focus: piano study
Boulder, Colorado USA - June 2016
Jerod's travel vision:
Jerod is a professional pianist and wanted to do an intense series of piano lessons focusing on Cuban traditional and contemporary music styles. We arranged classes for him with Pedro Sureda, a professor at La ISA National School of the Arts and well as the current pianist for NG La Banda.
"Pedro was an amazing instructor. He had an extremely in-depth and personal knowledge of Cuban music, history, rhythm, and performance. I came to lessons with a background in classical music and jazz, and Pedro was able to communicate with me in a way that helped alleviate my insecurity about understanding Cuban rhythms and styles. He was great about being hands on and showing me not only how to play things, but why, and the background for how things developed which helped me put my new knowledge to practical use much faster.
We were able to share our musical backgrounds and tastes with each other, and he was generous enough to provide me with lots of books, videos, and music on a flash drive to practice and study with. I was able to leave Cuba with an appreciation and understanding of the music that I had never had before. I would absolutely recommend Pedro to students and I look forward to lessons with him in my future returns to Cuba!"
JEFF & CHARLIE SHARP & GROUP
focus: cooking classes and general tourism
Oakland, California USA - March 2016
Group's travel vision:
Along with doing a full schedule of pre-planned activities, two woman in the group asked us to arrange a cooking class as they have a cooking blog on the web.
"I certainly had an amazing time in Cuba, and in fact our entire gang had a great time. Your hosting, meaning, your logistical support, your phenomenal crew, and the housing (and staff) all contributed. I can't identify any one event that stands out. Rather, I smile fondly as I think of all the music, the organic farm, the guided walks (particularly the tour of the Museo de la Revolucion with your passionate staff), the cooking class at Espacios, the trips to Viñales and to the little town across the Bay from Havana with the old Afro-American church, the Casa de Rumba, etc., etc.".
CHRISTINE & COLLEAGUES
focus: educational conference event in Havana - general tourism
New York, NY USA - December 2015
Groups travel vision:
To attend a professional academic conference in Havana and during their free time explore the cultural life of Havana.
"My experience with Philip and my stay at la casa de Señor Reynaldo was really so exceptional it is hard to know where to start! I would highly suggest the amazing help services of Philip who has a deep understanding & respect for the culture and people of Cuba. He is highly knowledgeable about the arts, music, food, culture, customs and the riches Habana offers Americans at this historic juncture. He anticipates what most Americans will experience as curve balls. He has the most delightful and bright staff and is a most trenchant listener. He'll give you what you ask for so be contemplative before you request!
The Art Deco accommodations of Señor Reynaldo were impeccable. Stunning architectural features, impeccably clean , air conditioned, close to major commercial and hotel areas but nestled in a residential neighborhood making it a true home - like refuge".
ROXANNE & TERRI
focus: contemporary Cuban dance - photography
Houston, Texas USA - May 2015
Roxanne's travel vision:
With an assignment to write a magazine article about contemporary dance in Cuba, Roxanne, a dance school owner & writer, enlisted us to connect her with several of the leading dance companies in Havana. Along with doing interviews and seeing some stunning dance rehearsals, Roxanne also focused on photography throughout her trip. For Roxanne's mother in law Terri, we arranged meetings with surgical nurses, her area of expertise.
"I went to Cuba with an assignment to write about dance. Boogalu Productions organized meetings with several dance professionals in Havana. I had access to both rehearsals and performances, one of which was just for me. I was also able to interview these choreographers. I have no doubt that without Boogalu I would not have been able to have such in-depth contact. Boogalu also made getting around easy and found us the perfect "casa particular."
I have traveled quite a bit and never before used a service. But Boogalu has spoiled me. It made possible the kind of trip travelers crave - one where you get to meet real people and experience the true culture of the country. It really was a trip of a lifetime. I hope we are able to come back sometime soon."
focus: cigar and tobacco culture-people
Centennial, Colorado USA - April 2015
Tim's travel vision:
Tim has been a cigar aficionado for over 30 years. For his first trip to Cuba, accompanied his wife Kelly, he asked us to arrange a tobacco & cigar focused itinerary that would be off the typical tourist track.
