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1 month alone in cuba

what should i expect in terms of meeting people
14 years ago, November 8th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #92635  
B Posts: 171
1, guy 3o y old, if i go, i will most likely go in january

1. given that the accomodation situation involves staying in casa particulares instead of hostels, im wondering how i will meet other travellers?

2. given that i do speak spanish and also like salsa dancing though im not good at it... any insights into what i might expect in terms of meeting cuban people?

3. would it be better to drag a friend along to fill the gaps?

oh and , 4. internet? any point to bringing a laptop to cuba in 2010 ? Reply to this

14 years ago, November 17th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #93957  
B Posts: 73
I have limited experience when I was in Cuba last year, but I will tell you that of all the countries I have been to in the world, I have found the Cuban people to be the nicest and most friendly people I have yet encountered. Meeting people - especially if you speak Spanish - will not be difficult at all.

As for internet... it can be found at tourist locations, but even then probably not in wifi. I found a couple of places, but they all had an incredibly slow machine hooked up to an incredibly slow connection. Reply to this

14 years ago, November 18th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #94035  
I was just there less than a month ago. Meeting people is fairly easy in Cuba, the question is who you´re going to meet. Fellow travelers are easy to spot on the streets and at tourist attraction and all are friendly. In terms of locals, you´ll surely find new friends just by hangin around the Casa, neighbors and such. You´re also quite certain to be solicited for some sort of ´sponsorship´ from these new friends. That´s just how it goes.

People are quite friendly on the street but they will want to sell you something. You just have to sharpen your character judgement skills, in order not to get enticed into unfavorable situations.

Plenty of places to dance.

Laptop is absolutely useless in all of Cuba. There is no such thing as WiFi. The only internet access you´ll get is extremely overpriced and dreadfully slow from the big hotels. Most of these are in Havana Historic Center: Inglaterra, Telegraph, Parque Central.

Bring plenty of cash (if your plastic is from US banks). Cuba is extremely expensive for a budget traveler.

Really, bring your A-game, Cuba will test you on many levels.

Reply to this

14 years ago, November 18th 2009 No: 4 Msg: #94038  
B Posts: 171
just baught the flight by the way! :-)

i use Visa and mastercard from irish banks ..so if those cards have a connection with the US i have no idea...

what is A-Game? Reply to this

14 years ago, November 22nd 2009 No: 5 Msg: #94284  
Hey Matt, My friend Oliver and I are planning to head to Cuba early Jan 2010 for about 2 weeks. I'm meant to be buying the tickets in the morning. If you fancy meeting up or anything let me know.

Matt Kelly

Reply to this

14 years ago, November 30th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #94891  
B Posts: 290
Hola! I just got back from 3 weeks traveling throughout Cuba - from Baracoa to Maria la Gorda. Currently working on my blogs and will post when I can.

I can answer your questions definately!

I cannot CANNOT stress how important it is to stay in Casa Particulars (instead of hotels or resorts) HOMESTAY is the ONLY and FANTASTIC way to see Cuba!! Each town has many. Look for the little blue signs with an upside down anchor. They feed you for so cheap and the food is so much better quality. I've never had such great meals! Cuban food horrible? No way.

Each town has a 'house of music' or Trova where you can see live music almost any day of the week with locals. Nightclubs and dancehalls everywhere. Just follow the music sounds when you are in town! I actually got to see Van Van live. Expect late nights as nothing gets really going before midnight.

You don't have to worry about travelling solo or with a friend...either option is fine. Cuba is so very safe and so many people are friendly and helpful outside of the resorts. We met so many local people and hung out with them at cafes, beaches, front porches and clubs. If you speak spanish, even better. Cuban people are so very intelligent, informed and interesting. You will spend most of your time enjoying their company and hearing their interesting views of the world and cuba politics.

Internet was a little harder to come by depending on the town. They sell cards for $6 cuc an hour at most ETECSA places and some hotels but that doesn't mean it will be working....lugging a laptop around makes no sense to me unless you plan to do work or something. You will be able to keep in touch for most of your vacation by email or facebook.

If you are wondering anything else, send me a question. I am cabochick on this blogsite. Reply to this

14 years ago, November 30th 2009 No: 7 Msg: #94895  
B Posts: 171
hi cabochick, thankyou !!

well the laptop is because i always like to write my thaughts and experiences in a blog format, so i was hoping to do this as a passtime and upload onto the net via USB stick or so, when i come accross a internet connection somewhere. i just find that its the best way for me to catalogue my photos with text. and if i try to keep this up with pen & paper its just not gonna happen, my writing is not good. the laptop itself is a less than perfect 9" eeePC which weighs less than a kilo.

