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Cuba Libre! CL

Visiting: Cuba
Trip Duration 15 Days
 

Reviews for Cuba Libre!

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

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Cuba Libre! reviews verified by reevooReevoo

127 reviews

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Cuba Libre!Scores 8.3 out of 10 based on 127 reviews
(10 out of 10)

Valerie

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.
Confirmed traveller: 05 January 2017
Published on: 10 January 2017
(6 out of 10)

Amanda

Essex
I thought the information received whilst on the trip really confusing which often meant you were not prepared for the activity on that day. Although we had a lovely tour guide I felt she lacked confidence but also the enthsiam and entertainment value needed on a trip that involves a lot of travelling on the coach, at times it felt dull. Holidays should be fun and I felt this was 'hard work' which was aided by our leaders sensitivity to advice or even being questioned - she could be really good but needs more experience.

I didn't enjoy this as much as all the other holidays with Explore, and as I recommended this to a friend I felt let down - he has already said he will not go on such holidays again. Shame. I would book a holiday again with Explore but it would not be without looking at other organisations as well who offer similar experiences where I will then make comparisons not based on the company itself; I have always sang the praises of Explore but this trip let me down. Good job I have been on better trips otherwise this would have also put me off from booking future trips.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 02 January 2017
Published on: 08 January 2017
(7 out of 10)

April

Toronto
My Cuba Libre trip was great, we saw a LOT of Cuba and our tour leader was pretty great (sometimes there were communication issues, but that goes for almost every trip).

My main issue was that it really was too Full On. I mean that WAS the category of the trip, so i was warned, but having a "city tour" generally consisted of standing in the main square of a city, having all the major buildings described to us and then having 20 minutes to take photos. We'd then get back on the bus and drive for an hour only to have lunch at a roadside restaurant. Why on earth didn't we just spend an extra hour in the city and have our lunch there before heading out on the road? I prefer the idea of splitting up the group for meals so that our money is spread around, not all spent in one roadside stop after another.

I think the itinerary was a bit too ambitious, skipping a night in the mountains or a city here or there might have made it less rushed. If i were to do Cuba again, i'd choose a less hectic trip.

Also be warned! The dinners and lunches are often $15-20 CUC so you will go through money a lot faster than any other Latin American country. And my Canadian VISA card did not work in the ATMs.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 02 January 2017
Published on: 08 January 2017
(8 out of 10)

Jeanette

Edinburgh
Definitely a full-on schedule, would have appreciated more time in Trinidad, Santa Clara & Cienfuegos. Trekking/camping days excellent & other short treks really good. Loved the history & the opportunity to visit the Revolutionary headquarters, Fidel's grave & Che's mausoleum. Limited time in Havana but good orientation. Tour Manager, Yohima, was very good & driver, Orlando, was outstanding. The 2 very long days on the coach were tedious, would prefer lunch breaks etc take place within the towns as opposed to roadside facilities. This tour could easily be increased by 4 or 5 days though appreciate the impact this would have on costs.
Confirmed traveller: 02 January 2017
Published on: 03 January 2017
(4 out of 10)

Andrew

West Wales
Leaving the place
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 27 December 2016
Published on: 30 December 2016

Thank you for your feedback Andrew, it’s disappointing you weren’t entirely happy with the trip. I am sorry that the group dynamic was not as you would have wished and that you felt this impacted your holiday. To ensure that you’re well matched for any trip you’re considering, it’s always worth speaking with our Reservations team in detail. This way we can discuss all aspects of your potential trip to ensure a good match.

(9 out of 10)

Confirmed traveller

Fantastic trip! Interesting and varied itinerary, excellent tour leader and the best local guides.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 26 December 2016
Published on: 01 January 2017
(9 out of 10)

John

Petersfield
The tour went very well, Pablo the leader was excellent despite one or two trying passengers (when is a non-vegetarian a vegetarian . . . ). The only thing that could have been explained better was why the optional activities had a 'taxi fare' within them (i.e. the bus company required payment separately, not the driver receiving a perk). The final 'optional' wasn't really offered as such and was somewhat disappointing as there was no real explanation of what the (admittedly impressive) cave contained in pre-Columbian times.

