Casa Particular in Trinidad

Jun 1st, 2016, 04:44 AM
  #1  
mad
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Casa Particular in Trinidad

It's very hard to get a feel for the casa particulars online. We are a couple traveling with a child. Want as comfortable a place as possible. Anyone have any recommendations in Trinidad or Havana?
mad is offline  
Jun 1st, 2016, 09:11 AM
  #2  
 
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this is where we stayed in Havana:




it's not super luxurious but it is very friendly, clean, and the hostess is super and speaks excellent english [and french, italian, and spanish of course]. She has a son aged about 8 so she's very good with children too. There is a nice shady garden and a small pool which kids like and the breakfasts were the best we had in Cuba.

As for Trinidad in general the further away from the very centre you get, generally the dodgier it gets. Its popularity has led to a very high demand for rooms and lots of people are cashing in. So why not start with Trip Advisor and Air BnB and see what you come up with for your dates?
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Jun 1st, 2016, 09:12 AM
  #3  
 
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strange - for some reason my post wouldn't post with the link - so here's it's name:

Hostal Cartacuba, Vedado, Havana.

just google it.
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Jun 1st, 2016, 02:34 PM
  #4  
mad
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Fantastic info! A place with a kid about the same age as my son sounds great. Thanks so much! I've been looking on tripadvisor. I've learned not to trust most reviews on it, as I think we're more discerning than most travelers on there. I seem to get more reliable feedback on fodors. Thanks again.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 12:40 AM
  #5  
 
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mad - I agree about TA but it does give you somewhere to start in that you can rule out the ones with the bad reviews.

BTW I've forgotten when you are travelling but I would advise booking asap - decent accommodation in Cuba particularly in Trinidad can be very hard to find.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 04:47 AM
  #6  
mad
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Yes, thanks. We're not going until next March. I'm booking today if possible. Going with a place I found on TA for Trinidad and the place in Havana that you recommended, assuming they're available. I'm using Pototo to book everything, except air, so hopefully it all goes smoothly.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 05:51 AM
  #7  
 
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That sounds great, Mad. Very wise to book early.

Give Yanilla [the hostess of the casa in Havana] my best wishes and have a great trip!
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 06:17 AM
  #8  
mad
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Thank you! I really appreciate your help. I'll write a trip report when we return- a long time away from now! BTW, we were quoted $150 per day for a driver/guide with car. Does that sound reasonable? We'll be doing at least two long drives with him to and from Trinidad and have him with us all day in Havana.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 06:55 AM
  #9  
 
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no problems, Mad. I'll look out for your TR when you get back.

So far as the cost of the car and driver is concerned, I can only tell you about our experience was which was that transport is very expensive in Cuba. However IME having a car and driver in Havana really isn't necessary - you can get around very easily using collectivo taxis which only cost 50c per person a trip, and even if you used ordinary taxis, you'd be hard pressed to spend more than $50 in a day I would have thought.

Transport around Trinidad is more or less the same - you can walk round the city quite easily though and a taxi to the beach is only about $10 each way, and cheaper in a collectivo; if you want to make a trip to other attractions, your casa owner would arrange that for you.

The return trip to Trinidad and back to Havana is going to be expensive, but nothing like as much as the cost of a car and driver for 7 days; Yanilla could easily arrange a driver for you to provide this.

OTOH if you want the security and convenience of always having a driver available then it may be worth it to you. I'd hate to dissuade you from doing this and then find you come back grumbling because you had transport problems!
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 07:09 AM
  #10  
mad
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Honestly, it's not the way we usually travel. We're used to being on our own. This trip just feels different. As Americans I'm
Just trying to create a semi-legit trip and hope the guide can give us an itinerary that includes lots of people-to-people contact. I also understand the food can be quite bad and hope to get some decent meals in with someone who knows the area. That's good info though. We're prob overpaying.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 09:31 AM
  #11  
 
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Mad - I know that the thought of going to Cuba can be a bit scary; we were quite daunted at first and it took a couple of nights before we would venture out on our own!! But if you do stay with Yanilla the area around the casa is very safe and just round the corner [turn right at the petrol station, I think] is a parador [cuban name for a privately run restaurant] with great food and wonderful music and dancing, where they will make a lot of fuss of your son, I'm sure.

If you stay in casas you will not lack for people to people contact; ditto in restaurants, cafes, shops, tourist offices - in fact on the odd occasion that we had a guide we met fewer people than we did without one as the guide acted as an intermediary. Without a guide you are on your own and have to communicate with people to find out about what you want to see and do. But unlike you we did not start off with a "people to people" agenda - I'm sure that if you make it clear what you want they will oblige.

Where you should find good food is Trinidad - the food there was on the whole better than that in Havana, we found.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 09:34 AM
  #12  
 
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PS - I don't know whether it will help or hinder, but here's a link to my unfinished TR:

http://www.fodors.com/community/cari...go-to-cuba.cfm

I say unfinished, it was hardly started as I never got further than Havana, but perhaps I'll have a go at doing some more this weekend - it might help if I get as far as Trinidad, if I can remember anything.
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Jun 2nd, 2016, 03:22 PM
  #13  
mad
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Thanks so much for all the great info! You've been extremely helpful. Once I get all the reservations confirmed I may relax more and rethink the guide. We've traveled a ton and am sure we'll be fine, Cuba is just a bit of a mystery!
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Jun 3rd, 2016, 01:00 AM
  #14  
 
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mad - I agree about Cuba being a mystery and part of the problem is that so much of the information in guide books is out of date or wrong.

for example, based on what we had read about the difficulties of getting money in Cuba and because we were going to be staying in Casas and not hotels, and thus needing to pay in cash, we took a load of cash with us - about £2000. That really worried us, but of course it needn't have done because we soon realised that it, and we, were completely safe. But we needn't have taken it, because our debit cards worked perfectly in the many ATMs that are available in every town.

