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  Customer Feedback - Cuba & the Americas  
Mr & Mrs Reeds

Multi Centre holiday
Trumpet player in Trinidad

3 nights Havana - Palicio O'Farrills
3 nights Cayo Brujas- Villa Las Brujas
4 nights Trinidad - Own arrangements
3 nights Vinales Valley - La Ermita Hotel
1 night Havana - Palicio O'Farrills


Hope you had a good holiday in Egypt and got there and back without ash disruption. We had a great time in Cuba and many thanks for your help. I think we have a great tale to tell from every day, usually involving the Cubans themselves. These ranged shopping with the locals in Havana and the roof top baseball games, turkey vultures in Cayo Santa Maria, sheltering from a downpour in a cigar factory with the security guards in Trinidad, and punctures, repairs and horse and cart assistance in Vinales, plus many many more punctuated by an over indulgence in fresh pineapples and other fruit bought on the street.

The hotel O’Farrill's in Havana was excellent, for us quiet enough but not far from anywhere, good spacious rooms and friendly staff. We had two different rooms for our two stays both lovely.

Trinidad is magic; the people wonderful and I think I could have spent more time there.

The tourist train was not running – looking at the engine I don’t think it will ever again. We tried to get local trains but they seem to have evaporated as well. Had our best paladres meal of the trip here! (Estella - Bolivar 557e. Marquez y Mendoza)

In Vinales Valley, the tourist bus for 5 CUC got us around a bit but I rented a bicycle to see more on the second day – hence the puncture(s) but a really great day with rural Cuban’s that will live in my mind forever. The bus stops at both the main hotels and goes to the sights so you can get about a bit.

Overall don’t judge Cuba on Havana; we like all the places we stayed but there was more “hassle” and queues in Havana.

Slow the pace down, nothing happens too fast.

Havantour were very helpful.

The taxis were good and to be commended for the transfers.

Cuba is not all about cigars and old cars; the best resources they have are the people who were always friendly and helpful – mix or miss out!

Next time (you never know) I would be brave enough to hire a car; yes there are limited road signs; yes we saw few petrol stations and yes car parking seemed to be another “Cuban experience” but it would have helped in both Trinidad and Vinales.


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Ruth & Leonette

Multi Centre holiday
Man in Vinales Valley

3 nights Havana - Hotel Raquel
2 nights Vinales Valley - La Ermita
3 nights Trinidad - Las Cuevas
6 nights Varadero - Allegro Varadero

"Dear Natalie, Mark, Darren, Karen, Just wanted to say a big THANK U! to you all for the EXCELLENT SERVICE we received from you for our fantastic holiday in Cuba. Thanks to you, it was pleasant, exciting, and stress free (despite the snow and flight cancellation in London and the unexpected cold front in Cuba)..

Both Leonette and I were impressed from day one, when I first contacted Natalie and received an email the same day with all the information requested. In fact, you were all, very helpful and always followed up on my queries.

Special thanks also to Mark for re-arranging our holiday schedule (within 24hrs) at a time when we were finding it difficult to imagine being in Cuba.

Once in Cuba, we were also impressed with how smoothly it all went with the transfers etc. The Drivers were always on time (early in fact) professional and accommodating. We even received a call from Havana Tours about 4 or 5 days before departure to check that all was well and to remind us about the airport tax and pick up arrangements for the airport.

Watch this space, we’ll definitely be ‘knocking on your door’ next time we’re planning a holiday. "

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Roger & Valerie

Twin Centre holiday
Beaches of Cuba
7 night Pearl of the Caribbean tour
7 nights Varadero - Blau Varadero

"Hello Karen,

Having just returned from Cuba we thought we should let you know that we had a great time and can recommend Havanatour to your clients. We loved the Pearl of the Caribbean tour. There were just three of us plus the very good guide and driver of our airconditioned VW Sharan.

The time spent in Havana, Santa Clara, Trinidad, Cienfuegos was just right, getting to know the cities and their history and including so many visits. The next part of the tour based at the Moka hotel in Las Terrazas was equally excellent within a Cuban countryside environment - swimming in rivers and visiting caves, orchid gardens, waterfalls etc., seeing wildlife and having a welcome cocktail at 9.30 am by a lake on the first morning there! The hotels we stayed in and the food quality were all great, and we bought 2 Cds of the many groups whose music we enjoyed in the bars and restaurants.

The beach stay at the Blau in Varadaro was exceptional as an international luxury break although the only connection with Cuba was more rum based cocktails! We appreciated receiving a telephone call there from Havanatour to check that we were OK and that we had everything we needed.

Thanks to Escape Worldwide and Havanatour for a wonderfull holiday. If anyone needs any more information, we would be happy to supply it."

