I have made two trips to Cuba. The most recent visit with Brian DeToy and Essential History Expeditions was far and away the better of the two. Brian has extensive experience in Cuba and his encyclopedic knowledge of the military, social, and political history of the island contributed to a fuller understanding of the nation and its people. His ability to successfully team with Cuban guides enabled the group to see things not on most itineraries. I was impressed with his flexibility to meet the special interests of a group of fortification and coast artillery enthusiasts. Brian’s extensive academic training, experience as an instructor at the college level, insight gained as a career Army Infantry officer, and field experience on the ground makes him an interesting, enjoyable, and personable companion and guide.
I just completed a tour of the Battle of the Bulge, with an add on segment in Prague. Brian and Sheryl run a terrific tour with everything smoothly taken care of. The restaurants were always great, the information from each of them about the history of our locations were superb, and the overall enjoyment level was outstanding. I had previously done a Gettysburg tour which was great, but the European trip surpassed it. Highly recommended.
Essential History Expeditions is the real deal if you care about history. With Brian DeToy and Sheryl Shafer, you get it all: a guide who is a superb teacher – Brian makes it all vitally interesting and relevant – and a tour manager in Sheryl who is quietly and graciously capable of handling any problem or concern. You will have no worries with them. All you’ll be required to do is to love every minute of your tour. We just completed the Normandy and Battle of the Bulge tours, and the moments of true inspiration and emotion were too many to count. Though it is a guided tour, and you will be in a van or bus, you always feel you are sharing important and memorable experiences with a group of friends. And we had the most fantastic food and wine, in beautiful settings!
GO!! You will love it.
My husband and I just returned from a trip to Prague with EHE. The experience was excellent in every way — educational, enlightening and fun! Sheryl and Brian are the quintessential tour guides: Brian’s encyclopedic knowledge of historical events is beyond impressive, but it’s the stories that he weaves into his “lessons” that make the history come alive, ensuring a rich educational and cultural experience for all. Sheryl’s attention to detail and quality with all the logistics make it easy to relax and enjoy the full experience. The hospitality and camaraderie they facilitated with the group made it even more fun. As the five-star rating suggests, EHE is as good as it gets for historical tours!
My wife and I recently took two trips with Essential History Expeditions — back-to-back tours of Normandy (D-Day sites) and Belgium and Luxembourg (Battle of the Bulge sites). Both trips were excellent. We learned much about the historic campaigns from a first-rate teacher who loves history, and loves to share his knowledge with others. The tours did not just focus on the opposing armies, but the human stories and faces of battle. The trips were meticulously planned and executed, and when we were not touring, we enjoyed wonderful food in beautiful settings, and the company of friendly travel partners who shared a common purpose of understanding these important moments in history.
Many thanks for a WONDERFUL trip. We know you’ve done it several times now, but it is still hard to believe how you put together such a great team and a comprehensive tour. Brian, we have decided that you are the first true Renaissance man we have met. Sheryl, we are in awe over your ability to make things come together so smoothly and never let anything rattle you.
Just returned from a fantastic and life changing trip to Cuba made possible by Sheryl and Brian and their fabulous supporting cast in country. We had an exceptional exposure to and balance of culture, history and leisure and while we saw 12/15 Cuban provinces, I never felt rushed or overwhelmed. Every member of the EHE team complimented one another and every aspect of the trip was well planned and thought through. Exceptional in every way. What stood out to me was this; many firms can plan a perfect trip. This was Cuba, things change and we were asked to be flexible. Sheryl and Brian seamlessly worked through many changes, altered schedules and never, ever detracted from the experience. I have already referred many friends and plan on more adventures with Sheryl and Brian.
Brian — (World’s Best Tour Leader!) —
Thanks for a great trip! The other members of the tour felt just like I did — your knowledge and enthusiasm for what we were seeing made for a great and unique experience. Feel free to give my contact info out to any potential future travelers who might request a reference from a past customer. And thank you for your service in the military, too. Hope to travel with you again soon!
Sadly YELP only goes to 5 stars, because this company really deserves ten stars. Over the years I’ve been on many tours with all the major companies, have done some tour leading myself, and worked in the tourism industry for two of the biggest companies in the US, but I’ve never had a better experience than my first trip with Essential History Expeditions and their Cuba military history tour last month. Brian and Sheryl have put together a great company that insures the near-perfect travel experience. Our tour leader Brian’s connections in Cuba got us very nice hotels and a comfortable travel bus, and an excellent driver and local guide. And Brian knows every inch of the country, so we saw things the other tour companies don’t stop at. Plus, he found us some excellent local places to eat some of our group meals, which really made the trip feel like you were getting to know the local people and country close-up. And thank you for the bottles of water on our bus each day! If you want to go to Cuba (or anywhere else), don’t go with any other company. I’ll definitely be taking some of Brian and Sheryl’s other tours in the near future.
I just completed an Essential History Expedition trip to Cuba led by its Co-owner and guide, Brian DeToy. All I can say is: Wow!This was my 5th trip to Cuba and my first with Brian. By far this was the best. Brian is a caring and knowledgeable guide who has a great sense of humor and is very flexible in meeting requests of tour participants. We followed Cuban military history from Havana to Santiago; covering significant events and places from the early Spanish conquest to the Bay of Pigs and the 1962 Missile Crisis.
But Brian made sure we had a chance to experience all aspects of Cuban culture and history from food and architecture to Ernest Hemingway and Classic Cars. You don’t have to be a military history buff to enjoy this trip. The hotel accommodations were always very comfortable, had great amenities and were always centrally located. The restaurants for dinner, which were both state owned and private(paladars) were always first rate. I highly recommend Brian and Essential History Expeditions for your Cuban travel. I look forward to more trip offerings and future travel with this great company.