Travel to Cuba

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FireHorse
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Travel to Cuba

Post by FireHorse » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:26 am

Family members are talking about the desire to visiting Cuba, specifically Havana and some other large cities. We googled the topic and came up with different answers.
We are not seasoned travelers. Whereever we go, we always do tons of research to make sure we are well prepared for the journey.
After read all the blogs, we are leanning towards to 4/5 days cruise to Cuba departs either from Tampa or Miami. That way we don't have to deal with transportation, hotels, visa application, local unknowns...etc. We heard that we should not drink local water either.
Have anyone been there? Can you share your thoughts?
Many thanks ahead.
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bayview
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by bayview » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:20 pm

Bumping to get back on page 1, although my guess is that it belongs on the Consumer sub forum.

We are interested in doing this as well.
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Summit111
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Summit111 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:47 pm

Delete
Last edited by Summit111 on Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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WhyNotUs
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by WhyNotUs » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:51 pm

I have not done a cruise but did sail there on a private sailboat and back from the Keys.

There is lots of bottled water available. I did drink local tap water as well as bottled but YMMV. A combination of good bugs or luck has served me well around the world.If you are on a cruise ship, it is easy to take bottled water on shore. Your tours will probably include that.

On a short cruise, I would imagine that you will likely just go to Havana. The old town area is set up from cruisers. They will probably take you to a cigar farm and rum distillery, Revolution Square, along the Malacon, drinks at the Hotel Nacional, and a walking our of old town. None of that will require much thought and is set up for visitors.

For my tastes, that is missing a lot but better than not going and many, many people love it. As you say, it simplifies the trip.

Hope you have a fun trip!
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Summit111
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Summit111 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:54 pm

We went on a 2 week Road Scholar trip to Cuba. They took care of air travel from Miami to Havana, ground transportation, accommodations, meals, and visas. It was the trip of a lifetime. I played baseball with kids in Ernest Hemingway’s front yard, sat in with 2 Cuban bands, swam in the Bay of Pigs, met Cuban diplomats, economists, professors, college students, visited with ordinary citizens, and traveled the countryside.

We had no problems at all....can’t recommend Road Scholar any higher.....they were very professional....

I would avoid the cruise option as there is limited berthing and you’ll be let onshore with a multitude of passengers...

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:42 am

Similar to Summit111, we visited Cuba for about 10 days on a trip arranged by Insight Cuba several years ago. Had a great experience and learned/saw a lot. Don’t think the cruise approach would have been as satisfying.

cap396
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by cap396 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:05 am

We visited Cuba independently about a year ago, and my parents went there on a cruise about two months ago. It was one of the best trips for both of us and loved it. Nothing to worry about if you go on cruise; they'll take care of all the paperwork and walk you through the process.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:22 am

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (travel).
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livesoft
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by livesoft » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:41 am

My spouse went to Cuba for a week. Had a GREAT time! She would go back in a heart beat. She also went with a tour group that arranged flight from Florida, hotels & homes to stay in, luggage transfer, etc.

Basically, Cubans know how to treat tourists well even though one is not staying in the Ritz Carlton. They know about their water, so water is not a problem. One can always bring water disinfecting devices used by backpackers if one wanted, but my spouse did not. I don't see how one could avoid dealing with a visa though.
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by midareff » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:45 am

I went in February of 2017 on a weeks cruise. We spent 2 days in Havana, a day in Cienfuegos and a day in Santiago de Cuba. The ship was the Adonia which has since been reassigned elsewhere. It was beautiful on board, everything looked brand new, and the food and entertainment were terrific. Ground excursions were excellent, enriching and very educational. Cuba uses a two currency system where you have to buy the tourist Cucs to use on shore, and if you buy them with American dollars you pay a 10% penalty. I used left over Canadian dollars from a prior trip. As in many countries the street sellers hawking Havana Club Rum and Cigars are fakes, they are only available at the government stores so exercise caution. Have a look.. https://www.martindareff.com/International-Travel/Cuba/ I'd go again and probably will. At the time my wife was not a US citizen so I sent her home to visit her adult daughters and mom. She is now and we may go again. Ship handled the Visa stuff under a cultural exchange program and had plenty of bottled water to go ashore. No hassles at all on the trip.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Rupert » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:51 am

