Expert's Corner

Hello! My name is Jacqui Birchall. I am a retired Surrey (BC) high school teacher. My students and I travelled to Cuba with this wonderful people. It was an amazing experience for my students, students who cried as we left Cuba. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about how to organize your trip and any other questions you may have about Cuba. I have been lucky enough to have spent time teaching in Cuba and I have travelled extensively throughout the island. I invite you to take your classroom to Cuba with us!
Go to Authentic Cuba Travel at authenticubatours.com
Go to Tours of Authentic Cuba Travel
Contact Authentic Cuba Travel at authenticubatours.com

USA Cuba Travel

U.S. Cuba Legal Travel It is possible for American citizens to go to Cuba legally. However, before embarking on your Cuba trip planning, be aware of all updates, revised restrictions and the intricacies of the

Cuba Travel Regulations
"First of all, our trip to Cuba turned out to be one of the outstanding experiences of my life. It far exceeded my expectations. Initially, the main reason for going was the music, but as it turned out, seeing the culture, seeing the people, meeting the people, interacting with some of our fellow travelers and other attractions dominated." Fred Friedman
"Kudos to our guide Mirelys. This was my second trip to explore the island of friendly Cuba with Authentic Cuba Travel. And it won't be the last! Your team has done a great job in putting together a well-rounded trip. I only wished that it lasted longer. And the price was reasonable and affordable. Again, Thank you and your team." Bret Boone
"Photographing in Cuba is a photographer's paradise. I had an excellent time and very pleased with the tour, hotels, restaurants and the service of our local guide David Camps Rodriguez. Contact between Authentic Cuba Travel worked very well as our communication increased as the tour got closer and all questions and needs were met. Cuba is a fantastic experience and my return through USA customs was very smooth and easy." Betty Lark Ross
"We thank Authentic Cuba Travel for making our trip to Cuba work so smoothly. We appreciated your professional assistance, but also your continual availability to answer any and all questions before we left. We would certainly look to you again for future Cuba travel." Anita & Jim Hadley
"We found Authentic Cuba Travel to be wonderfully helpful, not only with the arrangements for the Film Festival tour, but for extra add-on arrangements. As for the tour itself, a week in the Hotel Nacional and a pass to the film festival add up to pure happiness. Everything else was icing on the cake. Can’t wait until next year’s film festival!" Kathy Kahn
"Our trip to Cuba was unbelievable and I have only one word to describe it ILEANA. Her knowledge of the country and her openness made the education components of the trip so wonderful for our students. She also could be tough when needed to protect our students and gentle when they need encouragement. The students all loved her and our bus drive. Hotels and staffs were great! " S. Kent Miller, Culver-Stockton College
"We were welcomed by Deacon Juan Rios in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We distributed rosaries, holy cards, medicine and financial aid to the Deacon. During our second day, we visited the "Santovenia Senior Center," a Catholic nursing home for the elderly run by Sister Consuelo Pena..." Rev. Thaddeus Dzieszko
"We all had a really good trip to Cuba. It's a fascinating country with a lot of potential for the future. The people were warm and welcoming. Mirelys was as good a guide. She couldn't have been more cooperative. Efrin, our driver was also very capable. We appreciated all that you and Authentic Cuba Travel did to make our trip so rewarding." Arthur Selkowitz
"Our judicial Cuba trip was absolutely fantastic in every way--a trip of a lifetime. But I would be remiss if I did not tell you that our tour guide, Iliana, was so fantastic that I am still shaking my head in awe. I think she could single handedly re-establish diplomatic relations between beautiful Cuba and US. Your itinerary and lectures were so thoughtfully put together. It was a fabulous trip." Martha Simonet
"Seeing so much of the country was wonderful. Happening upon the sugarcane harvest was wonderful. I am glad we got to see the main birds we hoped to see- but the birding itself was the least important part of the trip. Another highlight was our last night together- we could not have been in a better place (Chez...)- great meal, fun waitstaff, great company. Well done! " Ralph Van Dusseldorp
Thank you so much to Yane and everyone at Authentic Cuba Travel. My trip in February to the International Book Fair was everything I wanted and more. The local tour guide was so helpful and informative. The entire Authentic Cuba team took care of us the entire week and made sure we had a safe, enjoyable week in Cuba! Not only would I recommend Authentic Cuba, but I'll probably travel with them again. Feel free to give my name and number to anyone with questions about your services. Angela Baldree, Librarian
"I can think of only positive things to say regarding your organization and the trip to Cuba. Your communication and attention to detail is spot on. I lacked nothing during my week in Cuba. You prepared us well. Our tour guide, Alexis, was the perfect blend of professionalism, knowledge, and sense of humor. I had a fabulous time and have no complaints. The Paladars in Havana are wonderful, we ate excellent food. The Paladar by the sea and lighthouse in Cienfuegos while visually beautiful could use some help with their food. Well done, Authentic Cuba Travel. Kathryn Dohn

