14 independent reviews for Cuba cultural tours

Reviews for Cuba cultural tours

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review 9 Dec 2017

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

It was all memorable. Being in Cuba itself was an amazing experience. Every town we visited was different but everywhere the people were warm and welcoming. Outside Havana the nights were full of music - with live bands in the restaurants and squares as well as the House of Music venue in each town.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Avoid giving money or things like shampoo to the hustlers who will gather around asking. (That just encourages a begging culture.) But be generous to those who are trying to make an honest living - like the musicians. So be ready with your tips when the hat comes around.

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

All our accommodation was with local families and we ate in local restaurants. We were also able to support local musicians with our tips and craftsmen and craftswomen by buying handicrafts.

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

Excellent. The tour was very well organised and Camilo is a great guide - very knowledgeable and passionate about his country.

review 20 Nov 2017

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

Old Havana, Mountains around Baracoa, Ballet School in Camaguey

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Make the most of your time alone! The day is full packed with guided activities.

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

Somewhat.

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

Our guide was outstanding and the organization and scheduling part of the trip flawless. Amazing in a country so unpredictable as Cuba. I would have loved more time to explore on our own, outside the group dynamic. Also, although activities were well chosen and for the most part interesting, I missed some visit to a hospital or health care center and school or university, to learn more about the health care system and education, two of the more prominent achievements of Cuban society. That is just my personal preference and I would still without reservations recommend this tour to anybody interested in learning about the country and its people.

review 8 Mar 2017

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

Exploring the quieter residential parts of Havana. Swimming under a waterfall in National Park near Trinidad

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Travel light and wash your clothes/have them washed at guest houses

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

Yes, via local payment to operator in Cuba, using local facilities and guides.

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

Very varied, exciting, fascinating, stimulating, warm and fun!

review 25 Mar 2017

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

Horse riding in Vinales; salsa lessons in Havana.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Don't book it - it was not good value for money. The service provided by the local guide and the standard of accommodation did not merit the cost. Some of the casas we were placed in were very poor quality. We were relocated from these on our request. However on one occasion, in Havana, we were told that the casa we had been allocated, which was apart from the rest of the group, was a VIP casa, despite being dark, airless and in a very dilapidated building with dangerous, unearthed bundles of wiring everywhere, dirty corridors, and no casa owner on site. We were told that we would have to pay to be relocated. I had to meet with the local manager the nest day to dispute this, and we lost valuable vacation time.

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

The casa owners definitely benefited from us staying with them.

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

We had a wonderful trip - but I feel that our best experiences were due to my own initiative and organisation and not through the help of the guide.

Read the operator's response here:

As a result of this feedback we have spoken to the tour leader about offering more information to his guests on tour and being more proactive in suggestions for optional activities and assisting his guests with any such activities. We have offered him additional training in this area to assist him improve these skills. Cuba is a difficult country to travel at times. There can often be problems with food, running water, ground transport, cancelled flights, cancelled hotel bookings. The country's infrastructure is not ready for such large scale tourism. Our local team will do their very best to prepare traveler's for many of these 'charms' of travel in Cuba.

review 7 Nov 2016

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

The whole thing was pretty amazing. Constant interest and surprise.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Go with a completely open mind- it's not usually obvious to non-Cubans quite how things work or what they mean. Always have toilet paper with you.

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

Staying in casa particulares definitely felt that it benefitted local individuals.

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

Excellent.

review 28 Feb 2016

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

All of it. I still can't believe I have been to Cuba and back. I would urge everybody who is thinking of going to Cuba, go and book your vacation now, you will not regret it. We had a fantastic guide and had a lovely time out there. The weather, food, people, music and art, buildings, parks, everything is beautiful.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

We went on the 1st week in February and the weather was perfect, temperature 20-26 degree C, one or 2 days it was 30degree C. I was told it can get very hot from April onwards. Lots of ATM machine to get cash and it all works. The casa particular accomodation you would expect one or two to be below standard, but on the whole it had very good standard.

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

Definitely, we went on a local tour out in the countryside with a lovely guide call Oscar in Baracoa. That was an amazing trip, we went to visit the local fruit plantation and sample all the fruits they grow. We packed used clothings, toiletries, pens, shoes in our suitcase for this trip. It was at this point we were able to distribute our stuff to the poor people living here. It was so rewarding to actually taking part in this exercise. Would advice people who would like to donate items to bring children's clothing. We also had a beautiful lunch, local catch fish meal in a small local10 restaurant, the fish was so tasty.

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

10 Excellent

review 5 Feb 2016

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

We felt very comfortable in all parts of Cuba even at night in the heart of any city. The huge number of old American cars that are still in use.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If you have to leave the trip early, as we did, be sure to check on your plane reservations. We did not have seats on the plane back to Havana from Baracoa, as we were supposed to, and so spent an entire day getting to another airport. Our guide - Yima- did however spend a great deal of her time to make sure we got back in time to Havana.

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

Yes to the benefit financially to local people.

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

Excellent! We really enjoyed staying in peoples homes instead of hotels. The fact that I do not speak Spanish was not a problem. Strongly recommend this trip. Just be sure of your flight if you have to leave early.

review 29 Dec 2016

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

Meeting the people, learning about a different culture, admiring what once was beautiful architecture.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Steep stairs to casas. Don't book this trip if you cannot manage steep narrow stairs everywhere....especially with heavy luggage. Take some Tabasco to spice up the generally bland food. Learn some Spanish!

