Our guides at Cubania come from all different personal and professional backgrounds. They´ve been teachers, I.T. professionals, bakers, vets, army officers and even underwear salesmen! What they have in common is that they are all highly educated graduates who are passionate about guiding and proud of their beautiful country.

Here they tell you a little about themselves.

Office Staff


Lucy Davies

Lucy Davies

Director

Lucy was brought up in Latin America and started tour guiding while studying Modern Languages at Bristol University. After graduating she spent many years living and working in Italy before coming to Cuba on a whim as a cycle guide, in 1997. Instantly captivated by the country’s infectious atmosphere, Lucy spent the next three years cycling the length and breadth of the island, at the same time documenting the slow demise of the sugar industry through one of her passions, photography. The result was an exhibition and book entitled, ‘The Sugar Factory’.

Soon after, she decided to set up Cubania Travel in response to a real need for a serious incoming local ground-handling agency with expert knowledge on cycling and adventure travel in Cuba. As more and more people have wanted to get to know the real Cuba, Cubania Travel has added cultural and family trips to their adventure holiday portfolio.

Lucy lived in Havana full time with her husband and son since 2003 and relocated to set up the Cubania London office in late 2015, as demand for Cubania services increased.


Adam Roberts

Adam Roberts

General Manager

Adam joined the Cubania team in April 2017 after a memorable 6 month sabbatical spent cycling through windswept Patagonia. Having previously worked in commercial roles for leading adventure travel companies in the UK and for specialist inbound operators in other countries, Adam brings with him industry experience and a traveller’s perspective. He studied Business and Economics at Liverpool University, and Spanish Language at the University of Buenos Aires.

Gradually adjusting to life in the Caribbean, his hobbies include photography, music festivals and football (he plans to start the Havana branch of Middlesbrough Supporters Club and is accepting membership applications)!


Liudmila Rodriguez

Liudmila Rodriguez

Operations

An Honours graduate of Havana University, Liudmilla has a degree in modern languages and is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian and German. She spent three years working for ESTI, Cuba’s official translating and interpreting agency before moving into tourism, working with a number of European agencies before joining Cubania Travel in 2008. In charge of operations, Liudmilla’s strength lies in building and maintaining excellent relationships with our hotel and transport suppliers. In fact, she’s so good at it that she recently married one of Cubania Travel’s favourite drivers! A typical Latina, she’s chatty, fun and always perfectly turned out. And she simply cannot survive without her daily cafécito, the Cuban version of an espresso.

Jose Fuentes

Jose Fuentes

Bike Operations

Jose was born and bred in Havana and has lived less that 100 metres from the sea all his life. He swims daily off the coast of capital’s coastline and loves snorkelling, fishing, sailing and scuba diving and his expertise in these areas is second to none. An Industrial Engineer by profession, Jose joined Cubania Travel at the beginning of 2011 but has been collaborating closely with us since 2006. The practical one of the team, he is also in charge of organising and maintaining our impressive fleet of bikes. You’ll see him at the airport meeting and greeting our groups and out and about showing Cuba novices how to get the best out of this complex and enchanting island. In the office Jose works on special itineraries and finding new routes and trails.


Anibal Paez Cruz

Anibal Paez Cruz

Marketing

Anibal was born in Havana and lives very near the famous Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square), the site of many historical activities in Cuban history and which holds a special place in the heart of the Cuban people.

He studied Industrial engineering, graduating in 1988 but decided to move into the travel industry where he built up over 20 years of experience in Cuban tourism. For 10 of those years he has held the position of Director of Specialised Tourism at Cuban travel agents Cubanacan, organising trekking, cycling and cultural programs. This experience has proven to be very useful for his new post at Cubania Travel where he creates and markets new programs for clients, ensuring they get the best out of their Cuban holiday.

Anibal loves spending time in the outdoors and feels fortunate to be able to enjoy the many beautiful nature reserves and stunning beaches his country has to offer.


Carla Brito Paseiro

Carla Brito Paseiro

Operations

I started working at Cubania in February 2013. Prior to that I was the sales manager at one of Havana’s 4 star hotels, the HTL Occidental Miramar – Montehabana.

The Occidental is one of the main hotels that Cubania uses to accommodate their clients. It’s also the site of the Cubania bike warehouse, where approximately 220 bikes are stored and maintained in preparation for their cycling trips. I got to know the Cubania team very well and when I heard they were looking for another staff member I jumped at the chance to win them over with my enthusiasm!

I have a degree in French language and Literature and also studied English at the University of Havana. When I first joined the Cubania team where a great deal of their business is done in English, I asked myself “How hard can it be?” I won’t lie, – it was much harder than I imagined especially as I had not practiced any English at all in my previous role.

What I enjoy most about working at Cubania is the variety. I’m not only involved with creating budgets, charts and tailor made itineraries for our clients, I also learn something new each day, be it English grammar, Cuban geography or bike sizes.

In the year and a half since I first joined the team, I’ve been able to visit many beautiful towns and cities across the island from Viñales to Baracoa as part of my training. I can still say though, that my favourite place is Havana, the city where I was born, – a vibrant city full of traditions and culture.


Betty Madrigal

Betty Madrigal

Operations

Born in Santa Clara in central Cuba, Betty has lived in Havana since 1975. In her younger days she studied for 3 years in Russia and afterwards worked as a bilingual secretary in the Russian school of Havana. For nearly two decades she worked as a coordinator for two different specialist travel agencies of the Cuban government, before following in the footsteps of Anibal by moving from Cubanacan to Cubania! Assisting Liudmila in the operations department, vital tasks include processing hotel and supplier confirmations and giving guide briefings. With an infectious laugh and smile, she loves to dance, travel around the island, and share with others. Betty has a large family both in Cuba and in the US, and has a granddaughter who she adores!

