I just wanted to post a quick review on our trip to Cuba in Feb 2012.
We travelled with another family (total of 4 adults and 4 kids ages 5 to 8) to Cameleon Villa Jibacoa and stayed there for a couple days. Then, we took a trip to Havana and stayed at a casa in Old Havana for 3 nights, and returned to CVJ for the remainder of our week. The CVJ leg was part of an AI package, and the Havana leg of our trip was arranged through Jorge (his email has been provided elsewhere on this forum).
CVJ is a nice small resort - many reviewers have referred to it as going to the cottage. i would fully agree - the place is small, quiet, friendly and clean. It does not have the many amenities that a larger AI would have such as a spa, theatre, many restaurants or many pools, but what they did have was just right for our family. We loved the beach, and 2 pools. The food was okay - not something you would put weight on, but not something that you would starve on, either. Our kids always found something they liked and the adults enjoyed the main entrees. If you love amenities, entertainment and luxury, this resort is not for you. If you're looking for some R&R, decent food, no crowds, nice beach, friendly people, then you will love this resort. You just need to bring your own face clothes and shampoo/body lotion as the resort does not provide them. (Note, we met another family there that had teenagers and the teenagers did not enjoy the resort as there was hardly any entertainment, no clubs or casinos or night life)
For our trip to Havana, everything from transportation, lodging, tours and meals had been arranged by Jorge via email prior to our arrival. A modern air-conditioned van picked us up and dropped us back at the resort on the travel days. The journey took about an hour. As we were the only group, there was no time wasted stopping at other resorts to pick up other people.
In Havana, we stayed at Kelly's casa. When we first arrived, we were a little bit apprehensive as the street outside was a bit run down and didn't look to be the best part of town. But once inside, we were pleasantly surprised as the place was immaculate. We loved the classical lines - 20 foot ceilings, antique furnishings, chandeliers in the bedrooms and the public areas. As our group was the only group there, we made full use of the dining room for breakfast and tea time, and the sitting room for just relaxing in the afternoon.
In Havana, we had a walking tour of Old Havana the first day and a van tour of the outskirts the second day. Our tour guide was Diana who spoke English very well, and was very polite and knowledgable about the sights she highlighted for us. She adjusted the pace and tone very well to our needs to ensure our kids were able to keep up and we all enjoyed ourselves very much.
Jorge also pre-arranged transportation and reservations for us for dinner at two paladars at which the food was amazing and the prices were reasonable (cheap compared to Toronto). These paladars were out in the suburbs and we enjoyed not having to line up with tourists (the rest of them, at any rate!) in the popular tourist strip areas. Our kids loved riding in the vintage open top cars.
On our third day, we visited the Museum of Revolution and learned a bit more about the events leading up to the revolution and saw some interesting artifacts like the farm tractor that had been converted into an armoured vehicle - kids thought it was cool! We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the coffee place at Plaza Vieja and the kids played in the square and the fountain with local kids.
We enjoyed walking around Havana with the tour guide and also by ourselves. The place very safe, and the locals are very friendly. Just beware of dog poop on some of the streets. On our last night, we ate at a local cafe on the street where our casa was, and while waiting for the food, the kids were playing with their ipods and the locals came up to say hi and to check out the electronics. There was a local band and some people got up to dance, and the folks just grab you to join in. Very lively and warm atmosphere.
We returned to CVJ and spent the next two days lounging on the beach before leaving for home. All in all, a highly successful trip for us as we wanted to get away from the Canadian winter (which wasn't much of a winter this year!), enjoy the beach, and also enjoy the sights of Havana before they became too modernized - all in a low key and low stress manner. This trip was more interesting and varied and cost less than when we went to an AI in Mexico the prior year.
I would highly recommend going to Cuba, and if you're planning on going to Havana, try to stay for more than one day, and I would definitely recommend using Jorge and his team to facilitate the logistics. He was very efficient, and all the services were top notch, on time and reasonably priced.