We want to explore Cuba before it changes. Everyone has a picture of Cuba in their mind as a beautiful country, where despite the difficult living conditions, the people manage to maintain a happy lifestyle and make the most of the simple things – something we try to do on the boat as well.
Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean islands, with 2000nm of coastline, largely surrounded by a chain of islets and mangrove covered inlets, fringed with coral reefs and shoals. Our trips will take us along Cuba’s south coast, starting and finishing from either Santiago de Cuba (south easterly tip) or Cienfuegos on the main land. These along with Guantanamo are the main south coast bays on our route, and we are officially restricted to going ashore only in places with designated marinas, except in the Cays which is where we plan to spent a lot of time enjoying the pristine coastline, including stops at Cayo Largo as well as the largest of Cuba’s surrounding islands Isla de la Juventud (island of the Pines).
We will ride in 1950 Chevrolets, wander cobbled streets only wide enough for horse and carriage and enjoy impromptu performances by musicians in the streets and parks whilst sharing a rum and cigar with the locals. When we’re finished with the hustle and bustle and stocked up with fresh food from local markets we will escape to the untouched beauty and isolation of the Cays. Here we can wade in the warm water and dig our toes into white sand as we explore the islets, enjoying snorkelling in the turquoise waters observing the wildlife both above and below the waterline.
However in return for this natural beauty, it is worth bearing in mind that marina facilities will not be as we might expect from experiences in Europe and that we will need to exercise patience when dealing with immigration procedures (again and again in every port).
We’ve chosen to make the trips 10 days so that if you have a 2 week holiday you have enough time before and after the sailing to explore the land and to visit the northern coast and Havana for example.
Passports must be valid for 6 months beyond your planned stay and you must have medical insurance which is valid for Cuba. New/departing crew will be ‘enrolled/dis-enrolled’ onto the boat via the authorities at the marina (approx total $20). Crew should carry a print out of their flight details to provide the authorities.
People travelling from European countries will need to purchase a visa (tourist card) before traveling to Cuba. This may require you to have proof of a return flight and accommodation (which we will provide you with a letter for). For non-europeans countries, please check the visa procedure required for your country.
We recommend flying into Havana or Varadero and spending a few days enjoying these cities and exploring the surrounding areas before and after the sailing . Cuba is one of the cheapest flight destinations in the Caribbean and there are nonstop flights available, e.g. from Germany with Condor airline and from the UK with Virgin Atlantic.
We will meet you either in Marina Santiago (if the trip is starting from Santiago de Cuba) or Marina Cienfuegos (if the trip is starting from Cienfuegos).