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FerTours Closing Down

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For anyone who may have booked with FerTours, I just heard from Fernando that he is closing his business and canceling all his tours.

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this is strange...I believe they are number 1 or 2 on Trip Advisor and just recently Cuba outings shut down...some story about a bus accident.  What is going on? Does this have anything to do with the info coming from DCA regarding US travelers not being able to go?

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We booked with cuba outings rated no 1 trip advisor and they are closed too. Almost went with Fernando. Doesn't matter now. Pretty crazy tour companies closing right before today's news. 

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I think these closings are not random and in some way related to these comments today by US government rep Burton.  They are all very highly rated companies who have done a great business with the cruises as well as land based visitors from US>Closings are abrupt and facebook and websites shut right down. 

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The closings are no doubt related the the Cuban Gov't raids on tour guides about 3 weeks ago. 

There is no (allowed) actual job description of tour guide in Cuba.  2 visits ago our Blexie guide explained this and told us he is a "photographer" - wink wink.  They very much want to become legal and licensed like the taxis are, but the Gov't will not allow. 

 

We chuckled at the time, but my last trip last week clarified things.  

The raid at San Francisco Square was not just on Blexie's team, as reported here, it was all guides there to meet guests.

 

They took all the women - left the guys alone.  They went to jail for the day and after paying a fine, were released.  Terrifying for them, I am sure.  A nasty scare tactic, which seems to have worked. 

Our Blexie guide (we have used him twice now) said that because of the raid, Blexie lost 3 of his customers (sounded like hotels and travel agents maybe, who were sending him customers..).  

 

It was downright scary to see the square so empty, when the last 2 visits, it was teeming with tourists meeting their guides.  Blexie's people now meet you at a church 3 blocks away, but it was far from comfortable.  We watched one young woman guide looking  nervously for her people, and heading out as soon as she found them.

I am sure all the tour companies are experiencing the same aggravation and fear. 

Our guide talked about how much trouble he could be in, and mentioned the cameras on each block. We had not noticed before, but sure enough, all activity in the old town is closely monitored. Our guide felt that they were also monitoring electronically, which would explain why some companies shut down their web site, as has been reported here. 

 

We met our car and drove out of town, and he relaxed noticeably.  He is also exploring other job opportunities, in case, I assume, Blexie has to shut down as well. It is a shame. 

 

Long story, I know, but the recent nonsense coming from Washington has nothing to do with the tour company situation in Havana.

The Cuban authorities simply did not like the appearance of free enterprise by their citizens. 

 

 

 

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On 4/16/2019 at 9:30 PM, cruisinsusin said:

For anyone who may have booked with FerTours, I just heard from Fernando that he is closing his business and canceling all his tours.

Wonderful company.  Used them in May for 2 days.   Hope the U.S. government shuts down Cuba to all tourists until they stop this crackdown on their own people. Very upset for the people that work for these tour company's.   Our guide was a lawyer who made $65.00 Cuban a month. After he became a guide he made 10 times that a month.  What does that say about the Cuban government?   Time for a full boycott. 

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, kathy49 said:

I think these closings are not random and in some way related to these comments today by US government rep Burton.  They are all very highly rated companies who have done a great business with the cruises as well as land based visitors from US>Closings are abrupt and facebook and websites shut right down. 

I totally agree. US was very clear money should not go to cuban government or military. To whom is to say that some, or many, of these tours booked outside of cruise ships were personally owned or setup to look that way to capture as much money as possible to return to government or military?. Needless to say, id really like to still be able to cruise there in December even if it means i have to book excursion through the cruise line. better than no cruise at all. I want my dollars to go to the people, not poser. On the other hand, the Cuban government may not like the success of tour companies as well and have intimidated or forced to shut down.

