Cuba really treats independent travelers well. Infotur is an excellent, country-wide travel agency located in almost every city. If you see a sign for their office, head in for great, honest, and free information at any time. If you want to book a tour, a guide, a driver, or a day of sightseeing, this is the place to go. You’ll have a lot of touts on the streets in Cuba that often hassle tourists to join them on excursions, but if you book through Infotur, you’ll help to eliminate this annoyance and you’ll have a better chance of having a legitimate guide for your trip.
What kind of tours can you expect in Cuba?
There are loads of fantastic opportunities for horse trekking in Cuba. Between many of the major tourist towns are valleys, fields, and farmlands that stretch out for kilometers in every direction. You’ll see horse-drawn carriages and men on horses in pretty much every city you visit in Cuba, so it’s no surprise that tourists have taken to saddling up and exploring the countryside. We highly recommend heading into the Los Ingenios Valley near Trinidad, or the Valley of Silence near Viñales.
Sightseeing Day Drive
In many of Cuba’s most visited cities, a lot of the major sights lay outside of the city center. For this, we recommend hiring a driver and a guide for the day. A full day excursion, not including entrance fees or meals, will generally cost about $40-$60 for the car and driver. Check Infotur for some great rates.
Just as you can hop on the back of a horse and take off into the valleys and hillsides of Cuba, you can also take part in some excellent day hikes. A walking guide will usually cost around $25 for 4 hours and they offer some great experiences. There are some beautiful walks around Viñales and Trinidad, as well as city walking tours in Havana and Cienfuegos.
Be warned, the bike rentals in Cuba can vary greatly in quality and comfort, but cycling through tobacco plantations and between beautiful Spanish colonial buildings is a great travel experience. Many Casa Particular owners will rent out bikes and if not, you can find them at rental offices around the country. Bikes are usually around $2 an hour or $5-$8 a day.
The lack of development on much of Cuba’s coastline has preserved some world-class dive sites that truly have to be explored to be believed. The Jardines de la Reina reef is Cuba’s best dive site, but you’ll need to join a live-aboard dive boat to experience it. Other great dive sites are at The Bay of Pigs and scattered around the northern islands.
You can rent snorkel gear at pretty much any beach town in Cuba and the reefs around the beaches are often fantastic. You can spot rays, snapper, conch, and even sharks! If you aren’t comfortable snorkeling on your own, you can join an organized tour for around $20 a person for a couple of hours of snorkeling. Generally you’ll have to head into a dive shop to get a certified snorkel guide, otherwise you can usually find unofficial guides on the beach. Dive shops are state-run so most of the prices are the same across Cuba.
And Much More…
There are lots of other tours and day trips that you can do in Cuba that we didn’t list in this article, but hopefully you get a rough idea of what is on offer in this incredible island nation. Your best bet for finding a tour that’s right for you, is heading into an Infotur office in any Cuban city and just ask them about excursions that are available nearby. Typically you can snorkel, visit a cave, explore a cathedral, and scale a waterfall all in one day!
By Nick and Dariece, Travel Pulse
June 22, 2015