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So..what do we know about Cuba?

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by Blonde_4_ever, Aug 30, 2014.

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  1. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    Apparently I am going to Cuba in the fall.
    Can the resident Cuba experts offer me some advice?
    I know nothing about Cuba.

    Things that worry me....(No...not EVERYTHING!)

    1. Electrical appliances. Cannot live without hair dryer and straighter. I have seen picture of bizarrely shaped plugs and heard stories of appliances frying. I suppose this has a lot to do with how fancy your resort is? Are there special CUBA converters out there?

    2. I have heard this resort (Memories Varadero) has no WIFI. OMG....I will be unplugged for a week!!! How will I live? I have also heard that there is some kind of internet cafe in the lobby that charges 4 pesos...but I don't know if that is a minute...15? or what.

    3. No TV? Are the stations all Spanish? While I am bored silly without WIFI, I won't even be able to watch TV? I may have to pack actual books again!

    4. The food. If you read the reviews on TA about this place they go all the way from disgusting to fabulous. I know, take all reviews with a grain of salt. I hear they have no condiments...is that true?

    5. The side trips. My husband wants to go see Havana which is a two hour drive from the resort.
    Now when we did the Hawaii cruise I was fine on the ship, and got nauseous on every bus trip we took. I am worrying about that. Also I am obsessing about how much walking the Havanna tour will consist of. Maybe they can just leave me on a bench somewhere? (Never to be seen again..)

    6. The pesos...so there is local's pesos, and tourist's pesos.
    That's not confusing or anything!
    From what I read I probably will have no reason to ever use the local's kind.

    7. Tipping...I wonder what an acceptable tip is? Some reports say these people earn very little. Some people suggest filling baggies with toothpaste, soap, candy etc and giving them to your servers because they are hard to come by there. Seriously? Should I be tipping in toothpaste? My husband seems to think they would appreciate American dollars the most. Is that right?

    8. The walking...this resort is HUGE. Supposedly they have golf carts to take you places if you need it....but some people report that these are hard to come by. Some people suggest asking for a room near the lobby and buffet to minimize walking.

    We are attending an information meeting about this trip on Sept 8th. The guy leading this trip has never been to Cuba and knows nothing. I hope to God there will be someone at this this thing who has actually been there.
    When I get there with my questions they aren't going to know what hit them....:wink2:
     
  2. merlin

    merlin VIP Whale

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    I think americans are still technically banned from traveling to cuba?
     
  3. UTE

    UTE Plastics

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    The OP is Canadian. She's even allowed to bring back Cuban cigars if she so desires.

    Darned Canucks - they get all the breaks.

    Bill
     
  4. C0usineddie

    C0usineddie VIP Whale

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    My DIL went to Cuba a few years back with her family and loved it. Has all sorts of cool pics. She is white and blonde so doesnt look cuban in the slightest. Also she is American and she had no troubles what so ever.

    Its just a regular caribbean country. The resorts are nice and they want you to stay in them. There is life outside the gates that can sometimes be depressing because they are poor.

    Same stuff you see in any similar country. Not everyone is talking about how great castro is and calling the secret police. people just do their day to day stuff to make ends meet.

    Enjoy no access for a few days. Its a vacation after all. You are not there to watch tv and surf the net after all.

    Hope you have fun.
     
  5. Terry Benedict

    Terry Benedict VIP Whale

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    Please forgive my uninformed responses.

    1. I have a little secret about a bad hair day: You're on vacation and nobody knows you. And I actually believe you CAN live without a hair dryer. You can probably live with a baseball cap, too. I know you'll remember to take a lot of conditioner.

    2. I agree about enjoying no wi-fi access. Pretend it's the 90s and hold hands with your man. Watch the sun rise. Watch the sun set. Listen to a lounge band. Enjoy what Cuba has to offer.