I have close friends who go there regularly (at least once a year). They have family there. They always take a suitcase full of powdered milk and some processed foods (protein bars, boxes of mac n cheese, etc.) with them just in case they can't find what they need when they're there, which apparently is often the case. And, note, these folks are adventurous travelers. So it's not a matter of them being picky about what they eat. They literally can't always find food that is safe to eat while there. YMMV, especially if you are on a cruise ship or in a resort setting that caters to tourists.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Sage16 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:36 pm

We just got home 2 days ago from a cruise to Cuba. We cruised round trip from Miami via Viking Ocean cruises. We had a blast and highly recommend it. The cruise was a good introduction to Cuba and if we ever go back again (lots of other places in the world we have yet to see first) we will do a longer land tour next. Our 8 day cruise circled the entire island. We anchored in Cienfuegos for 3 days. The first day we took a tour to the museum and beach for the famous failed Bay of Pigs invasion. The following 2 days was an overnight trip to Havana, with a full day of sightseeing and evening ride in a classic car and show at the famous Tropicana. We stay in a 4 star hotel overnight. The final cruise stop was to Santiago de Cuba. We always felt safe, we had bottled water as part of the tours and had no issue with the food at the restaurants (Paladars) they took us too. The Cuban people seemed to welcome the Americans. A number of people on our tour never converted their US dollars to CUC's (Cuban tourist Pesos) and had no issue buying things.
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Traveler » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:03 pm

I believe that travel (for Americans) to Cuba is still, or again, prohibited if it is for tourism. Of course many people lie and say they are there for one of the twelve acceptable reasons. Cuba will remain of my travel list until the rules change. I don't believe in lying on something as important as being let back into the US even if border control/customs usually turns a blind eye towards it. There are too many places to see where there aren't restrictions in place.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Sage16 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:43 pm

Traveler wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:03 pm
I believe that travel (for Americans) to Cuba is still, or again, prohibited if it is for tourism. Of course many people lie and say they are there for one of the twelve acceptable reasons. Cuba will remain of my travel list until the rules change. I don't believe in lying on something as important as being let back into the US even if border control/customs usually turns a blind eye towards it. There are too many places to see where there aren't restrictions in place.
Our visa was educational and people to people. We visited the museum for the CIA backed failed attempt to overthrow Castro. We visited private homes for meals (paladars) and an in home art studio and interacted with our hosts. We were encouraged to ask any questions of them. We went to 2 venues to learn about Cuban music and dance and had a dance lesson from locals in Salsa and an African influenced dance. We visited many historical sites and buildings. We were told the tours for the americans are much different than for other visitors due to the US restrictions. We left with a lot of knowledge of daily life in this country. Normally when we visit the Caribbean we spend time laying on a beach and playing in the water, this wasn't that kind of trip. There were some "tourist" activities (like riding in a classic 1960's convertible) but our visit was much different than a typical vacation. However, I do respect your opinion and interpretation of the US restrictions, I just wanted to share our interpretation and experience.
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Summit111
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Summit111 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:59 pm

One more comment...I brought gifts of baseballs for kids, guitar strings and picks for musicians. Made lots of friends handing those out....

My wife brought school supplies for kids, but she gave them to our guides for distribution. On the last several days, we left most of our travel toiletries, over the counter medications, and some clothing for our housekeeping staff...

We bought Santiago Rum and Cuban cigars at the duty free shop in the Cienfuegos Airport once we went through security. We used our Global Entry cards going through US Customs with no issues...

Also, we used Euros to convert into CUCS and tipped our guides and drivers in US dollars...

