Before You Go

Insider’s Cuba


Trip Snapshot

We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, other trips in the area, and sometimes the weather. Please refer to your confirmation letter for the exact dates of your trip.

MEETING PLACE:Jose Marti International Airport, Havana, Cuba
MEETING TIME:By 3:30 PM on day 1 (flight should arrive by 2:00 PM)
RETURN TIME:Anytime on itinerary day 8
TRIP LENGTH:8 days/7 nights
ACTIVITIES:Cultural exploration, biking, snorkeling, hiking

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1

We meet at the Jose Marti International Airport where our lead guide will gather the group before a thirty-minute drive to Havana. Lunch is provided depending on your time of arrival.

In order to meet the group by 3:30 PM, please arrive in Havana no later than 2 PM. For folks arriving later and missing the scheduled meeting time, we can arrange a taxi to bring you to the group in town (at your own expense).

We’ll check in to our casa particular (privately owned bed & breakfast) and gather for a welcome dinner at a paladar (privately-owned restaurant).

Days 2 – 7

Refer to the trip page for a more detailed sample itinerary.

The Last Day of Your Trip

After a group breakfast on day 8, you’ll be shuttled to the airport for departing flights. We offer two scheduled airport transfers, one in the morning and one in the early afternoon, both timed to accommodate various flight times. Exchange any extra currency you have left over before catching your return flight home! 

Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Skilled, professional local guide service provided by our affiliate operator
  • 7 nights lodging in privately owned casas particulares
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (B – breakfast, L – lunch, D – dinner)
  • One to two beverages with each meal and two bottles of drinking water per day
  • Airport meet & greet and transfer on day 1; group airport transfer on day 8
  • Sightseeing and activities as noted in the itinerary
  • Ground transportation with certified, professional drivers
  • 27-oz Klean Kanteen water bottle

Not Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Airfare to and from Havana, Cuba
  • Travel Visa/Tourist Card (required by Cuba)
  • Pre- and/or post-trip accommodation and meals (while U.S. regulations are constantly changing and at times difficult to interpret, it may be illegal to travel in Cuba before and/or after your official guided tour)
  • Airport transfers at alternative times from the group transfer
  • Single supplement
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport departure taxes (normally included in your airline ticket, approximately US$25)
  • Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan or mandatory emergency medical & evacuation coverage, required by both OARS and Cuba. Cuba coverage is often included in your airline ticket.
  • Items of a personal nature (see suggested packing list below)
  • Additional beverages beyond what is included (as outlined above)
  • Snacks (Cubans don’t tend to snack between meals so you may want to bring some of your favorite snack bars)
  • Shampoo & conditioner (accommodation will provide soap, but not shampoo & conditioner)
  • Internet access fees
  • Gratuities for your lead guide and driver (along with any incidental gratuities you wish to provide at restaurants, for luggage handlers or service providers you meet during the tour)

Getting Ready

Pre-Trip Checklist

Purchase Travel Protection: In order to take part in this trip, each participant must have a minimum of Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage in place for the dates of the trip. This can be purchased as stand-alone coverage, independent of a comprehensive travel protection plan. You can learn more about the plan we highly recommend and get a quote for this type of policy by entering a Trip Cost amount of $0.

Please note: By entering a Trip Cost amount of $0, the plan will not include Trip Cancellation coverage and you may not be eligible for Emergency Medical Expense benefits relating to any pre-existing conditions.

Trip Forms: Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation email for the link to the online forms. If you prefer to fill out paper forms, please let us know right away. If you are reserving within 90 days of departure, your forms must be completed immediately to ensure we can properly plan for your trip.

Reserve flights, shuttles, and lodging: Verify with your adventure consultant that your trip has met minimum numbers prior to booking flights and/or reserving overnight lodging for the night before and after your trip, if applicable. It is important to make reservations early as rooms may be limited during peak travel periods.

Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitations you may have as soon as possible. If you exceed 260 pounds, please give us a call. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip and can meet our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

Payments: Final payment is due in our office 90 days prior to your trip (refer to your invoice for final payment date). Please let us know if you would like us to automatically charge your credit card on file when final payment is due.

