- The Cuba Libre tour has been a most enjoyable trip, exciting, exhilirating and breathtaking.
Our tour guide was keen, enthusiastic and a most enjoyable person to chat with and showed a great knowledge of her country- historically and politically. There were a few occassions when we felt little rushed and that she had a time schedule to keep to, but this may have been down to her inexperience and the fact that this was just her 3 or 4 trip with Explore on this particular journey. I also understand that getting to know people quickly can be difficult and she did "lighten" up. I would like to reiterate here that she was super, this is something I know she will learn with experience.
All tour guides that joined us in the mountains, towns and orchid gardens were excellent with terrific English, put our Spanish to shame.
Generally, accommodation was clean and tidy although hot water could be hit and miss at hotels eg Hotel Sevilla in Havana!The mix of accommodation was appropriate to the holiday. We both appreciated the Casa Particulare that we visited in Trinidad and had time to converse with the owners which again was insightful to the who/whats and whys of Cuba.
However, the itinerary was exhausting! The time in the mountains was glorious and it would have been appreciated having more time for further walking in the Sierra Maestra or Escrambay Mountain range. Walking around the farms/tobacco etc in Vinales was interesting and again most enjoyable. The downfall to this trip was the amount of time spent on the bus, although we knew about this in advance and were aware this would happen it did seem like a large part of our day was taken up being in the bus,(by the way the driver -Victor was fab). A suggestion, although I am sure others will no doubt have said this, would be to fly to Santiago de Cuba, then the whole journey could start there. Still with stop offs at all the major sites/towns, mountains etc, it might infact allow for some more time in the mountains! What about internal flights?
I wonder if it might be worth Explores time to draw up some maps of some of the towns etc that travellers visit , (particulary those where free time is given) this could also have do's/don't , suggested eating establishments or music venues of note so that travellers can enjoy further that town. I agree that wandering around the towns is part of the holiday and my husband and I love to do that but a few on our trip may well have had increased enjoyment and confidence to visit further afield with this added detail.
Food was not always of a good quality and there could be a lack of choice. While in the Sierra Maestra mountains -San Domingo hotel the portion size was fairly small,both at the evening meal and at breakfast, a half omelette with a slice of cucumber does not particularly set one up for the day with particularly stale rolls!
We have both enjoyed travelling with Explore and the Cuba Libre experience is one that will stay with us for sometime. Thanks.
Published on: 10 January 2017