Reviews & Testimonials about the Havana Jazz Festival Cuba Tours by Authentic Cuba Travel



The above movies were shot during Authentic Cuba Travel Official Cuba Tour to the Havana Jazz Festival 2011 by tour participant Orville Teising. We invite all those looking for reviews on Authentic Cuba Travel to watch them as they are the best graphic testimonials ever! Authentic Cuba Travel is forever grateful to Orville Teising for such a nice work.

Read Reviews and Testimonials from Authentic Cuba Travel Past Travelers to the International Jazz Festival of Havana. Please do contact Authentic Cuba Travel if you would like to hear directly from those who have so generously traveled and published their experiences in our websites



Great Collection of Photos by Tour Participant Audrey Hansen

First of all, our trip to Cuba turned out to be one of the outstanding experiences of my life. It far exceeded my expectations. Initially, the main reason for going was the music, but as it turned out, seeing the culture, seeing the people, meeting the people, interacting with some of our fellow travelers and other attractions dominated.

Our Cuban guide was Jorge Perez. I cannot say enough good things about him. He was knowledgeable, humorous, smart, patient and flexible. A couple people in the group wanted to visit a hospital, and he arranged it. There was a special concert at The Havana Jazz Cafe that several people wanted to attend, and he made reservations.

There were many highlights, but one I really enjoyed was our meeting with architect Miguel Coyula and the scale model of Havana. Miguel had so much information to convey. Listening to his personal opinions (and those of Jorge and Alexis) really added to the presentation. No one seemed to water down their remarks.

When it comes up while discussing our trip with friends, I will be telling them nothing but positive things about Authentic Cuba Travel. You did an outstanding job. Thanks so much for helping to make this such a memorable trip.

Fred Friedman

Reviews & Testimonials On Havana Jazz Festival Cuba Tour by Authentic Cuba Travel
Tour participants Anna Cortes and Rolando Ruiz (backseat) took amazing photos during the Havana Jazz Festival Cuba Tour! Thank you for sharing your great photos and nice reviews on the trip by Authentic Cuba Travel! Photo courtesy of Anna Cortes.
The tour was fantastic..

it was well planned out, the places we visited were engaging..

Jorge, our guide, was wonderful, knowledgeable, punctual with a great sense of humour and he even looked like Silvio!

Again, Cuba and the tour that Authentic Cuba Travel organized was great......Cuba always is!

Thanks again,

Ana Cortes and Rolando Ruiz


Tour participants George and June Kawaguchi shot this amazing movie on all Cuba Jazz Festival venues they attended as part of the Official Cuba Tour to the Havana Jazz Festival by Authentic Cuba Travel. Video courtesy of George and June Kawaguchi.
June and I were absolutely delighted with the package that Authentic Cuba Travel put together. We were particularly impressed with our Cuban guides Alexis and Jorge. We learned so much about Cuba on this trip because of their knowledge and interaction. Alexis's enthusiasm and love of Cuba was very contagious and his quality service to the group was second to none. We covered so much information that we would never had done on our own.

His knowledge of the history, culture, politics, architecture, arts, education, etc. was amazing.

He took time to answer all questions raised by the tour group and was so helpful in meeting the needs of everyone. He definitely went beyond the call of duty and exceeded our expectations. We had a great group of people in our tour and also met many from the other tour that we enjoyed. The meals exceeded our expectations as we had heard from friends that Cuban food was not tasty. I think that the connections of our guides made this a memorable experience.

The International Jazz Festival was amazing and we got to listen and see artist that we would never have encountered. We had heard about the music in Cuba from friends that have attended the International Jazz festival in the past. Your organization of this tour made it so easy for us as we did not have to worry about planning our day. Everything was done for us with the exception of our free time. The trip was first class and our thanks again for putting together an amazing package.

