Cuba: The People & Culture - 2017

Cienfuegos • Trinidad • Bay of Pigs • Havana
DATES & PRICES
Moderate Deluxe
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Base prices are factored using double-occupancy rooms; supplemental fees may apply for those traveling independently.
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Before You Go

From money matters to packing tips, we’ve got all the information you need to prepare for your upcoming Vantage journey. Just click on an item below to read more about it.

Passports & Visas


Planning your trip

Your trip will be here before you know it! Here's some information specific to the destinations you'll be visiting to help you prepare for your journey.

Travel Documentation

A passport is required for this trip. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the scheduled return date of your vacation. Bring with you a photocopy of the pages of your passport that contain your personal information and extra passport photographs. These are useful in the event of loss.

Passport and Visa

This information applies to U.S. citizens only. Those traveling on other than a U.S. passport must contact the embassies or consulates of the countries to be visited for further information and special requirements.

Country Passport Visa
Cuba Y Y*

* A Cuban visa is included in your tour price.

Passport
Must be valid for at least six months following your scheduled departure date to Cuba 
• Should be in good condition

Visa requirements
The visa cost is included in the price of your trip. Note that the Cuban visa is tourist card and not a stamp in your passport. 

Visas are distributed in Miami only if passengers' flights from Vantage are originating in Miami, or they are overnighting in Miami. We will have a Vantage Representative in the check-in area distributing the visas as the passengers check in. Please note that Vantage representatives cannot enter boarding areas to distribute visas to connecting passengers. Travelers with flights from their home city who are just connecting via Miami will be mailed their visas directly approximately 15 days prior to departure.

Approximately 80 days prior to departure, travelers will receive a letter with forms and instructions on completing the requested documentation. If it is not filled out properly, Cuban authorities may require you to pay for another visa at the airport at a cost of $200 to the traveler. Please send back the required forms to Vantage for processing BEFORE 60 days prior to your departure date to avoid delays. 

Mandatory Supplemental Insurance: Boarding passes are proof of your mandatory supplemental insurance for Cuba (excluding medical or hospital visits), which is included when travelers book their airfare through Vantage. Please keep your boarding passes with you at all times as proof of purchase. This insurance should be included in U.S. airline ticket prices for travelers purchasing their airfare independently, but please confirm with your carrier.

NOTE: Non-U.S. citizens or passport holders, it is your responsibility to contact your local embassy or Consulate for requirements which will vary from above.

Vaccinations

Presently, there are no required vaccines for this trip. Questions may be directed to the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/travel or by phone at 1-800-232-4636.

U.S. Customs Information

If you are traveling internationally, it is important to understand U.S. Customs regulations including required documents, rules for bringing back items, and duty-free exemption. Please click the link below to visit the U.S. Customs website and read their helpful booklet, "Know Before Yo Go." This publications is available online and as a printer-friendly "PDF" document.

View "Know Before You Go"
(Link opens new browser window.)

Do I need a passport to travel to Cuba?
Yes — and it must be valid for at least six months after your scheduled departure to Cuba. If your passport is nearing expiration, it is wise to renew it well in advance of your journey.

Do I need a visa to travel to Cuba?
Yes. The visa cost is included in the price of your trip. The Cuban visa is more like a tourist card than a stamp in your passport. Vantage will mail visa kit information approximately 45-60 days prior to departure. We will provide your visa before your departure. On arrival in Cuba, officials will collect the first half of the card. The other half is collected when you depart the country. your passport photo page in order to initiate the visa application process.

Will I have trouble on future travels if I have a Cuban stamp in my passport?
No. In general, Cuban officials will not stamp the passports of US citizens.

I was born in Cuba but have US citizenship. Can I still join your program?
Yes. Please advise your Vantage travel consultant when you book your trip. There is an additional supplement for a visa for Cuban-born participants. If you have previously applied for a visa and had it rejected, or if you think your application will be rejected, we strongly discourage you from joining this program because you will be subject to all cancellation fees. For more information regarding reservation policies, please read our Terms and Conditions.

What other documents will I need for my trip?
  • A copy of the letter of authorization that allows you to travel to Cuba under Vantage's license
  • You will receive this document from Vantage when you arrive in Cuba. As specified in our license, you are required to retain all records regarding your activities on this trip to Cuba for a period of five years and provide them to OFAC if they request them.

