Client Comments Cuba
|Hello Brent - June 2016
Now finally home after a few return trips to Sydney over the past weekends.
We have a great time both in Mexico and in Cuba. All the travel arrangements were as planned, even to the last email from you re, the inclusions of meals. No problems, in fact the meals with the guide and driver were the best of all the meals.
A summary of the highlights of our trip to Cuba.
Havana. Loft Havana the best accommodation in Havana, atmosphere, location, friendly staff. Made exploring the streets of Havana within easy walking distance.
Hotel Copacabana, the ocean pool.
Carlos, our guide in Havana, knowledgeable and friendly, fun ride in the pink Chev convertible, made more personal when hours later, after our walking around, we found the driver and his car again. He recognised us, and happily returned to the hotel in his car. The Plaza de la Revolucion is overwhelming, Che Guevara certainly holds pride of place.
The tour included all items as listed, and extras, to increase our knowledge and enjoyment. We would recommend the tour company from our experience.
Guide was Roxana and driver Carlos (same name) excellent driver throughout the whole time, while Roxana was personable, informative and gave a very interesting and detailed explanation of life in Cuba. They gave us the extras we asked for, i.e. a swim in the ocean at Trinidad after the walk and swim in the waterfall pool in Topes de Collantes, recommended a restaurant in Trinidad for dinner that served lobster - excellent, and trip to Pinar del Rio to buy cigars and Havana special rum.
Hotel La Ermita at Vinales. Good views over the valley, food ok, too far out of town to walk, but the trip to the Indian cave and boat ride great. Would have liked to actually walk the 2ks through the magotes there!
Cienfuegos. Hotel Palacio Azul, so lovely and comfortable to relax, little far from centre of town, but easy to walk around the area next to the Yacht Club.
Trinidad. Hotel Casa Colonial, in town, gave us an opportunity to walk around the streets, afternoon and at night to see and experience the music and night life. Really enjoyed Trinidad Havana again. The location of Loft Havana, giving us the opportunity to further explore the streets, and return to areas for further visits. Lots to see in Havana, shops for locals, the dual currency effect, tourists drinking and eating in cafes, restaurants, music everywhere, and the 'dressed up' ladies wanting photos holding either cigars or baskets of flowers! Needed more time just as you said.
Rural areas and roads. Long road trips as expected, with the driver/guide providing stops for break/drinks, meals and Pina Coladas. The drives allowed me to see rural life, horses and carts, the new and old classic cars, farm land, crops, rural housing and stock, and the changes coming with houses now offering rooms in the towns of Vinales, Trinidad and Cienfuegos, etc. Colour, colour and more colour of houses in all rural areas.
Thank you and our two informative and friendly guides. An article in "Traveller on Sunday" April 3, 2016 by Ben Groundwater headed "The tour guide who didn't want to be' was not our case. Yes they both had jobs where they were not earning sufficient money, and their fluent English allowed them to become tourist guides, so that we enjoyed our time with them both.
Thank you to whoever arranged successfully for our transit in Dallas to be on the Qantas QF8 for boarding on our return to Sydney. Our flight over from Sydney to Dallas, it was on time, with 3+ hours transit scheduled, but it ended up over 5 hours. American Airlines changed the gate number at the last minute after a delay of 3 hours, then did not have a pilot or crew for the plane now at the changed gate.! Still further delay. The previous flight to Monterrey with AA had been cancelled, and there were many people crowded around the gate not very happy and trying to get aboard the next flight. As we had a boarding card, we were allowed to board, while many were put on the waiting list, or not even given advice.
With this experience of American Airlines at Dallas, we were then anxious when the American Airlines flight from Mexico City for our return flight was delayed by one hour, with a transit time of a little over an hour15. However, as we came off the plane into the walkway, an airport attendant was waiting, holding up a red card with our names on it, requesting that we follow her through the terminal. It read, "Express Connection, Please keep this visible at all times". We then proceeded to follow her through the terminal, which was deserted, through immigration, customs, around and up and down the terminal, through security and finally taken to the gate for boarding where the passengers were waiting to board. We were actually the first to board after all. As you can imagine, we were relieved to board and do not know who to thank for the Express Connection.
Yes Brent, a very interesting, enjoyable, formative and eye opening tour to a part of the world that will soon change. Hopefully the people of Cuba itself will have benefits of more money, food and opportunities to create their own businesses and still be unique to the world they live in.
bye and thanks a million for
all the work you put into the arrangements for our tour and travel.