We will pass on your site to our friends that are thinking of travelling to Cuba in the near future.

George and June Kawaguchi

I am so pleased that part of the trip's revenues are helping people in Havana. We had an enormously rich experience in Cuba, learned so much, laughed so much and even danced a bit.

We can't adequately say enough about Authentic Cuba Travel, the help and support you provided during preparation for the trip. And, during our visit, the care and extraordinary insights Alex provided, his enthusiasm was never ending, his follow-up no matter how big or small a request never waned.

Jesus' driving skill added to his warm personality and made the bus rides more than pleasing. We felt safe in his care throughout the trip. Jorge made both groups feel as one.

In summary, your organization is "Triple A".

Ellen and I are discussing a return next year and have already promoted your organization to friends contemplating a visit to Cuba. I will endeavour to post our pictures as soon as I finish editing. Thank you and everyone for all you did to make this trip a highlight event of all our travels.

Neil Fox & Ellen Rudley

Rochelle and I have traveled throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe, sometimes on tours, and believe that makes us good judges of the quality of tours, the extensive planning required for a trouble-free tour, and also the quality of a tour guide. In terms of tours, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, you rate an 11 (eleven) for quality of the tour, 11 (eleven) for a hassle-free tour, and a 12 (TWELVE) for tour guides!!!!! In other words, off the charts. Each evening in Cuba we would finish a day and be amazed as the information we received, the things we saw, and the experiences we had.

The Jazz music experience was outstanding, including Alex's special arrangement for seats at a nightclub. Whenever the group, or part of the group, expressed a desire to go someplace to see or experience something, Alex was right there to make all the plans, and then follow-up to ensure they worked as expected. With the well-used, "T.I.C.", we had almost no This Is Cuba problems with the things Alex and Jorge arranged for us. They are truly amazing.

You were extremely wise to start our tour with the model replica of Habana and the presentation of the history, demograophy, and geology of the city. It made everything that followed all the more interesting and understandable.

Especially important, and one of the biggest surprises was Pena de Santa Amalia. An absolute delight and an opportunity to mingle with truly remarkable, joyful senior citizens. Be SURE to include those types of things in all your tours.

I know you will get lots of feedback from Alex's group because we are already networking by email because we all had such a positive experience. And speaking of Alex, I can't say enough good things about him. An extremely knowledgable guide, a connected Cuban who always knew who best to contact for whatever was needed, a dellightful sense of humor, a tireless worker on his cell phone checking and double-checking everything, extremely responsive to every issue and problem raised by one of our group about a hotel room, food issue, transportation, etc, and ready to laugh and have a good time at the drop of a hat. How he kept his high level of energy for 9 days amazed us all.

So thank you for all the behind the scenes work your staff in Canada and Cuba did for us. There is no way a group of 25 or 50 people can go to a third world country for 10 days with a full itinerary and have it trouble free. Except for this trip. (The hotels still have a long way to go to provide a first class experience, but then, you aren't responsible for that and This Is Cuba.)

Thank you for exceeding our expectations and providing a truly memorable experience,

Orv and Rochelle Teising

I want to thank Authentic Cuba Travel for making everything so easy, organized and informative. I lucked up on the roommate it worked out well. Everyone on the trip said you are the best organizers. I totally agree!

Jorge, our Cuban guide was one of the best parts of the trip. He is wonderful! He and his compadre Alexis were consummate guides. I would recommend your Jazz Cuba tour to anyone.

It's terrible we can't cross borders easily. I will contact my officials about lifting the embargo for families to visit one another. Much thanks.

Dakota Sands

So we are now able to make contact with you about our Cuba trip.

I wish there were adequate words to convey the kind of experience we had there.

It was delicious in every way!

I also wish I could express the quality of leadership and guidance Jorge brought to our group. He is both consummately knowledgeable, keen in oversight of our needs and imminently accessible. This combination made for a winning trip in every way. Adolfo was also a marvelous, respectful and sensitive driver, whom we enjoyed and appreciated.

Your deep planning and preparation was clearly evident, from the quality events of every day to the terrific people you paired us with. We were a great group and not only liked Jorge very much but each other as well. It was good to be matched with other families as we mixed generations well.

