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Cuba - anyone been?(18 Posts)
Really fancy it - but is it safe?
I know various people who have been and no safety issues. Some thought the food was boring though! It’s a relatively poor country with shortages. Always keep a close watch on belongings and dress to blend in. Like lots of places really! Don’t flash the cash or the camera!
We felt safe in the main tourist areas like Havana. Not sure what it's like if you go off the beaten track though, as it is a pretty poor country.
Thanks Overthinking. So, did you just stay in Havana or go anywhere else?
We did 5 nights in Havana and then moved on to a beach resort in Varadero for a week. We booked some day tours to other parts of the island (Vinales, Bay of Pigs) while we were out there.
Sounds great! I need to research.
Did you do a package? Or book everything yourself?
It was a package from Virgin holidays
Havana is great and feels like it is the end of a period of its history and will change a great deal in the future. It’s a world heritage site and is very attractive with crumbling Spanish colonial buildings and 50’s cars. It did feel safe and we (me & a female friend) felt fine walking around on our own. I loved the Che’s everywhere (bit like a Cuban Jesus!), Castro ranting on TV and the music (we went to see a couple of Salsa bands - 100% not my kind of music but my friend knew some Cuban musicians and modern Cuban Salsa is a completely different animal to the plodding awful stuff you hear over here!), There are issues - there was one too many old Western men with very very young Cuban girls which made me feel uncomfortable, the Cubans we talked too kept well shy of discussing anything political and the food was absolutely revolting! It’s poor but the people aren’t starving and they have excellent healthcare. We stayed at the Hotel Nacional where the likes of Frank Sinatra and Al Capone stayed in its hey day - the rooms were pretty bland but the lobby area is great and they do a good lobster pizza for peanuts!
We did various trips out and did go to Varadero which is where a lot of people stay when they go to Cuba. Basically it’s a stretch of coastline with one huge AI resort after another. Absolutely not my kind of place (not a judgement at all on those who do, none of us are the same!) and felt like you could be anywhere after very vibrant, very Cuban Havana).
I’d definitely go again (but with a suitcase full of emergency food!). There are various packages you could buy but it’s easy enough to book flights & hotel yourself and tours when you are out there or off Tripadvisor recommendations in advance. Don’t fly Cubana, it was the worse airline I think I’ve ever flown!
We have booked Cuba for next April. Family of 4 , we are booked to stay at Hotrl Saratoga Havana 4 nights and then 7 nights Paradisus Varadero All Inc. best of both worlds.
I went about 24 years ago so very different to now! We stayed a couple of nights in Havana then got the train across the country stopping off in various locations including the fabulous city of Trinidad, we also stayed a night in a holiday camp originally designed for government agents! We then headed NW and stayed in Piñar del Rio for a few days before returning to Havana where we stayed a night in a hotel with the pan American youth althletics teams before finally cracking out the credit card for a night of luxury at the Nacional.
We were very safe, in our earlier 20s and thought we were immortal 😂. Did all the things guide books say not too, made friends with hustlers who ended up being great guys who took us to the baseball and we sat in the press seats!
We did it all of our own bat and booked accommodation when we arrived in our latest location (apart from our first night in Havana) but we had no children to worry about and were pretty unencumbered. I speak Spanish so that helped too.
It remains to this day one of my most fondly remembered holiday!
Christ my grammar/typos/autocorrects 😱
I went about 10 years ago. Booked through Virgin holidays. Spent a week in a Havana. Fantastic city amazing culture would encourage anyone to go. Then spent a week in Varadero. Think we left the complex a couple of times. It was an all inclusive complex could have been in Caribbean country as was rather bland. But again it suited all our needs and again would go again. I know AI places like that aren't to everyone's tastes but we had a fantastic time
My friends went with Exodus and they tend to show you Cuba outside giant AI resorts. Other companies would do the same and cater for the more adventurous. Other people I know went with Families Worldwide who again are not just about AI and Havana. If you just want beaches, there are better places to go!
Thank you all. Package deals and AI are not for us - definitely like to explore a bit as long as it’s safe!
I felt very safe.
Definitely take emergency food / spices etc in your suitcase....the food is awful! There is no variety or flavour so even packing a bag of raisins will left your spirits if you are a foodie like me.
We went but quite a while ago. We felt really safe there. Havana was amazing but I really wouldn't recommend Varadero. There was nothing to do there and we got bored. It might be better now but there was a shitty shopping centre and that was about it other than hotels.
If I went again I would either base myself in Havana and do trips or do a two centre holiday with another city. There's too much to see to spent 10 days at the beach.
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