    3. Congratulations, you actually GET to pack actual books!

    4. Look at the restaurant reviews on this board. They are probably the same.

    5. You get to go to Havana. Not a lot of people do. Congratulations. I suggest take some Dramamine Non-drowsy an hour before you hit the road. And I'm thinking there probably will be just as much walking as there is on the Strip.

    6. Pesos? So what. You trade in TITOs and cheques all the time. Embrace it. You probably won't exchange for more than you want to spend anyway.

    7. Don't even ask about tipping on this board. You know what it does to people. Do what you usually do. You know that a few bucks is nice, a smile, a thank you, and sincere respect goes a long way.

    8. When I went to a large resort in Cancun, I remembered that I walk a half an hour to most meals in Vegas. Twenty minutes to the pool, twenty minutes to the sidewalk. Wear comfortable shoes, you know that.

    It seems to me that we on this board are so used to knowing everything about our next trip to Vegas that we kind of expect that for our trips anywhere else. I suggest you embrace the unknown. Feel the excitement of being somewhere new. Smile.

    Congratulations going to Cuba. I would love to and can't wait for the opportunity. Let us know how it went.

    Again, please excuse the uninformed responses. I only want to ease your anxiety and give you some encouragement.
     
  6. gigabyte056

    gigabyte056 Tourist

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    OK,

    So I am actually allowed to go to Cuba, buy cigars and bring them back.
    Been there 4 times in the past 12 years so here goes:

    1. Do not bring USD, CAD works very well, there is a 10% conversion fine to convert USD since the embargo requires them to basically go to a third party to convert.
    2. CUC or convertible pesos is the tourist currency, it is being abolished but for now assume it is the same rate approx of USD, you buy stuff with it and tip with it.
    3. electrical sockets are the same as in the US , 110v with flat pins.
    4. Wifi is non existent, the hourly rate in the internet cafe is 4 cuc or 4 usd approx. the speed is laughable and there is no 3g so prepare to disconnect.
    5. Go to Havana, you can arrange a day trip from the hotel, if you are car sick in the buses (the tourist ones are top quality) you can rent a driver for the day to pick you up and drive you around and also act as a tour guide (PM if you need someone)
    6. Cigars , if you decide to buy them go to the official stores (La casa del Habanos) do not buy off the streets or at the beach / resort ( I know a guy lol) , they are 99% fakes and you will have a problem bringing them out of the country without an official receipt)
    7. ask for an official receipt when buying cigars at the LCDH
    8. Food is good but tropical, lot's of fish and sea food, Pork and Chicken as well, not so strong on beef.
    9. Bring sun screen, and apply generously, most Canadians resemble a lobster three days in.
    10. The resorts are huge, never stayed in one but I have been invited to a couple in Varadero, which is where I assume you are staying, bring Crocs or similarly comfy shoes and tip the cart drivers, you will be 100% fine, they like good tippers, it doesn't have to be huge but I tipped a cabbie 5 CUC and he gave me his cell and took me everywhere I needed...

    Cuba is amazing, it has a lot to offer and is very safe to travel.
    I assume you will have more questions, shot me a pm if needed.

    Guy
     
  7. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    I'd love to go. My parents did a trip last year where they were "off the grid" and it was fantastic. They really liked it, although they said the first couple of days they kept checking for a signal. :haha: And once they got to Old San Juan in Puerto Rico, mom couldn't stop texting me just because she could.

    Be sure to let us know all about how your trip goes. I'm sure lots of people are as curious as I am.
     
  8. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    Thanks for all the advice
    Yes I am Canadian. So I worry about this...

    "Unless their appliances are dual voltage, Canadian guests will need a voltage converter to reduce the voltage down from 220 volts to 110 volts and need to be very careful, as most of their appliances will plug into the sockets OK, but the difference in voltage will 'fry' the appliance. "

    I may end up frying things...I suppose it wouldn't KILL me to have "natural" hair.[​IMG] lol.

    I have a very bad foot so the amount of walking concerns me....but I will just have to do what I can or they can park me somewhere.

