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Highlights of Mexico and Cuba
Cuba, Mexico - Trip code MXCN Discovery
Days 16
Deposit From £290
Price from £2899
Flights inclusive
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Why book this trip?

This adventurous journey takes us from the sprawling capital of Mexico City out towards the Yucatan coast at Playa del Carmen, with only a short onwards hop to the culturally unique island of Cuba. We explore indigenous villages and beautifully preserved colonial towns, discovering three different Maya sites, culminating in the famous ruins at Chichen Itza, as well as taking a boat trip through the vast Sumidero Canyon. Flying on to Cuba, the incredible music scenes of Havana and Trinidad await us with cocktails and salsa dancing. As well as the lively city-life and fascinating history, we also discover Cuba's spectacular natural beauty, taking in its pristine beaches, unspoilt forests and the dramatic landscape of Vinales. Now is undoubtedly a fantastic time to visit Cuba to see and experience the island. Visiting Cuba is like stepping back in time as little has changed over the past 50 years. To fully enjoy the Cuban experience you should travel with a willingness to expect the unexpected and, above all, an adventurous spirit.

    • Included meals

      Breakfast: 7

    • Trip staff

      Explore Tour Leader

      Driver(s)

      Local Guide(s)

    • Transport

      Bus

      Boat

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      Accommodation

      7 nights simple casas particulares

      8 nights standard hotel

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      Trip pace:

      Moderate

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      Group Size:

      12 - 18

    Itinerary

    Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

    Day 1 - Join trip in Mexico City

    Check-in at our hotel in Mexico City. Modern day Mexico City was built on top of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan by the Spaniards, after their conquest of the city. Today this busy, lively city boasts a wealth of historical buildings, museums and markets.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 2 - Visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids; city tour of Mexico City

    On our first day in Mexico City we will drive out to the mysterious pyramids of Teotihuacan. Although abandoned thirteen centuries ago, they are still an unbelievable sight. Once the largest city in the Americas with perhaps 100,000 inhabitants, its influence continued through Middle America, and Maya craftsmen borrowed its decorative motifs and building designs. Centuries later the Aztecs revered Teotihuacan as 'the Place of the Gods'. Returning to the downtown area, we have time for a city tour of the huge Zocalo (main square) area, the cathedral and the National Palace with its murals of the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera, depicting Mexican Independence. Many of these key sights were build on top of Tenochtitlan, the old Aztec capital.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 3 - Fly to Tuxtla Airport; boat trip through the Sumidero Canyon en route to San Cristobal

    This morning we fly to Tuxtla airport, in the state of Chiapas, and set off for the spectacular Sumidero Canyon, a unique rift 41km long and up to 1000m deep, cut by the Rio Grijalva. This is the spot where, allegedly, in the 16th century, some 1000 Chiapa peoples committed suicide rather than submit to Spanish rule. We take a trip on a speed boat to fully appreciate the towering gorge, before driving up a scenic mountain road to San Cristobal de las Casas, the small colonial and indigenous town located high in the tree-lined Chiapas range. At 2210m above sea level, it can get quite cold at night!

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 4 - Visit nearby indigenous villages; free afternoon to explore San Cristobal

    Setting out northwest of San Cristobal, we drive to the traditional villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan to discover a completely different side to Mexico. These two villages are strongly indigenous, and practice an interesting blend of Catholicism and traditional Maya beliefs', which is evident from a visit to the local churches. After exploring the villages we head back to San Cristobal for free time to spend wandering around the shops, squares and markets of the small town. Indigenous groups from the surrounding hills fill the town and marketplace with their colourful dress, including the distinctive Tzotzil people who still retain much of their Maya customs and language. They are noted for their bright textiles and weavings in bold designs, and this is the place to barter for some colourful souvenirs. This afternoon you may wish to visit the Na Bolom, the House of the Jaguar, which is dedicated to the preservation of the Lacandon tribe and displays many of their artefacts, or the Kakaw museum where you can learn about the history and production of chocolate in the area.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 5 - Travel to Palenque via the Agua Azul and Misol Ha Waterfalls

