I’M SORRY, THIS “EVENTURE” IS SOLD OUT – BUT YOU CAN CALL OUR TRAVEL AGENTS TO GET ON THE WAIT-LIST. STAY TUNED FOR OUR NEXT ADVENTURE VACATION COMING SOON!
Join Sonya Lowery’s World Next Door for this UNBELIEVABLE 6th Adventure Vacation to CUBA! We’ll spend 6 awe-inspiring days discovering the sights, sounds and flavors of this virtually untouched destination. Come and experience it with us! It took over 2 months to clear this trip with Cuba, and unfortunately that means that space is limited on this trip, so when we run out of spots, we can not get more. It is truly first come – first served. So make your call and reserve your space today.
Contact our travel agents Suzanne or Greg at (212)297-0955 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot. Tell them YOU ARE TRAVELING WITH ‘WORLD NEXT DOOR’ to CUBA!
DATES: October 17-23, 2016
• Pre-night in Miami on October 17. Your hotel in Miami on this night is provided by smarTours
• Depart for Cuba on October 18
• Return to Miami October 23
TOUR PRICING & PAYMENTS:
• $2699 per person (double occupancy)
• $349 single supplement
• $149 optional Travel insurance
• Deposit: $300 per person payable by check or money order to secure a reservation
• Final Payment: Due July 19th
• All payments must be made by check to keep the rates listed above. Credit card may be used for final payment but rate will increase by $100 per person if traveler chooses to do so.
• Airfare to Miami and from Miami is available at an additional cost. Please inquire with Suzanne at smarTours if you would like your airfare to and from Miami arranged. Airfare to Cuba from Miami is included.
**General Background Information:
Travel to Cuba is a special experience and very different from any other destination!
The tourism infrastructure in Cuba is more limited than what you might be accustomed to. You can expect lower standards at the hotel properties with fewer amenities. On occasion, it may be necessary to make changes to the itinerary while the tour is in progress due to circumstances beyond the control of smarTours and our local partner. Please keep this perspective in mind in advance of and during your tour to this very special country. We will always do our best to be sure that the itinerary and quality closely represents the details contained in this document. This is a very exciting time to travel to Cuba, while tourism is still developing!
smarTours sponsors an authorized form of travel to Cuba following a general license for people-to-people travel (Educational Activities – CFR 515.565). Accordingly, each traveler follows a full time schedule of activities involving meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba to learn about their unique culture.
Below we have included a template for your itinerary, but please know that some of these details may be subject to change.
Mon Oct 17: Arrive in Miami. Overnight in Miami.
You may check into your hotel room in Miami anytime after 3 pm. The mandatory orientation briefing will take place at 8pm at the hotel, and we encourage you to eat dinner before the briefing due to the early wakeup the following morning. Your hotel room in Miami is included in the price of the tour.
Tue Oct 18: Miami to Havana to Varadero.
You will depart Miami early this morning for your flight to Havana! Breakfast is on your own this morning. You may purchase it at the hotel in Miami or at the airport.
Upon arrival in Havana, enjoy a brief city tour of Havana and then lunch at a local paladar. You will be returning to Havana later in the trip to enjoy more time in this fascinating city. After lunch, journey to Varadero and check into your all-inclusive resort. The rest of your afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the beach! Rejoin with the group tonight for a welcome to Cuba dinner. (L, D)
Wed Oct 19: Varadero.
Following breakfast, depart for Cardenas, a quaint port town, where you’ll enjoy visits to artists galleries to gain even further appreciation for the amazing artistic talent in Cuba. Later, visit to the beautiful Casa Dupont (Mansion Xanadu), where you’ll have a welcome drink at the bar of the hotel which features a breathtaking view of Varadero. Enjoy a lunch followed by a rum and cigar tasting. Return to your beach resort, where the balance of the afternoon is at leisure. This evening you will have dinner with the group. (B,L,D)
Thur Oct 20: Varadero/Havana.
After breakfast, depart for Matanzas, the so-called “City of Bridges” and known for its poets, culture, and Afro-Cuban folklore. Following lunch at a local restaurant, explore an old French colonial pharmacy turned into a museum over 40 years ago. Then, visit the Museum of the Slave Route, located in the magnificent San Severino Fortress, where you’ll learn Afro-Cuban culture and folklore. Make a quick stop at the tallest bridge in Cuba for a photo opportunity and then make your way back to Havana. Tonight, you will be our special guests while riding in vintage cars to dinner at a local paladar! (B,L,D)
Fri Oct 21: Havana.
Today you will enjoy a demonstration on cigar rolling. After lunch at a local restaurant, you will be guided by a local architect through Old Havana for a walking tour. You will learn about the entrepreneurial spirit and transformation of a neighborhood by an amazing group of people as well as a community project that provides social support through arts and dance. Learn about the Santeria beliefs, a widely practiced religion in Cuba. Return to your hotel in Havana, and enjoy an independent night and dinner on your own! (B,L)
Sat Oct 22: Havana.
After a delicious breakfast, you’ll head to the magical home of Cuban artist Jose Fuster, who transformed his residence (and surrounding neighborhood) into a brilliant homage to famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. You’ll interact with Fuster’s family and get insight into this world-renowned artist’s life. Then, put on your dancing shoes and make sure you’re thirsty, since next up is a salsa lesson! Here you’ll also learn about mixing Cuban cocktails and get to enjoy your own cocktail.
