The Adventure

Fidel Castro once said, “North Americans don’t understand … our country is not just Cuba; our country is also humanity.” And it’s for that very understanding, a human one,  that we’re setting off to discover what lays behind the old Comandante’s words.

Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 3.36.00 PMCuba is changing. And changing fast. Rad is itching to get us down to the Pearl of The Antilles before some godforsaken Club Med or Senor Frog’s pops up on the beach. Because we want to see things as they truly are and understand the humanity of this place (before, during, and beyond) its revolutionary past, GlobeKick is going on a people-centric adventure through the heart of this often misunderstood paradise. We’ll be exploring the sun-bathed beaches, patrolling the pastel colored streets, and humming along with those 1950s diesel engines … never far from real connections with locals and support of real Cuban-owned businesses. We’re all traveling down on visas of Support for the Cuban People. And what could be cooler than that?!

Its vibrant colors, unique cultural heritage, and rich history will be our backdrop as we explore the streets of Havana during the first part of our six day adventure.

We’ll then head into the hinterland of tobacco country, rolling through some of the most scenic venues Cuba has to offer. Nestled in a fertile valley surrounded by the Sierra de los Órganos mountain range, Viñales is world renown for its gorgeous terrain, rustic plantations, limestone caves, and the hospitality of its people. Choose to sit back and enjoy the scenery while sipping mojitos, take a horseback tour of a plantation nearby, work up a sweat scaling the local limestone cliffs, or mix-and-match it all. Cuba is calling.

Activities

  • Cultural Touring
  • Cuisine Indulging
  • Cigar Sampling
  • Plantation Relaxing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Rock Climbing
  • Spelunking

Accommodations

2 nights in Havana Bed & Breakfast (shared room)

3 nights in Viñales Countryside Casa (shared room)

Itinerary

Day 1-Day 2: Meet Us in Havana

  • We will gather at noon on our first day in Havana at Restaurant Van Van, just a short walk from the Museo de la Revolución. Together we’ll enjoy the funky confines, delicious tapas, and warm vibes of this tucked-away gem a little off the beaten tourist path in Old Havana. After lunch we’ll then embark on a city walking-tour to truly get amongst the history and vibrancy of things; touring sights such as El Capitolio, Paseo de Marti, and Museo de Bellas Artes Cubano. After an early evening siesta, we’ll reconvene for our first night on the town at Legendarios del Guajirito Buena Vista Social Club. With the sights and sounds of our first day drifting into the wee hours, you’ll feel truly arrived. Where am I? What year is it? Is this place a Spanish capital? Is it Rio? Or Miami? No no no. Es Cuba. Esto es ahora. Y hemos llegado!
  • Following breakfast at our hacienda on Day 2, we’ll make our way to visit one of the most iconic places on the entire Island: The New Partegas Factory. As they unequivocally preach over at Cigar Aficionado:

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Taj Mahal of India, New York City’s Empire State Building—each edifice strikes a chord of recognition for its place. In Havana, the building that enjoys such emblematic stature is the Partagás Real Fabrica de Tabacos.

  • After our tour, maybe you catch a ride in a taxi particular over to walk El Malecón at sunset. Or, twist a few arms into joining you for the quintessential Havana two-step: La Bodeguita del Medio for a mojito and El Floridita for a daiquiri.
  • Whether it was a relaxing stroll with new friends along the shoreline of Malecón to the Callejón de Hamel, or that third mojito that did it, or both … you’re ready for dancing. We’ll spend our last night in Havana with dance lessons (salsa, rumba, or son cubano) and plenty of laughs, as we move, groove, and exude the rhythms of our adventure.

Day 3-6: The Land and its People

  • After a chill morning in Havana (maybe you stroll the streets of Barrio Chino or thumb through book titles at the book market of Plaza de Armas), we’ll take a shuttle together to Viñales Casa at 12:45pm.
  • Spending a leisurely day  noticing the change of climate and pacing eases us into a relaxing evening with good friends, food, and wine.
  • Our following days in Viñales will start with breakfasts as provided and unfold by enjoying the pace of Cuban country living through daily activities involving:
  1. horseback riding (lessons provided)
  2. plantation touring
  3. hiking
  4. caving (optional upgrade)
  5. motor-scooting (optional upgrade)
  • Our nights will be spent enjoying each others’ company over fabulous and fun group dinners.

