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How was your trip to Cuba? Please share your comments, reviews and tips. Muchas gracias!

Stephanie

We went on a guided tour to Cuba with a group of 6 friends. Rena organised a 2 week itinerary from Havana to Viñales, Playa Giron, Trinidad, Remdios and back to Havana.We had an AMAZING time, Rena was an excellent Tour Leader who introduced us to a side of Cuba we wouldn’t have seen if we had traveled independently. The tour itinerary was more than what we could have asked for, it was like going back in time, I experienced many firsts, bull riding, horse back riding, I especially loved the horseback riding trip in Trinidad with Michael, we ended up at a beautiful waterfall. My favorite was a Cuban family trip into the Trinidad countryside, we had a Cuban typical spit roast in a secluded beautiful setting with natural pools, it was a perfect day out. I highly recommend booking a tour with Experience the Real Cuba
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Kate

One of the many highlights of my trip to Cuba was the walking tour of Havana. Our guide was friendly and informative. She also took us to a great place for lunch, where we were joined by another guide and the 4 of us hung out for the reat of the afternoon which showed us just how friendly Cuban people are. We stayed In Havana and Trinidad the Casa that we stayed in were very friendly and comfortable. Our host were very helpful and caring, couldn’t have been more helpful. I had a great time in Cuba and this was made easy by using Experience the Real Cuba.
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Ronny & Bianca

We met Rena, Yoanka and David in the end of January and enjoyed a great salsa dance lesson with them. They know how to dance, how to teach and how to make you feel comfortable as tourist and salsa beginner. We definitely recommend visiting SalsAmiga All Star in Havana and having dance lessons there.
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vk

1. What was the highlight of your trip? Staying in Trinidad and beach in Havana. Being stuck on the road to Cienfuegos due to the fire in the field which actually looked quite picturesque. 2. Did we provide you with adequate information prior to your trip? Somewhat. We had a hard time finding a money exchange place once we left the airport. 3. Where there any surprises in Cuba? The good was the friendliness of the people and the beauty of the country. On the other hand, this is something we already expected but the punctuality was not as important for the locals the same way we are used to. Additionally we found all of the restaurants to be touristy whereas we were looking for a more authentic experience. We also had a hard time exchanging money. We were told to bring Euros to the country but the driver told us CAD would be better. We did not exchange money at the airport and coulndt find an open CADECA in Trinidad when we arrived. We had to wait for the next day and thankfully the restaurant where we went for dinner allowed us to pay the following day. We also had a surprise in accommodations. We asked for 3 rooms in one house but one of the rooms ended up being in the house 2 blocks away. 4. What information do you think is valuable prior to visiting Cuba? Information about recommendations on hotels and things to do at destination. Recommendation about currency to bring and where to exchange it. 5. Do you feel like you experienced the real Cuba? Yes. Would love to go back again! 6. Were our contacts in Cuba professional? Did they assist you with additional activities, tips, local information? They were professional but they didnt speak English ad thankfully we spoke Spanish. 7. How do you feel we could improve our service? We would have appreciated some recommendations on things to do at each destination. A map would be helpful too. 8. Do you feel we should offer any other services? Tours at destinations. We ended up booking a taxi to take us to the waterfalls and beaches.
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Nancy

I initially found Rena last spring when I was preparing for a quick trip to Havana with a friend who had not been there before. Rena arranged for us to have a tour of the city that would point out the highlights to my friend in a way that I could not. Our guide Eddy was informative and fun. What impressed me most about Rena was her timeliness to responding to my myriad of emails. Happy with the services of Rena and Eddy that we had in April, I contacted her again to arrange activities for me and another friend a few weeks ago. We were there for the Marabana and Rena set us up with Yanet and Luis. This time I arranged for a walking tour of Habana Vieja and then we did a day trip to Viñales. Again, both excursions were well planned. While we could have easily spent a few days exploring Viñales, we didn’t have the time. We hit all of the highlights and had plenty of time to talk about other subjects as we were driving there and back.
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Funda

I found Rena’s website while I was searching for an accommodation in Havana. Ever information she enclosed on her site was very useful… I contacted with her regarding a casa, and she was very helpful… Rena answered every questions that I asked her regarding our trip… and she found us a casa to stay. We stayed at Jose Camilo’s casa. The place was ok for transport and hygiene but as host they were brilliant. They made sure we were comfortable. We were given plenty of useful information about the area and where to go. When we wanted to go to Trinidad, Jose called the taxi company and arrange one for us. Jose’s dad prepared us Cuban coffee everyday which was very nice of him. The casa could have been cleaner but apart from that, everything was perfect. Thank you Rena for your help and Jose for your hospitality
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Felicity Fallon

