Island with best historical/cultural sites

Old Dec 8th, 2003, 02:08 PM
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Hi all: I am going to Cuba legally with Cross Cultural Solutions and asked for help with last minute dos and donts and only got one response? Guess I asked the wrong all you cuba experts...can one bring in bubble gum or wrapped candy for children...I have heard to bring in small soaps, travel size necessities...have heard about 1.00 bills...has anyone seen the size of 200 of them and what the moneybelt would look like...I am hoping the large hotels can change larger bills..thanks for the replies.
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Old Dec 8th, 2003, 05:48 PM
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Hola Johanna:
Welcome to the Cuba debate society... just kidding. Will try to answer your questions.
Yes you can bring in all the gum, candy and stuff you want. Cuban children almost universally refer to all types of gum as "Chicklets" and they love it. I always travel with pockets of gum to give to the kids. Small soaps and other toiletries are always appreciated by the hotel maids, staff etc. As to $1.00 bills, I only take about 20 or so, mainly for tips when I first arrive at the Havana airport. I don't travel the "all-inclusive package" type way so it's nice to be able to tip the lads that carry my bags for me and the cab driver. However you really don't need 200 of them. US currency is in use everywhere in Cuba and you will always get change for your other bills. Mind you, like most other places there is suspicion of $50 and $100 bills so I try to avoid bills larger than $20's. Too much counterfeit money all over the world. The front desk at all hotels can change money without problems. Just remember that American issued credit cards, and any travellers cheques drawn on an American bank are NOT accepted in Cuba.
You can get other cuba information on these travel boards as well..


These are long links, but they are active Cuba discussion travel boards so even if you just read some of the posts it will help you out.

Enjoy the Cuban experience.
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Old Dec 8th, 2003, 06:41 PM
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Johanna; Could Americans get into Cuba legally via Cross Cultural Solutions? Does any one know legal ways for Americans to visit Cuba via other organizations. I know university personnel have a clearance for Cuban studies, etc. Any one know of formal university programs where Americans can visit Cuba with them? Please advise and thank you. Canuck, you really spawned a desire in me to vistit Cuba. I heard the reefs are beautiful there. Robert
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Old Dec 8th, 2003, 10:23 PM
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Thanks, Steve for the info..I am excited but a little apprehensive. I have many Cuban friends, living in S Florida, but most dont want to go back. I hope there is not too much a problem with pickpocketing.

Robert: I found most of my information online: I think that Cross Cultural is not having any tours after the Dec. ones but they do have volunteer opportunities: put trips to cuba on google and found many sites. One can go thru Mexico with many canadian companies and/or thru the Bahamas. I was truly amazed, too, to see the massive tourist industry that Cuba has and the 5star hotels. It will be quite an experience to attend Christmas Mass in such a country. Thanks for all the information.
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Old Dec 9th, 2003, 06:09 PM
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Johanna; thanks for the information. I was kiddding about ECHELON zeroing in on Americans going to Cuba. Although everything is correct in what was stated about ECHELON in the 12/7 posting (above), I hope they wouldn't waste time using this high-tech surveillance art in busting honest Americans who desire to experience our neighboring island to the south. However, the Bush administration is definately going to bolster enforcement of travel restrictions on American travel to Cuba. President Bush has given marching orders for Homeland Security to increase inspections and to track down and log in data banks all travelers to Cuba, both illegal Americans and legal foreign travelers from countries. Homeland Security is also inspecting all shipments of goods to and from Cuba as well. I would think that Americans should be able to visit Cuba legally if done as a cross-cultural pursuit with one of many organizations that offer that service, without the risk of being taken to Federal Court and fined $8,500. Thanks again for the information. Robert
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Old Dec 9th, 2003, 08:30 PM
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Good grief, must you use this forum for your debate... far too many good threads have been deleted because of the bickering that goes on...

We enjoy the rich culture and history we find on Barbados... another thought for your research.
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Old Dec 10th, 2003, 02:11 AM
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Well I for one certainly haven't seen bickering on this thread. What I see is well-expressed opinions on both sides of a difficult subject.

The original poster asked: "Besides the beautiful beaches and weather, we're also looking for historical and cultural sites to see."

I have been to Jamaica, Cuba, St Lucia, Barbados, D.R., Grenada, Antigua and I have to say that out of where I've visited Cuba is the place which fulfils the criteria.

Havana is an absolutely superb city which I only visited for a day trip last year. I loved it so much I'm returning in March to stay at the "Nacional" which is where JFK, Marilyn Munroe, Frank Sinatra, Winston Churchill, Lucky Luciano, Errol Flyn, Marlon Brando, Ernest Hemingway etc. all stayed at over the years.

There is DEFINITELY no city in the Caribbean anywhere near the faded grandeur of Havana.

I agree that it is a shame that most Americans aren't allowed to visit. The very idea that Cuba (a dirt-poor, small island) can be thought of as a threat by the mightiest power the world has ever known seems silly to me.

I reckon when Castro dies and/or there is a change of U.S. president the U.S. embargoe will be ended.

A poster asked about crime in Cuba and I'm not sure if it was addressed. You are very safe in Cuba. There is hardly any crime at all. It is the safest Caribbean island to visit. You get kids who'll ask you for your baseball cap or other stuff they can't get but you don't have locals bothering you everywhere you go. They are a very polite society.

My Cuban trip report (with pictures) here:

Anyway - thanks for the interesting debate. Cuba has my vote for this particular poster's question.
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Old Dec 10th, 2003, 03:20 AM
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Gyromancer; Enjoyed viewing your website. Now, my appetite is growing strong to visit Cuba. The description of Cubans revamping and recycling old cars and other products due to the high cost of imported goods is worth going to see! I think us modern Westerners, with our "throw away society," can learn more from the Cuban people than they can from us! As an American, I will search for a legitimate reason to visit Cuba, legally. I also thank Canuck and Johanna for their information; I'm sure I can find a reputable organization to go there with, to skirt around the restrictions on Americans. Move over Stacey...her I come! Robert
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