Our Guides


Freddy Cámara García

Freddy Cámara García

Guide

I have an MSc degree in Geography and have been leading tours ( mainly ecotourism ) , mixing natural and cultural heritage, but also leading specialist tours such as bird-watching. I am a keen photographer and, unusually for a guide, I’m the one most likely to be taking photos on any trip! Even when leading bike tours you’ll see me with a large camera strapped to my back.

In 2011 I was lucky enough to receive two guiding awards – Exodus clients’ votes put me on the shortlist for best guide WORLDWIDE, an achievement I’m really proud of. I was also awarded Guide of the Month by The Adventure Company. I’m happiest on the road with a group of inquisitive and energetic visitors to my country!


ALEX BERJAGA HIDALGO

ALEX BERJAGA HIDALGO

Guide

I was born in Bayamo in the Eastern part of the island. When I was a year old my family moved to the capital, Havana.

I have a background in sports training and graduated with degrees in History, English and Italian. Prior to becoming a professional tour guide I worked for an electronics company in their I.T. department.

In 2011 I joined the Cubania team of guides taking groups around Cuba on cycling, trekking and cultural tours. Cycling tours are my favourite as they offer a unique opportunity to discover the island that is not possible in other more conventional tours.

Cuba is a wonderful country offering something different to everyone that comes here. My favourite places to guide are Viñales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and the Sierra Maestra.


JOSE ANTONIO LEYVA MORENA

JOSE ANTONIO LEYVA MORENA

Guide

I was born in Guanabacoa, a town to the south east of Havana.

I graduated from university with a degree in languages and English Literature, though sadly I’ve forgotten almost all of the Italian I learned due to not being able to practice it regularly.

I’ve been working as a Cubania guide for nearly 6 years. Being a tour guide is one of my passions, scuba diving is another. Cuba has some of the world’s finest dive sites though this isn’t common knowledge to most people.

I take groups on cycling and cultural tours around the island and of the two, I prefer the latter, although cycling tours are a great way to meet the locals.

My favourite cities in Cuba are Trinidad and Cienfuegos. Trinidad is the perfect place to have a great time, – you’re got the magnificent mountains, beautiful white sandy beaches and a wonderfully preserved colonial city with plenty of culture and nightlife. Cienfuegos is a beautiful, clean city with stunning examples of architecture, and I should also really include Baracoa in the east for its great nightlife and spectacular nature.


Enio Gonzalez

Enio Gonzalez

Guide

I’m from Havana and have been working as a professional tour guide for 18 years. I love eco tourism in particular.

After graduating from the University of Havana with a degree in translation and interpretation of the Russian language, I spent two years in the navy. It was a very important part of my life.

In 1993 I trained to become a professional tour guide and started working with a Cuban tour operator. Initially I spent 3 years doing biking trips and tours in nature reserves, and in the past 15 years I’ve done a lot of trekking, walking and bird watching tours in many of Cuba’s spectacular mountain ranges. I’m also an experienced fishing and kayaking guide.

My advice to anyone coming to Cuba for the first time is to keep an open mind. There will be a lot you won’t be able to understand but what you will enjoy is our hospitality, our happiness, and our pride of being Cuban. We live on an island which has so many great and unforgettable experiences to offer.


YAZEL PETERSSEN GUERRA

YAZEL PETERSSEN GUERRA

Guide

I was born and raised in Cuba’s capital Havana. At the age of 14 I spent 3 years in military school but ended up doing 5 as I was offered various promotions and benefits including 2 days a week study leave to pursue my chosen career.

I decided to study languages but my dream of being a tour guide seemed impossible, I never imagined it would actually come true. I went through many jobs before I started guiding, including teaching English and history classes at high school level, selling underwear in a department store and working as Head of Security at a tourism school. It was here that I heard about a travel agency that was looking for a guide. I went along to the interview not feeling very hopeful, but luckily I got the position! That’s how I ended up with my dream job.

I’ve worked with Cubania for 3 years doing cycling and trekking tours. Of all their trips my favourite is “La Isla Grande” because you get to see and do such a mixture of things, – visiting charming colonial cities; interacting with the locals; salsa dancing; learning interesting facts about Cuba’s rich cultural and historical heritage; experiencing beautiful scenery and swimming in the clear blue waters of the island’s rivers and seas. It’s fantastic!

I love everything about being a tour guide except for the paperwork! I can honestly say this is the perfect job for me, – I love meeting new people and learning from them, but what I love best is showing guests my beautiful country.

My favourite places in Cuba are Baracoa, for its unspoiled nature, cleanliness and friendly locals and Santa Clara for the Che Guevarra mausoleum and museum, – this memorial to one of Cuba’s most important revolutionaries is a very interesting and emotional place to visit. I also love Trinidad for its charming colonial architecture, rich cultural history and stunning nature, and of course I can’t miss out our vibrant and fascinating capital, Havana.


Lazaro de la Maza

Lazaro de la Maza

Guide

I’m from Arroyo Naranjo, a suburb of Havana, and come from a family which believes that education starts in the home.

I spent my 6th form year 60kms away from my home town (pretty far but perhaps my parents wanted a break!). We studied in the mornings and worked the fields in the afternoon, mainly banana plantations which meant that tummy upsets were frequent amongst the students! To get out of the physical work I signed up as an assistant to my pretty English teacher and learned a lot of useful vocabulary and grammar. I then went on to university to study English and French, graduating with joint honours, and in my third year I decided to add on German as well.

When I graduated I was sent to the same boarding school I had attended in 6th form to complete two years of compulsory social service, a way of giving back to your country what they have taught you. By that point the pretty English teacher was no longer there so I had to look for my own assistant. She later became my wife and the mother of our 3 year old daughter which proves that happy endings do exist!