Day 7: Bringing It All into Focus

  • Anthony Bourdain once said, “I can’t think of another place that’s been less f*cked by time than Havana.” As our time draws to a close on this last day, whether returning to the Capital or not (transportation will be provided to Havana for those wishing to return), we’ve got plenty of experience to look back on, to remember from our week of adventure, to now be our own judges on the matter.
  • It’s maybe on our ride back to Havana that you’re thinking it. Or maybe it occurs to you as you hire a taxi to go on farther west into the Guanahacabibes … The Cuban people are about as open-hearted, friendly, relentlessly curious, and sophisticated about nearly everything as any whom you’ve met.
  • Who knows what’s ahead for Cuba. No one for sure. But if you can, you should come here with your eyes open and see it. See everything you can — both the good and the bad. Look at it because it’s beautiful and it’s still here.

Provisions

What's Included

Guided Touring Experience of Old Havana on Day 1

Two nights of lodging in Havana (breakfasts and filtered water included)*

Two hours of Cuban dancing lessons

Cigar Factory (The New Partegas Factory) Tour

Havana City Sunset Bicycle Tour

Roundtrip, private shuttle transfer to Viñales

Three nights of lodging in Viñales (breakfasts and filtered water included)*

Horseback Plantation Tour

Three Group Dinners

What's Not Included

Transportation from your hometown to group meet-up point on Day 1 at Havana Lunch location

Insurance of any kind

Lunches, some Dinners, Snacks

Transfers beyond those included

Alcoholic beverages and/or Soft Drinks

Visas, Associated Travel Fees

Items of a Personal Nature

Dates

February 2019

Group Size

25-30 GlobeKickers

Suggested Airport

José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havana, Cuba

Weather

Thanks to its tropical climate, Havana and Viñales enjoy a never ending summer. In February average temperatures go from 63°F at night to 79°C in the middle of the day. With an average of 6 hours of sunshine per day in February and water temperatures of 79°F, swimming conditions are perfect. Total precipitation does not exceed more than 24mm over 4 days of rain in the month. In February, the comfort weather index score in Cuba reaches an excellent 90/100.

Gear List

Required

  • Passport and Required Visa (this will be furnished by your airline upon exit flight)

Support for the Cuban People. Those traveling for activities in support of the Cuban people, provided that the activities are of recognized human rights organizations; independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy; or individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba (31 C.F.R. 515.574).

Please note: participating in a GlobeKick Adventure meets the above criteria.

  • Some US dollars in cash! You won’t be able to withdraw any money from your US bank account. You’ll get CUC in exchange to use in Cuba as the country has two currencies – one for tourists and one for locals.
  • Major Credit Cards
  • Sunglasses
  • Brimmed Hat
  • 1 pair of water resistant sandals 
  • Microfiber Towel
  • Ear plugs
  • Eye mask
  • Snacks or energy bars
  • Hydro Flask water bottle
  • Small backpack or day pack
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Hair brush & hair product
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Face wash
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Hand sanitizer or handy wipes
  • Eye-glasses and/or contacts
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip-balm (with SPF)
  • Nail clippers & tweezers
  • Body lotion
  • Prescription medicine (make a note of active ingredients in addition to brand in case of loss)
  • Motion sickness remedy
  • Pain relievers
  • Calamine lotion
  • Diarrhea remedy
  • Hydration tablets
  • Allergy medicine (& EpipPen if serious)
  • Standard first-aid-kit with bandages
  • Sleeping aid for travel
  • 1 pair of long pants
  • 1 light long sleeve shirt
  • 1 pair of close-toed comfortable for walking or hiking
  • 1 outfit for going out (dress or nice shirt)
  • No more than 7 t-shirts or tank tops
  • No more than 5 shorts or skirts
  • P.J.’s
  • No more than 7 sets of underwear and socks. (Quick drying are best)
  • A few extra t-shirts or other clothes that you don’t mind leaving behind, as many Cubans will ask you to leave them some clothes.

Recommended

  • Headphones
  • Cell phone
  • Camera if you’re using something other than your phone
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Laptop if you have to stay caught up with work
  • If you’re coming from the US or Canada you do not need a plug adapter. Be sure to check.
  • Tablet or E-reader

Optional

  • Camera and Accessories
  • Compass
  • GoPro (great for surfing, fishing or ATV’ing!)
  • GoPro Floaty (if you’re planning to surf)
  • Maps
  • Small Multitool

Travel Documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Support for the Cuban People Visa Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Photo Identification
  • Color Copy of Passport Identification Page

The GlobeKicker Gauges

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1 = lowest and 10 = highest