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cap396
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by cap396 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:16 pm

Traveler wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:03 pm
I believe that travel (for Americans) to Cuba is still, or again, prohibited if it is for tourism. Of course many people lie and say they are there for one of the twelve acceptable reasons.
It is not illegal or prohibited as long as you follow certain criteria. You can't stay in government sponsored hotels or eat in government sponsored restaurants, and you must spend 6 hours on weekdays doing something that supports the Cuban people (such as a tour, visiting a museum, shopping, eating at a privately owned restaurant). Just keep a log of what you do while you are there, although it is highly unlikely you'd ever need to explain what you did there to US border control. It's not lying as long as you follow the criteria.

If you go on a cruise there is especially no need to worry. The ships make sure that all of the on-shore excursions meet the required criteria.

Don't let the rules discourage you from visiting Cuba. It is one of the most fascinating places.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by livesoft » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:28 pm

Summit111 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:59 pm
We bought Santiago Rum and Cuban cigars at the duty free shop in the Cienfuegos Airport once we went through security.
FWIW, my spouse bought Cuban cigars in Cuba for her crew back in the US, but when she went to Bermuda, she found them all cheaper there.
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Lynette » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:31 pm

I went with Roadscholar (Elderhostel):

https://journeycuba.blogspot.com/

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by travelspot » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:14 pm

We went last year. I’d recommend going via cruise ship as that makes it so easy despite the travel restrictions. You’ll need to have an approved reason every day you leave the ship, so go ahead and take one of those walking tours of the old town in Havana. We did feel that area was overwhelmingly full of tourists - all walking in groups being led by a guide holding up a sign with a group number. So while Old Havana is a box to check when you are there, you should definitely get out of that protected tourist bubble (we even saw police closing streets as we walked down them) and see the greater Havana area and possibly beyond. This is best done by hiring one of those beautiful old convertibles (another box to check anyway); you can just flag one down when you leave the station. These drivers know the drill and where to take you, just tell them what you want or ask them to show you around. Everywhere we went accepted US dollars, although your change will not be. We found everyone to be very friendly and never felt unsafe.
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FireHorse
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by FireHorse » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:43 pm

Thank you all for sharing your experiences, very informative.
Do local people speak english?

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Sage16 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:14 pm

FireHorse wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:43 pm
Thank you all for sharing your experiences, very informative.
Do local people speak english?
It's a required subject in school now. Apparently years ago Russian was the requirement but now English is. The only person we interacted with that didn't speak much English was the driver of our classic car. But I can't answer what percent of the locals can speak english. The ones interacting with the visitors seem to.
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by friar1610 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:44 pm

I am sitting in a hotel room near Miami Airport (having flown here from Boston earlier today). Tomorrow we fly to Cienfuegos to begin a one week land tour with a group of alums fro my alma mater. Really looking forward to the trip.
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by SRenaeP » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:13 am

Sage16 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:36 pm
We just got home 2 days ago from a cruise to Cuba. We cruised round trip from Miami via Viking Ocean cruises. We had a blast and highly recommend it. The cruise was a good introduction to Cuba and if we ever go back again (lots of other places in the world we have yet to see first) we will do a longer land tour next. Our 8 day cruise circled the entire island. We anchored in Cienfuegos for 3 days. The first day we took a tour to the museum and beach for the famous failed Bay of Pigs invasion. The following 2 days was an overnight trip to Havana, with a full day of sightseeing and evening ride in a classic car and show at the famous Tropicana. We stay in a 4 star hotel overnight. The final cruise stop was to Santiago de Cuba. We always felt safe, we had bottled water as part of the tours and had no issue with the food at the restaurants (Paladars) they took us too. The Cuban people seemed to welcome the Americans. A number of people on our tour never converted their US dollars to CUC's (Cuban tourist Pesos) and had no issue buying things.
Which cruiseline/ship was this? Most cruises I see only offer an overnight in Havana.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Sage16 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:49 pm