I had many different jobs before becoming a tour guide including working in a bakery, working as a welder, renting out VHS movies, painting tourist handicrafts and of course, working as an English teacher. I also helped out at my uncle’s workshop, – he was a mechanic and wanted me to take over the business. I hated the dirt and grease that came with the job and rudely commented one day that I’d not spent years learning 3 languages just to become a mechanic! By chance a tour bus driver happened to be in the workshop and was listening to our conversation, he gave me the contact details of various travel agencies in Havana. I was lucky to be hired by one of the best.

I mainly work as a cycling guide but to me cycling is more than just a job. You get to meet locals along the way and can stop for a chat at any time, something that isn’t so easy on other tours. Sometimes you’ll find yourself cycling along a completely empty stretch of road between a majestic mountain range and the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Believe me if you want to see the real Cuba, grab a bike and a helmet and join a bike tour!

If you were to ask me where my favourite place to guide is I wouldn’t have to think twice: Havana old town. When you are walking through the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site, there’s no doubt you’re in the capital of mojitos, cigars and salsa!

Anyone who wants to discover something different (and be technology free for a week or two) should visit Cuba. I assure you you’ll go back home with a new understanding of the country and its people who are proud of their culture and heritage. We may be a small island in the Caribbean but the world certainly knows we exist!


ARISTIDES YOVANY PÉREZ PÉREZ

ARISTIDES YOVANY PÉREZ PÉREZ

Guide

I was born in Holguin in the eastern part of the island but now live in Havana.

I graduated from university with a degree in civil engineering and worked in hotel construction for around five years. I then moved into an entirely different direction professionally and became an entertainer working in various hotels for a year before moving into tour guiding. I’ve been guiding now for 10 years, the first four were spent in the Guardalavaca beach area followed by 6 years in Havana which is where I started working with Cubania.

I enjoy doing walking and cycling trips because you get to see so much variety and meet many interesting people along the way. That’s why I got into guiding, – I wanted to help tourists discover the best of Cuba and Cuban culture.

My favourite places to guide are Baracoa and Viñales because of the wonderful nature and scenery, but in truth I love all of Cuba, but then of course I’m biased!


MIRTA CELIA RODRIGUEZ BANDERA

MIRTA CELIA RODRIGUEZ BANDERA

Guide

I was born and bred in Havana, so I’m a true Habanera.

I have a degree in teaching from the teaching institute in 1984 and also studied English and French two years later.

I entered a guide training course and started working with Cubania in 2006, I’ve been guiding with them ever since. I really enjoy being a tour guide and enjoy doing a mixture of cultural and nature tours.

I’m a bit eclectic by nature in that I feel that every place has its charms but amongst my favourite places to guide are Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba and Pinar del Rio province.


DOUGLAS BATISTA SAVIGNE

DOUGLAS BATISTA SAVIGNE

Guide

I’m originally from Santiago de Cuba but have been living in Havana for many years now.

I have a degree in Radio – electronic engineering – but realised soon after graduating that I was happier working with people so I joined a course in tourism and change my profession. At the same time I started learning English, French and German.

I graduated from tourism school specialising in reception work which meant I could start working as a hotel receptionist. It was in one such hotel that I heard about a German agency looking for guides that spoke German and were in good physical shape to do cycling tours. I approached them for the job and ended up working with them for 4 years, then moved on to another agency doing similar tours in English and German. Recently I started working with Cubania, leading their cycling tours.

I love all kind of activity tours where I can talk to people about the culture, history, nature and current affairs of my beautiful country. Guiding is my perfect job as it combines my love of sports, practicing languages and teaching people about Cuba. Above all I want them to have a great time.

My favourite regions in Cuba are Baracoa, Viñales and Las Terrazas for their natural landscapes and also Trinidad for its culture. As for cities I love Cienfuegos and Camaguey for the cleanliness and friendly atmosphere.


JORGE SANCHEZ FERNANDEZ

JORGE SANCHEZ FERNANDEZ

Guide

I am what you call a Villa Clareño, someone who was born in the province of Villa Clara, in a small town called Miller.

From a young age I enjoyed going to school and practising sports, in particular Karate. Thanks to my enthusiasm for the sport I was spotted by a sports specialist and continued my education within the educational sporting program that Cuba offers to those who show a talent in a particular area. I was recruited to the national team but sadly had to cut short my sporting career due to an injury. I decided to go to university in Havana to study languages and graduated with a degrees in French, Italian and English. It made sense to me to use this to my advantage and pursue a career in tourism.

In the last 14 years I have worked for a Cuban tour operating company, the past 10 of which have been as Head of the English speaking guides which are contracted out to various foreign agencies who work in Cuba. Although I enjoy meeting and working with tourists of all nationalities, I particularly like the British for their great sense of humour.

I like walking and spending time outdoors, dancing and generally enjoying the positive and vibrant opportunities that my country offers. I try to put this positive attitude across to all the people I meet during my work.

Our guides at Cubania come from all different personal and professional backgrounds. They´ve been teachers, I.T. professionals, bakers, vets, army officers and even underwear salesmen! What they have in common is that they are all highly educated graduates who are passionate about guiding and proud of their beautiful country.

Here they tell you a little about themselves.

Office Staff


Lucy Davies

Lucy Davies

Director

Lucy was brought up in Latin America and started tour guiding while studying Modern Languages at Bristol University. After graduating she spent many years living and working in Italy before coming to Cuba on a whim as a cycle guide, in 1997. Instantly captivated by the country’s infectious atmosphere, Lucy spent the next three years cycling the length and breadth of the island, at the same time documenting the slow demise of the sugar industry through one of her passions, photography. The result was an exhibition and book entitled, ‘The Sugar Factory’.

