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Classic Cuba DCL

Visiting: Cuba
Trip Duration 15 Days
 

Reviews for Classic Cuba

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Classic Cuba reviews verified by reevooReevoo

65 reviews

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Classic CubaScores 8.7 out of 10 based on 65 reviews
(9 out of 10)

Kathy

London
Fantastic, thought-provoking holiday! Our guide Lazaro was brilliant - unbelievably knowledgeable, patient, unfailingly cheerful and a real treat to have met. Accommodation was excellent, itinerary ditto, except we'd have liked to have spent more time in Santiago and Las Terrazzas than Cayo Ensenachos. As others have also said, three nights in an upmarket package holiday resort wasn't why we came to Cuba, especially after most of us got sick there - beware the all-you-can-eat buffet 😱.

Tips - the estimate Explore gives for how much money to take was a bit low (everyone needs tipping, and meals were more expensive than stated), but there are ATMs in most places so we survived.

Last thing - there are a LOT of stray animals, some in a bad way. If you'd like to help them, there are groups working in Cuba unofficially (e.g. The Spanky Project) who'd love you to bring meds and supplies for them. Contact them beforehand, as it's difficult and/or expensive to send either money or things into the country once you've left.
Confirmed traveller: 27 August 2017
Published on: 04 September 2017
(8 out of 10)

Suzanne

Leeds
Great way to see Cuba in two weeks, it's a fascinating country with amazing people, culture and history.

Word of warning there is a lot of time spent on the bus in the middle section of the trip. Free time in many places is limited to the evenings, so you don't necessarily get to wander the streets at your leisure. Food choices and WiFi access are limited, but everything else more than makes up for it!
Confirmed traveller: 20 May 2017
Published on: 12 June 2017
(9 out of 10)

Daniela

London
I really enjoyed the Cuba itinerary which was diverse and covered so much of Cuba. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, passionate and focused on ensuring we had the best possible time in Cuba. Highlights were the little hummingbird sanctuary which wasn't on the itinerary but we managed to squeeze in en route; the wonderful beach and cocktails at the resort (one passenger, who will remain nameless, managed to totally deplete the resort's Malibu stocks!); the trek to Fidel's hideout in the mountains (I am so not a trekker so it's a surprise that I enjoyed it so much); our 1950s zooped up classic car taxis; Las Terrazas; and the live music all over Cuba. Full on but with a three day stop in a resort to replenish energy stocks. A wonderful trip, with wonderful travelling companions.
Confirmed traveller: 02 April 2017
Published on: 06 April 2017
(7 out of 10)

Christopher

Visit to cemetery, guide in Vinales, resort stay.
Worst cave visit.
Flights poor and late
Confirmed traveller: 02 April 2017
Published on: 04 April 2017
(10 out of 10)

Philip

Reading
The different accommodation we experienced, Casas, Hotels and Resorts gave us a real feel for the breadth of Cuban life. The optional activities organised by the Explore Leader also gave us valuable insights into Cuban culture. The Explore Tour itinerary was well thought out. Perhaps we would only ask for longer periods of time in the various venues - excluding the Resort - because it was difficult to experience authentic Cuban society due to time pressure to move on. Excellent holiday which we would thoroughly recommend.
Confirmed traveller: 27 February 2017
Published on: 05 March 2017
(9 out of 10)

Vivienne

London
Generally excellent.
Leader good altho a bit inexperienced. Several of us would have preferred more time touring than staying 3 nights at Iberostar resort. Maybe this could have been offered as an optional detour.
In addition to reviews I think an Explore online forum would have been useful, especially to first time Explorers like myself.
Confirmed traveller: 25 February 2017
Published on: 27 February 2017
(10 out of 10)

