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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

141 reviews

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Cuba Libre!Scores 8.4 out of 10 based on 141 reviews
(4 out of 10)

Penelope

Lingfield
The tour seemed quite expensive for what you got. Although not expecting luxury, I was expecting hot showers at the end of the day. I only got that in the Hotel Sevilla in Havana. Even the cold showers were little more than a trickle. The tents, especially at the hacienda Codina, were not fit for purpose. Only one had a working zip. Since, from reading prior reviews, this seems to be a common complaint, I would have expected Explore to have taken action to improve matters.
I was prepared for the rather boring cuisine and the limited range of sandwiches but didn't expect to pay the tourist prices which were way above what the average Cuban could afford. I had read that most entrees in state restaurants are priced at about 2 to 5 CUC but our guide nearly always took us to places where prices were often 15 CUC and above. One of our first lunches cost 18 CUC - we were taken there en route to somewhere by the guide and offered no alternative. There was no menu and no mention of price until the bill came. Should Explore guides be doing this? They should be upfront about the places and give us informed choices of restaurants. We got better at asking about buffet prices in hotels (best value generally) but still didn't always get the chance to make our own arrangements. I feel that the guides should be trained to have our best interests at heart and not that of the Cuban economy. The trip is advertised as getting to know the real Cuba - not to be treated differently as a tourist!
The information about the Revolution was interesting but seldom was there any written explanation in English - not very useful unless your guide sticks with you and interprets from Spanish. It was very frustrating, especially at Che's museum, where our guide wasn't around to translate his letters or anything else. Not much point in visiting.
Highlights of the trip were the treks in the Topes de Collantes Nature ReservePark (despite the tents!) and the trek to Castro's hideaway. Also, the walk around Vinales was enjoyable and gave a true taste of the life in a farming community. Each local guide was very good and entertaining.
There were good parts to the trip and the group itself was very nice but for the reasons above, I can only rate the trip as I have done. There was no comparison with our first excellent Explore trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in 2015 with our wonderful guide Theo.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 18 March 2017
Published on: 21 March 2017
(9 out of 10)

Elizabeth

Exeter
Tour leader enthusiastic about showing us his country and keen to give us the best experiences. A very experienced and safe bus driver accompanied us throughout. Individual guides in the National parks were excellent over plants, birds and wildlife in general - or Cuba's dramatic history and personel. Home-stays and camp-sites were all part of the experience, although the state of the tents provided was less than ideal. And we felt that the recommended sleeping bags proved far too hot.
I loved the trekking in the mountain areas - and walking into Fidel and Che's camp. The orchid garden en route was a highlight. A comprehensive overview of the island inevitably meant some long drives and the group wondered if there were some other way of reordering the route. Overall another good explore holiday!
Confirmed traveller: 12 March 2017
Published on: 14 March 2017
(8 out of 10)

Christopher

Brongest Newcastle Emlyn
I bought a 2-3 season sleeping bag for camping out. A 1 season would be enough, anyway blankets are supplied.
Guide was great, people friendly, dogs laid back.
Wide range of accommodation, a lot of travelling, mountains wonderful.
Confirmed traveller: 12 March 2017
Published on: 14 March 2017
(10 out of 10)

Phillip

Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Enjoyed hearing about Cuba's history, and the wonderful scenery, especially in the mountains. Cubans are very friendly, and made us welcome where ever we went. Overall a memorable, well organized experience!
Confirmed traveller: 06 March 2017
Published on: 09 March 2017
(8 out of 10)

Denise

Brentwood
Ah..highlight has to be the sleeping out and camping..regardless of the rain!!
Tips..take a face mask if suffer from chess problems ..I'm still coughing up rubbish.
Cuba is lovely ..needs to be longer trip so can stay in the lovely little places longer. Food ok but why do they give you so much when they have to import most of it..what a waste! More expensive than I though ..but that's because they have to import food.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 05 March 2017
Published on: 12 March 2017
(9 out of 10)

