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

I just returned from the Western Cuba Culture Tour. I was extremely satisfied with the tour and its operators. This was the first time I had ever traveled somewhere by myself (albeit on a tour) and I was nervous about the logistics, without having someone else to consult with. Well, my fears were allayed immediately when I landed in Havana, and there was someone there to greet me, assist me through immigration and customs, and show me where my waiting taxi was. I found the tour gude very knowledgeable, and extremely willing to assist on any requests. The same is true of the bus driver. I would definitely book a tour with Cuba Explorer again!

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

I recently returned from the introductory tour of Cuba with Cuba Explorer and had a fantastic time. The tour was well organized and extremely educational as well as fun with salsa dance lessons one night and a cooking competition at a local cuban market.

The guide was very knowledgeable and spoke excellent english and the tour bus made for comfortable travel.

Nearly all of the meals were included, great buffet breakfast daily, and good lunches and dinners at local restaurants. It was nice not having to worry about where to eat and what to order.

Old Havana is a 500 year old city with amazing architecture and the spanish fort, El Morro was also worthwhile. Evenings were free and you had the opportunity to explore on your own, fantastic music and several varieties of shows to enjoy,

We also had several days out of the city which was interesting.

All in all a great experience, you do have to realize you are seeing Cuba in an everchanging world,

but the people were wonderful.

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

Ever American should experience old Havana, it's a blast from the "50's". the mixed old and the restored architecture is amazing, just a walking tour of the city is the best. the food, the people, the mijito's. If you can make the trip to hemingway's museum, it is well worth the time.

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

Dear Canadian friend,

Cuba Government is managing Brutal repression in Venezuela.

Don't travel to the country which use your money to torture and assassin people, promote hanger, and shoot innocent civilians.

Travel to other Country like Panama, or Dominican Republic.

Help Venezuelans to be free.

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

Dear Canadian friend,

Cuba Government is managing Brutal repression in Venezuela.

Don't travel to the country which use your money to torture and assassin people, promote hanger, and shoot innocent civilians.

Travel to other Country like Panama, or Dominican Republic.

Help Venezuelans to be free.

Please MELIA, BARCELO, NH, AND IBEROSTAR HELP VENEZUELAN PEOPLE don't allow Cuba repression. You can talk to their Government.

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

Dear Canadian friend,

Cuba Government is managing Brutal repression in Venezuela.

Don't travel to the country which use your money to torture and assassin people, promote hanger, and shoot innocent civilians.

Travel to other Country like Panama, or Dominican Republic.

Help Venezuelans to be free.

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

Cuba Explorer went above and beyond my expectations. Noberto our tour guide was extremely knowledgable and fluent in English to the point I heard him giving lessons to staff at multiple places we stopped at who had saved up their questions for him. Exchanging money is a pain in the butt. You can do it at the airport and stand in line, or do it at your hotel, but ours was frequently out of money to exchange. The National hotel has a place in the basement where non-guests can exchange it, which proved to be the most useful. I am already looking into other Cuba tours I can take with Cuba Explorer.

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

Absolutely use Cuba Explorer - from start to finish, they kept me updated on what to expect, documents to bring, etc. etc. Once in Cuba, they did a terrific job, especially our guide and bus driver. I was on the Western Cuba tour, and at Hemingway's house, we were told we had 30 minutes - that didn't seem like a lot of time, so the time was extended to about 45 minutes which was just right, so there's some flexibility.

The tour shows you a Cuba that may not be the whole story....there is another Cuba that you likely won't see if you stick to the tour. This is not a negative, but just an observation, as I stayed several days in Havana after the tour was over. I saw much disintegration of once beautiful buildings in old Havana, dumpsters overflowing with garbage, crumbling sidewalks....but this, for me, was not unexpected, given the decades long embargo.

But as far as Cuba Explorer's part in my trip to Cuba, I would recommend them without hesitation. Book your trip ASAP, since you may not be able to go there soon.....8-(

Edited: 8:42 am, May 31, 2017
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219. Re: Any Americans Used the Canadian Group "Cuba Explorer?"

Given that you're an American citizen subject to its laws regarding travel to Cuba, I would NOT use a Canadian tour company or a British tour company.

My advice: USE AN AMERICAN COMPANY that understands U.S. law in regard to travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens.

I recently returned from a WONDERFUL tour of Havana through DiscoverCorps based in San Diego, California (which was very reasonably priced, by the way--I did my homework and researched my options thoroughly before I chose DiscoverCorps). Ask to speak with Angela or Alex, both of whom are extremely nice.

In Havana, our group stayed at a casa particular (essentially a B&B) instead of a hotel for an authentic Cuban experience, and both our Cuban tour guide Orelvis and our Cuban SUV driver Boris were superb. Breakfasts were at the casa particular, and lunches and dinners were at amazing paladors (like 5-star restaurants in the United States), and one of them was featured on Anthony Bourdain's show "Parts Unknown" (on CNN, usually on Sunday nights).

The highlights of the trip for me were (1) the ballet at el Gran Teatro--WORLD CLASS AND NOT TO BE MISSED, and it only costs 30 CUC (or about $30 USD) per person for a "foreigner"--only one dollar for citizens of Cuba and (2) riding in a 1950 convertible yellow Chevrolet with an Italian driver--he was a HOOT, and he told me a lot about the "underside" of Cuba that our group's official tour guide did not share with us.

Both the ballet and the classic car I arranged myself outside of the itinerary offered by DiscoverCorps. By all means, get off on your own sometime during the trip and do a little independent exploring. Doing so really enhanced my trip (though the official itinerary offered by DiscoverCorps was excellent also, and I attended every single event on it). Havana is a BIG city, and having the support of Orelvis and Boris was essential for me.

Have fun in Cuba! It's an amazing place! And before you leave, learn something about Cuba. My two favorite books are both by Carlos Eire: "Waiting for Snow in Havana" (it won the National Book Award) and "Waiting to Die in Miami," Both of them are simply amazing books.

P.S. I took DiscoverCorps's "Havana Weekend Getaway" tour, which is their most popular tour to Cuba, although they have a longer tour, and they also have tours to Cuba that focus on volunteerism. And it's an AMERICAN company that will ensure that you're adhering to U.S. law during your wonderful trip to fascinating Cuba!

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

Yes we utilized them for our first trip to Cuba earlier in the month. The entire experience and tour guide was very well and professional planned. You definitely get your monies worth. I will definitely utilize them again when I visit again in another 5 years or so.

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