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help needed for sudden trip to Cuba

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The daughter of a friend is making an unplanned trip to Cuba while on an exchange in France. She found out today and is leaving tomorrow for France. She could use any suggestions re: documentation, warnings, places to see, things to avoid, etc. She is 18 years old.Thanks so much for any advice offered!

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    Old Havana is a "must". I recommend hotel Inglaterra there. Avoid the following: Hotel Plaza, thieves (and thieves "disguised" as beggars), using your credit card on restaurants (my Visa card was stopped because the restaurant in Hotel Plaza tries to manipulate the card; and I could get no help in Cuba in getting a new one).The police is more or less corrupt; so avoid them if you can. Use the safe in the hotels. Violence is not a problem in Cuba. The sanitary conditions are relatively good, and so are the possibilities to get a doctor - if needed. Bring with your medicines if you need them - they are difficult to get in Cuba because of the blocade. The collective transportation system has partly collapsed. Use the "Bike"-taxis in Havana: They are cheap and the "taxi- drivers" are friendly. Ordinary official taxis are also acceptable. Private taxis; I have heard that tourists have been robbed in them; but I cannot confirm this: Threre is probably little chance for that. Go to Trinidad in the south coast. It is a very interesting historical town with excellent beaches 15 km from the town centre. I also can recommend the town of Santa Clara with the Che Guevara monument. It is a beatiful and friendly place to stay. (But boys on bikes may be thieves!)
    Be prepared for widespread prostitution (incl. children prostitution) in Cuba. It is very sad to register this phenomena. But the ordinary Cubans are very friendly. Bring with you an englisk-spanish and spanish-english dictionary. Learn the most vital spanish words; many people do not speak english; but this is no problems in the hotels.
    Have a nice stay in Cuba! Nils

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