Salsa in Havana

Nights:7 nights
Dates:28/10/2013 to 04/11/2013
Holiday Code:SAL1303
from

1,649.00 GBP

per person
Flight included
or, call us now on +44 (0)207 099 48 16
Factsheet Download/Print Factsheet

Before you go

Books on Cuba Of the books we have read about Cuba or set in Cuba these are the ones we would recommend:

"Enduring Cuba" by Zoe Bran - Honest and inquisitive look into Cuban life. “Land of Miracles” by Stephen Smith – An excellent recent travel book written about Cuba, witty clever and informative. Strongly recommended. “Waking up in Cuba” by Steven Foehr – An honest, entertaining account of what you can expect to find in Cuba. Especially informative about the music and cultural history. “Cuba” - The Lonely Planet Guide by David Stanley - One of the most detailed guide books on Cuba.

The Dual Economy: Cuba’s economy has been distorted by the American blockade and by the withdrawal of subsidies by the former Soviet Union. There are two economies running side by side in Cuba. One is in Cuban pesos and is for Cubans. The other is in CUC, Convertible Cuban Pesos and is for tourists. The dual economy is to cater for the difference between the average Cuban wage and the wage that a visiting tourist will earn back home. It’s worth bearing in mind that the average monthly wage of a Cuban is $12 - $15. In a nightclub a tourist might be asked to pay between $5 - $20. A Cuban will pay 30 pesos which is about 600 times less. The concept of a dual economy may seem strange to you but to Cubans it is as natural as your economy is to you.

Money: Until recently, the second economy was the American dollar. However, Castro eliminated the dollar from circulation in November 2004. You can no longer use US Dollars or any other foreign currency in Cuba, and if you bring american dollars a tax of 10% will be applied to you at the exchange of them for Cuban Convertible Pesos (this tax will not be applied to other currencies). So our strong recommendation is to bring cash Euros, UK Pounds or Canadian Dollars and change them on arrival in Cuba to the CUC. Additionally you will be able to exchange back the remaining CUC at the end of your travel. The CUC has an exchange rate equivalent to the American dollar and for this reason its sign is a ‘$’. Whilst bringing your money in cash may seem a bit alarming, it is from our personal experience, the most practical way of buying. Cheques, credit cards that are related to US banks and American Express travellers cheques are not accepted. There a very few (if any) cashpoints. You can take cash out by showing your credit card and passport at a till within a bank but you will probably have to queue for a long time.

Tipping: Tourism is the most important industry in Cuba and those who are able to work with tourists, even as room cleaners or barmen, earn more money than doctors and other professionals. Tips therefore often constitute the main source of income for many of the Cubans who you will meet. We feel our tour hosts work hard to give you an exceptional holiday and sometimes you may find that they add some special touches which are beyond the call of duty. If you agree with us, you might wish to show your appreciation by way of a tip. You can do this by putting money in an envelope on your own or by getting together with other guests. All tipping is evidently entirely at your discretion.

Budgeting for your holiday: Here are some guidelines on prices, to help you do your own calculations. We have translated these approximate prices into GBP to help with your budgeting. Please refer to the optional extra section of the fact sheet for the prices of the optional extras:


Club Entry

Casa de la Musica 10 to 20 CUCs
Hotel Florida 5 CUCs includes 2 cocktails
Club 1820 3 CUCs
La Gruta 5 CUCs

Drinks at Clubs vary in price depending on which club you go to and the time of day you attend. For example, Casa De La Musica bar prices are cheaper at Matinee shows and more expensive in the evening.