This is a review for Natacha’s casa, Monte Corales, in Canasi, near Matanzas. We loved it! Natacha and her team could not have been more welcoming. The casa was simple but really nicely designed, with a beautiful garden. My husband loved spear-fishing and snorkeling with Ulysses, guide and ex-marine biologist. Our kids loved the horse , chickens, terrace, hammocks and especially the plunge pool in the garden. There is a river and rocky beach to swim from within walking distance of the house. Otherwise the beautiful beach of Jibacoa is only 7 km or so away. But the best thing was the FOOD. Natacha is an AMAZING cook – fresh fish every day with beautiful lime/garlic/chilli sauces, plantain chips, home-made mayonnaise, an incredible flan for dessert…my mouth still waters thinking about it all. The casa is a out 70 km from Havana and is a great spot for people who want to meet interesting and friendly Cubans and spend a peaceful time enjoying nature. Thank you Rena for organising it all. If we come back to Cuba we will be sure to contact you to help arrange our transport and accommodation.
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Michelle

We found Rena’s info while looking for transfers between Havana and Trinidad. I am so thankful for Rena’s help, everything was so easy through Experience the Real Cuba, she made our trip! 1) The people Rena works with are absolutely wonderful 2) Everything in terms of communication is perfect 3) The whole experience was better than I could have done on my own We used the services for a Casa Particular in Havana, and for the travel between Havana and Trinidad, and our return from Trinidad to Havana. Highly recommended using their transfer service! The drivers that the taxi company uses are all very skilled and safe, the cars are well suited for the 4-5h drive, with good springs and good maintenance, and with air conditioning. The drivers have a good sense of humour and are fun to speak with (if you speak some spanish). We had a four door sedan taxi with four people for both our trips, and although I had to sit in the middle, I would still go with this transfer service again and again, due to the high skill and safety level of the drivers. Javier was a blast, and driving through the central Cuba, we were able to get a little history along the way. The casa particular we had in Havana was with sr Jose Camilo and his father. What wonderful people, great to speak with, we even got a little history about the neighborhood as well as the country. The large room with two double beds is clean and beautiful, with a big nice ensuite bathroom. Very private, very clean, very confortable. There is a large terrace for taking your coffee or reading or chatting, and the food Camilo’s father prepares is delicious. The neighborhood of Vedado has some large beautiful homes, and is close to the Malecon. You can take a cab or bus into the Centro or Vieja Habana neighborhoods. Highly recommend taking any of Rena’s suggestions, as the people she chooses to work with are so pleasant, it will make your trip! Las personas muy interessante, intelegente, agradable and will make you smile! Thank you so much Rena, much appreciated for arranging everything! Michelle
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Stephanie Vergnaud

we had such a great salsa training in Havana. Wonderful teachers, great place and so friendly and professional. will do it again. thanks stephanie
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Pieter

Hi Rena, Thanks again for helping me with planning my trip to Cuba. I have had an amazing time in Cuba. For me personally travelling Cuba alone was somewhat lonely sometimes but the Jose Camilo helped me a lot. Thank you for a arranging the stay in his house. He is very friendly and helped me enormously with my travel plans. Changed my plans to also go to Trinidad where I had an amazing time. Definitely worth a visit indeed! Still regret not buying the CD from the guys that were making their music under the tree in front of the tower thing. If anyone who reads this is able to help me with some of the music of those guys that would give me some awesome extra memories. ???? The house Rena facilitated was very nice. Quiet neigbourhoud of Vedado. If I would not have stayed in that area I would most likely not have seen the streets around there. Jose was very helpful and kind, arranging taxi and a house for me in Trinidad. In the future I will definitely visit Cuba again and will most definitely contact Rena again for her amazing help! (although I will not travel Cuba alone anymore). Kind regards from the Netherlands.
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Luca Lauro