"If you wish to utilize your time well and truly experience the Cuba of your dreams - the Boogalu Hosted in Havana program is highly recommended. Having operated in Cuba for over fifteen years, their breadth of experience and extensive contacts will serve you well. Think of them as your own private concierge. Cuba will be uniquely crafted to your particular interests and each day will be your own private adventure"
SEAN & KENNEY
focus: dance classes, Spanish practise, alternative media
New York, NY USA - April 2015
Sean & Kenney's travel vision:
Two well traveled professionals from Manhattan, New York, Sean and Kenny asked us to arrange a full week of activities in Havana focusing on special private classes, meeting local professionals, and practising their Spanish. These guys truly embraced Cuban life in a big way.
Hosted in Havana custom itinerary and services:
• popular and folkloric dance classes
• Spanish practise while doing daily activities
• meetings with media professions working on alternative wifi intranet systems and internet news services
• guided tour of the museum Bellas Artes
• day trip to the the countryside in Mayabeque province
• special services: English speaking Cuban guide-translator
focus: rap culture-people, video production
San Francisco, California USA - January 2015
Mars's travel vision:
MC Mars, a rapper and published novelist asked us to help him connect with the rap community in Havana as well as arrange intensive Spanish classes. When Mars arrived in Havana we organized a private party with a select group of local rappers that turned into a phenomenal cross-cultural rap session. Totally inspired by this experience, Mars produced and starred in a "Cuban reality" theme music video that featured many of his new Cuban rap artist friends.
"As a rapper visiting Cuba I wanted to meet some quality Cuban rapperos. The Boogalu Productions team made this happen by arranging a party and inviting several extremely talented emcees. I knew that once we all got together in the same room something magical would bubble up. And it did.
On top of introducing me to great artists and hosting me in Havana, the Boogalu team also helped me produce a music video I created with some of the rappers I met, and again, they came through in a big way."
focus: Spanish classes, piano classes
Johannesburg, South Africa - December 2014
Perry's travel vision:
Perry, a young banker, contacted us to help him do a series of private classes in Havana as part of his three week trip to Cuba. We made arrangements for him to do classical piano lessons with a noted Cuban composer and Spanish classes with a very fun and engaging young teacher from Santiago.
"Thank you for all the help you provided in Cuba. Your services were invaluable, especially for a non-Spanish speaker, traveling alone to Cuba for the first time. I appreciated the dedicated hosting service you provided, which included picking me up from the airport (in a vintage American classic car – nice touch), and showing me around my neighborhood.
During the days of hosting you helped me to identify great entertainment spots, places to get groceries and supplies, and the most efficient ways to get around Havana from a public transport perspective. Also much appreciated was the time you took to identify wonderful Spanish and music teachers for me during my stay.
I highly recommend this service to anyone planning to travel independently to Havana. My Boogalu host helped to prevent many of the frustrations faced when travelling alone, and not having anyone to ask about the complexities of visiting a country very different to their own."
JULIA CROMBIE & ZOE
focus: rural life
Australia - December 2014
Julia & Zoe's 's travel vision:
Julia and Zoe, two family members originally from the outback of Australia wanted to experience Cuban rural life. We took to them to neighboring Mayabeque province to be guests at a private rancho, the owner of which is an animal trainer for the Cuban National Circus.
"Using Boogalu's well-established network, we were quite possibly taken where few tourists have ever been before. We enjoyed transport in a classic car, rural cuisine, and entertainment which included a tour of a very unique Cuban farm-rancho and playing quite a lengthy and competitive game of dominoes with our farm family. Our accommodations at Casa Maritza were excellent in all respects and driver Enrique and his cherished classic Ford made our day.
Thank you to the Boogalu team for their insights and introductions that helped us to understand many fascinating aspects of Cuba. If only we'd had more time to explore with them. Next time for sure! "
HAVANA WEDDING GUESTS
focus: event participation, general tourism
Wedding planning and organization by Boogalu Productions and Magia en Eventos - February 2014
ANASTASIA - Maine USA
"My 13 year old son and I had an amazing trip to Havana with the help of Boogalu's travel director. He arranged everything we needed: provided pre-trip prep and background information; hooked us up with an excellent travel agent (ticket was amazingly affordable); arranged super fun airport pick-up and wonderful lodging; took us on an initial walking tour to get us grounded with what to do and how to get around; recommended places to eat, events to attend, places to dance and hear music at night; and arranged for private rumba dance classes with a terrific teacher!
But best of all, he connected us with really wonderful people in Cuba... good people, inspired and interested in the types of things we like to do. This made our trip extra special. I am already dreaming of getting back to Cuba. Only problem is I can't imagine having a better trip! "
MICHAEL GROSS - Sebastopol, California USA
"I recently made my 6th trip to Cuba and had a fantastic trip, thanks in large part to Boogalu Travel. As a seasoned independent traveler, I enjoy exploring new places on my own and speak enough Spanish to negotiate in Latin countries.
