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Best of Cuba

Trip type: 
Cultural
Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
Max group size: 
12
Avg user rating: 
0
Americas, Cuba | 17 days
Trip code: 
QUSH
New
What's included: 

Transport - Minibus, on foot, in country flight

Accommodation - Homestays (14nts) Hotels (3nts)

Meals - 3 breakfasts

Trip Highlights: 
Explore old Havana and Santiago de Cuba
Walk in the spectacular scenery of the Escambray Mountains
Discover the revolutionary heartland of Sierra Maestre
Trinidad's unspoilt beaches
see full itinerary >>

Reviews

Don't take our word for it - read through our customer reviews. All of these have been published without any editing.
Customer Reviews
18th Apr 2012
I rate this trip
5
The whole itinerary was good.

The whole itinerary was good. The only negative was that the other 4 people in the group had booked together. Although they were all very friendly and inclusive there was an age difference and they preferred a quieter slightly less active holiday which did affect some aspects of the holiday. 

accomodation varied from excellent to occassioally more basic but often the location made up for this. In my opinion the Gran Hotel in Camaguey stood out as being a lovely hotel with character, the best room of the whole trip and a great central location.

Miss W - Travelled in March 2012

 

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Customer Reviews
17th Apr 2012
I rate this trip
4
Too many visits to revolutionary sites.

We had to use Air Europe via Madrid.  Nor impressed with the standard of the aircraft nor food

Too many visits to revolutionary sites.  Boring!

A number of things in the rooms didn't work such as light bulbs and the safes.

Occasional difficulty in understanding his English.

Mr A - Travelled in March 2012

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Customer Reviews
17th Apr 2012
I rate this trip
5
Visiting Che's mausoleum at Santa Clara.

Visiting Che's mausoleum at Santa Clara.
Excellent evening listening to the Buena Vista Social Club.  Enjoyed the music at Casa de la Trova in both Trinidad and Baracoa.

Long days of travelling although this was broken up by visits to various town of interest  or beaches on route.  Spectacular scenery to keep me occupied.

I would have preferred the trip to run in reverse as the highlights of the trip were at the beginning.

Due to the visit of the pope our accommodation in Santiago was in a seedy all inclusive resort an hours drive from the city.  Limited the time we had to spent in the city. Only option to eat was at the hotel which was poor.  However this was due to exceptional circumstances.
Accommodation in Havana was very central.

Provided a wide range of dining experiences from state run restaurants, paladares, picnics and local Cuban restaurants.  Had expected to only eat in state run establishments. Provided the opportunity to experience different types of local Cuban music with local residents.

Miss C - Travelled in March 2012

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Customer Reviews
17th Apr 2012
I rate this trip
5
Our guide Yazel was very knowledgeable

Our guide Yazel was very knowledgeable and keen to ensure we did everything we wanted to do.  He looked after us all very well.  I was unable to do some of the trekking planned as I did not have the right footwear and it may be that the notes could have made it a bit clearer that walking books were essential for this trip.  This also affected others on this trip.  

I had to rebook this holiday as my original trip was cancelled and consequently I could not get a direct flight.This meant a much longer journey generally and with the French Air Traffic Controllers strike meant we had a 5 hour stop over in Madrid on the way back.  In addition, I would not choose to fly with Air Europa again, the in flight service was not great and there was no service at all on the flight to and from Gatwick to Madrid.

The itinerary was very good although there was a lot of travelling on the coach but I don't think there is much you can do to avoid this.

We could not stay at the usual hotel in Santiago because of the Pope's visit and had to stay at an all inclusive hotel some 40k from the town.  The food was not good and the standard of cleanliness was poor.  If you did not get in early there was very little choice in the way of food and as it was so far away from the main town there was little we could do.  Not having to pay was no compensation.  I would not include this hotel in future.  Yazel said he had not been there before so was unable to let us know what to expect.

As already mentioned he was very knowledgeable and tried to accommodate all our needs.

Miss J - Travelled in March 2012

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Customer Reviews
20th Mar 2012
I rate this trip
5
Seeing Fidel Castro's headquarters in the Sierra Maestra

Seeing Fidel Castro's headquarters in the Sierra Maestra and Che Guevara's mausoleum and museum in Santa Clara.

[Least enjoyed] The journey from Baracoa to Havana at the end of the trip.  This involved what appeared to be an unnecessary bus journey from Baracoa to Holguin to catch a plane which stopped en route at Santiago (the original embarkation airport!).  We didn't arrive back in Havana until about 3.30 am on Sunday morning and had just a few hours sleep before spending the last few hours in Havana before a mid afternoon pick up and transfer to Havana airport for the journey back to Gatwick.  Altogether a very tiring couple of days.