Soon after, she decided to set up Cubania Travel in response to a real need for a serious incoming local ground-handling agency with expert knowledge on cycling and adventure travel in Cuba. As more and more people have wanted to get to know the real Cuba, Cubania Travel has added cultural and family trips to their adventure holiday portfolio.

Lucy has been living in Havana full time with her husband and son since 2003.


Liudmila Rodriguez

Liudmila Rodriguez

Operations

An Honours graduate of Havana University, Liudmilla has a degree in modern languages and is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian and German. She spent three years working for ESTI, Cuba’s official translating and interpreting agency before moving into tourism, working with a number of European agencies before joining Cubania Travel in 2008. In charge of operations, Liudmilla’s strength lies in building and maintaining excellent relationships with our hotel and transport suppliers. In fact, she’s so good at it that she recently married one of Cubania Travel’s favourite drivers! A typical Latina, she’s chatty, fun and always perfectly turned out. And she simply cannot survive without her daily cafécito, the Cuban version of an espresso.

Jose Fuentes

Jose Fuentes

Bike Operations

Jose was born and bred in Havana and has lived less that 100 metres from the sea all his life. He swims daily off the coast of capital’s coastline and loves snorkelling, fishing, sailing and scuba diving and his expertise in these areas is second to none. An Industrial Engineer by profession, Jose joined Cubania Travel at the beginning of 2011 but has been collaborating closely with us since 2006. The practical one of the team, he is also in charge of organising and maintaining our impressive fleet of bikes. You’ll see him at the airport meeting and greeting our groups and out and about showing Cuba novices how to get the best out of this complex and enchanting island. In the office Jose works on special itineraries and finding new routes and trails.


Anibal Paez Cruz

Anibal Paez Cruz

Marketing

Anibal was born in Havana and lives very near the famous Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square), the site of many historical activities in Cuban history and which holds a special place in the heart of the Cuban people.

He studied Industrial engineering, graduating in 1988 but decided to move into the travel industry where he built up over 20 years of experience in Cuban tourism. For 10 of those years he has held the position of Director of Specialised Tourism at Cuban travel agents Cubanacan, organising trekking, cycling and cultural programs. This experience has proven to be very useful for his new post at Cubania Travel where he creates and markets new programs for clients, ensuring they get the best out of their Cuban holiday.

Anibal loves spending time in the outdoors and feels fortunate to be able to enjoy the many beautiful nature reserves and stunning beaches his country has to offer.


Carla Brito Paseiro

Carla Brito Paseiro

Operations

I started working at Cubania in February 2013. Prior to that I was the sales manager at one of Havana’s 4 star hotels, the HTL Occidental Miramar – Montehabana.

The Occidental is one of the main hotels that Cubania uses to accommodate their clients. It’s also the site of the Cubania bike warehouse, where approximately 220 bikes are stored and maintained in preparation for their cycling trips. I got to know the Cubania team very well and when I heard they were looking for another staff member I jumped at the chance to win them over with my enthusiasm!

I have a degree in French language and Literature and also studied English at the University of Havana. When I first joined the Cubania team where a great deal of their business is done in English, I asked myself “How hard can it be?” I won’t lie, – it was much harder than I imagined especially as I had not practiced any English at all in my previous role.

What I enjoy most about working at Cubania is the variety. I’m not only involved with creating budgets, charts and tailor made itineraries for our clients, I also learn something new each day, be it English grammar, Cuban geography or bike sizes.

In the year and a half since I first joined the team, I’ve been able to visit many beautiful towns and cities across the island from Viñales to Baracoa as part of my training. I can still say though, that my favourite place is Havana, the city where I was born, – a vibrant city full of traditions and culture.

Our Guides


Freddy Cámara García

Freddy Cámara García

Guide

Freddy has an MSc degree in Geography and since 1996 has been leading tours primarily in ecotourism, mixing natural and cultural heritage, but also leads on specialist tours such as bird-watching. He is a keen photographer and, unusually for a guide, is the one most likely to be taking photos on any trip! Even when leading bike tours he can be seen with a large camera strapped to his back.

In 2011 he received two very impressive guiding awards – Exodus clients’ votes put him in the shortlist for best guide WORLDWIDE, an amazing achievement given he’s only been working with Exodus groups for the past three years. He was also awarded Guide of the Month by The Adventure Company.


ALEX BERJAGA HIDALGO

ALEX BERJAGA HIDALGO

Guide

I was born in Bayamo in the Eastern part of the island. When I was a year old my family moved to the capital, Havana.

I have a background in sports training and graduated with degrees in History, English and Italian. Prior to becoming a professional tour guide I worked for an electronics company in their I.T. department.

In 2011 I joined the Cubania team of guides taking groups around Cuba on cycling, trekking and cultural tours. Cycling tours are my favourite as they offer a unique opportunity to discover the island that is not possible in other more conventional tours.

Cuba is a wonderful country offering something different to everyone that comes here. My favourite places to guide are Viñales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and the Sierra Maestra.


JOSE ANTONIO LEYVA MORENA

JOSE ANTONIO LEYVA MORENA

Guide

I was born in Guanabacoa, a town to the south east of Havana.

I graduated from university with a degree in languages and English Literature, though sadly I’ve forgotten almost all of the Italian I learned due to not being able to practice it regularly.

I’ve been working as a Cubania guide for nearly 6 years. Being a tour guide is one of my passions, scuba diving is another. Cuba has some of the world’s finest dive sites though this isn’t common knowledge to most people.

I take groups on cycling and cultural tours around the island and of the two, I prefer the latter, although cycling tours are a great way to meet the locals.

My favourite cities in Cuba are Trinidad and Cienfuegos. Trinidad is the perfect place to have a great time, – you’re got the magnificent mountains, beautiful white sandy beaches and a wonderfully preserved colonial city with plenty of culture and nightlife. Cienfuegos is a beautiful, clean city with stunning examples of architecture, and I should also really include Baracoa in the east for its great nightlife and spectacular nature.


