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Cuba Travel Suggestions
If you are interested in visiting Cuba, below are some suggestions from people who have traveled to some of the cities there.
- you need to get a travel visa to go to Cuba - you can get it at most airports or the Cuban Embassy in your country
exit fee at the airport - $25 CUC
- the national hotels have casas de cambio
- if you use a tour company, you can have everything paid ahead of time and feel secure not having to deal with a lot of cash in country
- Cuban cigars - prices vary depending on the qualities but are often a little cheaper in la Habana than at the cigar factories or museums
- it is a tropical place - bring sunscreen and insect repellant
A reliable tour service can be found at
They can organize any type of tours or combination of tours across Cuba at different price points. Tell them what you want and then they will work with you to get to a price and package that works for you.They can arrange everything down to pickups, transfers, and the casas particulares. They will arrange a contact person for you (Sergio - highly recommended) who will be there for you whenever you have a question
Taking buses wasn't a problem (Viazul Bus Line) and the casas particulares were between $10-$30 a night as opposed to the national hotels at closer to $60 - $100.
Take the time to get a ride in one of the old cars from the 50s and 60s that you'll see around the country.
- Feel comfortable staying in them. They will give you more of the feel of real Cuba than staying at the national hotels, and, give the local people a chance to earn some extra income. They all had AC, private bath, and included breakfast. You can identify them by the blue anchor looking symbol you'll see in the home windows.
- Casa Flor - tele (53)(43)519048 - (53)(07)2068925 Movil 053614923
Calle 39 #1401 e/14 y 16, Punta Gorda - nice neighborhood, convenient to walk to downtown and safe.
- don't waste time at the Botanical Gardens
- don't take a taxi - walk up the riverwalk and you can stroll all the streets downtown and see the sights under your own power
- best place for lunch/dinner - varied and great food - Restaurant Dona Nora - right on the main street, upstairs - Call 37 #4219 e/42 y 44
- you can take a cab up to the better snorkel/swim beach out of town - negotiate a price first
- Hostel El Rintintin - Lorenzo y Mariela email:
-movil 53806945 or 53657670 phone (53)(419)93685 - calle Simon Bolivar (Desengano) #553 e/Esq Juan Manuel Marquez (Amargura)
three rooms, good location, rooftop terrace to enjoy the evenings and afternoons, convenient location to walk everywhere in Trinidad
- a traditional colonial town with a variety of architecture
- lots of local color, museums, churches, plazas to visit
-a good beach nearby for snorkeling Playa Ancon
- a park nearby for hiking, birds, and a waterfall - Topes de Collantes
Interesting note: kids didn't ask for candy or toys from tourists, but for soap or shampoo
In la Habana -
right across from the Hotel Nacional de Cuba - Maria Cristina and Guillermo - your hosts - Calle 21 e/N y O Edificio No. 15 apto. 7A Vedado, Cel (535) 2708449 tele (537) 8318942 email
- convenient to the local places
- take the double decker bus tour around town - very worthwhile and fun - $5 CUC a person, on/off all day
- ask prices ahead of time for all taxis and transports - expensive because of all the tour groups in the city
- definitely take the old town tour - either with a guide if you want a lot of info. and to talk about Cuba - or self guided. The cold chocolate milk smoothie at the Chocolate Museum is a nice break on a hot day. You can see a rum or cigar making demonstration at the various museums.
- attend a baseball game if there is one playing while you're in town
Interesting note: people didn't ask for candy or toys from tourists, but for ink pens
The cigar maker who holds the Guiness World Record for rolling the largest cigar
- go to the San Jose market while you are in old town (the double decker bus makes a stop there) to see lots of local art work, paintings, and Cuban souvenirs
If you are into scuba, the reefs are wonderful and protected!
Maria la Gorda Resort - three dives a day at different locations off the western Caribbean coast - not much to there if you aren't a diver but relax in the sun or snorkel off the beach (amazing fish right off the beach!) July is turtle season and you can see the nests and turtles coming up on the beaches.
You can rent bicycles or scooters to ride up and down the coast for fun. Car rental was also fairly easy everywhere in Cuba; the drivers were courteous and the roads easy to drive.
There is a national park near Maria la Gorda you can visit as well as another resort there that also does tours and scuba but I don't have any feedback on that one. You have to have a guide to visit the park but ask first what you'll get for your money and be sure it is all the way into the park and not just one trail.
Recommended by many - spend a day or two in the area Pinar del Rio - hiking, caves, lots of nature
I don't have any recommendations on Santiago de Cuba but did hear of several people going there for the festivals in July.
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