Travel to Cuba has become more popular and enticing, yet challenges still exist. As the official North America Tour Operator for the Havana Marathon, let Marathon Tours & Travel take care of all the hassles for you! We will secure your visa and plan all the land logistics, which will give you the opportunity to interact with the local people and enjoy the magnificent culture of this small island.
The 38th Marabana offers race distances of a marathon, half-marathon, 10K and 5K. Our hotel accommodations are at the brand new Grand Aston Hotel, located off the legendary Malecon Havanero with a less than 10 minute drive to Old Havana. Our four-night package will provide the perfect introduction to lively Havana. We also recommend you extend your time and join us for the optional two-night extension to Varadero where you will enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets in this stunning landscape. Come enjoy the flavors, sights, and sounds of this unique destination with Marathon Tours & Travel!
Travel Package Information
Thursday, November 14
Upon arriving in Havana and clearing immigration/customs transfer to the Grand Ashton Hotel La Habana where you will be greeted by your Marathon Tours & Travel host. Enjoy free time on your own this afternoon. We will gather this evening for our Welcome Dinner at the famous Strawberry and Chocolate restaurant – La Guarida. (Dinner included)
Friday, November 15
The day will start with an optional short training run along the Malecon. Upon returning, enjoy breakfast and be ready to depart for a full day of activities. We will start with a walking tour of Old Havana with a stop at a children’s daycare center, which welcomes 150 children daily and is run by Sister Teresa Vaz. Following the center, we will collect our dorsals for race day before enjoying lunch at a private paladar. This afternoon is a visit to Finca Vigia – Ernest Hemingway’s house. Known as “Papa” to the Cubans, Hemingway spent nearly 20 years living and writing in Cuba and is still revered there. The rest of the day and evening are on your own to enjoy. Several restaurants will be recommended by your guide. (Breakfast and Lunch included)
Saturday, November 16
After breakfast, we begin our day by visiting the Habana Compass Dance Academy. In route, enjoy a panoramic tour of Modern Havana, which includes the University of Havana, Colon Cemetery, the mansions of Vedado and a photo stop at The Plaza de la Revolucion Square. At the Academy, you will be delighted watching a dance rehearsal and meeting the dancers/musicians of this unique group. Following lunch at a local restaurant, the option is to have a free afternoon or visit the Mercado de Artesania San Jose (referred to as the Craft Market) followed by a tour of a Cigar Factory. At the Craft Market, you will find many artists and souvenirs. Your guide will explain its history, the culture, and bargaining tips! The rest of the afternoon is free before we gather for our pre-race dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner included)
Sunday, November 17
It’s race day!
Breakfast will be available before you depart for the start, which is a short bus ride from our hotel. The start of the marathon, half-marathon, and 10k is located in front of the Capitolio, the national capital building designed after the USA Capitol. You will run through Havana alongside island residents as the course takes you through the streets of the colonial city, passing through its historic monuments. Upon finishing, celebrate your achievement in Old Havana and catch our private bus back to the hotel (times and meeting location will be shared on-site). Tonight, we will enjoy dinner and a congratulatory cheer at a nearby venue. (Breakfast and Dinner included)
Monday, November 18
Today is departure day or departure for the two-night extension to Varadero. If on your way home, enjoy a leisure morning before making your way to the Havana International Airport for your flight home. Please note that airport transfers are not included. (Breakfast included)
Note: All group meals in Havana include two drinks. Any extra drinks will be paid by each guest to the server (cash only).
Schedule and Hotel Subject to Change
Post-Race Extension | November 18 – 20, 2024
Varadero (Must pay in full before June 2, 2024 in order to participate)
Varadero is one of the world’s best known destinations, and no wonder. Its spectacular beaches of fine sand, the natural wonders that surround it such as the Cuevas de Bellamar (Bellamar Caves) or the Cienaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp), along with the variety of activities to do make it an ideal destination. Varadero is the perfect combination of natural beauty and traditional Cuban culture. Your experience these two days include spending two nights at Mystique Casa Perla.
Monday, November 18
Following breakfast and check-out we will begin our 2.5 hour drive to Varadero. Upon arriving in Varadero, we will check-in at the Mystique Casa Perla and the rest of the afternoon and evening are on your own. (Breakfast and lunch included)
Tuesday November 19
After breakfast, we will visit the baseball stadium “Palmar de Junco”, a historic facility where the first recorded organized baseball game in the country was played in 1874. Famous Cuban baseball players like Martin Dihigo, Jose de la Caridad Mendez (The Black Diamond), Gaspar “El Curro” Perez, and Lazaro Junco played on this field over the years. The ballpark is still a working facility, serving as a provincial academy for young players.
