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Showing reviews for Cuba: La Isla Grande

Number of Reviews: 162 Overall score: *****
Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
***** Written
Cuba: La Isla Grande

Hasta La Victoria Siempre

5
Cuba has been on my "must visit" list for ages. It did not disappoint. I knew the best way to experience this intriguing country was by escorted group tour. I arranged my own flights and joined the ,sold out tour, group in Havana. I have travelled a lot in my time, so along with the trip notes & guide books, I knew not to have great expectations - other than to see, learn and enjoy a new experience. One of the first things our guide said to us was "expect the unexpected, have an open mind" and quite frankly that is how one should travel anyway. I therefore have no complaints. Cuba is beautiful, lots of history and yet stuck in a time-warp. the people friendly and welcoming. We had a good mix of accommodation, 2 hotel changes - our arrival hotel (for which we didn't know about until landing & as I was not on group flight, this info was not v well conveyed at the office in airport, so I insisted on going to original hotel, which thankfully was around the corner from right one, but late at night was not fun walking round) All rooms were clean, had a/c, v comfy beds. One hotel some had scolding showers, us others cold, but there was water so i could shower & wash my hair so no complaints from me. It was lovely to stay with locals for 3 nights in casa particulares. We returned to one hotel after the one in Sierra Maestra double booked, so we had another long travel day the next day consequently. Melia Santiago de Cuba (Spanish chain) was the plushest hotel, Food is usually bland - surprising given the amount of onion & garlic at markets, but I was never hungry, lots of fresh fruit, amazing seafood, Baracoa had the best flavours, and Casa Paladares the best food. In a nation where ration books still exist, one shouldn't complain about the food served! Service is slow, - no problem of an evening, but frustrating at breakfast time. The first 3 days of travelling are tough, especially following a 10hr flight. yes there are breaks etc, but it is still tough & folks got the lurgy. Our guide played some great films about Cuban history. We stopped off at some lovely places for lunch, twice at v picturesque quiet beach locations. I booked an extra night in Havana so that I could have more time to explore this beautiful city. I would recommend doing this. I just wish I had been there longer, so am looking forward to returning.
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Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
***** Written
Cuba: La Isla Grande

A long haul but well worth the effort

5
This is a very long trip, even longer than the information indicates, but not to be missed. The pre-trip information was poor - the hotel information for the first night was wrong both for us and other travellers. Whilst on-trip hotels may be changed (as the party is together) this should not happen for those joining the trip in Havana - this needs looking at. Altho long, there is not a day that was not filled with inspirational moments - this is not a tour like any other. The leader, the driver and the coach were all first class as was the itinerary; the same could not be said for the hotels. Altho there were some unexpected bonuses such as the Melia in Santiago, the hotels in smaller cities ranged from grotty to liveable with - but I guess that was part of the experience. It should not put you off the tour. Provided (and paid-for) meals were both typically Cuban and varied from adequate to excellent - this again is part of the experience.
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Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
***** Written
Cuba: La Isla Grande

Cuba:La Isla Grande

4
Most fascinating holiday-informative and interesting. A real insight into how Cuba functions and its place in the world. A taste of life in different parts of the island.
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Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
***** Written
Cuba: La Isla Grande

Cuba: La Isla Grande

4
It was an interesting and varied trip, pretty much as described, apart from 'standard hotel' on the trip notes became 'casa' on two nights' and of the three 'casas' used, two were more like backpacker hostels than private B & Bs.
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Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
***** Written
Cuba: La Isla Grande

Lovely island and well organised tour

3
I travelled with my wife and we both reach 70 this year. Hitherto we have travelled independently through many countries around the world. We have discussed the merits of a small group tour as we get older. We decided on this trip quite late and rather than rush my preparation we decided to trial the Exodus offering. The Exodus itinerary was well laid out but even with this mental preparation we found the amount of coach travel in the first days of the trip quite daunting. Travelling independently we would probably have taken 3 weeks on this itinerary. There was no location that we would have wanted to miss and the tour leader was excellent in outlining the history, politics, economics and geography of each place visited, Often accompanied by a rum punch! The hotels were a mixed bag - we would have been happier with more homestays at the Casa Particulares and thoroughly enjoyed the 2 we visited. Food was middling but far the best was to be found in the small "pop up" restaurants to which our tour leader introduced us. Other members of the party were a mixed bunch and easy to get on with. Even so, where possible we tended to eat independently although the majority were happy to eat as a group. For us, the inevitable downside of group travel was the limitations imposed by timings that required 18 people to gather, travel and do things at broadly the same time. We've learned that we're not quite ready for this type of holiday. But when we are I suspect that it will be Exodus to whom we return.
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Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
***** Written
Cuba: La Isla Grande

La Isla Grande

4
Enjoyed holiday very much. Had wonderful tour leader who was very informative and fun. Fidel Castro died while we were on trip so music, dancing and alcohol stopped in respect of country in mourning.
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Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
***** Written
Cuba: La Isla Grande

Awesome Cuba 13-27th October 2016

5
This was an excellent tour which gave us a tantilising taste of the history, culture & people of the real Cuba. It is a fascinating country and the locals are cheerful & hospitable despite the challenges they face daily. Unfortuately due to the hurricane we were unable to visit Baracoa, however our guide, Jorge, did a wonderful job of juggling housing & sightseeing to accommodate our needs.
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Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
***** Written
Cuba: La Isla Grande

Comprehensive intro to Cuba - good, with some reservations

4
This trip covers pretty much all of the island giving a good insight into the "real" Cuba by visiting differing locations and including a variety of activities ranging from wandering the crumbling streets of colonial towns to walks in the mountains or snorkeling in the Caribbean or dancing to music by local musicians or cruising in an open topped Yank tank from the 50s - truly something for everyone.
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Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
***** Written
Cuba: La Isla Grande

Great

4
An excellent tour that gave us all a decent introduction to the Cuban lifestyle. There were some long drives and due to the sad hurricane we were not able to get to Barroso however visiting the colonial towns (especially Trinidad) was amazing and staying in Havana is a must. Accommodation was varied but this is to be expected in a country that has suffered from an embargo for a long time.
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Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
***** Written
Cuba: La Isla Grande

Interesting but not right for us

2
Unfortunately this was not the right holiday for us! We did not draw the right inferences from the Trip Notes concerning the long journeys although the Notes were very clear. Normally we enjoy journeys as there is always something interesting to see but, sadly, these journeys were unbelievably monotonous through countryside that was, on the whole, flat, uncultivated, uninhabited pastoral land and therefore uninteresting. Alex, our guide did his very best to entertain us with a number of videos and talks on the history of Cuba, particularly the Revolution, the way in which the economy works (or doesn't) and the way of life of the Cuban people. There was insufficient time to explore the various stop-off towns as usually we arrived late and left early the next morning.
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