Our son Nate had an unforgettable time as well, both with the people in our group, the daily events and the great venues and music of the festival.

Over and over we heard that Authentic Cuba Travel provides some of the best touring on the island.

We thank you for all your work, all your responsiveness by email and all parts of your participation in readying our trip.

Please convey our thanks and great appreciation to your team there.

With all that is happening between our two countries, this excursion into amazing Cuba may serve for us as a first run, followed by more to come.

Along with our many thanks we wish you and all there heartfelt hope for a New Year filled with wellbeing and prosperity.

Sincerely,

Diane Webb

Thanks Yane. We had a fabulous time! Everything was perfect and was enhanced 100% by having Alex as our guide. He was so full of history, politics, so very well informed and entertaining. We feel so very fortunate. Thank you again for all your efforts in arranging this trip and we will recommend you to all. And have to recommend Alex.

Steve Alvey did find me on Linkedin. All the people on our tour were fun and fascinating as well.

Stay warm!!

Katherine Gabler

The year is off to a hectic start but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the trip. Many thanks! Our guide Reiner and our driver were wonderful, knowledgeable, attentive and fun. I learned so much about Cuba and had a wonderful time at the jazz festival. A wonderful way to absorb Cuban culture, history and people.

I’m so glad we decided to go with Authentic Cuba Travel and see more of Cuba than just Havana. The time in other towns was well worth the time on the road.

I’m looking forward to writing about my experiences and posting on our blog and perhaps other sources. It was wonderful. Thank you for the great service and terrific opportunity!

Donna Butts

Thank you for everything that went into making our Cuba experience one of those life time memories. The majority of the group enjoyed every minute. Everyone has specific moments and features that they liked best.

Our guide Jorge and driver were outstanding. It is good to have a guide who can provide you with the history, culture and adventure that is available in their country as well as driver who knows best roads and highways to reach those places. Sue Pearce, Lisa Hittle and you certainly were helpful in helping companions organize their paperwork. Also thank you for assisting with the air tickets. Hope to work with you in the future on another Cuba trip.

Lisa is having a reunion on Jan. 28 in which photos will be shared. It will be best to have her send you some of them. I am sure James Siebert, as well as. Deanna Summers should have some great photos that were with our group of Companions. I am sure there are others, too, that I am not aware of but will see them at reunion.

Best regards!

Bobbi Hansen

This trip to Cuba has to rate up there with the best trips I have taken. Our guide, Jorge, could not have been any better. His intimate knowledge of not only Cuba, but world current events, provided us with excellent conversation and a better understanding of his beloved country. Our trip was action packed and some of the guests were unable to keep up the pace of all the action. Several skipped events to ‘rest up’. I would recommend to anyone a trip like the one I just experienced.

Gary Duggan


During the Cuba Tour to the Havana Jazz Festival, tour participants Rochelle Harringer, Harriet Ravetz and others rock Havana! This video is a testimonial of events :) It was shot during a lunch at Cafe Taberna that was arranged by Authentic Cuba Travel. Do not miss the many reviews on Authentic Cuba Travel(below). Video Video courtesy of tour participant, Orville Teising.

Thank you, thank you....Our trip to Cuba will certainly be remembered as one of a lifetime.

We were incredibly lucky to have Jorge as our guide. I was deeply moved by his passion, and love for his country...his pride and knowledge was amazing.

We learned so much about Cuba and her history, even some of our history that isn't printed in our history books!!! sad.....Can't say enough about that guy. He's brilliant!

Cuba is a beautiful country, and her people are wonderful. Those that we had the privilege of sharing such a short time with will remain a great memory. We were really impressed with all the young musicians we encountered...the quality of their education, and playing is impressive. We felt privileged to see and hear them because they will be the big names in the future.

How fortunate are we to have had this opportunity. Roberto Fonseca, fantastic! Wow!!! Gonzalo Rubalcaba..Beautiful! Eman Lopez-Nussa, Oh my god!!!! I loved Jorge Luis Pacheco, one of the young talents we saw at the Hotel Cohiba. I cannot possible put in words how much I was touched by this wonderful trip. Along with great memories, we were able to bring back lots of their music. We love it, and will play it forever.

I sincerely hope to return to Cuba again. I feel very fortunate to have been able to experience it now....I know changes are sure to come...I can only hope they will be for the better...I know I will forever be enriched by my experience there. I will treasure my memories.