 

Edited by v3cruiser

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20 minutes ago, RJB said:

Wonderful company.  Used them in May for 2 days.   Hope the U.S. government shuts down Cuba to all tourists until they stop this crackdown on their own people. Very upset for the people that work for these tour company's.   Our guide was a lawyer who made $65.00 Cuban a month. After he became a guide he made 10 times that a month.  What does that say about the Cuban government?   Time for a full boycott. 

and how would a boycott help that guide?  

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1 hour ago, kathy49 said:

and how would a boycott help that guide?  

It won't. Communism thrives on isolation. Isolation means the people have to depend on the government for everything. The original intent of the embargo was well meaning, but it really it just keeps the people poor and robs them of any possibility to rise up against their own oppression. The embargo hasn't worked for 60 years, so maybe it's time to try something different. After all, isn't trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results the definition of insanity?

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6 minutes ago, 2112 said:

It won't. Communism thrives on isolation. Isolation means the people have to depend on the government for everything. The original intent of the embargo was well meaning, but it really it just keeps the people poor and robs them of any possibility to rise up against their own oppression. The embargo hasn't worked for 60 years, so maybe it's time to try something different. After all, isn't trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results the definition of insanity?

yes...I don't know how you can think the embargo or boycott is the answer..60 years...!!!

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1 hour ago, 2112 said:

It won't. Communism thrives on isolation. Isolation means the people have to depend on the government for everything. The original intent of the embargo was well meaning, but it really it just keeps the people poor and robs them of any possibility to rise up against their own oppression. The embargo hasn't worked for 60 years, so maybe it's time to try something different. After all, isn't trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results the definition of insanity?

 

1 hour ago, kathy49 said:

yes...I don't know how you can think the embargo or boycott is the answer..60 years...!!!

And what would you do to help the people of Cuba?   They have been in poverty and opressed for 60 years.  Is it O.k. for them to be the same for the next 60 years .  Do not think it would be all right it it was you or your family. 

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11 hours ago, EatonDoolittle said:

The closings are no doubt related the the Cuban Gov't raids on tour guides about 3 weeks ago. 

There is no (allowed) actual job description of tour guide in Cuba.  2 visits ago our Blexie guide explained this and told us he is a "photographer" - wink wink.  They very much want to become legal and licensed like the taxis are, but the Gov't will not allow. 

 

We chuckled at the time, but my last trip last week clarified things.  

The raid at San Francisco Square was not just on Blexie's team, as reported here, it was all guides there to meet guests.

 

They took all the women - left the guys alone.  They went to jail for the day and after paying a fine, were released.  Terrifying for them, I am sure.  A nasty scare tactic, which seems to have worked. 

Our Blexie guide (we have used him twice now) said that because of the raid, Blexie lost 3 of his customers (sounded like hotels and travel agents maybe, who were sending him customers..).  

 

It was downright scary to see the square so empty, when the last 2 visits, it was teeming with tourists meeting their guides.  Blexie's people now meet you at a church 3 blocks away, but it was far from comfortable.  We watched one young woman guide looking  nervously for her people, and heading out as soon as she found them.

I am sure all the tour companies are experiencing the same aggravation and fear. 

Our guide talked about how much trouble he could be in, and mentioned the cameras on each block. We had not noticed before, but sure enough, all activity in the old town is closely monitored. Our guide felt that they were also monitoring electronically, which would explain why some companies shut down their web site, as has been reported here. 

 

We met our car and drove out of town, and he relaxed noticeably.  He is also exploring other job opportunities, in case, I assume, Blexie has to shut down as well. It is a shame. 

 

Long story, I know, but the recent nonsense coming from Washington has nothing to do with the tour company situation in Havana.

The Cuban authorities simply did not like the appearance of free enterprise by their citizens. 

 

 

 

Somehow I missed this very enlightening comment...clearly there is something going on and not related to the US at all other than too many people making too much money.  Cubaoutings a tour operator told their customers that all their employees were injured in a serious accident.  i did not buy it and not sure that is the right thing to tell people...some have posted and are worried about the guides they enjoyed time with etc.  Craziness.

