39 independent reviews for Cuba adventure tours

Reviews for Cuba adventure tours

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review 12 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

So many great things, but our guide had to be number one. He made sure we were comfortable, happy, well-informed and active at all times. I will definitely never forget the Cuban people that we met -- those whose homes we stayed in and others that we got to chat with about their work or other aspects of their lives.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It was a great idea to have our own water filters with us. It is alarming to see so much used plastic headed for who-knows-where, and it made us feel a bit better not to have contributed to that. We really liked the Grayl Ultralight Purifier-Filter-Bottle. I wish we had brought more gifts and donations for Cubans. We made several people happy by handing out USB flash drives; I wish we had brought even more. A couple on our tour packed an entire bag full of sports equipment and other useful things to give to children, so our guide made it possible for us to stop at an elementary school where they handed it over to the principal-- a great idea for others to copy, as it meant a lot to the school and to all of us on the tour. Several times people in Trinidad asked us for t-shirts we were wearing or had worn. If I had known that I would made a point to pack clothes that I could simply leave behind after being worn. Toiletries and medicines as well -- bring more than you think you need, and simply donate what you don't use.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I hope so. I have conflicting emotions about traveling in countries where locals have a lower standard of living than the tourists. It is clear that tourism helps individuals and the local economy, but it also seems opportunistic and self serving. Hopefully our visit provided more good than harm. It seemed so. I appreciated having opportunities to extend some personal goodwill on behalf of Americans since our countries have been estranged for so long. Cubans seemed genuinely happy to welcome us in a neighborly way!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Just excellent. All credit to our guide, Oswaldo Moreja.

review 12 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Just being in and around Vinales.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring toilet paper and don't forget to NOT flush it. Take lots of pictures. Bring lots of small items (from hard candy to fish hooks) to pass on to children and hard working Cubans that you cross paths with throughout your trip.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Travel as a group makes less of an impact than the same number of people traveling separately. Staying in B&Bs as well as eating in Paldares, puts money directly into the peoples hands versus the government (military).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

No complaints at all. Our driver, guides and most hosts were very professional. Some of the host tried harder than the others as far a hospitality and breakfast prep, but you will have that the world over.

review 26 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

laughter. We managed to have inside jokes after only 8 days together, I enjoyed every part of the trip.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring lots of gifts, because you'll want to show appreciation for everyone's hospitality.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes! This trip has stimulated my interest in the Cuban people. I wish to learn more, by reading, watching films, and of course planning future trips! But having conversations with Cuban residents let me really feel the diversity and fullness of life in Cuba--an experience I can't replicate by just reading a historybook.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

10+ 6 stars. Thank you so much Much love to Adrian and Jorge

review 26 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Exploring Havana, Trinidad, Cienfuegos on foot; cycling in the Vinales valley and around Trinidad; beautiful Playa Ancon; sleeping in the "casas"; always live music everywhere!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Plan one or more days in Havana after your tour!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, the holiday is organised in a way that supports local people, e.g. through sleeping in homestays. There is some attention to the environment as well. In Vinales we had an excellent dinner at an organic farm, organised by the tour guide.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This tour was great! Enthusiastic local tour leader, great destinations! We visited very scenic places. Great freedom, too: you can have a full-day programme participating in all optional excursions facilitated by the tour guide, but once you arrive at a destination, you can also choose to go your own way and simply wander or cycle around.

review 25 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Beautiful blue sky. We had such a nice weather most of time in Cuba. I will definitely remember the blue sky.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Pre-departure note from travel agency has all the basic information you need to know. But reading some history back ground of Cuba will make your trip more interesting.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I think it benefited local people as we stayed at local home stay rather than big hotels, hired local guide and visited local farms and restaurant.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

5 out of 5. Tour guide was very helpful and willing. I had wonderful interaction with group of people I travelled which was unexpected. Traveling as a group was easy and hassle free as I wanted to see different parts of country and infrastructure may not be there yet.