Currency

CURRENCY

Cuba has two currencies: the convertible peso and the Cuban peso (pesos Cubanos.) Prices may be listed twice on menus and the like, and the words “peso” and “dollar” are used interchangeably. CUCs (convertible pesos) have a much higher value than the Cuban peso. When using CUCs, make sure that you do not receive your change in Cuban pesos. U.S. dollars are not widely accepted in stores and are difficult for the average Cuban to exchange, though you may find some shops willing to accept them. For simplicity, we recommend using CUCs. 

Exchanging Money 
Money can be changed at hotels, banks or exchange booths known as Casas de Cambio (CADECA). You'll find CADECAs in airports and business/shopping districts. They are typically open during regular American banking hours on weekdays and Saturdays. 

How much to bring? 
We suggest bringing $900-$1100 per person in U.S. cash; bring even more if you plan to do a lot of shopping. 
This suggestion is more than you are likely to need, but you might be unable to access additional funds once you are in Cuba, so it is better to bring too much rather than too little. U.S. dollars are accepted for exchange into the Cuban “convertible pesos” (CUC) at the hotels we’ll be staying at or at official exchange locations as needed. You can exchange money as you see fit on the fly, and when you leave Cuba you can exchange your leftover CUCs back into dollars at the airport. They will be exchanged at the same rate you paid for them, but a service fee will be deducted. 

Most credit or debit cards issued by U.S. financial institutions can’t be used in Cuba—please rely on cash. 
Although violent crime is extremely low in Cuba, please only carry enough cash for one day. As always, leave valuable documents, passport, credit cards, and most of your cash in the safe in your room. Hotel room safes have an approximate charge of 2 CUCs daily.    

Are traveler's checks accepted in Cuba?
No. We do not recommend using traveler's checks, as they cannot be insured and are also not widely accepted. 

Meals 
Allow about US$15 for lunches and US$25-$35 for dinners (including a mojito, beer, or glass of wine) that are not included in your program price. 

Gratuities

Tipping is standard practice in Cuba. Here are some suggestions:

• Adventure Leader: US$8-$12 per person, per day

• Local Guide: $8-$9 per person per day / 60-70 CUC whole trip. We have selected the most knowledgeable and personable guides. Together with our Adventure Leader & local drivers, they make your trip! We highly recommend US$8-9 per person per day

• Driver:  US$5-$6 per person per day / 25-35CUC for the whole trip we have carefully selected drivers who believe in Safety & Service. 

• Hotels & Restaurants: Tips to luggage porters & included meals will be taken care by your Adventure Leader. 

• Musicians in bars and restaurants depend on your tips, so if their talents bring you enjoyment, we encourage you to give a little something. Or alternatively, you may wish to purchase their CDs. 

• Porterage: Included except in Customs areas


MISCELLANEOUS


Electricity 
Electricity in Cuba in most older hotels is 110 volts, 60 hertz; newer construction can be 200 volts/60 hertz. Older buildings have American-style electricity and newer ones favor European voltage.


Internet

Most hotels in Cuba have either Wi-Fi or a business center where you can access the Internet for a fee. Wireless service is not universally available in your room but may be available in certain hotspots around the hotel for approximately $7-$10 per hour. 
The connection speed in Cuba is much slower than what Americans are accustomed to— and that in rural areas the Internet may not be available at all. 

Telecommunications
U.S. cell phones do not work in Cuba, but phone cards can be used. They come in denominations ranging from $10-$20, and will cost you an average of around $2.40 per minute. You can use these phone cards at blue Etecsa phone boxes, which can be found throughout the country. You can also make calls from your hotel room for around $2.50 per minute. 
To call the U.S. from Cuba, dial 1, followed by the area code and number. If you are unable to connect, dial 119-1, followed by the area code and number. 
To call Cuba from the U.S., dial 011 + 53 + city code and number. To reach an international operator dial 012 in Havana and 180 in the rest of Cuba. 

Photography
You can photograph just about anything in Cuba, although pictures of government buildings and officials in uniform are discouraged. Please ask your Cuban Trip Leader for best practices.  
In any culture, it is polite to ask permission before taking pictures of people, and Cuba is no exception. There are many official “models”—especially in Old Havana—who are licensed to dress in traditional garb and pose for your camera, for a small fee (usually a CUC will do). Candid shots are trickier; if you photograph a shop, for instance, it’s customary to make a small purchase. 
When not using your camera, always keep it in your pocket, in a case attached to your belt, or hanging on a strap around your neck. 

