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Family trip to Cuba?

Hello everyone and I thank you in advance for any advice. I was thinking of a trip in the very near future to Havana or anywhere in Cuba with the wife and two teenagers. All the cruises are booked for the dates we were looking into and we've had more fun and learned more by staying in one place for a week instead of the cattle hearding done by the cruise lines.

So my question is has anyone here gone with a family and could make recommendations? An all inclusive resort might be nice, or even an Air BNB or VRBO type place where we could better immerse ourselves.

Or, am I nuts for wanting to take my family there and should look elsewhere?

Your thoughts appreciated...

Bob
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:10 AM
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It has been years since I have been but there are tons of tourist all inclusive resorts near Havana at Varadero.
Food there can be questionable and most of my friends that go usually complain that they spent a few days with Montezuma's.
Stay at one of the better resorts and it is less likely.
Nice beaches and close for day tours into Havana.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:24 AM
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Everyone I know stays in the Varadero area. Lots of new hotel buildings over the last few years. If you take "trade goods" with you hand them out when you get there to the staff instead of waiting till you leave. My buddy who goes every year does this and is always treated by the staff great because of it. Upgraded room, towels when you want them. Stuff you expect here is not standard down there.

As to taking your family it's a more laid back lifestyle there. Great for people who just want to relax in the sun and read a book. As one friend describes it "It's a vacation that you don't need another vacation from when you get home".
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:39 AM
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My BIL went recently -4 years? He hated it. He and my SIL have traveled all over and that is the only place they didn't care for.

I just had a co-worker go as well. Not what they were expecting.

Poverty is past oppressive. Too bad. I want to go. Still on my short list. I am waiting for now.
Old 10-07-2018, 09:18 AM
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I went when I was younger and single, and enjoyed myself. Not so sure I would take the family. I vote no.
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Old 10-07-2018, 12:41 PM
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I'm under the impression that travel to Cuba for US citizens is off again since this administration came in. Others may know better, let's see.

Notice that all the replies are from Canadians, they have been free to travel there for years.

An American friend did go a couple of years ago, shortly after it opened up and took a bunch of vintage car parts and was a hit with the car clubs there.

Cheers Richard.
Old 10-07-2018, 03:03 PM
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My wife and I went to Havana on our own about 3 years ago.
We flew through Cancun to Havana,on Inter Jet and they sold us a visa as we were waiting to check in to the flight.
The Cubans did not stamp our passports, and we returned to Cancun, and then back to home, on a separate flight.
We booked a private apartment, in a prime area for 49.00 per night
The government hotels are expensive $ 500.00 plus per night, for mediocre at best.
Once there, restaurants are very inexpensive, people are very friendly, happy to talk, the city is very safe, and plenty of fantastic cars.
Although they have beautiful views of the ocean, beaches and beach resorts are scattered all around the island, not close to Havana.
Now, we went there just before Obama opened it up, and before Trump closed it down.
I know you can’t book the government hotels, but Air B B still seems to be an option.
I saw a beautiful 3 bedroom apartment, across from the Ocean, for around 72-105 per night, depending on the date.

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Old 10-07-2018, 03:35 PM
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My wife and I had a long weekend in Havanna about 20yrs ago, we loved the place, people very friendly and very keen to practice their English, stayed at the Hotel Nacional which was quite expensive but ate out at family run restaurants that were part of the owners house, had a days tour in a 59 Buick, watched the old guys arguing about baseball and playing cards in the park.

One of my favourite places in the world I've been too

Not sure why people stay in all inclusive hotels as you get no feel for the country or people, guess people aren't that adventurous and like to feel safe from home but I'd stay in AirBnB's run by a local family in 2 or 3 locations if time allows.

I'd take my family there in a heart beat if it wasn't so far
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:49 PM
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Take Euros as there is no extra surcharge as for dollars. And yeah expect a bout of intestinal distress.
Old 10-07-2018, 03:57 PM
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The island is communist police state with thousands of political prisoners. My doc is a Cuban and goes there each year to visit his family (they are not allowed to travel out of Cuba). He takes cases of medical supplies that are unavailable to the local hospital. Just listening to his experiences and descriptions of the place is enough to keep me away.