SRenaeP wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:13 am
Sage16 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:36 pm
We just got home 2 days ago from a cruise to Cuba. We cruised round trip from Miami via Viking Ocean cruises. We had a blast and highly recommend it. The cruise was a good introduction to Cuba and if we ever go back again (lots of other places in the world we have yet to see first) we will do a longer land tour next. Our 8 day cruise circled the entire island. We anchored in Cienfuegos for 3 days. The first day we took a tour to the museum and beach for the famous failed Bay of Pigs invasion. The following 2 days was an overnight trip to Havana, with a full day of sightseeing and evening ride in a classic car and show at the famous Tropicana. We stay in a 4 star hotel overnight. The final cruise stop was to Santiago de Cuba. We always felt safe, we had bottled water as part of the tours and had no issue with the food at the restaurants (Paladars) they took us too. The Cuban people seemed to welcome the Americans. A number of people on our tour never converted their US dollars to CUC's (Cuban tourist Pesos) and had no issue buying things.
Which cruiseline/ship was this? Most cruises I see only offer an overnight in Havana.
We went with Viking Ocean cruises. Yes just an overnight to Havana but we had a total of 4 days in Cuba, 3 in Cienfuegos (used 2 of those days for the overnight to Havana) and a day in Santiago de Cuba.
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by climber2020 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:12 pm

Cuba's one of the only places I've ever been where US credit cards are not accepted, so you'll have to take all the cash you think you're going to need and exchange it there for a 13% fee. Our hotel had a convenient cash exchange service that was 24 hours a day, so I exchanged small amounts at a time to minimize the amount of fees.

Other than that and the old classic cars, it's very similar to every other place in the Caribbean I've been to.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by boomergeneration » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:11 pm

I am very excited to be going to Cuba in a few weeks. At first I wanted to do a cruise but the shorter ones only spend one night in Havana and the longer cruises were more expensive than I wanted to pay. After much research, I signed up for a 9 day land tour through the company Intrepid Tours. It meets the US requirements for a "people to people" tour. It starts in Havana and goes to Vinales, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad. We will be staying in guesthouses, not hotels, which keeps the price reasonable. I booked the tour on a Cyber Monday special when all tours were 20% off. The price, after discount, was $2,280. That includes pickup and drop off at Havana Airport, all accommodations, almost all meals, transportation in Cuba, and all activities. It doesn't include airfare to Havana. My flight on Jetblue from Orlando to Havana roundtrip was $202. The airfare includes the health insurance policy required for entry to Cuba. At the airport in Orlando I will be able to purchase the necessary tourist visa, which I think is $75.00.

If money is not a concern, Pearl Seas Cruises has an 11 night "Cuba Cultural Voyage" at around $6,000.00 that sounded interesting.

I will post again after my trip to review it.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by gasdoc » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:11 pm

climber2020 wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:12 pm
Cuba's one of the only places I've ever been where US credit cards are not accepted, so you'll have to take all the cash you think you're going to need and exchange it there for a 13% fee. Our hotel had a convenient cash exchange service that was 24 hours a day, so I exchanged small amounts at a time to minimize the amount of fees.

Other than that and the old classic cars, it's very similar to every other place in the Caribbean I've been to.
Really? You must have been on the coast. We didn't find Havana to be anything like the rest of the Caribbean. To me, it was like the United States in the 1950's. It's an opinion, I guess.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by gasdoc » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:14 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:42 am
Similar to Summit111, we visited Cuba for about 10 days on a trip arranged by Insight Cuba several years ago. Had a great experience and learned/saw a lot. Don’t think the cruise approach would have been as satisfying.
We can 2nd the recommendation for Insight Cuba. It was a cultural educational trip. I would add that Americans should try to go before it changes- there were already signs that US credit cards (Master Card / VISA) were being accepted.

gasdoc

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by galeno » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:26 pm

I"ve been to Cuba many times. We have cheap daily flights to Havana. I take USD in small denominations. 1s and 5s. Readily accepted as long as you avoid the government sponsored turist traps.
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by friar1610 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:33 pm

climber2020 wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:12 pm
Cuba's one of the only places I've ever been where US credit cards are not accepted, so you'll have to take all the cash you think you're going to need and exchange it there for a 13% fee. Our hotel had a convenient cash exchange service that was 24 hours a day, so I exchanged small amounts at a time to minimize the amount of fees.

