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Jorge guide

As there is a post recommending a guide, thought I would put in a plug for my favourite Havana and area guide/facilitator, Jorge. :sunglasses:

Having heard about him on ThA[font color=“191a18”]t other forum, [/font]I contacted about my plans to spend New Years Eve 2008 at Hotel National, followed by some dental work, Spanish lessons in Havana prior to touring the island. Everything was arranged flawlessly including

a stay at his aunt’s CP [attachment id=“187” thumbnail=“1”] in Vinales, she then arranged the next.

Excellent dentist was arranged at the University of Havana plus a 30 day stay in a CP within walking distance of the University.

He had one of his guides give me a days walking tour of historic Havana which included a bus trip from my casa to show me how they worked, the plan to return to the casa in a collective taxi was scrubbed when the driver tried to overcharge “the gringo” so we returned by bus.

The Spanish lessons were given by an ex-professora from the university who made more operating a CP and giving Spanish lessons. Even spent an interesting afternoon with Jorge & Manfredz at the Taberna. :sunglasses:

[a href=“http://www.jorge-cubaholidays.com/about-jorge.html”]Jorge[/a]

Good to know about Jorge and his services. Thanks for sharing. So how was your Spanish classes. As it was one on one you must have learned a lot.

[quote=@admin]Good to know about Jorge and his services. Thanks for sharing. So how was your Spanish classes. As it was one on one you must have learned a lot. [/quote]I had earlier in the trip taken a couple weeks lessons in Antigua Guatemala so the difference in the language spoken in the 2 countries was a good experience. Yes I learned a lot, then when I got back to Antigua, for more lessons I was able to learn more of the subtle differences as my teacher had been in Cuba, during the war, to learn guerrilla tactics from the masters.

There are other good guides in Havana but when looking for things out of the box, Jorge can’t be beat!

Pototo was the one I emailed back and forth with a couple of years ago.
Gave some good rates, everyone loved him and he responded to emails quickly.
I understand he’s on his own now and running his own business and Casa rentals. He used to work under CubaJunky.
Anyone have current news about Pototo?

[quote=@busman7]I had earlier in the trip taken a couple weeks lessons in Antigua Guatemala.
[/quote]

What a coincidence my first Spanish teacher was from Antigua Guatemala as well. I was taking online one on one lessons over the Skype. Great people and nice city as I could see online.

[quote=@spunky]Pototo was the one I emailed back and forth with a couple of years ago.
Gave some good rates, everyone loved him and he responded to emails quickly.
I understand he’s on his own now and running his own business and Casa rentals. He used to work under CubaJunky.
Anyone have current news about Pototo?
[/quote]Pototo who for years had the unfair advantage of free advertising through Cuba Junky, the Dutch owned site disguised as Cuban, while others had to make their way on their own merit!

I think Dave left off the Smiley as the info about Pototo isn’t exactly historically accurate.

[quote=@admin][quote=@busman7]I had earlier in the trip taken a couple weeks lessons in Antigua Guatemala.
[/quote]What a coincidence my first Spanish teacher was from Antigua Guatemala as well. I was taking online one on one lessons over the Skype. Great people and nice city as I could see online.
[/quote]Love Antigua, a small vibrant city with a perpetual spring climate and friendly expat community. Had considered moving there but foreigners have driven property prices to insane levels. :’(

Yes, it may have appeared that Pototo had a distinct advantage many years ago (I recall recommending him a couple of times) BUT the silver lining is that we now know about so many other great guides. When it comes to good Cuban guides and organizers, more choice is definitely better.

At the end of the day, I think most of us chose to go with the person we feel most comfortable with. Plenty of work for all of them!

My experience with Jorge wasn’t that good. Although the transport side worked well, the two casas he arranged for me in Havana were the worst two casas I have ever stayed at. The second one was only for my last night and if it wasn’t for the fact that it was past midnight when I arrived there (flying up from Holguin)I wouldn’t have stayed there.

Visitors with little Cuban travel experience who rant and rave over one single guide and then have the nerve to slam the perceived business practises of others are simply demonstrating their ignorance and incredible naivete by imagining for a moment that they have the slightest clue how business in Cuba works.

