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"We just returned from a visit to Cuba, and it was not what we expected. The whole family loved it! Havana is an interesting and very old city, and the people make you feel welcome. Mambi Tours and Cuba Travel Trips did a great job organizing our trip, and it was exactly what we wanted. I highly recommend them!"
Carlos CarrascoMLB PITCHER Traveler Profile
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/Cuba Travel Trips 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!
Randy RichardsonChicago Writers Association Traveler Profile
Cuba is a must see! It's as exotic as Morocco, and only a forty-five minute flight from Tampa! Cuba in February is an awesome escape from New York weather, Cuba and Cuba Travel Trips are great!
Peter GalantinoTraveler Profile
“My son found Cuba Travel Trips on the internet, which has now become Mambi Tours (www.mambitours.com). We didn’t know much about them, but they were able to put together an interesting itinerary, on fairly short notice, and arrange for the plane tickets and visas. You have to pay in advance, so we took a risk booking with them. Our trip was organized by Frank Gonzalez, and facilitated by several other people along the way. The result was a fabulous trip. We spent six days in Havana, with one day trip to the beach. The two of us enjoyed the services of a full-time guide and air conditioned car pretty much all day every day. The driver, Yamir, taught us a lot about Cuba and was great company for the activities. We stayed at a couple places, including L’Art Hostal (www.l-arthostal.com), which was nice and clean and well located. The people there were very nice. Our experience was that Cuba is not the place for a resort experience, but it is absolutely fascinating from an economics/political science perspective, Havana was very safe, and the people were very nice.”
John BellackTraveled from Oregon Traveler Profile
Melia Cohiba Hotel. When you read other review of the Melia Cohiba you will read that it is an out of the way hotel. This is not true. It is in the heart of Habana. It was my first hotel on a ten day Cuba trip. I got the opportunity to stay in a spacious room that had the following. Please note this is important because at the other hotel (nacional) and resort (Iberostar) these amenities were not available. So, I had two facecloths each day; Free wifi all day long every day; Free safe in the room; Toilet paper both in the room and in the public bathroom; King size bed with the bedding and sheets spotless; 3 Towels each day, (1) short, (2) long. For my package breakfast was included each day and it was very good with a variety and something new each day. This is a true business hotel and caters superbly to its customers. Heck, even Thelma Houston stayed there during the LGBT Festival. I had the great opportunity to sit and talk with her for a few minutes. This hotel had the full fledge services as in the states. restaurants, gift shops, outside swimming pool, spa, workout center, business center; jazz lounge, wonderful spacious bar area and much more. It is centrally located and the cab stand is just a 5 step walk out the door. You can rent a traditional cab, a mini cab; or a luxury tour car cab right from the front door. The ocean is right outside about 100 yards. This is an immaculate hotel with top notch customer service, quality and accommodations. I am very glad this was my first hotel because had it been my last, I would have had such a bad impression of the other two that I probably would not have written any review of Cuba. When Americans come to Cuba this is the only hotel you stay in because it is the closest to what we are used to. It is a 5 Star. Thanks Frank From Cuba Travel Trips For making the arrangements. First off no matter where Palacio De Los Capitanes Generales Let me just say when visiting Havana Cuba this museum is a must see. It has documented Cuban pre-revolution culture, art and transportation beautifully. The preservation of all the exhibits is superb. The attendants at each exhibit are knowledgeable, friendly and very willing to take your picture. For you Americans, take a moment to through your guide (if you don't speak Spanish) have a conversation with the attendants. They are very eager to learn English and are making the effort to learn. One attendant had a pad of paper and whenever she encountered an American who wanted to speak with her, wrote down the names of the exhibits in English as she learned them so that in the future she could say it in English to the next American who came. Truly a people to people experience. It is a self walking tour with many rooms and exhibits. In the transportation room sits Ernesto - by day an attendant but on the side a professional photographer. He will enjoy taking your pictures in front of the exhibits. When I visited Saturday May 9th the entire first floor of the museum was free. Look at the pictures then plan to visit. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g147271-d311154-r271138929-Palacio_De_Los_Capitanes_Generales-Havana_Cuba.html# Razones This was the first authentic Cuban food I had upon arrival in Havana Cuba. My private guide Frank Gonzalez from Cuba Travel took me there with Manny our driver/surgeon. Note to all American's: Cuba has lots of stairs in many establishments. Ok back to review. After climbing a fight of stairs (approximately 14 steps) you enter into a beautiful authentic Cuban open air restaurant. (they do have inside section for those who don't want to experience dinner as the locals do). There are ceiling fans that blow a warm gentle breeze while you eat. The service is superb, friendly, quick and efficient. Frank ordered a cheese and meat appetizer and bread and butter came with it. I mention the bread and butter because it was the best bread outside of Kings Hawaiian I have ever tasted. I ordered a pork and chirizo plate. Frank had saviche (not correct spelling) and Manny ordered the Rib dinner. To get to the rest rooms, you walk on a floor aquarium. Very unique. Again, look at the pictures and once you arrive in Havana Razones is the first place to go. Bravo Razones cain't wait to return. There was so much that I did it is hard to put in an email. If you want to view any pictures I personally took, go to tripadvisor and look for my login: infoctrl.
