Cuba old car

Why This Harvard Business School Graduate is Designing Tours of Cuba

What started out as an idea to organize a tour of Cuba for some fellow Harvard students morphed into starting a tour company, CUBA CANDELA, after graduating from Harvard Business School.

It must have been Chad Olin’s thirst for a thousand tedious impediments – plus a good dose of Cuban rum and cigars – that led to his taking a road less traveled and not following the rest of his classmates into a traditional career in investment banking or consulting.

Chad’s Cuba Candela tour offerings fill a void where other tour companies have not ventured. Students, millennials and academics have to some degree been sidelined from Cuba because of cost and a lack of tour offerings suitable for their needs.

Chad designs tours for particular groups – never larger than about 20 people – and flavors his tour experiences with an academic twist (and a lot of fun too). This way, his tours are compliant with current U.S. travel rules for Cuba. And when it comes to using technology to sell his tours, he has learned that millennials are sensitive to ease of booking, often preferring to book his Cuba tours from a mobile phone.

cuba candela harvard tour

Pricing is important. Chad spent months in Cuba arranging accommodation in some of Cuba’s better casa particulares (private homes) that are more affordable than Havana’s luxury offerings but more than adequate in terms of cleanliness and comfort. After all, in the space of a typical four day Havana tour, there is a lot to see and do, so time spent in a room detracts from the discovery most people are looking for in a tour of Havana.

Cuba Candela’s newest Cuba tour offering features your correspondent as a contributor to the tour experience. I’m really excited about sharing all the knowledge I’ve gained writing about all matters Cuban (750 articles, 350,000 words written or edited), plus the contributions of my colleagues, in this exclusive tour. The photographer for will share his experiences helping to create one of the most personal photoblogs about Cubans’ daily life and worldview. And my business partner, Alex Britell, the editor and founder of the Caribbean Journal, will share his expertise in the rums and cigars of Cuba.

Departure Date: Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Return Date: Sunday, January 15th, 2016

Length of Stay: 4 Days, 3 Nights

Price per person:  click here

Services Included:

  • Cuban expert Simons Chase and colleagues will accompany you on your trip to Cuba
  • Three nights accommodation at our curated selection of private casas
  • Dedicated private taxi with professional English-speaking driver
  • Stress-free insider itinerary giving you a truly authentic Cuban experience
  • Joyride from the backseat of a classic American convertible car
  • Record keeping on your behalf to prove compliance with US law
  • Full breakfast daily
  • Restaurant reservations at Cuba’s best restaurants
  • Concierge service in Cuba
  • Airport transfer at arrival/departure from Havana airport

Services Not Included:

  • Flight & Visa
  • Single room supplement
  • Incidentals such as lunches and dinners
  • Tips for restaurant staff
  • Museum and other activity fees
  • All beverages in Cuba
  • Baggage or other airline fees
  • Cancellation or other travel insurance

Note on flight, visa, and legal travel to Cuba:

U.S. commercial carriers (American, Delta, JetBlue, etc.) will begin flying to Havana on or around Nov. 28, 2016. Book your flight directly with your preferred U.S. airline. Input your flight number and arrival time into our online booking system at checkout. We will automatically track flight delays on departures from the U.S. and greet you at the airport upon arrival. All U.S. travelers require a Cuban visa to enter Cuba. Your ticketing airline will provide assistance in obtaining the Cuban visa. Your trip to Cuba qualifies for a general educational license under the people-to-people travel requirements. Here is more info about U.S. rules for travel to Cuba.

Here is how to obtain a detailed itinerary and booking information.

Why This Harvard Business School Graduate is Designing Tours of Cuba was last modified: June 20th, 2017 by Simons Chase