review 4 Feb 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Our tour was just the right structure for our eleven days in Havana and Vinales. Our tour guide, Yaima Janet, made Cuba come alive for us. She shared her authentic experience and knowledge about the culture and daily life of Cuba with a seamless ease. We booked a few less structured days before the trip and then found our own way around Havana for two days after. Not being able to rely on internet for bookings made booking the tour through Cuban Adventures take the worry out of our travel. Everyday was memorable and exciting.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We faced no difficulties travelling as US citizens with our Jet Blue direct flight from NY. Travel insurance was included, the affidavit for travel was a required survey by the airline and we acquired travel visas for $50 before departure. Changing US$ to Euro$ before departure made acquiring CUC$ pretty easy. We just could never keep enough 1$ pesos for tips.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We felt we benefited local people by staying in their homes. Using local Cuban guides gave us a more intimate insight to the culture. Our tour provided water refills from a large container so that was some reduction in environmental impact. We traveled as ten people in an appropriately sized bus. We our worried about the apparent lack of emissions control on the historic population of vehicles but nothing our trip could help resolve.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excelente! Our intended affidavit of professional research was ultimately a people to people experience.

review 29 Jan 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There were so many memorable moments but I think the morning spent hiking, learning about local flora and fauna, meeting a local resident to the park and sharing herbal tea before ended up at the most beautiful waterfall pool was truely the best part of the trip. Topped off with seeing a multitude of different birds including the Cuban Trojan!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring a refillable water bottle so that guides can buy the larger bottles of water and fill you up along the way! Buy your rum before the airport if your layover is anywhere outside the States.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes our tour operator do a great job at this. However I would encourage all tourist organisations to do more locally concerning beach trash in particular. It could even be part of the tour - I think many tourists would be willing to give up an hour or two volunteering in return for a beautiful beach to watch the sun go down on...

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Five stars! This was extremely interesting getting to know Cuban life a little better. Our guide Alexis was extremely knowledgeable and our driver extremely professional. We learnt so much, and saw so many wonderful things. I am so very grateful for being able to have this experience.

review 20 Dec 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Wow! Hard to sum up in one moment -- we have many great moments of exploring a strange land with wonderful companions and an excellent tour guide. The scenery. The meals. The gracious casa particulare hosts. The champagne our tour guide bought to toast my birthday! Meeting a real farmer and seeing how he lives. Watching our friends dive into a pond fed by a waterfall. So many moments!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Understand Cuba doesn't work like America. Have plenty of 25 cent coins in your pocket for pay toilets. Understand that toilet tissue can't go down toilets because of one heck of a country-wide plumbing challenge. Learn as much Spanish as you can because a LOT of people don't know much English. Tread lightly and be a good example to Cubans!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It definitely benefited local people. It did not reduce environmental impact and probably increased it with our use of gas and precious resources. Many Cubans are very casual about littering. We ate a lot of wonderful, organic food and were surprised to learn that Cuban leads the world in organic farming!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

First rate but not first class. We didn't want to stay in hotels. We wanted to meet Cubans (not other Americans) and we did. Our casa particulares were outstanding in that our hosts tried so hard!!

review 12 Jul 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whole tour was amazing, we had the best guide and group..it was all a highlight!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book to have a least one day before and after your tour to rest up and get to know Havana

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we all stayed with local family's which I loved!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

10

review 3 Dec 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Spending time with a lovely bunch of really interesting people, all strangers on the first night. The countryside & stunning scenery at Viñales. Going back to the bar in Trinidad where I thought my camera must have come out of my back and they'd found it and kept it safe. Dinner at the organic farm outside Viñales.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be flexible. This really is one of the safest & friendliest countries to travel; you will be constantly asked if you want a taxi but no one hassles you when you say no! Wifi access is possible in tourist towns with purchased cards but it's such a hassle it's far better just to let the rest of the world get on without you and enjoy your holiday!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Home stays and local restaurants / bars feed straight into the local economy. Drivers and guides are all locals. Around Viñales there are several organic farms, one with an excellent restaurant where we had a great meal & two of the group returned the next day for the guided tour.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Pretty cool. Sometimes there was a feeling the guide was leaving us with rather a lot of "free time" when we might have liked a bit more organisation but that's always a difficult balance to strike and I think it worked out pretty well overall.

review 11 Jul 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I loved meeting/getting to know people everywhere we went. They were all so friendly! (Side note: I speak Spanish, so I was able to get to know people better than others on my tour that didn't.) We also had a great group on our tour - we often spent time together.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Allow for an extra day or two in Havana on one side of the tour - I felt like I could have spent a lot more time there!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. We stayed with families in most cities, and I think they get to keep some of the extra income they make from hosting.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was great! Loved our tour guide Tatiana from the holiday provider and our driver Giovanni.