TRAVELERS’ Responsibility Code

1. Read the pre-trip literature and arrive at the meeting place on time.

2. Understand the risks: your safety is ultimately your responsibility.

3. Treat your fellow guests and guides with respect and courtesy; harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.

4. Wear clothing and personal protective equipment suitable for the current conditions.

5. Listen to and follow the guides’ instructions.

6. Abide by the managing agency’s rules.

7. No drugs or alcohol during the day; alcohol is allowed in moderation in the evenings.

8. Minimize your impact on the environment.

9. Your children are your responsibility!

Essential Travel Documents

Upon entry into Cuba, visitors must have a departing air ticket, a valid visa (tourist card), a copy of your Traveler Certification Form, and proof of traveler’s medical, evacuation, and repatriation insurance (the required insurance is likely included with your flights—be sure to inquire with your airline).


If you don’t have a passport, apply for one immediately as the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, check the expiration date to ensure it is valid six months beyond your entry date to Cuba. Also, ensure there are at least two blank pages in your passport. If there aren’t, apply to have extra pages added or renew your passport.

Do not pack your passport in your checked luggage. You may be asked for your papers at various times during the trip. If you are carrying a customs form, please keep it in a safe place at all times.

Travel Visa/Tourist Card (required by Cuba)

You may be able to obtain a visa through your airline at the airport the same day you travel—check with your airline to confirm this is an option.

Alternatively, we recommend you secure a visa in advance to avoid any problems the day you travel. A visa for Cuba can be arranged online with Cuba Visa Services: (800) 963-2822. If arranging a visa online, in the first drop-down menu titled “OFAC Category” be sure to indicate: Support for the Cuban People

The visa is a two-part card—Cuban immigration officials will take one half when you arrive in Cuba and you will relinquish the other half upon departure. Make sure to keep your Cuban visa in a safe place throughout your trip so you have it with you when departing the country.

Non-U.S. citizens should check with the consulate of their home country for entry requirements.

If you were born in Cuba, a different visa process is required and you should alert your OARS Adventure Consultant right away.

Online Cuba entry form (required by Cuba)

For entry into Cuba, you will need to fill out their mandatory online health and custom forms. This form is in English and Spanish (you can change the language in the top right corner of the home page.) It includes all 3 forms necessary to enter the country: International Boarding and Disembarkation Card, Customs Declaration Form, and Traveler’s Health Affidavit. You can only fill this form out within 48 hours before arrival. You will need to have your passport information, address in Havana, and flight information to fill it out. OARS will provide you with the address of your accommodation for this form. Please note it is only necessary to fill out the asterisked questions, you do not need to fill out all questions.

You will then receive a QR code and have to present the QR code upon arrival. We recommend printing this page with the QR code for easier entry, but you can also present it on your phone. There is also free wireless internet for 30 minutes for arriving and departing passengers to present them with an opportunity to fill it out there if there is a problem, however, internet can be spotty or down, so it will be MUCH better to do it before you arrive.

Certification of Travel to Cuba (required by the U.S.)

We will provide you with the required certification of travel to Cuba document (commonly referred to as a travel affidavit or travel certificate). Please complete the form, retain a copy for your records, and return a copy to us as soon as possible. Travel with at least one copy in case you’re asked to present it by the airline or upon arrival in Havana. Make sure #8 (Support for the Cuban People) is indicated as your reason for visiting Cuba.

Please note that you must retain a copy of your trip itinerary & the certification of travel for 5 years.

Mandatory Medical, Evacuation, and Repatriation Insurance

The Cuban government requires that you purchase a basic traveler’s policy that provides for medical, evacuation, and repatriation. Many airlines include this in the price of a round-trip ticket when flying directly from the U.S. to Havana. If you’re connecting through another country, it may not be included with your ticket. Be sure to confirm this with the airline you choose to book with.

Carry proof of insurance with you, as you may be asked to provide proof prior to boarding your flight. If you intend to travel with the insurance provided by an airline, you will need to retain a paper copy and/or an electronic copy of your boarding pass as proof of insurance. It is suggested that passengers also take a picture of their boarding pass with their cell phones in case the boarding pass is misplaced.