    Yes....I have to embrace the unknown!

    Thank God I am going to Vegas in October before the Cuba trip...
    .at least i know what to expect there!
     
  9. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Cuba has been on my travel list for a LONG time (and since I'm American....) I could probably go with a medical group (one of the acceptable ways for Americans to travel to Cuba, and I have an MPH so not out of the question at all) ButI want to go to a resort not work. Ah well. Fingers crossed.

    As for some of the other questions, quite frankly - do you *want* to go on this vacation? You're making it sound like a terrible hardship, and while many of us reading think it sounds fabulous, if YOU don't want to do it, you're setting yourself up for a miserable trip!

    I LOVE being offline. As much as I'm addicted to the internet (and the ability it gives me to work remotely on occasion) I like having the out of office email set and MEANING it ;-) Make what arrangements you need to ahead of time and then go with the flow. Bring the books or kindles. Bring sunscreen and enjoy the beach. If you're not up to walking, pick a nice spot and enjoy your book where you can.

    If you don't want to have a good time, it will be darn hard to do so. I hope that in time you'll change your mind and start to look forward to the trip!!
     
  10. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    It is not that am not excited about it.....I am.
    You just have to understand my particular brand of mental illness.
    I have to have a PLAN....all the time.
    But when there are so many unknowns, it foils my attempt to plan everything to the nth degree.

    I know when I go to Vegas, things often don't go according to plan and I am OK with that.
    I m sure I will be OK with Cuba too, once I get there.[​IMG]
     
  11. a.fawzi286

    a.fawzi286 Newbie

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  12. Joe Strummer

    Joe Strummer VIP Whale

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    Man......you are lucky !
    I wish I could go.....legally.
    Cubans are great people !
    Get off that resort + see the real Cuba.......no matter how poor.
    I can't wait for your Trip Report !
    Con mucho gusto !
     
  13. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    I don't know about Coooooba, but in Jamaaaaca (mon) the plugs were the same and they said it was 110-120 volts but something else was different which made the hair dryer kind of rattle and blow weak.
     
  14. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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  15. bobby jones

    bobby jones Low-Roller

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    Cuba is great. Verradaro is turisty. Remember to take a star off for Cuba. Dont go less than four stars. Four star Cuba is three star Vegas. Consider bringing your own tea bag, syrup and ketchup packetets . People are super friendy. As others have posted, get Havana and don't buy your cigars on the beach. Sliding a liitle something to housekeeping may help you as well.
     
  16. lotso-bear

    lotso-bear VIP Whale

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    I'm jealous. Always wanted to visit that country but can't..
     
  17. merlin

    merlin VIP Whale

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    A very interesting report, not surprising that they have some infrastructure problems. I'm curious as to why you would choose cuba and then just hang out in the resort? Are they cheaper than other resorts in the caribbean?
     
  18. bobby jones

    bobby jones Low-Roller

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    Cuba tends to be a bit cheaper, has some great beaches, very nice people, safe and I dunno, reminds one of simpler times perhaps....

    As an FYI, they don't stamp passports. I know of Americans who cross into Canada then fly down from here. Not sure what kind of trouble an American would get into if uncle sam found out....

    - - - Updated - - -

    Cuba tends to be a bit cheaper, has some great beaches, very nice people, safe and I dunno, reminds one of simpler times perhaps....

    As an FYI, they don't stamp passports. I know of Americans who cross into Canada then fly down from here. Not sure what kind of trouble an American would get into if uncle sam found out....
     
  19. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    I did not choose it....this was something my husband wanted to do.
    it was a good price, yes.

    I have a bum foot...so lots of walking is not possible.
    I enjoyed my time on the property at the pools etc.
     
  20. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    "As an FYI, they don't stamp passports. I know of Americans who cross into Canada then fly down from here. Not sure what kind of trouble an American would get into if uncle sam found out...."

    I am Canadian. They stamped my passport.
     
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