Live in the heart of Old Havana, learn Spanish, dance & see Cuba!
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Group Size: Max 30
Trip code: CUCD
Duration: 2 or 4 weeks
Enjoy a unique cultural experience in colourful Cuba. Spend 2 or 4 weeks living in the heart of Old Havana, learn to speak Spanish, go on cultural walks to discover Havana city and even learn some new moves at optional dance classes! This trip also includes awesome weekend trips to the beach and, for 4-week travellers, a weekend visit to the gorgeous Viñales Valley. Explore Cuba and immerse yourself in Cuban life on this incredible adventure!
- Live in a family-run guesthouse in the centre of Old Havana and get to know your group
- Enjoy daily Spanish lessons each weekday, learning the lingo with a local teacher
- Immerse yourself in Cuban local life surrounded by the amazing architecture, lively bars and music scene of historic Havana as you go on 3 great included cultural walks around the city weekly
- Take three incredible weekend trips away, including two day trips to the beach and one overnight stay in the stunning Viñales Valley (2-week travellers will have one beach trip included only)
- Learn some Salsa, Rumba or Mambo moves at 2 weekly dance classes (optional) and then dance the night away in Havana’s best nightspots
Enjoy a 2 or 4-week immersive experience in the charming country of Cuba, including Spanish lessons, cultural activities and weekend excursions.
Stay in the Heart of Old Havana!
You will be staying with your group and other travellers in a family-run guesthouse, nestled among a maze of streets bursting with beautiful neo-classical buildings, right in the heart of Old Havana. You’ll soon settle in to your home from home!
On your arrival day (Sunday) you will have a welcome meeting in the late afternoon/early evening at which you will be given useful advice and information about your trip. Please ensure you arrive during the Sunday morning so you have time to settle in before this meeting.
As part of this amazing programme, you will enjoy inclusive Spanish lessons held every weekday morning, taught by a local accredited and licensed Cuban teacher.
On the first day, you will take a short test to establish your level of Spanish and plan your personal learning objectives in an introductory 1-hour session. From then on you will be learning at either beginner, intermediate or advanced level with one of three local teachers.
After breakfast each weekday you will gather at 9 a.m. to begin your lesson. You will be asked to bring your own notebook and pens to each lesson but you will be provided with handouts. After your lesson is over, you can head out and practise your spoken Spanish in the city.
On average there will be 4-8 students per learning group and classes run for around 2-3 hours daily. Please be aware that all lessons will be taught completely in Spanish, so you’ll soon pick up some new Spanish language skills! In the evening you will have some homework to do and the group can help each other learn even more Spanish as you relax together and complete your homework assignments.
Cultural Walks Around Havana
An extraordinary combination of cultural influences makes Havana one of the most interesting cities to explore, and as part of this programme you can join some guided cultural walks around the city. You will have the option to join up to three city walks per week, running on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There will be the chance to stop off in museums (entry fees are extra and at your own cost, approx £5-£10 per museum) or just soak up the vibe on the streets.
For each of the three weekends on the 4-week programme we have planned some exciting, inclusive excursions so you can make the most of your time in Cuba. On two of the weekends you will be accompanied on a 30-minute bus ride (occasionally you may travel by taxi instead, dependent on numbers) and take a day trip to a beautiful beach, located east of Havana.
One weekend will be spent taking a 2-night trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Viñales, located a 3-hour drive from Havana. Famous for its tobacco farms, karst valleys, spectacular scenery and atmospheric caves, this charming town is the ideal spot for an unforgettable stay. You will enjoy an included horse-trek and visit a tobacco drying house, where you'll learn how Cub'a world-famous cigars are produced.
Please note: Travellers on the 2-week programme will have one guided trip to the beach included only. If you wish, an overnight trip to Viñales can be arranged for an extra cost of approximately USD120.
Optional Dance Classes
As part of this unique cultural adventure, you have the option to take two inclusive dance classes per week at a local dance school. Lessons are held after lunch on a Tuesday and a Thursday, running for 1 hour between 2-3p.m. You’ll be put through your paces by expert dance instructors and you’ll then be paired up with a Cuban dancer and learn how to move! Then head out and make the most of Havana’s lively nightlife - It’s the best way of doing homework you could hope for!
Your afternoons, evenings and weekends are free time for you to discover the wonderful city of Havana, or explore further afield in Cuba.
Your centrally-located guesthouse in historic Old Havana is an ideal base to explore this unique city. There are 5 fascinating museums and at least 6 bars only a short walk from your front door, plus lively nightlife, music and restaurants and a charming coastal promenade, plus the beach is only a short bus ride away.
Or check out some of Cuba’s best destinations further afield, which include:
- Maria la Gorda
- Santiago de Cuba
If you would like to see some of Cuba’s best bits in one top tour, why not add in our awesome 1-week Cuba Experience tour after your programme is over?
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You should arrange your arrival into Havana airport on Sunday morning, so you have time to settle in and acclimatise before your welcome meeting, which will be held in the late afternoon/early evening. An arrival transfer is included and you will be met by a driver from a local taxi firm, who will be holding a sign with your name on it. Transfer time is approximately 40 minutes and you will be taken directly to your family-run guesthouse accommodation, where you will be met and welcomed by your hosts.
Departure day is Sunday. A return transfer to the airport is not included but your hosts can help you arrange this for an approximate extra cost of USD35..