Last edited by p911dad; 10-07-2018 at 06:41 PM..
Old 10-07-2018, 06:39 PM
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Went there in '99 w/ g/f's family.. as their guest, a French family. it was an eyeopener, how resourceful and friendly people were. There's nothing there in the way of 21st century advances.... not even garbage, since there is no packaging, so no wrappers, nothing to throw away. When you buy a bar of soap they hand you the damn bar, thats it. Although it is like traveling back in time, a bit, they have a higher literacy rate and lower infant mortality, the medical care people receive is really quite top-notch. They also produced a few baseball stars and ballerinas. So its not all bad. Cigars and Mojito's is how I got through the day, the verity of food is severely limited, seafood is for (some) tourists otherwise its an export ONLY product. Their national dish, a roasted chicken with an orange juice marinade is freaking delicious.. you just can't eat it every single day. Car culture is amazing. Great Detroit Steel rolling around. We rented a modern car and drove around.. i'ts sad for the people not being able to travel outside their home country or even around the island itself..so they are REALLY interested in you, they can really only travel through your experiences. Also, everyone seems to be running some kind of hustle just to get by. Coming from Brooklyn and being nearly penniless at the time, I related.. but that can get tiring, too. It's an educational trip. Made me love America more that I had previously, even with all our faults here and ****y-government situation, I came away a patriot. Save Democracy!
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Old 10-07-2018, 06:51 PM
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Interesting fact.
Every accident is investigated, and if you are unfortunate enough to be involved, you stay in Cuba until it is resolved.
I also believe you are responsible for any damage to a rental car.
Best to hire a Cuban driver.
Lot’s of Private restaurants for dinner, and the food can be wonderful.
However , breakfast as we know it is non existent.
No coffee bars or bakeries, either..
We pretty much lived on Cuban sandwiches during the day
We were to,d there was a hotel a few miles out of town that served our version of breakfast with eggs , etc.
Cubans are also entitled to a state sponsored burial, and there are cemeteries , much like those in New Orleans, that are filled with ordinary citizens.
When they are born, they get a ration of formula.
Cradle to grave care, with not much else in between, but the people appear happy and satisfied with life.
.

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Old 10-07-2018, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p911dad View Post
The island is communist police state with thousands of political prisoners. My doc is a Cuban and goes there each year to visit his family (they are not allowed to travel out of Cuba). He takes cases of medical supplies that are unavailable to the local hospital. Just listening to his experiences and descriptions of the place is enough to keep me away.
Yep, the folks visiting there bring just enough money to keep the despots in power...and so many citizens imprisoned. It is a sad thing.
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:16 PM
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If you patronize the paladars ( private restaurants) and book through Airbnb, the money you spend goes to the citizens, not the government.
No reason to stay away.
Old 10-07-2018, 08:40 PM
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:44 PM
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:45 PM
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I've been to Cuba about 15 times and have had stomach issues one time. Varadero is a good place to start. Don't rent a car take a cab or bus charters. They are inexpensive and cabs will wait for you for return to hotel. You can travel in old 57 Chevys and fords.
We went to a baseball game in Havana and spent the day there it was a good experience. Rules for the population have relaxed and they are allowed more private businesses.
The beaches are simply amazing, Varadero has miles of clean white sand turquoise water. Not to be missed. We took a day snorkelling on a bus tour to the Bay of pigs on the south shore, think it was like 30 bucks ea for the day.
Holquin is also nice, clean beaches but less for the kids to do.
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
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If you patronize the paladars ( private restaurants) and book through Airbnb, the money you spend goes to the citizens, not the government.
No reason to stay away.
All foreign tourism/spending props up the regime/government.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:32 PM
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Flinstone,
Have you been there? There is a big effect on how and where you spend your dollars (yes dollars) and how it effects 'the regime' .. people have the power ..or some power .. in that way there is really no difference than anywhere else, what they don't have is freedom. Visiting is not always a form of 'support' it could in fact be subversion. In other words you could do a lot to end the 'regime' by visiting there. The people would suffer from having no tourist dollars, and they are also victims of the regime. True, some there are very proud of their 'great leader' I think they are in the great minority.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p911dad View Post
The island is communist police state with thousands of political prisoners. My doc is a Cuban and goes there each year to visit his family (they are not allowed to travel out of Cuba). He takes cases of medical supplies that are unavailable to the local hospital. Just listening to his experiences and descriptions of the place is enough to keep me away.
My good friend is from Cuba, came to Florida in the boat lift in the 80's as a child.

He still has a brother there that lives out in the sticks about 1 hours drive from Havana.

He went back to visit once he could do it legally, when he came back he was telling me about the conditions his brother lives in and was crying. He said he left his suitcase with all his toiletries with his brother and then took them to Havana and bought them a clothes washing machine so they could stop doing that by hand.

He rented a car and told me he was the hit of the town he was in, everyone wanted to go for a ride in it.

He went back a couple of more times, bringing lots of basic necessities for them with each trip.

He explained to me (this was 10 years ago or so) that bartering is against the law, you cannot go fishing and trade fish for services etc.. officially. The government controls everything.

Also, government has created a second form of currency, which the Cubans are not allowed to use and can get into big trouble if caught using it.

It is the tourist currency, the Cubans have to cash that in for their currency which is worth much less than the tourist currency, of course the tax taken goes to the government or the Castro family depending on how you want to look at it.

That may have changed in the last 10 years but that was how it was about 10 years ago.

I will not step foot in the place until the Castro Regime is gone.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:56 AM
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