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Trip Report - Veraderro, Cuba

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I just got back from Veraderro, Cuba. So decided to relay my experiences here. My trip was with Sunquest from April 1st to April 8th flying out of Toronto. I was staying at Cuatro Palmas. I was there with my girlfriend and our major objectives of the trip was the beaches, cigars, and tour the cuba cities.

From the advices and information I got prior to going, I wasn't expecting a lot from the food. As it turn out, I didn't quite mind the food at all. It was probably the only good thing about the hotel we stayed at.

Before I go into the complains, I will start with what I like about Cuba. Beautiful beaches, absolutely breathtaking water, and the entire week the weather so wonderful.

Other than the beaches, I really have no good thing to say about Cuba. The people(locals) were so rude to us, that I was so ticked off that I didn't give them any of the gifts. Like a lot of people I heard alot of their poverty stories, so I brought along alot of soaps, pens, etc... After the experiences I have, I took them all back with me!

Some of the excursions we went on:

Havana w/ Tropicana - Interesting city, but they don't quite take care of the old buildings. I found that the people in Cuba has money. Very expensive. The muesums and such charge money to take pictures, thats after paying admission. Everywhere I go, there were people asking for tips, even if I am in a hotel.

Cienfuegos/Trinidad - I was misled in taking this tour. I asked the tour guide which tour should I goto if I wanted to see a cigar plantation and buy cigars from them. They said this one was good. Not only did it include a plantation tour, I couldn't even buy cigars here. The tour was a factory of cigar wrappers. This was a bad tour from the start. Long drive - 3 hours each way, and the van we were sitting in was very bumpy. We spend more time in the van than touring the city. Not recommended.

Veraderro - What can I say about the beach! It was breathtaking. We rented a scooter and saw most of the city/pennisula. Generally speaking, it was nice. Again, I don't think they are as poor as they say they are. The locals were wearing >100 plus running shoes, like Nike, Reebok, etc.. And wearing nice clothes.

Hotel (Cuatro Palmas) - This is my major complain of the trip. IF anyone is reading this and planning to go there(especially single female travellers) I would advise you to think twice about CUBA!!!
Like I said I was there with my girlfriend, the second night we were there, my girlfriend was walking from the bar to our room and one of the hotel employee told her "you're a f**k'n prositute" and "if she wanted company"..This was totally unprovoked, and she came back to our room with tears. I immediately went to the manager with her and complain about it. He guranntee us that that person will not be in the hotel again. But the next day, he was still working. So we complain again. We could understand if that comment was made when we were walking in the streets, but this was in the hotel we pay money to stay in.
They didn't even do anything about the security of the guests. There was another incident while we were done there. A single traveller from Australia was walking back to her room and one of the security guard follow her to her room and push her onto her bed, he left the room when she started yelling at him.
All this happen and the guard was still working there when we left. The hotel did nothing to help us. I was so ticked, that when we were having dinner, I stood up in front of the dinning room and told what happen to all the guests. After I did that, people in the hotel started to treat us so badly. They did not take our empty plates, talk to us, etc... We really felt unsafe in this hotel now. We just wanted the week to end and get back to Toronto safely.
It got so bad that we stopped eating at their resturants.

Overall, I just found the Cuban people to be so rude and full of attitude and resentment of tourists. From the first day there, racial comments was made to us(we are both chinese). And the highpoint was that when I complaint about the degrading comments made to my girlfriend, the female staff in the hotel defended the actions of the guy! There I was trying to defend the honour of women, and they are defending the guy. No wonder Cuban men makes those comments, because the Cuban women lets them!!!

So to sum up, I would never go back to Cuba again, the people is rude, and full of tourist traps. Although, the beaches are wonderful. The worst is the hotel we stayed at, The Cuatro Palmas, operated by Gran Caribe. They don't care about your security.
But, I did get my cigars at the Plaza America. A box of Montecristo #3 was $88 and #4 was $65.

Take ca

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    Wow! What a nightmare. Sorry to hear about your horrid experiences. Goodness, I will never travel there anytime soon. There are too many other nice hospitable islands to visit.

    Thanks for the warning. You can speak out by posting your message at as many travel sites as you can that cater to island travel. Trust me, fellow travelers will take heed to your warning. Why should anyone spend $$$ to be treated as such.

