The Powis family had traveled with us before to Peru and Costa Rica and came back wanting to explore Cuba over the holidays. I designed a 9-day trip to immerse them in the culture of Cuba. They went boating, hiking, and snorkeling and explored different cultural aspects of Cuba, such as meeting farmers, artists and musicians. "I used Wildland for travel to Costa Rica and Peru in the past and was very happy with them. I like everything we did, especially meeting the farmers and local people." - Shadi Powis
I arranged for them to visit a farm where tobacco leaves are grown, and they also visited the most famous Cuban cigar factory, Finca del Pinar Robaina, whose founder, Alejandro Robaina, was considered "The Godfather" of the Cuban cigar business. They appreciated the lively, informative, and personal tour of the farm with its brilliant green panorama of tobacco plants.
They loved the meaningful contact with locals and they especially loved their guide and driver. "Maria Rosa was excellent and took care of every aspect of the trip. She modified the itinerary to our needs and did a great job educating us on Cuba and its people and culture. I felt like the driver treated us like kings and queens. He was very courteous and made our travels much easier." - Shadi Powis
A unique aspect of travel in Cuba are the accommodations. Because of current US travel restrictions, visitors cannot stay in government owned hotels. Casas particulares are private homes operated like a B&B by enterprising Cubans opening their doors to the world to share their lives and to learn from their guests. Each casa is different with unique décor reflecting each family's personal charm and style. Although modest in amenities and service, these experiences offer a truly memorable up-close-and-personal "Support to the Cuban People" experience. "The casa particulates were excellent for Cuba standards." - Shadi Powis
The part of the trip they enjoyed the most was the music. "One of the highlights was having the local musicians play Cuban music for us during our dinner at the casa particulares at Playa Largo." - Shadi Powis
On my last trip to Cuba, I danced with those same musicians at Playa Larga. The guide and I gave salsa lessons to everyone and even the casa owners came out to dance. The main singer of the band has the most amazing voice, he could be singing in the best clubs in any part of the world. The other members are all young musicians with super old instruments, they are certainly something to see and experience when you are in Cuba!
Advice for those thinking of visiting Cuba: "Don't be afraid to go there because of the US travel advisory. It's very safe and a memorable place to visit." - Shadi Powis