    Leaving the highlands, the road is slow and winding, but there are beautiful views over forests and mountains as we descend to the jungles of Palenque. We plan to make two stops on our drive, to the waterfalls of Agua Azul and Misol Ha. At Agua Azul the powerful water tumbles over a series of limestone steps, before hitting the water below. The clear waters make this a popular weekend picnic spot for Mexicans and travellers alike. Misol Ha, on the other hand, has a long drop cascade that we can walk behind and into a small cave, an awesome place to witness the power of nature. The stunning 30m high waterfall was featured in the opening credits of the movie 'Predator'. After an afternoon of bathing we continue to our hotel in Palenque.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 6 - Discover the important Maya site of Palenque; continue by bus to Campeche

    One of the highlights of our trip is today's guided visit to the famous jungle ruins of Palenque, a fascinating and important Maya site. Once the choking forest was cleared, the ruins revealed the tomb of the high priest Pakal, his body adorned with a marvellous jade death mask - one of the most prized relics of the Maya culture, discovered only in 1952. The entire site, shrouded by the steamy rainforest, has an aura of deep mystery. After our visit we continue to the stunningly well-preserved colonial city of Campeche, which we explore on foot. This UNESCO Heritage city was constantly sieged by pirates and is thus the only walled city in Mexico It is almost so well maintained that it feels like a storybook town, and we will wander the walled ramparts, narrow cobblestoned roads, boulevard and pastel coloured buildings this afternoon. Beyond the walls of the old city, there is a bustling coastal town, with frenetic market activity, an inviting waterfront and old fishing docks to walk around.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 7 - Visit the ancient Maya city of Uxmal and drive to Merida

    The next stop on our journey is the ancient site of Uxmal. Encircled by hills, Uxmal is expansive in its design with majestic palaces and pyramids. Long geometrical friezes rank among the most splendid examples of ancient American Art. The incredible Pyramid of the Magician and the beautiful Governor's Palace are two of the finest examples of Maya art anywhere. Later in the day we drive to Merida, famed for its beautiful Spanish-Moorish style architecture, where we have time to wander along the narrow streets watching the horse-drawn carriages rattle past. Alternatively there is an option to visit the Mundo Maya Museum, with its interesting displays and artefacts from the Maya culture.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 8 - Explore Chichen Itza and head to Playa del Carmen

    This morning we drive via the colonial backwater of Izamal, notable for the bright yellow convent of San Antonio de Padua, to Chichen Itza. Founded in AD432, re-founded in 987 and conquered by the Toltecs in the 10th century, the culture of the Maya and the Toltec gradually fused. The pyramids, palaces, temples and ball court (where death was the penalty for defeat) are adorned with astonishing sculptures. Under the pressure of the civil war, the great monuments deteriorated and the Maya civilisation collapsed. Chichen Itza remains one of the most outstanding sites in the Americas. After a lengthy visit we drive to our final hotel in Playa del Carmen.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 9 - Depart Mexico and fly to Havana

    We have our final breakfast in Mexico this morning, before heading up to Cancun Airport for our flight to Havana. Some members of our Mexico group may be returning to the UK, but anyone continuing to Havana will be booked onto the same flight. This day is unguided, as your Cuban Explore Leader will not join you until tomorrow morning, along with the rest of our 'Best of Western Cuba' tour group. Arriving in the late afternoon, you will journey to your centrally located 'casa particular', or local guesthouse. On arrival to the main 'reception casa' in Havana, you will be met by the host and shown to your room in one of the other casas located nearby. Each casa can only accommodate a handful of guests, giving you a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.

