Cuba Tours and Travel was founded in 1999 by a couple of Cuban guys in California. They weren’t just any Cuban guys, though; they were Peter Sanchez and Adolfo Nodal - two Cuban-Americans who were best friends, with long standing relationships with the island’s cultural institutions and artists, and a deeply-rooted love and respect for their Cuban heritage. Coupled with a desire to be in Cuba as much as possible and to share the plethora of human and cultural experiences with their US colleagues and friends, Cuba Tours and Travel was born in Los Angeles, California and a new Cuban-American family was born.
According to Peter Sanchez, CEO, the secret to his success is to surround himself with Cuban women. He put this into play when he met and saw the power in the woman who became his wife and Vice President of Operations of Cuba Tours and Travel. Yaima Sanchez, born and raised in Cuba, was the component that was missing to round out the company and allow it to grow as a leader in group travel to Cuba.
And a family is just what we are. The rest of the Cuba Tours and Travel family is made up of -- yep -- you got it, a lot of Cuban women -- Peter’s secret weapon. All borned in Cuba, some raised there and some not, the Cuba Tours and Travel family are bound by a deep love for our country and a deeper knowledge and respect for Cuba’s cultural heritage. We pride ourselves in bringing our collaborators and guests into the fold and sharing Cuba’s warm and loving embrace with them.
As a company and family we have proven, against all odds, that we CAN go home again -- and bring our friends with the primary goal of making it their home away from home that they will love and yearn for as much as a native!
Peter Sanchez, Co-Founder & CEO
Born in Cuba in 1961, Peter was just six months old when his family left for Buenos Aires. After a brief exile in Argentina and Chile, his family landed in Los Angeles, California, where Peter grew up, like many Cubans in exile, within two cultures simultaneously. Thus the term Cuban-American. Peter, who had been enjoying great success as a P.I., with most of the Cuban-American legal community on the West Coast as his clientele, always felt a connection and a yearning for his native Cuba. Like many Cuban exile kids, the parents and extended family had a lot to do with the first generation living their traditions and cultural heritage. By 1996, he was travelling to Cuba and beginning to elaborate the idea of creating a company that would share the best of Cuba with the US, but also bring the best of the US to Cuba thereby building cultural bridges, good faith and hope among two peoples that had always had a natural affinity for each other. By anchoring on Cuba’s rich artistic and cultural heritage, he partnered with his good friend and art curator and scholar, Adolfo Nodal and they formed their first groups for the Bienal de La Habana in the year 2000, and every year since.
Yaima Sanchez, Vice President of Operations
On one of the company’s early trips to Cuba, Peter Sanchez met a Cuban woman that would eventually become a key player in the company’s growth. A fluent English-speaking manager of one of the best paladares in Cuba, she was on the forefront of the tourism industry, having a real sensitivity for what the visitor to Cuba expects and how to exceed those expectations. Her keen mind and natural ability for logistics, coupled with her local perspective, made her a natural addition to the team -- not to mention that Peter fell madly in love with her, she with him, and is the mother of his child, Peter Sanchez, Jr. -- the newest addition to the family.
Yanela Meneses, Accounting and Finance Manager
Born in Havana, Yanela received her BA in Accounting and Finance from the University of Havana in 2007. Upon graduation, she was offered, and accepted a teaching position at the University of Havana and taught in the accounting department for four years. She emigrated to Chile in 2011 where she headed the Finance and Administration department of one of the country’s leading engineering firms. In 2014, she came to the United States and where she immediately became office manager of the busy logistics firm, Fast Cargo, Inc. With her international accounting experience, Cuban heritage and English skills, Yanela was a perfect fit for Cuba Tours and Travel and became part of the growing team in early 2015.
Hernan Artigas, Customer Service Representative
Hernan Artigas was born in Cuba. He received his BA in Education (English Teaching) at a higher Pedagogical Institute where he worked for a few years after graduation. He then worked in the tourism industry for more than fifteen years wearing different hats including General Manager of Viajes Cubanacan Travel agency in Holguin, Regional Eco Tour Manager, and Sales Manager of a hotel in Cuba and in Mexico. During this period, he also received his Master in Marketing and Administration. He immigrated to Canada where he continued working in the Tourism industry as a Travel agent and later as Business Developer Manager Assistant representing Barceló Hotels and Resorts for Latin America in Canada. He now lives in Miami and joined Cuba Tours and Travel in 2016.
Gretell Sintes Gomez, Tour Guide