review 9 Jul 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I absolutely loved the families I stayed with! Taking the classic car tour down the Malecon at sunset was pretty awesome too!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring essentials, such as toilet paper, snacks, and feminine products with you.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I loved meeting local people and felt like we were supporting them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I learned so much about a fascinating country. My tour guide, driver, and tour group were wonderful and we had a lot of fun together.

review 23 May 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Celebrating my friend Aimee's birthday on the beach in Trinidad with live music and a picnic dinner; touring Vinales and meeting the tobacco farmer.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for a diverse group of travelers. Your tour guide is there to help you so ask questions and get tips and don't be afraid to speak up if you want to do something different.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I definitely feel our trip benefited local people (casa familias, homestays, our guide and bus driver, some of the local guides used on excursions). I'm not sure how much it reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation - other than the visit to the organic farm in Vinales and supporting the farmer. I would love to see even more mentioned in this area in the future!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a great trip and I was really impressed with our guide - David Every group has its set of challenging people and we had ours = mainly a few who didn't budget properly or read the tour information so perhaps making sure people see this ahead of time and read it would be useful. In fact, this could have been useful to give out to people or to cover it on the night we arrived. I didn't feel that the opening orientation was that helpful and could have been covered in the bus as it wasted valuable/limited time in Havana.

review 2 Oct 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Listening to Dady and Alex explain the complicated systems in Cuba. The meal at the farm place felt very special and a bit different.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It's basic! You might not get a decent shower at any of the Casas, be prepared. The guide outline of what you'll spend on food isn't accurate based on some of the places the company take you.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Although some of the restaurants already seemed very established and full of tourists so maybe less obvious choices could be made!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Tour guide's organization was fantastic so 10/10 for that, Dady made life easy and it's only because of her the tour is worthwhile. However, don't believe it was good value. Casas we stayed at independently were between 25 and 30 cuc and of a better standard.

review 28 Oct 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Everything! I loved the tobacco fields in Vinales, the beauty of Havana, jumping into a waterfall and salsa dancing in Trinidad. Our guide, David, joined in and made sure we had fun as wel as keeping us safe and sharing his knowledge.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The holiday provider is great - we went on the 8 day tour which only really give you half a day in Havana. I would recommend an extra day or 2 there. We also went to the beach for a couple of days after to recover (!) which I would also recommend

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - we visited local restaurant and used local guides and services throughout. The ecological farm in Vinales is a perfect example of this. Staying in casas particulares throughout was also an amazing experience and benefited local people

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I think you guessed it - it was fab. We were in a group of likeminded individuals and visited many places in Cuba. Both of us have confirmed its been our best holiday ever, thanks to the holiday provider!

review 18 Aug 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The Cubans all being so keen to teach me salsa and dancing the nights away in every city visited :-)

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do it!! It's so much fun! You can really do what suits you and the itinerary packs loads in but is really flexible as well do you can do the activities that suit you, go out and dance the nights away or sit and chill at the many cool restaurants with music playing.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly benefitted local people however you could see the disparity of those involved in tourism industry and those not. It will be very interesting to see how USA relations/tourism change the country

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

So much fun!! One of the best hols I've been on - fun people, fun times and great natural and historical attractions!!! Loved loved loved it!

review 9 Nov 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Difficult to say - we crammed a lot into 2 1/2 weeks! Highlights were Havana, the various excursions in Baracoa and the historic centre of Trinidad.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book an extra day or two at the beginning or end of the trip – I found Havana difficult to cover in 2 days.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

There was an obvious benefit to people directly related to the tourist industry or those who dealt directly with tourists. However, apart from that, I couldn’t discern any obvious benefit to the environment or any local conservation efforts that I could see.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

One of the best trips I've been on. Each of the towns we visited were beautiful and each had their own character. There were also plenty of chances to get into the natural landscape between the towns. Also, the people were great no matter where we went. The tour was very well organised and the tour guide friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Would definitely recommend.