Pamela WallerTraveled from Carolina del Sur Traveler Profile
Day 1 When we arrived in Cuba, I was quite pleased to find that our driver, Dalia, was there at the airport waiting for us as soon as we got through customs. Unfortunately neither she nor I had the complete address for our B&B, so she drove around for hours trying to find it. Before arriving in Havana, I was informed that the B&B was Esquina de Suarez y Corrales. The information she had had the name of our B&B as Jesus Maria, which became confused with El barrio Jesus Maria. She spent hours driving around and asking for directions. If she or I had had more explicit directions or a better address, this could have been avoided. We did not get a panoramic tour of the city that night. Because we were going to do a tour of the city, I did not think it was crucial to convert our money to CUC's at the airport. Since it was rather late by the time we found our B&B, we were too tired to go to El Gato Tuerto. Day 2 It was disappointing that the Jazz Workshop and cultural exchange fell through. A day or so later we had a get together with Julito Padron and Juan Carlos Marin, but it was not the Jazz Workshop and cultural exchange presented by a group of world class Cuban musicians that we were scheduled to attend and no discussion of the fusion of typical Cuban instruments, nor was it performed at a Havana club; however, it was better than nothing at all. La Lavandería studio and workshop was great. It was one of the highlights of my son's trip to Cuba, along with Fusterlandia and the Museo de Bellas Artes. Day 3 The Cigar factory tour fell through because the Cigar Factory was closed for the weekend. We were given a ticket to the Cigar factory and had to go back another day. Because of the cancellation, Jorge, our driver, took us to Fusterlandia. Jorge is an excellent driver and guide. (He even helped us line up a taxi for our return trip from the Tropicana Cabaret that night. The performance was great.) Jorge is very professional, knowledgeable and great to be around. He is a wonderful, caring driver and guide. It was very important to Jorge that we let you know that he did a very good job. He sure did. He is certainly an asset to your tours. Despite the problems that our driver had finding our B&B the day we arrived in Havana, the transportation from the airport, around Havana, between cities and to the airport was very good. Day 5 The walking tour of Trinidad fell through. There was no tour guide. Ernesto seemed to think that we had told him to take us to the wrong B&B, yet that was the information that we had been given. B&Bs The Hostal "Jesús María (Havana Vieja) is a nice B&B with a nice balcony. The food was rather good. Unfortunately Zenaida, the lady in charge is a very aggressive, angry woman who is verbally abusive and unkind to her help. My son was shocked to hear Zenaida yell at one of her helpers and call her "bestia". The day we were checking out she was fighting with her son and grandson. When she checked us out she came in the room and took everything off the beds and took inventory of all the items right in front of us. Then she asked me what I had done with the pillow case that was on my bed. The day before, I had noticed that there was a spot on my pillow case, so I took it off, washed out the spot and hung it to dry in the bathroom. When my bed was made that morning another pillow case was put on the pillow. When she asked for the pillow case, I went to the bathroom where the pillow case was hanging and took it to her. As I was about to leave I noticed that the maid was about my size (Zenaida is a much bigger, fatter worman) so I offered to give her my new shoes that had caused me to get a blister on my foot. When Zenaida heard me offer the shoes to the maid, she flew into a rage and yelled at me that I could not give the shoes to Cristina, I had to give them to her (Zenaida). It was a very ugly confrontation. I thought of putting the shoes back in my bag, but I feared that Zenaida would take it out on Cristina, so I gave the shoe to Zenaida against my wishes. (Was my offering to give my shoes to Cristina a cultural faux pas?) I would never want to stay at Hostal Jesus Maria again as long as Zenaida is the person in charge. Hostal "La Reforma" (Trinidad) The food was average, but Gladys, the lady in charge was very sweet and made us feel quite welcome. It was nice and peaceful there. Unfortunately the day we got there, the government crews came and sprayed the neighborhood and house for mosquitoes. The chemicals were so strong that felt as if we had been gassed. I hope that this critique will help you make positive changes to enhance your tours. All in all, the trip was rather nice and affordable. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends who are interested in traveling to Cuba. Best regards, Maria Elena Chavez.