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    Yikes! What a trip from hell! We travel to Jamaica once a year and were considering flying over to Cuba for a couple of nights. Dont think we will waste our time.

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    Folks, Remember this is one story...I've had a very positive experience in Varadero and we are returning in a couple of weeks. Check out some of the other positive posts.

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    I wasn't going to say anything, but one thing bothers me. That is the assumption that Cubans actually have more money than we think. Do you always judge a book by its cover? Did you expect Cubans to be walking around in rags? Did it ever occur to you that the reason some Cubans wear decent clothes, including Nikes and Reeboks, it because perhaps they were gifts, given to them by family and friends who either mailed them or visited? I have read many posts on this board about trips to Cuba, and almost all have been very positive. Since I am not eligible for a waiver to visit (I am American), I look forward to the day that I may freely travel to Cuba.

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    You know i was not going to reply to this post either, but i realized that it was needed that someone who has visited this island in many many occasions like I have, said something in response to this outrageous report.
    Firstly, i must say that i dont know exactly these people who initially posted the message, and i also acknowledge the fact that unfortunately life is not always as it should be.So, they might have had a badtime. too bad, things happen, but to say that Cubans are rude, violent, unpolite people is absolutely wrongful, and ridiculous.

    I think that Cubans are some of the friendliest people on earth. They are always willing to make new friends with foreigners, and tend to be extremely polite. They are happy people, and they are not rich, and they dont have money to buy one hundred dollars worth of shoes, but rather they might get this articles as presents from kind tourists or from families or friends living abroad. In fact, many of them cant keep these presents, and have to sell them to buy food and other more necessary articles than a pair of shoes worth one hundred dollards.
    Cubans are very happy people, wonderful sense of humour, and regardless of the difficult times, they just find ways to have a good time. To say that because they have a pair of nikes that they are rich is ludricous and childish. Just because they are cubans it does not mean that they cannot dress nicely, and if they get a present, that they wont wear it. Cubans are the happiest loveliest of people, they really are great people to be around, and i think that if people in our countries had to go through all the difficulties that cubans undergo, they would not handle it as good as they do.Plus, this people went to varadero, which is cuba's premier resorts, so obviously the people who work at the resorts have to be presentable, they cannot work in rags to serve an international clientele.So, that pair of nikes might be their best pair of shoes, but they got to take it to work. That does not mean that their entire family and kids wear nikes or the other cubans.
    Just walk around havana, or any other city other than varadero, and you might get another picture.
    Now, with regards to this idea of the sexually perverted macho portrail of cuban men that this couple wants to give, i think is totally a generalization. It is not unknown to anyone that cuban men are very flirtatious and all, but to say that they behave like that is ludicrous. Cuban men are very polite, and chivalrous,and very respectful to foreigneirs. so, not all of them are bad,just like everywhere(wake up). The thing is one has to understand that it is a different culture. Like for example, it all begins with eye contact and all. so, a smile and a look, might be interpreted as flirtation, or whatever. what i am trying to say is that it is very safe to travel to cuba, and be a female. And with regards to the employees not getting fired, i can guarrantee you that cubans dont hesitate in firing those who would do something like that, they are very protective of tourists. So, if they did not get fired , it must have been because there really was no reason for it.In fact, cubans who work in the tourist industry are very lucky, a job in the tourist industry is considered one of the best. Thats why you might see a doctor or an ingeneer working as a waiter.