Overall, a wonderful trip, made extremely interesting and enjoyable by our guide, Laz who was superb in his knowledge and help to us.

There were a few accommodation problems for some members of our group which were generally sorted out either by the group or our guide.  I didn't expect five star luxury accommodation in the places we visited, after all this is Cuba!  With that in mind, the accommodation was very good.

Laz was an excellent guide.  His local knowledge was superb and he made everywhere we went seem fascinating, which it was!  He was friendly and helpful to all of the group and went out of his way to assist with such things as currency exchange and local customs as well as food.  A great ambassador for The Adventure Company as well as Cuba.

Mr A - Travelled in February 2012

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Customer Reviews
20th Mar 2012
I rate this trip
4
More time would have been welcome.

Visits to Castillo del Morro at Santiago de Cuba.  More time would have been welcome.
Walks to the waterfall(Trinidad) and to Castro's Lair

The trip to Havana from Baracoa was a nightmare of bad logistics and timing. A day wasted with little sleep before the long flight back.   We had to travel to Holiguin to catch the internal flight. When the plane concerned picked up further passengers at Santiago but flights were late and there was needless disembarking and returning to the same seats to continue. After an early start from Baracoa, it was 3 a.m. before we got to the hotel in Havana.

Passengers should be warned of long delays at Havana Arrival and Departure due to individual photographs being taken on each occasion.

Please note that Mastercard is not accepted at most ATMs.  Thank heavens the wife had a Visa card with her.

We think that you should delete the trip up The Anvil as our guide said that no Adventure Company clients in his knowledge made the arduous trek. Our alternative walk through a coconut plantation and swim was more to our collective liking.
We didn't relish the steep climb with backpacks in that heat. 

[Accommodation] Varied and interesting.   One day Cuba will get round to better maintenance of
fixtures and fittings in bath and bedrooms.  Beds in each location were comfortable and clean.

 

Friendly and approachable. Communicated his love for his country and included little extras to help us understand life in Cuba.

 

Mrs L - Travelled in February 2012

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Customer Reviews
22nd Feb 2012
I rate this trip
5
Walking activities were very enjoyable.

All together very good - liked Havana, but hotel was not good, and didn't have enough time there. Walking activities were very enjoyable. The tour guide was excellent in every way - very helpful, knowledgable, communicative, took us to some great restaurants, arranged a cake for one of our party whose birthday it was, very good english, and a great sense of humour.
Possibly too much travelling, and in the end, one town looked very much like another. The trip from Baracoa to Havana via Holguin was horrendous - we set off on Saturday at 10.00a.m.and got to the hotel in Havana at 4.30a.m. on Sunday, and then had to leave for the airport to go home o Sunday at 3.00 p.m. Possibly would be better to fly to Baracoa at the beginning of the trip (after a couple of days in Havana) and then visit the other towns afterwards - reversing the itinery.

[Least enjoyed] Toilets, too much coach travelling, some hotels lacked facilities.

 

Mrs H - travelled in January 2012

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Customer Reviews
17th Jan 2012
I rate this trip
5
An excellent Itinary packed full of interesting things.

Trinidad. Stopping off for a swim in the carribean. F

An excellent Itinary packed full of interesting things. We got to see the best bits of the island!

The hotel in Trinidad was of a lower standard as was the hotel las americanas in Santiago. The rest were perfect especially Ambos Mundos in havana!

[Least enjoyed] Santiago

 

Freddie was an amazing guide who had so much to give, and always went out of his way for us and met the groups demands. There was nothing he could have done to make our trip more enjoyable. Great guide! 

Miss T - Travelled in December 2011

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Customer Reviews
10th Jan 2012
I rate this trip
5
It really was an adventure of a lifetime.

Our guide, Freddy was outstanding.  His knowledge, insight, professionalism and caring nature were winning qualities that made an excellent trip truly memorable.

Highlights of places visited were Havana, Vinales and Baracoa.  We packed a huge amount into two weeks.  It really was an adventure of a lifetime.

Hotel Las Amercias was really quite dreadful - and one to be avoided.  The Hotel Melia opposite was more of the standard I expected.

The Hotel in Baracoa didn't have hot running water so showers were quite unpleasant affairs.

Apart from the hotels in Bayamo and Vinales, all of the bedrooms were pretty basic and lacked even items such as table lamps.

With the exception of Bayamo and Andos Mundos, the breakfasts in the hotels were completely unappetising, even by Cuban standards.

