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Family Viva Cuba! FCLT

Visiting: Cuba
Trip Duration 15 Days
 

Reviews for Family Viva Cuba!

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

Trip notes

Each departure date has its own dedicated trip note, detailing all you need to know about that trip. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

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Family Viva Cuba! reviews verified by reevooReevoo

23 reviews

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Family Viva Cuba!Scores 8.7 out of 10 based on 23 reviews
(10 out of 10)

Caroline

Ashford
Excellent leader and driver.

More jungle river walking and natural swimming. And nights out in the open.

An option might be to offer improved pre-explore information covering the lack of some provisions with a possibility to club together and stock up on large water provisions. Tissues, hand santizers, repellant sprays and Imodium x

An excellent adventure - ALEX AND DAVID created and amazing atmosphere, clam, professional, secure and kind.
Confirmed traveller: 18 August 2017
Published on: 30 August 2017
(6 out of 10)

Andrew

We were rather disappointed with some elements of the tour which were neither 'action-packed' 'fast-paced' nor 'cultural discovery' but rather more superficial and tourist trail. We had hoped that an Explore trip would go beyond that but the town tours were extremely short and there was little orientation information (or time) to then explore ourselves (tip - you should take a guidebook and plan what you want to see in the areas) Hotels being out of the town makes independent exploration sometimes more difficult. There is a lot of travelling in this itinerary and sometimes felt we were just on a coach trip to look at something briefly before driving on to the next hotel. For reasons of pollution our day and touring in Las Terrazas was also curtailed so that was another day of travel with little content (except for short and expensive, although fun, zip wiring).
Missing out on time at the Bay of Pigs is a major omission in our opinion especially as we rushed to get to the 'Revolution museum' which is only in Spanish and added nothing to our understanding that a 'story' or 'talk' wouldnt have done as well.
Our guide unfortunately did not pitch the history and cultural lessons at a level which was accessible to the teens on our trip (and we also found challenging - tip DO read up a bit beforehand about the history of Cuba and its situation) so they didnt really engage with Cuba as a cultural discovery.
Loved the time in the mountains (although as others have said a mosquito net and thin long sleeves are absolutely essential - TIP dont take the recommended sleeping bag - the sheet liner is more than adequate) and really liked Trinidad. Be aware though that coming down from the mountains (tired and smelly) you cant check in to the hotel until after 4 so the guide will take you on a tour and lunch in Trinidad - really not ideal! Better to go to hotel and use beach until check in and go back to town in evening.
A very interesting and beautiful country but it is not open to the rest of the world yet so supply problems are huge (getting sufficient water, money and snacks anywhere was a daily challenge) hygiene in pools particular (lots of illnesses picked up due to filtration systems not working anywhere) and service is generally poor (slow to serve and clear away in particular, endless lists being created/updated). People are friendly and felt very safe.
Felt our guide needed more 'options' up his sleeve for when the planned visits didnt work well - alternative lakes, rivers, beaches and walks to visit - maybe with less 'tourist' facilities .
Finally the Virgin premium economy upgrade is worth it if you can get a good deal!
Confirmed traveller: 18 August 2017
Published on: 28 August 2017
(7 out of 10)

Jane

London
Good itinerary,accommodation very mixed
Hotel in Soroa was pretty disappointing and dirty-we don't mind simplicity-we don't like dirt.would prefer no TV,but a clean room
It would have been helpful to have been told to change more funds in Havana as access to money was a real problem in most places.
Also we had many illnesses on our trip, a recommendation on which medicines to take would have been good,and a stronger recommendation to take loo roll,antibacterial wipes etc would have been useful.
Confirmed traveller: 18 August 2017
Published on: 26 August 2017
(8 out of 10)

Fiona

Christchurch
Well balanced tour with a good mix of locations and activities to keep teens and adults entertained. Enjoyed relaxing on the beach after 2 days trekking in the mountains.
Top tip...stock up on water when leaving Havana
Confirmed traveller: 15 August 2017
Published on: 17 August 2017
(9 out of 10)

Mary

Essex
The trip was a great way to see the Cuba and its people. We loved Vinaldes and its surrounds and the walks and atmosphere at the Haciendas. Amazed at Che's memorial and glad we persuaded tour leader to take us to the derailed train nearby. Loved the bussle of Havanna and the laid back way of Cienfuego.
The itinerary was good but sometimes the tour leader added in things that were unnecessary and then we had to rush things that were more in keeping what the group wanted to see and do, e.g. we went to visit a crocodile farm and then had less than an hour to swim in the bay of pigs were the fish were right at the shore line before rushing the nearby museum before it closed. 3 nights at the beach at the end was a nice rest but perhaps this could have been shortened by a day.
We loved the Haciendas but the sleeping arrangements at them were totally unacceptable. The first night's accommodation was on a concrete sleeping platform, open to the elements, thankfully it did not rain. Most people were bitten by insects, 2 children had their faces covered by bites. Thankfully we had mosi nets and so were OK. At the second hacienda, 6 small 2 man tents (types used at festivals) were provided, most had holes and I had to tape up the zip in one, again most experienced bites that night. There were 15 in the group, fortunately we could sleep in our mosi nets on the verandah and leave tent places for others. If Mosi nets etc are required please say in trip notes. All other accommodation was good.
The down side was that the tour leader was a guide, not a leader and hence did not sort out our problems with accommodation and transfers as requested, probably as he always had to defer to Havanatours who always said things could not be changed, he also was very inexperienced with families and did not take in the needs to children as much as he should have, e.g. they should have a room near their parents. In most places he stayed at separate hotels citing that ours was full when it was obviously not, and thus did not stay around to sort out any problems with rooms, eg, we only had 2 beds in a room for 3, in Trinidad. I only saw him for 1 hour, the whole time we were in the hotel in Trinidad.
Confirmed traveller: 11 August 2017
Published on: 20 August 2017
(9 out of 10)

