My group of four visitors from Florida and California had a FANTASTIC and WONDERFUL time in Cuba. As a group, my friends and I have traveled to several countries/cities and this was a really special trip. We spent two full days and an evening with our guide Andres from OutinCuba.
Andres (friends call him Yunior) was incredible and truly became part of our group as a guide and a friend. Everything was wonderfully planned, we went to great places to eat (which was a particular worry of mine since my friends have complicated dietary restrictions), we learned a ton, and we were able to relax and enjoy our time there. He ended up joining us for other meals outside of our scheduled time and spending even more time with us as a friend.
He's such a lovely person -- an artist, a historian, true Renaissance man -- and someone who gave us great insight into the culture and country. He even painted us individual paintings that had significance to each of us -- along with giving us a bottle of rum and cigars.
He made our trip really special -- we were all emotional during our final time together.
We couldn't have asked for a better guide or a better trip
My partner and I were fortunate enough to be escorted around Havana by Dayron on a tour. His command of Cuban History and culture is strong, but equally as impressive is his objective understanding of the complicated history between Cuba and the USA. As Cuba continues to become an increasingly popular tourism destination for US residents, guides capable of delivering a personalized,educational and entertaining experience will become ever more invaluable. Any visiter to Cuba would be at a significant advantage in the company of Dayron!
AH Denver CO,USA.
Dayron Ortiz led us an a whirlwind Havana City Tour in May of 2016. He greeted my partner and me at the airport with smiles and hugs. Dayron oranized transportation, casa arrangements,meals, and sightseeing during the day tour: we were in excellent hands. He continued to be available to answer questions and provide recommendations even after the tour. As a cultural ambassador, Dayron spreads the warm heartedness of Cuba with every spoken detail of history and current events. His eyes are filled with the passion for sharing Cuba with visitors. Dayron will continue to excel in Tourism.
Sean I. Denver Co.
We traveled to Cuba in September. We arranged our travel through " OUT IN CUBA".Dayron Ortiz was our guide. We couldnt be more pleased! Dayron became part of our travel group. He is so likable, knowledgeable about his country, flexible and calm when a challenge arises. Dayron had the ability to gauge our interests, find the enexpected and just hang with us in a relaxed way. We learned a lot about Cuba and its culture from our time with Dayron. We were all sad when our trip was over!
Julia and Gerald S.
We really liked Dayron. He is very personable and worked hard to make sure his guests are taken care of. We were very happy with our accommodations and had very nice hosts. Dayron was also quite good at helping us make last minute changes when we decided we wanted to do something different. One thing I liked in particular about Dayron was that he has such a happy and easy-going personality. He was very attentive to our particular interests and needs and even stayed up late with us when we decided to go out late. It was very much fun and difinitely a wonderful experience we could not have gotten with a traditional group tour.
Now that we have had a couple of days to settle back in (eat eggs! Ha!) and really reflect on the incredible experiences we all shared, Charles, who made all the magic happen, has requested your feedback which would be greatly appreciated. SO if you could spare a few moments to give your thoughts on the trip, that would be wonderful.
We already informed him of how easy (and anti-climatic!) it was getting back into the US from Cuba – I get a harder time coming in from London! J…..And also how wonderful Dayron and Andres were.
New York City
Fernando is the youngster of the team.
He is 23 and a law student at the U Of Havana. It seems that he knows every one in Havana and has a smile that never quits. His English is the best. He has taught many of our guests why Cuba is so vibrant and such a great culture. He is our good friend.
Charles is that voice on the other end of your phone call. He has been in the hospitality business his working life. He has been offering travelers Wine Country experiences for years from both Napa and Sonoma California.
In 1999 his brother married a Cuban woman and so began his love with Cuba. With the opening of Cuba to american travelers he knew that there was a place for private custom experiences in Cuba. He does not like using the word "TOURS" because of his past challenging times with so called tours. He prefers no more people than "can fit into a taxi or small van"
Travel,food and friends are but three of his best passions in life. His goal with OUT IN CUBA to to make your time in Cuba...stress free and just full of the love of life!.
If history and politics is one of your interests then Luis is one of the best Travel Hosts that Cuba has to offer.
Luis is active in culture and politics. Let us know if your interested in a Cultural tour of Cuba. He is "OUR GUY IN HAVANA" We find that all of our guests become his friends
Nancy is a bon vivant 27 year old Visual Artist and Travel Host.
Her forte is Havana and Cuban art. She has shown many international travelers the vibrant art scene that Havana and Cuba has to offer. ART IS HER THING!
