Intrepid Tours market their products as ‘small group’ tours, which cater for groups of around 12 or thereabouts. The smaller numbers also makes for different experiences than the other tour groups and more contact with local people. They offer 3 types of comfort levels, from the basic to one which is more in keeping with most other tours.
I recently travelled through Cuba with them and no country seemed more suited to their way of travel. The tour I was on was labelled one of their ‘Original’ type comfort levels, which is the middle level. I have to say that the ‘Original’ comfort level was probably as low as I would like to experience. It wasn’t exactly roughing it but a lot of the accommodation were home stays, where guests stay with Cuban families. It was interesting, but one never really had a long conversation with the families and being alone I was frequently in a home by myself. Whilst I’m all for the more ‘tactile’ Intrepid experience, I often wondered where my money was going to, seeing as the cost of my tour wasn’t that much lower than the ‘normal’ tours.
One of things I did enjoy about my experience in Cuba was that there were no optional extras, just suggestions – and then you just paid the local operator if you wanted to do it. Our guide was amazing in this regard. Not only did he spend all his free time with us, he took us places only locals knew about and if there was something on the list of suggestions we wanted to do he would just take us in his own time. All we had to do was pay for the bus driver and bus.
Ultimately I will use Intrepid again. My time with them was fun. I just have to choose my destinations appropriately.