The Cuban state requires that all U.S. “people-to-people” groups are accompanied by a guide employed by Havanatur, the state-run company that makes all arrangements for and manages our tours.
His or her role is to ensure that our tour runs smoothly! This being Cuba, the important elements such as hotel bookings and restaurant reservations, etc. often involve complications. That’s when the presence of our Havantur guide is really required… not least to try cut through the stubborn bureaucracy that is a defining frustration of operating tours in Cuba.
And, of course, we have the benefit of his or her capacity to share knowledge of Cuba, such as my favorite guide–Enedys–seen in the background photo interpreting the divinations of an oloricha (priest) in the Afro-Cuban santería religion.