Before returning to the hotel, we will visit Ediciones Vigia, a unique publishing house founded in 1985. It produces handmade paper and first edition copies of books. Only 200 copies of each book are made so each is a collector’s item. We will meet with the Director Agustina Ponce, publishers and artists.
After lunch, the rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy until we gather at 5:00 PM for a visit to the Varadero Dance Academy for a rumba workshop. Dinner is at your leisure.(Breakfast and lunch included)
Wednesday November 20
Following an early breakfast we will begin the drive back to the Havana airport for your international flight home or we suggest your book the return flight below as the airport is only 40 minutes from the hotel. (Breakfast included)
Varadero (VRA)- Miami (MIA)
***WEAmericas is a program launched by The State Department in 2012 to support women’s economic advancement in the Western Hemisphere. Since its founding, the program has brought more than 140 women from 25 Latin American and Caribbean countries to the United States to hone their leadership abilities and entrepreneurial skills, build networks, and create strategies for successful enterprises. The initiative reduces barriers and increases opportunities for women entrepreneurs to start and grow small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) by improving access to markets, capital, skills and leadership opportunities.
Itinerary Subject to Change
Packages & Rates
Havana Marathon | Four-Night Package: November 14 – 18, 2024
- Travel visa
- Five star hotel accommodations
- Hotel taxes
- Most meals including a special welcome dinner and post-marathon celebration
- Exciting itinerary with the best expert english speaking tour guides
- All entrance fees to scheduled activities and events
- Tips and gratuities for drivers and guides
- In-country ground transportation (airport transfers will be on own)
- Services of Marathon Tours & Travel Staff
- Race Entry Fee:
- Marathon – TBC
- Half-Marathon – TBC
- 10K or 5K – TBC
- Round trip flight to/from Havana, Cuba
- Meals not outlined on the itinerary
- Miscellaneous expenses
- Tips not included in the package features
- Travel insurance
- Airport transfers
- There are a limited number of single rooms available.
- Extension payments must be made before June 2, 2024.
You should fly in and out of the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba (HAV). We recommend you arrive before 4:00 PM on arrival day (Thursday, November 14). You can depart at anytime on Monday, November 18.
Six-Night Package (Havana and Varadero):
You should fly in to the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba (HAV). We recommend you arrive before 4:00 PM on arrival day (Thursday, November 14). Your flight on Wednesday, November 20 should be 3:00 PM or later if departing from Havana or we recommend the flight below.
Varadero (VRA)- Miami (MIA)
(Please note that this package is available to U.S. Citizens only or International Citizens who depart from the U.S.)
Rates (all prices are per person and in US dollars) – 2024 rates coming soon
Havana Marathon Packages Double Occupancy Single Occupancy Four Night Package (Havana only) $3360 per person $3855 Varadero Post Race Extension Standard Room $745 per person $1240 Varadero Post Race Extension Jr. Suite $820 per person $1315 Varadero Post Race Extension Ocean View Suite $870 per person $1,365
Grand Aston La Habana
This new property is a haven of contemporary chic and sophistication. The Grand Aston La Habana reveals uniquely designed architecture, fresh guest rooms, eclectic dining, beautiful wellness facilities, including a stunning infinity pool with view of the Havana Bay. This urban oasis is ideally located in the bustling Vedado, the capital’s central commercial district, close to shops, restaurants and entertainment. Each room has a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, min-bar, safety box, iron/ironing board, and hairdryer.Mystique Casa Perla
With its uniqueness and vibrant culture, Casa Perla is the perfect choice for those looking to experience the best that Varadero has to offer for an escape that is anything but ordinary. Set on the world-famous shores of Varadero, Mystique Casa Perla by Royalton is the ideal destination for picturesque Cuban vacations. Spend your days unwinding on the breathtaking white-sand beach and exploring everything the island has to offer. (Please note this hotel is for adults only)
Race Date: Sunday, November 17, 2024
Start Time: 6:30AM
Entry Fees: Marathon Tours & Travel will secure your guaranteed race entry. Instructions will be sent to registered participants.
Course: The race starts in front of the Capitolio on the edge of Old Havana. After one mile, it reaches the port and follows the Malecon for about three miles along the water. It then turns into the main city through many neighborhoods and past historical sites such as the National Sports Stadium and Revolution Square. The marathon is two loops of this route. The course is somewhat traffic-free and flat until mile five. From there until the end of the loop you will find rolling hills. The circuit of the marathon and half-marathon is certified by the AIMS/IAFF. The 10K flat course is along the Malecon and is out and back.