They feed you for so cheap

how cheap??

Each town has a 'house of music' or Trova where you can see live music almost any day of the week with locals. Nightclubs and dancehalls everywhere. Just follow the music sounds when you are in town! I actually got to see Van Van live. Expect late nights as nothing gets really going before midnight.

this is music to my ears, i already love cuban music! i cant wait!!

17 days to go :-)

Reply to this

14 years ago, November 30th 2009 No: 8 Msg: #94904  
B Posts: 290
No problemo Matty!

I laughed at your comment about writing, as I had to resort to the old fashioned way and write down everything. I wished/cursed for a laptop a few times. You should be fine travelling with a small 9 PC.

I can't say enough positive things about my experiences in Cuba. It was fantastic. You will feel the same. Best of luck to you!
Andrea Reply to this

14 years ago, November 30th 2009 No: 9 Msg: #94905  
B Posts: 290
oh sorry I didn't see your question 'how cheap'?...Casa Particulars are about 12-30 cuc a night depending on town. They charged 2 cuc for breakfast 2 cuc for lunch and 10 cuc for dinners at most. Did laundry for you at 4cuc. Like I said you will get a bedroom and bathroom for yourself with airconditioning and shower in most. One star hotels can be as cheap as 14cuc a night with breakfast (the one we stayed in at Camaguey was interesting - not sure what was more alarming -- dogs barking in hallways or lack of toilet seats and paper)

Cuba was extremely expensive for me as a Canadian. Our dollar was .84 to the cuc (cuban convertable peso) pronounced kook. A bottle of water 1cuc at a store. a beer or drink could be up to 4 cuc.

If you can get things in Cuban Pesos on the street, then everything suddenly is cheap. same bottle of water or a slice of pizza 20pesos (1/4 of 1 cuc) Reply to this

14 years ago, January 9th 2010 No: 10 Msg: #98904  
I did Cuba in 2003 alone for 2 weeks and don't speak Spanish. I traveled from Havana to Santiago de Cuba by train and came back across Cuba to Trinidad then back to Havana all in a cab. FANTASTIC is the word you're hearing and that was my experience. Reply to this

14 years ago, January 23rd 2010 No: 11 Msg: #100898  
B Posts: 171
hi im just back from cuba.

thankyou all for your support,

i loved it!!

the best thing was the people and friendships i made there, i cannot imagine not going back to see them.
and i was really impressed with the music.

yes fantastic!

Reply to this

14 years ago, January 23rd 2010 No: 12 Msg: #100902  
B Posts: 171
oh and my laptop offline blogging tapered off as the trip progressed, alas..

the laptop became little more than a storage device for photos & videos (still somewhat justified at that, given netbook are so small and cheap though)

and a music playing device which could have been better replaced with a portable radio because theres always great music on the radio in cuba anyway!

yes the internet is a bugger in cuba, but once the cold sweats go away and you get used to the idea... you find its a good trade in for blue skies and torquoise beaches :-)
Reply to this

14 years ago, January 23rd 2010 No: 13 Msg: #100916  
B Posts: 290
Hola! So glad you enjoyed your trip! It is fantastico! I can't wait to go back. Looking forward to reading your blogs about your experiences. Via con dias Matty! Reply to this

13 years ago, June 27th 2010 No: 14 Msg: #114217  
N Posts: 4
Hello All, I loved reading your responses so informative! Definitely making me feel much more relaxed about my impending trip to Cuba in July 2010. I am going alone and on a small budget. I intend to stay in casas and do alot of walking! I am concerned about going out at night as a young woman is it safe? If i want to go to clubs etc should I spend the extra and hire a taxi or is walking at night safe enough?
Also, since Cuba is a cash country and you have to bring enough, how did you secure it all? Did you carry all around with you? Or did you leave it in the casa? Do they have safes?