Freddy was the best tour leader myself and the group had had the pleasure of experiencing.  He is a credit to Cuba and your company.

Miss S - Travelled in December 2011

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Customer Reviews
10th Jan 2012
I rate this trip
5
Just wonderful

It was all fantastic and the guide, Freddie, could not have done more - he is a real star!!Freddie went out of his way to make sure we had a fantstic time and this included some unique eating expereiences - ignore what the guide books say. We had a local banquet in a little house in vinales, cooked just for us, goat stew in the mountains and on Xmas day , some very kind people catered for us in every way - continual supply of food, drinks and a very amused tolerance of our loud and awful singing!!
We were serenaded at every turn by lots of local musicians and offered complimentary cocktails at each hotel. The whole country seems to be full of fabulous locals who can dance and were happy to show us how to. Such fun!!
I loved the options and choices - so driving down to the Caribbean on Xmas Eve in an old chevy for a couple of hours of sun, sea and cocktalis was great. 
Visiting Che's museum was a very important and moving experience for me,
climbing up to see the HQ of Fidel was just amazing - even when we went up the steepest hill and had to get out of the bus - I was in my flip flops by then and found it very difficult- the guide, Freddie, came and took my hand and helped me up the last few steps- what an act of solidarity!!
 I loved Caramguey and especially, having the chance to look at some of the local art work, the sunset and canon fire  at Santaigo,  and dancing at Baracoa in the local Casa de Trouve with the locals - and so much more .
Just wonderful

There was very little that I did not enjoy and overal it was really great- a lot of time and thought ahd clearly gone in to planning the itineray and checking all the bookings. 
I suppose the hotel in Baracoa was a bit disappointing - it was far out of town and had an air of " end of season" disinterest - shown by not filling the pool but having a notice banning swimming next to it!! On the other hand, the cyclo guides were great and we had soem good coversations with one of two of the locals

I think the itineray is good, as we got to see a lot of the highlights and heard  a lot about the history, culture and politics - I really appreciated that unique insight. Inevitably, there will be a lot of time on the bus when covering such a distance  - but they worked really hard to plan stops and break up the journey well. there was always a little treat of some sort - home made fudge for when wwe were climbing, banannas for a snack etc 
The driver, Ariel, was excellent and also a great laugh

Oh, forgot to say that the hotel in Santiago was not very good - looked ike it needed an upgrade- Las Americanas- and just opposite a very upmarket hotle opposite. However, we met some nice locals in the seedy hotel disco!!
the hotel in Habana was great - Ambos Mundos as was the on in Bayamo, so overall we were ahppy

 

I have been on many of your trips and the group leaders are all pretty good, but I would say Freddie was exceptional. I cannot think of a thing he did not know, consider or do to make our stay a fantastic one. Please increase his salary!!!

Ms T - Travelled in December 2011

Can we encourage those on the trip to give more generously -including their clothes and toiletries- most would give more if it was put to them in an attractive way . When we could, we left or gave some of our clothes to individuals and there was no shame or embarassment - people were delighted and we felt great and our cases were lighter, too!
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Customer Reviews
20th Dec 2011
I rate this trip
2
No real highlights at all.

No real highlights at all, trip was 'much of a muchness' and nothing stands-out.

I found this trip very dull - I've been travelling with Adventure Company/Travelbag, Exodus, Explore, Guerba, etc for over 20 years and done quite a number of these trips, this one was one of the least interesting.
There was actually very little to do or see - the guide did try, by including visits to cigar factory, rum factory, etc but I guess there is very little in Cuba other than decaying colonial architecture and old American cars.
I guess I should have read the itinerary more closely, because yes on re-reading it it does more or less say that there will be a lot of travelling but doesn't promise much else.
The distances and road conditions meant that we frequently had long driving days, just to arrive after dark at a town shut-up for the night.
Some on the trip were pretty happy with drinking lots of cheap mohito cocktails and trips to casas de trova to watch mainly Western tourists on small-group trips like ours dancing to salsa bands, but after a couple of occasions I'd had enough of that.
I was pretty disappointed at how little nature/wildlife/countryside was included - the trip is billed as 'Culture and Nature' on your website, but there was no nature at all.
Also disappointing was that for an island in the middle of the Carribean, we only managed two rushed and hurried swims in the sea - I agree that this wasn't a beach resort holiday (god forbid!), but had hoped for more than this.

