Viva Cuba!
May 10, 2016 1:20 PM   Subscribe

So, we want to get to Cuba before its frozen-in-time vibe is gone. We are thinking about going with Intrepid, which gave us a great look at China. Have you been? Any tips about traveling to and in Cuba?
posted by bearwife to Travel & Transportation around Cuba (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Go to both Havana and Holguin, at least.

I wouldn't "go with" anyone. Just book a flight and a hotel or resort. There are lots of tour options once you get there and once you get there you'll have a better idea what you want to see and have more flexibility if you do things this way. Visit tobacco farms, cigar factories, a rum factory, and also the "Valle de Vinales" which is a farming valley. On a tour of the valley you can see all those things, and take a cool boat ride through a river in a cave (but not a scary river/cave like the ones in yesterday's FPP).

I know you want history/culture, but if you have the time, spend a few days at a resort, too (or make a resort your base and tour from there).

Eat lots of seafood.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:54 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, do a tour of the Havana cemetery which is amazing.

And ask everyone you meet what they do. That is, not what their job is, which you can often guess pretty clearly (this is the hotel guy, this is the cab driver etc.), but what their intended/first career was. The guy who gave us a tour of the cemetery was originally and engineer, but went back to school for art history to learn to do the cemetery tour job, which has better employment prospects. The guy who carried our luggage at the resort was former university professor (again, better pay with the luggage).
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:07 PM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Rick Steves recently aired an episode of his podcast with a long segment answering this question -Changing Cuba 2016
posted by tatiana wishbone at 2:58 PM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: There's great snorkelling in Holguin and it's away from the major tourist areas (Varadero etc.). I went to a resort there a couple of years ago and loved it. We went on an excursion to Havana, which was great (though we ended up wishing we had a bit more free time to explore), but it was a looong bus ride!
posted by torisaur at 5:14 PM on May 10, 2016

Best answer: I was there with a baseball team so all our travel and lodging was pre-booked. That said traveling around any town is pretty easy with horse drawn jitneys, taxis and shanks mare - walking. In Varadero I was able to rent a motor bike even without US credit accepted. Car and bike rentals should be workable for US citizens now. We are Estados Unidos. To them we are all Americans, which means they are Americans also. Almost every person you meet is extroverted and friendly. I met a guy on an elevator bragging about how he 'snuck in through Mexico'. That Miami attorney was adventurous enough to travel by Cuban bus from city to city. If that appeals to you may want to find Casa Particulars for lodging. This is is the Cuban equivalent of Air BnB. Destinations recommended above are excellent choices. Whatever you do get out from tour and resort places and walk among the people. You will be astounded. In a good way. Incredibly vibrant country. Make it to at least one musical performance.
posted by Jim_Jam at 8:08 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: All so helpful. Thanks!
posted by bearwife at 2:50 PM on May 12, 2016

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