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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

133 reviews

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Cuba Libre!Scores 8.4 out of 10 based on 133 reviews
(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
(9 out of 10)

Phyllis

Wolverhampton
The tour itinerary was very compact and varied: from staying in hotels in towns, touring around and being informed about features of the various areas and their place in history; experiencing staying in 'casas particulares', riding in pedi-taxis and stopping to take pictures etc; eating at selected restaurants; driving up mountains in sturdy, rough old Russian trucks (brilliant) and sleeping on the balconies of haciendas under the starry skies and hiking through a variety of terrains, including to magnificent waterfalls and following Castro's revolutionary trail in the rugged Sierra Maestra mountains. It would be difficult to beat the splendour of the Cuba Libre 14 day tour. I would recommend it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 28 January 2017
Published on: 05 February 2017
(8 out of 10)

Helen

Nr Chippenham
A wonderful trip to get a flavour of the country, it's people, music and countryside.....and its history.
It's a varied trip with a full on itinerary and not for those that just want to laze on a beach....although we did that on the next to last day!
Really glad we went. A fun time with an intersting group of 8, good leader who worked hard to make it all work well for us.
Confirmed traveller: 22 January 2017
Published on: 02 February 2017
(9 out of 10)

Stephen

Bath
Tour was heavy on mileage, about 1500 miles in 2 weeks, but this was entirely as planned. Accommodation was very variable, particularly the plumbing, but that never got in the way of our enjoyment. The highlights for us were the expeditions into Topes de Collantes and the Sierra Maestra, and the beach days, and our delightful tour leader Lazaro.
Confirmed traveller: 22 January 2017
Published on: 29 January 2017
(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.