review 18 Aug 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Trinidad and Vinales were amazing. It was like stepping back in time. Fabulous countryside, friendly people and lots of culture.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Research areas before you go. There are lots of activities and you need to decide what you will not compromise on.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I felt our trip did help the locals and I also felt that they were still able to go on with normal life. Tourism was a positive bonus.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great trip. Woukd recommend.

review 11 Jun 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

All of it

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Have longer in Havana/Cuba

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very very good!

review 21 Nov 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I loved the entire trip - snorkelling, salsa dancing, seafood, old cars, the people, the scenery, historical sights and our excellent tour guide.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't take bank notes with any marks on them. Eat in Casas or private restaurants and avoid state owned ones.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We stayed in Casas and often ate there in the evenings. This provides useful income for Cubans.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic

review 12 Oct 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Chatting with the guide (Tony) for hours trying to understand Cuba! Staying with the locals and eating their amazing food. Being flexible with the daily activities.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring soap and mosquito repellent. Drink a lot of (bottled) water. Bring some books for the long journeys.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes totally

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good, our guide and driver were excellent, as well as our host families. We would have appreciated our room to be cleaned when we were staying 2 nights though (simple things like the bin got full of toilet paper and we had to ask for more).

review 14 Apr 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing such a variety of places and people, and getting a good sense of what Cuba is all about. From the hectic bustle and non-stop noise of Habana Vieja to the silence and majesty of the Vinyales valley with its awesome mogotes, Cuba really is a unique and inspiring country that offers something for everyone.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I'm sure it's been said many times before, but 3-6 months before going, get basic Spanish under your belt, particularly to help you interact with the owners of the casas. Travel light, have an open mind and don't expect Western standards of service.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I think our presence in Cuba helped local people primarily because we stayed with real Cuban families, rather than in big hotels. Tourism is clearly an important source of income for Cuba, and the ability of families to operate as casas has given them a potentially valuable new source of income. However, as we travelled by airplane, taxi and coach, unfortunately I think we ultimately had a negative impact on the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic! I would definitely recommend Cuba to the adventurous and open-minded traveller. It was also great fun being able to share the holiday with a wonderful group of people: we were a real mixture of ages, nationalities and backgrounds, and that really enriched the experience. I've never been on holiday with a group before, but would definitely choose this sort of holiday in the future.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Howard, Thank you for reviewing the recent Cuban Adventures Tour you participated in. We are very happy that you had a good time and found the tour a valuable insight into Cuba ,it's people and it's culture. It is great that you enjoyed the eclectic mix of nationalities and ages in your tour group too. Come back and visit us again soon!

review 12 Jan 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The group and guide I travelled with, the visit to an organic farm, learning Spanish and salsa, a BBQ by River Duaba in Baracoa, the homestays, snorkelling for the first time, learning Cuban cooking in Santiago, trip to the cemetery in Santiago, salsa and rum, watching flamenco ballet, Cuban food (it really is better than people suggested) - there's too much really to pick just one.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Have an open mind, take sunblock even in Winter, and learn some basic Spanish and salsa. The last one's not absolutely essential, but will definitely make the trip more enjoyable and make things a bit easier.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - there's a real effort to keep things local, with the excursions we took and places we ate. The homestays are a big part of this. There's also an effort made to explain responsible travel principles and this is borne out in the way the trip is run. Advice was given by our local guide when people wanted to know how to help people who live there, and he helped those members of the group who'd brought medicines and school supplies to donate in Santiago as we were there not long after Hurricane Sandy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. Great homestays, great guide, met lots of friendly people, interesting excursions, plenty of opportunities to learn about Cuba and many many chances to enjoy Cuban food, rum and salsa. I can't wait to go back. The flexibility of choosing what to do once you get to each place, and the small size of the group means that it's possible for everyone's interests to be taken into account which also makes for a more varied and interesting trip than one where lots of excursions are included in the first place. As well as our own guide, we met some of the other guides from the company and all were very friendly, interesting and enthusiastic about showing you their country. This company makes a real effort to choose good local guides both to act as tour leaders and for local excursions at each destination. We ate really well with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on offer. This probably shouldn't have been such a surprise but I'd heard a lot before I went about how bad Cuban food was - this proved to be a myth. Like anywhere in the world, including London, New York and Paris, it's possible to have some rubbish meals if you go to a rubbish restaurant, but that doesn't mean it's not possible to eat well there. Go to the increasing number of paladares (private restaurants) and ask around for recommendations, and you will eat very well there whether you're a vegetarian, pescatarian or omnivore.

