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View Full Version : CUBA! woot! need some advice.



thetrousertrout
01-10-2006, 12:11 AM
Hey guys, just got married, and we figgure for our honeymoon, we would like to goto cuba. Nothing is booked yet, so I am kinda hoping for some advice from people who have been there.

1) nice hotels
2) places to see and go/avoid
3) How much extra cash should we bring if we do an all-inclusive
4) do you need a passport to goto Cuba? or is it like the states/mexico?
5) best possible place to get the best bang for the buck to get the all-inclusive package.

thanks in advance guys.
Chris

redevil
01-10-2006, 12:24 AM
Don't bring US money, only use Canadian $$

thetrousertrout
01-10-2006, 12:27 AM
any particular reason why?

Kobe
01-10-2006, 12:31 AM
Originally posted by redevil
Don't bring US money, only use Canadian $$
Where the fuck did you hear this?
They love getting tipped in american cash

Bring atleast $50USD in $1 bills for tips, your service will be 100000000X better...
When we went to cuba we stayed in "Tryp penninsula" I think it was called.. 4 or 5 star All inclusive hotel, was pretty nice..


When you go down you need to rent a scooter and travel to the fle markets in Veradero.. Super fun, There is also a $25USD departure tax per person, so bring some cash for that aswell, other then that you won't need much cash other then to maybe buy some cigars or rum...

Cigars range from 20USD - 200USD For a 25Pack...
I'll try to get some pictures of the hotel if you are interested.

Edit: pics are on a CD somewhere in the room, will try and look for it tommorow...


http://www.solmelia.com/solNew/hoteles/jsp/C_Hotel_Description.jsp?codigoHotel=5978

thetrousertrout
01-10-2006, 12:45 AM
yeah, any pics you guys can share would be apreciated as well.

Kobe
01-10-2006, 12:57 AM
Originally posted by thetrousertrout
yeah, any pics you guys can share would be apreciated as well.

Hey I found the cd, but I should really head to bed, I'll upload a few tommorow...

Just send me a PM so I don't forget LOL

vincent-h
01-10-2006, 01:18 AM
they stopped accepting USD there because their government hates USA hahaha

What to use now is exchange your money in for something called a converted peso

1. any 4 or 4 star hotel would be good in varadero. jsut to name some off the top of my head.
tryp peninsula
bahia principe
breezes jibacoa

2. Highly recommend the havana tour if your gonna do any tour at all do that one. it'll pretty much a 1 whoel day thing. book it through your hotel reservation desk.

3. depends if you wanana buy soveniers few bucks here and there. The big bucks come if u wanan buy some good quality cuban cigars. won't need much if u don't plan to leave the hotel often. 200 cad roughly if the most ur gonna do is shop lightly. if u plan to buy cubans a good brand then expect to bring a more.

4. passport is REQUIRED in cuba

5. DO NOT go for a best bang for your buck u'll kick urseld int he nuts till u bleed. its a honeymoon its one time only let it loose and open that wallet! spend the lil extra more and you won't regret it!

Other places to take into consideration...

Dominican republic - great prices, great food, great beaches

Information freely provided by your friendly neighbourhood travel agent

Cheers!

-Vincent Ho
big ben travel
[email protected]

sputnik
01-10-2006, 09:56 AM
Originally posted by vincent-h
3. depends if you wanana buy soveniers few bucks here and there. The big bucks come if u wanan buy some good quality cuban cigars. won't need much if u don't plan to leave the hotel often. 200 cad roughly if the most ur gonna do is shop lightly. if u plan to buy cubans a good brand then expect to bring a more.


:werd:

In addition to this... there are tons of fake cigars around now. If you are going to buy good cigars (Don Tomas, Monte Cristo, Romeo+Julliettas etc) buy them from the hotel gift shop. Also expect to pay $100-200/box. Any less and I would question the quality and authenticity.

tirebob
01-10-2006, 10:05 AM
Originally posted by sputnik


:werd:

In addition to this... there are tons of fake cigars around now. If you are going to buy good cigars (Don Tomas, Monte Cristo, Romeo+Julliettas etc) buy them from the hotel gift shop. Also expect to pay $100-200/box. Any less and I would question the quality and authenticity. Also be aware that if you buy cigars without an authentic receipt, you will have them taken away by Canada customs if the catch it... Buy only from legit stores...

habsfan
01-10-2006, 10:09 AM
when i went i stayed at a resort call Playa Pesquero or something like that. 5 star all inclusive, nice place but it was overbooked when i went so the service wasnt great sometimes. food was awesome for the most part, bartenders knew how to make anything you can think of, nice beaches, i think there was a tennis court or 2 as well, although i was always too busy laying in the sun drinking or eating lol. when i was there we also visited the flea markets in veradaro i think, that was pretty neat. also, when we went to town we stopped at this little store where i bought two 26er's of Havana Club rum for $2 american each. And that stuff is amazing rum. overall where i stayed was a pretty nice place, the only problem was the fact that it was overbooked and very busy when i was there.

