We are not your ordinary tour operator. We are a team of Cuba enthusiasts that thrive on creating unique travel experiences. We do this by going above and beyond for our clients, listening to their needs and translating them into their dream holiday.
All our travel consultants have either lived or travelled extensively in Cuba. This allows us to give clients genuine advice from our own experiences as well as those of the many clients we've whisked away over the past 15 years. We use our knowledge to craft special, off-the-beaten track experiences - the kind that big faceless travel agencies simply can't compete with.
As a small boutique company, we’re able to favour our customers rather than suppliers (while still offering you the assurance of ABTA and ATOL protection). No kickbacks, just unbiased guidance on what’s best for you and your holiday of a lifetime.
Our Winning Team
We’re a friendly team of travel enthusiasts with a shared passion for Cuba. We work together to show off the beauty, diversity and cultural richness of our favourite island.
Founder and Managing Director of Cuba Direct, Miguel is originally from Havana. Visiting the island at least three times a year, he likes to cycle, drive, hop on a bus or in an almendron in order to see Cuba from a variety of perspectives. Like any good Cuban, he loves going out dancing – but as the UK native he now is, he’s also a big fan of staying in to watch Channel 4 documentaries.
Finance Director | London
Originally from Majagua, in Cuba’s centre, Sandra is our Finance Director. A fun-loving person who enjoys cooking, dancing and music, Sandra’s favourite thing about Cuba is the annual ‘Bandos’ dance party that has taken place in her hometown for over century. Sandra also loves visiting the flamingos of Cayo Coco, a beautiful key off the northern coast of the island!
Product Manager | London
Now working in London as a Product Manager, Pedro is originally from Bayamo in Southeastern Cuba - a world leading city in sustainable transportation (code for riding horse-drawn carriages instead of buses)! Pedro loves going back to explore his homeland; he especially enjoys going on road trips along small villages, where you can really experience the beauty of Cuba’s rural landscapes.
Product Manager | London
Our resident Italian from Puglia, Rossella works in London as one of Cuba Direct’s Product Managers. Having travelled extensively across Cuba, Rossella prefers to go off the tourist trail to Baracoa, as she finds it’s a really quirky and colourful city. While she admits that Cubans are exceptional dancers, she likes to claim that her 90-year-old grandmother can dance just as well as anyone in our Cuban sales team!
Head Travel Consultant | London
Born in the beautiful town of Santa Clara, Cuba, York now works as Head Travel Consultant in our London office. A culture fanatic, York is constantly going to music, ballet and theatre events – whether he’s in London, Havana or even in Santa Clara. Although he’s travelled extensively, York still finds Havana one of the most vibrant and interesting cities in the world. Nothing compares to Cuba’s capital!
Travel Consultant | London
From the beautiful colonial town of Trinidad, Seymour now works in London as our Senior Travel Consultant. An adventure fanatic, Seymour loves going to dive in the Cueva de Saturno (a 22-metre deep lake inside a cave!) whenever he visits his homeland. But Seymour also has quite an ethical conscience whenever he goes back– he finds that tipping is very important for helping the local economy!
Customer Representation | Havana
Born and raised in Old Havana, Emilio is our Customer Representative in Cuba. Emilio is always on the hunt for new spots and sites to visit on the island, as part of his role entails advising clients on places to check out whilst in Cuba. A die-hard baseball fan, Emilio has also come to be quite the loyal supporter of Manchester United after spending some time in the UK.
Customer Representation | Havana
Originally from Santiago de Cuba, Antonio now works in Havana as our Customer Representative. A coffee addict and fitness fanatic, you’ll either find him sipping on a Cuban coffee in a sunny café, or working off those sugary coffees at the gym. This lovely Santiaguero particularly enjoys visiting Camaguey, as he loves exploring its winding streets and colonial churches.
Through the Years
Cuba Direct started as a husband-and-wife team in 2002. Though based in London, providing holidays in Cuba meant dealing with severely limited internet communication and a whole lot of red tape. Despite the pressures of juggling Cuban bureaucracy, learning on the job and two new arrivals in the family, Cuba Direct has grown year on year.
Many years have passed and many things have changed, but not everything. Founder and Managing Director Miguel – a Havana native – still likes to get down and dirty whenever he is in Cuba. Visiting the island at least three times a year, he cycles, drives, hops on a bus or in an almendron to see Cuba from a variety of perspectives. We constantly check on, improve on and share knowledge - one of the most important ways that we maintain our edge.
This is our story.