    Havana is a fascinating city. In 'Old Havana', Spanish grand colonial buildings rub shoulders with those of glorious art deco style, as the ubiquitous old American cars and taxis cruise past. After years of neglect some of these magnificent buildings are being restored, and it is not hard to imagine back to Havana's glamourous heyday when it was a popular haunt of the rich and famous. One of the first to be restored was the impressive art deco style Bacardi Building. Today Havana has something for everyone including museums, shopping and street cafes. At night the city's legendary music and cocktail bars come into their own.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Casas Particulares

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 10 - Tour of Havana's highlights, free afternoon

    Today, we explore modern-day Havana, with its mixture of restored and crumbling architectural marvels. Walking through the Vieja (old) district, we will discover the baroque cathedral, beautiful neoclassical buildings and the Plaza de Armas (main square). On our travels, we will doubtless see many brightly-painted vintage cars - the result of legislation enforced until 2011 ruling that only cars built before the 1959 revolution could be sold. We may also notice the lack of advertising - nothing but political exhortations are allowed. Passing by the famous Capitolio building, modelled on the White House, we are likely to see kids playing the hugely popular game of baseball in its grounds.

    During your free afternoon, you may choose to visit the fascinating Museum of the Revolution, housed in the impressive former Presidential Palace. The City Museum is also worth a visit, exhibiting art and historical artefacts in rooms preserved with their original Colonial decoration. In the late afternoon, once the freshening cool breeze blows in from the Caribbean, you may be tempted to enjoy a lively sunset stroll along the Malecon. Alternatively, you may prefer to visit the famous cigar factory.

    Later this afternoon, we will enjoy a cocktail making class where we can learn to make some of Cuba's famous drinks including mojitos and pina coladas.

    This evening, we have the option to sample some of the capital's famous nightlife. El Floridita is as celebrated for its daiquiris as it is for having been a favourite hangout for Ernest Hemingway. Likewise, the Hotel Ambos Mundos is another Hemingway landmark where the 1954 Nobel Prize winner and author of 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' lived for several years. Its roof terrace serves up exceptional mojitos - the traditional Cuban cocktail.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Casas Particulares

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 11 - Full day trip to the picturesque Vinales countryside

    After travelling a couple of hours west, we reach what is arguably the most picturesque part of Cuba - the Vinales region. Here, surreal mountains jut out of the landscape, formed by the erosion of limestone over millions of years. These 'mogotes' translate as 'haystacks' - a good word for them considering their steep sides and rounded, jungly tops. Around them, the iron-rich, red soil creates a patchwork of fields growing some of the best tobacco in the world - the raw material for Cuba's celebrated cigars.

    Before our return to Havana for the night, we have the option of a two-hour trek through the valleys of this remarkable landscape to the village of El Palmarito. Mogotes tower above us as we pass through tobacco fields and past drying barns.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Casas Particulares

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 12 - Drive to Trinidad via the Bay of Pigs Museum

    Today, we head east across Cuba, driving through giant citrus and sugar plantations and out on to the Zapata Peninsula. Our journey is broken up with a wonderful swimming opportunity in a 'cenote' (pool) where the ceiling of an underground river has collapsed. We plan to arrive in Playa Giron by mid-afternoon. Here we will visit the museum dedicated to the infamous 'Bay of Pigs' invasion - a US-supported attack by Cuban exiles which failed to overthrow the Communist regime in 1961.

    Our journey continues, past the wooded Escambray Mountains and hugging the coastline, with views over the sparkling turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. By early evening, we will arrive at our hotel just outside the beautiful Spanish colonial town of Trinidad - our base for the next three nights, where we will enjoy local hospitality staying in casas particulares (private houses).

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Casas Particulares

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 13 - In Trinidad; tour of this pretty colonial town

    This morning, we wander through the cobbled streets of the old centre of Trinidad, discovering its fine palaces, churches and cafes. A paradise for photographers, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a perfectly preserved colonial settlement unlike any other. In the early 19th century, French settlers fleeing a slave revolt in Haiti, landed here and started to grow sugar cane in the Valle de Los Ingenios. This crop generated considerable wealth and consequently the town had to be regularly defended from pirates.

