For many adventurers, the allure of travel is in the land itself.
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Popular Cultural Holiday
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This tour allows you to see areas of Cuba where there are not heaps of tourists. Most of the local guides were enthusiastic and knowledgable about the flora and fauna which was great.
Hiking in the Sierra Maestra mountains and seeing where the revolutionaries stayed.
Swimming in the pools under the waterfalls.
Carlos was excellent and a seasoned tour leader. He took excellent care of us. I was not impressed though that he was not provided with proper footwear or a backpack for a 15 day hiking trek.
Take tabasco sauce
I was not totally impressed with this tour. The place where we "camped" was poorly set up, improper/ lack of tents, not great facilities for camping. I didn't get a tent and ended up sleeping in the dining area that was covered with chicken poo. Due to a change in schedule we switched 2 hikes, doing the longer hike on the day we had a long drive. The hike was a bit dangerous as it rained and the trails were very slippery and took way longer than what was anticipated. Having done another tour and had really tasty good food, I would recommend Exodus to find alternate restaurants wherever possible. The food component of this tour was not so great. The casa particulare I shared in Trinidad was pretty bad, it was on a very noisy street where vehicles frequent. I could barely talk to my breakfast companion due to the noise. There was one day with a very long drive. It would be best to have broken this day up, not so much time in the bus and also a long day for the driver.
I tend to choose my long haul trekking holidays for the cultural experience as much as the walking. Cuba certainly delivered. It challenged pre-conceptions at every turn whilst being totally delightful. Music, food, architecture and people are a joy. Politics and history are fascinating.
Hard to select one: realising in Trinidad that fantastic architecture was not confined to La Habana; eating lobster and the most delicious prawns ever; the music.
Tony was great - fun and good-humoured, very well organised. He managed the group well.
Never assume. We were proven wrong all the time - it never occurred to us, for example, that our quite sophisticated hotel would not have an international telephone line. Check with your provider in advance if you wish to use your mobile - I had no problem with texts or phone calls or using my data to access internet, but lots of people did. Likewise with banking - cash is easiest.In some ways Cuba is very modern and people are certainly very well educated, but it is still part of the developing world.
The temperature was mid to high 20s during the day, but humid - which made the uphill walking tiring and sweaty!! Evenings in restaurants got quite cool sometimes.
We were very pleased that we stayed an extra 2 nights in La Habana when the trip was over. We took a taxi to a lovely local beach as well as taking in more music and sights.
Cuba is in transition and not to be missed and this is a very well-organised trip that gets you around the country and balances walking with culture.
Good holiday for anyone wanting to see lots of different areas of Cuba. Quite a lot of internal travelling involved but worth it to see so much of the country. Combines mountains with small towns, rural life with city. Worth staying a few extra days in La Habanna at the end of trip and making it out to the beach independently. Despite rumours to the contrary, the food is great. Sierra Maestra is the best trekking but this is not really a trekking holiday. Most of the walks are short enough - if tiring due to the humidity and occasional steep ascent. Glad to report no major insect bite issues - sufferers like me will always need the antihistamines handy, but needed just for occassional bites rather than mass attacks on this holiday. Take the advice on bringing cash - my card was declined even when I found an atm. And best to relax into the culture - queueing is a way of life and food on offer is whatever's available not what's written on the menu. Prepare to be managed - independent forays off to the side are possible but require a relaxed mindset - just as well you're on holiday and not in a hurry.
We were welcomed into a mountain home in Sierra Maestra where the lovely woman of the house ground her own coffee beans and brewed us a pot while chatting happily. From our point of view she owned next to nothing yet I have never felt so welcome in a stranger's house.
Energetic. Hard working. Full of local knowledge. Put in extra effort for everyone. Could have relaxed a bit rather than rushing off to next venue after evening meal.
Prepare to be managed. The tourist industry is not quite ready for independent travellers and forays off route can be a challenge. Bring cash not cards. Don't expect internet or access to your mobile network.
Cuba is so different from anywhere else it's kind of a 'must see'. Great trip.
Cuba unfortunately has very few ATM machines, making it slightly more difficult to manage your money supply while in Cuba. Cuba has dual currency system: Cuban Peso (CUP; it's unlikely you will ever need it) and Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC; the one tourists always use). It's best to take all spending money in Sterling cash (Euro or Canadian dollars will also be fine), which can be easily exchanged upon arrival in Cuba. Travellers cheques are accepted at major banks but incur a 5% commission, and some smaller outlets cannot accept them. Also, along with credit cards, they must have no association with an American bank i.e. Virgin Credit Card or American Express travellers cheques, as they will not be accepted anywhere in Cuba.
Sophie Ashworth - Marketing
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