We knew we’d achieved our goal of showing travellers the real Cuba when we won Private Tour Company of the Year in 2018.

EXperience Cuba Tours- Private Tour Company opf the Year 2018 THA

The award recognised our unique tours of Cuba, including our signature experience — an afternoon of dominoes, salsa, laughs (and a little rum) with a local family in our founder’s hometown of Mariel.

From Havana to Santiago, this chance to embrace Cuba in the company of locals is what Experience Cuba Tours is all about.

Our very personal story

 Let me tell you about our business, Experience Cuba Tours, and where the idea came about. This business was born from our own personal experience. A few years ago, my husband (who is not Cuban) decided it was about time to go and learn more about where I came from. He always had the desire to go to Cuba for a holiday, but being with me gave him a pretty good excuse to actually do it. 

So we planned our visit to Cuba and invited my in-laws to join us, who like my husband, had always wanted to go but never quite got around to do it. I did explain to all of them that we were not staying in a hotel, but were going back to my home, staying with my parents in the house I grew up in, in my small town of Mariel, 35 km west of Havana, where nothing ever happens. I tried to be as exhaustive as possible, trying to describe as much as possible the implications of doing so: Cuba is a very different place, and a small town in Cuba is even more…different, to put it mildly.

nick-ayna
Mariel - Ayna's hometown in Cuba Experience Cuba Tours

My home in Cuba though in good condition is not at all like our home in Perth. I explained it was going to be crowded, and loud, and hot, and sticky, and lots of people were going to come in and out of home unannounced just to say hi, and lots of music, dancing and dominoes. As far as food goes we will be eating on season, and although I could guarantee breakfast, lunch and dinner, I could not be specific about what was going to be on the menu, apart from a couple of very traditional Cuban dishes.

To my surprise they all said yes very enthusiastically. And you know what? We had the best time ever. My husband says he wouldn’t have had it any other way, because he can honestly say he experienced Cuba in a way that he wouldn’t have had if he would have stayed in a hotel like everyone else and like everywhere else. “We could do that anywhere in the world” he says. What makes Cuba so different is the people, the music, the culture, the food, the tribulations, the missing things even with money in your pocket, including the ones we usually take as basics, like “mantequilla” (butter), but that’s another story for another day…

My home in Cuba though in good condition is not at all like our home in Perth. I explained it was going to be crowded, and loud, and hot, and sticky, and lots of people were going to come in and out of home unannounced just to say hi, and lots of music, dancing and dominoes. As far as food goes we will be eating on season, and although I could guarantee breakfast, lunch and dinner, I could not be specific about what was going to be on the menu, apart from a couple of very traditional Cuban dishes.

To my surprise they all said yes very enthusiastically. And you know what? We had the best time ever. My husband says he wouldn’t have had it any other way, because he can honestly say he experienced Cuba in a way that he wouldn’t have had if he would have stayed in a hotel like everyone else and like everywhere else. “We could do that anywhere in the world” he says. What makes Cuba so different is the people, the music, the culture, the food, the tribulations, the missing things even with money in your pocket, including the ones we usually take as basics, like “mantequilla” (butter), but that’s another story for another day…

We did see Cuba like everyone else too. We stayed for 3 days in a beautiful 5 star all-inclusive hotel in Varadero beach. But hey, I owed my parents as a thank you for their hospitality, and to show them that side of Cuba that they did not know. But as well, to show that part of Cuba to my husband and in-laws, after they agreed to stay in my very Cuban home with all its pros and cons.

Ayna and Nick - Founders of Experience Cuba Tours

Remember, Cuba can be hard to visit...

The country is not what you might call “online”.

Travel agents outside Cuba are generally limited to building their itineraries by combining off-the-shelf “products” wholesaled by Cuban government entities. Overseas operators don’t have the experience, or the local contacts, to create their own itineraries to match individual preferences.

Experience Cuba was founded by a Cuban who grew up in Cuba. Ayna’s family, friends and former colleagues are still in Cuba. We use our local knowledge and nationwide network of contacts to offer nothing but bespoke experiences.

What's Your Cuba?

Planning a trip with Experience Cuba Tours doesn’t start with typing your dates into a computer to see what’s available. Planning with us starts with a conversation about the experiences you want to have.

Are you a photographer? A history buff? Do you want to see Hemingway’s house? Is the Bay of Pigs a must-see? Would you like to stay with local families in casa particulares, or would you prefer to have your accommodation to yourself?

We work mostly with private (but licensed) providers in Cuba. That opens up a world of possibilities, not just for you, but for the more than 100 everyday Cubans and their families who work with us.

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waterfall
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Bespoke Private Tours

For individuals, couples and families who want local knowledge to make their Cuban experience perfect. We’ll talk to you about why you’re visiting Cuba and what you want from your time there. We’ll work together on an itinerary that fully explores your interests.

Small Group Tours

Are you travelling with a group who want to experience Cuba like locals? For groups of up to seven, we use our on-the-ground knowledge to create itineraries that reflect everyone’s interests, and take your group to the heart of the real Cuba.

Your Cuban experience begins with a conversation.

We specialise in bespoke private tours of Cuba that give you the once-in-a-lifetime experience to encounter the real Cuba before it changes forever.

Confused by mixed and inconsistent information? Travelling to Cuba via the US? A million questions about Cuba?

Talk to us about what you’d like your Cuban adventure to be.

Your Cuban experience begins with a conversation.

Talk to us about what you’d like your Cuban adventure to be.

1300 79 55 31