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Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

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Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

I am debating whether to use a Canadian group called "Cuba Explorer" to secure a 8 day education tour of Havana and I think a national park. They have been diligent in answering my questions, etc. I wanted to know if anyone has had experience with this operation out of Vancouver? Tried to do a google search regarding reviews but nothing valid came up.

Thanks!

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Vancouver, Canada
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141. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

Dear "flowerpotty1" and TripAdvisor friends,

Sorry for the confusion and thanks for asking.

Yes we gladly accept credit cards for tour payments.

And travelers who pay by check receive significant discounts.

My best,

Marcel Hatch, President

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142. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

Hi, I saw your post from 2012 regarding a question about Cuba Explorer as a tour company. You mentioned that you "had licenses" when you traveled. Did everyone in your party have a license? Did you go as a group leader? My understanding was that the group leader or travel agent needed the license and others could travel under that person. Is this accurate to your knowledge?

thanks

suzy

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143. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

Cuba Explorer is the way to go. My wife and I just returned from the island after the 8 day introduction and could not be happier with the results. A Cuba Explorer rep picked us out of line at the Miami departure area and personally ushered us and the other Cuba Explorer customers through the confusing process. Upon arrival in Cuba we were met and guided through customs in minutes and on to the new Bus with our wonderful guide "ROSIE."

The initial process of signing up for the trip and paying the tour and airfare was a bit cumbersome, BUT at every step of the way, our answers were prompt and curious. The CE team will provide a credit card link to use your credit card instead of mailing checks.

The experience was amazing and we are planning our next trip soon for the western Cuba tour, through Cuba Explorer.

I was skeptical because of all the different names of the company and the way they collect the fees. I checked them out at the BBB. All checked out. They are a small group out of Miami and as I said before, we could not be more pleased with the service and the trip! Wear clothes that you can leave behind as the people need good US made items and the tour guide will insure they get to those in need. The Hotel rooms do not all have standard 115V plugs so bring an adapter. Cuba was Amazing, enjoy!

Edited: 12:30 pm, November 18, 2016
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minnesota
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144. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

I took the "Weekend in Havana" tour with them with a friend in 2015, and loved it so much I brought a group of six on the same tour just a few weeks ago. It was fantastic! The activities were jam-packed, including a walking tour, the Hemingway House, the firing of the Cannons, the iconic "Tropicana" show, and an amazing ride in the old convertibles from our hotel to the restaurant. Food was excellent, our tour guide was knowledgeable and fun and spoke perfect English. I stayed in the Hotel Nacionale last year, and Hotel Capri this year. I liked the modern Capri best, but have to say it was incredible to stay at the Nacionale too, just from a historic standpoint. Next time I go I'll take a longer trip....but if you're looking for just a quick taste of Cuba, this is pretty perfect.

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145. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

I had a great experience with them. Be sure to ask any questions you may have and call if your emails are not responded to. I didn't have any major issues with them.

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146. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

I recently returned from taking the Western Cuba Cultural tour and it was one of the most interesting tours on which I have been, and I travel a lot. We had one of the best guides ever-so knowledgeable, flexible, attentive and fun. The itinerary was the perfect balance between urban and rural with big city Havana and smaller towns as well as nature and beach time. I compared other companies and the cost difference was significant. For my style and interests this was just perfect and I struggle to offer constructive criticism as to how to improve other than to make the trip longer-I wasn't ready to go home. As for any place with serious economic and social challenges, one must go with open eyes, patience, flexibility and tolerance. Expect the unexpected and Cuba will be a wonderful adventure. Cuba Explorer and their local partner San Cristobal came through with high marks and I would definitely go back with them. I appreciated having a representative both in Miami at departure and in Havana on arrival as both places could have been more frustrating. Accommodations, transportation and meals all were excellent. Their website has an incredible amount of information if you take the time to peruse it-from rare bird life to downloading the best map. One thing that I don't really understand is the aspect of legal travel in that there was almost no questioning upon entering back to the US which is good as I had no tangible proof that I had jumped through all the proper hoops. Maybe it is somewhere electronically but that did give me concern.

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147. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

We just returned from Weekend in Havana. We had a small group (9 of us), stayed at a very satisfactory, upgraded hotel (Hotel Capri) just a block from the Hotel Nacional, our tour guide was phenominal (Milena Arbolaez from San Cristobal Travel Agency) and our bus driver (Hector) was excellent. Milena was very flexible and let us deviate as the group wished. We saw almost everything promised, but mourning for Fidel closed music venues. The experience was so much better than we all experienced in dealing with Cuba Explorer - we had all been suspicious because they don't take credit cards through the website and keep saying the link is "broken." plus the website is not as functionaal as it should be, so we all were suspicious - it was excellent, in the end.

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Vancouver, Canada
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148. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

Dear Ellen P,

Thanks for your helpful comments about our website's functionality and credit cards. We now accept credit cards for ease of payments. We are reviewing our website to make it more user friendly. So happy to learn you liked Cuba and traveling with us.

My best,

Marcel Hatch, President, Cuba Explorer

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149. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

I recently returned from the Introduction to Cuba tour. We left for Cuba the day Castro's death was announced! That was sure a surprise and made for a historic and memorable trip!!! I was very happy with Cuba Explorer. First of all, their price can't be beat and they have *lots* of different tours to choose from. I chose the Intro to Cuba tour because I only had one week for a vacation and didn't want to be packing and repacking my suitcase to go to multiple locations. There is so much to see and do in Havana that a week there was perfect (in addition there was a day trip outside Havana to Las Terrazas - an eco-community). Cuba Explorer works with a local travel agency called San Cristobal. My tour guide was very well informed and could answer just about all questions. Due to the 9-day national mourning period declared after Castro's death, there was no celebrating of any kind allowed (no music, dancing, or alcohol) so we had to find some alternative activities and our guide did a good job of that. (But I'm going to have to go back some day for the music and dancing!!!). The variety of activities we participated in were great and there was free time to explore on our own also. The hotel was great, the tour bus and driver were excellent. We went to see an art project that wasn't on the itinerary called (Muraleando) where a forgotten water tank was transformed into an unusual art exhibition hall, classrooms, a place for workshops and a bubbling community center. There are murals on the walls nearby. The Muraleando building is whimsical and fanciful in itself. Well worth a visit if you like creative public art. I recommend Cuba Explorer to anyone wanting to discover Cuba.

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150. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

My family and friends (8 in total) recently returned from Cuba Explorer's Intro to Cuba tour. It was extraordinary! We were met at the Miami airport by a representative who handled all of our boarding passes, insurance, visa, passport management and another representative who met us in the Havana airport and escorted us to Mandy, who was our guide for the week.

We were very impressed with the activities and restaurants we visited. We learned SO MUCH in the week we were there and though I never travel with tour groups, I can't imagine visiting Cuba without one for our initial visit because of all of the educational information and some of the off-the-beaten path locations we were able to access.

The itinerary allows for a few hours on most days for free time, so it was nice to be able to either rest in the late afternoons before dinner or walk around on our own. The variety of activities was really good and gave us insight into different aspects of life in Cuba. The best thing about Havana was the people--so warm and engaging.

I cannot say enough good things about Cuba Explorer and I really hope I am able to visit again.

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