Weights and measures: Cuba uses the metric system, and also U.S. standard measurements. 
Postal services: Postcards can be purchased throughout Cuba, and stamps can be purchased at post offices, hotels and souvenir shops. Post may take several months to reach the U.S., however. 


Vantage Cares

Vantage Adventures has supported Sister Teresa Vaz Day Care Center in Old Havana since 2004. While any gift is appreciated in Cuba, what is most helpful are books in English, socks, shoes, toiletries and stationary. Your gifts will be pooled and donated discretely to the facilities so they may be distributed to children in need accordingly. Vantage also supplies uniforms and equipment to a Cuban youth soccer team. 

Climate/Time Zone


Time Zone

Cuba’s time zone is equivalent to Eastern Standard Time (or Daylight Saving Time) in America.

Country
Time Zone
Cuba EST – Eastern Standard Time

Climate

• The weather in Cuba is semi-subtropical. Temperatures are generally warm year-round, but trade winds often temper the heat. 

• The wet season is approximately from May-October, and the dry season is typically from November-April. 

• Cuba’s climate is influenced by the northeast trade winds in winter and by east-northeast winds in summer – which mitigates the hot temperatures. 

• December to February is the coolest and driest time of the year. Evening and night can be cooler during these months. 

• The hottest months are June to September but heat and humidity are generally tolerable. Cubans take their vacations in July and August. 

Since weather is unpredictable, please use this chart as a general guideline and check weather sites online for 10-day forecasts closer to your departure date to plan your packing accordingly.

Average High/Low Temperature (Farenheit)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Cienfuegos
H 81 82 84 85 87 89 90 90 89 88 83 82
L 63 62 64 67 69 71 72 72 71 71 67 64
Havana H 78 79 82 84 87 88 89 89 88 85 82 79
L 63 63 66 68 71 74 74 74 74 71 69 65


Money Matters


Country       
Unit of Currency       
 
Cuba   Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC)   Get Exchange Rate


CURRENCY: Cuba has two currencies: the convertible peso (CUC) and the Cuban peso (pesos Cubanos.) Prices may be listed twice on menus and the like, and the words “peso” and “dollar” are used interchangeably. CUCs (convertible pesos) have a much higher value than the Cuban peso. When using CUCs, make sure that you do not receive your change in Cuban pesos. U.S. dollars are not widely accepted in stores and are difficult for the average Cuban to exchange, though you may find some shops willing to accept them. For simplicity, we recommend using CUCs. 

Exchanging Money 
Money can be changed at hotels, banks or exchange booths known as Casas de Cambio (CADECA). You'll find CADECAs in airports and business/shopping districts. They are typically open during regular American banking hours on weekdays and Saturdays. 

How much to bring? 
We suggest bringing $900-$1100 per person in U.S. cash; bring even more if you plan to do a lot of shopping. 
This suggestion is more than you are likely to need, but you might be unable to access additional funds once you are in Cuba, so it is better to bring too much rather than too little. U.S. dollars are accepted for exchange into the Cuban “convertible pesos” (CUC) at the hotels we’ll be staying at or at official exchange locations as needed. You can exchange money as you see fit on the fly, and when you leave Cuba you can exchange your leftover CUCs back into dollars at the airport. They will be exchanged at the same rate you paid for them, but a service fee will be deducted. 

Most credit or debit cards issued by U.S. financial institutions can’t be used in Cuba—please rely on cash. 
Although violent crime is extremely low in Cuba, please only carry enough cash for one day. As always, leave valuable documents, passport, credit cards, and most of your cash in the safe in your room.     

Are traveler's checks accepted in Cuba?
No. We do not recommend using traveler's checks, as they cannot be insured and are also not widely accepted. 

Meals 
Allow about US$15 for lunches and US$25-$35 for dinners (including a mojito, beer, or glass of wine) that are not included in your program price. 