    I personally feel sorry for that couple. I mean it must have been very bad to go on holiday and have a bad time, and have to spend time complaining about everything.
    One time when i was travelling to cuba, i was reading something from a travel magazine during the flight , and they had this article that said "ten commandments for travellers". I read it, and one of them said something like this:'Thou shall not expect to find the same things that one has at home, for thou has paid to find them different","thou shall not get ticked off by foreign practices or other tourists, for thou has paid good money to have a good time".I wish this couple had read that. I honestly do.
    Now with regards to the cubans being rude and not attentive, well darling, wake up dear, if you stood in the dining hall to criticize the service and inform the rest of the diners about the horrible treatment, what do you expect?. i mean, you dont have to go to cuba to get that response, go to your local store, and try to get the employees in trouble, and then go the next day, and see if they will treat you with the treatment that you want. It is called human nature.Now, i must ask you, did you two really think that the other diners would get up and start a riot for you ha ha ha ha ha. or did you instead think that they would all start crying for you ha ha ha ha ha ha. Reality check, there is actually some people out there who have a life, a very busy stressful life, and when they go on holidays they just want to have a good time and relax, as supposed to spending their holidays complaining, and making trouble, and creating a show and spectacle. Oh my god, all that theater and all. Oh dear. i swear i would have paid big bucks to see the show at the dining hall. i swear i would have laughed.ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Now, there is something i did not quite understand, if you were both chinese, how did your girlfriend understand what the guy said?does she speak spanish?or did the guy speak english?ha ha i mean, this does not up .Cubans just dont insult tourists.Maybe he just flirted or something, and she misunderstood him. Oh for gods sake, take it as a compliment, and get on with your life. Oh my god, all this crying and all, oh boy. so dramatic. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Now, with regards to your comments saying that cubans made racial comments.
    Hello!!!!!!!!!!i mean, how many chinese people live in cuba. Trust me, not many. I mean, for us here is second nature to see all sorts of people from all over the world, and it is really not a big deal. But for the cubans, it is uncommon to see a chinese person. So , it would just have been amusing to them, thats all. But racist?i doubt it. in fact, if there is something good about cuban culture is the lack of racism. But if you are not used to seeing a certain type of people, it is just amusing to see them. why take it so negatively?why be so paranoid?why not go up to them and say hi? and introduce yourself, and you will see how wonderful they are, and friendly, and funny. you just have to open up, relax, reconnect, rejuvenate.after all is your holidays, right?
    I certainly hope that people dont get discouraged about going to cuba, because unfortunately this couple had a bad time. I am very sorry that they did. Maybe they should stay home or go somewhere where there is a stiffer, more conservative customs. I certainly think that their picture of cuba was not only unrealistic, and slightly ficticoius, but also inapropriate, and vicious.Too bad they did not enjoy themselves. I certainly hope that they have a good time in their next holiday, so that they wont have to stand up for justice at the dining hall, and actually have some fun.I wish them all the best ofluck, and i honestly hope that this reply does not c ome across as rude or sarcastic, but rather a more truthful depiction of reality.
    Now, if this couple would do me a favour , i would love it if they posted here the place and date of their next holiday, so that dont book to that place ha ha ha ha ha. oh gee,how about having a good time for a change?ha ha ha ha ha

    anyways, to the rest of the people who love beautiful beaches, exciting music, sweet interesting friendly people, and a good time, i recommend them to visit will like it. To those shrinking violets, who just cant have a good time, please, please, tell me where you are going, so i go in the opposite direction.bye all, and enjoy your holidays in cuba, and hey if you see me there, say HI. :):):):):):):):):):):):)

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    To Mr. I Love Cuba.......Good for you!
    But... that does not mean to rest of the world has to get down on its knees and announce 'praise'. Glad you like this place; happy you enjoy the people and culture; pleased to hear you enjoy a holiday at all cost.....but not everyone agrees. Get over it!
    This travel board is for people to share opinions - yes, opinions. And thank you for sharing yours; but don't criticize others for their experiences and do not second guess peoples experiences unless you were there with them.
    We spent a week in Cuba in January and there were many nice things about it. The beaches were wonderful and we found the people to be freindly enough. Perhaps it was our resort and the places we visited, but we would not return to this island. We found the island (at least where we stayed) to be very dull and it just 'lacked something' that our other Caribbean trips have not. We enjoy traveling and experiencing different types of cultures; but there was nothing of interest for us.... and just us. I know many people that just love Cuba and return year after year; Good for them, but not everyone is as crazy about this place as you. Why can't that just be the way things are???
    I thank Alan for posting his experience and concerns; for that is why most of us visit this message board - to learn more about the places we'd like to visit. Safety and service is a major issue to most travelers spending hard earned money and I personally want to know about a place before I invest my $ there. I agree that Alans opinion is just one opinion, but lets share our opinions without criticizing each other and questioning experiences that don't jive with your own.

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    This is a reply to "I love Cuba".

    I am glad that you enjoy Cuba so much and will go back there. More power to you. All I was doing was posting what I went through on my trip. There are a few things I would like to point out to you from your message. Which I take it to be very offensive!

    First off, just because I am Chinese does not mean I only speak Chinese! Does it occur to you that we have the ability to learn foreign languages? I have been living in Canada for over 20 years and I call myself Canadian first. BTW- I happen to be fluent in English, french, spanish, Japanese, and German. Unlike many North Americans, I don't think ENGLISH is THE language of the world.