Now I know that you will probably have a US bank account so your debit cards probably won't work, and if they do, you'd be subjected to the surcharge that goes on the exchange of U$, but my point is that you need to check the information that you are basing your trip on, very carefully, as it may be out of date, or just plain wrong! [BTW, received wisdom is that for US citizens, the best idea is to take canadian $, but I would check that too!]

while we're talking about money, there are two places to change your cash into CUC which is the normal currency for tourists and which you'll be dealing in; there are CUPs too, with are worth about 1/24 of a CUC, but unless you're going to be buying a lot of peso pizzas, I wouldn't worry about them. A CUC is worth one U$. Those places are a bank [lots of them in Havana, fewer in Trinidad] and Cadecas [ditto]. They will both give you the same exchange rate so it's a matter of finding the one with the least queue. Once inside [the doors are usually guarded by a security person] you may be asked to sit, or given number or both [or neither!]. Inside is good as they are usually air-conditioned. When your number is called or whatever, only one of you [don't ask me why, but them's the rules] goes up to the counter or desk with your passport and does the transaction. You need perfect notes. No tears, rips, or bits missing. I had 2 £50 notes rejected in a bank in Remedios because of minute defects and in fact after a long wait of about 10 mins while the scrutinised a computer screen that I couldn't see, they rejected all my notes there. [Actually I think that the problem was that they had never seen a £50 before!]. So I went round the corner to the Cadeca and they changed all 4 notes without any problem at all in 30 seconds flat.

Because of these problems, it's well worth changing quite a lot of money at one time; as I say, you and and your money are perfectly safe so you don't need to be concerned about carrying large amounts of cash around.

I hope that I've not made that sound too complicated - it's easy once you get there and have done it once or twice.

BTW there is a CADECA just outside the arrivals hall at Havana airport on the left of the doors as you exit. There is also one inside departures if the queue is too long or if your taxi driver won't stop on the way into Havana - after all, he will want to be paid. And it will be a HE - very few women in Cuba seem to drive, even in Havana and they certainly don't work as taxi drivers. When I asked people about this they thought it was normal - so much for the revolution.

The airport procedure is a bit strange - once you are through passport control [where again you go up one by one, one of you with your son of course] where they take your photo, your hand luggage then goes through a security scan just like the one you normally do on your way TO the plane, not afterwards, then you have to wait for your luggage. You also need to fill in a form saying where you are staying [yes, I know this is on your tourist card] who you are travelling with, your passport no, their passport no, etc, etc, and you hand this form into the person who is standing by the exit doors. No-one told us about this card and we only found out about it by watching other people while we were waiting for our luggage, but they are handed out by people standing around after your have your hand luggage checked. [we had to ask someone for ours].
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Jun 3rd, 2016, 03:35 AM
  #15  
mad
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Am going to print this info out so I don't forget it all! Thank you! Yes I also heard that taking Canadian money is better for Americans. The exchange is very much in our favor now, so that works out well. We're thinking about splurging for a couple nights and staying at Parque Central in Havana. Any idea if it's worth it? We're going to stay at the casa you recommended as well, so we won't miss that experience.
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Jun 3rd, 2016, 09:31 AM
  #16  
 
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Staying in Central Havana sounds like a good idea as well as a casa further out, to get both experiences.

How are you splitting up your trip? you might want to think about spending the last 2 nights back in Havana, perhaps at the Parque Central, so as to be in the right place for flying home - then you won't be worried about how long the journey back from Trinidad is going to take.

I can't tell you if the Parque Contral is worth the money. I do know that there are a number of what look like very nice boutique casas in Havana Vieja which others have spoken highly of [sorry, i don't know the names] which would probably be cheaper. If you want a hotel in Havana don't leave it long - they book up very quickly.

Wherever you stay, there is a HOHO bus [yes really] that starts from very near the Parque Centrale which you might like; the shorter central route which costs $5 actually goes near Yanilla's casa so is a possible way of getting into the centre from there [though at 50c each the collectivo will be a lot cheaper]; there is a longer route costing $10 each that goes all the way over to Casablanca I believe which might be a better way of getting there than what we did which was to get the ferry and walk!
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Jun 15th, 2016, 01:30 PM
  #17  
 
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For Casa Particulars in Havana, check out www.airbnb.com as well as www.Cuba-Junky.com. The latter has them divided by districts or areas in Havana. There are also ones for Trinidad as well if my memory serves me correctly.

As far as rates go, the prices at CJ are much more reasonable than the former, but both are good sources. When I locate the web address about Habana in terms of restaurants, etc., I'll post, for their listing of restaurants will probably serve you well. I ate, with group, at three of the better ones listed when I was there in March of 2015.
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Jun 15th, 2016, 01:36 PM
  #18  
 
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This is in conjunction with what I mentioned in my previous post about restaurants. Go to www.lahabana.com, especially for restaurants and some cultural activities. It's a web magazine and is posted monthly. I do think it will be a help to all future travelers.
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Jun 17th, 2016, 04:29 AM
  #19  
 
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We stayed at Casa Nora in Trinidad. It was a cute place, clean and near the main square. The dinner in their restaurant was good, and it was nice to relax in the courtyard in the evening.
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Jun 19th, 2016, 12:14 PM
  #20  
mad
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Thanks for all the info. Think we're all set for a reservation in Trinidad. Greatly appreciate the restaurant info.
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