Your Cuba Explorer travel team

We have decades of experience helping Americans visit Cuba. Our all-Cuban team designs fun flexible travel itineraries and provides superhost services from our Havana office. We love Cuba and lend magic to your island journey.

Sairí Álvarez in Marvelous Miami

Our humanitarian project

Sairí was born in 1981 and raised in Havana. Today she lives in Miami with her husband and young son. Sairí designs short-term Cuba study abroad programs for high schools, colleges, and universities in the United States and other countries.

In her own words. My lifelong passion has been humanities, and from my early years, I oriented my career towards the social sciences.

I graduated from the University of Havana Law School in 2004 and three years later had the honor to serve as a legal advisor for Cubanacan. It’s the largest Cuban travel agency hosting the highest number of international visitors to the island. My work for Cubanacan was a life-changing experience. While there I acquired a deep understanding and knowledge of the intricacies of Cuban tourism industry.

In 2013 I started working for the specialty Cuban travel agency San Cristóbal, which focuses on cultural, historical and educational tourism. San Cristóbal is Cuba Explorer’s island partner. I was responsible for establishing Cuba Explorer’s legal and physical presence in Cuba. For three years I served as the agency’s operations manager and staff director at its headquarters located in Old Havana’s Plaza San Francisco de Asís in the historical Lonja del Comercio building.

Afterward, I moved to the United States, to the beautiful city of Miami! Here I continue my work with Cuba Explorer Travel as it chief designer of custom Cuba tours for schools and large private groups.

Today I have the pleasure to collaborate with hundreds of US-based educational institutions and private entities to prepare and plan tailored Cuba trips. It’s my new passion. My work helps thousands of Americans visit the country of my birth of which I remain immensely proud.

Julio Valdivia in the gateway to our Americas

Our humanitarian project

Julio was born 1987 in Santa Clara, the historic capital of Villa Clara province. At the age of 12, he moved to Havana. Julio is chief of operations for Cuba Explorer’s Havana office and ensures our island guests receive five-star treatment during their island stay.

In his own words. I was raised in a quiet neighborhood in Santa Clara, in the same city as Marta Abreu, the 19th-century humanitarian, intellectual and independence champion spent most of her life, and where Ché Guevara won the decisive battle of the Cuban Revolution. Their influences helped me understand from the very first beginning the importance of the core human values.

Soon after I moved to Havana, I fell in love with this beautiful city, and I decided to spend most of my time here. Old Havana and the sea continues to seduce me.

My goal as a teenager was to obtain a degree from the prestigious University of Havana. At university, I studied tourism, a perfect match for realizing my early hopes and career aspirations. And it did. I majored in Tourism in 2010, and since then it has been a great journey of learning every day.

Back in 2014, I received a proposal to work for the Office of the Historian of Havana within its renowned San Cristóbal travel agency. My daily tasks were advocating the history, culture, and heritage of my people. I couldn’t ask for more.

I joined the Cuba Explorer Travel team in 2015. This agency, together with my colleagues, have become my second home and family. It’s become the ideal place to advance my profession and realize my youthful passion as well.

In my spare time, I enjoy swimming and work out. Likewise, I love traveling and meeting new people and places.

Jacqueline Hernández in magnificent Montréal

Our humanitarian project

Jacqueline was born and raised in Havana in 1982. Today she lives in Montréal Québec with her husband and young daughter. Jacqueline is chief of information technologies for Cuba Explorer Travel.

In her own words. I obtained my degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Havana’s faculty of Technologies José Antonio Echeverría in 2005. Since that time I’ve worked continuously to advance in the fields web and application development.

Later I started to work in Cuba’s tourism sector, and I loved it from the beginning. It’s always a professional challenge. It has also taught me about my Cuba. I have learned so many different things that I never knew before, especially to appreciate my country’s beautiful nature, our culture, and our talented people.

Moving to Montréal and becoming part of the information technologies team of Cuba Explorer Travel is like becoming part of a larger family and keeps me close to my beloved Cuba. It’s given me the opportunity to help bring Cuba to the world.

I love nature, to read a good book, and to spend time with my family.

Néstor Zaldivar in Majestic Montréal Québec

Nestor Zaldivar

Nestor was born and raised in Havana in 1984. Today he lives Montréal, Québec with his wife, daughter and son. Nestor, together with Jacqueline Hernandez manage Cuba Explorer’s web team and preform internet magic.

