Sunday, February 15, 2015

Letter to Air Canada Excursions

I must say, that our recent trip, booked through Air Canada was a pleasant surprise. I really have no complaints about Air Canada rouge service. The flights were on time. The price was right. No luggage was lost. Since I checked with, I was able to select seats which accommodated my hubby's desire for window and my need for aisle. The site identified two prime areas for seating and many less appealing locations on the plane. I selected the two spots in the exit row, so there was nobody next to us. Leg room was good, particularly since the seats ahead did not recline.

I have, however, written a letter to Air Canada excursions expressing my concern about the two day tour and the "hiking" expectations. Here is most of it.....

Air Canada Excursions
5925 Airport Rd.
Suite 700, Mississauga
Ont. L4V1W1

My husband and I went on an Air Canada vacation to Cuba from January 28-Feb. 2nd.  We enjoyed the trip immensely.

My problem is with the excursions as described in the pamphlet and by the rep in the hotel. I am writing to suggest this be clarified to guests in future.

Our one day trip to Havana was fine. It was pretty much as expected and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

We also selected an overnight tour to Topes de Collantes, also called “Rambo Trip” by some. It is described as follows –

        Spend two days exploring Cuba’s natural beauty. Day 1: Tour the cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Day 2 – Discover the Guanayara Nature Park, a cigar factory and the Che Guesvara Mausoleum.

Additionally, our rep said that there would be “some” walking in the park and possible swimming.

Let me say that despite the long hours on the bus on day one (more bathroom breaks would be appreciated), and lunch which happened at 2 p.m., after we had been on the bus since 8:15 a.m., with only a brief city stop in Cienfuegos, the excursion was a good one. The cigar factory was nothing more than a man sitting at a table hand rolling cigars in Trinidad…interesting nonetheless. The hotel in the mountains was exceptional and the guides were first rate.

The problem occurred with the “walk in the park”. My husband and I are both seniors and are fortunate to be in excellent health and physical condition. Nonetheless, we had no idea what to expect and were given no prior warning to the degree of difficulty. This “walk” of many kilometres, goes down rocks, along makeshift hewn out steps, through crags, past caves, up steep, loosely carved, gravely paths, across narrow logs and so on and so on, for many hours. It often requires the use of both, hands and feet.  I think our trek took a total of about 4 hours. I believe it is somewhat treacherous for those who may not be too sure footed or fit. This was never made clear in any description or brochure instructions. Further, anyone who wanted to swim, was told to change behind a tree and that they “should have” worn water shoes and possibly brought goggles. They then had to leap into the cold stream and negotiate a number of small waterfalls. Needless to say, there are no facilities of any kind other than trees and the change room at the end of the swim which consists of a couple of hanging tablecloths.

As I said, it was a good excursion but needs some serious warnings.

I have written and included a blog about the excursion. Perhaps someone should take a look at it and revise the pamphlet description. Another suggestion would be to send the reps on the excursion so that they are familiar with what they’re selling.


I don't hope to gain anything by this. My wish is that others will not run into some of the problems that a few people in our group experienced. What's the expression..."praemonitus, praemunitus"? I will be anxiously waiting to hear back.

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