Cuba, I really want to go but it's so expensive.

(39 Posts)

I'll have to plan and go in a few years time I think? Dp and I both work full time but dss are teenagers so I reckon it'll be almost 5K for all of us?

Has anyone been? Is it as amazing as I imagine? (no don't tell me)

Soontobemama Fri 13-Sep-13 22:02:00

I found it a huge disappointment to tell the truth.

EstoyAqui Fri 13-Sep-13 22:05:20

We've been twice. The first time was amazing, it was when Fidel was in charge. The second time was last year. It was fabulous but you could see the change to the country since Raul has started to lead.

It's such an interesting place. Where are you thinking of going?

FourGates Fri 13-Sep-13 22:05:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I didn't have a place in mind tbh.

I'm not sure I'd want to stay in people's houses with dss though? Do you mean with them in them too?

HorsePetal Fri 13-Sep-13 22:14:15

Charity Challenge do a charity trek to Cuba.

Could you consider that? You could self fund the trip and then raise funds for a chosen charity?

thenightsky Fri 13-Sep-13 22:18:22

We did a 2 centre holiday last year. a week in Havana and a week at an all inc place.

If I had my time (and money) again, I'd not bother with the all inc bit at all.. could have been anywhere in the world really.

Havana was amazing though. Did local deals with lovely old american car owners to run us about and show us stuff.

soimpressed Fri 13-Sep-13 22:25:24

I thought I might be disappointed with Cuba but I loved it! We did some travelling and some staying in a very nice all inclusive place. The house stays are a bit like B&Bs but most only have a couple of rooms because they are just people's homes. They are great though - very clean and lovely food.

Have you done something similar HP? I don't think that'd be for us?

exexpat Fri 13-Sep-13 22:28:02

I went this summer with two DCs (15 and 10) and it was amazing. We did a small group tour taking in Havana, Trinidad, a few brief stops in other cities plus national parks (river swimming, jungle walks, wildlife spotting) and a couple of beaches. We would happily have stayed on longer - we only got two nights in Havana, and it wasn't enough. Yes, it is expensive, but worth it IMO.

But I'd agree with thenightstky about all-inclusive resort places - our last two nights were in one (Jibacoa, but most go to Varadero) and you could be just about anywhere, except that in other places the food might be better...

The 'people's homes' is basically small-scale B&Bs - a new relaxation of laws which allows some private enterprise, and one of the main things is new private restaurants and small guesthouses. We only did two nights in guesthouses, and the quality was pretty good, plus you get to see a bit more of real life, talk to genuine Cubans and so on. The quality and variety of food in private home-based restaurants is generally way better than in the big state-owned restaurants.

I fancy going to Havana. Am really tempted now.

B&Bs sound good I'll look into that. I'd rather do it independently than with a tour company tbh.

Thanks exexpat, glad to hear it was a success with dcs too.

Suzieismyname Fri 13-Sep-13 22:35:04

I agree with Soon

mummymeister Sat 14-Sep-13 10:58:05

if I had a choice I would go to Venezuela. the independent travel option there felt a lot safer in cuba. if you are going to go then you really have to immerse yourself in it like exexpat says and accept it will be a bit chaotic. if you go for the organised then you will be disappointed ime.

OldBeanbagz Mon 16-Sep-13 16:54:28

We went on an organised family holiday with Exodus last year. Quite expensive but very well organised though the hotels/meals were a bit disappointing (that's the price you pay for a group holiday).

This year we returned and organised it ourselves with the help of a contact there. Stayed in casas, ate in local restaurants and saw loads. It was much better value. Probably 2/3 of the cost of Exodus for a lot longer holiday (17 days instead of 11).

We loved it so much we're considering going back again next year smile

bigTillyMint Mon 16-Sep-13 17:00:30

Ooh, so glad I found this thread - really fancy doing some independent travel in Cuba!

So how much might it cost for 2 adults and 2 teens for 2 weeks doing something like you did, Oldbeanbagz/exexpat/thenightsky - not AI - have had enough of that (though the teens love itconfused)

Selks Mon 16-Sep-13 17:06:08

It depends what kind of holiday you want. If you want to explore, take in local culture - art, music, streetlife etc, it is a simply amazing and unique country. If you want purely an all-inclusive hotel stay go elsewhere.