[Lazaro] Worked very hard, did a lot of organising, phoning ahead, chivvying of kitchen staff in restaurants and hotels, etc.
However - and this might well be as he is a product of the Cuban system - was very controlling, wanted us all to do the same thing, eat group meals, etc rather than allowing free time and for us to 'do our own thing'.
Had no interest in nature, was clearly a 'city boy from Havana' with little knowledge or interest in birds or wildlife, was more keen on group meals out and visits to casas de trova for group dancing.
Also prone to getting on the microphone in the bus and talking 'at' us, treating us to lectures on Cuba, even when no-one on the bus interested and all trying to sleep - some of these were on relevant topics such as Cuban history or politics, but seemed to think that it was part of the job as guide to be giving us these lecures and went on to include such things as hotels which we weren't going to but sometimes other groups did, towns we weren't going to, etc

Mr W - Travelled in November 2011

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Customer Reviews
20th Dec 2011
I rate this trip
5
overall we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday.

Meeting and being guided by Lazarro of Cubanacan, our friendly, helpful and enthusiastic local guide; Visiting historical sites, such as 'La Plata', Castro's HQ in the Sierra Maestra, the music, the nature trails and swimming in the Caribbean.
Would have liked to have stayed longer in some places and have more time on our own to wander round and to swim near Baracoa. We spent too much time travelling on the coach in the last few days without breaks. However, we appreciate in 15 days the itinery was going to be challenging as we covered many many kilometres.
Our 'family' as Lazarro liked to refer to the group were great and overall we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. Thank you!

'The accommodation and food was much better than we had expected. This was our first group holiday experience. We may have been lucky with our group, but the attitude of the Guide helped us gel and enjoy each other's company in a relaxing way. We would love to return to Cuba, which we found inspirational.

Fantastic-went out of his way to make sure each of us had their needs and wants met.

Mr D - Travelled in November 2011

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Customer Reviews
19th Dec 2011
I rate this trip
5
Cuba was absolutely great as a trip

Cuba was absolutely great as a trip there was too many highlights to mention e.g. Tobacco farms in Vinales, Walk to Fidel Castro's hideout in the Sierra Maestre, Musics on the streets of Santiago, Salsa in Trinidad, Bike ride in Camaguey, the boat and swimming trip down the river after walking through the farmers fields and being treated to coconuts, almonds and cocoa beans in Baracoa (which was not officially on the trip)and havana!  The cubans so passionate about their history and sense of fairness and justice.

Very helpful and knowledgeable [Yazel] went out of his way to try and ensure everyone was happy.  Answered all questions asked and held sessions everyday on the coach to answer all and every question even when he was being patronised and told he was indoctrinated by his government.  Handled it very well and never reacted at all.
Worked over 20 hours a day trying to ensure everything went to plan and worked and that we were all safe and happy.  Even with some very trying couples on the tour that went out of their way to just be disagreeable and disrupt the tour arrangements.  1 couple was only using the tour to get around Cuba so went off the itinery all the time and was always late on turning up which obviously caused the tour leader concern.  The other couple just moaned the whole time regarding the amount of food being provided as we suggested several times - you don't need to eat it all just because you pay for it!
I believe that he went over and above in exceptional and trying circumstances.

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Customer Reviews
19th Dec 2011
I rate this trip
5
The trip was fantastic

The trip was fantastic, it offered a combination of cultural sightseeing and walks in the nature,including swimming in the sea, rivers and waterfalls. We visited museums, cigar and rum factories, local farmers, major city sights and more. Unforgettable experience!

'he couldn't have been any better [Yazel]

Miss K - Travelled in November 2011

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Customer Reviews
19th Dec 2011
I rate this trip
5
the trip provided an intensive but thorough view of Cuba, physically, socially and politically.

The walk up to Castro's rebel headquarters was very atmospheric as well as exceptionally pretty.

'Yazel Peterssen our leader was outstanding - everything one could wish for- well organised, diligent, extremely knowledgeable, spoke fluent english, fun and pleasant to be with. 

Mr D - Travelled in November 2011

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isiswalnut
12th Sep 2010
I rate this trip
5
The mouse that roared!

There were a few; one that has to count amongst the most inpirational moments was the visit to Fidel's hideout in the Sierra Maestre mountains, another the visit to the Che memorial at santa Clara. Others were the music and the joyful spirited people of Cuba who have endured so much and have come out smiling, laughing, singing, dancing and happy to share their experiences and their wonderful island with us.

Ennio was a real star, very knowledgeable and very happy to share his knowledge to enrich our experience of the island, always available and happy to answer our questions and support us during our stay. Thanks Ennio!

Get out there, meet the Cuban people and dance with life, enjoy!
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