Excursions in the « Jardines del Rey »
There is a wide choice of excursions in Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermoto to suit all budgets. Of course, the nautical excursions are the most popular, especially the full-day catamaran with lobster lunch and open bar. An opportunity to discover the beauty of the King's Gardens islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
All excursions are offered by Cuban companies: Cubanacan, Gaviota Tours, Havanatur and Cubatur. They are sold directly by them or by representatives of foreign tour operators. If you may want for a custom excursions, then ask the person at your hotel’s tour desk. He will guide you in your search tp find what you are looking for.
You may also rent a car (or scooter) to explore the surrounding area by yourself, but you will miss the explanations of a professional guide that will make a huge difference in your quest to discover Cuba.
While suggested, you are not required to purchase your excursion from the tour operator who sold your travel package. The representatives get a commission, so if you do not like the service of the representative, you are free to purchase your excursion from another tour operator or simply from a Cuban tour operator. Note that Cuban tour operators offer sometimes excursions that are not offered by foreign tour operators. Take the time to find the best excursion for you. Please note that it is highly recommended to book your excursion early, as some are very popular and places are limited.
To choose your excursion, you have two choices: To attend the tour operator meeting, which is usually the morning after your arrival at the hotel OR by browsing the excursion books which are generally located in the lobby area. The description is in Spanish, English and French (sometimes in German and Italian). The excursions are purchased at your hotel or in advance by some foreign tour operators.
It is strongly recommended to carry with you a document that identifies you, when you leave the hotel. Whether in scooter, taxi, bike or during excursions. A photocopy of your passport is enough, unless you have to leave the islands or to take a domestic flight, then you must bring your original passport. Be advised.
Please note that since the spring 2014, Cuban Immigration systematically stamps all passports when entering and leaving the country. And also: as of May 1, 2015, the Cuban Departure Tax is no longer paid at destination. It should now be included in the price of your trip when buying a flight-only or package to Cuba.
In October 2013 the Cuban Government announced its intention to eliminate their dual currency system (CUC and CUP). To the best of our knowledge, it seems like no schedule has been officially announced yet for this plan to eliminate the CUC and revalue the CUP; and so far (2015) there's no indication yet about when the CUC will be put out of circulation. More news to come.
Visit our website that chronicles the announcements and events related to The Cuban Thaw (the normalization of US-Cuba relations).
Excursions are payable in cash (CUC) or by credit cards. Actually, there is no ATM in Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo. The price does not include gratuities for guide and driver. The average tip is 5 CUC for the guide and 2-3 CUC for the driver per person.
Visa and MasterCard are accepted in Cuba. Since March 1st, 2015, some American credit cards are now accepted in Cuba.
Why your excursion will be charged in USD on your credit card, rather than in CUC? Well, the CUC is not a currency that exists in the international market. Transactions are always made in USD currency. The value of the CUC equals the USD.
If you plan to use your credit card to buy excursions, it is strongly advised to notify the bank that issued your credit card BEFORE leaving for Cuba. Some banks may refuse transactions in foreign countries.
President Raul Castro announced in October 2013, the beginning of the process that will end the dual currencies circulating in Cuba for 19 years. It is possible that the CUC gives way to the USD currency. The CUP which is the Cuban Pesos will remain, but with bills.
The excursions are guided in Spanish, English or French, but it is also possible in German or Italian if there is enough people. You must specify your preference while booking your excursion. Please note that some excursions require a minimum of people, and are not always available especially during the low season (from May to November). You have to pay in cash for scooter rentals. Visit the transportation section of our website.
WARNING! If you wish to cancel your excursion, you must notify your representative 24 hours in advance, otherwise certain fees may be charged. Marine excursions are sometimes canceled (full refund) or postponed, according to the weather forecast. You will never loose your money if an excursion has been cancelled.
The day of the excursion, go to the meeting point (usually in the lobby hall) at least 10 minutes before departure time. ABOVE ALL! Have your excursion voucher that was given to you while booking by the tour representative, otherwise you may be refused.
All Tour Operators offer the VIP service at the airport. Here is the description of services offered for 20 CUC per adult and 15 CUC per children (source: TMR).
« Finish your holiday in style by taking advantage of our VIP lounge on the airport where you can relax in our comfortable couches in the last hours of your vacation. Furthermore, included: private rapid check-in counter on arrival, open bar and snacks in the VIP lounge, priority out private boarding the plane on departure ».
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