Document Copies

Make copies of the photo page of your passport, your Cuban Tourist Card (visa), and your Certification of Travel to Cuba. Carry these items separately from your passport in case they are lost or stolen. It is also a good idea to leave a copy of your passport and Cuban Tourist Card with your emergency contact at home. If your documents are lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local U.S. consulate speed up replacement authorization.

Travel Arrangements


If you intend to join us for the planned activities on day 1, you must arrive in Havana by 2 PM. We recommend you arrange a direct flight arriving in Havana (HAV) from one of several Florida airports: Miami (MIA), Tampa (TPA), Orlando (MCO), or Fort Lauderdale (FLL). Flights are offered by American, Delta, Frontier, and Southwest.

Direct flights to Havana are available from other select U.S. cities, but they may not arrive by 2 PM. (Due to the constantly changing nature of commercial flights into Cuba, all services are subject to change.)

Let us know if you’d like assistance with arranging your international flight logistics. Our partners at Exito Travel specialize in international destinations and we’d be happy to obtain a quote from them on your behalf.

Please do not purchase airfare until your departure has been confirmed by OARS, ensuring the minimum number of required guests.

Departing From Havana

On day 8, OARS includes a group transfer to the Havana Int’l Airport. We offer two scheduled airport transfers, one in the morning and one in the early afternoon, both timed to accommodate various flight times. If you need to arrive ahead of or later than our included transfer, you may arrange a taxi at your own expense.

Useful Information

Time ZoneS

Cuba is in the Eastern Time Zone—the same as New York and Miami.


Spanish is the official language in Cuba, while Haitian Creole is the second most common language.


We request that you do not smoke in vehicles, at meals, in accommodations, or in group situations. We have asked our guides, drivers, and staff who smoke to follow the same consideration.

Money Matters

The national currency is the Cuban Peso or the Moneda Nacional. Cuba does allow for the exchange of the US Dollar, Euro, Canadian Dollar, and Mexican Peso, and most vendors gladly accept US Dollars. Please bring smaller denominations ($1’s, 5’s, $10’s, and $20’s). Your guide will discuss if you even need to change money and assist you with exchanging currency if necessary. You will need your passport when exchanging money. Exchange, spend, or donate any remaining Cuban currency before leaving Cuba as it cannot be used or exchanged outside of Cuba.

While we provide most of the meals on the trip, there are a couple of meals on your own, any extra drinks not included in your meals, taxi rides you may take on your own (during free time), gratuities, and souvenir shopping. These costs can add up, so to cover all possible expenses we suggest planning ahead and having the equivalent of about $90/day per person. You can tip your guide and driver in US Dollars.

Credit & Debit Cards

Credit cards issued by U.S. banks are NOT accepted in Cuba. If you have a credit card issued by a non-U.S. bank, it may be accepted, but many places won’t accept them and technical issues with credit and ATM/debit cards are common. Additionally, if they do work transactions are often slow to process. This may change in the future, but we recommend in the meantime you rely on cash only.


The U.S. Department of the Treasury continually amends regulations pertaining to what can and can’t be brought from Cuba back to the U.S. We suggest you familiarize yourself with current regulations to avoid purchasing items that won’t be allowed into the U.S.

As of September 23, 2020, the importation into the United States of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products is restricted. This includes rum and cigars.

Shops can be found throughout the towns we visit and at the airport. Arts & crafts, T-shirts, and other souvenirs are “goods” purchases. For goods taken out of the country, it’s best to retain receipts as proof of purchase when exiting the country, although some vendors may not provide one. Goods made from black coral, tortoise shells, and sea shells will be confiscated by Customs.

There is no specific limit on authorized expenses. Travelers may engage in transactions ordinarily incidental to travel within Cuba, including payment of living expenses and the acquisition of goods for personal consumption. Expenditures other than those directly incidental to the traveler’s authorized activities in Cuba are not authorized. Artwork and handicrafts are allowed to be brought back to the U.S. These items must be for personal use and cannot be resold.

Traveling With Goods and Duty-Free Items

If you’re returning to the U.S. on a direct flight, you should be able to travel with items purchased in Cuba, per the most current travel restrictions. However, if you’re connecting through another foreign country en route to the U.S., you may be subject to that country’s laws and may be subject to having items, including duty-free items, taken. We suggest you dialogue directly with your airline to determine any restrictions associated with their flights.