Caroline

bournemouth
Tips-
Give option of direct flight!
salsa lesson - basement with no ventilation, please provide air con/fans
Waterfall at Saroa - not beautiful, area full of litter and drunk locals
Tents at haciendas - need replacing, zips don't work, holes in canvas, too small
Go straight to les Brisas as tired and smelly and go to Trinidad sometime during next two days
Tour leader - needed to speak louder and explain days activities in much more detail, and what equipment is needed(especially ATM and monetary requirements)
Meals - dinner cost between £13-£16 including drink (different from website)
Highlights -
Zipwire
Truck ride to haciendas
Waterfall at saltoderocio
Havana car tour (please make longer!)
Colonial architecture
Mojitos!
Friendly tour guide
Best explore holiday yet!
Confirmed traveller: 26 August 2016
Published on: 16 September 2016
(8 out of 10)

Hilly

London
The tour was very well put together for adults and teenagers alike. Given the unpredictability of life in Cuba, the hotels were well chosen - clean, comfortable and spacious, and the pools a great asset for the teens - and adults cooling off in very hot and humid temps. We saw a lot of different aspects of Cuba, our guide, Rudi, was well informed about the country and excelled when put on the spot by unforeseen changes. Hard to pick highlights but they included Cienfuegos and the Union Hotel, the hike to Hacienda Gallega, the swim in the waterfall nearby and camping out. Also the beautiful beaches and various snorkelling opportunities. Top tip would be not to be afraid to explore a little yourself in the evenings if possible - highlights for us were the music and bars in nighttime Havana and Trinidad, which we found independently. And the hikes are less arduous than they sound. One niggle was that our 50s car ride around Havana was actually in a VW Beetle with a fibreglass Jeep chassy, and that our guide could have been better informed about poss museum and gallery visits - eg in Trinidad, and about where to buy water/drinks and snacks in local shops for hungry teens on long journeys.
Confirmed traveller: 19 August 2016
Published on: 06 October 2016
(9 out of 10)

Lee

Cranbrook
We all loved this tour; myself, my new wife (this was our honeymoon!) and my step-son. We saw Cuba, and found out so much about the island. Highlights for us were, Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos. If you get the chance in Havana, go the Buena Vista Social Club Show, another definite highlight.

Some more tips, take plenty of sterling, all the hotels change this. Use ATMs when they are working because they don't always (they run out quite often). Also, avoid the standard flight sold by Explore and pay a bit extra if you can for the direct one. Air Europa were just 'okay', but all their flights were delayed and information for this was sparse.

The group was brilliant, some lifelong friends made there I hope, including between the teenagers. Our tour leader Rudy was marvelous and the local guides provided were also brilliant. My one regret is not learning more spanish before going.

Everyone needs to go to Cuba at least once in their lives, we certainly want to go back.
Confirmed traveller: 19 August 2016
Published on: 08 September 2016
(9 out of 10)

Michael

Watford
Fantastic trip to a lovely country. Only real critiscm is the camping which was scheduled for two nights. We did camp the first night, the tents were extremely poor, holes, zips didn't work etc, the first campsite had metal roofs over the tents so there was some protection from the weather, however no protection from the wildlife including mosquitos. The second night had no protection, equally poor tents that had been flooded the day before therefor the camping had to be cancelled. If better tents can't be secured then I would suggest hotel accomodation should be secured which would be a shame as the camp sites were idylic.
Confirmed traveller: 18 August 2016
Published on: 05 October 2016
(9 out of 10)

Craig

Nottingham
The tour was very good giving us a really good view of Cuban life - from the cities to the countryside, against the backdrop of the history of Revolution, the development of Cuba under the Castro and the recent thawing of relations with the USA. Cuba is a wonderful country in so many ways and its people are very friendly; all the images you imagine are real. An additional 'holiday benefit' is that you are 'stepping off the world' because of the lack of good internet and 4G/3G services which makes you feel that you really are in an alternative world.

The trip delivered on almost all its promises, which is why it was disappointing to find that the last three days were not as they were on the itinerary; instead of staying at an all-inclusive beach resort we landed in Trinidad to be told that we were staying in Casa Particulars. This ended up being fine, and very interesting, but the itinerary said different and our guide told us that the itinerary was wrong! Explore fixed part of the problem by enabling us to have day passes to the beach resort - but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth that we were, in some ways, 'hoodwinked'. S, before booking, I would just confirm, before booking, the exact details of the itinerary before booking.

In summary, my wife, son and I had a fantastic trip with a wide variety of activities from snorkelling in the bay of pigs to an open-top 1950s convertible tour of Havana to trekking in the Escambray mountains to zip-wiring over trees to a paradise island resort with iguanas and pelicans! I recommend this holiday to anyone who wants to get to know Cuba with their family.

I have given the Explore leaders 8/10 because, on the whole they were good, but there was a change in the leader halfway through the tour and the second guide, although lovely, was not a great English speaker and so we couldn't always understand what she said.
Confirmed traveller: 15 April 2016
Published on: 17 May 2017