    I spent more time in other parts of the world than I do in Toronto in a year. Either for business or vacation. I have been to most of Europe, many of the Caribean islands(DR, St. Marten, Aruba, Jamica), Austrailia, most of eastern asia. For the most part I have enjoyed my experiences in those countries.
    However, I really find it fascinating that people don't realize that I can understand them when they speak in their native tongue. They would make degrading/racist remarks in French/spanish/german/etc.. and think I don't know what they are talking about..

    The second point I want to make is that the reason I made a big fuss in Cuba was that this concerns security. When I mention our incident to other guests, we heard more incidents that happened. The hotel management was trying to keep the guests unaware of what was happening in our resort! I think we(guests) deserve the right to know that security risk occurs. Just like in Toronto, if there is a rapist running around, there is a warning issued. Remember most people will just let an incident go, most take your attitude that they are on vacation and should just let it slide. However, this will only add to the problem. If we come to accept this type of behaviour and it will just continue. I am not using Canadian standards to judge them. I am using HUMAN BEING morals. Is it correct to call ladies a 'hooker' or to follow people to their rooms unwanted? What about making racist comments to other people? Like callling chinese people 'chinks'? BTW- That employee knew english, as he was speaking to us in english.

    If you had read my post carefully, you will have notice that we went to other parts of Cuba, besides Veradero. We went to Habana, and Cienfuego/Trinidad. I just found that what they classify as tourist attractions was nothing but blantant attempt to generate more money for them. Maybe its just me, but I don't find going to a cemetary to be a major attraction.

    We had some time to walk around the cities of Habana, and Cienfuego/Trinidad. And from the very little that we can see, they are not that poor. The prices that they are charging for their stuff. Its more expensive to goto Cuba, than to the United States.
    In a communist country, the government is not going to let its citizens starve. There might be poverty, but there is no misery in a communist country. There is just a image of poor people, but if you do a simple calculation you will find that there is probably more poverty in Canada than in Cuba. Look at how long it takes an average Canadian to save up and buy a house. In Toronto, lets say the average house is $200,000. The average annual income per person is probably less than $30,000. But lets say its $30000. So it would take 7 years of income, and not spending a single cent. Not realistic. Lets say 30000 annual income minus 29% tax = $22,000 take home income. Say, $6000 for rent/mortgage and 4000 for food and 2000 for miscellanous items. Thats $10,000 savings per year. This would take 20 years to save to buy a house in Toronto. For Cuba, the average monthly salary is 200-300 pesos. No TAX! So annual average income about $3000. Say about 100 dollars for food each month, this is realistic because with communist food rations, the price is cheap. So 1800 left, say 800 for miscellanous stuff. Rent is government controled. I asked a cuban tour guide, what the average house/apartment will cost in Cuba, its about 5000-6000 pesos. So with savings of 1000 per year, that would take 5-6 years for a cuban to buy their own Property! Obviously, this is a very NAIVE look at the two economies, but it gives a good incidation that life is not too bad there. YOu have to look at things relatively, sure they make less than us, but their cost of living is also lower than ours.
    If anything, their poverty is not for lack of money, but just lack of the goods for them to buy. Due to the US embargo, supplies are scarce.

    All I am saying is that there are better places I rather spend my money on than Cuba, but if you prefer cuba thats your choice. I just felt from my trip there, that the majority of the locals we encounter were resentful and were only after money. When I tip they are happy.
    And the culture and attractions just don 't excite me. The beaches were great, but there were very little to do after that.

    BTW - the Austraila lady that got followed was so afraid that she stayed in her room for the rest of the trip. Coming out only for food.

    I am not going to respond further, my message is already too long. But there are so many more things I could write concerning your response that I found so rude. No wonder you found Cuba to be so great, you just fit right in with rude people!

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    Interesting heated discussion! I'm sorry to hear of Alan's holiday. I had the exact opposite impression of the people and the country. I visited last summer with my g/f and we stayed for 3 nights at the Melia Varadero (great hotel!) then hired a jeep and went touring ourselves for a week to get to know Cuba ourselves before coming back for another 3 days rest.

    We drove around 'middle' Cuba (Havana, Playa Giron, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara) giving numerous Cubans lifts and met up with a lot of Cubans in towns and villages 'off the tourist track' as well as many 'on the beaten track'. Some, I agree, hassled for money or gifts but the vast majority were extremely friendly especially a couple we visited for a day at their home in Cienfuegos.