Health & Medical Info

Although there are no required immunizations for entry to Cuba, we recommend you contact your doctor or local travel clinic for information about recommended vaccinations. As part of routine travel vaccines, they may suggest you get inoculated against Typhoid, Hepatitis A and/or B, and Tetanus. More information is provided at the CDC.


If you are taking any prescription drugs, be certain that you bring a sufficient supply to last through the trip. Travel with the original containers and carry important medications in your carry-on bag. You may not find your commonly used drugs in Cuba.

Talk with your doctor about Cipro or other over-the-counter options as a treatment for potential stomach ailments.

CPAP Machine

If you require the use of a CPAP machine and intend to bring one with you, be sure to alert your OARS Adventure Consultant prior to your trip to let us know the dimensions of the machine, description of battery(s), and any protective case(s). Travel-sized CPAPs are readily available and often come with a battery kit. You must assess the power needs of your CPAP and bring the battery(s) needed to operate it for each night of your travels. We’re typically able to accommodate the transportation of your machine and accessories on the trip; however, please understand that despite efforts to protect your equipment we can’t guarantee your machine and accessories won’t suffer water or impact damage and therefore we recommend additional protective case(s) for your machine & accessories.


If you have any food allergies or necessary dietary restrictions that we must consider in planning your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. Keep in mind that Cuba does not have the resources available that you may be accustomed to. Due to the limited availability of ingredients in certain locations, our hosts are often unable to cater to dietary preferences (likes or dislikes).

We will do our best to have options for vegetarian, vegan, and many allergy-restricted diets. However, there are greater limits to what is offered and you may not find the same diversity or sophistication for restricted diets. If you have specific needs, you may want to bring your own snacks.

We also cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during your trip, and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone as it relates to safety, including the potential for a medical emergency caused by a severe food allergy.


We recommend you drink only bottled or previously boiled water. We will provide two bottles of water per day for each guest. You can bring a refillable water bottle, but you may find it unnecessary to have it along.


One or two drinks are included at each meal, depending on your preference. Additional beverages will be available for purchase. While coffee is popular and widely available, decaffeinated coffee and tea are not. If you’re a tea drinker and have a tea you’re fond of, we recommend that you bring some with you.

While you’re there, you may want to try one of the many award-winning varieties of Cuban rum, perhaps in one of its signature cocktails such as the mojito, Cuba libre, daiquiri, or saoco.


Bathrooms in Cuba may lack the cleanliness we are used to in the United States. Occasionally along the trip, it’s possible that the toilets will not have toilet seats. Oftentimes there is a bathroom attendant whose job it is to make sure there is paper and hand soap for you. While the use of a bathroom is always free, it is appropriate to leave a small tip of 10-25 cents for the attendant. It’s also a good idea to travel with a small pack of tissues or some toilet paper, just in case. As is common in many other Latin American countries, toilet paper is never deposited in the toilet, but instead in a provided trash can.


There are no public laundry facilities in Cuba. If you need laundry service it may be available at any given casa particular – some may offer the service, others will not. Ask your host and make sure it will be ready by the time we depart.


The electrical current in Cuba is 110v (the same as in the U.S.), so you shouldn’t need a current converter. However, while most outlets are the two flat-prong types used in the U.S. (without the round ground plug), a variety of other outlet types may be found so we recommend you bring an outlet adapter. In Cuba, the power sockets used are of type A / B / C / L. 


In addition to your regular camera case, we recommend using extra protection such as zip-lock plastic bags, a waterproof camera case, or a small day dry bag in the kayak, with padding. Water and dust can be a problem—so clean your camera every night with tissue, a brush, and lens paper. We strongly recommend you take out a rider on your homeowner’s policy to cover your camera—especially if it’s fine equipment. If you are planning to bring a digital camera, don’t forget extra media cards, batteries, etc.

Electronics & Technology

The use of electronic devices, especially music players and flying drones, on your trip may represent an intrusion into the wilderness experience of your fellow guests. We ask that you please be mindful of the impacts on others and respect the wilderness nature of the trip. Please bring headphones if you intend to listen to music during the trip and leave your drone at home.