Hazel

Lewes
Overall, an excellent trip, with great travelling companions and a really good guide (Jose Luis).
Flights: I was offered a flight that was not direct (with Air Europe I think), but when I asked about direct flights, the Virgin Atlantic flight from Gatwick to Havana was no more expensive, so I cannot think of any reason why you would offer the other flight.
Accommodation: we were put in casas particulares rather than in hotels in Havana and Trinidad, and I think this was better than staying in hotels, besides being a lot cheaper. In Havana, the houses were very close together, which meant it was easy for the group to meet. The houses I stayed in were very good; both Mara's Home in Havana (with beautiful terrace for eating and relaxing) and Casa Azul in Trinidad had nice rooms with ensuite bathrooms and were run by very friendly people. My only criticism would be that in Trinidad the houses were a bit far from the centre; it would have been nice to be able to go back to the house and then do a bit more exploring, but this seemed a bit of an effort - perhaps I should have tried walking into town; on the coach and by bici taxi the way seemed very complicated but this may have been due to a one way system that would not bother a walker. The hotels in the other places were fine, although in Santiago de Cuba it was a long way from the centre, which was a pity as the centre of town was nice and there were several museums to visit - everyone chose to take the coach back to the hotel rather than find the way back ourselves so we missed out.
The itinerary was good - I liked Vinales, Las Terrazas and all the places we stopped between overnight stops, such as Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Che Guevara's memorial. We saw so many places that I can't think of them all! The trek to Fidel Castro's hideout in the mountains was also good. When we arrived for the 3-night stay at Cayo Ensenachos, I was thinking that perhaps 2 nights would be enough, but there had been a storm overnight and the beach was closed - if we had left a day earlier, we would not have been able to use the beach at all, so in the end I was pleased to have the extra day. And interesting to see another side of tourism in Cuba - the all-inclusive package attracting Canadians in droves.
The thing I liked least (an optional activity) was the Buena Vista Social Club evening, which was expensive, uncomfortable and had a long show, which would be great if it's your taste in music.
Jose Luis was a brilliant guide. His English was excellent and he was very humorous. But he also told us all about the history and present day life in Cuba as well as answering the many questions of an inquisitive bunch of Explore tourists. He was also around to help us if necessary.
Best to bring pounds sterling rather than try to find ATMs. Although at the end of the trip I found that I could get money from the bank by having a debit card and passport, although all bank visits require quite a lot of time - it seems only one person is allowed in the bank at a time, so queuing outside required.
In all, a fascinating trip that has broadened my knowledge of Cuba. I am now pondering how to run a centralised economy successfully and how to survive without succumbing to the influence of more powerful countries.
Full marks to Cuba for not having advertising hoardings!
Confirmed traveller: 29 January 2017
Published on: 04 February 2017
(9 out of 10)

Rosemary

Edinburgh
Loved the trip However I would make a few suggestions.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the standard of accommodation. It was great being in Hotel Nacional in Havana , but on way back would have loved to have been in the old town for the last 2 evenings.

The only hotel which was not great was in Bayamo. It was however right in the centre. Maybe home stays would have been a possibility there .

Although we stayed in best hotel in Santiago would have preferred city centre. I feel I missed out a bit on Santiago, as by
the time we reached there I was tired and did not go into town at night , the same with rest of group. Yet Santiago was such a lovely city.

Jose was relatively new and inexperienced. I tried to give him a few tips in private as I have spent most of my life being a tour manager ,and am now guiding in Scotland. He was very receptive. The biggest problem was the city tour in Havana. He has probably never been on a city tour as a passenger. Also he has to be a lot more proactive in finding information about hotel. For example he had not been to the resort hotel where we spent 3 nights. When we arrived we went for lunch before check in , so that was his opportunity to find all the information about hotel and then pass it on to us.

I have to say however he did a good job, he was very informative about life in Cuba and the history. He was good fun once he relaxed after we left Havana . It was not an easy group. He will soon be an excellent tour manager.
Confirmed traveller: 02 January 2017
Published on: 07 January 2017
(8 out of 10)

Pamela

Caterham
As described, the trip covered the whole of Cuba, with a great variety of scenery and activities and enough free time to explore each place visited. The accommodation was good, although some of us would have preferred a hotel in Havanna closer to the old town as there is little of interest within easy walking distance of The National. Also, our hotel in Trinidad was changed to homestays and in fact we felt that we were pleased to have had the experience of staying in one of these accommodations once on our trip, and wondered if this could be part of the regular itinerary, or offered as an option.
Confirmed traveller: 04 December 2016
Published on: 06 December 2016