In his own words. I studied Computer Science at the University of Havana and became passionate about programming.

I love working in information technologies and always want to make a social and technological difference when doing it.

I enjoy every day of my work with the IT group at Cuba Explorer and being part of this dynamic team gives me an opportunity to help in its mission to assist people from around the world to visit Cuba.

Adriel Mustelier in San Cristóbal de la Habana

Our humanitarian project

Adriel was born in 1984 in the province of Santiago de Cuba. At the age of six, his family moved to Havana, where he currently lives with his wife and their new daughter. Adriel is a Cuban superhost. His command of English and French makes him Cuba Explorer’s top communicator with our guest from abroad.

In his own words. When I graduated from University of Havana’s Facultad de Lenguas Extranjeras FLEX (Foreign Language Faculty), I started working as a tour guide for San Cristóbal travel agency. For two years I had the opportunity to meet people from different countries. I was able to link them to Cuban culture. I fell in love with tourism.

I joined the Cuba Explorer Travel staff in Havana in 2013 to help Americans witness the history and culture of Cuba, and experience the charms of our people. I’m proud to be part of this team and take part in connecting Americans with Cuba and its people.

In my free time, I like to travel, to go out to dance with my wife and friends, or to watch a good film. But what I enjoy the most is spending time at home with my family, especially with my little daughter.

Alessandra Ramos in the heavenly Havana

Our humanitarian project

Alessandra was born in 1989 in a small neighborhood near Havana’s José Martí International airport where she lives with her mother. Alessandra is the embodiment of goodness in all aspects of her life and work. That is why she is in charge of mission critical coordinations for our guests.

In her own words. Foreign languages have always been my passion. Being able to understand and communicate with people from all over the world enlivens and fills me with joy. After high school, the obvious choice for me was to study at the University of Havana’s Faculty of Foreign Languages. I majored in French and English language and literature and graduated in 2013.

I began work at San Cristóbal, the travel agency of the Office of the Historian of Havana, focused on history and culture. I started in its Operations Department, then became part of the sales and marketing group. I also worked as a tour guide from time to time.

My experiences at San Cristóbal gave me a broad perspective on the Cuban tourism industry. More importantly, it helped me understand the rich history of my country, and love it a lot more.

In 2016 I began working with Cuba Explorer, which is sponsored in Cuba by San Cristóbal. I feel blessed for being part of this wonderful family. Sharing my everyday life with this team of hardworking and passionate people allows me to grow professionally and also as a person.

I am very proud of being Cuban, and to be able to share with the world the charms of my beautiful island as a profession, it is an honor and a privilege that words cannot express.

My faith in Jesus is what drives my life. When I’m not at work, I love reading my Bible, being involved in my church activities and spending time with my brethren.

Carlos Luis Iturralde in the Paris of the Americans

Our humanitarian project

Carlos was born in 1987. He grew up in the small town of Bauta, located in the new province of Artemisa near Havana. Carlos moved to the city of Havana in 2006. Creative Carlos designs rewarding Cuban holiday itineraries for Americans seeking an exotic sojourn in our beautiful Cuba.

In his own words. When I finished college, I wanted to engage in language education and broaden my understanding of international culture and relations. I spent six years at University of Havana’s Foreign Language Faculty (FLEX) learning Russian, Italian and English.

After graduating in 2012, I became a sales consultant and tour guide with the Cuban travel agency San Cristóbal. This premier agency specializes in patrimonial and cultural tourism and is part of the globally acclaimed Office of the Historian of Havana.

I joined Cuba Explorer Travel team in 2015. Cuba Explorer is sponsored in Cuba by San Cristóbal. My work today involves designing custom tours to Cuba for visitors from all over the world. It is an incredible occasion to share my knowledge of Cuban culture with hundreds of foreign guests every year.

In the meantime, I love reading as many books as possible. Together with my work with foreign guests, reading helps me expand my understanding of history and culture.

Meylang Joo in the capital of the Caribbean

Our humanitarian project

Meylang was born in Cuba in 1968. She lives in Havana with her husband and her twin sons.

In her own words. I graduated from University of Havana’s Faculty of Foreign Languages in 1996, specializing in Mandarin Chinese. In 1997 I began to work as a tour guide for Havanatur travel agency.

I worked as translator and interpreter at the Cuban Embassy in Beijing, China, from 2000 to 2004.

