Cuba filled me with great unexpected wonder. At first glance, it is a country that time seems to have forgotten, but it is one filled with stunning landscapes, mind blowing classic cars, amazing architecture and cultural arts, fascinating history, incredible food and the very best of people. My thanks to Kristin Mayer for being the greatest friend and travel companion anyone could ask for, the crew at www.cubatraveltrips.com for a true immersive Cuban experience, Ronald Brayan Infante Chavez for sharing your beautiful country and Randy Richardson for making it all come together.
Four years ago, when I first visited Cuba, there was so much hope for its future. This was soon after Obama had opened the doors to travel from the US to Cuba, thawing relations between the two countries that had been so cold for half a century. (Spoiler Alert: I have started writing a suspense novel set in Cuba at that time.) Today, I am saddened to say that all that hope has faded, as Trump has slowly closed the doors that Obama had opened. Cruise ships can no longer sail from the US to Cuba. The most popular category to travel from the US (educational, also known as "people-to-people") has been eliminated. And starting next month, flights from the US to all airports in Cuba, except in Havana, are ending. You can see the effect that these and other trade restrictions imposed by the US are having on Cuba. Tourism is way down. The lines at gas stations are hours long. The Cubans acknowledge that their own government shares the blame for the country's troubles. But our US policies are not helping. They are making things worse for the people who live there and love their country. It is still a beautiful if crumbling country that very much feels like it has been frozen in time. We, as a country, need to do better for this island nation that lies just 90 miles away from our own. I am so grateful to my friends, Frank Gonzalez at Cuba Travel and Tourism and Ronald Brayan Infante, who have introduced me to their families and their country. It my sincere wish that the hope that I saw four years ago will soon return.
This was the first time I have every booked a tour and I had some reservations when I did. Once I got to Cuba they all disappeared. This trip was everything I could have asked for. The accommodations, meals, tour guide and our personal 1958 Ford were more than I could have expected. I would highly recommend Mambi Tours to anyone planning on going to Cuba. I have already told many of my friends about this. Thanks Frank
Enjoyed our tour with Ronald from Cuba Trave & Trips. History, highlights, unique facts and beautiful buildings all packaged along with Cuba libres, mojitos and hospitality. Very memorable experience! I just returned from my first visit to Cuba via girls trip cruise. Our itinerary had us in Havana for 1 1/2 days so it was vital to see all the highlights plus more in a short amount of time. I arranged my one day tour with Cuba Travel & Trips and we had an amazing guide Ronald. We met at Plaza de San Francisco and began our walking tour. Ronald has a vast knowledge of Cuban history and points out unique and interesting features to buildings along the way. Ronald was kind enough to take our picture so we don’t have just solo shots. After our walking tour, we met up with our driver, Jorge, who drove a gold Pontiac convertible. Our driving tour included more narratives about the city and sites. We stopped at Starbien for delicious lunch and refreshing beers. The afternoon visit to the Nacional Hotel was rich and scenic. We enjoyed their signature mojitos and were serenaded by the local musical trio. After a short break back on the ship to get ready for dinner, my friend and I met up with Ronald again to view the Cannon ceremony. Ronald provided background to the ceremony and kept us in the best viewing vantage points. We walked then to the Canon restaurant and enjoyed another amazing meal and Cuba libres. Of course, all with live music. In addition to seeing all the sites, we learned about everyday life for Cubans and the limitations to internet, private business, government schooling, healthcare, etc. Cuban people are very kind and generous and I very much appreciate the sincere hospitality given to us. My friend and I feel we made the most of our full day in Havana, thanks to Ronald and Cuba Travel & Trips.
My trip to Cuba was absolutely incredible due to our tour guide, Ron. He was not only extremely knowledgeable, well organized, punctual, flexible, and communicative, but was able to effectively weave together a bridge between past, present, and future, and thus transmit a clear and holistic understanding of what Cuba is. Looking back I really wouldn’t have changed one thing. I highly recommend traveling with him!
Getting involved with Cuba Travel and Trips was one of the best travel decisions we ever made. There is no doubt in our minds that working with Frank and his team made this one of our best vacations ever. They opened up Cuba to show us what a marvelous, friendly, vibrant, and exciting culture that Cuba and its people have to share. It’s quite obvious that Frank’s business is very established, professional, and has the best contacts for the many exciting experiences Cuba has to offer. From meeting his friend George and driving through the city in his classic 1951 Belair, touring a typical neighborhood and stopping at Frank’s home to have his wife serve us an amazing cup of Cuban coffee, or walking the streets with his guide Beatriz, there wasn’t a single minute when we weren’t having fun, learning some Cuban history, or just living the experience of being immersed in the Cuban culture. Our main guide was Beatriz. A teacher, Cuban born, friendly, knowledgeable (she speaks five languages), upbeat, energetic, personable, intuitive, and just an all-around great person. I can’t think of a single question we asked that she couldn’t answer. Her knowledge of Cuban history is amazing. Although a teacher, her information doesn’t transfer like a cold school lesson. It’s more like speaking time with a friend, sharing her excitement of the culture and the “where and why” of what Cuba is today. Whether it be an historical monument, dance bar, jazz nightclub, art museum, or a walk through the backstreets of a neighborhood, Beatriz was always informative, easygoing, and helped make every moment more interesting and enjoyable. She never came off as a tour guide “doing her job”, it was much more like you had a Cuban friend who was excited about showing you her country and culture. Cuba Travel and Trips offer many different options. You may be like us, a little hesitant of pre-programmed, guided tours. Frank is just the opposite. While having certain “go-to” experiences, he listens to what you want, truly customizing your experience. From the first e-mail, you start a dialogue of what interests you, and Frank suggests events/tours/historical areas, and activities that you would enjoy. Beyond that, his tour guide takes over (although he did make a point to stop and visit with us several times to make sure we were having fun). During one conversation, Beatriz learned about our interest in the various religions of Cuba, so she added a stop where we were able to meet with a local expert. As much pre-planning as you do for a vacation, changes often occur as you become more immersed in the region you’re visiting. With Beatriz being able to adjust our activities as she learned more about us, made the trip more personalized and satisfying. Even with some Cuban travel being permitted, it may still come across as being a closed country due to some government regulations. This climate can turn people away from planning a trip. Quite the opposite, if you have reason to go, and you are smart enough to contract Cuba Travel and Trips, you are guaranteed a fantastic vacation. Cuba is a beautiful country, and the people are very welcoming. Having Frank and Beatriz to guide us through our many wonderful experiences, guarantees a good vacation. With Beatriz being born there, along with many of Frank’s relatives, they are very much in touch with the Cuban people. Not just in language, but in local culture, and how to get the most out of your visit to this amazing country.
Thank you so much for taking us on an unforgettable tour of Cuba and its people. It was truly an experience of a lifetime, and Mambi Tours was the perfect host. Frank and Carla went out of their way to make our tour everything we hoped for and more. They listened to us and built us a customized tour just for us. Our personal tour guide, Ronald, was knowledgeable, friendly and gracious. I feel like we will be friends for life. We enjoyed the trip so much that we are already making plans to book again for next year!