Rochelle Harringer

First of all, I must tell you that we had a wonderful trip, as usual (this being our third trip with you). Every day was filled with interesting and fun activities. Our tour guide, Israel, was a lot of fun and very knowledgeable. We were fortunate also to have a great group of people to travel with for the week.

Since this is our third Jazz Festival trip we were pleased to have some variations to the itinerary e.g. the trip to Cienfuegos and Trinidad. We really enjoyed the visit to the home of the local Cubans and enjoyed dancing with them.

About the jazz festival itself, of course it was a treat to listen to Chucho and Roberto Fonseca. I did find though that it would have been helpful if we were given information on some of the local festivities that were happening in Havana. It was too late when we found out about an interesting street festival that happens on the Sunday during the day. All in all it was a great trip.

Myrna and Peter Tydd

Hi Yane--while things are fresh in my mind I thought I would take a moment and drop you a line and give you some feedback. Let me first say that Freda and I had a wonderful time and are very pleased that we went on this trip. Also let me say that the effort that you and your company put forth to make this a trip one that we will remember for a long time is commendable. Authentic Cuba Travel did a great job and we thank you.

The Tour--Israel was fantastic--he was knowledgeable, fun, good command of the English language and always made you feel that he would do anything to help make your trip enjoyable and did. Your bus was clean and comfortable. Freda and I thought the itinerary was wonderful and always informative. We understand that at times things happen that one doesn't expect but Israel always came thru with the solution and there were no disappointments. Great Tour!

We wish you and yours a happy and healthful new year and all the best.

Freda & Frank Kaplan

We really did have a wonderful time and we are impressed with how well taken care of we all felt, from start to finish.

Authentic Cuba Travel did a superb job helping us to prepare for this trip. Alex was not only our educator, but it is clear that he cares deeply about his country and helping those who are less fortunate than he is. I really admire him for that. Jeff and I are actually thinking of going back in the not too distant future. We want to go to Santiago de Cuba. So along with my mom, I would certainly recommend Authentic Cuba Travel to anyone who asks for a referral (already have to some friends).

I am not quite sure what sort of photos you are looking for. Here is a link to my set. If you want to use any of them, let me know, and I will email you the original (for higher quality)

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151328543209679.494056.810364678&type=1&l=cb653ea4d0

By the way, Mom made it through NY customs with no questions asked. Jeff and I were pulled over by customs and they asked to see our papers!! Thank goodness we had them. They quickly flipped through them, did not search our luggage, asked a couple of questions, and sent us on our way. Chuck, who was ahead of us, was not stopped. They asked us if we were with a group and we said no. I wonder if that was why they pulled us over.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the holidays. Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year.

Sincerely,

Carol Morris

Joe and I want to express our tremendous thanks for putting together a phenomenal trip to Cuba. Not only was the Jazz festival amazing, but all the other unique details of the trip were wonderfully executed.

We also can't say enough positives about Alex. His insights, commentaries on what we were seeing, and perspective on life in Cuba also made the trip remarkable. He really took extra steps whenever possible to make our trip unique and tailored to where our interests were.

Just a few of the highlights for us were:

* meeting Miguel Coyula at the scale model- a perfect introduction to Havana;
* visiting and dancing with the members of the Pena de Santa Amalia (hadn't any idea what that was going to be, but definitely loads of fun);
* Las Terrazas and coffee at Maria's (want a franchise of her coffee in the US!);
* lunch, music and dancing (I'll probably end up on Youtube!) at Cafe Taberna;
* hearing Roberto Fonseca at the Jazz Cafe (he's one of our favorites);
* hearing the many talented musicians in a variety of venues;
* special dinner in Trinidad (awesome food and setting); and
* just experiencing all that Cuba has to offer.

I would highly recommend Authentic Cuba Travel to anyone inquiring. Feel free to use us as a reference. The people on our tour were fantastic companions. We enjoyed traveling with each and every one of them, and amazingly, have already gotten together with some of them!

Again, many thanks for one of our most remarkable vacations that we will long remember. Oh, and who was responsible for the champagne and birthday cake in celebration of my birthday???? One more special touch!!!

Harriet & Joe Ravetz.

