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Showing reviews for Cuba: La Isla Grande

Number of Reviews: 102 Overall score: *****
Making local friends, Trinidad, Cuba
***** Written

CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

Probably the most touristy Exodus holiday we've had, but a very good way to see a lot of Cuba and start to understand what's happening there
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Making local friends, Trinidad, Cuba
***** Written

CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

In doing this trip it showed me many aspects of this amazing country.  I didn't realise how rich & abundant they were in architecture, fabulous cars, history, politics, education, music & art.  
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Making local friends, Trinidad, Cuba
***** Written

CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday in Cuba. It is a beautiful country, with an interesting history and warm friendly people. I loved the faded pastel chic architecture and the brilliantly coloured classic cars.
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Making local friends, Trinidad, Cuba
***** Written

CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

This holiday gives you a great overall view of Cuba, travelling from virtually one end of the island to the other, just staying in Havana would not give you the same holiday at all. I think that the way Exodus run the trip is excellent, making sure most of the long driving days are at the beginning of the trip.
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Making local friends, Trinidad, Cuba
***** Written

CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

First few days we thought we had booked the wrong holiday as it was not meeting our expectations at all, but after staying at the hotel on the beach at Magauna things improved greatly. After a lot of hype Baracoa was a dissappointment but we really loved Bayamo, Trinidad, Cienfuegos and obviously Havana. As before with Exodus it was the side trips that really stick in the mind; swimming down a steep rock gorge to a waterfall and bat cave, snorkelling on a coral reef, walking down the main street at Bayamo at night and seeing the locals socialising (on a Wednesday night!!), the beach barbecure under a moonless impossibly starry sky at Maguana, meeting the poet who runs the restaurant at Baracoa and having the sugar cane and rum cocktail! and finally the canoe trip and forest walk between Maguana and Baracoa.
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Making local friends, Trinidad, Cuba
***** Written

CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

Overall a nice holiday. We saw and experienced a huge amount in two weeks of which we enjoyed more and more the further away we travelled towards the east of the island and away from Havana. Baracoa was definitely the highlight of our trip. We knew in advance that there were 2 to 3 long days on the coach. Perhaps did not fully appreciate that we were on the coach for average of 3-4 hours or more on travelling days on top of the advance communicated longer travel days.
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Exodus Response

Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed account of your experiences on La Isla Grande (AUB), your feedback is very important to us and we read it carefully. I will be discussing your comments with our local operator and reviewing our Trip Notes for errors. Whilst we don't attempt to hide the fact that this trip involves some long distances by coach, I realise this could be made clearer by having the journey times present on each day and so I will be adding this information to the Trip Notes shortly. At the moment they are left out because they can be variable (e.g. a 3 hour journey could become longer if the planned stops escalate, as may have been the case on your trip), but I believe that approximate times would be useful.

In Cuba most hotels are run by the state and although some private hotel chains can be found these are typically of the 'all-inclusive' variety that you mentioned and tend to be in coastal locations only. This leaves very limited options for accommodation in towns and this is an area where the country struggles as a whole because there aren’t enough hotels to cope with the demand. In Trinidad there are just a handful of properties, of which only 3 are suitable for our groups and all of these are resort style accommodations. This wouldn't normally be our first choice (like you, we prefer small, characterful properties) however, there simply aren’t any alternatives in some of the areas that we visit.

All Cuban guides work for and are trained by the state but we select a pool of guides who regularly work with us, which ensures consistency and enables guides to receive additional training led by Exodus. Our guides tend to be a highlight for many of our clients and receive a lot of praise - several have been nominated or received recognition in the 'Tour Leader of the Year Awards' in previous years. I will be sending out a reminder to them about offering different options for lunch wherever possible (as you noticed, there aren’t many places to get snacks in Cuba so this can be one of the reasons why larger meals are eaten at lunchtime).

I hope this helps to explain some of the issues that you felt affected your trip and would like to thank you again for providing feedback. I think Cuba has a huge amount of charm precisely because it works so differently to the rest of the world. Despite some frustrations with the system and limitations in regard to hotel choice it remains one of my favourite countries! I hope you have some wonderful memories of your trip.

Vicky Boughton - Product Manager for Cuba
Making local friends, Trinidad, Cuba
***** Written

CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

A good way to see the whole island, but more driving than I expected and too little time to explore. However if you want a taste of Cuba and don't mind fitting in just under 3,000 KM of driving it is a great introduction to the island.ed
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Making local friends, Trinidad, Cuba
***** Written

CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

Great holiday-best way to see most of Cuba as oppposed to staying in a all inclusive hotel for 2 weeks as you will likely see very little of cuba. Be aware of course, this requires alot of driving, but  i was aware of this  after reading reviews. Had a good laugh with a decent group of people.
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Making local friends, Trinidad, Cuba
***** Written

CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

A brilliant overview of Cuba ! A fantastic Cuban guide full of fun and information; a good driver. I would recommend staying on a few days after the very busy 2 weeks ... maybe in Havana, or at a beach. I am saving to go again  to look at a few places in more detail...
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