    Subject to opening hours, we will visit a local museum before some free time where you may wish to wander for longer through Trinidad's streets to soak up more of the unique atmosphere. Mid afternoon we will enjoy a salsa dancing class where you can learn some basic steps to perhaps try out later that evening at the open-air Casa de la Musica, just off the main square.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Casas Particulares

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 14 - Free day; optional trip to Topes or boat trip to Cayo Las Iguanas

    Today is free for you to enjoy more of Cuba's beautiful landscapes and fascinating culture at your own pace. You may wish to take the short train journey out to the Sugar Mills Valley to Manaca Iznaga where you will have the opportunity to visit the Hacienda of the Family Iznaga, one of the richest in Trinidad during Colonial Times. Another option is to head into the Escambray Mountains to the Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve Park. With its unspoilt forests and water-eroded valleys, this area is famous for its many endemic species of flora and fauna. There are several different options involving short walks through the coffee growing area and rainforest. Most trips will drive up to some incredible viewpoints and several of the options offer an opportunity of a refreshing swim in one of its waterfalls finished off with a traditional creole lunch in one of the local haciendas. Your leader will run through these different options with you.

    Alternatively, you may wish to visit the deserted island of Cayo Las Iguanas. Here you can eat fresh paella, relax on the beach and snorkel in the coral wilderness. Snorkelling equipment is not always available, so keen snorkelers might prefer to bring their own.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Casas Particulares

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 15 - Return to Havana via Santa Clara

    Today we bid farewell to Trinidad and make our way back to Havana, via Santa Clara. This pleasant university town was originally a prosperous agricultural area, well-placed on the island's trading route. Now, it is most famous as the site of the last battle of the Revolution, in which Che Guevara's troops took the city, causing the Cuban dictator, Batista, to flee into exile.

    After visiting the Tren Blindado Memorial commemorating this historic event, we move on to Che's Mausoleum. Guevara was buried here with full military honours in 1997 after his exhumed remains were discovered in Bolivia and returned to Cuba. A flame lit by Fidel Castro burns eternally to honour a national hero who played a key role in Cuba's revolution and whose image is routinely displayed throughout the country. We will also visit the museum dedicated to Guevara's life, containing many interesting letters and artefacts.

    This evening, we return to Havana to enjoy a final dinner and probably a dance.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Casas Particulares

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 16 - Trip ends Havana

    Our trip ends in Havana after breakfast.

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Trip information

    Country information

    Cuba

    Climate

    The dry season is from November to April. Average temperatures are 22-26C. Though the sky is often cloudless during the dry season, cold wet snaps do come in from North America especially in Dec and Jan, when the temperatures can drop to as low as 5C at night. From May to October there are normally fine mornings and clear evenings, afternoon rains tend to be short & heavy. Temperatures are hot and humid.

    Time difference to GMT

    -5

    Plugs

    2 Pin Flat and 2 Pin Round

    Religion

    60% Catholic

    Language

    Spanish

    Mexico

    Climate

    Mexico is a vast country whose weather varies by season and region. The optimum time to travel is generally between December and April when rainfall is at a minimum. Temperatures are coolest between December and February and temperatures start to rise from March and the hottest months are May, June and July. The rainy season runs from May until October when humidity and temperatures are highest. The rains tend to be intense and short, clearing the humidity before building up again. The Caribbean coast can be affected by hurricane season between June and November. Please bear in mind that at altitude the temperatures can drop considerably at night and sudden changes can occur at any time.

    Time difference to GMT

    -6

    Plugs

    2 Pin Flat

    Religion

    Roman Catholic, Protestant

    Language

    Spanish is the official language, but around 50 languages/dialects are also spoken by the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

    Budgeting and packing

    Optional activities

    The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


    Mexico City - Folkloric Ballet US$80-120; Frida Kahlo Museum US$14 (plus transport to Coyoacan)
    San Cristobal - Na Bolom US$5; Kakaw Museum US$2 ; Kakaw Chocolate workshop US$20
    Merida - Mundo Maya Museum US$20



    Clothing

    Warmer clothing is needed in the highlands (San Cristobal and Mexico City), which are mostly mild, but temperatures can drop dramatically at night. Pack a fleece and some long sleeved clothing for protection from sun and insects. Lightweight rainwear is essential. In general, winter is dry and summer wet. Casual clothes are acceptable. Shorts are acceptable everywhere except in churches.