review 1 Aug 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

For me, the most enjoyable evening was our tour and meal out at an organic market garden in the Vinales valley. The welcome was great, the food was fantastic and we played lots of dominoes and salsa-ed a lot whilst an enormous thunderstorm rolled round the hills. It couldn't have felt further from home and it was wonderful

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Pack as light as possible. For 7 days, you really don't need much and it makes it easier as you move accommodation every night or two. And keep your fingers crossed that your tour group is as fantastic as mine was!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Cuba's unique situation makes this a tough question to answer as most people are government employees. However, tipping our guide and driver made a huge difference to them as did staying in the private houses run by locals. The theme of the holiday was not really environmental or conservation focussed but we all seemed to be pretty responsible travellers. Inevitably using air-con and having to buy bottled water had a negative effect!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was a fantastic trip and I wish I had gone on the 15 day one. Our guide was superb, the levels of organisation were brilliant and the company is very efficient, very helpful and great at replying to emails. (It's only got 4 stars because I have travelled quite a lot and the competition for 'best holiday I have ever been on' is pretty hot!)

review 9 May 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Staying in the guest houses, observing local life/culture.Being part of life in Cuba.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

To be aware that things such as soap and toilet roll may not be as readily avalible as in Europe

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes we were given advice on ethical behaviour/choices by our guide from the outset. The accommodation and the resturants he recommended also benefited the local people

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent

review 15 Apr 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Vinjales - walk around the tobacco farm seeing tobacco at all stages to finished cigars. The time at the organic farm, salsa dance and meal - very different culture and life style - good casas all through for us. Also enjoyed Trinidad and Havana. Could have had more time in Havana

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It is a good idea to arrive the night before the trip to spend time in Havana. Otherwise allow at least half a day at the end of the trip before the plane out. It was good to have arranged someone to meet the plane on arrival and arrange a taxi. Your notes and advice was invaluable....For a person who likes to sleep alone the single supplement is necessary.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - your advice on tipping assisted as well as gifts suggested which were appreciated. However some feedback on meals from travellers would be good as only one larger meal per day would be better and keep within the budget set.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We enjoyed our experiences in Cuba with the group and the diversity offered in locations and with the casas. The original itinerary with the long drive from Havana to Trinidad at the beginning would probably have been better finishing with a relaxing time at the beach after the drive.

review 14 Apr 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Havana and Trinidad.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Wear a bum bag - I got mugged in Havana.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Staying in casas is a good idea but I don't believe they were paid very much for us staying yet the price of the holiday was high. There was no conservation aspect to the holiday and nor was it expected.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The tour guide was poor - she was totally unengaged with the group and even by the end did not know our names and we were only 8. She told us very little and on the one day she did given information it was word for word from the Lonely Planet. Some casas disappointing and most of them had bedrooms with no windows except for in Vinales. The guide in Havana talked at us for 45 mins out of 1 1.2 hours in the same place so we did not see much of the city. Suggest leaving out Cienfuegos and having more time in Havana and maybe see more in Santa Clara.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Sue, Thank you for submitting your feedback. As Manager of our operation in Cuba I really appreciate these detailed comments, as feedback (including negative feedback) is in fact a great help to us to improve our services, and it is the number 1 way we monitor the quality of our services and is critical in helping our guides to continually improve. I am disappointed that your experience wasn't what you had hoped for. I appreciate that the guide is probably the most important aspect to the success of a tour, so I will personally be addressing directly with the guide, her performance on this tour. I'll look into her training and why this was not adequate. She was trained on the job late last year by one of our very experienced guides, so I'll consult with that guide to try and identify if there are any areas of our training process that need changing or improving and perhaps why he evaluated her as qualified for the job when perhaps she wasn't ready yet. The casa accommodation is quite inexpensive compared to hotels, and apart from that we believe they provide a much more interesting experience for the traveller, and better opportunities to meet and interact with the Cubans and experience their culture. I agree that it would be cheaper travelling independently and use casa accommodation. Nevertheless at around $100 a day, I believe this tour does represent excellent value for money and takes a lot of the hassle out of travel in Cuba (which is one of the more complicated countries in which to travel). The tour also priced well under similar tours of any competitors that we know of. I'm sorry to hear you were robbed in Havana. Thanks again for your valuable feedback. Kind regards John

review 6 Sep 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The Nightclub in a cave in Trinidad was amazing!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Pick up as much Spanish as you can before you go as many of the owners of the Casas have little or no English.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It definitely benefited local people!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

10/10.

review 24 May 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Vinales was a beautiful town, I very much enjoyed the visit to the tobacco farm and the dinner at another farm near by. It was also a great experience to have a local person take us around and introduce us to other locals and to tell us so much about local life.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be sure to sort out your money before you go, cash is best but not all currencies can be changed so check before you go otherwise it is easy to get stuck because credit card facilities don't always work so you can't rely on that.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, the fact that local people were employed was certainly a bonus not only for them but for us as well because we learnt so much about local culture and life.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I had a wonderful time with my group and with the locals, it was one of my favourite holidays, I would rate it 9/10. The first few days at the beach were not so great because we were in an isolated place and it was raining and I was in Cuba to experience the culture so being isolated was not ideal, if the weather was better it would have been a bit better so it's so much the fault of the tour company.

review 4 May 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Drinking rum and coke out of a coconut while swimming in beautiful sea waters at sunset, simply brilliant. Not only did the coconut float but so did the bottles of rum and coke waiting for topping up.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Learn Spanish - we had attempted to but failed and we wished we had stuck at it. It would have made the homestays much more enjoyable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, benefited local people as we gave gifts and paid families to cook us meals. I don't think we impacted the environment and the tour company decided that we would share the bus with another tour group to be responsible and have less an impact with pollution.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Loved it. Been on many tours, the tour guide was good and it was lovely to travel in a manageable group size.

review 12 Apr 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Vinales, drinking rum on the Malecon, staying with the Cuban families

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring snacks for the journeys and know basic Spanish. Be prepared for basic food with little variety.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, we stayed with local families

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent, a brilliant insight into Cuban life and politics

review 14 Feb 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Mogotes in Vinales, or sunset over the Caribbean, or 5 course meal with full lobster for main for 10 cuc in Trinidad casa, accompanied by Guitarist, all on rooftop, under the stars, with great companions and cubre libres.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Relax and enjoy the variety on offer, mountains, beaches, superb food and drink, people and places, music and dancing, all enhanced by our informative guide.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Paying local people for local services - smiles all round.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

My friend and I had wonderful time, made new friends and fell in love with beautiful Cuba. Only negative, final 4 nights arranged in old town Havana casa were changed to one in central Havana.

review 13 Jun 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There was always something memorable every day, from scenery to meeting the owners of the homestays.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You may not understand the politics but have an open mind. The currencies are confusing, take time to learn the differences

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, but there is a difference to supporting local people and the money going straight to the government, good to know when that is the case, which is clear on the trip. Agree to minimising the impact on environment

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent, had a great time, learned a lot. Thanks!

review 6 May 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Going to the baseball in Pinar del Rio. It was the grand finals and since baseball is the number 1 sport in Cuba, the atmosphere was amazing and we had a lot of interactions with the locals. Having lunch at a Paladar with some people who helped us - we were lost and in return we took them to lunch! We got a real insight into the political system, how a normal Cuban person lives etc.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Like any other place, be streetsmart but be open to experiences that can appear dodgy at first. Cuba is pretty safe - Tourism is one of the main revenue streams for the government so people respect tourism. Don't be afraid to stray away from the group on your free time. The best experiences for my partner and I were the ones where we didn't rock up in a tour bus!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We stayed in Casas during the tour, so yes in that sense it benefited local people. We also picked up Cubans needing a lift in the direction we were going (this is common practice). The environment? Not so much. We travelled in a big bus that had empty seats, but to be fair, tourism is very regulated and on top of that, locals use a different currency.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The holiday overall was good. I must admit that I was not a fan of this particular organised tour, I’ve done a couple of others (whether it’s the destination's limitations or the structure of the tour, or a combination of both I don’t know). At times i found that the tour was an additional barrier to authentic experiences i.e. bigger group of foreigners walking around is good as wearing a shirt "I’m a tourist", big tour bus, restaurants had to be able to accommodate us all (some paladars are tiny)etc. On the other hand, the guide can be used as a communication bridge and/or an opportunity to access different things, in our case, it was one of the other guide's friend who got us into the baseball. Being in a group is safer, so you could easily walk around with the guide and have a proper look around as you are not busy keeping an eye out for "un-safetiness." My takeout would be to go for the tour but don't let it define your trip. Do your research on places you want to see within the set destinations.