Any help here will be appreciated!
Thanks!!! Yemi Reply to this

13 years ago, June 27th 2010 No: 15 Msg: #114219  
B Posts: 171
hi yema!

they dont have safes in the casas,

i broaght some money with me in a belt with secret compartment inside it that i baught in ecuador. and just took it around on my person. when it ran out i had to get more out of the bank, this was possible thankfully but a pain in the neck because i got charged 10%!t(MISSING)ax on the conversion from euros.

obviously like anywhere theres no guarantee you wont be robbed .. but the chance is a good deal slimmer in cuba because the authorities come down extremely hard on cubans who mess with tourists in any way. i heard a storey from a cuban friend there, about a guy who was given 15 years for hitting a tourist lady and running away with her handbag. and 15 years in cuba is hard labour, not lazing around in a cell.

the casas might lose their licence if anything 'bad' were to happen with their guests and belongings, and they would never get it back, so the casa owners are very protective , they will most likely not steal anything from you. but they dont have any lockers . if you ask they will tell you, stuff doesnt get robbed around here. but still i would recommend you use reasonable caution dont leave everything lying around, tuck away your belongings in a bag or whatever so as not to tempt fate.

walking around at night is quite safe to me, compared to other latin countries though the streets are poorly lit in havana and it does feel kinda dodgy, there are often police not too far away and people dont seem to want to mess with you for reasons i mentioned. cuba does not have many drug or gun problems like just about anywhere else in the world, and so this contributes to the sense of security. however some cubans did mention to me that some streets are not really safe, so again i would recommend that you do keep your eyes open!

there are plenty of casas in havana that are in close proximity to the nightclubs so you probably dont need to take a taxi. the nightclubs always seem to have plenty of police nearby. i would sooner take taxi out of laziness rather than safety reasons.

im afraid i cannot comment on how you will be treated as a young women as i am not one of those. im a young man, so i hope a young woman can elaborate ,

but im confident that you will fall in love with cuba and its wonderful people as i have :-)

oh im so jealous! hehehe have a great trip

Reply to this

13 years ago, June 28th 2010 No: 16 Msg: #114230  
N Posts: 4
lol, Thanks so much for the tips!!! I am still working out my itinerary, so if u have any secret hideaways that are a must to visit, let me know! Reply to this

13 years ago, June 28th 2010 No: 17 Msg: #114308  
B Posts: 171

well if i did know a secret place, i would have to tell you in secret :-) however unfortunatly i dont know any.

though, i can say that probably the best experiences you have will be unpredictable, and with cubans! they will tell you the secrets!

i was rather lucky to meet a cuban family who needed to visit their family down the south of the country and we travelled 2000km down the centre of the country and back which was nice, i payed for the petrol of course, which came to about 150 dollars but it was a good deal for me because they really showed me around. it was unforgettable really , i was very sad to say goodbye in the airport.

in the centre, away from the beaches there are not as many tourists,you could go to a small town and be lucky to find that its the festival week there. then you will see how the cubans party. also i was invited to a family party with some cubans in havana, where they did some unusual religious ceremony, i would recommend this kind of stuff.

as for landscape and beaches i didnt delve to far, i liked guardalavaca. and i had heard about cayo jutias, a remote paradise beach that apparently has no buildings or anything like that around, you can camp there apparently, i was on my way when a cold front came over cuba (mid january) and it was cloudy for a few days so i opted not to bother, as i think you really need the blue sky to show up the lovely blue waters.

i had done absolutely no research before going and had just heard a little about trinidads salsa scene and saw some pictures of piñar del rio area, so natrually i went to visit. trinidad though nice indeed, was not really what i had hoped, tourism is really the only thing propping up the place,and i get a little bored in places like that,

its true you can dance salsa 7 nights a weekin trinidad , however the main salsa venue though great fun is populated mainly by foreigners, while all the cubans actually party out the back to regaeton. but i would still recommend a visit, many repeat visitors will go literally straight there when they get to cuba and straight back.

one of the most enjoyable experiences for me was discovering a new incredibly talented bunch of musicians almost every day playing in some bar or on the street. i sat for hours on end listening and baught lots of cds, but thats just my kind of thing.

the best experiences will probably come un planned i guess, thats the excitement of travel.

you will love it Reply to this

13 years ago, July 2nd 2010 No: 18 Msg: #114654  
these are some images I posted just for you http://www.lonniesphotography.com/portfolion3.asp?ss_id=113.

I had some of my best experiences in Trinidad. There's an old steam train or was that you can take in to the San Luis Valley and see the sugar tower or go horse back riding.

I paid $25 to share a cab from Trinadadto Havana in 2003.

I wish I were going back. Reply to this

13 years ago, July 2nd 2010 No: 19 Msg: #114673  
B Posts: 171
beautiful photos! Reply to this

13 years ago, July 2nd 2010 No: 20 Msg: #114681  

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