Other than that and the old classic cars, it's very similar to every other place in the Caribbean I've been to.

I'm here now (see post above). Beat the 13% fee/tax by bringing Euros or Canadian $ which are not subject to it. We brought a few hundred Euros left over from our last trip across the pond and exchanging them is no problem. Very interesting and educational trip. But I wouldn't want to live here and put up with what the Cubans do.
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Tatupu » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:08 am

gasdoc wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:14 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:42 am
Similar to Summit111, we visited Cuba for about 10 days on a trip arranged by Insight Cuba several years ago. Had a great experience and learned/saw a lot. Don’t think the cruise approach would have been as satisfying.
We can 2nd the recommendation for Insight Cuba. It was a cultural educational trip. I would add that Americans should try to go before it changes- there were already signs that US credit cards (Master Card / VISA) were being accepted.

gasdoc
I recently departed Cuba after living there for 3 years. As others have said, it’s imperative that Americans bring cash as they won’t be able to use ATMs or their credit cards. I respectfully disagree with the idea that Americans should visit now because there are changes coming. Cuba hasn’t changed much in last few years and there are no signs that any significant changes are coming anytime soon.

It’s definitely a unique country and worth a visit in my opinion.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by gasdoc » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:23 pm

Tatupu wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:08 am
gasdoc wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:14 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:42 am
Similar to Summit111, we visited Cuba for about 10 days on a trip arranged by Insight Cuba several years ago. Had a great experience and learned/saw a lot. Don’t think the cruise approach would have been as satisfying.
We can 2nd the recommendation for Insight Cuba. It was a cultural educational trip. I would add that Americans should try to go before it changes- there were already signs that US credit cards (Master Card / VISA) were being accepted.

gasdoc
I recently departed Cuba after living there for 3 years. As others have said, it’s imperative that Americans bring cash as they won’t be able to use ATMs or their credit cards. I respectfully disagree with the idea that Americans should visit now because there are changes coming. Cuba hasn’t changed much in last few years and there are no signs that any significant changes are coming anytime soon.

It’s definitely a unique country and worth a visit in my opinion.
No disrespect taken. You obviously have a great perspective on the rate of change of the country of Cuba, having lived there for a real period of time. We did notice that stores were beginning to accept credit cards when we were there, and my understanding was that this was a new thing.

gasdoc

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:15 pm

gasdoc wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:23 pm
Tatupu wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:08 am
gasdoc wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:14 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:42 am
Similar to Summit111, we visited Cuba for about 10 days on a trip arranged by Insight Cuba several years ago. Had a great experience and learned/saw a lot. Don’t think the cruise approach would have been as satisfying.
We can 2nd the recommendation for Insight Cuba. It was a cultural educational trip. I would add that Americans should try to go before it changes- there were already signs that US credit cards (Master Card / VISA) were being accepted.

gasdoc
I recently departed Cuba after living there for 3 years. As others have said, it’s imperative that Americans bring cash as they won’t be able to use ATMs or their credit cards. I respectfully disagree with the idea that Americans should visit now because there are changes coming. Cuba hasn’t changed much in last few years and there are no signs that any significant changes are coming anytime soon.