review 11 Apr 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The trip with this operator.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Currency - take hard cash and beware card use can be limited as the whole system in a town can go down.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes - home stays great.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great.

review 4 Oct 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whole of Cuba is magical in every way and some of my most memorable parts were all the wonderful salsa dancing opportunities and watching live bands that I got chance to do.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you want to make the most of this trip, add on a few days at the end of the holiday to chill by the beach, because throughout the week's tour, you'll want to stay out every night til the early hours dancing away as well as getting up early to enjoy the day time activities. Therefore, at the end of the week, you will want to relax!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, as we stayed with host families, and ate dinners they prepared, so our money was able to go directly to them, rather than the government. Also, by buying presents from locals helped also.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Ten out of ten.

review 12 Aug 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There were so many memorable moments: watching the amazing dancers on the steps of the Casa de la Musica in Trinidad, walking through the Vinales valley, having an intensive salsa lesson on the porch of my casa particulare in the rain, meeting lots of lovely people . . . I don't know where to begin - or stop!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take LOADS of extra cash with you - even if it seems excessive. Getting at your money otherwise can prove difficult. Double check that your credit card is NOT American (even if it doesn't seem like it is - I got stung badly when I discovered that my European-seeming bank was owned by an American bank...). Also, take plenty of small toiletries to give to the ladies that work in the hotels/casas/in the streets and small gifts/souvenirs from your home country to give to the owners of the casas (I wish I had done this!). Take plenty of batteries if you need them (they're not always easy to get, even in Havana!), take LOTS of pictures, just take the chance to chat to people around you. If you can, try to learn a bit of Spanish before you go.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

With the obvious exception of the flight, I was satisfied that my impact on the environment was minimal and was delighted that my money was going into the pockets of Cuban people rather than the greedy corporations running far less interesting tours/holidays for far more money. Incidentally, I feel that a tour such as this gives you far more opportunities to interact with local people and learn about their country from THEM rather than travel guides!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I was constantly speechless by the warmth and welcome of the people, the fun and lively atmosphere and the beauty of the landscape. By far, this was the most interesting, well-organised and eye-opening trip I have been on. My only regrets were that I didn't know much Spanish, I didn't take enough cash, and that I wasn't there for longer. I have already started a savings fund so I can return again next year!

review 21 Apr 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There were so many but if I have to single out one memory it would be hiking up to the waterfall nr Baracoa followed by a short trip in a 1950's automobile to a spot by the edge of the river where one of the homestay hosts had organised a pig fest (roasted a whole pig) for lunch!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I took enough cash for a week and credit cards MBNA & Barclays Visa cards neither worked in Cuba! Have low expectations and see them soar! Take old mobile phone accessories especially head sets for sony ericson phones - money just can't buy them!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes - although the emissions from some of the cars probably didn't help. Not only did we visit local schools the tour guide arranged for unscheduled stops to hand out supplies.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

One of the best holidays ever - a wonderful country with wonderful people and something for everyone.

review 3 Dec 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Cuba is a beautiful country but it is the people that make it so special. Favourite moments - lunch cooked by a farmer on an open fire in the hills on the way to Trinidad. Chatting to the locals in Vinales and attempting to smoke a cigar rolled by one of the tobacco growers. Swimming in crystal clear waters near Cienfuegos. Eating in a local restaurant (actually someone's spare bedroom) in Santa Clara. And music everywhere.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel light - as it is possible to have clothes washed in the casas. You will get more out of the trip if you know a little Spanish. If possible add a few days at the end of you tour to relax in Havana or on the beach as it is fairly full on.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Local people were very much involved throughout the whole tour.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A very good way of discovering the real Cuba and practising your Spanish.

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