Dear Rena, I spent all my time today reading the 449 emails they sent me during my stay out of office, but I was looking forward to give You a feedback on my wonderful experience in Cuba with SalsaAmigaAllStar team. I had a great time at Havana thanks to You, Yoanka, Jordan, Luis Alberto, Saidi, Juan, Vivian&Dimitri and Pilar. My original goal was to live as a cuban (try to), start speaking spanish for the first time in my life, and improve my skills in salsa and bachata dancing, and least but not last, visit l’ Havana: a real challenge considering the short time of my holiday: I reached all of them! I loved much the remarkable strenght of Yoanka to suite me the salsa/bachata lessons to my needs and levels, monitoring step by step my improvement, and, at the same time, organizing the other services I required, with persons as Pilar (that spent time and accompany me to visit Avana and to the beach) and Vivian (that prepared me diner when I was so tired not to go out) that were always being very flexible with me in every situation. Yesterday, just after had landed to Rome, I had great time dancing latinos with italian women thanks to the improvements got after the hard classes received at the Escuela de Salsa. Before to be to l’Avana I couldn’t speak Spanish and now I’m able to comunicate, having conversations and understand in different situations. I’m already thinking to come back to l’Avana for another similar week next 6/8 months, to improve any level of what I got now, repeating the same classes, maybe with less hours (I had 2/3 hours for spanish and over 4 of dancing every day), to add time and energy to go to dance in Avana (every nigth I feel destroyed and went to disco just 2 times, but well done). So thank You for all, keep in touch, go ahead like You are doing, with the same passion and higly professional standards, and see You soon for a new experience in Cuba with SalsaAmigaAllStar, with very warm and best regards, Luca Lauro
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Judith Irwin

I wouldn’t have made it to Cuba without Rena’s help. Trying to book casas and transportation myself was an ordeal, and I came close to abandoning my plans more than once. Rena is a marvel. She arranged a casa in Vedado which included taxi pickup at the Viazul bus station, transportation to Trinidad, and my stay with Misleydis and Gustavo in Trinidad. Misleydis arranged my taxi transportation back to Havana. Jose Camilo, at the casa in Vedado, arranged Spanish lessons for me with a teacher who came to his casa so that we could have our lessons on his balcony. My only regret is that I didn’t make all my arrangements through Rena, because then I wouldn’t have ended up spending my last night in Cuba at an overpriced resort at the far end of Varadero, listening to people speak English and eating mediocre food.
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Vanessa Kinuthia

I spent five days in Havana, taking salsa classes every day with salsamiga. Prior to coming to Havana, I arranged the classes with Rena, who was incredibly helpful, not only with the classes but also with general information regarding Havana and my trip to Cuba. On the first day, Luis picked me up from the casa I was staying in and showed me how to get to the dance school and home again on my own. I had classes with Luis, Juan and Andy – all incredible dancers, and the loveliest people I have met as well. They are very very good teachers, and after 5 days I saw a massive change in the way I dance. The classes were so much fun, and one of the best experiences I had in Cuba. I also went out with them one night to 1830 to practice dancing; an experience I would definitely recommend learners to do. I would definitely recommend salsamiga to anyone who wants to learn real Cuban salsa dancing – you will have the best time. I hope to see them all again in Havana in the near future.
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Derek Couturier

While we were on a recent trip to Havana, Rena arranged for us to have a 2 hour Salsa class at the SalsAmiga All Star Dance Academy in Vedado. We had a great time working with their brilliant teachers in their amazing Art Deco studio. We had been doing Cuban Salsa in the UK for about a year, but the SalsAmiga teachers showed us how it should really be done. Yoanka and her expert teachers were great – lovely, friendly people, but tough, like dance teachers should be. There were actually 4 teachers working with the 2 of us for the 2 hour class, so they didn’t miss a single trick or mistake. I can thoroughly recommend SalsAmiga All Star Dance Academy for any level of experience, you will make some great new friends and learn a massive amount in a short time, from dedicated and experienced teachers.
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“I had a great time in Cuba and this was made easy by using Experience the Real Cuba ”

Teresita Azambuya

Tuvimos una magnífica estadía en Cuba, y para ello fue esencial la ayuda y guía de Rena. Todo salió según lo esperábamos, sin imprevistos ni contratiempos. Nuestro alojamiento en Casa Germán (Trinidad) fue una experiencia maravillosa: el mejor anfitrión (Orelvis) nos agasajó con todos los detalles que el viajero espera y con muchos más. Los desayunos fueron los mejores de mi vida!!! Y nada como llegar a la casa después de una jornada ajetreada y saborear su “canchánchara”! Muchas gracias Rena por todo y saluda a Misleydis, Orelvis y su esposa por sus atenciones. Besos, Tere
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Brittany Balla

