People come to Cuba to do something
... yes but what ? What are people looking for ? What motivates a trip ?
The better part of our efforts are dedicated to conceiving and realizing activities, for a tailor-made trip.
Visit, participate, meet
Our travel proposal is based on activities. People come to Cuba to do something. Most of our production efforts and technical means are dedicated to creating and managing activities: visits, excursions, exchanges, evening outings, courses, etc.
One catalog for each areaThe catalogs for these activities are divided into three distinct areas, Individuel, Incentive and Thematic. Each one of these categories is structured around a production team in charge of managing the infrastructure, conception, formalization, the training of participants, and service quality.
Our catalogs adhere to a homogenous offer, which allows us to coherently advise the client on activities that fall within secondary categories: Essential, Traditional, Evening, Nature, Sports, Meetings, Competitions, etc.
KNOWING, UNDERSATNDING, LEARNING
The goal is to discover each site through a general activity that allows the clients to get to know the place. Then, each proposal complements this first overview by expanding the general knowledge of the place with its more local colors. For instance, Havana's colonial architecture and American period, the Tumba francesa and the rum in Santiago, or Baracoa’s cacao and cuisine. Evenings vary according to the place, and traditional music has a very strong presence in Trinidad, while gastronomy and classical dance are proposed in Havana.
Caraibes Autrement offers kitesurfing, biking, hiking, for beginners and experts, in groups or individually, among a whole range of sports activities.
Leisure activities, evening galas, tailor-made shows, and city rallies make up the appeal of the Incentive catalog.
Dance classes, with salsa, of course, but also music lessons given by distinguished teachers are offered in the cultural exchanges catalog.
The awakening of gastronomy
Cubans are passionate about cooking. Culinary culture is relatively limited, however. This paradox has motivated the new chefs who, with scarce means and a lot of imagination, have given birth to a contemporary Cuban gastronomy.
Paladar restaurant"You don't go to Cuba to eat!"… Why not? Same as with accommodations, Cuban gastronomy has been awakened by the drive of the private sector. “Paladares”, privately owned restaurants, are sprouting up everywhere, and Government-owned restaurants have had to step up their game to keep up with all the competition. Here too the restaurants are carefully selected by Caraïbes Autrement. We propose pre-arranged menus (which make for a practical lunch when on excursion), as well as à la carte dining, without the clients having to worry about the bill.
ORGANIC BLACK BEANS - ORGANIC LOBSTERThe traditional Cuban menu, based on pork, rice, and black beans, is still very common in restaurants, particularly in the provinces. There are, however, some local specialties: fruit, especially papaya, in Viñales; lobster in Trinidad; fresh fish in Gibara, among other examples. The best chefs are in the capital, where, driven by their passion, they spare no means or ingenuity to make known their culinary heritage, of which they are quite proud. The food is healthy, always prepared on the spot with fresh, necessarily organic products.
American cars from the 50's
... France is the Eiffel Tower, Cuba is Americans cars. "Transportation is strategic!" said Fidel Castro, and it is still true, especially for someone traveling around an island over 870 miles long.
BusES AND CARS ON SITEApart from the Government-managed 10-, 20-, 30-, and 40-seat bus fleet for group operations with 7 or more participants, Caraibes Autrement proposes a different means of transportation.
Cars on site, on high demand, are a risky service, especially at the height of the season. They are often ancient, although adequately maintained, and are bound to baffle the traveler who is used to international services like Hertz, Avis, or Europcar. On-the-spot assistance from Caraïbes Autrement can help improve this service considerably, but it cannot completely offset the limitations of an entirely Government-run service.
Taxi-autrementIn order to improve the transportation service of Individuals, Caraïbes Autrement has put together a fleet of vehicles with drivers. Taxis, regular or comfort, minivans, sometimes jeeps, and even American cars from the 50s, these taxis help travelers discover the island without worrying about missing traffic signs or the car’s mechanics, and with a driver acting as a permanent liaison with our representatives in the provinces. He will not be a tour guide, but will readily give good advice during the trip.
Hotel or Casa ?
Whether Government-owned or privately owned, accommodations are arranged according to their categories and features. Private apartment, boutique hotels, resort hotels, lodging… A careful selection for a range of tastes.
HotelSIn Cuba, they are all Government-owned. Some are managed by foreign hotel chains that must be in partnership with Cuba. Difficulties necessarily follow, particularly in infrastructure maintenance, but also in gastronomic provisioning and housekeeping. Commercial contracts are also under the control of MinTur, which often makes negotiations difficult. Finally, speculation on the part of professionals not yet established on the island, and anxious to carve a place for themselves in one of the last almost virgin touristic sites in the world, creates an imbalance between quality and price.
Although Caraïbes Autrement has signed contracts with all Cuban and international hotel chains, we propose a voluntarily limited selection of hotels, chosen according to our quality criteria. This selection is constantly changing, because of many variables such as management contracts, over-exploitation, the kind of client, maintenance, service staff.
The offer is well below the demand, and foreign investment in building new infrastructure will still take a few years. The hotels are compliant with environment protection regulations, as well as with current comfort standards in the industry, without ostentatious luxury.
Casas particularesThis shortage of accommodations has allowed for a spectacular development of lodging in “Casas”. This is what privately run lodging is generally called. It goes from a simple room in a Cuban house to mini-hotels of 15 rooms in a superbly restored building. In every case, this is quite a step from staying with locals, since Cubans invest with entrepreneurial goals and have made hotel management their new trade. Reception, housekeeping, gastronomy, and concierge work are all done by an increasingly professional staff.
Caraïbes Autrement has at its disposal a range of Casas all over the island, which are constantly inspected and renewed, thanks to our presence in every province. The categorization of these Casas allows us to offer a large number of rooms. We do not propose any particular Casa, but a category fitting a precise description of comfort, equipment, location, and architecture. The products we propose often go well above and beyond the comfort of hotels. There is also room for customization, and clients often enjoy a privileged location on site.