Heather Durie took our Best of Cuba trip with her (grown up) family in June. Starting and ending in Havana – and a fair amount of partying in between – she tells of her time spent in this lively country.
It’s modern revolutionary history sets Cuba apart as a destination, coupled with the crumbled decadence of an era long since gone.
What was it like travelling in a group?
It was fun. There were twelve of us in total – Brits, Belgians and Australians and a real mix of ages.
What did you think of your tour leader?
Brilliant. Great local knowledge and a huge amount of enthusiasm – I would recommend her to everyone!
What were the highlights of the itinerary?
Trinidad and Havana were the most interesting cities. However the real highlight for me was the music and the dancing of Cuba – live music every night and of course the rum to go with it….
How much participation was expected of clients?
A lot – the Cubans all dance so they expect you to get up and dance!
What was your accommodation like?
The great thing about this particular trip is that it is nearly all homestays. They were all lovely – but obviously of a standard so you have to be realistic about noisy air-conditioning, variable showers etc…
What were the types of transport used?
We had an air-conditioned mini-bus throughout.
What was the food like? Any memorable restaurant experiences?
There is a restaurant in Havana which is absolutely brilliant. Apart from that all food was variable, we usually had really nice meals and definitely didn’t go hungry.
What was the weather like?
Hot and humid
What grade would you give the tour ie physically tough or relaxing?
I would have said ‘relaxing’ but then you have to contend with the heat, humidity, the nights out and the rum!
What is the best currency to take? Is it easy to get access to money/exchange currencies?
GBPs or Euros. In each town there are banks and cadecas. The atms never seemed to work for me. Be prepared to queue for the bank and the cadeca with the locals for a long time! It was relatively cheap over there – a full evening meal with drinks cost around 16CUCs/US$16.
What excursions did you take?
Loads! We had a barbecue at the beach in Trinidad, took a coffee and chocolate tour in Baracoa, visited the Buena Vista Social Club in Havana and took an open-topped Chevrolet tour of the city!
How did your fellow travellers rate the tour? Did they feel it was value for money?
Yes completely – everyone was happy with the amount we were spending and some would have been happy to spend more.
What advice would you give to other potential travellers?
Make sure you have your visa in advance – there were a lot of tears at the airport where people were not being allowed on board. Make sure you take enough cash and sun tan lotion.
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The evenings with the live music – watching the Cubans party, happy and proud to be Cuban, to dance, sing and drink rum.
Sum your trip up in one sentence
Sun, humidity, beach, revolution, Che, music, rum and fun!
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