Enio Gonzalez

Enio Gonzalez

Guide

I’m from Havana and have been working as a professional tour guide for 18 years. I love eco tourism in particular.

After graduating from the University of Havana with a degree in translation and interpretation of the Russian language, I spent two years in the navy. It was a very important part of my life.

In 1993 I trained to become a professional tour guide and started working with a Cuban tour operator. Initially I spent 3 years doing biking trips and tours in nature reserves, and in the past 15 years I’ve done a lot of trekking, walking and bird watching tours in many of Cuba’s spectacular mountain ranges. I’m also an experienced fishing and kayaking guide.

My advice to anyone coming to Cuba for the first time is to keep an open mind. There will be a lot you won’t be able to understand but what you will enjoy is our hospitality, our happiness, and our pride of being Cuban. We live on an island which has so many great and unforgettable experiences to offer.


YAZEL PETERSSEN GUERRA

YAZEL PETERSSEN GUERRA

Guide

I was born and raised in Cuba’s capital Havana. At the age of 14 I spent 3 years in military school but ended up doing 5 as I was offered various promotions and benefits including 2 days a week study leave to pursue my chosen career.

I decided to study languages but my dream of being a tour guide seemed impossible, I never imagined it would actually come true. I went through many jobs before I started guiding, including teaching English and history classes at high school level, selling underwear in a department store and working as Head of Security at a tourism school. It was here that I heard about a travel agency that was looking for a guide. I went along to the interview not feeling very hopeful, but luckily I got the position! That’s how I ended up with my dream job.

I’ve worked with Cubania for 3 years doing cycling and trekking tours. Of all their trips my favourite is “La Isla Grande” because you get to see and do such a mixture of things, – visiting charming colonial cities; interacting with the locals; salsa dancing; learning interesting facts about Cuba’s rich cultural and historical heritage; experiencing beautiful scenery and swimming in the clear blue waters of the island’s rivers and seas. It’s fantastic!

I love everything about being a tour guide except for the paperwork! I can honestly say this is the perfect job for me, – I love meeting new people and learning from them, but what I love best is showing guests my beautiful country.

My favourite places in Cuba are Baracoa, for its unspoiled nature, cleanliness and friendly locals and Santa Clara for the Che Guevarra mausoleum and museum, – this memorial to one of Cuba’s most important revolutionaries is a very interesting and emotional place to visit. I also love Trinidad for its charming colonial architecture, rich cultural history and stunning nature, and of course I can’t miss out our vibrant and fascinating capital, Havana.


Lazaro de la Maza

Lazaro de la Maza

Guide

I’m from Arroyo Naranjo, a suburb of Havana, and come from a family which believes that education starts in the home.

I spent my 6th form year 60kms away from my home town (pretty far but perhaps my parents wanted a break!). We studied in the mornings and worked the fields in the afternoon, mainly banana plantations which meant that tummy upsets were frequent amongst the students! To get out of the physical work I signed up as an assistant to my pretty English teacher and learned a lot of useful vocabulary and grammar. I then went on to university to study English and French, graduating with joint honours, and in my third year I decided to add on German as well.

When I graduated I was sent to the same boarding school I had attended in 6th form to complete two years of compulsory social service, a way of giving back to your country what they have taught you. By that point the pretty English teacher was no longer there so I had to look for my own assistant. She later became my wife and the mother of our 3 year old daughter which proves that happy endings do exist!

I had many different jobs before becoming a tour guide including working in a bakery, working as a welder, renting out VHS movies, painting tourist handicrafts and of course, working as an English teacher. I also helped out at my uncle’s workshop, – he was a mechanic and wanted me to take over the business. I hated the dirt and grease that came with the job and rudely commented one day that I’d not spent years learning 3 languages just to become a mechanic! By chance a tour bus driver happened to be in the workshop and was listening to our conversation, he gave me the contact details of various travel agencies in Havana. I was lucky to be hired by one of the best.

I mainly work as a cycling guide but to me cycling is more than just a job. You get to meet locals along the way and can stop for a chat at any time, something that isn’t so easy on other tours. Sometimes you’ll find yourself cycling along a completely empty stretch of road between a majestic mountain range and the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Believe me if you want to see the real Cuba, grab a bike and a helmet and join a bike tour!

If you were to ask me where my favourite place to guide is I wouldn’t have to think twice: Havana old town. When you are walking through the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site, there’s no doubt you’re in the capital of mojitos, cigars and salsa!

Anyone who wants to discover something different (and be technology free for a week or two) should visit Cuba. I assure you you’ll go back home with a new understanding of the country and its people who are proud of their culture and heritage. We may be a small island in the Caribbean but the world certainly knows we exist!


ARISTIDES YOVANY PÉREZ PÉREZ

ARISTIDES YOVANY PÉREZ PÉREZ

Guide

I was born in Holguin in the eastern part of the island but now live in Havana.

I graduated from university with a degree in civil engineering and worked in hotel construction for around five years. I then moved into an entirely different direction professionally and became an entertainer working in various hotels for a year before moving into tour guiding. I’ve been guiding now for 10 years, the first four were spent in the Guardalavaca beach area followed by 6 years in Havana which is where I started working with Cubania.

I enjoy doing walking and cycling trips because you get to see so much variety and meet many interesting people along the way. That’s why I got into guiding, – I wanted to help tourists discover the best of Cuba and Cuban culture.

My favourite places to guide are Baracoa and Viñales because of the wonderful nature and scenery, but in truth I love all of Cuba, but then of course I’m biased!


MIRTA CELIA RODRIGUEZ BANDERA

MIRTA CELIA RODRIGUEZ BANDERA

Guide

I was born and bred in Havana, so I’m a true Habanera.