Tracy

We had a fabulous 2 weeks in this amazing country. It was very a busy tour, but we expected that. There was one long day on the bus so come prepared with things to read and snacks for the journey. water is easy to access and our driver supplied bottles on the bus for 1cuc each
Our guide Pablo was informative, friendly and made sure we were well looked after. The bus driver Bicente was also very friendly despite not having much English & our Spanish being limited, and his driving was good, we felt very safe.
All the local guides were brilliant especially Alex the guide for our 2 days in the mountains. we had very wet weather the first day so he adjusted the itinerary to ensure we didn't miss a thing. Walking sticks were very useful after the rain.
Be prepared for unreliable plumbing ( I had 4 days of cold showers) and sometimes we had no running water; bring wipes and hand gel and toilet roll.
The highlights were Fidel's mountain hideout, the time spent in Vinales visiting tobacco farmers, the regular impromptu music we encountered and Havana with its classic cars.
This is a vibrant mainly rural country the people are all very friendly. We didn't once feel uneasy. Take lots of pens and small toiletries as on several occasions we were approached by beggars asking for them. Also make sure you keep lots of small change with you for tipping porters & the toilet attendants
I would highly recommend this tour, my only regret is we didn't have longer as 2 weeks was not long enough and it would have been good to stop overnight in more places to make the pace less hectic.
Will definitely return here
Confirmed traveller: 05 March 2017
Published on: 08 March 2017
(9 out of 10)

Linda

Beverley
The tour was as described "full on". We were kept very busy but as a result we saw all the most interesting parts of Cuba. The best days were in the Topes de Collantes. Sleeping under ths stars was more fun and comfortable than expected.
The provincial towns were such a contrast to Havana.
Havana is fun, noisy and has some interesting sights.
The long hours on the bus were not as bad as we thought they might be as we had plenty of stops which provided toilets and refreshments.
Our group was made up of many fit and healthy 60+ members who managed very well but you do need to be pretty fit for some of the mountain treks. The day with 2 treks was exhausting for some. You can opt out but it is a shame to miss anything!
Unfortunately many of our group shared a coughing bug but our leader was very sympathetic.
Our leader Jimmy was well organised,knowledgable, friendly, respectful and patient. He was excellent in his handling of an incident when unfortunately one of the group fell and broke her wrist.We felt safe in his hands.
Our driver Rey was also very good.
Hotels were generally of a good standard and any problems were sorted out fairly quickly.
A good trip. Would recommend.
Confirmed traveller: 11 February 2017
Published on: 03 March 2017
(8 out of 10)

Kate

Cambridgeshire
This is a fantastic trip in an extremely interesting and photogenic country and our guide, Jose, was brilliant with superb historical knowledge and very proactive at planning ahead and getting the best for us that he could.
We have rated the itinerary a 7 because although we expected a 'full on pace' as detailed in the tour notes, we were sometimes only given 30 mins to look at a town by ourselves for example, which became frustrating. This is a tour which gives you a whole island view and taster of some towns and places that you may go back to at some point in the future with more time.
Accommodation was variable in 'standard hotels' with lack of hot water (or any water at all) on two or three occasions, rubbish pillows and lots of noise in some. Bathroom facilities are not great sometimes. The home stay was in a B&B and the owners were hospitable and friendly and provided the best facilities that they could. We actually enjoyed the hacienda/camping the most to our surprise, having been a bit apprehensive about it, even though we shared the camping field with two horses, chickens, cockerels and at one point turkey vultures!
The coach drive is very long back from one end of the island to the other but there is so much to watch on and beside the roads that actually it didn't seem too bad even though it's a very long day and a half or so of driving. Our coach driver, Ray, was excellent.
Evening meals and other costs were more expensive than we had expected, mainly going with our guide's suggestions for meals, and we spent £800 for two of us on all our spending money (including some small presents) in the two weeks, not an insignificant additional cost.
Highlights of the trip were the architecture and liveliness of Havana and Santiago de Cuba, the old 50s cars, the hog roast and stay at the haciendas and the treks to the haciendas, Cayo Levisa and swimming in the Caribbean, the pina colada refreshment stop on our hot walk through tobacco plantations where we met a tobacco farmer, all the musicians we listened to in restaurants and on the streets and the Casa de la Trova in Havana, chatting to our tour leader about life in Cuba.... I could go on!
One last thing to note is that Explore told us we had to fly via Madrid when we booked the trip a year in advance. We ended up on Air Europa with the worst food I've ever been given and travelling for nearly 24 hours door to door on the way out, while others had a much better and shorter direct travelling experience on Virgin Atlantic. I will beware of flight arrangements if we book with Explore again.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 29 January 2017
Published on: 05 February 2017
(10 out of 10)

Carole

Cordoba
Excellent tour guide with a wealth of information. The group was not too big, 11 people which seemed just about right. Highlights for me were the mountain hikes, Santiago and Vinales but enjoyed everything and everywhere else too.
Confirmed traveller: 29 January 2017
Published on: 02 February 2017