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Touring Havana with "Fer Tours"


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We absolutely loved our day in Havana with Fer Tours and wholeheartedly recommend their services!  It was the first time we'd ever been to Cuba and were on a Holland America cruise and wanted to experience as much Cuban culture as possible.  Our first inquiry with Fernando at Fer Tours was answered immediately and he gave a very detailed report on what venues we might want to see on the "Premium Tour", both in a classic car and on foot in the Old City.  Fernando confirmed this would be an educational tour of the Cuban culture , which met the "support the Cuban people" mandate for shore excursions. We were able to customize our itinerary to our specific desires and since I thoroughly enjoy photography, were paired up with a wonderful tour guide and felllow photographer named Angel.  He was delighted to proudly show us his home city and gave detailed explanations along the way.  Angel promptly met us by the cruise terminal at the Rum Factory at 10am and we were ushered into a nice yellow classic convertible.  He explained it was best to do this in the morning when it was still relatively cooler, rather than melt in the afternoon sun - good advice!  We sped along the Malecon by the sea to the very colourful and artsy neighbourhood of Fusterlandia.  Jose Fuster, a native artist, decided to rejuvenate his house with the use of colourful mosaic tiles and it now spread throughout the neighbourhood.  It reminded us of Gaudi and his flamboyant artist perspective.  It was fun to explore and then we drove to Parque Almendares - a lush forested park by a river which tour buses cannot reach.  Lots of classic cars head there for great photo opportunities against a background of vine covered trees.  We also witnessed a Santara or voodoo sacrifice of a chicken by the river.  This was totally unexpected, but part of Cuban culture and interesting all the same.  Then we headed back to the modern part of Havana and saw Revolution Square and took some city photos from atop the huge tower.  We were then dropped back at the Old City for the walking portion of our tour.  Angel conducted a great city tour featuring the "real" streets of Havana where people worked, lived and shopped.  We toured a local market, ate in a cozy "paladar" or privately owned restaurant and enjoyed several Cuban dishes.  It was not busy at lunch, but the locals throng there for dinner.  Angel also made sure we went to a certified cigar store to purchase some souvenirs for friends back home.  We had read to beware of stores with lower prices selling cigars made from banana leaves, but we knew we were getting authentic ones with Angel. The heat was getting stronger and Angel knew the perfect square to enjoy local beers and boy they tasted great!  We were taken back to the ship by 3:30pm to rest and enjoy dinner aboard.  We then met Angel at 8pm back at our rendezvous spot (Rum Factory) and drove in a hardtop classic car to the Tropicana Nightclub for a stunning show featuring Latin music and 200 dancers and singers.  We have never seen anything better and can confirm this was better than any Las Vegas revue!  It's open air and by going early we got an aisle seat up close, which was great for photography.  Fer Tours recommended we book our tickets online and this was sound advice.  We selected the mid-range $85US seats and those around us had booked their tickets from the ship for $199US each.  Some folks booked dinner with the show, but most said they were not happy with their meals.  Our driver was standing outside the show waiting for us and we were whisked back to the ship.  We had a long, but incredibly happy day spent visiting Havana.  Thank you Fer Tours and especially Fernando and our wonderful guide, Angel.  We'll be back!!  

As an aside to cruise passengers, you do not have to pre-book shore excursions with the ship or with independent companies.  We were instructed to do this with Holland America, otherwise we were told we couldn't leave the ship.  No one ever questioned us and going through Cuban customs was fast and easy.  We brought some gifts for the Cuban people and customs never confiscated them either, which we were told on the internet they would. So enjoy your time ashore and definitely choose Fer Tours for their professionalism and outstanding tour guide service.

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THANK YOU for your detail review of your day in Havana.  I just looked up Parque Almendares.   It looks very scenic (Google images: https://*****.com/ya2tm3pw) and on the way to / from Fusterlandia where we want to go see.  I am adding it as part of the route we want to take for our driving tour Map: https://goo.gl/maps/jefG5cspuQS2

 

Re: Angel. I have seen him mentioned several times in TripAdvisor and Cruise Critic reviews.  All were EXCELLENT.  

Here are a couple more:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g147271-d7986028-r571466120-Fertours_2_Havana-Havana_Ciudad_de_la_Habana_Province_Cuba.html

https://www.tripadvisor.ie/ShowUserReviews-g147271-d7986028-r504534665-Fertours_2_Havana-Havana_Ciudad_de_la_Habana_Province_Cuba.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT

 

The strategy I have recommended to people looking for Havana private tours is to look for Cruise Critic and TripAdvisor reviews such as yours and ask for availability of specific guide that has reviews you like from the tour operator.  

 

Laurence

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

We recently did the “Shipwrecked in Havana” tour with FerTours in early March and we really enjoyed our day in Havana (thanks Pepe and Jose).  We did a morning walking tour of old Havana, lunch at an authentic Cuban restaurant, and a city tour in a 1951 Chevrolet convertible .

Fernando was great replying to our inquiries before we arrived.

The only issue we had was going to Havana on a Monday .  The government buildings and museums are closed so you can’t go in and see this kind of things.  

But other than that, a wonderful day.

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