86max
01-10-2006, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by vincent-h
they stopped accepting USD there because their government hates USA hahaha

What to use now is exchange your money in for something called a converted peso

1. any 4 or 4 star hotel would be good in varadero. jsut to name some off the top of my head.
tryp peninsula
bahia principe
breezes jibacoa

2. Highly recommend the havana tour if your gonna do any tour at all do that one. it'll pretty much a 1 whoel day thing. book it through your hotel reservation desk.

3. depends if you wanana buy soveniers few bucks here and there. The big bucks come if u wanan buy some good quality cuban cigars. won't need much if u don't plan to leave the hotel often. 200 cad roughly if the most ur gonna do is shop lightly. if u plan to buy cubans a good brand then expect to bring a more.

4. passport is REQUIRED in cuba

5. DO NOT go for a best bang for your buck u'll kick urseld int he nuts till u bleed. its a honeymoon its one time only let it loose and open that wallet! spend the lil extra more and you won't regret it!

Other places to take into consideration...

Dominican republic - great prices, great food, great beaches

Information freely provided by your friendly neighbourhood travel agent

Cheers!

-Vincent Ho
big ben travel
[email protected]

:werd: Take canadian money and convert it at your resort into convertable pesos. Tipping with money is common with waiters/bartenders, but room cleaners/towel boys etc are often tipped with small gifts or products that they can't get in cuba. Scented soaps and other hygene products are appreciated.

Breezes Jibacoa is great. Food was excellent, service was very good, and the resort is maintained very vell. They also have toilet seats which is something your wife might want lol. A lot of the lower end hotels/resorts see toilet seats as a luxury.

The Havana tour is great, just expect to be asked for money every two seconds. People will approach you trying to draw a portrait for a peso or two, and after a while it gets annoying.

The only money I spent was on cigars and rum lol. 750ml of white Havana Club is only about $4 there! You can bring back 2 bottles per person, and 50 cigars, but if you buy over 23 cigars, you must have a proof of purchase with labels of authenticity to get it through customs.

kaput
01-10-2006, 10:57 AM
.

G
01-10-2006, 11:04 AM
Originally posted by thetrousertrout
Hey guys, just got married, and we figgure for our honeymoon, we would like to goto cuba. Nothing is booked yet, so I am kinda hoping for some advice from people who have been there.

1) nice hotels
2) places to see and go/avoid
3) How much extra cash should we bring if we do an all-inclusive
4) do you need a passport to goto Cuba? or is it like the states/mexico?
5) best possible place to get the best bang for the buck to get the all-inclusive package.

thanks in advance guys.
Chris

We went there on our honeymoon. We stayed at the Sandals adults only resort so no kids running around. http://www.sandals.co.uk/main/hicacos/rh-home.html Wicked place.

Kirbs17
01-10-2006, 11:17 AM
When I went to Cuba, we stayed at the Paradisus Varadero (http://www.solmelia.com/solNew/hoteles/jsp/C_Hotel_Description.jsp?codigoHotel=5875) . It was an amazing resort.

And at the banks in Varadero, they accepted USD, but it was a 1 to 1 conversion for Cuban Convertable Peso. The markets in Varadero accepted USD, as did the Cigar Factorys in Havana. We went on a trip on Christmas day last year that was about 10 hours long, and it included sailing on a catamaran, snorkeling in the reef, swimming with dolphins, and checking out out abandonded house from the 1800's. That cost $100/person, and I would definatly reccomened it.

BTW, congrats on getting hitched

vincent-h
01-11-2006, 03:06 PM
Just some more information to be mroe exact regarding what others had posted.

The exact amount to bring back in alcohol is acually 1 bottles don't ask me why customs is just retarded. :dunno:

paradisus is a FABULOUS hotel forgot all about it you'll really like it.

As for the sandals though they are voted number 1 hotel chain by travel agents for 11+ years now they are slightly overrated. Its tru no children then but i find the problems with 5 stars is that there is almost no one there.

Kirbs17
01-11-2006, 03:18 PM
1.14 L of alcohol allowed back through customs per person. so 2 750 mL bottles of booze (Havana Club 7 year Rum :drool: ) would be fine, I did and they didnt question me at all.

Between 3 of us coming home from mexico, we brought back 15 L of Rum/Tequila, and only paid $65 duty. Still a good deal

vincent-h
01-11-2006, 05:28 PM
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g147275-d258247-Reviews-Iberostar_Tainos-Varadero_Beach_Cuba.html

http://webstar.softvoyage.com/hotels/SGNen/ApplicationSentry--Comp=300--ProductId=436.html

sputnik
01-13-2006, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by Kirbs17
1.14 L of alcohol allowed back through customs per person. so 2 750 mL bottles of booze (Havana Club 7 year Rum :drool: ) would be fine, I did and they didnt question me at all.


