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bar fly 8th Oct 2011 15:13

I'm heading to Cuba for a couple of weeks for the first time. 4 nights in Havana followed by a resort in Varadero. Anyone got any recommendations, tips, to do's, not to do's?

For example it seems like there is scope for a two currency scam, where you get given change in different currency. Does that happen? Are the currencies easy to mix up?

Any advice from your collective experience would be appreciated!

Bar fly

blue up 8th Oct 2011 17:14

Don't offer to pay your bills with an Amex card.

El Grifo 8th Oct 2011 17:36

Best and really only bar to visit in Varadero is called 62nd street. Live music every night, later the dancing extends out into the street. Find it close to hotel Hotetur Playa Palmeras.

I normally just pull cash from the ATM's. I have spent a lot of time in Cuba and never had a bad moment. Love it !!

Cuba - a set on Flickr

G-CPTN 8th Oct 2011 18:00

For example it seems like there is scope for a two currency scam, where you get given change in different currency.
As happened in East Germany after the Wall came down - even though the Ostmark was only 'worth' a tenth of the value of the Deutschmark!

However, the prices were still in Ostmarks, so the actual costs were minimal.

76skipper 8th Oct 2011 18:41

Go to Vinales (Unesco classified), spend the night at a local "guesthouse" (they are called "casa particular", trek with a guide (Floidred --> [email protected], from the local tour agency, around the "Mogotes", visit the tobacco planter (farmer "Gerardo" is a good place to go). Also spend some time in wonderful Havana, eat at private restaurants, they are called "Paladar". Lot's of tips on trip advisor too. Just returned from a week layover in beautiful HAV. Have fun !

El Grifo 8th Oct 2011 20:10

Like I say, just use your cashcard to take Cuban convertable pesos, from any machine, including at the airport just as you would in any other country.

If this you first visit, you will be amazed to find how much more open and relaxed the country is, compared to the country described in the vitriolic propoganda emanating from the US. :ok:

TBirdFrank 8th Oct 2011 20:53

Varadero isn't Cuba - its a bit of Disneyland that is built in Cuba.

Cuba is a country of wonderful people - wonderful cars - all to a cuban beat as backdrop!

Make sure you get to Havana and to Santa Clara too. I'm not backing Castro or what he has done to the country, but they have things that they can teach us - safe streets, a cracking health service - and just watch the kids in their school uniforms, no hoodies there!

Make sure you meet real cubans though - and although it might sound patronising - it isn't - take some toiletries, pens and pencils, and a few paperbacks - they are wonderful people curious for knowledge and very short of a few of the basic necessities in life.

Enjoy it - we did!

Hotel Internacionale Havana


The Capitol Havana - you could lose a couple of days street watching here


Rodeo park up near Manalich


Why we went




And why you should



The locals


The Cardenas shot - near Varadero


And at the far end of the island .................


El Grifo - that is a wonderful album showing everything that can be said about Cuba - loved the juxtapositioning of Cayo shots with genuine Cuba shots and particularly the evening shot over the Malecon and the begging dog!

El Grifo 8th Oct 2011 21:29

History might judge Fidel differently.

Just look at Ernesto !

My favourite gaff, Hotel Inglaterra, heart of the city, 80 bucks a night !!

con-pilot 9th Oct 2011 02:49

Bar fly, what ever you do, do not, repeat do not take a satellite phone into Cuba. Or you'll be on an extended holiday there for many, many years.

But at least you'll have free room and board while you stay as a 'guest' of the Cuban Government.

Other than that, have a great time.

pigboat 9th Oct 2011 04:04

Bar fly, what ever you do, do not, repeat do not take a satellite phone into Cuba. Or you'll be on an extended holiday there for many, many years.
And don't have a traffic accident either.

hull city 9th Oct 2011 09:13

Copacabana is a must.

Storminnorm 9th Oct 2011 10:33

Passed through the place a couple of times.

Never felt any desire to go there on holiday.
I prefer Majorca.

They make nice cigars.
(Cuba, NOT Majorca.)

El Grifo 9th Oct 2011 10:39

Was across there on another job just last month. It was great to see the improvements from even a year ago. The countryside does not change much, apart from the increase in better quality farming machinery and more agriculture in general, whereas the big towns do.

The kids are wearing much more western style clothing, several have mobile phones, the variety of goods in the shops is vastly greater and a great sense of optimism prevails.

There are those around who can never forgive the fact that Fidel and his buddies cocked a snoot at the great Uncle Sam, forcing him to back down and move the missiles from Turkey.

Kennedy played a heroic part in that negotiation, I often wonder what people like Bush (either or) would have done.

The trade embargo is immoral and childish but fairly characteristic of those who keep it in place.

Have a great time in Cuba then come back and give us your views !

If you have any Spanish, do as I do, talk to as many people as possible from as many walks of life as possible. That is where the truth lies, good or bad !

bar fly 9th Oct 2011 11:20

Thanks to you all especially those offering tips and advice, I guess the political opinions are inevitable. I'll be sure to report back in a couple of weeks. As I'm on board VS now, I must dash.

All the best, bar fly

Cacophonix 9th Oct 2011 11:32

Damn it! We let Bar Fly fly without asking him or her to get us a couple of cigars...:ugh:


Storminnorm 9th Oct 2011 11:40

I DID tell you they make great cigars!!!

El Grifo 9th Oct 2011 11:46

What is the story again ? "hand rolled on the thighs of dusky Cubana senoritas" :ok:

TBirdFrank 9th Oct 2011 14:25

Not in the factory we went round they weren't - unless you are of another persuasion! :p

603DX 9th Oct 2011 15:41

The resorts in Varadero are nice and friendly
Yes, I believe that the notorious gangster Al Capone quite liked it there, when he wasn't managing his Havana casino. His house in Varadero is still there, now operating as a restaurant. ;)

El Grifo 9th Oct 2011 15:51

It was and probably still is, owned by the Dupont family. I think Capone just rented it. I am pretty sure it is actually used as the clubhouse for the golf course.

Nice beaches below and to the right of it :ok:

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