Overall it was an excellent insight into a country in a unique situation.
Confirmed traveller: 26 December 2016
Published on: 27 December 2016
(9 out of 10)

Jane

Rochdale
My sister & I went on the Cuba Libra tour & thoroughly enjoyed it & would recommend it to anyone wishing to gain a taste of the real Cuba rather than just one from a sun lounger! The tour provides an interesting variety of activities & accommodation & our tour guide, Pablo, was excellent as his knowledge of the country's culture & history was very informative & he was very friendly & pleasant. Our driver, Vicente(?) was amazing taking care to avoid potholes in the road & runaway horses whilst managing to carefully negotiate the narrow streets & parked cars in some of the towns we visited!
The treks in the mountains were fabulous, nothing too strenuous but still a challenge & they offered fantastic views from the tops. Sleeping in the haciendas was different to anything I'd done before ..... I'd recommend trying to get two mats if there is enough to give you a better night's sleep ( & a few mojitos too 😉) Looking up at the clear sky & seeing loads of stars was amazing, it was just so clear. Our guide in the mountains was Leo & he too was excellent telling us all about the various plants & birds along the way. I also particularly enjoyed the salsa dancing at the Casa del la Musiqua & club. In Trinidad the group were divided up into groups of three and we stayed in Casa Particulars , which were essentially B&Bs & the family we were placed with were lovely. We were 'lucky' enough to be there when Fidel Castro died so we able to experience the change in mood of the locals which was quite subtle.... affecting us only by the lack of music & alcohol in some places.
Recommendations : forget your aftershave & perfume..... it's 'eau de deet' all the way so bring plenty of mosquito spray & also cream for when you get bitten! Might be worth investing in a mozzie net for when you're in the mountains but it's not essential. Definitely bring a torch because the afternoon walk tends to finish quite late afternoon & the light was starting to go plus you need it for going through the cave.
We'd taken all of our money in Stirling to change there however not all of the hotels where we stayed had the amenities to change money so it would have been better to only take some in Stirling (or euros) & also take a card to withdraw at an ATM machine.
Definitely take some packets of tissues /toilet roll with you & preferably some hand wipes or gel to use when visiting the toilets along the way..... these tended not to have any toilet seats (except in the hotels), shoulder height partition walls & slatted doors which allowed little space for you to bend down!
The food was quite bland & the menus didn't vary too much .... the beef was very tasty though. It's more of a meat eaters diet that veggie also you tended to get shredded uncooked white cabbage & rice / rice with kidney beans quite a lot.
In some of reviews I'd read it recommended taking a lightweight bag for carrying two days worth of clothes in the mountains but we were allowed to take our full suitcases - thus might depend upon the numbers on the trip as to whether there is sufficient room on the Russian army trucks to take people & luggage so might be worth checking before you go.
We took snorkels & goggles however didn't really use them as the optional snorkelling trip wasn't on offer when we got there & you can hire them if you want to use them albeit the Rep said they weren't the best.
Take any medication, plasters, painkillers etc with you as chances are you won't be able to get to a chemist. I slipped of a rock whilst climbing into the cave pool & was lucky enough to find a pharmacy which sold knee supports but it was several days later!
The locals can't get hold of razors, shampoo, soap or pens.... the type where you push down the top to turn on & off , very easily so if you can take some with you for tips they appreciate them.
The cocktails are very cheap so always a good choice 😁
There are quite a lot of early mornings & some long journeys in the coach but in the balance it was a fantastic trip..... and the cars are amazing!! Would recommend visiting Cuba definitely.
Confirmed traveller: 29 November 2016
Published on: 22 December 2016
(8 out of 10)

Alan

Alsager
A great itinerary covering the main points of the island. The 2 days in the mountains and the visit to Fidel's camp were particularly good. The only downside is 2 very long travel days in the bus.
Confirmed traveller: 29 November 2016
Published on: 02 December 2016
(8 out of 10)

Shirley

Gillingham
The accommodation I believe was very expensive. The 2 hotels in Havana. All other accommodation's were great. tents and veranda and home stays. The hotel although central I would have preferred small refurbished hotels I stayed prior to the trip in One called O' Farill. This was lovely and boutique like and much more friendly and authentic. Cuba is very expensive and its very hard to get money out of banks and hotels my trip found. I got all my money exchanged in a money exchange the first day. I had a good rate and then didn't have to worry about money again. Others on trip had to queue and worry where they would be able to get money wasting a lot of their time visiting banks instead of sights!!!

Snacks are definitely not needed. There was soo much food available we missed some meals. If one wants snacks crisps etc. can be bought. Walking pole advised, definitely walking boots or proper walking trainers. Sleeping bags also definitely needed. The walking I felt was very easy and too slow.

Don't over pack as need to get into case dailey to adjust for days needs. Small back pack needed for dailey needs.

Keep money on person or in back pack on person at all times do not leave anywhere even if some one says they will look after it!
Confirmed traveller: 27 November 2016
Published on: 06 December 2016