    I can assure Alan, that he is correct in one regard about the people not being poor - they are full of life - but in many other ways as judged by us in the consumer societies they are 'poor'. I am
    still in contact with my the friends I have made in Cienfuegos and intend visiting them this year again when I go back to Cuba. I will tell them what has been said here and I am sure they will have a lot to say, but as with anywhere there are people who are just 'bad' and it seems to me you were unlucky enough to encounter a bad experince which has now irrevocably tarnished your image of a country.

    As regards your problems in the hotel I would (a) urge you to complain to your tour company (b) if it is an international hotel group complain to them. Anything less would let a potential problem grow to affect other travellers to that hotel.

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    It is too bad that you had such a bad experience. We have been to Cuba 5 times in the past 4 years, and NEVER have had a problem with Cuban people, nor anyone else that we have talked to that have gone for years. We have always found the Cuban people polite and friendly.
    Over the years we have found that the begging has got worse. But then what about the people in Mexico, and other islands that harass you continually till you "buy" something? Since I am learning Spanish, I can speak very basic Spanish, and when they ask for "presents" I ask what do they have for me? I will trade clothing for anything, shells, fruit, handmade things etc., that way I find that the ones that want something for nothing leave very quickly.
    We have never been to Varadero, going mostly to Manzanillo, but have been to Santiago de Cuba and Guardalavca, and no horror stories there either. In Manzanillo we have quite a few Cuban friends there, and when we were giving them some gifts they actually said that it was too much, they didn't deserve it all. Very humble people.
    I hope that others that have written here will change you mind and that you give Cuba another chance.

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    To Alan. I am sorry thatdid have such negative experiences. I visited Cuba in 97. My experiences were mixed. The Cubans are proud and well educated and are mostly friendly if you treat them with respect. However, the poverty have forced many of them to commit theft, prostitution etc. I was robbed once (not violently). Still I will visit Cuba. It was the most exciting trip of my lifetime. Nature, beaches, the culture, Old Havana, Santa Clara, Trinidiad, The Bay of Pigs and Hotel Inglaterra in Old Havana. I enjoyed it all. I have friends in Cuba with whom I am corresponding. One of them have fled to Florida. Many tragedies, but also, ironically enough, also much support for the old Fidel. Nils

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    I have just returned from Veraderro.was at super clubs .Punterana the beach aws nice and the weather great.Hotel was really nice lots of plants big well maintained pool.The food was ok but plain ,the staff were fairly efficent but not that friendly.Would not recommend Cuba to anyone for a few dollars more there are far better islands to visit. THE OFFICIALS AT THE AIRPORT WERE REALLY HORRIBLE AND SEAMED TO GET KICK OUT OF SEARCHING THROUGH FEMALES BAGGAGE ,NEVER AGAIN.I will go elsewhere in future. p.s. watch your belongings there being light fingered is a trade in that place

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    If I was at your hotel when you made your announcement, I would have thanked you. I don't see how anyone can say it was wrong of you to try to warn other guests. If a SECURITY GUARD is trying to rape people, then who can you trust to protect you?

    I think this problem is a lot more common than people think. I have read numerous reports about rapes on cruise ships, by employees. I read a report on a travel board about from a woman who was nearly raped by an employee at a resort in Jamaica. And in Mexico, I was approached constantly by employees at the resort, asking me if I wanted a date, or if they could come to my room with me. My room was broken into one night while I wasn't there. I wonder what would have happened if I had been.

    Anyway, I am saying that you can't just trust that everyone who works at a hotel is safe. Do they do background checks on their employees? I seriously doubt it. Rapists need to work, too. And what better place than one where you get new victims every week, and your old ones will never be seen or heard from again? Women should always be extremely careful on vacation, even at their own hotels. Thank you Alan for making the point and trying to help.

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    I am sorry to hear Alan's experience. I am also very concerned right now as I already booked my vacation in Varadero and I'll be travelling alone. Does anyone have saftey tips that may help? Thanks a lot in advance.

