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About WoWCuba / MacQueen’s Island Tours

MacQueen’s Island Tours has been operating under the same family ownership since 1977. We maintain year-round offices and staff in Prince Edward Island, Canada and Havana, Cuba. We operate & administer the following websites:

www.wowcuba.com
www.macqueens.com

WoWCuba / MacQueen’s Island Tours has been working and residing in Cuba since 1994. The initiation of our operations in Cuba was a result of an exploratory trip made by our father and founder Gordon MacQueen in the late 1980’s, seeking a complimentary destination and season to our mainly summer-based Canadian cycling business in P.E.I. His objective was to supply our family-operated bicycle and leisure travel business with a more stable year-round cash flow, as well as to create meaningful, gainful employment for his offspring. Having recently opened an IATA travel agency, he visited Cuba on a familiarization tour just after their economy (heavily reliant on the Soviet Union) had collapsed and they had reluctantly turned to tourism seeking influx of foreign cash reserves. In the midst of an economic crisis, fuel was in dire shortage and Cuba had just brokered a deal with China to import a million Chinese Flying Pigeon bicycles in exchange for Cuban sugar. With many Cubans being forced to ride the heavy single-speed Chinese bicycles to work, convincing them that foreign visitors would want to come to Cuba and cycle as a form of recreation and sustainable transportation while on holiday was a hard sell back then. But after much persistence, Gordon finally managed to secure a contract and sent out the first container-load of bicycles and accessories from Halifax, accompanied by his two sons to establish our first operations base in Santiago de Cuba in 1994. The rest is history. It was a perfect time to embark as pioneers in active and adventure tourism, with relatively little vehicular traffic in a safe country with an abundance of friendly locals. Having spent almost all of our adult lives exploring Cuba’s nooks and crannies, we feel privileged to have gained an unparalleled perspective into this fascinating country that we love to share with our guests. We’ve lived through the Special Period, power outages, shortages, and three political leaders in our time here. We’ve mastered Cuban Spanish, married locals, raised families, built homes and more importantly, lasting relationships with Cubans from one tip of the country to the other. Contrary to popular misconceptions propagated by much of western media, the country has evolved, and the Cuban we know in fact has much to teach the rest of the world in terms of sustainability, support for noble causes, and resilience in the face of adversity. It’s our pleasure to share some of our favorite haunts and invite our guests to experience Cuba up close, to savor its unique flavors in the hands of our experienced and knowledgeable team.

The official info:

  • We are an independent privately-owned federally incorporated travel company based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
  • We are registered under the umbrella of our parent company PEI Stoveworks Limited in Canada with HST#:88624-2221.
  • Our trading address is 430 Queen Street, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada C1A 4E8.
  • Our company trades under the names of MacQueen’s Island Tours, WoWCuba.com and MacQueens.com.
  • In Cuba we are represented in the Chamber of Commerce by the Ministry of Tourism’s ground handler Havanatur S.A, Volume II, Page 391.

We are proud to be a Certified Sustainable Business in our hometown of Charlottetown.

certified-sustainable-businesslogo_camaracuba

Kristen: CEO. Gave piano lessons, worked as a tour guide, flight attendant & airline customer service rep, studied English & languages in University, joined the family travel agency, started accompanying bicycle tours & residing in Cuba in 1994, learned to dive, got married in 2001 so had to grow the business to stay in Cuba with husband and family, kept a sailboat for a few years, became an advanced diver, became a fixture on the back seat of Abel’s motorcycle, kept sanity (mostly, we think) after many years of working in a challenging destination. Manages staff and operations in PEI & Cuba.
Abel: Tour guide. Grew up in a respectable family, earned an international relations degree in Kiev, had a couple of children, fought the war in Angola, worked trading sugar in Russia, worked in sales for a hotel chain, met & married Kristen at an ecotourism conference, managed an optional excursion company, became an advanced diver, became a tour guide for a cultural travel agency, translated WoWCuba to Spanish, restored & rides 2 HD motorcycles from the late 40’s, became a grandfather. Abel’s the voice of reason, and has a great perspective and insight on Cuba’s history and current politics.
Danny: Cuba Tour Leader, MacQueen’s Bike Shop Manager, Mechanic Extraordinaire. Raised in PEI, been working in the bike business since grade 1 (wanting to go to work with Dad instead of to school), studied accounting, got shipped off to Cuba to start a winter bike tour program in 1993, learned Spanish, met an accomplished biking girl, married her and had 3 daughters, He & his family continue to travel between PEI & Cuba every year operating two seasonal businesses.
DayanDayan Gonzalez Nuñez: Trip Organizer, Tour Leader, Bicycle Technician
Our “secret weapon” (Danny’s term!) is a young Cuban who’s been working with us since 2015 in PEI and Cuba. Dayan graduated from law school in Havana, married an Island girl who was also studying in Havana, and moved north. Now if he’s anything like us, then we bet he feels pretty lucky to be able to travel and work between our two favorite islands. He’s a chef and speaks great English too.
María: While Maria is our Spanish speaking specialist for our Cuba products in the Canadian office, she also provides a supporting hand for our Island tours. She moved to PEI from Cuba in 1996 and does a lot of the behind the scenes work. She lives in Charlottetown with her husband Gabino and son, Gabriel. Maria is from Artemisa, in western Cuba.