A Unique Product - One Destination, One Company
Miguel and Sandra spot a gap in the market. Though several travel companies sell trips to Cuba, they lack the destination expertise to offer a complete Cuban travel experience. Tour operators tend to focus on either all-inclusive beach breaks or non-stop cultural itineraries. The ambitious Cuban expats launch Cuba Direct, providing hand-crafted holidays to Cuba that combine enriching cultural encounters with plenty of time to unwind by the sea. They also offer specialised itineraries, such as birdwatching, fishing and salsa trips, taking advantage of Cuba’s natural and artistic bounty. All in one destination, co-ordinated by one company.
A Unique Company
Cuba Direct grows quickly and organically. We didn’t pay our way to the top but grew from word-of-mouth because our product is better, thanks to our specialist knowledge and constant efforts to improve.
As our client base grows, so does our team. Miguel and Sandra begin the process of seeking out Cuba experts to collaborate with. They end up with a team of Cubans and Europeans, all of whom share a passion for Cuba.
A Rock-Solid Operation in Cuba
Keen to offer clients prompt support and customer care on holiday, we station reps, a customer services team, a reservations team and guides on the ground in Cuba.
Cuba is a wonderful destination, but it's complex and presents its own unique challenges. An important part of the Cuba Direct service is that we resolve any issues our client may experience on the spot. There’s little point in trying to deal with complications once clients have returned home. Bumps in the road should be smoothed straight away, allowing our customers to get on and enjoy their holiday
2002 - 2005
Growing, Learning and New Ventures
We enter an important period of learning, making mistakes and nearly going bust! Our new service, Visa Cuba, saves us from disaster. We begin selling Cuban visas online, making us the first company in the world to do so.
Providing our services in Cuba not only enables us to deliver a better service to our clients, but also to give something back to the country. We employ dozens of Cubans and help the island's tourism industry grow, a vital source of income for Cuba. We begin working more and more with the nation’s fledgling private sector so that our clients’ money goes into the pockets of ordinary Cubans, helping to transform lives.
A Packed Portfolio
With our business back on track, we begin the process of expanding our portfolio to include more excursions, services and accommodation options. Perhaps the most important addition is the inclusion of casas particulares, private homestay accommodation in Cuba. As expected, our clients love the experience of staying in friendly family-run B&Bs; they offer great value for money, a superb service and grant a wonderful insight into Cuban culture.
2012 - 2013
The Lukas Awards
We become the proud recipients of the LUKAS Tour Operator of the Year award. We’re extremely proud of this achievement, as the winner is determined by client votes, rather than an industry panel. The award shows that all the hard work we’ve put into our customer service provision is really paying off!
Virgin Atlantic Achievement Award
We scoop another prize, this time it’s Virgin Atlantic Airways Gold Achievement Award. It’s great to get recognition from those we work with as well as our customers.
Getting Bigger and Better
We continue to grow steadily, taking thousands of clients on holiday to Cuba every year. This growth enables us to get better and better. We expand our Cuba team and station reps in Varadero, catering to our sun-worshipping clients.
Reviews and Recommendations
We discover that over half our clients come to us because Cuba Direct was recommended to them by a friend, family member or colleague – a great sign. We continue to amass positive reviews on Feefo and receive their Trusted Merchant Accreditation.
New Venture: Travel Direct
We launch our new sister brand, Travel Direct, to offer a host of exciting destinations outside Cuba.
Reps in Viñales and Trinidad
We continue to increase representation across the island, stationing reps in Viñales and Trinidad. Our friendly team is now able to provide face-to-face support in these popular destinations, favourites amongst our staff and clients.
The World Travel Awards
We're thrilled to win the title of Cuba's Leading Travel Agency 2017 in the hugely prestigious World Travel Awards! The result, decided by popular vote, is a great recognition of all the hard work we do!
We are Different. We are:
Genuine Cuba Experts
We employ more travel consultants of Cuban origin than any other UK tour operator. Our advice and information comes from first hand knowledge - not search engine.
A One Stop Shop
We offer everything you could possibly need for your perfect Cuba holiday. Visas, transfers, flights, accommodation, car hire, excursions and guides - organised and quality-assured by our experts.
We are different - and so are you! That's why we use our encyclopaedic knowledge of Cuba to design your holiday entirely around you. Just let us know your interests, time and budget.
Caring and Ethical
We've always championed homestay accommodation. Not only does it offer travellers authentic and enriching experiences, but it puts money in the pockets of ordinary Cubans, transforming lives.
Our Core Values
We are defined by our values. They are at the centre of everything we do.
We Value Honesty
Having travelled extensively ourselves, we understand the importance of honest advice and realistic expectations. Simply put, we tell it like it is and never make false promises. We love Cuba but we're under no illusions about its quirks, challenges and frustrations. We're upfront about this with our clients so they're prepared for whatever comes their way.