Average club drink prices

Cocktails 3 - 4 CUCs
Soft drinks and beer 1 - 3 CUCs
Bottle of rum 12 - 20 CUCs

Evening meals

Budget restaurant 8 - 12 CUC
More upmarket restaurant 12 - 20 CUC

Tipping per day 3 - 4 CUCs

Airport tax on leaving Cuba 25 CUC


Gifts for Cubans: Cuba is without many of the essential things that we take for granted. Things that are particularly difficult to get hold in Cuba include toiletries (shampoo, moisturiser, razors, soap, toothpaste, etc), perfumes and aftershaves, pens and paper, books in English or Spanish, clothes, and shoes. In the past some visitors have taken small gifts to give to the Cubans they meet or have left some of their own things behind them when they travel back to the UK.

Passports: These must be valid for at least six months beyond the length of stay. Please check your passport now.

Tourist Visa Card: You require a Tourist Visa Card to enter Cuba. We as a tour operator can issue Tourist Visa Cards to our clients who come from Britain, Australia, Canada, USA, other EU countries and Japan. (If you live in another part of the world, please arrange your own visa to enter Cuba). Cuban Tourist Visa Cards are valid for one single trip of up to 30 days, although the stay can be extended in Cuba. The card must be bought in the country where the trip has been arranged (through us!). All passengers must hold tickets and other documentation required for their onward or return journey unless holding special annotation issued by a Cuban Consulate. You will be sent your Cuban Tourist Visa Card with your tickets a few days before you go. You will need to keep your Tourist Visa Card safe as you will need it to get in to Cuba and to get back out of the country. So look after it carefully during your trip.

Health and Fitness: There are no particular health requirements for a dance holiday. However you should be able to dance for at least two hours a day in order to be able to enjoy the dance classes. Please inform us if you have any medical conditions that we need to be aware of.

Luggage Labels and Lost Luggage: We strongly recommend that you secure your luggage before flying by all means possible – tape and locks. You should attach large and clear labels to your luggage with your name, flight number and destination. Do not put travellers cheques, jewellery or money in your suitcase. In the unlikely event that your luggage is lost during the journey you need to independently take the matter up directly with the airline at the airport in Havana.

Vaccinations: We are informed by the Cuban Embassy that no special vaccinations are required for travel to Cuba. However, the following vaccinations are recommended by NHS Direct: tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A, polio, diphtheria, BCG and hepatitis B. Please consult your own GP in respect of which vaccinations you should have.

Insurance: This is a condition of booking please refer to the information supplement for details.

Travel Documents: You receive these (which include a detailed Information Pack, your flight tickets and your Cuban Tourist Visa Card) when you have paid for your holiday in full and as soon as we have received your airline tickets. In some cases the airlines do not release the tickets until five days before the departure date. We also confirm the address and phone number of the hotel and the emergency contact numbers.


 

Useful Things to Bring: It's worth remembering that due to the US embargo you will not find as much availability in the shops (especially chemists and clothes shops) so its a good idea to come well prepared:

Shoes suitable for walking around the streets
Broad brimmed sun hat/sunglasses
High factor sun cream
Insect repellent/anti-mosquito spray
Antiseptic cream in case of bites
Elastoplasts for sore feet
Aspirin/Nurofen for hangovers!
Immodium for stomach upsets
Shampoo, soap, toothpaste and other toiletries (hard to obtain and expensive in Cuba)
Condoms (local condoms are of low quality)
Travel washing powder (although the hotel may provide a laundry service)
Paper tissues/toilet paper
Swimming costume essential/beach towel
Money belt
Money, plane ticket, full valid passport, visa
This fact sheet

What to wear for dancing: It is probable that you may get through quite a few clothes in the classes and dancing at night (you can get quite hot!) so bring a variety of outfits. In the clubs, the local dress code is quite casual and 'streety' as opposed to elegant and smart. Cuban women tend to wear jeans/tight trousers or mini skirts with sassy little tops whilst men tend to wear trousers with tshirts. Trainers are allowed at most venues. Shorts are not permitted. A useful tip for women is in that some salsa clubs you have to leave your handbag in the cloakroom. Therefore its a good idea to bring a wrist/ankle purse or a purse that clips on to your trousers/skirt.