We were picked up at our hotel in Varadero by the owner of the company. Although the old car was nice, it lost its appeal after the first half hour as it was a long, slow, uncomfortable, hot two hour drive to Havana. Since it is such a long day and long tour, we would suggest they consider a minivan to pick up and return customers and only use the old cars for the Havana tour itself.
Since there were 5 in our party, we were expecting and we were told upon booking that we were booked to be in their largest vehicle, the Lincoln Lido. Instead we were in the Ford Thunderbird which was built to seat 4 including the driver and we were 6 including the driver. This meant that 2 of us did not have actual seats. One had to sit on the front console and one on the back middle hump. We all alternated taking turns in these makeshift seats as it was not comfortable or enjoyable especially at the end of the day.
On our way into Havana we stopped at an outdoor cafe with a small restaurant which probably seated 10 people facing the ocean. We were told we would be returning there for lunch as they had the "best food". After the first part of our tour in the city and visiting Hemmingways home we were told we would be going for lunch and drove half an hour away from the city backtracking to the small isolated restaurant. It was obvious we were not eating there because the food was good or because it was convenient but because they had a deal. I was told earlier when I let the owner know my 18 year old daughter did not eat seafood that she could have chicken and she was served beef which did not even look like beef, it was raw and turned her off. There were so many flies and it just was not sanitary. For the price we paid for this tour, even then we would have preferred to pay to have lunch in the city. This restaurant stop added an hour of travel to an already long day and why they would waste the gas and our time, I just don't understand.
Positives and what made this trip worthwhile is that it is private and you really do see it all. My husband and I were on a Havana bus tour years ago and only saw a fraction of what we saw this time. I will say though that they could have shaved a couple of hours off this tour and we made an effort to do so by suggesting we eat dinner before we went to the fort versus after. By eating dinner before we made it back to our hotel by midnight versus 2 am. Our ages are 49, 47, 21, 19 & 18. If I was staying in Varedero being 2 hours away from Havana and such a long day starting at 9 am, I would not recommend this tour to families with young or even tween children. We were all exhausted after such a long day and long drive back to Varedero and our hotel.
The dinner restaurant was great! Food was fresh, flavorful and amazing. Service was excellent and it was such a beautiful spot and atmosphere. One thing that upset us though is that we were told that one drink was included, anything we wanted. My husband and I ordered wine and our kids a beverage and of course when our meal came we asked for water. Then the bill came and Raphael said the water was the free beverage and we had to pay for our wine and other drinks.... Not what we were told and not right. Hmmmm is all I can say when we were initially told this was an all inclusive tour. We were fine with paying for our second drink but water? No and this was just not right!
Raphael the tour guide was friendly, spoke great English but tended to talk to individuals rather than addressing all five of us as a group. We felt he was knowledgeable although he did insist that at the Cuban Missile Crisis memorial that the missile was the actual original when we read on the sign that it was a replica. At times it was like he was just going through the motions of the tour, was distracted by his cell phone and even past tour guests he ran into.
We travelled to Cuba because we wanted our kids to experience the culture. It was amazing to see the architecture and overall it was a good day and with some minor tweeking it would be an excellent tour. I am rating it a 4 as I do believe it is one of the best tour options for Havana.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.