I have a degree in teaching from the teaching institute in 1984 and also studied English and French two years later.

I entered a guide training course and started working with Cubania in 2006, I’ve been guiding with them ever since. I really enjoy being a tour guide and enjoy doing a mixture of cultural and nature tours.

I’m a bit eclectic by nature in that I feel that every place has its charms but amongst my favourite places to guide are Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba and Pinar del Rio province.


DOUGLAS BATISTA SAVIGNE

DOUGLAS BATISTA SAVIGNE

Guide

I’m originally from Santiago de Cuba but have been living in Havana for many years now.

I have a degree in Radio – electronic engineering – but realised soon after graduating that I was happier working with people so I joined a course in tourism and change my profession. At the same time I started learning English, French and German.

I graduated from tourism school specialising in reception work which meant I could start working as a hotel receptionist. It was in one such hotel that I heard about a German agency looking for guides that spoke German and were in good physical shape to do cycling tours. I approached them for the job and ended up working with them for 4 years, then moved on to another agency doing similar tours in English and German. Recently I started working with Cubania, leading their cycling tours.

I love all kind of activity tours where I can talk to people about the culture, history, nature and current affairs of my beautiful country. Guiding is my perfect job as it combines my love of sports, practicing languages and teaching people about Cuba. Above all I want them to have a great time.

My favourite regions in Cuba are Baracoa, Viñales and Las Terrazas for their natural landscapes and also Trinidad for its culture. As for cities I love Cienfuegos and Camaguey for the cleanliness and friendly atmosphere.


JORGE SANCHEZ FERNANDEZ

JORGE SANCHEZ FERNANDEZ

Guide

I am what you call a Villa Clareño, someone who was born in the province of Villa Clara, in a small town called Miller.

From a young age I enjoyed going to school and practising sports, in particular Karate. Thanks to my enthusiasm for the sport I was spotted by a sports specialist and continued my education within the educational sporting program that Cuba offers to those who show a talent in a particular area. I was recruited to the national team but sadly had to cut short my sporting career due to an injury. I decided to go to university in Havana to study languages and graduated with a degrees in French, Italian and English. It made sense to me to use this to my advantage and pursue a career in tourism.

In the last 14 years I have worked for a Cuban tour operating company, the past 10 of which have been as Head of the English speaking guides which are contracted out to various foreign agencies who work in Cuba. Although I enjoy meeting and working with tourists of all nationalities, I particularly like the British for their great sense of humour.

I like walking and spending time outdoors, dancing and generally enjoying the positive and vibrant opportunities that my country offers. I try to put this positive attitude across to all the people I meet during my work.

Office Staff


Lucy Davies

Lucy Davies

Director

Lucy was brought up in Latin America and started tour guiding while studying Modern Languages at Bristol University. After graduating she spent many years living and working in Italy before coming to Cuba on a whim as a cycle guide, in 1997. Instantly captivated by the country’s infectious atmosphere, Lucy spent the next three years cycling the length and breadth of the island, at the same time documenting the slow demise of the sugar industry through one of her passions, photography. The result was an exhibition and book entitled, ‘The Sugar Factory’.

Soon after, she decided to set up Cubania Travel in response to a real need for a serious incoming local ground-handling agency with expert knowledge on cycling and adventure travel in Cuba. As more and more people have wanted to get to know the real Cuba, Cubania Travel has added cultural and family trips to their adventure holiday portfolio.

Lucy has been living in Havana full time with her husband and son since 2003.


Liudmila Rodriguez

Liudmila Rodriguez

Operations

An Honours graduate of Havana University, Liudmilla has a degree in modern languages and is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian and German. She spent three years working for ESTI, Cuba’s official translating and interpreting agency before moving into tourism, working with a number of European agencies before joining Cubania Travel in 2008. In charge of operations, Liudmilla’s strength lies in building and maintaining excellent relationships with our hotel and transport suppliers. In fact, she’s so good at it that she recently married one of Cubania Travel’s favourite drivers! A typical Latina, she’s chatty, fun and always perfectly turned out. And she simply cannot survive without her daily cafécito, the Cuban version of an espresso.

Jose Fuentes

Jose Fuentes

Bike Operations

Jose was born and bred in Havana and has lived less that 100 metres from the sea all his life. He swims daily off the coast of capital’s coastline and loves snorkelling, fishing, sailing and scuba diving and his expertise in these areas is second to none. An Industrial Engineer by profession, Jose joined Cubania Travel at the beginning of 2011 but has been collaborating closely with us since 2006. The practical one of the team, he is also in charge of organising and maintaining our impressive fleet of bikes. You’ll see him at the airport meeting and greeting our groups and out and about showing Cuba novices how to get the best out of this complex and enchanting island. In the office Jose works on special itineraries and finding new routes and trails.


Anibal Paez Cruz

Anibal Paez Cruz

Marketing

Anibal was born in Havana and lives very near the famous Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square), the site of many historical activities in Cuban history and which holds a special place in the heart of the Cuban people.

 

He studied Industrial engineering, graduating in 1988 but decided to move into the travel industry where he built up over 20 years of experience in Cuban tourism. For 10 of those years he has held the position of Director of Specialised Tourism at Cuban travel agents Cubanacan, organising trekking, cycling and cultural programs. This experience has proven to be very useful for his new post at Cubania Travel where he creates and markets new programs for clients, ensuring they get the best out of their Cuban holiday.

Anibal loves spending time in the outdoors and feels fortunate to be able to enjoy the many beautiful nature reserves and stunning beaches his country has to offer.


Carla Brito Paseiro

Carla Brito Paseiro

Operations

I started working at Cubania in February 2013. Prior to that I was the sales manager at one of Havana’s 4 star hotels, the HTL Occidental Miramar – Montehabana.

