1,594 Reviews of Central America & the Caribbean Tours
it was a great experience. May 20175.0
The Pura Vida trip was an outstanding family vacation February 20175.0
Operator MT Sobek (Mountain Travel Sobek)
I went on my first EF trip solo to Belize and it was absolutely amazing! February 20175.0
Operator EF College Break (EF Ultimate Break)
Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism. January 20175.0
It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.
The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.
After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!
Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!
Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
Operator Road Scholar
Cuba - Smithsonian does it right
Get to Cuba before it changes because it has to. January 20175.0
Smithsonian Journeys is a great way to see Cuba before it changes. Yes, Smithsonian tours are more expensive than some other tour companies but the phrase, "you get what you pay for", certainly holds true. Everything about the tour was top notch - the American tour coordinator, the local Cuban guide, the itinerary - the best. And everything is included - everything - tipping, all activities, tours. Cuba is a fascinating destination and deserves a quality tour company. Read more
Operator Smithsonian Journeys