I just returned from the Jazz Tour in Havana with trips to Cienfuegos and Trinidad. First, I want to thank you, Yane for your excellent customer service. You succeeded in making me feel comfortable as a US citizen every step of the way. You answered all of my questions promptly and thoroughly. Everything went smoothly and I will recommend Authentic Cuba Travel to all of my friends.

Jorge was my tour guide and he was the BEST. We all loved him for his knowledge of Cuba, his love of the island and the great way that he cared for us. He went out of his way to accommodate our wishes and made the trip lots of fun. His personality is perfect for his job. Cuba was a wonderful experience. I cannot wait to return.

Many thanks to you and your colleagues.

Jean C. Matthews.

We had a wonderful time in Cuba thanks to you guys and our great guide, Alexis Hernandez.

After nearly 30 years of working in heritage and cultural tourism, I can truthfully say that Alexis Hernandez is the best guide I’ve ever experienced in any country, able to translate not just language but culture and the soul of Cuba. His willingness to go the extra mile to help each of us, his indefatigable energy and good nature – he is a prize.

The adjustments you guys made to our itinerary at the last minute brought added value – the art museum, the children’s theater were highlights of the trip.

We’ll send some photos soon.

One small issue to bring up, so you can bring it to the attention of any US folks entering Cuba from Nassau: we discovered there’s a $67.50 departure tax from Nassau to Havana. Yikes! They said it had been included in the ticket for our return, but not for our departure. I found it very high and more than odd, but this was not the time to fight it. Later, looking on the web, it seems there is a $15 departure tax for most flights, and inexplicably the $67.50 one for Havana only. We might have chosen to enter via Cancun had we known.

We’re already thinking ahead to our next Cuba adventure, definitely with you guys!

Mary Means + Archene Turner

Got back from Cuba yesterday and had a terrific trip. The music, food and tour guide were excellent saw a lot of Cuba and learned a great deal about the culture . The people on the tour were great as well I will certainly recommend the Havana Jazz Festival trip and Authentic Cuba Travel to others.

John (Sandy) Mackenzie

Authentic Cuba Travel provided a lifetime of exquisite experiences during our Friends University Companions excursion to Cuba. Cuba left an unforgettable impression. The country is beautiful as are her people. Our tour group had the opportunity to be seated only rows away from the stage for the famous International Havana Jazz Festival 2012 at several of the venues. This was only one of the many highlights. Other highlights included a tour of the National Museum of Fine Arts which encapsulates Cuban history and identity through stunning Cuban art. Also, included was the outstanding outing at the natural wonders of Cueva Del Indio in Western Cuba. Education, music, dancing, art, adventure, natural wonders and new friendships await you in Cuba. Viva our Cuban tour!

Vicki Cruz, Wichita, KS

Relaxing in Las Terrazas during Cuba Jazz Trip.
A day trip to Las Terrazas Eco- Community seems like a good recharging option after a exciting night at Mella Theatre during the Havana Jazz Festival. These photos by Authentic Cuba Travel tour participant, Sue Pearce are great reviews on the Cuba tour. Do not miss Sue Pearce Gallery!
I have been fortunate to travel all over the world in my lifetime, and this trip to Cuba ranks in the top three. Seeing Africa for the first time, seeing the Vatican for the first time and now Cuba for the first time. Words cannot describe how wonderful Cuba is...

Jorge was a large part of our group and really was professional and very knowledgeable not only of his country, but the world as well.

Jorge told Lisa and I that people who were helping us have a great time would be compensated. We are so glad of that.

Visiting the Pena de Santa Amalia was an absolute delight. I cannot wait to return.

Thanks for organizing a great trip!

Sue Pearce



I had a wonderful time. Jorge was exceptionally sweet, Alexis was the perfect guide, and Jesus (our bus driver) was the absolute best--and very cute. Seriously, they took such good care of us. I always felt safe and in good and knowledgable hands.

I went on the jazz tour, but the highlight for me was the cultural tour. Each day I learned something new and gained new insight on what I already know. I would gladly do another tour with Authentic Cuba! My only request would be to have Alexis, or someone with his experience, as a guide. Please don't misunderstand -- even though the cultural tour was my highlight, the music was off the hook! Very good, indeed.

Please tell everyone--especially those behind the scenes whom I've never met--that this was the best. I received way more than I expected. Thank you.

If you ever need a reference, I'd be happy to tell anyone about my wonderful experience in Cuba with Authentic Cuba Travel.