The Occidental is one of the main hotels that Cubania uses to accommodate their clients. It’s also the site of the Cubania bike warehouse, where approximately 220 bikes are stored and maintained in preparation for their cycling trips. I got to know the Cubania team very well and when I heard they were looking for another staff member I jumped at the chance to win them over with my enthusiasm!

I have a degree in French language and Literature and also studied English at the University of Havana. When I first joined the Cubania team where a great deal of their business is done in English, I asked myself “How hard can it be?” I won’t lie, – it was much harder than I imagined especially as I had not practiced any English at all in my previous role.

What I enjoy most about working at Cubania is the variety. I’m not only involved with creating budgets, charts and tailor made itineraries for our clients, I also learn something new each day, be it English grammar, Cuban geography or bike sizes.

In the year and a half since I first joined the team, I’ve been able to visit many beautiful towns and cities across the island from Viñales to Baracoa as part of my training. I can still say though, that my favourite place is Havana, the city where I was born, – a vibrant city full of traditions and culture.

Our Guides


Freddy Cámara García

Freddy Cámara García

Guide

Freddy has an MSc degree in Geography and since 1996 has been leading tours primarily in ecotourism, mixing natural and cultural heritage, but also leads on specialist tours such as bird-watching. He is a keen photographer and, unusually for a guide, is the one most likely to be taking photos on any trip! Even when leading bike tours he can be seen with a large camera strapped to his back.

In 2011 he received two very impressive guiding awards – Exodus clients’ votes put him in the shortlist for best guide WORLDWIDE, an amazing achievement given he’s only been working with Exodus groups for the past three years. He was also awarded Guide of the Month by The Adventure Company.


ALEX BERJAGA HIDALGO

ALEX BERJAGA HIDALGO

Guide

I was born in Bayamo in the Eastern part of the island. When I was a year old my family moved to the capital, Havana.

I have a background in sports training and graduated with degrees in History, English and Italian. Prior to becoming a professional tour guide I worked for an electronics company in their I.T. department.

In 2011 I joined the Cubania team of guides taking groups around Cuba on cycling, trekking and cultural tours. Cycling tours are my favourite as they offer a unique opportunity to discover the island that is not possible in other more conventional tours.

Cuba is a wonderful country offering something different to everyone that comes here. My favourite places to guide are Viñales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and the Sierra Maestra.


JOSE ANTONIO LEYVA MORENA

JOSE ANTONIO LEYVA MORENA

Guide

I was born in Guanabacoa, a town to the south east of Havana.

I graduated from university with a degree in languages and English Literature, though sadly I’ve forgotten almost all of the Italian I learned due to not being able to practice it regularly.

I’ve been working as a Cubania guide for nearly 6 years. Being a tour guide is one of my passions, scuba diving is another. Cuba has some of the world’s finest dive sites though this isn’t common knowledge to most people.

I take groups on cycling and cultural tours around the island and of the two, I prefer the latter, although cycling tours are a great way to meet the locals.

My favourite cities in Cuba are Trinidad and Cienfuegos. Trinidad is the perfect place to have a great time, – you’re got the magnificent mountains, beautiful white sandy beaches and a wonderfully preserved colonial city with plenty of culture and nightlife. Cienfuegos is a beautiful, clean city with stunning examples of architecture, and I should also really include Baracoa in the east for its great nightlife and spectacular nature.


Enio Gonzalez

Enio Gonzalez

Guide

I’m from Havana and have been working as a professional tour guide for 18 years. I love eco tourism in particular.

After graduating from the University of Havana with a degree in translation and interpretation of the Russian language, I spent two years in the navy. It was a very important part of my life.

In 1993 I trained to become a professional tour guide and started working with a Cuban tour operator. Initially I spent 3 years doing biking trips and tours in nature reserves, and in the past 15 years I’ve done a lot of trekking, walking and bird watching tours in many of Cuba’s spectacular mountain ranges. I’m also an experienced fishing and kayaking guide.

My advice to anyone coming to Cuba for the first time is to keep an open mind. There will be a lot you won’t be able to understand but what you will enjoy is our hospitality, our happiness, and our pride of being Cuban. We live on an island which has so many great and unforgettable experiences to offer.


YAZEL PETERSSEN GUERRA

YAZEL PETERSSEN GUERRA

Guide

I was born and raised in Cuba’s capital Havana. At the age of 14 I spent 3 years in military school but ended up doing 5 as I was offered various promotions and benefits including 2 days a week study leave to pursue my chosen career.

I decided to study languages but my dream of being a tour guide seemed impossible, I never imagined it would actually come true. I went through many jobs before I started guiding, including teaching English and history classes at high school level, selling underwear in a department store and working as Head of Security at a tourism school. It was here that I heard about a travel agency that was looking for a guide. I went along to the interview not feeling very hopeful, but luckily I got the position! That’s how I ended up with my dream job.

I’ve worked with Cubania for 3 years doing cycling and trekking tours. Of all their trips my favourite is “La Isla Grande” because you get to see and do such a mixture of things, – visiting charming colonial cities; interacting with the locals; salsa dancing; learning interesting facts about Cuba’s rich cultural and historical heritage; experiencing beautiful scenery and swimming in the clear blue waters of the island’s rivers and seas. It’s fantastic!

I love everything about being a tour guide except for the paperwork! I can honestly say this is the perfect job for me, – I love meeting new people and learning from them, but what I love best is showing guests my beautiful country.

My favourite places in Cuba are Baracoa, for its unspoiled nature, cleanliness and friendly locals and Santa Clara for the Che Guevarra mausoleum and museum, – this memorial to one of Cuba’s most important revolutionaries is a very interesting and emotional place to visit. I also love Trinidad for its charming colonial architecture, rich cultural history and stunning nature, and of course I can’t miss out our vibrant and fascinating capital, Havana.