My first 5 trips to Cuba were great, but I decided to hook up with Boogalu Travel this last trip and was glad I did. They booked me a great independent apartment (best casa yet) in Havana and I met many wonderful Cuban people, as well as other clients.
One special event that Boogalu Travel arranged comes to mind. As an avid Cuban salsa dancer, I always go to see my favorite bands when on the island. Boogalu's director arranged to have a Cuban friend (wonderful guy and manager of a well-known band) take me and two other Boogalu clients (salseras) to an outdoor "underground" concert (not advertised) featuring the most famous band in Cuba, Los Van Van. This was a show for Cubans, not tourists and was virtually free for locals. It was an unforgettable night of music and dancing under the stars with "La Gente".
Boogalu Travel provided just the right balance of service for me, as an independent traveler who likes to do my own thing and occasionally enjoy small group activities. The other 4 clients I met were all first time Cuba visitors and Boogalu Travel provided them with excellent comprehensive guide service. I would highly recommend Boogalu's Travel Service. Go and have a great time in the very unique and wonderful island of Cuba! "
DALE LOUISE EVJE - Sebastopol, California USA
"I have lived and traveled in Spanish speaking countries, but Cuba is it's own challenge so I am grateful I had the expert advice and local connections of my Boogalu host during my two week adventure to Havana, Feb. 2014.
My host was kind, patient, and offered many options for my itinerary. He matched me up with the perfect private in-home stay called Casa Maritza. I was in the right neighborhood, close to dance venues, produce markets, great restaurants, and all the jazz clubs. He brought us to the beach, salsa clubs, and was our guide around town.
Most importantly, my host introduced me to people in his network in Havana that enriched my trip beyond words. I got to experience Cuban family life in their homes, had some deep conversations with people, and partied and danced with new Cuban friends at two amazing house parties. I highly recommend Boogalu's Hosted in Havana services."
CHRISTINA IRVING / focus: popular dance classes
Ontario, Canada - August 2013
Christina's travel vision:
Christina had us organize a series of Cuban popular dance classes that covered son, chachacha, caberet styling, and salsa-casino. She wanted an intensive schedule of four hours a day for two weeks, with four different teachers. The classes took place in her private casa. One of her teachers she discovered at a salsa show. The others we arranged for her. Two of her teachers were members of the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba.
RAIN BURNS / focus: general tourism
San Francisco, California USA - March 2013
"Thanks for all your guidance, advise, and support before our trip and in Havana. We ended up extending our trip - going all over the island including Baracoa and ending the journey in Viñales.
The walking tour of Old Havana that you took us on was one of the highlights of our trip! Ducking into hidden art galleries and shops to watch workers bend metal or sew army uniforms on ancient machines or finding secret passages that led to ancient courtyards, gave a sense of the real Cuba, somewhat frozen in time.
Havana is one of the most beautiful, as well as culturally rich cities that I have ever visited! Thank you for sharing her many secrets! We had a blast. "
focus: general tourism
Oakland, California USA - March 2013
"When I decided to travel to Cuba, I had 3 choices: 1. travel with a group (and we all know what group travel is like) 2. travel completely alone (and muddle through with my limited Spanish) 3. or use a travel consultant-guide that can be found on the web. I chose to go with with the Boogalu Productions "Hosted in Havana" program. That way I could set my own agenda, hang out when I wanted and participate in the wonder and vitality that is Cuba, with Boogalu's guidance and help.
Before the trip, Boogalu's director-guide provided me with detailed information about Cuban travel and answered all of my many questions. He also arranged my lodging in Havana in a private home where the owners spoke English, accompanied me around the neighborhoods, and arranged for a private driver when I needed it. He then arranged transportation to Trinidad de Cuba, and traveling with me, we explored that jewel of a city for three days.
Other highlights of the trip included: a fiesta in the home of a grandmother celebrating her 80th birthday and a conversation with a delightful Cuban man who spoke his mind about the government and economy. All these people were friends of my Boogalu guide. He made my trip to Cuba easier and more meaningful in scores of ways."
My guide constantly shared his vast personal knowledge of Cuban culture and history. I especially appreciated his integrity, attention to detail, and consistently caring about my well being. The personal moments with my guides friends and their families would not have been possible in a group or fully alone. Without hesitation, I recommend Boogalu Productions Travel as your resource and guide in Cuba."