1.) Some guides are foreigners… 2.) Some are Cubans working independently… 3.) Some are employed by the government and privately guide on the side… 4.) Some are government employees who have received permission from their bosses to integrate their “private” guiding into their government company plan… 5.) Some don’t fit any particular niche.

It’s complicated and some people forget that all guides have their own quirks and their own special insights, knowledge and connections - same as anywhere.

For example… it’s almost impossible to get permission to enter a Cuban military airport but there’s a guide who makes this happen for serious aviation and military buffs… another guide is deeply connected within the high-end art community so they’re perfect for someone who wants to get off the usual Jose Fuster and Callejon de Hamel/Salvador Gonzalez tourist trail… there’s another who knows every single story behind every single grave of note in the Colon Cemetery and they’ll keep you spellbound for hours… or another who has a finger on the pulse of the dark underbelly of Cuba’s hardcore alternative arts and music scene… or another who’ll take you surfing in front of the Russian Embassy… or another who’ll import your motorcycle into Cuba… etc. etc. etc.

Bottom line: Business in Cuba is way more complicated than a casual visitor can imagine and they shouldn’t be pretending to know how someone conducts their private affairs. Period.

Cheers,
Terry

“This comment has been deleted as inappropriate.”

Busman_7 this is ENTIRELY uncalled for and very inappropriate. You would be wise to remove your last post on this thread.

Cheersterry makes some valid points about why there are so many guides and why it is so important to chose the right one for your needs. When it comes to guides in Cuba, one size does not fit all!

So, anyone see Pototo lately?

I hope every one still remained friends! Please!!! And if I may suggest that mods should send a PM to the offender before posting. Perhaps the mod did, I don’t know. But I know when I posted something that could be confrontational, I did receive a PM from a mod and I agreed, I was over the line. Can we make this a preferred method of dealing with unhappy posters? Please?

Good thought. Thank you sund0g.

Anyone hear from Pototo recently?

Hey Spunky,

Pototo is coasting, mostly servicing a select group of return clients from around the world who’s requirements are usually more complicated than the typical day tripping tourist. He sends lots of business to many different guides all over the Island and he’s happier and more content than he’s ever been.

If anyone needs a motorcycle imported for a long term holiday or an off-the-beaten path tour of the wackiest peso bars in Havana or some of the best high-end casas on the island or a multilingual driver with a new Mercedes or just a fun and irreverent tour of Old Havana with lots of laughs and absurdity then he’s happy to oblige. And he still makes the best mojito on the funniest patio in Centro Havana.

Once again, unlike years gone past there are now loads of excellent, professional guides all over Cuba filling every possible niche you can imagine. Kudos to all the independent ones who are still fighting to have their jobs and livelihoods recognized by the Cuban government as legal occupations. It’s too bad the government guides aren’t more supportive of their independent brethren.

Tranquilo and crack another cerveza… we should all have that life!

Cheers,
Terry

For casa particulars (Cuban version of a Bed & Breakfast), local guides/resolvers, travel agents and other local services and info have a look here:

i.) http://www.cuba-junky.com/

ii.) http://www.yourowncuba.com/

iii.) http://pototocuba.com/Pototow/

iv.) http://www.jorge-cubaholidays.com/

v.) http://www.cubaccommodation.com/

vi.) http://www.destinohabana.com/

vii.) http://cubacasas.net/

Unlike years ago the list goes on and on and on and on now…

Cheers,
Terry

The yourowncuba.com site is really nice.
I talked to one of the owners and he really knows and loves Cuba and Cubans. I wish them the best of luck and would love to hear from others who have used them or even talked to them. Their internet site is pretty much what Canadians would expect from similar services world wide.
Thanks again, Terry, for the great info.

[quote=@sund0g]I hope every one still remained friends! Please!!! And if I may suggest that mods should send a PM to the offender before posting. Perhaps the mod did, I don’t know. But I know when I posted something that could be confrontational, I did receive a PM from a mod and I agreed, I was over the line. Can we make this a preferred method of dealing with unhappy posters? Please?