1. Growing up Cuba was never really on my radar because it was just always on the "forbidden" list. When Obama eased up on the travel restrictions I was very excited and knew a couple of people who had visited and loved it, but it seemed in the blink of an eye, there was a new administration and the rules changed again. But I was still very intrigued and decided to investigate what the new rules were to see if I could visit as well.
2. Making arrangements through an American contact was definitely comforting and made things easier. There was the huge convenience of being able to make payments before arriving since you don't have access to cash and credit cards as an American. And having an American contact that was familiar with our governments guidelines and rules was a big relief too. To have an expert help us navigate what we should be doing to comply was huge for us.
3. I had a lot of anxiety initially about making sure our trip would comply with U.S. guidelines. I started doing research on my own and while I got the overall feel for what I needed to do to comply with my travel category, there was still a level of uncertainty because it was all just so new to me. Having Charles explain the guidelines and confirm my own research conclusions made me feel confident that I was following the rules to travel to Cuba under my chosen category of Supporting the Cuban People.
4. I don't know if being in the Global Entry program made a difference , but when I returned to the States I was out of the airport in 5 minutes. No one asked me anything.
5. It was SO amazing to have a friendly face greet us at the airport. I admit we were a little nervous when we arrived just because the whole planning of the trip was so different than any other trip and we didn't quite know what to expect. So having someone there to welcome us and make us feel comfortable right away was priceless.
6. There are too many things to list. Havana is unbelievably beautiful so that alone was a treat but I think for us getting to know our guides, hearing their take on what daily life is like in general and for them in particular, was just the most beautiful part of the tours. We got to learn about a life that is quite different then what we are used to and yet there is always that common human thread- we all have the same dreams and desires and emotions no matter where we come from. I feel incredibly lucky that I got to meet and spend time with our guides in Havana. I was so impressed with their knowledge of the city, their openness and their warmth.
7. Well we had big dreams of going to a drag show but they all apparently start at 1am- no way that we old ladies were gonna be able to stay up that late! So we didn't really get to dance the night away but that was 100% fine for us . We had action packed beauty filled days and amazing dinners and a view of the sea from our casa with glasses of wine- so we were in heaven!
8. I would recommend doing some research on your own first so you can get a better idea of "can't miss" things that interest you. I would absolutely recommend once you have a general idea of what you would like to do to get in touch with a service like Out in Cuba to help you make your wish list come true as well as make sure you are complying with the U.S rules for your safety and peace of mind. Charles was very helpful with tips about Havana and really listened to what we wanted. And it translated seamlessly to our tours which was delightful.
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Dayron is our "Main Man in Havana". Here in his words......
In 2013 I got a degree in Advertising, Public Relations and Marketing at the University of Havana. After graduated, I began working as an Account Executive in the Advertising Agency of the Ministry of Tourism of Cuba, and simultaneously I started a business partnership with Yunior Crespo as a guide.
Both jobs allowed me to develop skills for conducting organized tours (historical, cultural, architectural, etc.) either for a single person, couples or groups of tourists in a wide range of locations throughout Cuba and informing visitors about heritage sites and attractions such as museums, art galleries, etc. I also improved my interpersonal communication skills as well as english as a second language.
During my time as a guide, I've had the chance to work with people from all over the world (Germany, United Kingdom, Russia, etc.) but mainly from North America (United States and Canada). I've also had the opportunity to work as a guide for different companies that bring groups of americans to Cuba.
At the present time, I'm partnering with the travel agency: "Out in Cuba", and they've chosen me as their guide in Cuba.
As a private guide, I've had the chance to visit and explore most of the interesting places in Cuba (Havana, Vinales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, etc...). Therefore, I'm able to provide my clients with a guiding service anywhere in the Island.
As I said before, being a guide allowed me to meet people from many countries, but mainly from Canada and the United States. Some of my very good friends nowadays are from the US. There's no doubt that there is a lot of great people in America with a lot of skills, knowledge and experience for sharing with cubans. I've experienced that cultural exchange personally. That's why I consider that cubans and americans becoming closer politically, economically and culturally is a very positive thing and I feel really proud to be part of it with my job. I can’t wait to pass on my knowledge and passion for Cuba to all the americans that, for sure, are about to come, ensuring they have the opportunity to experience the best my country has to offer in safety and comfort; and to promote friendly tourism with enthusiasm and in a way that connects with as many people as possible.
Andrés is from Santiago De Cuba, freelance journalist, painter,blogger and local guide in Havana City.
He is a voracious reader, jazz follower, occasional singer and history lover. He is always looking for the story behind everything. Not your typical Cubano according to aesthetics but a real creole man according to beliefs