After carefully planning the perfect itinerary, Tara organised her trip to Cuba with Experience the Real Cuba. Tara visited Cuba in February 2016, she stayed at our Casas in Havana, Viñales and Trinidad and she took Spanish lessons in Havana as well as Spanish and Salsa lessons in Trinidad.
We asked Tara to share her comments with us about her trip to Cuba. She also highlighted some interesting tips for people thinking of visiting Cuba.
1. WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR TRIP?
Spending time in beautiful Trinidad - having over a week there meant I could really relax and enjoy day-to-day life...
2. DID WE PROVIDE YOU WITH ADEQUATE INFORMATION PRIOR TO YOUR TRIP?
Yes, it was very detailed, easy to read and provided me with everything I needed.
3. WHERE THERE ANY SURPRISES IN CUBA?
It was my second time so not really. After a couple of days it felt very natural.
4. WHAT INFORMATION DO YOU THINK IS VALUABLE PRIOR TO VISITING CUBA?
If people have not been before:
- Bring a decent amount of cash to exchange. ATMs can give big notes which will need to be exchanged to spend in regular places (and even in some CADECAs they will not accept them - a big hotel is probably the best bet in that case), also can be a surcharge of 3%
- Take a spare loo roll as back up for the rooms in casas (and tissues and hand gel for when you're out and about)
- If you are unable to get onto a popular tourist bus between locations, take a taxi colectivo! There are always people willing to take you between places for only a few CUC more than the bus
- All tour agencies charge the same for excursions, makes the decision process a lot quicker :)
- Be prepared for queues at CADECAs and ETECSA (and everywhere else ;) ). Ask for 'ultimo' in lines and remember who you're behind :)
- Be prepared for male attention when not with male company (kissy noises, where are you from, do you have a boyfriend...) - all pretty harmless, just incessant :)
- Most people are just interested to chat to you, although be aware sometimes they have an ulterior motive - offering accommodation, restaurant etc
- Bring sufficient medicine, sanitary products, toiletries, sun block with you, but maybe leave any excess at the end of your trip
- Expect a lot of ham and cheese sandwiches ;)
5. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU EXPERIENCED THE REAL CUBA?
Yes - last time I was on an organised tour, this time doing it independently gave me a different perspective. I loved taking the taxis colectivos both from town to town and around Havana, I met a lot of interesting people this way.
6. WERE OUR CONTACTS IN CUBA PROFESSIONAL? DID THEY ASSIST YOU WITH ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES, TIPS, LOCAL INFORMATION?
Yes, Yoanka and Misleydis were both great. I greatly appreciated Yoanka's help with my changing plans!
7. HOW DO YOU FEEL WE COULD IMPROVE OUR SERVICE?
The communication and organisation was brilliant, exactly what I wanted. I can't think of anything lacking.
If you are interested in organising one of our specialist cultural programs in Cuba including Casa, Spanish, Dance, Music, Art programs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.