Cuba not on the beach!

Aug 14th, 2002, 01:57 PM
  #1  
carolred
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Cuba not on the beach!

I am wanting to go to Cuba for probably one week (maybe 2 if there is too much to see) in January or February, possibly on a tour, and SEE Cuba not lie on the beach. I would like to see Havana, Trinidad, and some areas taht have historical, architectural, geographical interest, perhaps easy adventure travel.

I DO NOT like to lie on the beach and do nothing. I am a no-frills independent traveller up to now, so I loathe to stay in a hotel that is North American big hotel style. However, I would like to spend a few days at a beach-front hotel with a fishing-village atmosphere.

Can anyone either suggest an itinerary or a tour company or both?
 
Aug 14th, 2002, 02:16 PM
  #2  
carole
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I went to Cuba as an independent traveler a couple of years ago - got a good deal at the Havana Libre (old Hilton) which is right downtown - you dont say if you speak Spanish - mine is adequate - wandered thru the old city a lot - museums etc. - took some mini tours from the hotel - mostly Latin American tourists - old Havana, distillery, Hemingway sites, Indian caves out in the country - but sorry cant help you with other info - I did do a day trip to Varadero to see what it was like - beautiful beach but full of tourists. My favourite sign in Havan "lets multiply for victory"
 
Aug 14th, 2002, 02:18 PM
  #3  
carol
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sorry - forgot - everywhere I went people wer asking for soap - tienes sabon become the refrain of the trip - ts rationed in Cuba - lot of people take small bars of soap, aspirins, toothpaste etc.
 
Aug 15th, 2002, 09:39 AM
  #4  
carolred
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Thanks for the info. How long would you recommend staying in Havana to see the best of what you saw? How much was the hotel and what amenities did it include?

I don't speak Spanish really at all. I do speak French and that was a help in Spain. Is it a big deal? Should I take a class or just a good phrasebook?

I found a British web site with a very interesting sounding one-week tour of Trinidad.

Any one else with suggestions?
 
Aug 15th, 2002, 11:16 AM
  #5  
carol
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3 or 4 days in Havana is probably enough - sorry dont know price of hotel as it was a package deal but Havana Libre amenities were excellent - big room, clean bathroom, huge buffet style meals with large variety of hot and cold foods -
language issue - in Varadero the main touristy area it is possible to speak English and nothing else but in Havana I think I would have felt a little lost without some grasp of Spanish - by the way the accent in Cuba is I found quite difficult to follow - words run together rather like Caribbean English - e.g. "mas or menos" (more or less) came out "ma-o-meno". But people were extremely friendly and the tour guides spoke excellent English
 
Jan 16th, 2003, 05:13 PM
  #6  
Maria
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quote:
tienes sabon become the refrain of the trip

You mean tienes Jabon -- not sabon.
 
Jan 16th, 2003, 05:14 PM
  #7  
Maria
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quote:
tienes sabon become the refrain of the trip

You mean tienes Jabón -- not sabon.
 
Jan 16th, 2003, 07:22 PM
  #8  
Steve
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I have been to Cuba six times and still want to go back to see more. Each time I go back, see less in total, but spend more time enjoying the wonderful ambience of Old Havana and Cuban/Latin culture.
Havana is wonderful, and three or 4 days should enable you to see some of it. Also Trinidad is very beautiful and you should budget two days for that. Other destinations you might want to consider is Pinar del Rio province, the home of very fine tobacco country. Also very beautiful scenery.

Check out these links for more info.

http://www.1click2cuba.com (or)
http://www.1click2cuba.com/links.html#anchor2223619

http://www.cuba-junky.com

Cubalinda has a link to excursions and day trips that you can take. Lots to choose from.
http://www.cubalinda.com

Cuba Tourist Board in Canada
http://www.gocuba.ca/eng/index.asp

And if you don't speak Spanish and want a quick little audio tutorial to practice a few common phrases and helpfull words, check out this site.

http://www.hispaniola.com/phrases/index.html

As to accommodation, you might consider checking out staying in a Casa Particular, which is a legal private home that rents out rooms. Most are very nice. They are inspected by the government and I have not had any problems at all.
Here's a link to some Casa Particular sites.
http://www.particularcuba.com/
http://www.havana-rentals.com/
http://www.w-i-t.com/guesthouse.html

Have fun and enjoy Cuba.

Steve

p.s. Here is a link to some of my travel photos from Havana and areas of Cuba.
www.picturetrail.com/photocuba
 
Jan 17th, 2003, 04:04 AM
  #9  
Catherine
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I found an excellent book on Cuba, one of the Moon handbooks. Ordered it from Amazon. It almost has too much info!

One criticsm is the size of the text, it's quiet small and therefore the book is not so great for browsing through leisurely. Like Steve who posted above, the author of this book also suggests casa particulars as an alternative to hotels.
 

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