And a very big thank you to you, Yane. I'm not sure if I would have done this without your guidance. You were my first contact at Authentic Cuba Travel and you immediately won me over.

Kara Meredith

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Cuba and have said it was one of the best trips we've taken. So many things came together to make it successful. First, we loved out guide, Jorge. He was very fun and had a great way with the group. He was very knowledgeable about info within and outside of Cuba. He seemed very credible, honest and was clear when he was sharing "his opinion". He was very flexible and accommodated various people's needs and requests. He was just a great guy to spend time with. Our driver, Cristabol, also did a great job. I was especially impressed when he parallel parked our huge bus on the left side of the street!

The places and programs that we saw were interesting and informative. Our favorite was the experience with the elder dancing group. What fun and a great connection with the people. Later we saw some of them at the Jazz festival and they greeted us like long lost friends! I was very pleased to hear that groups that we visited got some re numeration for their time and energy.

I had some concern about being with a large group but was pleasantly surprised at how well this worked out. Thank you for dividing the large group into two separate buses/guides. This really allowed us to get to know the people in our group and we found interesting and friendly people who all mixed very well. We are anxiously awaiting the email list from Lisa in Kansas, as we would like to stay in touch and send pictures.

I enjoyed the Jazz festival and the easy access, but there was a little more emphasis on fusion that I needed. The more casual venues were great and over all, we really enjoyed the music of Cuba.

Our accommodations were very adequate and meals were appreciated. We were surprised that food did not have a little more spice!

So, great job, great trip. Thanks to Authentic Cuba Travel for all your hard work.

Phyllis Heims

Yane, thank you for everything that was provided on our Cuba journey. Our guide Jorge and coach driver were the best. Everyone enjoyed getting to know more about Cuba and its people. Hope to work with you in the future.

Bobbi Hansen

Being just back I trying to catch up with things and have family visiting for a few days. It was a wonderful trip and I am happy to share thoughts in a while.

Wishing you and all the great people who made this tour so great a very happy new year!

Lois Greenberg

Just wanted to let you know Doby and I are back in DC- returned last night from Cuba. All we can say is that we had an absolutely amazing time (and this goes for Mary and Archene)- so much so that we are already planning our next trip to Cuba- it is a beautiful country. All arrangements were great and Alex, our tour guide was simply wonderful and left a terrific impression on all in Group 1.

We cannot say enough about Alex- his passion for Cuba came across in his extensive knowledge and insight. We had no problems with immigration coming through Nassau and the officer asked no questions about our research. Nor were our bags checked. The only down was that when leaving Nassau to Havana (Dec 16), we had to pay in cash, $67 US per person as departure tax. This tapped into our US funds for Cuba as it was an unplanned expense, and we wish we had known about it. Fortunately, everyone had taken adequate funds, so we were fine.

Doby and I wish to thank you very much for all your assistance, and the very professional and thorough manner in which all communications/arrangements were made via ACT. We will highly recommend ACT to friends and family, and plan to use ACT again for our next Cuba trip. Please keep us informed of any special trips, itineraries to Cuba in the next couple of years (small groups). We would like to see Santiago (if it recovers from the hurricane) and Baracoa (sp?) per Alex's recommendations. Also, let us know where we can officially leave comments or give feedback on our trip before reality sets in (back to work next week).

Warm Regards to you and we wish you a wonderful new year!

Ravita Maharaj & Welton Dobby

Happy New Year to all of you at Authentic - personally, I thought the tour more than met my expectations. Israel is an amazing guide and provides amazing insights, was always looking out for our best interests, was amazingly knowledgeable with a wonderful sense of humor.

It was evident that everywhere we went people had a great deal of respect for him. We all felt our bus was the best. It was a smaller group of very interesting people. As a professional musician, the music was the most highly anticipated for me and I was not disappointed.

The music throughout the country and at the Festival was so diverse, traditional and was everything I thought it would be and more. I'm happy to review my photos and share with you. The extra days spent in Havana after the toure were four of the richest I have ever experienced.

I found the Cuban people extremely warm and wonderful. More later. Thank you again, Yane, for all of your help in preparing for this amazing trip. I'm set to take Spanish and return next year. I'll be in touch.