Many of our guests travel with their smartphones even though there is limited or no cell service. On a trip like this, there is always the risk of water damage to smartphones and other electronic devices, even when they are stowed in a dry bag. If you intend to take your phone with you on the trip, consider investing in a small, waterproof case just for your phone.


Verizon offers service in Cuba and it’s possible to purchase a travel plan if you’re a Verizon subscriber. Rates are quite high, so inquire about what the associated costs might be. If you’re not a Verizon customer, you may want to check with your cell service provider and ask if they have coverage in Cuba. Phones that allow a local SIM card to be inserted may work; however, finding a SIM card can prove futile, therefore isn’t reliable. If there is an emergency, our guides are equipped to communicate using phones and internet as needed.

The casas particulares where we stay have internet, but service is inconsistent. In the end, it’s best to plan on being without internet or cell reception during your visit to Cuba.

If you have someone that needs to contact you about an emergency at home, they should call the OARS office at 800-346-6277 and we will relay the message to you. Keep in mind it could be several days before the message actually reaches you. For your family at home, you should define what you consider an emergency and provide them with instructions to call our office in the event one occurs during your travels.


We will travel in a clean, comfortable passenger van or bus with air conditioning. The size and type of vehicle will vary with our group size.


We recommend checking one week before your trip for an up-to-date weather forecast for Havana. Being properly prepared for weather variations is an important factor in fully enjoying your trip.

Our trips take place during North American winter & spring, avoiding the uncomfortable heat and humidity of summer. During these months there are influences of cold air masses coming from the north, but they are typically of short duration. In winter, the average daily temperature is around 70°F but may drop to the low 60s°F during colder days. Annual rainfall averages about 52 inches; more than 60% of that rain falls during the wet season, which extends from May to October. That said, you’ll want to be prepared for rain anytime during your visit.

The north coast, home to Havana, tends to be a little cooler, while the southern coast is warmer. With little precipitation and many hours of sunshine, Cuba is a pleasant country to visit.

Average air & Sea Temps for Havana

Air °FSea °F

Packing for Your Trip

We want you to be prepared and comfortable for your trip. Below you’ll find some general tips for how to dress and what to pack and a comprehensive packing checklist. The need for warm weather or cold weather items should be based on a reliable weather forecast leading up to your trip.


We recommend comfortable, loose-fitting clothes for this trip. Cotton and other light, natural fabrics are ideal for the conditions in Cuba. Consider a lightweight sweater or jacket for public places that may be overly air-conditioned or for the occasional cool night or chilly morning. Keep in mind you’ll spend one afternoon on an electric bike!


A pair of good, sturdy walking shoes is important for a trip like this, in which you’ll spend a lot of time on your feet. Consider a running shoe or similar. For evenings or time by the water, consider bringing a sport sandal that can get wet. Find professional-grade options made by Chaco®, the official footwear sponsor of OARS guides.

If you plan to buy footwear for the trip, make sure you break them in and wear your footwear until they’re comfy—if your feet hurt you won’t enjoy the trip.


After an active day, you may want to refresh and change into clean, comfortable clothing. Soft, loose-fitting shorts or pants, t-shirts, etc. will allow you to truly relax in the evening. While there is no need for anything fancy, ladies may enjoy a dress in the evening, and in Cuba, men do not wear shorts to evening events, they wear slacks.

Sun Protection

Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously! In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Lightweight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs. A hat, sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses are also a must. 


We recommend a jacket and pants that are 100% waterproof and breathable, not just water resistant. A hooded jacket is recommended, as well as good secure closures around your head, neck, wrists, and ankles.

Bugs & Mosquitoes

Bugs and mosquitoes vary depending on location. It’s a good idea to come prepared with insect repellent. Long-sleeved shirts and pants may be desirable at times. Sensitive travelers should carry Benadryl and other over-the-counter or prescription medications.


Even if you aren’t anticipating your menstrual period, come prepared for it. We recommend you bring some sandwich-size Ziploc™ bags. These bags can store products during the day while you are on excursions. Used pads or tampons can be disposed of in the trash as available. We provide some menstrual products on most trips for emergencies.

