Cuban baseball fans at Havana game.
Cuba’s national sport

Friendly professionals help you visit Cuba

Your Cuba Explorer travel team

We have decades of experience helping Americans visit Cuba. Our all-Cuban team designs fun flexible travel itineraries and provides superhost services from our Havana office. We love Cuba and lend magic to your island journey.

Sairí Álvarez in Marvelous Miami

Our humanitarian project

Sairí was born in 1981 and raised in Havana. Today she lives in Miami with her husband and young son. Sairí designs short-term Cuba study abroad programs for high schools, colleges, and universities in the United States and other countries.

In her own words. My lifelong passion has been humanities, and from my early years, I oriented my career towards the social sciences.

I graduated from the University of Havana Law School in 2004 and three years later had the honor to serve as a legal advisor for Cubanacan. It’s the largest Cuban travel agency hosting the highest number of international visitors to the island. My work for Cubanacan was a life-changing experience. While there I acquired a deep understanding and knowledge of the intricacies of Cuban tourism industry.

In 2013 I started working for the specialty Cuban travel agency San Cristóbal, which focuses on cultural, historical and educational tourism. San Cristóbal is Cuba Explorer’s island partner. I was responsible for establishing Cuba Explorer’s legal and physical presence in Cuba. For three years I served as the agency’s operations manager and staff director at its headquarters located in Old Havana’s Plaza San Francisco de Asís in the historical Lonja del Comercio building.

Afterward, I moved to the United States, to the beautiful city of Miami! Here I continue my work with Cuba Explorer Travel as it chief designer of custom Cuba tours for schools and large private groups.

Today I have the pleasure to collaborate with hundreds of US-based educational institutions and private entities to prepare and plan tailored Cuba trips. It’s my new passion. My work helps thousands of Americans visit the country of my birth of which I remain immensely proud.

Julio Valdivia in the gateway to our Americas

Our humanitarian project

Julio was born 1987 in Santa Clara, the historic capital of Villa Clara province. At the age of 12, he moved to Havana. Julio is chief of operations for Cuba Explorer’s Havana office and ensures our island guests receive five-star treatment during their island stay.

In his own words. I was raised in a quiet neighborhood in Santa Clara, in the same city as Marta Abreu, the 19th-century humanitarian, intellectual and independence champion spent most of her life, and where Ché Guevara won the decisive battle of the Cuban Revolution. Their influences helped me understand from the very first beginning the importance of the core human values.

Soon after I moved to Havana, I fell in love with this beautiful city, and I decided to spend most of my time here. Old Havana and the sea continues to seduce me.

My goal as a teenager was to obtain a degree from the prestigious University of Havana. At university, I studied tourism, a perfect match for realizing my early hopes and career aspirations. And it did. I majored in Tourism in 2010, and since then it has been a great journey of learning every day.

Back in 2014, I received a proposal to work for the Office of the Historian of Havana within its renowned San Cristóbal travel agency. My daily tasks were advocating the history, culture, and heritage of my people. I couldn’t ask for more.

I joined the Cuba Explorer Travel team in 2015. This agency, together with my colleagues, have become my second home and family. It’s become the ideal place to advance my profession and realize my youthful passion as well.

In my spare time, I enjoy swimming and work out. Likewise, I love traveling and meeting new people and places.

Jacqueline Hernández in magnificent Montréal

Our humanitarian project

Jacqueline was born and raised in Havana in 1982. Today she lives in Montréal Québec with her husband and young daughter. Jacqueline is chief of information technologies for Cuba Explorer Travel.

In her own words. I obtained my degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Havana’s faculty of Technologies José Antonio Echeverría in 2005. Since that time I’ve worked continuously to advance in the fields web and application development.

Later I started to work in Cuba’s tourism sector, and I loved it from the beginning. It’s always a professional challenge. It has also taught me about my Cuba. I have learned so many different things that I never knew before, especially to appreciate my country’s beautiful nature, our culture, and our talented people.

Moving to Montréal and becoming part of the information technologies team of Cuba Explorer Travel is like becoming part of a larger family and keeps me close to my beloved Cuba. It’s given me the opportunity to help bring Cuba to the world.

I love nature, to read a good book, and to spend time with my family.

Alessandra Ramos in the heavenly Havana

Our humanitarian project

Alessandra was born in 1989 in a small neighborhood near Havana’s José Martí International airport where she lives with her mother. Alessandra is the embodiment of goodness in all aspects of her life and work. That is why she is in charge of mission critical coordinations for our guests.

In her own words. Foreign languages have always been my passion. Being able to understand and communicate with people from all over the world enlivens and fills me with joy. After high school, the obvious choice for me was to study at the University of Havana’s Faculty of Foreign Languages. I majored in French and English language and literature and graduated in 2013.

I began work at San Cristóbal, the travel agency of the Office of the Historian of Havana, focused on history and culture. I started in its Operations Department, then became part of the sales and marketing group. I also worked as a tour guide from time to time.

My experiences at San Cristóbal gave me a broad perspective on the Cuban tourism industry. More importantly, it helped me understand the rich history of my country, and love it a lot more.

In 2016 I began working with Cuba Explorer, which is sponsored in Cuba by San Cristóbal. I feel blessed for being part of this wonderful family. Sharing my everyday life with this team of hardworking and passionate people allows me to grow professionally and also as a person.