Gratuities

Tipping is standard practice in Cuba. Here are some suggestions:

• Adventure Leader: US$8-$12 per person, per day

• Local Guide: $8-$9 per person per day We have selected the most knowledgeable and personable guides. Together with our Adventure Leader & local drivers, they make your trip! We highly recommend US$8-9 per person per day

• Driver:  US$5-$6 per person per day for the whole trip we have carefully selected drivers who believe in Safety & Service. 

• Hotels & Restaurants: Tips to luggage porters & included meals will be taken care by your Adventure Leader. 

• Musicians in bars and restaurants depend on your tips, so if their talents bring you enjoyment, we encourage you to give a little something. Or alternatively, you may wish to purchase their CDs. 

• Porterage: Included except in Customs areas


Packing Guidelines


An adventure in Cuba requires the right gear, and we’ve got it all for you at our Adventure Essentials Shop. Click, browse, and start getting prepared for your journey today!

You may find the packing information below helpful as you begin to prepare for your upcoming journey.

Luggage Restrictions

To help make your travel experience as smooth and simple as possible, Vantage recommends you limit your luggage to one large suitcase and one small carry-on bag per person. For most flights to Cuba, checked bag plus carry on restricted to 44 pounds total weight. After the first 44 pounds, there is a charge of $2 per pound, plus an extra $20 per additional piece of luggage besides the first piece and your carry-on. The carry-on weight limit is 20 pounds, which counts toward your 44-pound limit. You can only have 1 carry-on bag per person, and all are subject to carrier overhead size restrictions.

Travel Light [top]

Most travelers pack much more than they really need. We recommend that you start packing a few days before your trip, so you have time to remember everything that you need — and to decide what is essential and what is not. And don't forget to leave room for souvenirs and gifts you may purchase during your trip.

Cuba

Items can be difficult to obtain in Cuba, especially outside of Havana. Please take everything you are likely to need other than food, especially medication and health supplies like contact lenses, insect repellent and sunscreen. And, if you are bringing these items in a carry-on bag, please make sure they are in containers of 3 oz. or less.  

Please visit us online at www.vantageadventures or www.vantageadventurestore.com for a selection of products that may be helpful as you determine the packing list that’s best for you. 

Cuba is generally informal in terms of fashion. Comfortable, casual cotton clothing is most appropriate for most days and occasions, including at dinner and in bars. Dressing in layers is recommend. Laundry service is available in all hotels on this itinerary.

Comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles and good ankle support are recommended for cobblestoned streets, and SPF-rated clothing and layers are recommended for daytime walking in the sun. There are occasional rain showers so a small, collapsible umbrella or light rain jacket may also be useful. 

Here are essential items: 

• 3 short-sleeved cotton shirts (polo-style shirts are more versatile than T-shirts)
• 2 long-sleeved cotton shirts — for sun protection and warmth
• Lightweight safari-style convertible trousers that zip off at the knee to be worn as shorts
• One pair of smart-casual trousers for evenings out 
• 2 pairs of walking shorts
• 5 or 6 changes of underwear
• Light fleece/soft shell or wool sweater (depending on season)
• Light rain jacket 
• Fold-up umbrella or rain poncho 
• Wide-brim sun hat
• Sleepwear: 1 to 2 pairs of light- or medium-weight pajamas
• Sunglasses
• Flashlight
• Day pack 
• Sundries & toiletries (such as hand sanitizer, tissues, and mosquito repellent)

Additional suggested items:


• Travel alarm 
• Travel journal/note pad 
• Washcloth 
• Earplugs
• Swimsuit, gym clothes for hotels 

Valuables[top]

Please remember that it is not wise to bring valuables with you when you travel. If you decide to do so, please carry them on your person when flying. Make sure to use hotel or ship safe deposit boxes or safes to ensure the safety of possessions that you may want to have with you.

What to Leave Behind [top]

Do not pack aerosol cans; they tend to leak during air travel. Also avoid packing glass bottles; use plastic containers instead. Leave at home any credit cards and checkbooks that you don't anticipate using on your trip; valuable jewelry; brand-new shoes (instead pack your most comfortable walking shoes); and, in general, anything that you would hate to lose.



Flight Information


Flight Information

When planning your flights, Vantage considers each airline's reputation for quality, service, and routing options to the destination. Vantage selects flights that both serve our groups' needs and ensure the best balance of quality and cost. Our flight team members will do their utmost to select flights that will get you to your destination as quickly and easily as possible. 