The highlight of my trip was easily spending a week in Trinidad, while learning about the art and heritage of ceramics. We studied under a 6th generation ceramics maker, who walked us through each step, from harvesting the clay in the hills to decorating polishing, and firing the finished pieces. Our teacher was patient and funny, which just added to the experience. His son, wife, grandfather and cousins all help run the family ceramics business. This was the first time I have ever had someone help with the organizing and planning of a trip. Being that Americans ties with Cuba are tumultuous, the help was priceless, especially the long distance taxi’s. The cost of accommodations and transportation in Cuba was surprisingly expensive, especially in Havana. As was the lack of maps and tourist offices. I have traveled a great deal in Asia and Central America, where information for tourists was abundant, and that was not the case in Cuba. It was complicated by no internet access and my some what limited ability to communicate in Spanish. Communication was very difficult. I had been in Guatemala for the month prior to arriving in Cuba, and was able to get by easily with my Spanish, but that was not the case in Cuba. Communicating was very difficult! 4. What information do you think is valuable prior to visiting Cuba? Get to the airport early if you are an America, so you can arrive at the gate with plenty of time to get your “Cuba Ready” stamp and Visa. Breakfast is DELICIOUS and abundant. Tons of fresh fruit, bread, eggs, juice, coffee, tea and corn cakes fill you! Bring snacks, as the grocery stores are VERY limited. 5. Do you feel like you experienced the real Cuba? I feel like I experienced the real Trinidad. 6. Were our contacts in Cuba professional? Did they assist you with additional activities, tips, local information? The family who gave us our ceramics lessons were AMAZING!!! The taxi driver did not understand us (Spanish or English) and therefore communication was mostly through simple Spanish phrases and hand gestures. 7. How do you feel we could improve our service? Having handouts with information such as local maps and walking tours would have been excellent. 8. Do you feel we should offer any other services? Not sure, as I only had a week there.
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Brian & Mike

Our 6 night/5 day Cuba trip was an add-on to our tour of Mexico & Route 66 USA, and well worth while. We really appreciated being able to leave all the arrangements in Rena’s capable hands. The plan included 2 home stays and 3 communal taxis, including picking us up from the airport. All three taxis went well, although we were amazed that one of them showed 441,700kms on the clock – apparently this not uncommon in Cuba! Some limited Spanish goes a long way. Havana home-stay (Vedado): Jorge & Sandi were very friendly – their breakfasts and evening meals were excellent. Luckily Jorge knew more English than we did Spanish, which helped. Given the scale of the city and the distance to the centre, a little printed information would have been helpful (map/bus info/how to hail a taxi/Cambio/ATMs) but good introduction to Cuba. Trinidad home-stay: Mislaydis & Gustavo were wonderful; they are both charming and very warm personalities. Their breakfasts were excellent and the courtyard setting was good. Their command of both English and “Spanglish” was excellent. Would have loved to stay longer with them. Your advice was correct that in a short break, four nights in Havana was too much and 3 would have been better. However we feel that 2 nights in Trinidad was enough as we didn’t want to do any of the “attractions” simply visit the town. We realised that we should have done more preparation so as to put the history and economy of Cuba into context – we were a little lost with the number of revolutions they’ve had. Hearing from other travellers we wish we’d also taken time to visit Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba – ah well, another time! Thanks for a great experience!
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Terry Miller

Hostel German in Trinidad: The casa was furnished in antiques and was quite comfortable. The hosts served a fabulous breakfast, and in our 4 days in Trinidad, they cooked an evening meal for us twice. They are very proud of their cooking and generous servings. We took Salsa lessons within the casa, and the instructor was quite good. The location is only a few blocks from the square, yet is clean and quiet. The hosts were generous with their time in helping us find beaches, taxis, Spanish lessons, etc. My wife, father of 87, and I all had a great time.
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Ellen

I’ve bounced around Mexico and Guatemala by myself, but having just returned from two weeks in Havana and Trinidad, I’d say that even if you are an experienced traveller, when it comes to Cuba, it’s better to know somebody. To have a liaison, a fixer, a hook-up. Cause she ain’t like the rest. The minute I arrived in Havana airport I was grateful Rena had arranged all my transport and lodging. With limited internet, two currencies, an underground economy, no recourse of using US debit and credit cards, and a barely-thawed state of distrust between our two countries (the trip’s not over until you’re back home and through Customs) – it hardly bears mentioning that the US still prohibits its people from visiting Cuba for purely touristic reasons. Ha! Uncle Sam needn’t worry: you couldn’t turn off your brain even if you tried. The climate may be the same but a trip to Cuba is about as far away from Margaritaville as the moon! Cuba MAKES you THINK: about history, politics, slavery, the CIA, pirates, Africa, nukes, Ricky Ricardo, human rights violations, Gone with the Wind and George Orwell. A couple of other Americans I ran into on the way back said they were looking forward to the next few days in Cancun as a vacation FROM their vacation. I’ve been doing Spanish immersion courses with one week family homestays (in Mexico and Guatemala) so spending most of my time in the town of Trinidad taking classes every day was perfect for me. It’s small enough to facilitate the conversational opportunities that are soo vital to becoming more fluent. And the Cuban accent is an extra challenge for learners. Plus it’s less noisy and polluted than Havana. How I cherished the sounds of horses clip-clopping and breadsellers calling “Pan!” every morning! Rena hooked me up with my teachers, transport and the wonderful Gustavo & Misleydis. It may be a mouthful but ExperienceTheRealCuba delivers its promise. The old Spanish forts and cigar factories will be there in another hundred years. But experiencing Cuba in 2015 – being able to connect with Cubans, hear their stories, observe a mode of life that for better or worse is like no other in the Americas – has been worth the extra effort and money that this little island demands. One day I’ll smile at the lunacy of having had to go through three international airports to get to a country only 90 miles offshore. Until then thanks, Rena, for bridging the gap.
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Llavar