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    To Alan and anyone posting please note that prior to Castro Cuba had a very large Chinese minority, over 165,000. Cubans are very familiar with "Chinos", as they call the Chinese. This is not a racial slur. They call Blacks, Negro, which is the Spanish word for Black. Again, there it's a positive word. So, maybe there were some cultural words misunderstood and a reaction which received a quick Latin response. Having a Chinese wife and being Latin myself, I can truly see many possibilities for a total misunderstanding.
    Cuba's buildings falling apart are a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The gov't no longer receives 6 billion dollars. the U.S. embargo, and the Revolution who didn't care about keeping up the homes of Pre-Castro Cubans who fled to Miami.
    Before 1958 Havana was known as the Paris of the Caribbean, for its beauty and architecture. Today tourists see what's left of those beautiful buildings and believe that today Cuba is better than before. Well, that's politics and not my specialty. I'm old enough to have experienced it in its glory days, when it was called Cinderella's city as one book of that era proclaimed.

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    Dear Alan,

    My husband, daughter and I went to Cuba in March this year for the first time. The weather was absolutely perfect, the sea was just breathtaking. But Cuba is not our favourite place. We were staying at Superclub Puntarena. And generally speaking the staff is not the most cordious you can find in the Carribean. And one barman especially was most dispicable. We stopped going to his bar after 3 days. We did not complain to the manager because you never know how things are going to end, after all we were in a strange country. We found that a 1$ for tip did make a different in service. But no tip = no smile = minimum of service. That was very deceiving. And tell you what, 1U.S.$ for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, for poolbar, for beachbar, for dairybar, can be quite expensive as were allways on the go all day.

    Also because we always went to the same waitress at the buffet restaurant, we got to know well and she invited us to her place. She insisted that we go there for lunch. First we were conned into thinking that we would have a ride to go there, we ended up paying 31 u.s.$ for the whole trip in taxi and once we were there, we were the only one eating (the 3 of us) and the waitress started by asking me how much it costs in Canada to buy this food and then she told me how much it costs her to buy the food that we're eating and then she told us how much we would pay for the same food in Cuban restaurant. Do you get the picture???? We took the taxi a few times.... 2 times we were charged more than we should have paid because the taxi did not put the meter on. And we knew how much we should have paid because we were following friends who had a taxi with a meter. Anyways, to finish my story, I have never felt more than an ATM machine in Cuba than anywhere else in the world. You go to the bathroom, they asks for tips, even in restaurant were you pay for the meals!!! You go visit and there are little music band following you trying to get your $$$ And tipping in U.S. dollars is not cheap!!!!!

    We enjoyed the beaches, the sun, the wheather, did not enjoy the Cubans!!!

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    I am a Candian minority as well Alan and because of people like you I would much rather spend my time in Cuba than in Toronto. Lighten up - Cuban is a great country, far less racist than Canada and the people are great. It is important to do research on the resort you visit as I have had no problems in my three visits (two to Veradero). People do beg but hey, its part of the fun.

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    We have traveled to many Carribean Countries and have enjoyed them all.I'm sure everyone of them have a few hotels that are not a travelers dream and some would have rude and undesirable staff. We found Cuba and Cubans to be in our oppinion the best overall. Not perfect but a very positive experience and we highly recommend Cuba as a holiday destination.!!

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    my wife and I were at Superclubs Jibacoa Cuba last year and in 24 days will be in Varadero and we loved it and the people and can,t wait to go back!Just like many,many,many other Canadians!

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    This post is an old one, look at the date. Too bad, but I just wonder how true it really many, many, many people have had positive trips, or small incidents, nothing on this 'grand' scale.

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    Perhaps you should stay home next time if you are not able to respect a host country and its people. It sounds to me that you were very rude and abrupt. One more thing spell-check.

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    I'm sorry Alan for your terrible experience - and happy for all those who had a wonderful experience. But as an outsider to this, the argument going on seems ridiculous. Some people claim Cubans are rude, some claim they are the most amiable people in the world. As if there weren't some that were both. It strikes me as being sad how some people on come on here to insult other people - some get very vicious. Can't we just share stories about travel and expect some sort of feedback that won't stomp on our self-esteem?

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    Your calculations about relative housing costs are bizarre. The most common way to obatin a house in Cuba is to swap the one youve got for one that someone else has. There is actually no such thing as a house market in Cuba, as you would understand in Canada. I am just mentioning this because, I think that if you want to criticise a country make the effort to find out how it works, and if youve got a security problem, why not file a police report. There are plenty of police in Cuba, or didnt you notice that either.

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