We Value Knowledge
We specialise in Cuba because it's a country we know inside out and have a huge passion for. That means we can give you real recommendations and expert advice from our own lived experiences - not a search engine. It’s this detailed knowledge that allows us to create specialised itineraries around your interests.
We Value People
We’re people-people. We care about the people our holidays impact – you and the community you visit. We want to give back to our homeland which is why we were one of the first British tour operators to offer homestay accommodation (casas particulares) in Cuba. Casas provide our clients with unforgettable holiday experiences while having a positive impact on Cuba and its incredible people.
The Ultimate Cuba Holidays
Everything we do is designed around providing the ultimate Cuba holidays. Not only do we have a team on-the-ground in Cuba, but our UK staff travel there regularly to top up our knowledge, check accommodation, discover new hidden gems and meet with our guides. This ensures the quality of all our services and means our clients benefit from our first-hand, up-to-date knowledge of the island.
Tips and advice from someone who’s lived and travelled extensively in Cuba
Authentic Cuba itinerary designed by destination experts
A tailor-made holiday designed around your interests and needs
Hassle-free holiday planning to an exciting, but complex, destination
Support in Cuba from highly-trained, friendly, English-speaking reps
Superb accommodation options, particularly independent guesthouses (of which we are a pioneer)
Vetted guides and drivers for excursions and private guided tours
ABTA, ATOL and IATA accredited, so your booking is 100% protected
Letter from Founder
¡Hola y bienvenido a Cuba Direct™!
Cuba Direct™ is my baby. It has formed nearly all my professional life. I arrived in the UK in 2000 and, after struggling to find a job, decided to create my own business. At the time, I knew nothing about business – zero, nichts, nada – which perhaps is unsurprising when you consider I grew up in a country where capitalism is the enemy !
I believe this “going in blind” approach has defined much of what Cuba Direct™ is as a company and, in many ways, has been a huge asset. Without it, we would not have been so inquisitive, so ready to break away from traditional concepts and models and to tread our own path.
Fast-forward 16 years and we find ourselves a company with strong values and unshakeable sense of self:
We are comfortable (and proud) to tell customers that we do not specialise in all-inclusive beach holidays. It’s not what we’re about, we want to focus on where we can add real value and be the best.
We are pioneers of homestay accommodation (casas particulares). While I didn’t know much about business when setting out, I did know a lot about Cuba. Cuba Direct™ recognised the great benefits casas bring to travellers and locals before any other British tour operator.
We are champions of multi-centre itineraries that show off the incredible richness and diversity of Cuba. Our island is much more than Havana and Varadero.
We are honest with our clients, we not only share our first-hand experiences of Cuba’s best bits but also its challenges and frustrations. If Cuba is not for you, we don’t want to take you there under false pretences, though those up for an authentic Cuba experience will be more than rewarded.
We are a diverse team. We not only employ more Cubans then any other British tour operator but have a great international workforce which is a true reflection of our values.
In other words, we are trend setters who are constantly on the lookout for ways to provide insightful, memorable and meaningful Cuba experiences. If that sounds like the sort of holiday you want, please get in touch.
Peace of Mind
Book with confidence. We are members of all the UK's major travel associations and regulators.
We're members of ABTA, the UK's largest travel association. All the money you pay towards your holiday is protected by an insurance bond with ABTA. In the very unlikely event that we were to cease trading, you would get 100% of the money paid to us back.
We are registered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which works with the "air transport industry to promote safe, reliable, secure and economic air travel". As their member we are required to maintain high standards of service and dependability for our holidaymakers.
We provide 100% financial protection.
We're members of ATOL, a scheme which protects money paid towards flight-inclusive holidays and helps repatriate stranded travellers. All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays that we sell are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. This ensures that you do not lose money or become stranded abroad if were unable to provide your holiday or return you home.
If you buy travel arrangements with us but not a flight, ATOL protection does not apply. Instead, your prepayments are protected by a Topp policy. In the unlikely event of our financial failure, customers’ prepayments for non-flight inclusive packages will be reimbursed, subject to the terms and conditions of the Topp policy.
Highly Recommended: 96% of Clients Rate Us as "Good" or "Excellent"
We're committed to making your Cuba experience as amazing as possible. We've amassed hundreds of fantastic reviews over the years, with clients citing our expertise, attention to detail, and professionalism as reasons for their high ratings. Don't just take our word for it, see what our clients have to say...
Everything was simply perfect, very well organised, accurate information, good advice from knowledgeable staff. Thank you Cuba Direct for a perfect interesting trip.
Cuba Direct were brilliant from beginning to end, from initial planning of our tour all the way through the trip itself. Fantastic, memorable holiday. I would recommend it to anyone.