Hello Rena, I wanted to take Spanish classes from a qualified Spanish teacher and you facilitated the opportunity for that, “exactly”. Thank you for arranging my classes with Juani & facilitating our connection in such a professional & efficient way. I would definitely recommend “Experience the Real Cuba” to ANYONE who needs some support to get to the right places and enjoy the beauty of Cuba. The sabor of Cuba is unique in all the world. Thank you again Rena!
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Remco Stalpers

Ha Rena Wow, it was an amazing trip. 2 weeks were definitely way too short! Amazing how you managed to put in everything we wanted (We did a tour around the western part of Cuba, driving ourselves in a rental car) Cuba has so much to offer and we got a great taste of it all thanks to your planning. Beaches, horse riding through the valley, salsa dancing, cigars, Rumco & pina colada, hiking through the jungle to waterfalls, Ché monuments and just driving around this gorgeous landscape… And the casas you found us were beautiful. Very helpful, very nice people, great cooks! If they can’t help or understand you, they will go look for someone who can till all is well. Such a difference from what we heard at the travel agencies (never leave the resort, it can be dangerous) Not one moment we felt unsafe or threatened, just sad for all those people trapped in those hotels, while the real Cuba is just around the corner. For those who read this because they want to see Cuba but still have doubts, GO FOR IT! Just contact Rena to wash those away and have a great trip yourselves!
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Damien

DESTINATION CUBA – ISLAND HOPPING THROUGH THE CARRIBEAN As a 39yo Australian tourist with Wife and 3yo son, Cuba was a far away place that had real mystique and a curious attraction. It wasn’t somewhere that we seriously contemplated going until family wedding on a Carribean island was ‘forced upon us’ (St. Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands) Never in my life had I looked at a map of the Carribean, I had no idea. One thing I did know was that if we were travelling that far then I was going to take the opportunity to explore the region. I took one look at a Carribbean map and it was Cuba that stood out above all. With a very rough itinerary in mind it was a matter of researching flight options, accommodation and reviewing travel advice to identify must-see locations and understand safety issues in different areas. What I found was that at home on the East Coast of Australia well informed information about travelling to the Caribbean and especially Cuba was virtually non-existent, the most well traveled travel agents had never been there (Its just too far away!). It became apparent that I was totally reliant on the internet for information. The problem with this (as I later learnt) is that the Cuban world is very poorly represented on the internet, which makes planning and bookings a lot more difficult then the modern society is used to. Travelling with my Wife and son was also a totally different dynamic to travelling alone, risk and safety was always at the forefront of my mind and I needed trustworthy sources of information. It always pays to know someone, even moreso in this situation. That someone for me was Rena and the ETRC website. Fantastic reliable advice that made a world of difference. It was like having a family contact in Cuba.
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Bee Clayton

Going to Cuba with Experience the Real Cuba is like going on holiday with a trusted friend, and Rena, you helped make it happen for me. You said it would be amazing and it was! I went there on a shoestring, you gave me a thorough breakdown of everything which helped me manage my budget down to the last CUC! You arranged everything with efficiency with helpful suggestions. At Misleydis and Gustavo’s, I enjoyed wholesome and delicious meals and very warm hospitality. Going to Trinidad has been a one in a lifetime experience unlike any other holiday I’ve had. For me it has been a place where I’ve met some very wonderful people, learned to speak some Spanish and enjoyed salsa everyday. So many thanks Rena, Misleydis and Gustavo!
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Barbara

