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DIY Cuba - US Citizens - Havana + Viñales or Trinidad?

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Jul 16th, 2016, 04:02 PM
  #21
 
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@Crosscheck: The hotel Sevilla does not have a rooftop pool. The pool is ground level, located at the rear of the hotel in a garden setting. The Saratogo and Parque Central do indeed have rooftop pools.
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Jul 17th, 2016, 03:20 AM
  #22
 
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The pool is ground level, located at the rear of the hotel in a garden setting. >>

Canuck - is that the hotel pool that you can see as you walk down the Prado towards the Museo de la Revolucion? it looked nice! I wondered which hotel it belonged to.
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Jul 17th, 2016, 10:46 AM
  #23
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Thanks for the heads up, Canuck. I was just reading about the Sevilla's rooftop restaurant with music, so we will have some time on a rooftop, albeit without the pool. I'm still stressing a bit about flights and will report back.
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Jul 17th, 2016, 10:58 AM
  #24
 
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oh dear, crosscheck - what's the problem? is it the one you talked about above - whether to book now for Varedero or wait for the US flights to Havana, or is it something new?
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Jul 18th, 2016, 10:44 PM
  #25
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Yeah, that's the main problem. We can also get charters now but the times don't work with my kids' schedules, one of whom will be coming from NYC. It will be fine but I think we're going to be up in the air for a while. I have booked hotels in Peru in case this doesn't work out.
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Jul 19th, 2016, 02:59 AM
  #26
 
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I have booked hotels in Peru in case this doesn't work out.>>

well you are nothing if not adventurous!

Have you thought about traveling from Mexico? our aussie friends did that and it worked very well for them. or there is always Canada of course.
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Jul 19th, 2016, 06:44 AM
  #27
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It does makes sense for us to go from LAX to Mexico, but it's out of the way for our son in NYC. The problem is we're traveling at the height of season. But if the new commercial flights don't work out, we will probably go through MEX.
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Jul 19th, 2016, 12:19 PM
  #28
 
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crosscheck - our aussie friends got their visitor cards at the airport in Mexico with no problem - there was a dedicated desk there to buy them. We, OTOH, had to send off a form to the Cuban Embassy in London accompanied by postal orders, would you believe? our local post office was most amused when I walked in and asked for £65 odd in postal orders.

In case you were wondering, the point of these ramblings is to ask if you have worked out yet how you are going to get your tourist cards?
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Jul 19th, 2016, 07:09 PM
  #29
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From what I understand, the airlines (either charters, Mexican airlines or the American airlines newly granted permission to fly) issue the cards before you board. Did you fly directly from the UK? What was the airline?
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Jul 20th, 2016, 03:12 PM
  #30
 
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crosscheck - we flew with Virgin direct from Gatwick. Although they arrange cuban visitor cards for their package tour customers, they don't for those of us who just buy a flight so we had to get our own and they are not available at airports here.

Airlines may well do it if you are flying from Mexico or the US but it's something you might want to check first.
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Jul 27th, 2016, 12:42 PM
  #31
 
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crosscheck - I chose to travel with a Travel Agency with all inclusive tours. Their price is reasonable. They manage everything and we actually made homestays in Vinales (2 nights) and Trinidad (3 nights). Everything was legal with a people to people itinerary. It was a great experience and we didn't have to worry about flights, bookings, payments and visas. If you want to check, the company is In touch travel services and their website is www.intouchwithcuba.com good luck and have a blast, Cuba is amazing!
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Jul 30th, 2016, 03:51 PM
  #32
 
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Here you go, crosscheck - the flights are now available:

http://www.havanainsider.com/jetblue...-flights-cuba/
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Jul 30th, 2016, 03:59 PM
  #33
 
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BTW, I did a "dummy" booking run, and ended up with a flight [in January '2017] costing about $500 return from NY to Santa Clara. i don't know how that compares with what you've ben looking at.

When it comes to the page where you give your passenger details, at the bottom is a box to tick which says that you agree with the US regs re travel to Cuba and then asks you to tick a box for which category applies to you, whoosh would presumably the second one i.e. educational and people to people activities.
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Jul 31st, 2016, 01:56 PM
  #34
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Thanks for staying on it! American has also had flights listed for a few weeks. I'm gambling and waiting for flights to Havana though, which are supposed to be up by the end of the summer.

jane, Thanks for the intouch lead. I might work with them for guides and charters if there is a delay with the scheduled flights.
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Jul 31st, 2016, 02:08 PM
  #35
 
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I'm gambling and waiting for flights to Havana though, which are supposed to be up by the end of the summer. >>

certainly they would fit better with your schedule, crosscheck.

Santa Clara was an interesting place to visit, to see the Che mausoleum and armed train for example, but when we were there it wasn't a good place to stay as it seemed to be suffering from a water shortage, such that there were no toilets (!) despite the fact that only a week previously, there had been several days of heavy rain. it's also quite a way from Havana, though our bus transfer from Remedios which went through Santa Clara was enlivened by the 10 minute lecture that our driver gave us about Che before we left, and the guided tour of Havana he took us on when we finally arrived there several hours later.
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Jul 31st, 2016, 06:30 PM
  #36
 
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Right here on the very front page of the Fodor's website is an article that discusses the upcoming flights. The Havana routes will be announced by the end of the summer, at which point the airlines can begin selling tickets. They will have 90 days from that date to begin operation. Depending on the Department of Transportation’s definition of "end of the summer," that puts the beginning of Havana service at late November to mid-December at the absolute latest.

I happen to have written the article.

http://www.fodors.com/world/caribbea...-to-cuba-11876
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Aug 1st, 2016, 09:20 AM
  #37
 
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Nice article, Jeff.

Does the Fodor's guide to Cuba using one of these airlines cover how the US tourist can get a tourist card for entry into Cuba? I covered the difficulties that we had doing so as independent travellers from the UK up thread. I know that they are available at some Mexican airports simply from an airport desk, but how's it going to work for independent US tourists?
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Aug 4th, 2016, 03:57 PM
  #38
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Congrats on the article, Jeff. Can you post here as soon as you hear about the flights (if you have 'sources')? I have been monitoring the situation on TA, flyertalk and several of the travel blogs and haven't heard of American tourists booking flights to the other cities - I'm thinking those flights would be more popular with people visiting relatives or doing business.

annhig, The airlines are definitely providing the tourist cards, as are the charters. There has a lot published about that.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nati...e86550422.html
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Aug 4th, 2016, 04:00 PM
  #39
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Oops - posted too soon. I'm still on the fence about whether to a) get charter flights, b) wait for the Havana flights on AA, where we have status, which would make check in a lot shorter and easier or c) fly to Varadero instead of Havana, which is a 1.5 hour journey at the height of the holiday season.

And...Is anyone here concerned about zika in Cuba?
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Aug 4th, 2016, 08:31 PM
  #40
 
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Thanks, annhig and crosscheck.

Remember, crosscheck: Christmas is a legal holiday in Cuba, as is New Years, as is the anniversary of the revolution, which also falls that week. In that regard, the holiday season is big in Cuba. That means people will be on the move that week. I would do my best to stay in one place.
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