    Footwear

    Bring walking boots if you have them, otherwise comfortable shoes/trainers with a good grip and sandals.

    Luggage

    20kg

    Luggage: On tour

    One main piece of baggage and a daysack. Remember - you are expected to carry your own luggage
    so don't overload yourself.

    Equipment

    An umbrella is useful for tropical downpours. A torch and waterbottle are recommended. Bring insect repellent, sunscreen and a sunhat.

    Tipping

    Explore leader
    Tour Leader: At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
    Local crew
    Local Crew: Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.

    Accordingly you should allow approx. US$40 for gratuities for local staff. 10% is expected in restaurants.

    Cuba

    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


    Dinner price
    £12.00-15.00
    Beer price
    £2
    Water price
    £1.5
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC).
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    US dollars are no longer accepted in shops and other businesses, tourists and Cubans exchanging dollars will have to pay a 20% commission. We recommend you take clean Euro, Canadian dollars or Sterling cash as these are easier to exchange. Please note that Scottish Pounds are not accepted in Cuba.
    Where To Exchange
    Your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
    ATM Availability
    Available in major towns. Always have some cash as back-up as they are not always reliable
    Credit Card Acceptance
    Please note credit and debit cards associated with American Banks are not accepted. Credit cards are useful and can be used in many places, but may be subject to a 10% service charge
    Travellers Cheques
    We do not recommend Travellers Cheques. Amex Travellers Cheques are not accepted.

    Mexico

    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


    Breakfast price
    £5
    Lunch price
    £7
    Dinner price
    £13
    Beer price
    £2
    Water price
    £0.7
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Mexican New Peso
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    We recommend to take a minimum equivalent of GBP 300 - 400 of your total spending money in cash for a two / three week trip (approx. GBP 200 for the CMX). USD are not widely accepted in stores and restaurants however they can be exchanged in all major towns and cities. Sterling can only be exchanged in Mexico City. Mexican cash can be obtained from ATMs that are available in most major cities. Sterling or Dollar notes should be in good condition otherwise they might be difficult to exchange. MX/MXY/MXS customers – on arrival in Mexico city airport we recommend that you use one of the many ATM´s at the airport to directly get local currency, or change GBP or USD at a currency exchange for the start of your trip. For those continuing to Guatemala on the MX/Y we also recommend you change approximately GBP 50-60 into Guatemalan Quetzals at Mexico city airport as there is no longer an exchange at the border crossing into Guatemala.
    Where To Exchange
    Your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
    ATM Availability
    Available in Major towns. Always have some cash as back-up as they are not always reliable
    Credit Card Acceptance
    Credit cards are useful and can be used in many places, but may be subject to a 10% service charge
    Travellers Cheques
    Available in Major towns. Always have some cash as back-up as they are not always reliable
    Transport, Accommodation & Meals

    Transport Information

    Bus, Boat

    Accommodation notes

    During your stay in Cuba you will be staying in casas particulares - this is a Spanish term meaning private accommodation or homestay. Staying in a casa offers the visitor a unique opportunity to experience Cuban hospitality in local accommodation adapted for tourism. The number of rooms, quality, facilities and access to other areas of the house such as the living room varies massively but as a general rule the majority of Casas are clean, basic, centrally located and can host only a handful of guests. Casas are generally run by the owner and members of the family that live there and the standard of English spoken will vary from zero to fluent, which is a good opportunity for you to practice your Spanish. They are often full of history, family photos and memorabilia, providing you with a deeper insight to Cuban life than a hotel stay. Virtually all of the rooms have private facilities but on rare occasions it may be necessary to share. Your Explore Leader will coordinate accommodation arrangements on tour.

    Essential Information

    FCO Advice

    We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

    For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
     

    Under 18 immigration guidance

    Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

    Price Guarantee

    Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

    Visa and Passport Information


    Mexico: Citizens from UK, New Zealand, Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada require a Mexican Tourist Card to enter. This is obtained from the consular office or at the check-in desk of the airline you are travelling with and will need to be kept until exit.
    Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.

