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The trip to Cuba was excellent with Robert Rocafort and Israel Olivares as tour guides. It proved to be very informative and we had a chance to interact with Cubans from different walks of life. I highly recommend this trip to anyone interested in knowing more about life in Cuba today.
This 12-day tour of Cuba more than met our expectations from the very beginning. Prior to our trip we received both emails and telephone calls from Armando and Emilio plus a Vantage agent checking to make sure we knew where to meet, what to bring and expectations for our trip. This kind of attention to detail continued throughout the entire trip. This trip was a people to people experience, and we learned so much about Cuba, it's history and culture. Our tour guide, Eddie, from HavanaTours was incredible. His knowledge was vast and in depth plus his English was very good. The experiences riding on the horse-drawn carriage, the bicycle pedi-cab tour, riding in the convertibles through Havana were unique and fun. Probably some of the highlights for us were the contemporary ballet performance, the neon puppet show, seeing the bookmaking/paper factory, Kings Ranch, and eating at the paladares restaurants. Seeing Fidel's tomb, San Juan Hill and the Che Guevara Memorial were definite highlights. Learning to dance the Salsa at the Gran Hotel in Cienfuegos was a lot of fun. Seeing and learning about the making of cigars and the sugar industry were educational and informative. As you can see, there was not much we did not like about the trip--except maybe the 12 hour long bus day. I'm not sure how that could be changed and still be able to see Trinidad, but fortunately the buses were modern, comfortable and our driver was excellent.
As is always true of a Vantage tour (at least so far), the director and guide (and bus driver) were excellent..they "made" the trip. Accommodations were also excellent (with the exception of 1 hotel). We learned so much about Cuba and met many wonderful Cubans, young and old. I have 2 suggestions: one: at least one more day in Havana. Two: it would be great to reduce the amount of time spent on the bus, even if it meant missing one of the towns.