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Josycohen Apr 2nd, 2015 12:15 AM

10 days in Cuba - HELP
Dear All
Planning 10 days in Cuba
what would you suggest to see??
Havana, Trinidad, we are debating Vienales (close) or Santiago (other side of island)
Please your input - we are very adventurous and dont wanna spend too much time on beaches
And of course other recommendations and tips will be very welcome... :)

tower Apr 3rd, 2015 06:31 PM

these are familiarization pics on a visit to Cuba in 2003. May help you pick out some things you want to do. We stuck with Havana and vicinity mainly because we brought in 2 bags full of vital medications for the beleaguered Jewish community (1500)...and that's how were able to get into the country at that time. We loved our 10-day visit.

tower Apr 3rd, 2015 07:13 PM

We only spent a few hours at the eastern beaches not far from Havana.

We also visited The Hemingway estate south of Havana, and the village of Cojimar east of town. It was an illuminating experience. The Cubanos are outwardly friendly, fun-loving and very helpful. Speaking a fair Spanish helped a lot. The Paladares (private homes offering meal service) most cases excellent choices....and there were also some approved restaurants we went to. Honestly, never had a bad meal. We stayed at Condes Vilanueva (a tobacco planter's hotel in Old Habana)...we were the only guests at the time. We were treated like royalty. We took in a rum factory and a tobacco factory on our own, sans escort. We paid $20 for two tix to see the famous Buena Vista Social Club band at The Hotel Nacional...wonderful show. Take a look at The Nacional..lots of history there.

The sinagoga gave a luncheon in our honor which was great fun, too. We went to a film festival which had some English-language flicks..most enjoyable, and my wife took in the ballet with choice seats for $10
while I was escorted to a major league baseball game..the whackiest fans I've ever seen!! Every ball and strike call is verbally attacked.

How are you getting in? I do not advise you going illegally.

Have a fun visit....and please report back, Josy.

Stu Tower, Ojai, California

annhig Apr 12th, 2015 01:01 PM

josy - we are now committed to a 3 week stay in Cuba in January 2016 - we bought the tickets today. as we are British, we don't have the same restrictions faced by americans but it is a problem that you need to think about if you are from the US [your profile doesn't help much, does it?]

from what I've seen so far, with only 10 days you are probably better sticking to the west of the island - a few days in Havana, a trip out to the west to Vinales, and east to Trinidad [4 hours from Havana] is probably about the most you could manage comfortably.

our plan is to spend 4 days in Havana, then to fly to Santiago [or Holguin, not sure yet] and work our way back to Havana, all of which we think will take us the better part of 3 weeks, leaving time at the end for extra days in Havana or to go out to Vinales if that's what we decide we want to do,

Good luck! let us know what you decide to do in the end.

tower Apr 12th, 2015 01:40 PM

Ann...I fail to see what Josy's empty profile has to do with enjoying Cuba. Please illuminate if I'm missing something. Thanks,

Enjoy's fascinating! With Obama meeting with President Castro
not Fidel) it's possible that the 50 years of restriction may be heading for an end.

annhig Apr 12th, 2015 02:04 PM

I was simply wondering where she lives.

HappyTrvlr Apr 12th, 2015 04:09 PM

Try to include Trinidad and Cienfuegos on tne southern shore, colonial arxhitecture.

blamona Apr 13th, 2015 06:14 AM

Are you from US? Problem with this forum is most of us can't go legally so can't give you iteneries.

If you are from US, you can't just go randomly on you're own, so makes a difference as to what to recommend too---

That's why we ask

tower Apr 13th, 2015 07:04 AM

blamona...beg to differ...there are several ways an American can go in legally. See my post above. Humanitarian reasons are usually respected by both USA and Cuba.

blamona Apr 13th, 2015 12:13 PM

Tower, that's why asking, but most legal ways aren't back backing thru in 10 days

Just saying....

tower Apr 13th, 2015 05:29 PM

Blamona...when you're on your own legally in Cuba, you come and go as you please. We spent most of our time in Havana and its eastern beaches, south to the Hemingway estate, and into Cojimar to check out small town life. Did not tire of it. We were more than satisfied with what we saw, did and experienced in the 10 full days...these were net days, having figured in two days for traveling each way, making it 12 days door to door.

Take a look at my pics above for some ideas on what you can do during that 10 full days time frame .

tower Apr 14th, 2015 09:13 AM

that should be two total days each way...period,

BostonHarbor Apr 19th, 2015 05:08 PM

I have been to Cuba many times (eight or nine) since 2003 (like tower--and it was SO different back then.

One good option for travelers is to fly into Santa Clara rather than Havana. Drive through Cienfuegos and stop in Trinidad for a couple days. The town is so charming and the beaches are minutes away and beautiful. This way, you only have a one way long drive to Havana and you only lose a half day of your jouenwy. (4.5 hours)

I happen to love Trinidad--it is the best preserved colonial town in the western hemisphere--a UNESCO site. There is one beautiful hotel in town (Iberostar Grand) and lots of casa particulars. Avoid the other hotels, check the reviews on Trip Advisor. If you can't afford or don't want the Grand, stay in a lovely home. The entire town comes out to dance in the main square at 10 PM at night. It's one of the most fun things you can do in Cuba.