First and Business Class Airfare Upgrades
Many of our programs offer first and/or Business Class upgrades, for more information, please visit our FlightChoice page.

Vantage encourages you to check current airport security regulations well in advance of travel, as rules may have changed since your last trip. For the latest information on airline security guidelines and boarding procedures, please visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) web site.


While on Tour


While on Tour

The information below applies in general to Vantage escorted land tours. To learn more about our full line of escorted land tours, click here.

Briefing sessions

At the beginning of your tour, a Vantage Program Manager will conduct an informative briefing concerning the daily schedule, local customs, and the included features of your tour. It is strongly advised that you attend this briefing.

Extending Your Trip

Vantage offers specially arranged pre- and post-extensions on many of our escorted land tours. See specific tours for details. In some cases, your Program Manager that will be on your base trip will be there also on the extension, but not always. On some pre- and post-extensions, there will be a Vantage representative to assist you.

Additionally, if you would like to do some exploring on your own, either before or after your tour, Vantage can help you arrange the details. In most cases, your flights can be adjusted for either an earlier arrival date or a later return date. A non-refundable administrative fee will be assessed, plus any additional costs that may apply to the air ticket and hotel. Transfers to and from your hotel are not included when traveling independent of a Vantage group. Please ask a Vantage Sales Representative for additional details. Note also that some airline contracts may exclude changes to routing.

NOTE: Should you wish to make any changes to your plans to extend your trip, please do so no later than 60 days prior to your scheduled date of departure. Change or cancellation penalties may apply to tickets once they have been issued.

Your Health & Comfort

Vantage wants you to have a safe, healthy, and happy journey. Our tours are planned to combine just the right amount of activity and leisure. For personal medical attention while on tour, your Vantage Program Manager can refer you to reliable physicians in the cities on your tour.

Please note that Medicare and U.S health insurance are generally not accepted in foreign destinations. If you have an insurance claim, it should be made upon your return to the USA and filed through your health insurance provider or through the Vantage Travel Protection Plan if you have purchased it. Keep relevant receipts and doctors' reports for processing your claim.

Jet Lag Precautions

When you cross several time zones to reach your destination, you often lose many hours of regular sleep. Upon arrival your body must quickly adjust to new sleeping and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms may include fatigue, irritability, and vague disorientation. You cannot completely avoid jet lag but you can minimize it. Here's how:

  • Try to sleep on overnight flights
  • Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before - and during - your flight
  • Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying
  • Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner

Pace of the Tour

Vantage Tours are planned to provide a well-balanced mix of activities and free time. Certain tours, however, may prove to be more challenging than others, particularly for passengers with physical limitations.

Passengers with physical difficulties or concerns about the pace of the tour should contact their Vantage Customer Relations Representative for tips on which tours best suit their individual needs and abilities. See also Medical Issues, below.

Your Personal Safety

Please keep in mind that in any tourist destination, you need to be aware of your surroundings. We recommend that you use a money protector that can be worn around your neck. Flashy jewelry should be left at home. Never place your camera or purse down, or hang it on the back of your chair. Although incidents of theft and pickpocketing while on tour are rare, it is important to be cautious and aware.

Medical Issues

Click here or read your Vantage Tour Participation Agreement for important information about travelers with a physical, emotional, or mental condition that may require professional attention or the use of special equipment. "Medical Issues" information appears in the "Tour Participation Agreement - Terms and Conditions" printed on the back of your invoice.

Hotels

Vantage makes every effort to reserve only hotels that offer well-appointed rooms and a central location. We remind you that quality of accommodations may vary from destination to destination. Vantage strives to provide the best hotels available that meet our standards of quality. You can check descriptions of the hotels for your chosen trip under Accommodations on the website for that trip.

How We Rate Our Hotels

While some tour companies devise their own ratings systems (based on their particular standards), Vantage ranks hotels based on the industry-accepted classifications published by theHotel & Travel Index - the travel industry standard.

Deluxe/Moderate Deluxe ***** Outstanding accommodations in every way, offering superior service, facilities, and location.

Superior First-Class ****+ Above average accommodations, with many special amenities, including more restaurants, shops, and usually a fitness center.

First-Class/Moderate First-Class **** Comfortable, well-equipped standard rooms with private bath, attractive public areas, and amenities.