Packing List

Equipment and Personal Items

☐ Day pack/bag
☐ Polarized sunglasses with securing strap (consider bringing a spare)
☐ Toiletries (may be provided, but poor quality)
☐ Sunscreen and lip protection: waterproof & SPF 30 or higher (aerosol sprays not recommended)
☐ Moisturizing lotion
☐ Insect repellent and creams to relieve itching
☐ Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, Benadryl, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin, eye drops, etc.)
☐ Toilet paper (as public restrooms rarely have it)
☐ Shampoo & conditioner (soap will be provided at each casa particular)
☐ Spare pair of glasses and/or contacts
☐ Headlamp or small travel light (with batteries)
☐ Cash for extra expenses and gratuities


☐ Athletic shoes or light hikers
☐ Sandals or flip-flops for evenings
☐ Hiking/walking socks (2-4 pair)


☐ Long pants: lightweight for hiking, touring, or city wear, also sun or bug protection
☐ Long-sleeved shirt: lightweight and light color for sun or bug protection
☐ Shade hat or visor with securing strap and a spare
☐ Waterproof rain jacket
☐ Swimwear: tankinis and board shorts are a great option
☐ Underwear
☐ Shorts: 1-2 pair
☐ T-shirts/tops
☐ Light sweater or jacket

Optional Items

☐ 1-liter water bottle: durable and reusable
☐ Bathing wipes or pre-moistened cleansing cloth
☐ Hand sanitizer
☐ Small bags: stuff sacks, zip locks, or similar for organizing items in your travel bag
☐ Binoculars
☐ Camera and accessories
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
☐ Bandana
☐ Sarong: useful for sun protection, evaporative cooling, changing clothes, etc.
☐ Mid-day snacks
☐ Ear plugs (to mitigate street noise, particularly in Havana)

Packing Your Gear

We recommend you avoid checking a bag and attempt to have carry-on items only, as checked bags are often subject to long delays before appearing. Attire is very casual with comfort, convenience, and space taking precedence over style. Bring only what is necessary to save time packing and repacking. Extra baggage can be an unwanted burden for yourself and others.

It’s convenient to bring extra stuff sacks or plastic bags to keep things organized within your bag. It’s also a good idea to bring a money belt or passport pouch to keep your valuables organized.


While Cuba is a safe country with little crime, we recommend only carrying the items you need for the day and a copy of your passport, which will be necessary to buy an internet card or cigars at the state-run cigar stores. We recommend leaving the majority of your cash and your passport in the room safe, if available. When staying at Casa Particulares, some do not have safety boxes in their rooms. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your valuables in the house, you can always bring them and leave them in the vehicle, which will always be locked and guarded.

  • Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore and 15% of your purchase helps provide under-resourced youth with outdoor adventure experiences.



Tips are not included for your guide or for meals on your own. While by no means mandatory, if you feel they have added to the value of your experience, you may want to offer a tip at the end of your trip. You can tip in US Dollars. Though they are small, they can add up, and there will be no ATM available. Gratuities may be given to the Lead Guide, who will then distribute them appropriately with any support staff.

While tipping is a matter of personal preference, we often are asked for a guideline:

  • Lead Guide (Cuban citizen): US$6-$10 per person, per day
  • Driver(s): US$3-$5 per person, per day
  • Housekeeping: US$1 per day
  • Luggage handler: US$.50
  • Waiters (for meals on your own): 10% of the total bill if service charge is not included already
  • Musicians at restaurants: US$1-3 or you can purchase a CD if offered
  • Bathroom attendants: US$.25 (a quarter)


In reviewing your statement, you’ll notice a $1 per person per day donation to Waterkeeper Alliance, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to fishable, swimmable, and drinkable waterways worldwide. One hundred percent of these funds go directly to worldwide watershed protection and your contribution is tax-deductible. Please notify our office if you would prefer to delete the donation from your balance.

Terms & Conditions

Reservations and Deposits

An $800/person deposit is required at the time of reservation. Deposits may be made by check, money order, or Visa/Mastercard (American Express and Discover incur a 3% processing fee). Prices are in US Dollars, and all payments must be made in US Dollars. Payment of the deposit establishes your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency.