Lazaro de la Maza

Lazaro de la Maza

Guide

I’m from Arroyo Naranjo, a suburb of Havana, and come from a family which believes that education starts in the home.

I spent my 6th form year 60kms away from my home town (pretty far but perhaps my parents wanted a break!). We studied in the mornings and worked the fields in the afternoon, mainly banana plantations which meant that tummy upsets were frequent amongst the students! To get out of the physical work I signed up as an assistant to my pretty English teacher and learned a lot of useful vocabulary and grammar. I then went on to university to study English and French, graduating with joint honours, and in my third year I decided to add on German as well.

When I graduated I was sent to the same boarding school I had attended in 6th form to complete two years of compulsory social service, a way of giving back to your country what they have taught you. By that point the pretty English teacher was no longer there so I had to look for my own assistant. She later became my wife and the mother of our 3 year old daughter which proves that happy endings do exist!

I had many different jobs before becoming a tour guide including working in a bakery, working as a welder, renting out VHS movies, painting tourist handicrafts and of course, working as an English teacher. I also helped out at my uncle’s workshop, – he was a mechanic and wanted me to take over the business. I hated the dirt and grease that came with the job and rudely commented one day that I’d not spent years learning 3 languages just to become a mechanic! By chance a tour bus driver happened to be in the workshop and was listening to our conversation, he gave me the contact details of various travel agencies in Havana. I was lucky to be hired by one of the best.

I mainly work as a cycling guide but to me cycling is more than just a job. You get to meet locals along the way and can stop for a chat at any time, something that isn’t so easy on other tours. Sometimes you’ll find yourself cycling along a completely empty stretch of road between a majestic mountain range and the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Believe me if you want to see the real Cuba, grab a bike and a helmet and join a bike tour!

If you were to ask me where my favourite place to guide is I wouldn’t have to think twice: Havana old town. When you are walking through the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site, there’s no doubt you’re in the capital of mojitos, cigars and salsa!

Anyone who wants to discover something different (and be technology free for a week or two) should visit Cuba. I assure you you’ll go back home with a new understanding of the country and its people who are proud of their culture and heritage. We may be a small island in the Caribbean but the world certainly knows we exist!


ARISTIDES YOVANY PÉREZ PÉREZ

ARISTIDES YOVANY PÉREZ PÉREZ

Guide

I was born in Holguin in the eastern part of the island but now live in Havana.

I graduated from university with a degree in civil engineering and worked in hotel construction for around five years. I then moved into an entirely different direction professionally and became an entertainer working in various hotels for a year before moving into tour guiding. I’ve been guiding now for 10 years, the first four were spent in the Guardalavaca beach area followed by 6 years in Havana which is where I started working with Cubania.

I enjoy doing walking and cycling trips because you get to see so much variety and meet many interesting people along the way. That’s why I got into guiding, – I wanted to help tourists discover the best of Cuba and Cuban culture.

My favourite places to guide are Baracoa and Viñales because of the wonderful nature and scenery, but in truth I love all of Cuba, but then of course I’m biased!


MIRTA CELIA RODRIGUEZ BANDERA

MIRTA CELIA RODRIGUEZ BANDERA

Guide

I was born and bred in Havana, so I’m a true Habanera.

I have a degree in teaching from the teaching institute in 1984 and also studied English and French two years later.

I entered a guide training course and started working with Cubania in 2006, I’ve been guiding with them ever since. I really enjoy being a tour guide and enjoy doing a mixture of cultural and nature tours.

I’m a bit eclectic by nature in that I feel that every place has its charms but amongst my favourite places to guide are Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba and Pinar del Rio province.


DOUGLAS BATISTA SAVIGNE

DOUGLAS BATISTA SAVIGNE

Guide

I’m originally from Santiago de Cuba but have been living in Havana for many years now.

I have a degree in Radio – electronic engineering – but realised soon after graduating that I was happier working with people so I joined a course in tourism and change my profession. At the same time I started learning English, French and German.

I graduated from tourism school specialising in reception work which meant I could start working as a hotel receptionist. It was in one such hotel that I heard about a German agency looking for guides that spoke German and were in good physical shape to do cycling tours. I approached them for the job and ended up working with them for 4 years, then moved on to another agency doing similar tours in English and German. Recently I started working with Cubania, leading their cycling tours.

I love all kind of activity tours where I can talk to people about the culture, history, nature and current affairs of my beautiful country. Guiding is my perfect job as it combines my love of sports, practicing languages and teaching people about Cuba. Above all I want them to have a great time.

My favourite regions in Cuba are Baracoa, Viñales and Las Terrazas for their natural landscapes and also Trinidad for its culture. As for cities I love Cienfuegos and Camaguey for the cleanliness and friendly atmosphere.


JORGE SANCHEZ FERNANDEZ

JORGE SANCHEZ FERNANDEZ

Guide

I am what you call a Villa Clareño, someone who was born in the province of Villa Clara, in a small town called Miller.

From a young age I enjoyed going to school and practising sports, in particular Karate. Thanks to my enthusiasm for the sport I was spotted by a sports specialist and continued my education within the educational sporting program that Cuba offers to those who show a talent in a particular area. I was recruited to the national team but sadly had to cut short my sporting career due to an injury. I decided to go to university in Havana to study languages and graduated with a degrees in French, Italian and English. It made sense to me to use this to my advantage and pursue a career in tourism.

In the last 14 years I have worked for a Cuban tour operating company, the past 10 of which have been as Head of the English speaking guides which are contracted out to various foreign agencies who work in Cuba. Although I enjoy meeting and working with tourists of all nationalities, I particularly like the British for their great sense of humour.

I like walking and spending time outdoors, dancing and generally enjoying the positive and vibrant opportunities that my country offers. I try to put this positive attitude across to all the people I meet during my work.