Margaret Dewan, Lagrange, Illinois
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. The country’s natural beauty is awe-inspiring as well as its colonial cities, plazas and architecture. I cannot express how pleased I was by the warm welcome I received from the Cuban people I encountered. And the culture? Is it a cliché to say that Cuban’s have music in their blood? There was beautiful music everywhere even in the rhythm of the Spanish conversations that were taking place all around me (which I did not understand).
I cannot find fault with this tour. Our tour-guide, Osmin Rivero, and bus driver, Bruno! I have no doubt that Osmin’s erudite knowledge of Cuban history and culture and the world at large made for a broader, eye-opening experience for this American.
James Ralph Hanan, Rockville, Maryland
Cuba is a most interesting place, its society and culture. I loved its great music, pretty much everywhere. I was surprised that so may buildings – business and residential – appeared to be neglected, tired and mildewy, and presumably poorly maintained.
The highlight for me was the lecture by Dr. Marta Nuñes on Cuban society today. Several of us, being economists, would have liked an additional lecture to help us understand better features of the Cuban economy. Our tour guides were friendly, entertaining, and well informed, and the two Yutong buses were excellent. It was great simply being in Cuba, and to have the opportunity to understand better the Cuban experience since the Revolution.
Zhicheng Li Swift, Rockville, Maryland
Yes, Cuba culture is unique. I liked bet the tour of Old Havana. But time scheduled was too short for us to explore this important city.
Elaine Patterson, West Palm Beach, Florida
BEST: Coffee. Music. Old Town Havana. Safety. Architecture. The resilience of the people.
Susan French, Wallnut Creek, California
I loved the sights, sounds, food and people. I expect to return to see the Eastern part of Cuba. We learned a great deal from a professor Faya about Cuban culture and history and Cubans long struggle for independence. The variety of city sights, natural beauty, and the beach were without equal. The eco-community of Las Terrazas, the National Park Topes des Collantes made a good break from just walking city streets. We could have used a bit more free time and suggestions where live music can be heard to watch Cubans enjoying themselves, particularly dancing. We saw some in passing but didn’t stop.
Read this Cuba traveler’s TripAdvisor review under the nickname “Frenchsm”
June Elizabeth Dosik, Boca Raton, Florida
I loved the countryside and the architecture. Walking around the old city was wonderful. Riding the Soviet tanks in the mountains was fun. The tour guides were excellent.
Willy De Geyndt, Middletown, Virginia
I liked best the people in Cuba. As typical in all Caribbean islands, they are friendly, laid back and have a sense of humor. However Cuba is the only island with a rich history, architecture and Spanish footprint. The tour was well organized, knowledgeable guides. Sore points were the inevitable tourist spots.
Lesley Shneier, Washington, District of Columbia
I need to learn more about the impact of Communism, to understand the apathy and passivity I noticed amongst Cubans. They seemed to be waiting for someone else to do things for them, and give them money – although they’ve discovered the tour bus routes and flocked to us begging as we disembarked, especially at the pottery studio. My favorite activities were: Going to see ProDanza dancing “Dracula” at the Gran National Theatre de Cuba. This was not on our itinerary, but was the highlight for me.
Sandra Hadler, Naples, Florida
Impressed by the youth: well educated, dynamic, open minded. Havana’s wonderful city. Our
program was well balanced. Enjoyed the splendid introduction to modern day Cuba. Great lecture with Professor Marta Núñez. As a group primarily of economists, I used to lecture at Harvard, and there were several other ivy league professors with us. More of this content would have been welcome. Guides were excellent.
Susan Brannigan, Chicago, Illinois
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Cuba and was already thinking about a return trip before I came home! I am very glad my friend and I selected Cuba Explorer – the tour was excellent value compared with other, far more expensive tour groups. The CE staff I dealt with – virtually and by phone – was helpful and accommodating; the web site provided practically all the information needed for a first-time trip to Cuba.I was very disappointed that the tour we selected – the Introduction to Cuba Tour – was cancelled two weeks before our departure. I had looked forward to spending time exploring Havana and the activities on that tour. I was very pleased, however, that we were able to join the Western Cuba Culture Tour traveling the same week. The group size (6 people) was perfect; the activities and sites visited were fascinating and diverse. I especially appreciated our visits to Organoponico Alamar, Las Terrazas, the Valle de los Ingenios, and Topes de Collantes. The local guides at each site were knowledgeable and excited to explain their work. Cienfuegos and Trinidad both require and deserve more time than permitted – on the itinerary for a future trip.Our tour guide, Osmin Rivero, was very knowledgeable – about Cuban arts and culture, economic and political history – personable, accommodating and charming. He was a perfect host, excited to share his country with us. And our driver Bruno Miranda Perez was stalwart and, considering some of the roads in the mountains, excellent!I loved Cuba and Cubans I met. They are proud of their country, their heritage and culture, and optimistic about their future. My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to spend exploring the country and meeting more Cubans. As long as Americans must visit under the auspices of a recognized tour operator, I highly recommend Cuba Explorer.
Kimberly Postlewaite, Emerald Hills, California
Everything was amazing; the people were very friendly and warm, and Cuba is beautiful. The surprise was that it politically and economically felt much better off than Americans are led to believe. If I had to pick one thing the was best it would be that some of the activities were not things we would have known about to do on our own. For instance, Fusterlandia and the other art studio. Those were both memorable highlights and we wouldn’t have done them without the tour. No problems. Maybe more direction on dress suggestions for each location. Also, we ran short on time during one day (Old Havana) and we skipped the market. I would have liked the free time be cut in order to include all featured tour stops.
Monique Amaudry, London, Undefined
It was an eye opener onto a new culture and its people. We loved to explore the island and our guides were just wonderful. Havana was fantastic, such great architecture, even the decay was majestic albeit poignant and the city deserves its reputation as the most impressive in the Caribbean. We loved the music and most of the restaurants were excellent, except for one. We also liked Cienfegos and especially Trinidad where we had a fantastic dinner.
Arthur Broadfield, Ormond Beach, Florida
Physical infrastructure better than I had expected. Friendly, happy people. Vibrant culture. Shortage of foreign exchange and occasional weak motivation of public sector employees a problem. The efficiency of our tour guide and driver were terrific. The characterful hotels we stayed in, except for our last night. The half day tour of Havana. The visit to Hemingway’s house and the Bay of Pigs museum. Tasty evening dinners in characterful restaurants. Concerns: Too little time in Havana – add at least half a day, and the lunches were too heavy. Provide lighter lunch-time food on days that dinner is included.
Kenneth Brungess, Corte Madera, California
As I had anticipated, the Cuban people were extremely gracious and welcoming. (And not just for the influx of the American “dinero!”) As a retired [but still active] college and university conductor/music educator, the amount and availability of quality ‘musica autentico’ was beyond my wildest dreams!The Afro-Cuban amalgam results in a “cultural rhythm” that is expressed in color, dance, religion, architecture, cuisine, dress, classic autos, African-derived drumming and of course, the popular dance music for which Cuba has been famous for decades.
Danuta Panek, Westmont, Illinois
Beautiful and safe island, friendly people, and warm weather. It was a perfect tour for our needs. Excellent organization, comfortable transportation and a knowledgeable travel guides.