I went a few years ago with my two teens. We stayed in Havana, travelled down to the town of Trinidad then a couple of beach days at Varadero. It was incredible. The only let down was food - it was pretty poor all over, but that is the legacy of a country that has been on 'basic rations' for many years.

EagleRay Mon 16-Sep-13 17:12:14

DIY holidays can work really well if you keep an open mind and do your research. I really wanted to go to Central America last year (particularly Belize/Guatemala) but the flights were prohibitive (and we had a meagre budget). I looked into Cuba at the same time but we couldn't afford it.

After doing loads of research, I found out we could save a fortune by getting a charter to Cancun in Mexico instead. Took a bit of a gamble and waited til the last minute, but got the flights for £250 each (compared to the £1,000+ for flying to nearby Belize) and then got a bus down through Mexico into Belize.

We then had two wonderful weeks spent in the jungle and on little Caribbean islands, staying in lovely but low budget accommodation (between £5 and £20 per night). Not everyone's cup of tea, but for us it really was the trip of a lifetime.

Oh, and we went out there as a couple and came home as a family as DD was conceived out there smile

Fluffy1234 Mon 16-Sep-13 17:21:19

We went to an all inclusive hotel in Playa Pesquero and then flew from Houlgin to Havana and had a fab time at both places. At the first hotel we relaxed and went swimming with dolphins in the ocean and on a catamaran trip and then in Havana did lots of sightseeing including a Hemingway trip which was really good. We booked it through Going Places, they specialise in Cuban holidays. I think it would be a real Shame to go all the way to Cuba and not see Havana.

eurochick Mon 16-Sep-13 17:25:27

I found it disappointing, tbh.

Havana was smelly and crumbling.

The resorts could have been anywhere in the Caribbean but were crappier and terrible safety wise (I did one dive there - the equipment was falling apart, they overloaded the boat and then didn't count people back in afterwards confused).

I'd wanted to go for years and imagined it being poor but lovely. The romantic crumbling image of the photos is just buildings in poor repair up close.

EastwickWitch Mon 16-Sep-13 17:28:44

I've been with my 2 teens. A bit disappointing; beaches not as lovely as the caribbean & the food was dire.
We didn't bother to dive as the set up was very unimpressive.

Fluffy1234 Mon 16-Sep-13 18:08:44

I must have got lucky with the beach as it was proper white powder sand, palm trees and turquoise sea. Not quite as nice as St Lucia but better than some of the other islands.

bigTillyMint Mon 16-Sep-13 18:33:54

Oh yes, Belize - I have happy memories of Belize - would be very happy to go back theresmile

exexpat Mon 16-Sep-13 19:19:31

I think it depends on what you want out of a holiday. If you want a luxury Caribbean beach holiday, then Cuba is probably not a good choice - hotels & food definitely aren't up to world standards.

I chose it because I wanted a holiday that would have something for beach-hating DS (15), who is interested in music and revolutionary history, DD (10) who wanted to snorkel and see wildlife, and me - I don't really do beaches (burn in 5 minutes flat) but like wandering round interesting old cities and wildlife-spotting in the countryside, as well as being interested in the history and economic development of Cuba. Highlights for us were things like touring Havana in 1950s cars, a long walk through jungle in a national park to a river where you could swim under a waterfall into a cave full of bats, and sipping mojitos in a courtyard in Trinidad with lizards scurrying around, under a spectacularly pink sunset sky.

I asked advice on MN (waves at oldbeanbagz - thanks, the Exodus trip was perfect for us), and did a lot of reading up before booking, so went with very realistic expectations about not-brilliant food (but the fruit is amazing, specially if you buy it direct from farmers at roadside stalls - DD used to hate bananas, but loved them there), less-than-5* hotels, and likelihood that not everything would go according to plan, which meant that when some of the food was actually not bad, and the bus only broke down once, we could count that as a success.

LeaningTowerOfGaffney Mon 16-Sep-13 20:34:09

I live in South America in an expat community and Cuba is one place that's really divided people. Some love it and some really hate it.

I've been and compared to the rest of this continent (and I've only explored a few places) there are far, far more interesting/fascinating/beautiful places to see.

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