Time Limit: The Havana Marathon starts at 6:30AM and ends at 1:00PM. Therefore, there is a 6.5 hour time limit from the gun start.
Temperature: Temperatures will range from 60F to 80F. Humidity can be high.
Eligibility: All runners must be 18 years of age or older.
Awards: Every runner receives a commemorative t-shirt and medal.
Difficulty: Moderate due to humidity and rolling hills.
Registration & Booking
Reservations and Payments: A completed tour application together with a non-refundable deposit of $500.00 per person must be received before confirming your reservation(s). Final payment is due before July 30, 2024. Final payments received after July 30, 2024 are subject to a $50 late payment fee.
Cancellations: All payments, including your deposit, are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Non-transferrable includes applying your balance to another person, another year or another trip. Should you cancel for any reason, you will forfeit your trip investment. Therefore, travel insurance for every trip is highly recommended. All cancellations must be received in writing.
Disclosure: Travel to Cuba is strictly controlled by OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control), a division of the US Treasury Department. Marathon Tours & Travel acts a sales agent for Project Hemisphere that has a license for legal travel to Cuba for US passport holders.
Flights: Since commercial flights are now able to fly to Cuba, each guest will be responsible for booking their own flight to/from Havana. Guests should plan to arrive in Havana before 3:00 PM on Thursday, November 16. If you are on the Varadero two-night extension, your flight should depart after 3:00 PM on Wednesday, November 22 if you are returning from the Havana airport.
Not included in price: All items not specifically listed under tour features.
Visa: A visa is required for all Americans traveling to Cuba. Marathon Tours & Travel will secure the visa for all passengers.
Insurance: For your protection, trip cancellation, baggage, health and accident insurance is highly recommended for all participants. However, no representation or description of the insurance made by our staff constitutes a binding assurance or promise about the insurance.
Security Policy: Marathon Tours & Travel’s security policy requires that anyone staying in our room block must be registered as part of our package. If a registered client attempts to house a non-registered guest and /or invite them to attend any of our scheduled activities, the registered guest’s tour package will be forfeited and parties may be denied access to future tours. Please note that no exceptions will be made as this policy will be strictly enforced.
Responsibility: These tours are operated by Marathon Tours, Inc. of Chelsea, MA who acts only as an agent for the passenger to the companies offering such services and assumes no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity caused by any reason whatsoever by any party offering such services. All terms and conditions offered are governed by the laws of Massachusetts. The right is reserved to cancel the tour prior to departure with a refund, less applicable credit card and processing fees, made as full settlement to the passenger. The right is reserved by Marathon Tours, Inc. to deny acceptance of a booking application by any person. Marathon Tours, Inc. may make any changes or alterations in the itinerary as it deems necessary for the proper handling of the tour. The sole responsibility of any airline used is limited to that set out in the passenger contract evidenced by the ticket. The airlines concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time that the passengers are not on board their aircraft.
"Visiting Cuba was a lesson in resilience..." - 2019
Visiting Cuba was a lesson in resilience and an opportunity to see beautiful people and architecture."The Marabana Marathon is like no other..." - 2019
The Marabana Marathon is like no other and a great way to connect with the Cuban people and culture."We will be talking about this trip for some time!" - 2019
Meeting the warm Cuban people, enjoying a wonderful race, getting to know some amazing fellow runners, seeing some very interesting places. We will be talking about this trip for some time!"The scheduled activities were really excellent!" - 2019
The scheduled activities were really excellent! Seeing these unique places and meeting some wonderful people were the highlight for us!"This was our first trip with Marathon Tours and we were very happy..." - 2019
This was our first trip with Marathon Tours and we were very happy with the entire trip. The communication prior to, during, and after has been excellent. Karen was an excellent coordinator of this trip and I would definitely travel with Marathon Tours again on another running adventure. The planned events and free time were well balanced and provided enough time to enjoy all of the sites. Most of the meals and restaurants were excellent and provided us with a safe way to experience the local culinary options."Both of the local tour guides were wonderful..." - 2019
Both of the local tour guides were wonderful. Their language skills were excellent and provided such valuable information on the history of Cuba and information about each site we visited."Karen and Christine were EXCELLENT..." - 2019
Karen and Christine were EXCELLENT. Both of these ladies are strong in communication, amiable, organized, willing to assist and answer questions, and provide support for race participants. I would love to travel with either of them again!!"Thanks so much for organizing the Cuba Marabana trip..." - 2018