Please Note: In some areas where the hotels aren't rated, it's often due to the fact that the hotel may be too new, too remote, or too small. However, the hotel where you stay has been inspected and approved by Vantage personnel.

Religious Services

At Vantage, we count individuals from all walks of life and all religious denominations among our customers. Although we do not offer religious services on our travel programs, services may be available in the cities and towns you visit while on tour. Your Vantage Program Manager can advise you when religious services are available. Please keep in mind that not all religious denominations have a presence in every travel destination. We cannot guarantee the availability of religious services.

Shopping

Shopping for local merchandise is always a part of the travel experience. We are aware that local guides do recommend shops on their tours. Always keep in mind that a purchase is between the buyer and the seller. Always keep receipts and credit card copies. Shipping should always include insurance in the event of breakage. Iit is best to check with your credit card issuer for any insurance that may be included when you use your card.

Sightseeing & Cultural Connections

Vantage offers a variety of included sightseeing tours and special cultural events to enrich your travel experience and bring you "closer to the world." Our tours are specially designed for Vantage travelers. They let you feel the atmosphere, gain a cultural understanding, and become a part of the area you are visiting. They include all transportation and the services of expert local guides.

Optional Excursions

Vantage makes every effort to provide the right balance of both included activities and time for exploring on your own. We've found, however, that many of our passengers prefer an additional guided activity in lieu of free time. For that reason, some of our tours may include a limited number of optional tours and activities, which you may choose to take at a moderate fee. In no case do we replace an included sightseeing tour with an optional tour. Optional tours are strictly voluntary, providing you with the opportunity to visit an attraction that you may not see otherwise.

Taxes

All hotel taxes and hotel service charges are included in the tour price. If airport arrival and departure taxes apply, they are payable in cash at the airports and are not included.

Transfers

All transfers between airport and hotel/pier are included in conjunction with Vantage air and tour packages and will be via private transportation. Travelers purchasing their own airline tickets will be responsible for their own transfers to and from the airport/hotel/pier based on the itinerary.

Travel Itinerary

Each Vantage Escorted Land Tour is planned with two criteria in mind: It must be to an interesting destination and the tour must offer good quality at an exceptional value.

Although everything is planned well in advance of your departure, our ultimate goal is to ensure that each departure is enjoyable, interesting, and safe. Therefore, the day-by-day itinerary provided for each travel destination is subject to change depending upon local conditions. If any significant changes occur in advance of your departure, Vantage will notify you by phone or by mail. If changes occur while on tour, your Vantage Program Manager or local representative will notify you.

Your Vantage Program Manager/Local Representative

During your tour you'll be accompanied on tour by an experienced Vantage Program Manager. You will also benefit from the insights of expert Local Representatives and tour guides. Both your Program Manager and Local Representative can provide suggestions on the best restaurants, shops, and local sights; will help coordinate optional tours and excursions; and assist in any manner possible.

Vantage Hospitality Desk

For your convenience, a Vantage Hospitality Desk will be available daily during scheduled hours at many of the hotels on your itinerary (staffed by an experienced team of local travel professionals or by your Vantage Program Manager). The desk hours vary, depending on your daily scheduling. Tour members will be advised of the desk hours during the briefing held upon arrival at most hotels.

Tipping

We include tipping for all meals that are included in your package and all porterage. Tips are not included for your Vantage Program Manager, local guides and drivers, or any maids or other personnel in hotels, ships or trains.