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10 hours ago, kathy49 said:

Somehow I missed this very enlightening comment...clearly there is something going on and not related to the US at all other than too many people making too much money.  Cubaoutings a tour operator told their customers that all their employees were injured in a serious accident.  i did not buy it and not sure that is the right thing to tell people...some have posted and are worried about the guides they enjoyed time with etc.  Craziness.

So sad

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3 minutes ago, RJB said:

So sad

no kidding...many of these entrepreneurs have built up very nice businesses and provide a needed service to the tourists. Now they are having to delete their websites...make excuses to their clients and meet in out of the way places...they can go for a bit on word of mouth but if this continues they will just go out of business and back to their virtually non paying jobs.  Reading things like this make one appreciate your country no matter how big the problems are at the moment.

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When my wife and I visited Cuba in November, one guide told us that the guide job is highly prized. The tips alone place the individual in the upper ranks of workers. A job like nurse, economist, surveyor, etc pays very little. Access to dollars is a huge deal.

 

In an egalitarian society, this is dynamite.

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OMG, this is unbelievable and just so sad.  We had an amazing guide through FerTours in September in Cienfuegos and again in Havana, and learned so much about Cuba and its people from him.   We had to meet him a block away from the port, and in Havana he told us that if we were approached by anyone "official", we were to say that he was taking us to look at beach property and not being "guided".

Similar to those who have mentioned above, we did tip very well and I gave him my portable phone charger as he said there were none available in Cuba.

The educated in Cuba earn about $35 a month, no matter the profession.  The tourist industry was helping tremendously.

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We took a tour through Fer Tours when we were in Havana in February, 2019. Our guide was Angel and he was excellent. Very knowledgeable and open to sharing information on anything we asked about. He is a professional photographer. I just received an email from Fernando (Fer Tours) that said Angel has started his own private tour company. His website is phototouringcuba dot com. I would highly recommend Angel if you are looking for a private tour in Havana. 

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1 hour ago, 6vacruisers6 said:

We took a tour through Fer Tours when we were in Havana in February, 2019. Our guide was Angel and he was excellent. Very knowledgeable and open to sharing information on anything we asked about. He is a professional photographer. I just received an email from Fernando (Fer Tours) that said Angel has started his own private tour company. His website is phototouringcuba dot com. I would highly recommend Angel if you are looking for a private tour in Havana. 

Hemingway wrote about the light in Cuba. Morning mist, hills, twilight.

 

a good photo expert can put you in the right place at the right time.

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We are still taking this cruise and are interested in joining some fellow passengers on private tours. I think there are still some tour guides that are operating (Havana Memories?)

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Our guide from Fertours Yosvan started his own company...CubanClassicTours@gmaildotcom.

 

He's a great guy and I highly recommend him. I hope we get back to see him again.

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On 5/9/2019 at 8:01 PM, Reneeira said:

We are still taking this cruise and are interested in joining some fellow passengers on private tours. I think there are still some tour guides that are operating (Havana Memories?)

Just back from Cuba cruise stop (was there Friday, 5/10) and used Havana Journeys.  They were fantastic from first email on, filling out forms, sending us pics of guide/driver, map where to meet them, etc.  Tour itself (classic car/walking tour) was great.  Highly recommend, and they have great reviews on Tripadvisor.

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Thank you for this info. It seems there are so many wonderful tours by locals out there and they all get wonderful reviews! Hard to choose!

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I heard from Fernando today. He is up and running again. I’ve used him twice and thought he was excellent. 

www.fertours2havana.com

 

 

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On 5/17/2019 at 8:43 PM, kbubbles said:

I heard from Fernando today. He is up and running again. I’ve used him twice and thought he was excellent. 

www.fertours2havana.com

 

 

That is great news for him and his people.  We were with him in Oct. and it was terrific.

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