Staff Spotlight: Leonel Talledo Hernandez

Program Manager & General Manager


I am a native of Havana, Cuba who ambitiously began my own business, running a hostel, in 2010. In 2015 together with partners, including Corazón Cuba, I opened the first and only hostel & language school in Habana Vieja.

What is your favorite travel memory?

In 2018, my colleague Tim invited me to his home in Ireland. It was a very warm summer and I was able to wear my 'normal' Cuban clothes, which was not what I was expecting. Where was the rain and cold I had heard about? We went to Marley Park in Dublin to see Queen, who were supported by Bob Geldof and Tim's brother's band 'The Darkness', which was crazy!!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

The qualities that I have most developed are a much greater sense of responsibility to my family and coworkers, honesty and my own personal values. I probably work a bit harder than I should do - I am lucky that I work with my brother Leandro so we are able to support each other if someone wants some time off; there's always something going on...24/7...365 days a year (366 days in 2020!).

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

The best stories I get to hear from our clients are that they feel at home here with us at, that they feel as though they are with family. These stories tend to be those that provoke clients to return either immediately, for longer periods of time or years later. No matter what, we are always honored and happy to see returning clients come back.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose the Learn Spanish, Dance & Adventure because it combines the most significant cultural elements of Havana and beautiful fresh air and countryside of Viñales. I love Habana but sometimes there is nothing better than leaving the city behind you for a few days...even though it is always exciting to return also!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Here, at Corazón Cuba, we have created a really unique atmosphere, one that makes everyone – staff and clients alike – feel like they are at home and with family. It makes me feel especially proud when I hear clients comment on this atmosphere and I can see how comfortable and cared for they feel with us.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

The factors that I believe are most vital in any successful company are transparency, honesty, respect...and a sense of fun.

Some stamina is also required and remembering that everyone is unique and will return home an ambassador for we better make sure they had a good time. Thankfully, I love what I do!