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

Yes, definitely benefited local people by the use of the CUC currency but made it very expensive as a traveler in a poor country. As dear as Europe.

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

Excellent guide, nice group, learnt a lot of history (and propaganda) and saw a good part of the country. Well worthwhile!

review 1 Feb 2016

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

It's difficult to say. Every place has its own charm and character. But as I love tropical landscapes Baracoa is probably the most memorable place. I highly recommend Yumuri river tour. Manglito beach with its blue restaurant is not to be missed. Just wonderful. I was also overwhelmed by Trinidad - its architecture,energy, music. It's simply a non-stop party town. The salsa evening in Santiago de Cuba is another memorable moment. Also the sunset on Playa Ancon. And our beach stop near the Bay of Pigs. And ....

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

It's absolutely safe to leave valuables in the homestay for those who plan to take (a lot of) cash. Using ATMs or banks can be stressful and time consuming.

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

Yes, especially local businesses.

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

This tour is well thought through and planned. We saw a lot in 2 weeks. It felt like 2 months. The tour programme is substantial without being crammed. It also gives flexibility for those who want to do their own things. The tour leader with his unbeatable patience,calm and humour contributed a great deal to the success of the vacation. Big thank you to Rayner, the very friendly tour leader trainee. Practising my salsa steps with him was a real treat.

review 2 Jan 2016

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

The homestay accommodations, which allowed us to meet and interact with local Cubans in personal and meaningful ways, was one of the best things about this trip for me. Cubans are so warm and friendly getting to know the people a little bit made this a very special vacation.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Learn a little Spanish before you go. It helps tremendously in meeting and interacting with people and will serve you well when visiting museums and sites of historical interest.

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

I could see how staying at the casas particulares as well as eating meals there and in the small family-run restaurants directly benefited local families. And at the same time it helped made the trip special for the guests.

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

This is the best trip I've had in years! Our tour leader and bus driver were exceptional, demonstrating daily their desire to ensure that everyone in the group was happy and comfortable. I fell in love with Cuba and the Cubans!

review 10 Feb 2016

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

To be honest, the non-organized stuff I did myself, and the group were great.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

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

To a degree, but most people we stayed in were probably pretty well off already, and used to tourists.

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

Good value, but the guide was very disappointing. For convenience, it was well worth it, but to really experience Cuba, I would travel alone.

review 18 Feb 2014

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

Dancing to a four piece live cuban band in a cafe at lunchtime in Santa Clara. They were outstanding musicians and so inviting and funny. We couldn't help but get up and dance! We attracted quite a crowd on the pavement outside, which is down to Cuban peoples' enthusiasm and friendliness. We also had another wonderful dancing afternoon, one Sunday in Camaguey at the Casa di Trova, all locals, a very good band, a lovely friendly humourous atmosphere, all ages and us two sisters dancing with two very delightful and respectful older gentlemen.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Read up beforehand. Ensure you have top class insurance and tour visa. Take loo roll and antiseptic hand gel as Cuban loos are frightful on the whole!! Staying in casas particulares beats hotels every time and security is good; use a lockable suitcase and lock your room, casas owners won't go into your room as they don't want to risk anything as could lose their licence. Take plenty of loot as debit and credit cards don't generally work. Visa and mastercard cards issued thro british banks don't work. Take gifts, nail varnish, paracetamol, soap, soap, soap, any clothes you can leave there, all these are SO appreciated! Go on an organised small group tour, you just can't do it yourself until you have visited the country several times.

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

Absolutely, we stayed in casas particulares like english b&b but could provide evening meals if required. Evening meals were very good homecooking. We felt the casas gave a fantastically interesting dimension to our vacation as we could interact with the whole family. Cubans are very, very friendly and demonstrative. Nothing is too much trouble. Yes because we were in a small (group of 12) tour bus, and had a local guide who could help us. River swimming in Baracoa in a reserve was marvellous, our guide pointing out that we must not take souvenirs.

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

Amazing, fun, varied, good overall tour, we didn't want to come home. Five Star

review 10 Jan 2012

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

Xmas eve fireworks in Remedios.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Ensure that accommodation is booked as we were told our accommodation at Remedios was not booked so we stayed in Santa Clara; also we had no dinner reservations which is very frustrating given it was Xmas eve and extremely busy in the square.

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

We stayed at casas and ate in private restaurants.

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

I got to experience the Xmas eve festivities with locals and had New Years Eve dinner in the old square made the trip special versus if I went during other times of the year.

review 31 Mar 2010

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

So much stuff to mention, but I enjoyed Trinidad and Baracoa the best - both had great atmosphere with plenty to explore during the day plus good nightlife with local bars and shows with live music everywhere. You really felt that you were part of the place rather than observing it.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Pack the bare minimum, learn Salsa before you go!

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

Definitely, the majority of accommodation was with local families and our environmental footprint seemed quite low.

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

Fabulous vacation, without a doubt this is the way to see the real Cuba - I had 3 days at an all-inclusive beach resort afterwards to chill out and really regret it as it was nothing like the real Cuba I experienced in the previous 2 weeks.

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