I'm a Havana-phile. I do photography and there is not a better place in the world for street photography. Old Havana--I can spend days there. Hemingway's house is worth a quick visit. ISA (Institute Superior des Artes) buildings are a collection of the most amazing architectural marvels you have ever seen. There is a wonderful documentary you should watch. If you watch it you will know you must go to ISA (look up on Amazon prime rentals "Unfinished Spaces" Watching this film will also give you an understanding of the revolution you have never seen before

Paladars (private restaurants) these days are wonderful and the food is delicious. The night scene is great. There is a new venue called "Fabrica des Artes" which is a mixture of nightclub, art gallery and dance club. Go here if you want to see the new rising middle class dressed to "the nines".

Callejon de Hammel,in Centro Havana is an amazing street that defies description. Google it. You need to go there.

The Hotel National is an icon and you must have mojitos on the lawn--you will be transported 50 years back. The Riviera hotel just down the road is Meyer Lansky's jewel and it looks as it did 55 years ago. I love the Riviera (not to stay, just to visit)

Walking along the Malecon never gets old to me. It's the walkway a Some times it is calm, sometimes windy, always interesting. Everyone in Havana walks along the Malecon

Take a ride around Havana in a vintage car. See "5th avenue" the street of gorgeous mansions--all preserved as they are now embassies.

Have Lunch in Aljibe—a famous local restaurant with a great family chicken recipe and just down the street, visit Artist Jose Fuster’s house—“Cuba’s Picasso” (google him--it's worth it--he's tiled an entire neighborhood. It's very cool.

Vinales is two hours west of Havana and is gorgeous scenery and the people are more authentic that I have seen in other places. The tobacco fields are beautiful and in the drying huts you can learn everything you would ever need to know about cigar building.

so, that should keep you busy : ) Enjoy your trip. I'm heading back to Cuba in a couple weeks for Havana Biennale. Can't wait.

SaylerT Jun 5th, 2015 10:48 AM

Ann has at least 3 comments bragging about her freedom to enjoy Cuba, while Americans have some limitations
She also has repeated over and over that she hopes Americans will not get the freedom she brags about until she gets her trip over

I think that's WHY she cares where the OP lives
She wants to keep all Americans away

Sorry Ann Americans are already buying up the good stuff.
WHY did you wait?

SaylerT Jun 5th, 2015 01:24 PM

Who asked you. I did not call her names just pointing out the fact that we know she hopes we never get to go to Cuba
5 post in fact and I am not the only person to correct her
My grandparents lived in Cuba.
So maybe that's WHY she is getting on my last nerve.

If she takes that attitude to Cuba she will not be treated with respect from the natives

janisj Jun 5th, 2015 01:38 PM

She has never EVER said she hopes others can't visit Cuba . . . Where the heck did you get that? She mentions that being British they don't have the same problems/issues that American do . . .

>>If she takes that attitude to Cuba she will not be treated with respect from the natives<<

WHAT attitude?


I think you are reading a lot into her posts that isn't there . . .

SaylerT Jun 5th, 2015 02:23 PM

Janis it was the comment that reads
For personal and selfish reasons I hope Americans can not travel freely to Cuba until my trip is over.

She says she's going in January for 3 weeks.

Well if you are from Northern USA and 60 years old you know how badly we want to go.

I have been.I know Cuban people need help.I have Cuban blood so naturally I want Cuba to grow and I want my friends to go and spend some of the
Money that goes to Florida after Christmas every year.

Jeff_Costa_Rica Jun 5th, 2015 06:21 PM

"Offended" is too strong a word. I jumped on something annhig said with a cross-national dig of my own. She and I talked. I apologized for taking what she said out of context. All is well between us. :)

Non-Americans can travel to Cuba more easily than we Yanks can. That's still a fact of life. A Brit going to Cuba is going to have fewer/different issues to deal with than an American would. We still have to worry about credit cards. We still have to worry about fitting into the 12 approved categories. We still have to worry about not violating the embargo. We still have to worry about the abysmal exchange rate our dollars get compared to other currencies. I'd ask the same question of another poster, "Where are you from?" to gauge what concerns they have.

I did not view the comments as: Nyah, nyah, I can go and you can't.

janisj Jun 5th, 2015 07:21 PM

>>You need to read her comments.She makes herself sound
Selfish and arrogant<<

Uh -- nope. That is simply silly. She has helped countless people on these forums. About as far from arrogant as I've seen round these parts.

>>She wrote that this was not a good place to ask about Cuba<<

Talk about taking things out of context(!) It is obvious she meant that because Fodors is so heavily American there would be <u>relatively</u> few members who have been to Cuba. Not that Fodors is useless.

She doesn't need me to fight her battles (and she is seldom in 'battles'). I am just truly shocked you have been so offended by a couple of very innocent posts. Do you often pick fights?

SaylerT Jun 5th, 2015 08:55 PM

Oh I'm sorry
God I just read my own mean comments

I'm 65 not 60 and to old to be fussing with the young.

It does to me feel like Ann was pouring
salt. I mean if people want to take a chance its on them and I felt like she was policing.

I guess my fuse gets shorter with age.

You took up for your friend and that's admirable.

I wish I had not been mean to Ann she must be a great gal for you to stand up for her.

Ann I'm very Sorry and I hope you get to ride in a 1955 Chevy.

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