Elena ChavezTraveled on March, 2017
Hello Frank! I share your sentiment about Cuba. Before traveling there, I heard that the education and health care systems are one of the best. And, of course, there, they have the best music. So, I had the image of a well established and well kept society. The biggest surprise for me was the condition of the buildings. So many of them are crumbling and should be condemned. All that I could think of and wonder is how could this happen, Castro. What happened to him? And, how can you rebuild Cuba without allowing companies to bring concrete, wood, nails and other building supplies? This hurt me the most. The next disappointment was that the government owns most if not all of these crumbling buildings as well as the businesses. I found that the pharmacy/convenient store was not as well stocked as the liquor store. This is something that is common in the black communities of the U.S. So, again, I wonder what happened to Castro. He was a leader in the fight for freedom of Africans. It was Castro who said "Capitalism has neither the capacity nor the morality, nor the ethics to solve the problems of poverty." Yet, there is extreme poverty in Cuba. Could Castro have been beaten down so badly that he had no more self confidence? Discrimination can do that to a person. Did he find that money, the medium of exchange, is needed more than he realized? It's complicated and complex. However, this did not change the character of the people. My friends and I had an amazing time in Cuba. We traveled with Frank. He customized our trip. And, it was the best. We stayed in the homes of some very nice people. Mommy and Lester were the best! We are together, we danced together and laughed so much together. Mommy would wait for us to return home after a jazz club. We would talk about it...using Spanglish. Lol. She would put on some music. And, we would dance and have a good time. Our tour guide was the best too. His candy apple red car was so clean and shiny. Forgive me, I don't remember the brand of the car. It was a 1968, I believe. Jorge was very flexible. We had to change our itinerary a couple of times because some of the locals told of additional places to see. We really enjoyed and felt safe having Jorge as our guide. There were so many highlights. However, there's one that I must mention. We were guests in the private home of a very popular jazz musician. His group played an hour for us as the cool breeze gently flowed through. We also discussed the history of Cuban, Afro-Cuban jazz. We had the best time with Frank, Cuba Travel Trips.
Denise DouglasTraveler Profile
Estamos muy agradecidos con los atenciones que nos dio Cuba Travel Trips en Cuba. Nos prepararon un itinerario bien completo, lleno de actividades interesantes, para cualquier viaje a Cuba los recomiendo 100%. Son una agencia super preparada para cualquier situacion cuando se trata de viajar a Cuba, actividades, tours, transporte, comida, vuelos, visas y todo lo necesario para viajar a esta hermosa e historica isla. Gracias Cuba Travel Trips por la increible experiencia.
Ramon MendezTraveled from New York Traveler Profile
We had a terrific time. Accommodations were great, perfectly located easy access to local bars, and restaurants. George & Felix very knowledgeable there were very few questions they couldn’t answer. Jim will be bragging about the restaurants to anyone who will listen. We caught up with the band at CHACON 162. Thursday night. (GREAT night in the street)
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