Payment Information


What does my Reservation Deposit Guarantee?
Payment of your initial deposit holds your spot on your journey. However, it does not guarantee the price of your trip. Participation in our Smart Pay Discount Plan can save you up to 10% on your Vantage trip AND it ensures that the land, cruise, and international airfare portions of your trip will not increase. This includes 100% guaranteed protection against most additional taxes (does not include entry fees or arrival taxes), fuel surcharges, and currency fluctuations, from the moment you pay in full under the terms of Vantage's SmartPay Discount Plan. If you do not participate in our SmartPay Discount Plan, all prices are subject to change.
When is my Final Payment due?
Final payments are due 90-120 days prior to departure, depending upon the program.
Can I extend my final payment due date?
Unfortunately, we are unable to extend any final payment due dates because of our vendor contractual obligations.
What is an E-Check?
ECheck is a commonly used term to refer to an online payment method via electronic check from your bank account.
What are the benefits of paying via E-Check?
Paying by E-Check is fast, easy and 100% secure – and there is no fee involved. Plus, paying by E-Check with our SmartPay Discount Program, you can realize hundreds of dollars in savings right away. When you compare those savings to the frequent flyer miles you might earn when you pay by credit card, you come out on top for two reasons: first, you enjoy your savings right away, whereas frequent flyer miles need to be accumulated over time before you cash them in; second, frequent flyer miles have restrictions of usage.
How do I make payments via an E-Check?
It's easy to set up E-Checking on My Account. Have your checkbook handy and simply go to the Make a Payment screen and follow the instructions provided. Please note that E-Check payments appear on your invoice immediately but take 2-3 business days for your bank to process.
What is the SmartPay Discount Plan?
The SmartPay Discount PlanSM allows our travelers to receive a discount by paying for their trip in full before their final payment due date. The further in advance of the final payment date you pay, the greater the discount. Just as important, you’ll guarantee your price against price increases resulting from currency fluctuations, fuel costs, and other unanticipated occurrences.
How can I take advantage of your SmartPay Discount Plan?
You can only take advantage of our SmartPay Discount PlanSM when paying by E-Check. Paying by E-Check is fast, easy and 100% secure – and there is no fee involved. All you need is your checking account number and bank routing number, both of which are printed on your checks. 50% of your trip’s total cost must be paid by check. Payments made inside of 60 days prior to departure will not qualify.
Can I pay by credit card and still take advantage of your SmartPay Discount Plan?
While we do accept credit card payments, you can only take advantage of our SmartPay Discount PlanSM when paying by E-Check, unless part of your payment is made by credit card and at least 50% of your total payment is paid by E-Check.
How do I redeem my Vantage Credit Voucher?
Vantage credit vouchers should be mailed once you receive your first invoice. Any overpayment that results from the credit voucher will be refunded to you, if applicable.
How do I cancel my trip and how long will it take for me to receive a refund?

If you must cancel your trip, you should contact our Customer Service department. Refund requests must be made in writing – indicating the reason for cancellation – and received by the respective final payment due date to avoid additional cancellation charges.

Vantage realizes that most people who cancel their reservations do so out of real necessity. Nevertheless, there is a non-refundable administrative fee of $300 per person for each program you cancel. This low fee covers only our costs of reservation maintenance or cancellation.

Payments made to your credit card will be refunded as a credit to that card. Payments made by check will be refunded by check. Payments paid by electronic check will be refunded electronically. Please allow 35 days for refunds to be manually verified and processed by our accounting department. Please refer to the Tour Participation Agreement for your program's cancellation fee schedule.

Why does it take just one day to charge my credit card at the time of booking but 30 days to refund it in the event of cancellation?
After you book a trip with us, we process charges within 24 hours in order to hold and confirm your reservation quickly for you. Because refunds are processed manually by our accounting department, we require a 30-day processing period to assure utmost accuracy.
I was just reviewing my invoice online and noticed a discrepancy. What should I do?
Please contact us and we will attempt to resolve the situation as soon as possible. To help expedite matters, you should print out your invoice and have it handy when you contact us.

Contact Vantage

CALL 1-800-848-5773

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Journey Cuba: The People & Culture Cuba: Connecting With People & Culture
Price including airfare between Miami & Cuba* $4,199 $5,590 Save $2,782 per couple!
Trip Length 0 days 7 days Better pacing plus enjoy our Vantage Cares charitable initiatives!
Per Diem $0 per day $799 Save up to $550 per couple per day!
Small Group travel Yes! No more than 24 travelers per departure! Group size of up to 30 travelers! Smaller group size!
Sightseeing Full program of People-to-People interactions Full program of People-to-People interactions Learn about Cuba through daily interactions with the local people including artists, students, musicians and visits to workshops, choir performances a daycare center & much more
Preferred Traveler Rewards 5% Vantage Travel Reward to use towards your next Vantage journey $100 per person BEST REWARDS PROGRAM IN TRAVEL!
10 Ways to Save Referral Rewards - $200 per traveler referred after 2 referrals; Buy direct & save big, 100% Travel Protection; SmartPay — pay in full, 12-months in advance and save 10% Travel Protection THE MOST WAYS TO SAVE!

*Prices are subject to change & based on comparable March or November departure dates
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