2 independent reviews for Eastern Cuba self drive holiday

Reviews for Eastern Cuba self drive holiday

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review 26 Feb 2020

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

Havana is a fascinating city with loads of history and atmosphere. There has been quite a lot of renovation work in the 12 years since we were last there, this includes a good number of interesting museums. However most of the inhabitants still live in severe poverty and crumbling buildings. There are now a good number of Casas Particulares and some have been renovated to a high standard with loads of chic style. We took a 'free walk' of the old part which was lead by a young and very knowledgeable guide who was willing to answer loads of questions about life in Cuba, a percentage of 'the tip' goes to charity. We gave ourselves plenty of time to just wander, get lost, enjoy the musoc and the cocktails !

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

Be prepared for shortages - the USA embargo has really taken hold, that along with the problems of Venezuela. Cuba gets all its oil from Venezuela and at the moment can only get about 60% this is leading to all sorts of problems especially in the East of the island. Lack of fuel has lead to serious disruption of food supplies and there isn't much for the locals anyway. Outside of Havana some places have no beer, no milk for coffee, people queuing for bread. To get an internet connection you can buy a card from Etecsa( telephone company) or from some hotels for 1 CUC for 60 mns, to be used in hotels or hot spots around the place.

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

We travelled to the less touristy parts in the East of the island. Stayed in Casas Particulares and ate in Paladares ( privately rather than state owned restaurants). We always tipped generously, knowing that a doctor only earns the equivalent of 80 dollars a month, a lorry driver for a food distribution company earns the equivalent of 12 dollars a month. We also took some basic commodities and clothes to leave in our accommodations as a way of saying thank you.

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

It was very interesting and we enjoyed most parts of the holiday the big downer was a cancelled 2 hr flight back to Havana, we had to endure a 12 hr overnight coach journey.

review 3 Jul 2018

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

Visiting Havana and Trinidad

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

Not to have a high expectation of the food. If driving get a good road map or download some maps. I managed to download an App that did actually give me my location which was helpful when getting back into Havana

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

Not sure

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

Good, I enjoyed the country of Cuba, was a little disappointed in the food, particularly in the hotels where we ate our evening meals. I also though the holiday was expensive for what we got.

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks for your comments. We are pleased you enjoyed your holiday to Cuba and I can reassure you we do aim to reduce the environmental impact and benefit local people as much as possible with all our holidays. Cuba does have distinct political and economic circumstances, though we always try to arrange accommodation in characterful, locally run and restored colonial buildings, as opposed to in the larger foreign owned inclusive properties common in popular coastal resorts. Similarly, we only ever use locally sourced guides and drivers in each destination as they have a greater knowledge and understanding of their localities as well as in bringing obvious benefits to the local communities where we operate. Although admittedly Cuban food can be quite bland, the best eating options are in the private family run restaurants (paladares) where the home cooked food is more adventurous and fresher ingredients used. We will try to be clearer and further highlight this in our literature going forward. Thanks again for your feedback.

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