All your accommodation is included during your stay in Cuba. You will stay in a traditional family-run guesthouse in the heart of Old Havana. The guesthouse covers three floors of a tall, typically Cuban building and the family will welcome you and soon make you feel at home. The family speak English although once you’ve learnt some Spanish you will soon be practising your Spanish skills! It’s the ideal way to get immersed in the Cuban way of life, get to know your host family and live among the locals.
The location of your accommodation couldn’t be better. You’re right in the heart of amazing Old Havana, which offers a slice of the real, authentic Cuba. Havana is known as one of Latin America’s safest cities, and is on your doorstep just waiting to be explored! Your accommodation is located only a few minutes’ walk from 5 fascinating museums, great restaurants, and at least 6 bars. Step outside and soak up the atmosphere of this buzzing city!
The guesthouse sleeps a maximum of 22 people and you will be staying together with your Gap 360 group, as well as living alongside other travellers. All rooms have air-con and windows. Please note: At busy times of year we may also use other local family-run guesthouses, which offer the same facilities.
You will be staying in a single-sex shared bedroom (dorm-style, sleeping 6 people per single-sex room) with shared bathrooms. Rooms have fans and hot water is available, although may be limited. The rooms are clean but more basic than you might be used to at home. Bedding is provided. If you are travelling as a couple please contact a travel advisor about other rooming options.
You will have use of a communal living room with a balcony with a view of the lively Havana streets, plus private study areas and dining rooms. There is also a large terrace where you can seek out the sun and do your Spanish homework (however, be aware that you can’t strip down to your bikini here as it’s overlooked by the neighbours and this may cause offence).
For 4-week travellers, 2 nights' accommodation is included in the Viñales Valley on a weekend excursion. You will be staying with a local family in a guesthouse, with similar facilities to your Havana accommodation.
If you wish to book any extra nights’ accommodation in Havana before or after your programme, these can be added in for a cost of £18 per night. Please ask for more details.
Internet access: Please note that Cuba does not have much accessible internet access and Wi-Fi will NOT be available during your stay in Cuba. There is one hotel, around 10 minutes walk from your guesthouse, which has one accessible computer with internet access, in case of emergencies. Otherwise, just enjoy the chance to switch off from technology for a while and soak up the atmosphere of this unique country without distractions!
Phones: The mobile phone signal in Cuba is generally good, but as there is no internet access please ensure that your phone is topped up before you go! During your orientation walk in Havana you will be taken to somewhere where you can buy a phonecard (approx cost 10CUC) and you can then make calls from your guesthouse landline or from payphones in the city.
Security: We advise that you bring a padlock to secure your bags. Bedrooms are lockable and each bed is fitted with a small security lock-up (padlock not included). The family are happy to look after any particular valuables if you wish. The family live in the building with you, and there is also a night guard who will let you in if you arrive back after a night out.
What to bring: We also recommend you bring a towel with you, to take to the beach, plus it’s always handy to have plenty of tissues with you as toilet paper can be scarce in most public places and restaurants in Cuba!
Spending money: We recommend you allow spending money of around £150 per week if you want to make the most of your free time while in Cuba. The ATM network is not reliable so we recommend you bring your spending money with you in cash (in British Pounds or Euros, US Dollars are difficult to exchange) and change it a bit at a time. You should bring your ATM card as backup. During orientation you will be told where to exchange money into tourist currency (CUC) and you can also exchange some money into the local currency (CUP) which can be used to pay for meals in local restaurants etc.
Breakfasts and lunches are included 7 days a week as part of this programme. Evening meals are not included on this trip, but there are plenty of tasty local options to choose from.
You will eat your inclusive meals together with the host family and the other guests. Breakfasts are served between 7.30-8.30a.m in the dining room and consist of fresh fruit (typically guava, papaya and pineapple), a cheese toastie and eggs (cooked to your preference). Coffee and a range of teas are provided. Water is provided but we recommend you buy bottled water locally (around 70p per bottle).
Lunch is served between 12.30-1.30p.m., after your Spanish lessons are over. Lunch consists daily of rice, beans and salad served with meat (often pork). Please note that your inclusive meals will be the same or similar meals every day as there is not a wide variety of choice available in Cuba, so you may find the cuisine a bit repetitive! However, as evening meals are not included, you can seek out some different options in local restaurants.
Vegetarians can be catered for although be aware that meat is mainly substituted with eggs in Cuban meals. There is no halal or kosher food available in Cuba and pork is the main meat on offer. Please contact us if you have any concerns or questions about your specific dietary requirements.
There are plenty of local cafes and restaurants close by which offer affordable and delicious food for your dinner options. An average meal out will cost around £5-£6, although if you want to splash out on a really special meal, allow around £10. You should allow around 70p to buy a drink of water, or around £1.50-£2 per alcoholic drink, and there are plenty of local bars to choose from!
The minimum age to join this trip is 18.
A "Tourist Card", valid for 30 days, is required for most nationalities to travel to Cuba, for a cost of around £20. Many airlines to Cuba include the cost of this card in the flight cost and distribute the card during the flight. Some airlines do not provide this card, so it is best to call your airline and ask about it prior to travel. Tourist cards are also available from a Cuban consulate or embassy. If you wish to extend your stay in Cuba, the team there can help you to extend your tourist card for a further 30 days for a cost of around £30.
Upon arrival to Cuba, keep your Tourist Card in a safe place, as it is necessary to show at all homestays and also upon departure from the country.