    Cuba: Visas or Tourist cards are required by all nationalities travelling to Cuba. Explore can only supply the Cuban Tourist Cards to citizens of the EU, Canada, Australia and New Zealand who are resident in the UK. This currently costs £15. Please contact Explore or your Travel Agent to arrange this service and we will send your tourist card with your final documentation.

    Alternatively they can be obtained directly through Cuban embassies and consulates. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate.

    Due to US Treasury Department Regulations we are unable to accept bookings from US passport holders. These Regulations set out different categories under which it is possible for US citizens to travel to Cuba; our trips do not fall under any of the permissible categories. As a tour operator we have an obligation to follow legal procedures, and as such we are unable to sell our trips to US passport holders.

    Travelling for tourism reasons directly from the USA to Cuba isn't allowed under US law. The law applies to US nationals and all foreign nationals who are either resident in the USA, or travelling through the USA en route to Cuba. Those travelling on direct flights between the UK and Cuba, or via other countries excluding the USA, are unaffected by this US legislation.


    USA: (including those in transit) Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) - where you apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which applies if you enter the country by sea or by air. This must be done on line - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding.

    You must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover.

    If you have visited Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel.

    Please note for your ESTA application you will be required to supply Point of Contact information. Explore' s USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. If you are leaving for the USA before this, please call the Explore team to get this information.(Not necessary if in transit)

    For further information please check out the US embassy website.

    Canada: An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is required by British citizens transiting via Canada. For more information see the official Canadian government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp
    Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.


    If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
     

    Booking conditions

    Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

    Transfers

    Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

    Booking a land only package with Explore

    Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

    You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


    Joining Tour Abroad

    Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

    Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

    If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


    For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

    Insurance

    It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
    Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

    Flight information

    Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


    Flight Information

    You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

      

    Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

    We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

    On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

    Cuba

    Vaccinations

    Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, TB, infectious hepatitis and polio. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Mexico

    Vaccinations

    Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, infectious hepatitis and polio. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Additional Information

    Why book this trip

    Visiting not just one but two of Latin America's most diverse countries, this adventurous journey is perfect for someone who has only two weeks holiday but wants to explore as much as possible. In Cuba you will stay in Casas Particulares (homestays) throughout, which is an excellent way to see the country.

    Dates, prices and booking

    All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
    Fri 17 May 2019 - Sat 1 Jun 2019 Guaranteed departure
    MXCN_2019
    Price from £2045
    Save was
    Single room option +£315
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Mexico City
    Time and place
    18:30 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Havana
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Fri 11 Oct 2019 - Sat 26 Oct 2019
    MXCN_2019
    Price from £2045
    Save was
    Single room option +£315
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Mexico City
    Time and place
    18:30 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Havana
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Fri 8 Nov 2019 - Sat 23 Nov 2019
    MXCN_2019
    Price from £2045
    Save was
    Single room option +£315
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Mexico City
    Time and place
    18:30 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Havana
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 15 Dec 2019 - Mon 30 Dec 2019
    MXCN_2019
    Price from £2045
    Save was
    Single room option +£315
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Mexico City
    Time and place
    18:30 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Havana
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Fri 17 May 2019 - Sun 2 Jun 2019 Guaranteed departure
    MXCN_2019
    Price from £2979
    Save was
    Single room option +£315
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Mexico City
    Time and place
    18:30 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Havana
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Fri 11 Oct 2019 - Sun 27 Oct 2019
    MXCN_2019
    Price from £2899
    Save was
    Single room option +£315
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Mexico City
    Time and place
    18:30 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Havana
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Fri 8 Nov 2019 - Sun 24 Nov 2019
    MXCN_2019
    Price from £2899
    Save was
    Single room option +£315
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Mexico City
    Time and place
    18:30 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Havana
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 15 Dec 2019 - Tue 31 Dec 2019
    MXCN_2019
    Price from £2899
    Save was
    Single room option +£315
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Mexico City
    Time and place
    18:30 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Havana
    Time
    09:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
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