Julianne Olson

Just a few words to express my feelings about the Cuba trip. IT WAS FANTASTIC Our group was so interesting. Although I was by far the oldest I was able to keep up with everyone and I was treated like the Matriarch! Alexis was a fantastic guide and I would highly recommend him. He was very knowledgable, pleasant with a great sense of humor. and he went out of his way to see that everyone was comfortable. So thank you very much for being such a good arranger I would be happy to speak to any ffuture travellers who are interested in your tours.I wish you and your staff a very happy New Year! Sincerely

Iris Orens

Had a great trip. So glad Sue let me know about the opportunity. Jorge’ was a great tour guide. We loved him (and I think everyone our trip did as well). He was very knowledgeable and tried to make any arrangements we requested. Trying to get caught up at work from being gone and also I am getting ready to leave this weekend to celebrate our Christmas with the rest of the family and then will be gone next weekend as well so it will probably be a few weeks before I will be able to write more about how wonderful our trip was and suggestions for future trips, etc. I also haven’t even had a chance to download or actually review my pictures, but I will.

Ashley Davis

We had a marvellous time in Cuba. It couldn't have been better.

Jorge is the BEST guide ever! He is so passionate about his beautiful country, so helpful, so patient , so funny, so hard working, so honest. We loved him and greatly appreciate everything he did to make our Cuban adventure so memorable.

Cristobal was an excellent driver, very professional and hard working. We are very grateful that he delivered us safely to all our excursions.

And we deeply appreciate all the folks "behind the scenes" who contributed to the success of our trip.

And Yane, you were so great to talk to on the phone and so very good at organizing everything for us. There were no unwelcome surprises!

We loved all the Jazz Festival events and all the other visits and excursions. A favourite was our visit to Pena de Santa Amalia. It was sooo much fun and we saw some of the folks in that evening at the outdoor venue beside Teatro Mella. A small suggestion...perhaps you could consider having one group visit at a time as it was pretty crowded.

Many, many thanks to all who made this the best trip EVER!!

Donald and Joan Turner


Authentic Cuba Travel tour participant Lin Witte put about 100 photos together into a great slideshow! An excellent testimonial of her experiences during the Havana Jazz Festival Cuba Tour. Do not miss her nice reviews on Authentic Cuba Travel (left) too! Video courtesy of Lin Witte.
Just thought I would drop you a line to say that my trip to Cuba in December was great! The jazz festival and related activities were great; it was wonderful to go to Trinidad and Cienfuegos as well. Alexis is a really amazing guide. I was also glad you dissuaded Pat from coming to the airport- it was a madhouse and the plane was quite late from Cancun which I understand happens a lot...so, good advice! And absolutely no problem getting a cab, much easier process than Cancun for instance.

I especially liked a little neighborhood club we visited in the daytime where a super jazz group performed and some dancers at a place in Old Havana where we had lunch. I also liked that Alexis could accommodate the groups ideas sometimes, this made it a lot more fun. (I think it was a pretty cool group that we had also.)

I have traveled to quite a few places and I cannot recall anywhere that was more interesting or felt more safe than Cuba. The people are warm and beautiful. The architecture is just magnificent. I know there is a lot more to see and do in Cuba!

Thanks for all your help.

Lin Witte

I am writing to report that Eva and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Cuba, Dec 14 – 28, 2013. The accommodations were good, the daily bus tour stops always interesting and very well planned and executed. Our travelling companions were all interesting people and Alexis Herdandez Rodriguez was a most competent, informative and friendly Cuban Tour Guide; Alex really made learning about Cuba’s cities, landscape, culture and history fascinating. Even the weather and temperature was pleasant every day we were there, and all of us appreciate you arranging this to be so! Eva and I have already recommended your company and Alex Hernandez Rodriguez to others in our circle of friends and family. THANK YOU to everyone at Authentic Cuba Tours for making our trip so enjoyable!

Personally, I have always had an interest in Cuba’s social revolution and most remarkable survival under many years of U.S. economic oppression and political aggression. I took the time to read the Fidel Castro Reader while in Cuba, enjoyed the many historical museums and political exhibits and talked to Alex and other Cubans we met about the challenges of Cuban life and the changes that are now occurring to the economy and Cuban society. I learned a lot in those two weeks and am eager to return to travel Cuba from coast to coast on my own motorcycle, to experience and learn more.

Steve and Eva Alvey


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