Papo was a tour guide service referred to me by two friends who used the service on different occasions. As much as I travel, I was skeptical about paying someone to create an itinerary that I could have done myself. However, after months of not planning anything on my own, I finally decided to let Papo’s team do what they do best; create an epic experience. I sent Papo an email with my arrival and departure dates, and the number of days I wanted them to schedule activities. Within hours he responded to me with a full list of options and prices. My travel companion, Ashlee, and I, decided to accept his three day agenda. I fully recommend anyone traveling around Cuba to reach out to Papo’s team. However, I want you to keep in mind that when reviewing price options, do not forget to add necessary monies to cover your tour guide’s meals and transportation when you are together. This was not indicated to us in the corresponding emails and would have been helpful in preparing our budget for our embarkment of Cuba. Below you can find a brief summary of our three day agenda.
Day 1- We were picked up in a pink 1957 Chevy by our tour guide Elvy, who gave us a two hour city tour, which included stops like Revolution Square, John Lennon Park, El Malecón de La Havana, and Fusterlandia. We had a divine lunch at ______, followed by a walking tour of Old Havana all before arriving on the door steps of Havana Club Rum factory for a tour and tasting. We then proceeded to a local street market where we spent quite a bit of time being tourists and buying souvenirs like shot glasses, thimbles, t-shirts, etc.
Day 2- We were picked up in a blue 1954 Chevy by Elvy and headed two hours west to Viñales. While in Viñales, we went to a family run tobacco farm where we learned about the process of growing tobacco, rolling cigars, and had the opportunity to taste cigars with Cuban Honey and fresh sugar cane. We then went zip lining through the Mogotes mountains, with the help of guides from El Fortin canopy tours. Zip lining was followed by a delicious family style lunch before jumping back on the road to Havana.
Day 3- We started to run a little low on Cuban currency, which was no issue for Elvy. Instead of paying 50 cuc for a Taxi, which would take us round trip to the Santa Maria beach, we caught a shared car to the bus station (1 cuc per person), and bought a round trip bus ticket to Santa Maria (5 cuc per person). The bus was very similar to an American coach bus, which made it very comfortable. It was also quite convenient by running every 40 minutes.
If you are traveling around Havana, please do not forget to reach out to Papo to create a stellar experience. Ask for Elvy too. =)