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Tony & Linda

Tour and beach holiday
Beaches of Cuba
6 night Pearl of the Caribbean tour
6 night Cradle of the Revolution tour
4 nights Varadero - Sol Palmeras

Dear Karen:

Many apologies for not contacting you before now, to thank you and your company for organising a superb holiday for us in Cuba. We had a fantastic visit. One of the best holidays that we have experienced and we have experienced a few in our lifetime.

Havanatours was a great company within Cuba. All organisation was excellent. (Weather for the first three days was very cold! unexpected by all) Even initial cold weather did not spoil our Havana visit although the Virgin flight was delayed for more than 6 hours, so we had less time in Havana overall. Thank you again."

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Veronica & Pauline

Tour and beach holiday
Beaches of Cuba
7 night Pearl of the Caribbean tour
6 night Cradle of the Revolution tour
4 nights Varadero - Iberostar Tainos

"Hi All,

Returned from Cuba yesterday. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I'm really glad I decided to go ahead with the trip and Pauline enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks for all the help."

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Tour & beach holiday
Fascinatring Cuba

6 night tour - Discover Cuba tour
5 nights Varadero - Breezes Bella Costa

"Dear Mark, Natalie, Darren, Karen and Gwen!

I wanted to thank you all for the advice and help you gave me for what proved to be a most fantastic holiday. The tour was of a very good quality and great standard and met all my expectations. Our Cubanacan guide, Mirtha was a fountain of knowledge, friendly, professional and enthusiastic, always willing to participate in the group's debate and an amazing person altogether. It was the kind of holiday which is enjoyable, relaxing, educational and historical and it also touched my heart.

I hope you won't mind the following feedback:

The soaps were gratefully received but I found that pens were not that popular! Kids are desperate for sweets. Had I known, I would have taken bags of sweets with me (and would have had to assume the responsibility of rotten teeth). I noticed that sweets (bonbons as they call them) are sold by the unit in the shops.

And also the hairdryers were working in all the hotels, so I could have done without packing mine!

Many thanks again and Viva Cuba Libre!"

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Martin & Margaret
Newcastle Upon Tyne

Fly-drive holiday
Trinidad - Central Cuba

3 nights Havana - Park View
1 night Santa Clara - Los Caneyes
2 nights Trinidad - Brisas Trinidad
1 night Camaguey - Gran Hotel
2 nights Sierra Maestra Mountains - Villa Santa Domingo
4 nights Santiago -Casagranda
4 nights Guardalavaca - Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa
1 night Havana - Park View

with 12 days car hire

"Dear Mark

Thank you and your colleagues for arranging our trip to Cuba this year. We had a terrific time, and everything went smoothly, the only major mishap being the loss of my wallet at the Santiago carnival - due to stupidity on my part.

We thought that it might be useful to provide you with a few pointers from our trip, in case other travellers might wish to try some of the same things we did.

1) Santa Clara: do not attempt to drive into the town centre, as the streets are almost impassable. The Che memorial is certainly worth the visit, but the tiered platform is deceptive. The steps are double height and it is easy to miss your footing and tumble.

2) The road south from Santa Clara to Trinidad via the Sierra de Escambray is not difficult in a passenger car (ours was a Seat Cordoba).

3) Camaguey is a nightmare to drive in, if you do not know the town. The situation was complicated by the central one-way system and the fact that the street in front of the hotel was blocked a little further down by a truck unloading. The hotel has no car park of its own and you have to trust the bellboy to take the car a few streets away to a paid parking lot.

4) Getting to Villa Santo Domingo was the most interesting part of the journey. From the other side of the town, there are no signs at all! When we followed the directions we ended up in back streets and then a partially metalled road, getting worse all the time. After several detours, and asking people, we eventually found the way to the main road.

5) At Villa Santo Domino, we took the trip up to Alto de Naranjo and along the revolutionary trail. The car made it up the road to the top, although the slope is 1 in 1 in places and there were three of us in the Seat - our guide Jorge included. No need to hire a jeep but walking boots are definitely recommended, as the ground can be wet and slippery.

6) The Carnival in Santiago is stunning. We found out however that the best place to buy tickets (and avoid loss of wallet) is in the Hotel Casa Granda itself. Tourists get seats which are opposite to where the judges sit and the presenters do the commentary.

7) The drive from Santiago to Guardalavaca is not difficult, but there are no road signs until you get to Holguin. The Hotel Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa is however about 10 miles away from the Rex drop-off point, which is in the Hotel Las Brisas. We returned the car clean, which impressed the agent, and he drove us back to the Playa Turquesa for CUC10.

