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Old Oct 15, 05, 5:53 pm   #1
 
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Any Tips? One week in Cuba

I will be flying from London to Havana on 10 November and would like to spend one week exploring Havana/Cuba beofre I head to Jamaica to spend another week.

About me: I'm travelling solo, independant traveller, have basic knowledge of Spanish, mainly interested in culture, love photography, vegetarian, well-travelled and don't have budget limit (I seek value).

My questions are:

-how to make the best out of this week. Can I just spend it all in Havana or there are must-see places that I should visit.
- Any recommendations for casa particulares?
- If I'm to spend the first night in a hotel in Havana, which one?
- Is it possible to travel by sea from Cuba to Jamaica?
- Any tips?
dabbagmm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 17, 05, 7:03 pm   #2
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dabbagmm, don't you realize that you'll face a big penalty when you return home? Sorry, but you need to redirect yourself to some other Carribbean destination. The U.S. Virgin Islands, perhaps.

Wait, UK... Sorry, that's just my country's silly law.
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Old Oct 18, 05, 3:39 pm   #3
 
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It's 5 years since I've been so info is a bit dated.

1) IMO 2-3 full days in Havana is sufficient. It's quite small and there isn't that much to see. Then I would hire a car and head out into the real Cuba. Driving is very easy with little traffic on the road but signposting can be poor.
You can go west to Pinar del Rio, Vinales Valley and the tobacco growing regions. Nice scenery and really a step back in time. Food was an ordeal though.
Alternatively head east to Cienfuegos, Trinidad and the Bay of Pigs. Cienfuegos is a nice clean city with much better food options. Trinidad is a little overrated and the Bay of Pigs is more just to say you've been there. Apart from a little museum there isn't much to see.
Read the guideand take your pick of whether east or west appeals more. Both could be done in a week but it would be quite rushed,
2) Yes one in Havana and one in Cienfuegos. PM me if need be.
3) I would go for the Havana Libre as a safe mid range option. It's nice and central.
4) I've no idea. It's not how I'd want to head to Jamaica but may be safer than Cubana. Personally I'd just take Air Jamaica.

5) Tips
-I used the Fodors guide which I found to be nice and brief. Ideal for a week IMO.
-Make you sure you sample a mojito and a cuba libre.
-Finding decent food can be hard in Cuba and particularly for a week or so. Finding vegetarian options won't help but you can live on rice, beans and fruit. I can recommend a nice private restaurant to eat in. Also Chinatown may provide you with a value alternative.
-Shop around before renting a car.
-Don't run low on petrol in Trinidad, not a lot of garages there.
-If buying rum the local $ shop is a good bet. Not sure if Castro has changed the system for buying "luxuty" goods.
-Don't buy cigars off the street touts. A well connected casa particular owner might be a good bet if the airport/hotel shops look pricey.
-Don't listen to the Buena Vista Social Club CD before going as you'll hear it played a lot when you're there.
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Old Dec 18, 05, 11:42 am   #4
 
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Is Cuba to Jamaica possible by sea?

We are planning to be in Cuba from 9th to 22nd of January 2006, and want to go to Jamaica afterwards...Did you manage it by boat or plane?...Any advice welcome..



Quote:
Originally Posted by dabbagmm
I will be flying from London to Havana on 10 November and would like to spend one week exploring Havana/Cuba beofre I head to Jamaica to spend another week.

About me: I'm travelling solo, independant traveller, have basic knowledge of Spanish, mainly interested in culture, love photography, vegetarian, well-travelled and don't have budget limit (I seek value).

My questions are:

-how to make the best out of this week. Can I just spend it all in Havana or there are must-see places that I should visit.
- Any recommendations for casa particulares?
- If I'm to spend the first night in a hotel in Havana, which one?
- Is it possible to travel by sea from Cuba to Jamaica?
- Any tips?
kellyalexsmith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 18, 05, 3:31 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyalexsmith
We are planning to be in Cuba from 9th to 22nd of January 2006, and want to go to Jamaica afterwards...Did you manage it by boat or plane?...Any advice welcome..

I went last November for 10 days in Cuba + 4 days in Jamaica. It was great and I think you should enjoy it. To enjoy Cuba you need to have the right and realistic expectations. It's run down but very interesting. My main aim was to know the people and culture and I can say that my trip to Cuba was an experience not a vacation. There was some hardship involved and your best way to enjoy it is to consider it as a boyscout trip.

I visited Havana, Trinidad, Pinar del Rio and Vinyales. I highly recommend staying at casa particular if you are there for the real experience. Varadero is to be avoided as you see only tourists and you don't mix with Cubans. Also, if you are going to Jamaica, I suggest you leave the beach life to Jamaica. You can still enjoy the beaches of Cuba, but try to focus on the Cuba-specific experience and activities.


Going from Cuba to Jamaica is only possible by air. If I have one advice to give, it would be flying into Montego Bay. I made a mistake by flying into Kingston which has less tourist oriented. I stayed at Ocho Rios and finding transportation from Kingston to Ocho Rios was not straightforward and came out very expensive.
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Old Jan 28, 06, 10:47 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dabbagmm
Going from Cuba to Jamaica is only possible by air. If I have one advice to give, it would be flying into Montego Bay. I made a mistake by flying into Kingston which has less tourist oriented. I stayed at Ocho Rios and finding transportation from Kingston to Ocho Rios was not straightforward and came out very expensive.
Did you manage to get the Montego Bay - Havana flight tickets purchased in the UK, or did you buy them in Jamaica? How much was that leg?
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