Canceling your trip after your deposit is processed will incur cancellation fees because OARS has absorbed costs on your behalf and will turn others away who would like to book the spaces we’re holding for you. Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 80 days before the departure date will be canceled without exception.

Cancellations and Refunds

Your deposit is fully refundable, less a 3% processing fee, for 7 days after you book when you submit a deposit 7 days or more prior to the final payment due date.

If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below. We regret we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including foul weather, poor air quality, wildfire activity, acts of terrorism, civil unrest, or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan.

90 or more days before your trip$250/person
89 to 60 days or less before your trip$500/person
59 to 30 days before your trip75% of the trip price/person
29 to 0 days before your trip100% of the trip price/person

Requests to transfer a date will be treated as a cancellation, per the terms above.

Canceled Trips

OARS International and the outfitter Custom Latin Travel reserve the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or other factors that make the trip impractical to operate. Do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements unless you have spoken to your Adventure Consultant regarding the status of your trip.

If a trip must be canceled or postponed due to force majeure (factors outside the control of OARS), OARS will provide full credit for payments made toward future travel, or a refund less a 5% service fee plus any nonrefundable payments made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers. OARS will make good faith efforts to recover deposits made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers, however, we can’t guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made. OARS is not responsible for expenses incurred by participants in preparation for a canceled trip.


Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an OARS International trip. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.

Travel Protection

Because there are costs that you will incur if you cancel the spaces on this trip that we’re now holding for you, or in the event you need to be evacuated during the trip due to an unforeseen illness or injury, we strongly encourage our guests to purchase an optional travel protection plan. A travel protection plan may help reimburse the cost of your pre-paid, non-refundable payments in the event you are prevented from taking your trip for a covered reason. Trip participants must understand that in the event of an illness or injury on a wilderness trip, evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive. Learn more about the plan we recommend.

Please note: To be eligible for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your initial trip payment and you must be medically fit to travel at the time you pay for the plan.

In order to take part in this trip, each participant must have a minimum of Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage in place for the dates of the trip. This can be purchased as stand-alone coverage, independent of a comprehensive travel protection plan. You can get a quote for this type of policy by entering a Trip Cost amount of $0 when getting a quote.

Please note: By entering a Trip Cost amount of $0, the plan will not include Trip Cancellation coverage and you may not be eligible for Emergency Medical Expense benefits relating to any pre-existing conditions.

Cuba requires all visitors to have basic traveler’s medical, evacuation, and repatriation insurance coverage. You must have this to enter the country. Airlines now include basic coverage in the price of their round-trip ticket, enough to meet the requirement.

Liability Release / Assumption of Risk

Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release/assumption of risk form before the trip, confirming awareness that there are inherent risks associated with the trip. Due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form and return it to our office before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate, and consistent with OARS International’s cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.

Responsibility – An Important Notice

O.A.R.S. International, Inc. and Custom Latin Travel act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services, and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss, or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, pandemics, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Reasonable changes in the itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings (this trip requires a minimum of 4 guests), and other factors. There is risk in whitewater rafting, particularly during high-water conditions. Rafts, dories, and kayaks do capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” and “float-it-out” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size exceeding 56 inches. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. We are experienced in accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss any special requirements ahead of time.

OARS trips occur in areas where unpredictable environmental conditions are to be expected. To moderate dangerous situations for our guests and guides, all travelers must obey the rules and regulations as determined by the managing agencies and the Trip Leader and demonstrate reasonable consideration for other guests and OARS employees. We reserve the right to remove any guest from a trip if, in our opinion, that guest’s actions or behaviors pose a threat to the safety of her/himself or others, or if those actions or behaviors compromise the enjoyment of the trip for others. Should a guest be asked to leave a trip, there will be no refund for the unused portion, nor will OARS be responsible for additional expenses incurred by the guest for accommodations, return transport, change fees, etc. Prices subject to change without notice. OARS is an equal opportunity provider.


Custom Latin Travel LLC, a travel partner of OARS. International, is the operator of this trip. A representative will meet you at the start of the trip and escort you throughout the program. These international staff members are the very best and will strive to ensure your complete satisfaction. The government of Cuba also provides a guide to accompany and oversee all tourist activity.

Compare Adventures

Select up to 3 trips to compare