Now that Cuba is opening up, my husband and I want to see it before it changes. Are there any tour companies you'd recommend to see the real Cuba? We have heard a cost of $5,000 per person for a great week-long stay, but that's much too expensive.
I agree with the rest. Stay in casa particulares and book a tour every now and than when it is convenient. A lot of things you can do by yourself and that is the best way to see the real Cuba. There is a nice walking tour in Trinidad (Cuba) in the lonely planet which they say is best to do at the end of the day before sunset. That was really nice. And we liked walking trough the streets of Camaguey. We saw a lot of the real Cuba there. Or visit a dance performance in a local theatre and go dancing in a casa de la musica of casa de la trova!
Hey Nancy, you can try a company called Globe Drifters. I did there 9 day trip and it was really amazing. They have some reviews online as well.
You can stay in private homes for 25 usd night, the same local hosts will suggest very cheap excursions, it is a fantastic way to learn about the lives of Cubans.
cubatripplan offer all these services from May
Cuba is "opened up." Has been for years. Which is why you can find casa particulares to stay at, places to eat, and things to do, all listed, ranked, etc. on tripadvisor.
All tours to Cuba are rip-offs. Consider this: it will cost you $40 a night, for a couple, with breakfast included, to stay in a top-rated casa in Havana.
I highly recommend you use TA, especially the forums.
It is only silly yankees who haven't been going to Cuba. Canadians know the ropes.