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Thread: Traveling to Cuba with the family. Any last minute advice ?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgolivares View Post
    Thank you all. This is good stuff.  

    I'm thinking of exchanging USD$300 to start with. Not sure if that will be enough for 2 days for 4 of us. At Varadero it's all inclusive at the Barcelo Sol y Mar.

    I'm thinking I could change at the hotels, can I?
    Sorry to say this BUT...... with a USA VISA you can not charge anything, anywhere.

    Please convert what you think you will spend to Canadian or Euros and take a wad of US Dollars... just in case.

    NO CREDIT CARDS!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aname4me View Post
    Don't bring any US Dollars. You will pay an addition 10% Tax when exchanging it. Bring Canadian Dollars or Euros (convert before you leave).

    I don't think the Cubans still check for Health Insurance. That was years ago.

    Cuba has two currencies... CUC (equal to a US Dollar) and Pesos (24 Peso to a US Dollar) but Havana runs on almost all CUC. Tourist areas only use CUC.
    ...Tourist can legaly only use cuc pesos...USA $ is worth 78 cents, so less that 1 cuc peso. health insurance is manditory... please report back on your hotel.....Doc......

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    I was thinking about a trip this year and found the Hotel Presidente on line. It "claims" to have been fully remodeled. If one was to believe the photos it looks like a very classic hotel.
    Anyone know it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by USA DOC View Post
    ...Tourist can legaly only use cuc pesos...USA $ is worth 78 cents, so less that 1 cuc peso. health insurance is manditory... please report back on your hotel.....Doc......


    OK.....
    If I am in Cuba and the sign says 20 Pesos.... do you really think they won't take my money?

    The cheapest things in Cuba, are priced in Pesos.

    The only trick is (and everywhere in the World this is true) Tourist have BIG money and are Gullible.

    If you're confident (and Speak Spanish) you can spend Pesos.

    If you're a newbie Tourist and the sign says $20 you pay CUC (locals would pay 20 Pesos)

    If you are a Tourist in Havana..... then it is all CUC.

    In the South (Santiago, Holguin) the economy is in Pesos. You (yes a Tourist) can spend Pesos there.

    A CUC IS VALUED @ $1USD
    If you present a $1USD at the Airport.... you will get a crappy exchange rate AND get charged 10%... so yes (at the Airport) $1 USD gets you $0.78CUC

    Before you leave Home, convert your money to Canadian (loss 3-4%). At a Cuban Bank convert your Canadian Dollar to CUC (loss 3-4%) and get $0.92CUC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgolivares View Post
    GM kids,

    I'm Traveling to Cuba with the family. Any last minute advice ?

    We will be staying the Plaza for 2 nights, Varadero for 3 nights with a day trip to Viñales.

    My wife read some horrible reviews of the Plaza hotel (no hot or running water, roaches, peeling wall paper....).  We hear food is not the best at the hotel or the paladares.  

    How much of this true ? Any first hand account from a DR'er ?

    Suggestions on what to do, visit, place to eat are welcome ?

     
    Are you a citizen of the USA? if so your presidunce doesn't want you travelling to the outpost of Communism. Beware!
    Der Fish

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  7. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cdn_Gringo View Post
    You'll need proof of travel insurance when you enter Cuba. If you don't have any, it can be purchased at the airport. Remember when changing your money to CUC Pesos, it's a one way transaction - Dollars you exchange can't be turned back into dollars if you find you have too many left over when it's time to come home. Credit cards issued by US banks are generally not usable.
    With all due respect, this is bad info.

    You don't need travel insurance to go, and you can exchange your CUC back to Euro or USD at the airport on your way out.

  8. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgolivares View Post
    GM kids,

    I'm Traveling to Cuba with the family. Any last minute advice ?

    We will be staying the Plaza for 2 nights, Varadero for 3 nights with a day trip to Viñales.

    My wife read some horrible reviews of the Plaza hotel (no hot or running water, roaches, peeling wall paper....).  We hear food is not the best at the hotel or the paladares.  

    How much of this true ? Any first hand account from a DR'er ?

    Suggestions on what to do, visit, place to eat are welcome ?

     
    I understand the food is not very good and goods and services are poor. If you like old cars and older buildings and poor people than Cuba is for you. You can see the same thing in the DR. The Cuban gov is a dictatorship and affords it's people little rights and no real future. If you want to support this by travelling there be my guest.

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  10. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by shorts View Post
    With all due respect, this is bad info. You don't need travel insurance to go, and you can exchange your CUC back to Euro or USD at the airport on your way out.
     

    Quote Originally Posted by Cdn_Gringo  View Post
    You'll need proof of travel insurance when you enter Cuba. If you don't have any, it can be purchased at the airport. Remember when changing your money to CUC Pesos, it's a one way transaction - Dollars you exchange can't be turned back into dollars if you find you have too many left over when it's time to come home. Credit cards issued by US banks are generally not usa

    Here is another one that I heard 'custom will take any cuc in your position if try to leave the country with any in your possession'   Someone else told me when I told the above that that was not true as he goes back and forth often and just uses the cuc the next time he goes. 

    I'm hoping to bring back to this group feedback on condition of the hotel, the casa particular, Varadero, Viñales, the food (I'm thinking how bad can rice and beens, chicken be?).  I'll try to post something the weekend of the 15th. 

    BTW - the video on 40 things to know before going to Cuba offers some good tips. The ones I liked the most were the one about being able to exchange goods for goods and bring snacks (which I was bringing anyway. I figured that after getting back to the hotel at around 10-11pm there won't be many choices to eat). 

    And another thing... regarding 'do I support this gov or that gov'. When you get to be my age you'll understand that we either support, by way of spending our money, some capitalist corrup gov'ts, an oppressive regimes or one of the ones that sell themselves to the likes of an internationalist Brazilian company. It's all the same just diff cloths. 

    One last thing. Cuba represents more than just a country in my mind. Cuba is us, is Latin America, and I support all of us. 

  11. #19
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    Get Euros to exchange for CUC. You cant use your credit card at most places (including hotels).

    The big name hotels in Havana are overrated. You pay a lot and in return almost nothing.

    Customer service is hard to find in Cuba. Nobody knows what or is not wanting to help.

    Only wifi possibilities is at the big name hotels (you will see many Cubans hanging in front of these hotels just to get some wifi). You can buy minutes at the hotel.

    Expect a long wait when arriving at Havana Airport. Only airport in the world when after immigration you have to wait in a very long line to have your hand luggage scanned! Thousands of people waiting in line in a very small area. Your suitcase though wont be scanned (or they did it behind the scenes).

  12. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curacaoleno View Post
    Get Euros to exchange for CUC. You cant use your credit card at most places (including hotels).

    The big name hotels in Havana are overrated. You pay a lot and in return almost nothing.

    Customer service is hard to find in Cuba. Nobody knows what or is not wanting to help.

    Only wifi possibilities is at the big name hotels (you will see many Cubans hanging in front of these hotels just to get some wifi). You can buy minutes at the hotel.

    Expect a long wait when arriving at Havana Airport. Only airport in the world when after immigration you have to wait in a very long line to have your hand luggage scanned! Thousands of people waiting in line in a very small area. Your suitcase though wont be scanned (or they did it behind the scenes).


    I'm exchanging USD to EUR.   Not sure I'll be able to use my US issued credit card. Will I?

    We are staying at the Plaza Hotel (a major hotel I imagine) in Havana so maybe the kids will be able to get wifi. Do I still have to buy minutes even if I'm staying at the hotel ?

    Are we better off checking in all our luggages as to avoid the long lines ? 

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