How safe is Cuba?

Old May 1, 18, 8:44 pm
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How safe is Cuba?

Whilst there are certainly those who would commit petty thievery and take u protected expensive items, wallets etc. in La Habana and possibly resort areas, it’s actually pretty darn safe.

My friend “Mantagirl” has made over thirty trips to Cuba since 2013, many of them as a tour guide for American “People to People” tour groups. Locally called “Anita la Loca” by some (walking long distances isn’t a “thing” in Cuba), she just completed an unsupported solo walk of Cuba, the long way. 840 miles / 1,400 km with a backpack, no plans, staying in homes with a room for rent or just comped by friendly Cubans. She was hit on a few times, she was cat-called a few times by young men, no surprises there, but that hike was a good indication of safety and Cuban friendliness.

She arrived at Maria la Gorda, at the western end of Cuba, yesterday, where she was met by her husband “Sharkman” and a couple of friends. You can read more of her Cuban adventures here, on their “The aadventure Couple” website. Undoubtedly, more writing about Cuba to come (most of it right now is about an experimental 50 mile walk from Las Tunas to Guardalavaca).

“Mantagirl”is the first woman to walk the length of Cuba solo and unsupported. Amazing, but we’ve known the Adventure Couple since we met them in French Polynesia in 1995, so we’re not surprised.
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Old May 2, 18, 4:55 am
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"just comped by friendly Cubans" ?????

Why would she put "friendly Cubans" at potentially serious risk with their own government by staying in what seem to be described as houses unlicensed to rent to foreign guests?
I have been told that the house can even be confiscated for this infraction.


Here is a blog post from American journalist and longtime Havana resident C.G. about posadas, rooms Cuban couples rent short term to get away from family for an intimate moment. According to her writings, your heroine stayed in some of these.
https://hereishavana.com/2017/05/28/...-cuban-posada/
C.G. describes one: "no window, no toilet paper, no hot water, one pillow, one towel and an Igloo cooler on the floor filled with ice .....The stench of cheap air freshener permeated everything – the sheets, my hair, ...clothes, even the stale air stank. "


IMO the title of the post should not be "How Safe is Cuba?" (because it proves less about how safe the country is and more about simply how much of a novelty foreigners are in the countryside there), but "How self-centered (and selfish) are foreigners?" about their own agenda, enough to put those who help them at risk.

Last edited by VidaNaPraia; May 2, 18 at 8:26 am
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Old May 2, 18, 8:02 am
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Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia View Post
"just comped by friendly Cubans" ?????

Why would she put "friendly Cubans" at potentially serious risk with their own government by staying in what seem to be described as houses unlicensed to rent to foreign guests?


Here is a blog post from American journalist C.G. about posadas, rooms Cuban couples rent short term to get away from family for an intimate moment. According to her writings, your heroine stayed in some of these.
https://hereishavana.com/2017/05/28/...-cuban-posada/
C.G. describes one: "no window, no toilet paper, no hot water, one pillow, one towel and an Igloo cooler on the floor filled with ice .....The stench of cheap air freshener permeated everything – the sheets, my hair, our clothes, even the stale air stank. "
Oh, please; you know better. She was a guest in a number of places. There’s nothing illegal about that. In others she stayed in licensed rooms, and yes, they may have been substandard on occasion or even love nests , but that’s her choice - and she had a tent at least some of the time if she preferred that. I’ve done that in days of yore in Central and South America - like the Albergue Aha Una Ulá (sic) in Flores, $2.00 a night. This being her 30-something Trip to Cuba, she both knows what she’s doing and manages risk for herself and those she comes in touch with. The authorities she’s come in contact with, from members of the Defense Committees to police to semi-official “Amarillos” all treated her from courteously to risibly as a harmless curiosity - who’d actually WALK across Cuba as a “mochilera”?

She’s not my heroine. She and her husband are good friends of mine since 1995, and we have dived with them in several places. They’re very successful at what they do, with palatial Himes in Montana and Florida, and they lead their own tours and work for companies like Abercrombie & Kent - climbs to Kilimanjaro, $120,000 world tours by private jet, etc. I do respect and admire her tenacity, flexibility and strength to do something like walk 840 miles of Cuba from east to west.

But this thread was intended to demonstrate the relative safety of Cuba. I’d certainly not attempt this in a number of other countries.

Last edited by JDiver; May 2, 18 at 8:08 am
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Old May 2, 18, 8:28 am
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"There’s nothing illegal about that."

Oh pleez, your own self....I do know better (with all due respect to your moderator status here).
Then you know very little about Cuba. If you don't choose to believe me, read some of the other travel forums contributed to by foreigners who have been going there independently for decades.
As one example, this quote:
"the government doesn't look too favorably on unlicensed casas from my experience in staying in one and MINIT inspectors showing up."
or this:
"DO NOT stay in a casa that is not licensed to host foreigners. …….could easily cost you more in the long run…… I have twice stayed in unlicensed casas--….. The first time an inspector came in the middle of the night (called by the woman's ex-husband) and we had to find new lodgings. Worse, she got a $400 fine ……. Second time, we were turfed out in the middle of the night in the rain because an inspector had been told ….that the casa was hosting foreigners. …… it did cost us a night's sleep, since our possessions had temporarily disappeared and we had no idea what had become of them until the inspectors finished their business and we got it all sorted out. Neither experience was one I would care to repeat."

Even a foreigner married to a Cuban has to apply for a special visa to stay in the house of that spouse, rather than a casa licensed for foreigners

As far as camping:
"Unless you ask and receive permission, you will likely be told to move because it is, as you know, illegal to camp--indeed, to stay--anyplace that isn't licensed to host foreigners. "


Your blogger herself admits that her trips to Cuba have been guiding tours with a Cuban to do the arrangements. That does not assume much knowledge of the country, just wrangling newbie tourists. She also admits she does not speak or understand Cuban Spanish.

Last edited by VidaNaPraia; May 2, 18 at 9:19 am
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Old May 2, 18, 2:49 pm
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It is known as the safest island in the Caribbean. And I believe that's true.
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Old May 2, 18, 7:14 pm
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Insofar as 'common' tourist crime perhaps, in comparison with, say, Jamiaca.
But there is a flip side to the conditions that keep tourists relatively safe. It is not 'safe' if a foreign visitor risks messing with the Cuban government, however, flouting the rules, such as by staying in illegal situations.
Tales of flouting the law without consequence do not prove the "safety" of tourists (or locals) in Cuba.
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Old May 2, 18, 7:58 pm
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Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia View Post
Insofar as 'common' tourist crime perhaps, in comparison with, say, Jamiaca.
But there is a flip side to the conditions that keep tourists relatively safe. It is not 'safe' if a foreign visitor risks messing with the Cuban government, however, flouting the rules, such as by staying in illegal situations.
Tales of flouting the law without consequence do not prove the "safety" of tourists (or locals) in Cuba.
She had a Cuban Guide on her trips because it is a requirement, but she has made other independent trips to Cuba. You can choose and pick what you want to highlight to try changing the direction of the thread and take it off topic. My intent is to show Cuba is pretty safe - a woman walked solo for 1,400 km with a backpack from end to end with no problems other than the piropos, catcalls and being hit on occasionally. Full stop.
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Old May 2, 18, 11:36 pm
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Moderator Note.

The OP proposed a set of facts describing the safety of Cuba and another member has repeatedly disagreed. The thread has accordingly stalled out and it appears that keeping the thread open is futile. Thread closed. Ocn Vw 1K, Senior Moderator.
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