In 2004 I started working for San Cristóbal travel agency, which focuses on cultural, historical and educational tourism. I held positions in the operations, and sales departments including conventions and incentives travel arrangements, wedding planning, airfare arrangements, and coordination of ground services. I have represented San Cristóbal at international tourism conventions in Beijing, Shanghai, Italy, Brazil and Spain to promote its unique cultural, social and historical tourism products centered around cultural and educational exchanges with the Cuban people.

I was part of the team responsible for establishing Cuba Explorer’s legal and physical presence in Cuba in 2013. Today I work with ground services coordinations and provide personalized assistance to our travelers in Cuba both on public and private trips arranged by Cuba Explorer.

I love spending time with my family and friends. I am a very active and outgoing person. I cherish good relationships and consider them as a key to a meaningful life.

Yasser Aguiar in Havana mi amor

Our humanitarian project

Yasser was born in 1982. He grew up in the small town of Güines, located in the new province of Mayabeque near Havana. Yasser moved to the city of Havana in 2000.

In his own words. I spent six years at the University of Havana’s Foreign Language Faculty (FLEX) mastering French, English, and Italian.

I spent the next twelve years working with San Cristóbal travel agency, Cuba’s premier national provider of cultural, historical, and educational tourism. San Cristóbal is the tourism arm of the globally acclaimed Office of the Historian of Havana, and Cuba Explorer’s island sponsor.

For seven years, I held positions in San Cristóbal’s sales departments focusing on convention and incentives travel arrangements. Since 2015, I served as assistant to the President of San Cristóbal, expanding my knowledge of global travel agencies, promotion of social tourism, and excursions design.

I spend a lot of time to training and instilling confidence in new staff at San Cristóbal over the years, including some of my colleagues now at Cuba Explorer.

I witnessed the explosion of US visitors to Cuba following the historic rapprochement initiated by President Raúl Castro and President Barack Obama. I learned so much from our gracious guests from the North.

My work, today with Cuba Explorer, involves designing tours for visitors to Cuba from dozens of countries. It is an incredible occasion to share my appreciation of Cuban culture with thousands of foreign guests every year.

In the meantime, I do my best to be a great dad for my beautiful daughter; her smile is the oxygen in my life. In between her and my work, I attempt to balance my life with sports, dance, and friends.

Marcel Hatch in the pearl of the Antilles

Our humanitarian project

Marcel was born in 1954 and raised in a forest hamlet known as Priest Lake in northern Idaho. He moved to Vancouver, Canada, in 1983. Marcel founded Cuba Explorer Travel in 1997. He spends much of his time working in Havana, where he resides with his partner.

In his own words. I grew up in the tumultuous 1960s and 70s. I was blessed to be part of the movements for equality and social change. I am an alumnus of Evergreen State College where I studied education and Russian history. My professional work spanned print production to advertising. As paper moved to the internet, so did my career.

My passions beyond work include being part of the movements for radical change in the United States and Canada – for the elevation of the 99% to be in charge of their destiny. For the total emancipation of women and their necessary place in determining humanity’s future. For a comprehensive elimination of racism. To an end of the crippling prejudice against LGBT people.

Growing up in the lonely foothills of the Rocky Mountains put me in touch with nature, but kept me isolated from my generation. The only glimpse of modern life was a fuzzy black and white television with just one channel.

In the first days of 1959, my family and I were glued to the tube. We watch newsreels of Fidel Castro, Ché Guevara, and thousands of Cubans in the streets proclaiming a new era. These are my earliest recollections of the world beyond the farm and forest. Several years later we sat in our rustic cabin and listened for 13 days to president Kennedy explaining a possible “end of the world,” also known as the Cuba Missile Crisis.

As a high school freshman – ninth-grader – I became enamored with the stunning inspirational poster art emanating from Cuba. That was way back in 1969. Those colorful radical images caused me to become fascinated with Cuba.

From 1991 to 1996, I served as a volunteer press correspondent for the Canadian chapter of the Pastors for Peace Caravan. Its objective was to break the horrible U.S. economic blockade of Cuba. I organized the Canadian contingent of the International Feminist Brigade to Cuba in 1997. On my first trip to the island, I witnessed an entire people affirming principles of social justice, dignity, and equal rights. It was profoundly life-changing. I returned to Canada with the conviction to help others experience incredible Cuba.

That’s how Cuba Explorer Travel came about.