I am very proud of being Cuban, and to be able to share with the world the charms of my beautiful island as a profession, it is an honor and a privilege that words cannot express.

My faith in Jesus is what drives my life. When I’m not at work, I love reading my Bible, being involved in my church activities and spending time with my brethren.

Karina Montes of the City of Bridges

Our humanitarian project

Karina was born in Matanzas, known as the City of Bridges, for its seventeen crossings spanning rivers flowing into the sea. At four years old, she moved to Havana, where her parents found new work. Karina works with our visitors to design custom Cuba tours and coordinates activities with Cuban service providers.

In his own words. I was raised in Havana’s October 10th (Diez de Octubre) neighborhood. Its name honors the date of the outset of the Independence War in Cuba in 1868. Most streets in this district were named after prestigious men throughout Cuba’s history, such as Tomas Estrada Palma, the first President of the Cuban Republic, or Camilo Cienfuegos, one of the Commandants of the Cuban Revolution. These street names increased my attraction and love for Cuban history.

Since I was young, I have loved to organize meetings and trips with my friends. Moreover, I was lucky to spend time reading travel guidebooks about places around the world. Therefore, I studied tourism at the University of Havana for five memorable years, where I learned and received the tools and skills of my vocation.

In 2016 I began work at Havanatur tourism agency. I enjoyed every single day. Each tourist trip I organized was a professional challenge. My best prize was my clients’ happiness.

I joined the young professional team that makes up the great family of Cuba Explorer. It’s the perfect place to continue working on what I love most.

I spend my free time with my kids. I enjoy swimming and watching a good film.

Yeni Hechavarría Urquiaga in the land of Hemingway

Our humanitarian project

Yeni was born and lives in San Miguel del Padrón, a municipality in the province of Havana. This large community is famous for the Museo de Ernest Hemingway, Iglesia de Paula, and Lookout Farm (Finca Vigia).

In his own words. As a child, I loved sports. Basketball was my first passion. My childhood and adolescence revolved around a world of teamwork and fellowship. I desired to communicate in other languages with teammates and coaches during international basketball clinics. So after high school, I chose to study foreign languages. A choice I’ll never regret.

I studied at the University of Havana’s Faculty of Foreign Languages (FLEX). It opened my eyes to other horizons and worlds of languages and cultures. I studied English, French, and Portuguese and majored in English and French language and literature.

After graduation, I joined the Translators and Interpreters Team (ESTI), the island’s prestigious official translation and interpretation body. I’ve worked as a translator and interpreter for over ten years. I can’t begin to tell you how addictive it is to help others communicate in multiple tongues.

As an interpreter, I worked with well-known and not-so-well-known personalities from various backgrounds at the national and international levels. I also had the opportunity to get to know cities and cultures from around the world. I experienced first-hand the love and admiration others hold for Cuba. I am proud of being Cuban and being a humble representative of the island at home and abroad.

I enjoy traveling and meeting new places and people. In addition, I relish nature and spending time with my family and friends. When I’m not at work, I try to spend as much time as possible with them. Much of my spare time plans include them.

Marcel Hatch in the pearl of the Antilles

Our humanitarian project

Marcel was born in 1954 and raised in a forest hamlet known as Priest Lake in northern Idaho. He moved to Vancouver, Canada, in 1983. Marcel founded Cuba Explorer Travel in 1997. He spends much of his time working in Havana, where he resides with his partner.

In his own words. I grew up in the tumultuous 1960s and 70s. I was blessed to be part of the movements for equality and social change. I am an alumnus of Evergreen State College where I studied education and Russian history. My professional work spanned print production to advertising. As paper moved to the internet, so did my career.

My passions beyond work include being part of the movements for radical change in the United States and Canada – for the elevation of the 99% to be in charge of their destiny. For the total emancipation of women and their necessary place in determining humanity’s future. For a comprehensive elimination of racism. To an end of the crippling prejudice against LGBT people.

Growing up in the lonely foothills of the Rocky Mountains put me in touch with nature, but kept me isolated from my generation. The only glimpse of modern life was a fuzzy black and white television with just one channel.

In the first days of 1959, my family and I were glued to the tube. We watch newsreels of Fidel Castro, Ché Guevara, and thousands of Cubans in the streets proclaiming a new era. These are my earliest recollections of the world beyond the farm and forest. Several years later we sat in our rustic cabin and listened for 13 days to president Kennedy explaining a possible “end of the world,” also known as the Cuba Missile Crisis.

As a high school freshman – ninth-grader – I became enamored with the stunning inspirational poster art emanating from Cuba. That was way back in 1969. Those colorful radical images caused me to become fascinated with Cuba.

From 1991 to 1996, I served as a volunteer press correspondent for the Canadian chapter of the Pastors for Peace Caravan. Its objective was to break the horrible U.S. economic blockade of Cuba. I organized the Canadian contingent of the International Feminist Brigade to Cuba in 1997. On my first trip to the island, I witnessed an entire people affirming principles of social justice, dignity, and equal rights. It was profoundly life-changing. I returned to Canada with the conviction to help others experience incredible Cuba.

That’s how Cuba Explorer Travel came about.