by various TV networks about your trip! We appreciate your feedback on the meals and accommodations, and we regret that some of them didn’t meet your expectations. We will be sure to share that with our Operations team. Again, we’re so glad you and your wife had a great time learning about and exploring this great island country. We appreciate your detailed feedback, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | November 23, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 10/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 9

From: DC

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Viva Cuba!!!

This was my 13th Go Ahead tour; I almost always come home and say, "This was the best tour ever." Well, this one was by far. Our American tour guide was sensational. She has made strong contacts everywhere in Cuba; Wherever we went, she introduced us to artists, photographers, musicians all of who shared their talents with us. The Cuban guide was familiar with all the sights and was a lot of fun. The Cuban people were exceptionally warm and welcoming. The hotels, restaurants, concerts were truly wonderful and everyone on the tour was sad when it came to an end.

 

Hi Manny! We’re very happy to learn that your thirteenth tour was even better than the previous twelve! It sounds like your guides had a lot to do with that, and we will be sure to share that with them. Thank you for your review, and we look forward to your next tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | November 04, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 10/23/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: GA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A peek at history

I did a lot of reading before this tour. It only eased part of the shock of the walk back in time. My favorite part was the music. The tour directors were excellent and even played some videos on the bus to educate us about cigar making and historical perspectives . Most fun was sampling the different forms of transportation. Bicycle taxi, horse drawn carriages, a fancy ride in a 57 Plymouth convertible and of course- a very comfortable bus. This was more educational than a shopping spree and I was so pleased with this emphasis. At my age, I do not need any more stuff !! Take comfortable walking shoes as there are some cobblestone walks and make sure your camera is in mint condition. I just learned so much on this tour! Thanks Go Ahead. You opened my heart to these wonderful people.

 

Hi Ann! It sounds like the lively rhythms of Cuba enchanted you, and we can understand why! The music and dance is certainly a highlight for many, as well as an integral part of the culture. We’re delighted that you enjoyed your Tour Director and local guides and that they helped you come away from this tour with a deeper understanding of people and the history of Cuba. We echo your advice to bring along comfortable walking shoes, as there is a good amount of walking on uneven, sometimes unpaved surfaces. Thank you for sharing your experience, Ann. We hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | November 23, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 7/10/2016

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

best tour director

Lyn Quigg is the best tour director I ever had. If you take this tour try to get Lyn as your tour director,you will be glad you did.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/10/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: MT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Cuba, experience of a life time.

What a great cultural and educational trip. The iteneriary was great, more seeing and doing then shopping which I love. The activities that we did with the people of Cuba was the best, from Salsa lessons, 3 wheel taxi in Remeidos, to a ride in a 1940 Chevy Pink Convertible. Our guide Lyn was a god send along with her "boys" Dwaynus and Euri...WOW !! we're they good!! You need to request them if you go on this trip. There is a reason why this trip is full for the next year....it was a great Trip!!!! If you go please be open minded and ready for everything.

1 / 1

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/17/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

OUTSTANDING

I've been pretty lazy. Finally I am going to write something about my trip to Cuba. I loved it. Didn't want to return so soon. The old cars, the food and the people were so interesting. I loved both of our guides. Lyn and Duanys. Can't leave out our skilled bus driver Yuri. There was music everywhere. Being Hispanic I loved it all. The ride in an old vehicle was a major treat. Planning on going again. Absolutely loved it. Recommend it to all.

 

Hi Adelaida! We’re so glad you wrote a review! Thank you for the wonderful feedback, and we’re excited to hear you’re planning on going back. Let us know when you’re ready!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | September 27, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/17/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Trip of a life time

If you have ever thought about visiting Cuba this is the tour you must take and you must go before Americans walk all over this pristine Country. Lyn Q., Go Ahead Tour guide, has developed this tour after many visits to Cuba. The schedule is outstanding, all of the interactions with the Cuban people were very genuine and meals and accommodations were very good. This is not a tourist tour. You will be required to stay with your group and participate in all activities. This was by far one of the most mentally and physically fascinating trips I have taken. If at all possible schedule your tour with Lyn Q.

 

Hi Carol! We’re so glad you had an outstanding time in Cuba. It certainly is a fascinating country and now is the time to visit! Thank you for your review, and we hope to welcome you on tour again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 19, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 4/3/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Trip of a Lifetime

Our Tour Director, Patrick, was exceptional. He was knowledgeable, spoke the language and was overall friendly and supportive as well as funny and engaging. Our National tour guide was also very good as was our bus driver. Great trip.

 

Hello! We’re so pleased to learn that you enjoyed your tour and Tour Director. Thank you for taking the time to review your experience. We hope to welcome you on tour again!

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

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 2/14/2016

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: MD

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Awesome Tour!!!!

My tour in Cuba was amazing. Our tour guides were both knowledgeable and extremely helpful. They worked together and made sure that the entire group got a great deal of knowledge throughout the whole trip. My time there was memorable :-)

 

Hello! Welcome home, and thank you for your review. We’re thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your Cuba tour and that you found your guides to be knowledgeable and helpful. It’s wonderful to know that you left Cuba with fond memories. We look forward to welcoming you on your next tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 03, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 2/13/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Fantastic trip

This tour exceeded my expectations! I've traveled to many countries and this trip may be the best I've taken. Our engaged, informed and positive tour director, Lyn, lead us on a full schedule of visits to Havana and the middle section of Cuba. We covered so much ground and every day brought new discoveries, fun, knowledge, history and respect for this beautiful country and its people. We were most fortunate to have an excellent Cuban guide, Alejandro, and our experienced driver drove our merry band of travelers approximately a 1,000 miles. If one has to select favorites, the morning spent with Daniel, the architect in Old Havana, the time spent in Sancti Spiritus, the visit to the artist's home in Havana, the visit to Hemingway's home and the music school come to mind. How could I forget our long ride through Havana in a '55 Chevy BelAir convertible! But, truthfully, the entire trip was just wonderful with so many memories. Our travel mates were all there to learn and experience this country and this made for pleasant evening meals in the paladars and time spent on the bus. I would go back to Cuba!

1 / 1
 

Hi Margaret! Thank you for your glowing review. We’re thrilled to hear you had a great time on tour! It sounds like your Tour Director, local guides, and the overall itinerary were very positive aspects of your experience. We’re so glad you enjoyed all the sites as much as we do, such as visiting Ernest Hemingway’s home and exploring the Spanish colonial city of Sancti Spiritus. With an itinerary as comprehensive as this one, it’s hard to choose a favorite stop! It sounds like you were joined by a fantastic group of fellow travelers, which is great for having interesting conversations and striking up new, lasting friendships. If you do want to go back to Cuba, don’t hesitate to give us a call, and we can start planning your return trip. Again, thank you for sharing your experience, and we hope to welcome you on tour again!

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

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 1/17/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Excellent Trip!

Very eye opening step back in time! This was a great trip to experience the Cuban culture and the Cuban people! Top that off with the best tour guide Lyn, made this trip really top notch!

 

Hello! We’re thrilled that you enjoyed your time in Cuba and that your Tour Director was “top notch.” Thank you for choosing Go Ahead, and thank you for reviewing your tour experience!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | February 22, 2016