Hola Rena, Misleidys y Gustavo, I can’t thank you enough for arranging my visit to Cuba and making my stay there an absolute joy. Misleidys and Gustavo are spectacular hosts. The whole family welcomed me into their lives and made me feel at home right away. Misleidys is a marvelous cook and Gustavo is the master fixer of all things – including my bicycle. Our many conversations about life in Cuba offered a priceless glimpse into this beautiful and complex country – “es complicado”. My three weeks of Spanish classes with Juani were wonderful. She is a great, patient teacher, and is very happy to share her wealth of experience with her students. Trinidad is a great place to kick back and spend some time. The town is big enough to keep you entertained with all the arts and cultural activities, but small enough to be very safe and welcoming. The setting is spectacular – close to both the beach and the mountains. I can’t recommend this experience any more highly. You will fall in love with this family and with Cuba. I can’t wait to go back. ¡Te extraño mucho!
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Michèle

My husband surprised me by taking me to Cuba for one month, of which two weeks were spent in Trinidad at Gustavo and Misleidis, thanks to you. It was an excellent choice to take Spanish lessons three hours every morning with Misleidis’ friend Juani and salsa lessons every afternoon with Misleidis’ daughter Yaili. Both were excellent teachers. Gustavo and Misleidis were stellar hosts. They welcomed us with a glass of fresh mango juice, after Gustavo met us at the bus terminal. The children (13 year old Alejandro and Isabela) were also very welcoming, greeting us every day when they saw us at breakfast or dinner. We can’t say enough about Misleidis’ cooking. Not only were the meals (we ate there every morning and night) prepared with care, they were enormous, and served in the breezy yard. She made sure we tasted the local fare, with a lot of variety of vegetables and fruit, including, enormous avocados from their backyard. We celebrated my husband’s birthday while there, and they all surprised us at dinner, carrying a cake and lit candles, and singing Happy Birthday to him. Earlier in the afternoon Misleidis helped me organize a special cocotaxi outing to see the sunset from the top of the hill. Misleidis speaks very good English, but we preferred practicing Spanish, and she completely complied, patiently. Gustavo’s sense of humour greatly animated the meal times, and his canchanchara, a trinidad cocktail of lime, rum, honey and water added to the fun. Trinidad is a safe city, where we walked all day and at night, without ever feeling ill at ease. We took the hop on hop off bus to the beaches a few times. Yaili recommended the one by “the grill” and it ended up being our favourite one. The night life in Trinidad is lively, the music abundant in a relaxed atmosphere where we enjoyed watching the locals and tourists mingle and dance. Trinidad is a very pretty colonial town, but the streets are really in need of repair. there are huge pot holes in the cobblestone streets that the bicitaxis must negotiate while paying attention to all the other modes of transportation: bicycles, cars, mopeds, pedestrians, trucks and mototaxis. None of this bothered us as we walked everywhere, and it added to the Cuban experience charm. We hope to return to Trinidad, and when we do, we will certainly stay at Gustavo and Misleidis, as we now feel as their friends.
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Greg Sadil

Rena Thanks so much for organising the Trinidad part of the trip for us. we had a ball!Gustavo and Misleydis are wonderful people, so hospitable, they made us feel at home the moment we got there. Gustavo pulled out some honey and rum concoction to welcome us, and it went downhill from there. Trinidad has something for everyone. Being a world heritage town there is history and amazing architecture everywhere. Cobblestone streets lead you into a never ending voyage of discovery. The music, nightclubs, quaint little restaurants, bars and shops are fabulous. For those who want to relax , the golden sandy beaches and mountain hikes and waterfalls provide a pleasant diversion. We split our days into two. As the days were hot, it was ideal for diving, fishing and general lazing on the beach. There is plenty of shade and a couple of options for an ice cold cerveza down there as well. At night it was Salsa and party time . Once again we relied on the expertise of our hosts to point us in the right direction. We feasted at the Casa most nights before heading out. My only regret was that we could have spent more time there.
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Iain Calman

Hola! Hola Rena, Misleydis and Gustavo I am looking forward to being back in Trinidad in March next year with Cuba Libre Tour number 1! Staying with you guys earlier this year was a highlight of my time in Cuba. Trinidad is a favourite place of mine there is always so much to do..or nothing to do except chill if that is what you want. Staying with Misleydis and Gustavo it is easy to weigh up your options and make the most of your time there. Their casa is comfortable, well located and the food is great. And they will go out of their way to provide any help or assistance you may need. I had some exciting times driving around the island and when I returned to Trinidad had a couple of battle scars on the hire car. Gustavo helped me with the necessary paper work and reporting of the incident that led to the battle scars. Se you soon !
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Afshin

