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Cuba novice needing direction...

Cuba novice needing direction...

Old Jan 13, 22, 5:05 am
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2014
Programs: QF, LM
Posts: 250
Cuba novice needing direction...

Hi there all,

just looking for up to date travel tips for Cuba, as considering this in the next year...

I know there is fantastic info already in the forum, but as any new person suffers, there are so many threads, and although I will attempt to read them all, I would appreciate specific advice.

I am considering a solo wander around Cuba. Not interested in such things as Varadero beaches, cheap foreign-orientated bars, and that sort of tourism. I want to experience real Cuba. IE get out of Havana and tour the countryside. My preference is always to rent a car due to the supreme independence and flexibility this offers. I like touring. Am not interested in the official tourist sights - I value far more just eating in a non-tourist restaurant, buying in a local shop, and just really getting a sense of how life is to locals. Hence I would seek out the less-touristy places.

Maybe a road trip from Havana to down the southern coast - am flex. I speak spanish. Have lived in Chile and Colombia, so the language thing is not a barrier. Just want to experience the "real" Cuba, if such thing exists.

So in a general sense, my queries involve the following:
What is it like to rent a car in Cuba?
Are Cubans ok with Australians?
What are the pitfalls to avoid?
Is remote (non-tourist) Cuba "safe"?

As I say, any advice truly welcomed.
juddles is offline  
Old Jan 14, 22, 4:38 am
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2014
Programs: QF, LM
Posts: 250
As I research, I am suddenly coming to grips with the reality of vehicles in Cuba. I understand they are expensive. For a whole convoluted myriad of reasons that actually make sense to me. A tip that I would supremely value is what is the best method of contacting/booking the casas particulares? Is this something you do whilst there, or are they on some searchable web thing? Where can I get guidance on accomodation that is not the usual expedia, etc thing?
juddles is offline  
Old Jan 16, 22, 1:38 am
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 367
Everything in your original post applied to my first trip to Cuba and what I was looking for. I would avoid renting a car there. I know too many people (experienced travelers) who were scammed and the roads there are not good. Havana has so much construction that driving is a real pain and you would constantly be turning around. It is easy to get around the country by taxi and bus, though it most likely will not be a comfortable ride...
As far as Australian's, Cubans are extremely friendly and open to everyone. You will have a great time.
For accommodation, I've always stayed in Airbnb's. I highly recommend this because I believe the government owns the hotels, they are way overpriced, and not that nice outside of a few very pricey exceptions. Airbnb's are technically not legal (I think), but there are plenty, you will directly benefit the host, and every host I've had down there was super helpful in helping with providing local recommendations and even arranging rides to other towns/cities.
I've felt safe everywhere in Cuba but as with anywhere, just stay alert and don't put yourself in any sketchy situations. If you speak Spanish then you will be fine.
Make sure you bring a lot of cash with you. Not sure about Australian bank cards but US cards are blocked, so you will likely need to exchange cash.
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