8) When hiring a car, one should be suspicious of the fuel gauge. Ours read full at the start, but it turned out to be well short. I reported this on returning the car.

9) Our luggage allowance on Virgin was 35 kg each but for the flight from Holguin back to Havana it was only 22 kg. This is a potential problem if buying lots of presents en route or carrying walking boots as we did.. However, at Holguin they did not know how much to surcharge us. It was supposed to be $12.50 in national money but we ended up paying CUC10, which was reasonable for us."

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Louise & James

Fly-drive holiday
Classic car in Cuba
4 nights Guardalavaca - Playa Pesquero
2 nights Santiago - Casa Granda
1 night Camaguey - Gran Hotel
3 nights Trinidad - Iberostar Grand
3 nights Havana - Hotel Telegrafo

"Just wanted to let you know that we had a great holiday. Thanks so much for putting together such a great programme. We really enjoyed going to the various places which were all really different. We feel like we really made the most of our two weeks there and saw the real Cuba, which was what we wanted from the beginning.

Overall though we had a great holiday and a good experience with Escape Worldwide. I really appreciated the personal service and prompt replies to my emails. It was good to be able to email questions to you in the run up to the holiday. We will definitely use Escape Worldwide again."

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Vicky & Chris

Multi Centre holiday
Vinales Valley, Cuba
1 night Havana - 2 nights Vinales
2 nights Cienfuegos - 3 nights Trinidad
1 night Santa Clara - 2 nights Las Brujas
3 nights Havana

"We returned from Cuba yesterday morning and I just wanted to say thank you very much for helping us organise such a wonderful trip!

Everything went to plan (as close to the plan as it can do in Cuba anyway!) and we were happy with all the hotel accomodation and the transfers, even the internal flight was fine! Cuba was an amazing place to visit and I am sure we will be heading back at some point to visit the rest of the country.

Thanks again for all your help, I wouldn't have any hesitation in using Escape Worldwide again and no doubt we will be in touch to plan future trips with you."

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Sheila & Lesley

Self Drive holiday
Tango on the Prado, Havana (photo by Sheila)
3 night Havana - Hotel Sevilla
2 nights Vinales - Hotel La Ermita
2 nights Soroa - Villa Soroa
1 night Cienfuegos - La Union
3 nights Trinidad - Las Cuevas
3 nights Varadero - Villa Cuba

"We thought we'd drop you a line after our wonderful trip to Cuba with a wee bit of feedback - 99% positive! First of all we had a brilliant holiday so thank you for your contribution to that. Your arrangements worked very well and we were very pleased with the service you provided.

The following comments are simply a bit of feedback which might help others who embark of a similar trip:

1. finding the starting points to the motorways west and east of Havana is extremely difficult unless you are a local! We got very good directions from the car hire company on the route to the west - we would have found it a lot harder without the directions. We recommend you advise people to ask for these directions.

2. Advise drivers to ask about the traffic lights before they set off - difficult to see and I'm still not sure I understand their system!

3. Petrol stations were easy to find and quite numerous, marked on maps - no problems there

4. What is the legality wrt car hire for giving lifts?. Does it invalidate insurance? The only way we found the motorway east of Havana was by giving someone a lift.

5. Soroa is a brilliant place for bird watchers with an excellent guide Alberto, who you can hire.

6. I would not recommend Varadero for snorkelling. If you would like us to suss out alternative snorkelling venues for Escape Worldwide, we'd be delighted to help - our rates are very reasonable!

7. You might want to warn people not to buy cigars from tobacco farms. We were very nicely scammed to the tune of £60!! Whilst we don't mind contributing to their creative local economy, it was a bit annoying to have none to take home. I sat beside a tobacco importer on the plane home and he recommended that cigars should only be bought from recognised cigar shops.

Finally, we'd go back any time - we loved it. Were your ears burning while we were in Cuba? We raised many a mojito to you, for your choice of hotels and your advice to hire a car. We did a lot of laughing on our holiday and loved the fact that sometimes the only other sign of life on the motorway was a cow or a chicken. I've taken hundreds of high-resolution photographs of the holiday but my husband says they would take for ever to download if I emailed them to you.

We've recommended Escape Worldwide to many envious friends. I could rabbit on about Cuba as much as you like - the street tango scene we came across, how to find restaurants etc and generally what a fantastic frame of mind it put me in - it still hasn't worn off and I frequently find myself thinking how stressed everyone else seems to be. I'd be happy to send you a cd of my photos if you'd like to use any on the website - and anotate some if you wish. As Lesley said, we felt safe, unlike several people who have had holidays in other parts of the Caribbean who asked specifically about the safety angle and were surprised how positive I was.

Excellent holiday and as we kept saying throughout - nice one, Mark!"

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