I spent three nights with Gustavo and Misleydis. The house was always clean, the room spotless, and the food amazing and plenty. But the most wonderful part of my experience was meeting Gustavo, Misleydis and their family. Obviously if you are reading this you are not interested to spend all your time in Cuba, on beaches and in resources, so here I found a possibility to learn and understand a bit on how some of the Cubans live. Misleydis (with excellent English) a warm hearted, knowledgeable lady, and Gustavo a hard working and funny gentleman, both born and raised in Trinidad, a beautiful quite town that really grows on you. I knew that I will miss my hosts and Trinidad the moment I looked at the town tower for the last time. Thanks Rena for the all the info and help. Afshin
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Gordon

Hola, Already before booking Rena impressed me by providing very detailed information and generously helped planning my vacation. Most of the time I stayed in Trinidad at the Casa of Gustavo and Misleydis, which are awesome hosts. Not only providing help for organizing trips but also socializing over and after excellent dinners, talking about their life, providing insides into Cuba, its history and current day to day living an “ordinary” tourist would be hard pressed to get. The food was very good and plentiful, much better than the restaurants I have been to in Havana. Gustavo prepares a very good coffee and an even better Canchanchera. And it probably is impossible to win against the children in that card game I already forgot the name of. In short I felt very much at home during these two weeks as part of their family. And of course, apart from the relaxed live in Trinidad, the very good spanish lessons and talks with Juani and the guitar sessions, I will always remember the fantastic beach and an awesome country side.
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Kamila Burns

Our 21 yr old daughter Fiona had never been out of Europe on her own, and she wanted to travel around Latin America by herself. We didn’t know how to help her to have her adventure and yet stay reasonably safe. So to start off we booked a month in Trinidad through Rena. It worked out very well – tailor-made Spanish classes organized by Rena every morning, then free time for trips in the afternoons and dancing at night. Fiona had the time of her life, she made lots of Cuban friends , went to their homes, went to festivals and parties with them, and travelled around with them. She was immersed in the local life and had many adventures, but at the same time she was living with Misleydis, who could always step in if anything went wrong. Misleydis was very kind and helpful and put herself out for Fiona. Her home is beautiful and comfortable, her food delicious and plentiful. The Spanish teacher listened to Fiona’s adventures and then explained what Fiona had observed. Rena gave Fiona all the information she needed to prepare for the trip , from airport formalities to advice on Cuban men! All this was direct conversation by personal e-mail, not general blurb from a tourist brochure. Rena was in touch with Fiona and with us throughout the month, and spent a lot of time helping us to get money to Fiona when she ran out. Now Fiona has gone to Colima Mexico to work as an intern at a volcano observatory. Her time in Trinidad has equipped her with usable Spanish and a good dose of extra experience and understanding.
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Kate

My boyfriend and I spent two weeks and a half weeks in Cuba over Easter 2012, and had a brilliant time thanks to some great tips from Rena. Special thanks for setting us up with a great Casa in Trinidad – Ana Mary and Pablo were really kind hosts, and we had a very beautiful room with a great private terrace. All the information on Experience the Real Cuba was really helpful for the practicalities as well. Thanks Rena! Kate
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Neil Versfeld

Just spent two weeks in Cuba over Dec 11. Rena thanks for all your help. Your arrangements made the trip so much easier. Really enjoyed the Casa in Trindad. The family I spent 6 days with were absolutely amazing and the accomdation was great. Food in the casa was also best of my stay in Cuba. Gustavo and Misladies, the owners, really made me feel like I was part of the family. Great trip.
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Hamed

I went to Cuba ove the Xmas and New year and had a phenomenal time. Thank you so much Rena for sorting some of the stuff out for us. Especially our time and Casa in Trinidad. Our hosts Misleydis and Gustavo were fantastic and we had an awesome time with them. The food at the Casa was far better than any restaurant we ate at and Gustavo was very helpful with our trips and also a great visit to a special ceramic making Casa. I would highly recommend Trinidad and of course the Casa that Rena can arrange. It made our trip very special.
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Sadia

Great recommendations on the site. I stayed in a lovely little casa in Trinidad – the family were so friendly and gave us lots of tips of where to go. It was great spending time with them too and indulging in beers in the garden!! Tried a couple of salsa lessons too, definatley worthwhile before heading out to “the steps” and getting whisked of your feet by a local cuban!!
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Rebecca

The only way to do Cuba! Enjoy the quaint but music-filled Trinidad, with the beach resorts and mountain waterfalls right nearby. All while staying with an amazing family who will treat you like one of their own and show you what the country is all about! I wish I could have stayed forever. Thanks Rena for making my Cuban experience unforgettable.
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Anna