After lunch at a local paladar, visit Ernest Hemingway’s house (Finca Vigia or “lookout house”), where Hemingway wrote two of his most celebrated novels: For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. Tonight you will enjoy an evening performance at the Cuban Institute of Music where you’ll marvel at the immense musical talent of the Cuban people and listen to an interactive discussion about styles and instruments. Tonight your farewell dinner will take place at a local paladar. (B,L,D)
Sun Oct 23: Havana to Miami.
After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a bit of free time before transferring to the airport. Your flight will touch down in Miami this afternoon. (B)
October 18-20: Varadero: Memories Varadero Resort
October 20-23: Havana: Memories Miramar Havana
Trip Preparation and FAQs:
Please note the details below are effective as of March 15, 2016. Some of this information may change as we get closer to your departure date. In your final travel documents, we will provide the most up to date and accurate information. Please use the information below as a guideline and know that the information will likely change. Always reference your final travel documents and not this document when planning for your trip.
Pre-Night in Miami. You will check in independently at the Miami Airport Marriott Hotel, where you may check in as early as 3pm. The address for the hotel is 1201 NW LeJeune Road, Building A, Miami, Florida, and the phone number is (305) 649-5000. The mandatory orientation briefing will take place at 8pm at the hotel on October 17, and we encourage you to eat dinner before the briefing due to the early wakeup the following morning. The specific meeting room will be listed on the hotel bulletin board. Your Tour Director will hand out required documents for your trip and provide you with other important information in advance of your travel to Cuba, including the schedule for the following morning.
Weather. You should expect average daytime temperatures ranging in the 70s to mid 80s. We recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind. Casual clothes are in order. Since your trip requires some walking, we recommend that you bring along a comfortable pair of walking shoes, a hat to protect you from the sun, and an umbrella.
Credit Cards, ATM Machines & Local currency. Until recently, U.S. credit cards and debit cards were not permitted in Cuba. Although the guidelines are changing and certain credit cards/debit cards may be accepted over time, we continue to recommend that you plan to bring as much as cash as you think you will need for the duration of the trip. At the time of departure, we will advise you if these guidelines have changed.
As for currency, the Cuban Peso (also known as “Moneda Nacional”) is the official currency. However, the Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC) is the currency that most tourists use. You can exchange your money to convertible pesos at airports, hotels, banks, and exchange offices. Please note that exchanging U.S. dollars into CUC is subject to a 13% fee, whereas exchanging Canadian dollars, Euros, and other currency is not subject to this fee. Please also note that you will not be able to exchange torn or ripped bills. Given the absence of credit cards and ATM machines, we recommend each traveler bring at least $600 USD to Cuba. This accounts for a significant cushion in the event of emergency.
Communicating While in Cuba. U.S. cell phones do not work in Cuba, and access to Wi-Fi is extremely limited, except that most hotels have business centers with a computer or two. You may wish to make calls from the hotel room or business center, but you should expect calls to cost approximately $2.50 (or more) per minute. You should also expect to pay $10-15 per hour for Wi-Fi.
Electricity. It is common to find both 110 and 220 throughout Cuba. Sometimes both European and American plugs can be used. It is advisable to bring a converter, if your electronics are not travel-ready (105-240 V).
Shopping. According to U.S. regulations, travelers may bring back $400 USD worth of goods for personal use, of which $100 USD can be in the form of tobacco and alcohol products. Please note that this is subject to change and you will be updated in your final travel documents as to the most updated numbers.
Food. Please note that while many American travelers find the food in Cuba to be quite satisfying, it may not always be easy for the Cuban restaurants to accommodate special dietary requirements such as vegetarian/vegan, salt-free, sugar-free or low-fat meals. While every effort is made to arrange for such meals, their availability cannot be guaranteed. We recommend that if you need a special diet, you bring some non-perishable snacks, such as crackers, chips, dried fruits as well as sweeteners and other items.
Luggage. Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage not to exceed 44 pounds and one carry-on piece not to exceed 18”x10”x8”. Please also note that there is a $20 fee per checked bag imposed by the airlines and should be paid directly by you at the airport in Miami. This fee applies on the flight from Miami to Cuba only.
Daily Journal Requirements. OFAC requires that travelers to Cuba maintain a daily travel journal during their trip. This journal will serve as documentation that your trip to Cuba was consistent with the requirements of the People-to-People travel license. We recommend that you keep your journal for a minimum of five years after the trip.
Flights. Cuba Travel Services chartered flights do not assign seats in advance nor do they accept seat requests. Seats are assigned at the airport upon check-in.
Passport and Visa Information. You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. Aside from your passport, the other required documents (including your visa) will be provided to you at the orientation briefing in Miami.
Tips. A small gratuity to your guides and drivers will be greatly appreciated by them. The recommended amount is $5 per person per day for the Cuban National guide and $3 per person per day for your driver. Of course, it is also customary to tip your Tour Director, for whom we suggest $7 per person per day. As always, gratuities are an individual expression of thanks and should be based on the level of service provided.
Gratuities to restaurant servers: At the beginning of your trip, your tour director will collect from each passenger a total of $10 per person (US dollars in cash) to cover gratuities to restaurant servers for the included meals. This amount is for the entire trip, and it is meant to make your life easier during the trip. Your cooperation is appreciated!
Travel Insurance. Travel Insurance costs $149 per person and can be paid for at the time of deposit or final payment. If you purchase travel insurance, please bring a printed copy of the brochure with you.