Thanks so much for organizing the Cuba Marabana trip. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and you made all my experiences absolutely wonderful! I really enjoyed all of the cultural experiences, and all the support for the Cuban people!"I enjoy experiencing new things..." - 2018
I enjoy experiencing new things and to travel to unusual places. Havana was so different to anything I knew or have experienced before. It was an enriching trip."Karen did a great job before and during the trip..." - 2018
Karen did a great job before and during the trip. She is very organized, extremely responsive, and very nice to be around – the perfect host."One of the best trips we have taken!" - 2018
One of the best trips we have taken!"Well organized. Inviting. Great people!" - 2018
Well organized. Inviting. Great people!"Comprehensive, insightful..." - 2017
Comprehensive, insightful, and well organized trip to a rare gem!"From the rooftops of Havana..." - 2017
From the rooftops of Havana I experienced fabulous food, great weather, made new friends and had impactful cultural exchanges during the tours which will remain with me forever."The extension was the icing on the cake..." - 2017
The extension was the icing on the cake of a GREAT vacation and an ending with relaxation."I loved this trip..." - 2017
I loved this trip, it was a unique cultural and foreign experience. It’s what I was looking for! The hotel, the food, the location – everything was great. I felt the communication about what to expect before and during the trip was spot on and there were no surprises.The Runners Country Club
The company has been doing a great job listening to clients and adding some remarkable trips – Madagascar, Cuba, Jerusalem, Patagonia."While I usually travel on my own..." - 2016
While I usually travel on my own, the special nature of travel to Cuba made going with a group make sense. I looked at Insight Cuba, since they have more overall experience with Cuba travel, but your information showed a clear advantage for a running-specific trip."I thoroughly enjoyed meeting fellow runners..." - 2016
It is hard to pick just one — I thoroughly enjoyed meeting fellow runners and hearing about all of their running adventures; as I stated before, I really enjoyed going to the ballet school; but, I guess I have to say, crossing the marathon finish line after almost 5 1/2 hours of inhaling car exhaust, and seeing Karen, Thom and Jeff cheering for me, was a really the best!"I would highly recommend your company to others..." - 2016
Our first trip ever with a tour company and it was an excellent experience. Other than afore mentioned sight seeing burn out, I have no complaints. Food and accommodations were far superior than expected. Marathon staff were excellent. I would highly recommend your company to others."Participants, leaders, guides, drivers were all great..." - 2016
The people! — Participants, leaders, guides, drivers were all great. So much fun to talk to people about other races and running experiences around the world. Seeing all the 1950’s American cars–always mentioned as a highlight of the old Cuba. Some of my U.K. friends who have visited since they were not subject to the embargo, always said to me that they wanted to visit before it opened up to the Yanks and got ruined by having Starbucks and McDonalds on every corner!"Cuba was one of the best tours I have taken..." - 2016
Cuba was one of the best tours I have taken with Marathon Tours."This was a wonderful trip..." - 2016
This was a wonderful trip to a truly unique destination, with a great group of fellow travelers."Really pleasantly surprised..." - 2016
Really pleasantly surprised with unexpected lecture on Cuban-American relations – very helpful to hear the Cuban perspective. Cigar factory was fun, Ernest’s house was great."The people - including Karen - were fantastic..." - 2016
The people – including Karen – were fantastic. We had a diversity of experiences and a great run. The organization, support, setting of expectations, was simply perfect. It was an interesting time to go to Cuba."I certainly enjoyed the Havana experience..." - 2016
I certainly enjoyed the Havana experience, the sights and sounds, the old cars. It was everything I thought it was going to be. The Cuban people were delightful."I liked the itinerary, the guides..." - 2015
I liked the itinerary, the guides, living in the Hotel Sevilla in Old Havana for a more authentic experience. I was already in love with the place and its people before I went. I really enjoyed the mix of activities eg museums, cigar factory, restaurants etc I liked the variety. I enjoyed both my MT guide (Jacqui Kaufman) and my Cuban guides."I really enjoyed our hotel in Old Havana..." - 2015
I really enjoyed our hotel in Old Havana, it helped that we were a smaller group of traveller and it made it easier for us to interact and get to know the other people. The Cubian guides that we had did and excellent job and really impacted the quality of the trip.
Meet the Reps
Haley joined the Marathon Tours & Travel team after working multiple years in the Hospitality and Tourism Management industry. She lives every day with a great sense of adventure, passion, and curiosity – which travel brings to life. After living in England for a year and exploring as many countries as possible, a love of trip planning emerged. She now hopes to help as many people as possible experience the world. When she isn’t traveling she can be found running, photographing, designing and playing volleyball. Haley manages trips to Marrakech, New York (United Half), London, Cape Town, and Havana.