I had a fantastic experience in Cuba, and cannot say enough about how helpful this site and Rena are. The family I stayed with in Trinidad was so welcoming, helpful, and sweet – plus the food the served was hands down the best I had in all of Cuba! I have nothing but praise! If you’re thinking about going there, just do it : )
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Peter Comfort

Great site. It makes me want to return to Cuba and explore the country again. I have traveled across Cuba and Trinidad is one of Cuba’s gems. A highlight of Trinidad for me was the hospitality of Misleydis and her family at their casa particular. They were all so friendly and the food was great. Their son introduced me to his pets, including the beetle with the glowing green eyes!
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Katharine Scott

Fabulous site!!! Really enjoyed browsing through this and found it very informative and thoroughly enjoyable and just loved looking at all the pics….Que fantastico!! Thanks for the great insight into this wonderful country …Cuba. Recommend after looking at this site that Cuba seems both fascinating and an enjoyable country that one must visit. Katharine
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Peter Eldridge

What a great site one feels as if they are actually there.!!…it gives down to earth practical information and a feeling of well,one must just go there.
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“I would definitely recommend “Experience the Real Cuba” to ANYONE who needs some support to get to the right places and enjoy the beauty of Cuba.”

Laura

Rena organised a transfer from Trinidad to Havana for us. She was quick to respond to emails and the transfer picked us up right on time. I would certainly recommend using her knowledge and contacts ????
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Emma

Rena was fantastic in helping to organise a private taxi transfer from Trinidad back to Havana, with a stop off in Cienfuegos along the way. Her communication and advice was great, and after we had booked we received a really clear itinerary from her. As advised, we made sure to call our taxi contact in Trinidad 24 hours prior to our journey, and the next morning our taxi driver showed up at our casa particular bang on time (FYI it helps if you can speak a little Spanish, as we found that many people, especially in Trinidad, don’t speak much of the language). The journey was very comfortable, and we stopped off for 2 hours in Cienfuegos (more than enough time!) to break up the journey and get a feel for the town. I would recommend organising through Rena – it was a great peace of mind to know everything was in hand, and even though a private taxi transfer is a little dearer than getting the Viazul Bus, it was definitely worth it!
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Mick Rowan

We used experiencetherealcuba to book a shared taxi from Havana to Trinidad and back and were really pleased with the service. From everything that we heard about the hassle that people had with Viazel and Transtur, we think it was a really good way to have travelled. The driver arrived in good time on both occasions and was very helpful when we got to our destination. Communication wasn’t easy as what bit of Spanish we had didn’t seem very effective (!) but he insisted on making sure that we were safely installed in our accommodation before leaving us. The car had air conditioning which we felt was essential – maybe because we are somewhat older travellers but I wouldn’t have wanted to do that journey (4/5 hours in 30+ degrees) without it. Rena was very helpful and efficient at email communication before we left and I would definitely use this website again.
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Maureen

We booked a shared taxi from Trinidad to Havana through Rena. She was really great at communicating and the shared taxi was quite comfortable for the 4 hour drive. Cuba is a wonderful place…wish I knew a little more Spanish, though ???? Thanks, Rena!
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Trang Tran

We booked Havana – Trinidad – Havana transfer with Rena. it was definitely a peace of mind to arrive in Cuba knowing that transportation is already taken care of. The drivers both time were very on time — they don’t speak much English but all seem friendly. The car from Trinidad back to Havana was great, large and comfortable with AC. The car from Havana to Trinidad was quite minimal and old but it did the job. I would recommend this service again!
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Clare Stocker

Rena organized a transfer for my son from the airport in Havana to Cienfuegos. She was quick to respond to emails. The driver was prompt and friendly, and my son found him easily at the arrivals terminal. I was able to relax knowing that my son was in capable and reliable hands. Thank you!
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Annette

We booked a shared taxi from Havana to Cuba and were very pleased with the service. Rena answered all our questions before our travel. Once in cuba we confirmed the taxi and everything worked out well. The taxi arrived on time and drove us directly from our casa particular in Havana to our new casa in Trinidad. The Driver was very nice and the taxi was in good conditions and had Aircondition. All perfect and it didn’t cost more than Viazul with much better service.
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Julie

Comfort 5/5 - Punctual 5/5 - Friendliness 4/5 - Air-Conditioning 5/5 ------------------------------------------------ Everything went very well! My contact person in Trinidad, Misleydis, was very professional and friendly on the phone, and the driver was on time and got us to Trinidad and then back to Havana safely
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"it was definitely a peace of mind to arrive in Cuba knowing that transportation is already taken care of. The drivers both time were very on time — they don’t speak much English but all seem friendly"