4 independent reviews for Cuba small group holiday, 8 days

Reviews for Cuba small group holiday, 8 days

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review 14 Feb 2019

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

Difficult to be specific - it was a very good tour, we enjoyed all the places we visited... we particularly liked Trinidad. We thought we should have had a night in Vinales - too far to drive to and from Havana in a day given the dreadful state of the roads.

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

Take everything you need with you! We would like this to have been made clearer before we went, you can't buy anything in Cuba. Also we would have liked much clearer information on how much to tip; it's clearly a tipping culture and a poor country but since we had no idea how much our casas or driver were paid, we had no means of assessing a percentage tip. It would be helpful to have some actual examples of how much to give. Also, our driver was constantly offering to take us around eg out to dinners, not included in our itinerary - it was difficult to know if this was his job, or if we should have paid separately for each ride, or just given him a good tip at the end - which is what we did.

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

In as much as we stayed in casas, which were very nice, clean and friendly yes.

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

Very good in the main. Important that UK customers realise there are very few direct flights to cuba, and dates may not match tour dates (they did not for us).

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Patricia, Thank you for taking the time to make a review and I am pleased to hear you enjoyed the trip. It would be great to have an additional day in Viñales but unfortunately for only an 8-day trip, a day trip is all that is possible. Since we are US based company, mainly our travellers are Americans who have much less vacation time than Europeans so the 8-day trip is ideal for seeing as much of Cuba as possible. We do have European travellers as well and in order to match with our departure dates, it is necessary just to arrive one day before (per night) the trip starts and that is all, no other adjustments are needed. I would also like to mention that in the 'Getting Ready to Travel to Cuba' document that was sent with your travel documents, there is a section about tipping guidelines and there is even a short paragraph about why this is so important in Cuba. I believe that during your trip you emailed me about tipping and I provided again this information to you about tipping guidelines. Also, in the 'Getting Ready to Go' document and on the packing list it indicates that all toiletries and sunscreen must be brought with you to Cuba as it will not be possible to buy it there.

review 25 Dec 2018

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

My husband and I have so many good memories of our 12-day trip to Cuba. Did enjoy birdwatching with a biologist at Reserve de Bermejas near the Bay of Pigs. Also, when we stayed in Trinidad we loved our hike to Topas de Collantes.

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

We are very glad that we stayed in casa particulares in Cuba. We had wonderful hosts. Our rooms were very clean. We had personal attention. We bought a piece of local pottery and put it in our carry-on luggage. It was confiscated at the Havana Airport. We were told that this item should have been packed in our checked luggage.

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

Staying with local people in casa particulares did help locals.

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

Our vacation to Cuba was outstanding. The tour company did a great job for the two of us.

review 20 Nov 2018

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

Interaction with the hosts at our Casa Particulars, hiking in the mountains with a knowledgeable guide, sitting at a Casa de Musica conversing with a Cuban and having him light you up a Monte Cristo gratis.

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

Bring a small umbrella, and bring small useful gifts for your hosts and guides who don't have access to good toothbrushes, colored pencils, pads of paper, guitar strings. Be prepared to leave your hiking shoes, jeans, and shirts. Cubans are dressed well, but with substandard quality clothing. Bring a filtered water bottle (from REI). Agree with your guide up front if you're after a "color-brochure" Cuba trip, or a "real" Cuba trip. Good guides can accommodate either. Go with an open mind.

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

Our trip did benefit local people who cannot survive on $80/mo state wages. We did our best to minimize our impact by avoiding plastic water bottles, but you can't get around without burning fossil fuels, especially if you're moving between cities. Just accept it.

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

This trip is on the "exciting adventure" side of the scale. If you're looking for a place to sit by the pool and have mojitos brought to you, stick to the cruise ships. But if you want to immerse yourself in real Cuban culture, this is an excellent opportunity.

review 12 Mar 2018

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

Meeting and talking with Cubans about their daily experiences.

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

This tour uses knowledgeable local guides and stays in small casas in regular neighborhoods. Groups are small, ours was 5 people, so we did not overwhelm the local scene. We feel that we got a good sense of daily life for ordinary Cubans, much more so than we had been with a larger group staying in hotels. Activities were varied and included urban walks, mountain hikes, horseback ride, museums, snorkeling, and lots of delicious meals in unassuming family owned restaurants. Karin Eckhard was great to work with us in helping us decide which tour to take and promptly answering all our questions and concerns.

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

The local casa owners, restaurant owners and staff members and tour guides are dependent on tourists. Most seemed committed to protecting their local environments while developing their businesses.

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

Fascinating!

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