It’s definitely a unique country and worth a visit in my opinion.
No disrespect taken. You obviously have a great perspective on the rate of change of the country of Cuba, having lived there for a real period of time. We did notice that stores were beginning to accept credit cards when we were there, and my understanding was that this was a new thing.

gasdoc
I know all the inquiries about tourism in this thread are sincere, but in some ways chilling. I don't take any comfort in the thought that the Cubans will continue to "not change" , drive 1950s cars forever for our amusement, and extend us their warmth and hospitality so we feel good about our visit.
We cannot talk about the elephant in the room on this forum, but I will travel there when I can rent a car and go wherever I want, and talk to whoever I want to about Cuba, without any "guides". It can't come soon enough. Meantime, I will visit Little Havana in Miami.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Starfish » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:57 am

When that will happen Cuba of today will be irremediably destroyed.
I think there is a lot of value in visiting a place AND a time.
I lived in communism and I have seen countries evolving after communism. It's not gonna be nice for Cubans. Some - very few - will become rich and the rest will be a lot poorer than they are today. Probably the country will become dangerous and will not recover in the next 40 years.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by galeno » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:26 pm

I feel that too. The change for the worse.

Since I've been there many times and I'm Costa Rican (good relations with Cuba) I'm able to avoid the tourist places. Cubans accept my USD without any protest. Do you think they'd prefer EUR?
Starfish wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:57 am
When that will happen Cuba of today will be irremediably destroyed.
I think there is a lot of value in visiting a place AND a time.
I lived in communism and I have seen countries evolving after communism. It's not gonna be nice for Cubans. Some - very few - will become rich and the rest will be a lot poorer than they are today. Probably the country will become dangerous and will not recover in the next 40 years.
AA = 40/55/5. Expected CAGR = 3.8%. GSD (5y) = 6.2%. USD inflation (10 y) = 1.8%. AWR = 4.0%. TER = 0.4%. Port Yield = 2.82%. Term = 33 yr. FI Duration = 6.0 yr. Portfolio survival probability = 95%.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by latesaver » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:18 pm

Has anyone been watching the news? Haiti is the last place you would want to be right now.

a friend of mine goes there yearly to do plastic surgeries on young kids (a la docs without borders). he ended up treating multiple gunshot wounds instead.

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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by cap396 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:31 pm

latesaver wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:18 pm
Has anyone been watching the news? Haiti is the last place you would want to be right now.

a friend of mine goes there yearly to do plastic surgeries on young kids (a la docs without borders). he ended up treating multiple gunshot wounds instead.
This thread is about Cuba not Haiti.

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FireHorse
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by FireHorse » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:03 pm

A U.S. Cruise ship was forced to turn around Friday when it was denied entry to Cuba, scuppering passenger's plan to visit capital city of Havana.
From Newsweek.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/am ... spartanntp

Anyone knows why?

Nicolas
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Nicolas » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:25 pm

midareff wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:45 am
I went in February of 2017 on a weeks cruise. We spent 2 days in Havana, a day in Cienfuegos and a day in Santiago de Cuba. The ship was the Adonia which has since been reassigned elsewhere. It was beautiful on board, everything looked brand new, and the food and entertainment were terrific. Ground excursions were excellent, enriching and very educational. Cuba uses a two currency system where you have to buy the tourist Cucs to use on shore, and if you buy them with American dollars you pay a 10% penalty. I used left over Canadian dollars from a prior trip. As in many countries the street sellers hawking Havana Club Rum and Cigars are fakes, they are only available at the government stores so exercise caution. Have a look.. https://www.martindareff.com/International-Travel/Cuba/ I'd go again and probably will. At the time my wife was not a US citizen so I sent her home to visit her adult daughters and mom. She is now and we may go again. Ship handled the Visa stuff under a cultural exchange program and had plenty of bottled water to go ashore. No hassles at all on the trip.
Now that I’ve seen midareff’s photos I don’t need to go, I feel I’ve been there already.

