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Last minute family trip to Cuba - need ideas!

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Hello all. So, we like to live by the seat of our pants a bit and decided that we wanted to see what Cuba was all about before it was used as a political pawn to win Florida, US sanctions are lifted and the island turns into a giant casino that goes all Catholic school girl with a hidden lust for commercialism (I say this tongue in cheek of course).

Anyway, we decided to visit Cuba. We intend to drive into TJ, MX and fly into Havana from there. Other than that, we don't have any firm plans! We don't normally like to go on tours. We like to get off of the beaten path (at least for some time) and try to dig into the local culture, get it under our nails.

I was reading of a guy that stayed with a family in Vinales, hiked around the farms and checked things out ad-hoc. Then he went to some unnamed island and stayed a couple of days. This sort of activity sounds great and I'm looking for suggestions. We will have a party of 6 so we would need a place with room for us.

We plan to stay in Havana for a few days to walk the city, Trinidad is on our list as well. Any recommendations for a clean but cozy house or hostel are welcome. We would also like to spend a couple of days on a beach. No resorts! A little shack on the beach would be fantastic, we don't need any fancy amenities (a shovel, pail, sunblock and a few mojitos will do fine).

Getting from one place to another i'm assuming will be by bus although I haven't found any information on this site about bus lines. I see that some people rented an old car, that would be a great way to get around, I'll look into that more as well.

We're excited about our trip although a little stressed over the short amount of time we have available to plan. The help of the mighty Fodors community is greatly appreciated!

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