Travel Details

Airline tickets for September 10-17, 2017 trip: Southwest Airlines flight 3952 and 3953 Tampa to Havana and return, they allow 2 free bags up to 50 lbs.

Visa: you should get an email after you purchase your tickets regarding a visa. You will need to check a box for EDUCATION: PEOPLE TO PEOPLE CULTURAL EXCHANGE. This is one of 12 legal reasons to travel to Cuba. You are signing an affidavit that your itinerary is a full time schedule for cultural exchange activities. The visa will be ready for pick up with your boarding pass at the airport. Costs vary from $50-$75 depending on the airlines. Southwest is $50 and you can use your credit card and do this online.

Packing: I encourage carry on when possible. I take 2 pairs of field pants, 4 shirts, underwear for each day, socks as necessary, bathing suit, flip flops, 1 outfit for dinner that I wear every night; bathing before dinner is customary. Toiletries, sunscreen, bug wipes, hat, any medications you may need. Laundry service is available for a fee, make arrangements the night before and provide laundry first thing in the morning. If you have blood sugar issues, pack some snacks. Meals are often later than we are used to.

Tips and gifts: Please realize that the hospitality is genuine and that our guides make their living from tips. I suggest $7-$10 a day for each guide (there may be two per day on some trips), $5 a day for driver, and $1 a day per person for housekeeping; I leave this on the pillow each morning.

If you have lightly used clothes, shoes or other gifts to leave behind, you can leave them in the room on the bed upon leaving. They will find a home. You may also bring stick drives, reading glasses, books, art supplies, or other items to share with new friends you meet. Gifts are not a replacement for tips. They are a sign of friendship and should be respectful.

Currency: We will be spending Cuban Convertibles CUCs. The conversion is USD $ per CUC .87. Yes, we loose .13 cents per dollar, or $13 per $100. Check at your bank for the best rate on Euros, if you can get euros ordered for no less than .90 on the dollar, then you can convert those for about the same in CUC upon arrival. Plan on $50 a day for incidentals, drinks, souvenirs, tips, snacks.

You may contact me with other questions via email: joni@opticsforthetropics.org or text: 352-262-7300.