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midareff
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Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by midareff » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:49 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:25 pm
midareff wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:45 am
I went in February of 2017 on a weeks cruise. We spent 2 days in Havana, a day in Cienfuegos and a day in Santiago de Cuba. The ship was the Adonia which has since been reassigned elsewhere. It was beautiful on board, everything looked brand new, and the food and entertainment were terrific. Ground excursions were excellent, enriching and very educational. Cuba uses a two currency system where you have to buy the tourist Cucs to use on shore, and if you buy them with American dollars you pay a 10% penalty. I used left over Canadian dollars from a prior trip. As in many countries the street sellers hawking Havana Club Rum and Cigars are fakes, they are only available at the government stores so exercise caution. Have a look.. https://www.martindareff.com/International-Travel/Cuba/ I'd go again and probably will. At the time my wife was not a US citizen so I sent her home to visit her adult daughters and mom. She is now and we may go again. Ship handled the Visa stuff under a cultural exchange program and had plenty of bottled water to go ashore. No hassles at all on the trip.
Now that I’ve seen midareff’s photos I don’t need to go, I feel I’ve been there already.
Thanks for the kind words but it is well worth the experience.

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jpsfranks
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by jpsfranks » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:28 pm

4nwestsaylng wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:15 pm
We cannot talk about the elephant in the room on this forum, but I will travel there when I can rent a car and go wherever I want, and talk to whoever I want to about Cuba, without any "guides". It can't come soon enough. Meantime, I will visit Little Havana in Miami.
FWIW I traveled to Cuba independently a decade or so ago (i.e. without a Treasury license) and did not feel that my movement/activity was any more restricted than travel within other politically repressive nations that folks routinely visit (e.g. China). I made my own way, moved between cities freely, and talked to whom I wished.

If you're an American, Cuba does not require that you be accompanied by a guide/chaperone or travel as part of a tour. This is the result of the US Treasury requirement that visits be coordinated as cultural/educational exchanges in order to be licensed.

Docc
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Docc » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:15 am

I went to Cba independently two years ago with my teenager. I made all my own arrangements using the equivalent of AirBnB. We got our visa at the airport when we switched planes in NY. We used local buses in Havana. We traveled to Trinidad via taxi with 4 other travelers from
Around the world. We only went to the beach once when we stayed in Trinidad. We talked to many locals. We visited museums. We visited a hospital. We actually just walked in with no appointment. This was tops on my list
because of my profession. The only interaction we had with the authorities was when the local party representative came to check on people in the apartment building we were staying in Havana at the time. Our upstairs neighbor let them know we were visiting from the U.S., so they left us alone. We bought bottled water everyday. We loved the people and look forward to returning for a longer stay.

Starfish
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Re: Travel to Cuba

Post by Starfish » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:48 pm

jpsfranks wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:28 pm
4nwestsaylng wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:15 pm
We cannot talk about the elephant in the room on this forum, but I will travel there when I can rent a car and go wherever I want, and talk to whoever I want to about Cuba, without any "guides". It can't come soon enough. Meantime, I will visit Little Havana in Miami.
FWIW I traveled to Cuba independently a decade or so ago (i.e. without a Treasury license) and did not feel that my movement/activity was any more restricted than travel within other politically repressive nations that folks routinely visit (e.g. China). I made my own way, moved between cities freely, and talked to whom I wished.

If you're an American, Cuba does not require that you be accompanied by a guide/chaperone or travel as part of a tour. This is the result of the US Treasury requirement that visits be coordinated as cultural/educational exchanges in order to be licensed.
In a communist country a large percentage of the population is a party member and they have millions of informants.
Literally.
Don't be naive about your freedom.

My heart is thorn (sorry to bring this subject towards politics) because visiting Communist countries is in a way like visiting a fascist/Nazi country,only much worse. Somehow only one term became politically incorrect, the other is cool, you can have on t-shirts in universities which is a grave offense for the tens of millions of people killed. Che, Castro, cool people, not like Hitler.

However the misconceptions in US about other countries need a little enlightenment. I lived in communism as a kid and I had a much better childhood than my upper middle class American kid.

So, go, but don't delude yourselves. Try to understand what you see not "wow, people are so nice, they smiled at me", or the other extreme were they are not even human.

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