1.14L < 2x750ml

:confused:

Kirbs17
01-13-2006, 10:20 AM
Originally posted by sputnik


1.14L &lt; 2x750ml

:confused:


I am well aware of that. I wrote on my customs declaration card that I was carrying 2 750 mL bottles of rum, my brother did the same, and the customs people just checked off our sheet and let us pass through. There were roughly 15-20 other people that had done the same thing, and customs didnt question them/make them pay additional duty.

koopkoop2
01-13-2006, 01:25 PM
Originally posted by redevil
Don't bring US money, only use Canadian $$

This is ABSOLUTELY true now. Read below:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4011949.stm

I just went in December and you'll get screwed if you bring US cash or use credit cards.

U.S. cash is charged a 10% fine, just for using it. Tipping with it is an insult to the locals because they'll get fined when they depoist it at the bank. Don't be surprised, if you're approached by alot of locals trying to exchange U.S money with you for your CDN - it happened to me three times.

Using credit cards has its own set of problems:

1)10% fee for using a credit card

2)Poor infrastructure. 95% of the places you go won't be setup to accept credit cards. If they do, it's still a gamble because it can take almost 15 minutes to process your transaction.

3)Any CC related to the USA isn't accepted - this includes American Express.

Bottom line:

BOOK ALL YOUR HOTELS THROUGH THE INTERNET, BEFORE YOU GO , AND BRING MORE THAN ENOUGH CANADIAN CASH. ONLY BRING YOUR CREDIT CARD FOR EMERGENCY MONEY.


As for places to go and see, this is what me and my GF did:

Get your plane ticket extended to two weeks - do one week at the all-inclusive and do another week in Havana. You'd think it's expensive, but it only cost us $6 (Yes, six dollars) more. Why go all the way to Cuba, if you're not even going to see beyond the walls of the resort?




Things to see in Varadero:

Aside from the paid tours, you won't see much in Varadero. The place was built specifically to house resorts so there's not much culture here when compared to Havana.

The tours seem expensive at first (~$100 CDN), but the two I did were definately life-time experiences that I'll never forget. Make sure you bring enough cash to pay for these too. You don't want to be paying for these on a card.

Catamaran trip: Like someone already mentioned, this full-day excursion is amazing and worth every dollar. Sailing on a HUGE catamaran, swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling at a reef, lobster lunch & beach time at a beautiful white sand island (Cayo Blanco) and all you can drink ( Pop + alcohol )

Jeep Tour: You get to go 4x4ing in your own Suzuki Sidekick through the Cuban countryside. The best part is that you get to drive it yourself! You'll snorkel inside a cave and at a reef. Tour a Cuban farm where you get lunch and a horseback ride. Then you go visit a market in Matzanas and tour an underground cave.





Things to see in Havana:

Partagas Cigar Factory

All 3 Castles - One of them fires off cannons every night at 9:00. Can't remember the name, but hotel staff will know.

Ride in a Coco Taxi

Museo de la Revolution - There's still bullet holes in the wall of this place!

Capitolo

Club Tropicana

Buy local pesos and feel like a millionare - See a movie for 8 cents CDN, buy an ice cream cone for 4 cents CDN and eat an entire meal, for two, for $5 CDN!

There's soooo much more to see. If you want a complete list buy the "Timeout: Guide to Havana" book. It's the one I bought and I planned my entire week in Havana with it.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Bring toilet paper everywhere you go. Otherwise, it'll cost you a $1 to wipe your ass :rofl:

Keep checking back, I'll post some pictures.

Kirbs17
01-13-2006, 02:06 PM
3)Any CC related to the USA isn't accepted - this includes American Express.

I used mastercard numerous times, and it wasnt questioned

Kirbs17
01-13-2006, 02:17 PM
Here are 3 pics of our pool from Paradisus Varadero. Im trying to get the rest, they'll be up this weekend:

http://img516.imageshack.us/img516/7940/x1pur2oslo3xwhta3wfq5ahi8xvnq5.jpg

http://img516.imageshack.us/img516/2403/x1pur2oslo3xwhta3wfq5ahidyex1f.jpg

http://img516.imageshack.us/img516/5899/x1pur2oslo3xwhta3wfq5ahvgczke6.jpg

Kobe
01-13-2006, 02:39 PM
Here is a few pics from our hotel
Tryp Penninsula

http://img313.imageshack.us/img313/8849/dscf00300zv.th.jpg (http://img313.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf00300zv.jpg)
http://img313.imageshack.us/img313/2963/dscf00556zb.th.jpg (http://img313.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf00556zb.jpg)
When it rains, it rains

http://img313.imageshack.us/img313/4200/dscf00610cq.th.jpg (http://img313.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf00610cq.jpg)
Coco Taxi yo!
http://img313.imageshack.us/img313/673/dscf00805tn.th.jpg (http://img313.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf00805tn.jpg)

Its raining but people are still in the pool drinking booze...

http://img313.imageshack.us/img313/6546/dscf01905qa.th.jpg (http://img313.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf01905qa.jpg)

koopkoop2
01-13-2006, 04:47 PM
Originally posted by Kirbs17


I used mastercard numerous times, and it wasnt questioned

Where was it issued from? A card issued from a Canadian based bank, which uses Mastercard Canada, will work fine. A credit card issued through an American based bank won't work. