I'm wondering if I need to book my hotel from the uk before I land, will it be cheaper than being forced to book at immigration ?
Hello Mojito 😊
Just because you book a hotel in Cuba does not mean you have to show up.
Book it by phone and they will give you a booking number. You give this number to the immigration in Cuba to get your tourist card. Then you can check out the hotel adds on offer at the airport or not.
On the off chance that they ask for your credit card number when you try to book a hotel room by phone dont give it. They did not ask me for mine so probably wont ask you for yours either.
Thanks for that info, can I ask if you have any good resources of hotels there, or indeed that very one ?
I dont have any good resources for hotels in Cuba.
In my opinion Cuba is a miserable tourist trap and the hotel resources are part of it. Annoyingly tourism is regimented by the government. Just book the cheapest one at the airport if you dont have a name of one you want to go to.
What a great advertisement for Cuba I am. :D
Yes I dont like hotels either I was brought up travelling in hostels, in a sense..
Not sure there are any hostels in Cuba.
Any backpacker type conveniences would be unlikely if nothing changed since I was there 6 years ago.
No I'm looking for casa particulars, just wanted to avoid getting ripped off by having to pay for a top hotel to gain entry in Cuba.
The thing to do may be to trawl travel sites for a foreigner who can recommend somebody they know with a room in their house to give you for a fee. Best to make sure the person is somebody who has been posting on that site for a while and obviously a traveller so you know who they recommend is somebody who can be trusted. With anybody who is touting use you instincts and be careful. I would avoid doing things like drinking and gambling with the men of the house if you find somebody to stay with who is not recommended by a traveller.
Thanks, that is more good advice.
Calvin, google hostels Cuba.
That brings up a list. I did not know those exist in Cuba yet.
You can even book them online.
There are some good prices there too. I even saw hostel beds for 3 Euros per night in Havana.
This is almost tempting me to go back to Cuba. Only almost. :D
what did you think to cuba- where should I visit, I have 3 weeks and would like to do it all but wont be possible so im thinking
island of youth
(I'm looking for nice dive areas and where I will meet people. Another reason to hostel.)
HaHa I am not to one to ask about where to visit. A hurricane decided to rip accross the country while we were there. When we were not imprisoned in our room with an X taped to the window and listening to the news about the huricane on TV we were bumming rides into the center of Havana to try and have money wired to us. Our credit card and travellers cheques would not work in Cuba because they came from and American bank. D*mn government hotel people would probably have had us tossed in prison if we did not manage to get the money to pay the bill. It finally arrived a few hours before our flight out of Cuba.
wow, sounds like a holiday from hell, thats a shame, and such a shame both governments don't get along. A lot of people have suffered for the pride of a few.
Yeah, we had planned to hire a car and drive as far as we could and back to Havana every day. We had a 10 month old baby with us at the time so wanted to have one room for the entire time we were there. We were not planning anything touristy. We were just going to visit villages, tobacco farms and chat with and hang out with whoever we met along the way or just sit in cafes. They love children there so if it was not for the annoyances we had to put up with we probably would have had a cool time.
Casas particulares are the way to go, no question. State-run hotels promise bad service and low-quality accomodation and food for too much money. For the same (and often better) quality food and service, stay in a Casa Particular. You can find the best-known and most expensive Casas Particulares online, or you can wait to book until you get there. Depending on the season, your flexibility and your competency as a traveler (which can include your Spanish and friend-making skills, in this case), Casas Particulares can be easy or somewhat difficult to find.
Most often, I think you will be able to find a registered, licensed Casa Particular with a vacancy with no problem. If you travel to Cuba during the busy tourist seasons, you may encounter some trouble. Then it's time to get creative. Ask around for Casas Particulares--Cubans are very friendly (with the exception of jineteros/hustlers...watch out for those guys) and will help you find one. If you can find no official Casas Particulares, or simply want to live a little more on the edge, start asking people if they know of a place you can stay for x nights that can provide you food. Be discrete, as you're asking for illegal housing. Convince people that you're not more trouble than your money's worth and you should be able to find a room wherever you are. It's important to chat with the owners about what kind of food they can serve you and to see the room before agreeing to rent it. Bring a lock for your suitcase so you have a safer place to keep your things.
And check out Maria la Gorda if you want to dive.
Well thats good advice in general, I wrote up my blog on this site here www.landed.at/cuba it has some interesting info if you thinking of going to cuba.
let me ask you guys something: is cuba worth the hassle getting to (for someone living in the US)?
some friends and i are thinking of going to havana for new years and some concerns are lodging, money, and just if its worth it instead of going other places for new years.
it seems there are very few, if any, hostels in havana. most are guest houses with one bed or two beds which poses a problem because there may be 4 or 5 of us.
based on what i've read in this forum, its my understanding that its better to take euros or pounds to cuba instead of US dollars because the US dollar is penalized or something so the exchange rate isn't very favorable.
so basically, since being a US citizen and having to take a semi-complicated route to cuba, is it worth it? any other suggestions for a great place to spend new years with friends and relax?
It depends what you like, but accomodation will be difficult to get 4 in a place but there are buildings that have residences and like 6 or so casas in the one building. Just how do you want to do new years ? In havana the party for sure will be on the street on the malecon. Id say the cost of your tickets to 2 countries wont make it worth it around that time. I would take some euros or pounds as cash and stash it in different places as your cards wont work and maybe not travellers cheques ? Its very hit and miss and there are no concrete answers I outline what worked for me in my article www.landed.at/cuba.
Well, there are a number of things to consider when deciding to go to Cuba. How long can you go? If you're only going for a week, I wouldn't recommend it. You won't have enough time to make the trip worth it (especially as a US citizen). Everything is slower in Cuba--it will take you longer than you're used to to get around Havana and much, much longer to get around outside Havana. You shouldn't plan on being able to do much besides eat and maybe walk around a bit on the days you arrive in and leave Cuba. I would say you have to stay at least a week and a half to feel like it was worth it. But it really depends on what you want to do.
There are no hostels in Havana. There are casas particulares, yes. Don't lose hope, though-you might be able to find somewhere that can accommodate all of you. It might mean booking two places for the first night then finding something when you get there, but I woulnd't be surprised if you could find something for all of you.
Regarding money: do NOT take US dollars. They are penalized 20%, which some people interpret as just a crappy exchange rate, but it's not tied to the global economy and is really just the government's way of removing US currency from circulation. Take Euros or pounds, they'll happily exchange both there.
Lastly, think carefully about the timing of your trip: You say you want to go for New Years 2008-2009. January 1 will be the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. I would be willing to bet that lots of things will be closed for celebrations and that things might be a little crazy with celebrations. Depending on your point of view, this could be a really awesome time to be there or a terrible time to go. I would love to be there for it, but my mom would probably have a cow; we have different ideas of interesting world travel. There will undoubtedly be lots of cultural things going on in the parks and on the malecon, and speeches everywhere.
The one thing holding me back from going to Cuba during the New Year is my paranoia--will the US government be paying more attention to Americans illegally traveling to Cuba, given that it will be an attractive time of year to go there? I don't know. Make sure you're familiar with ways to avoid getting caught as well as possible consequences before you head to la isla prohibida.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions and feel free to check out my blog (posts from Sept to Dec of 2007) for my reports from Havana.
PS- I hope you choose to go.
i didnt think the revolution was on the 1st, well i guess they have had a few.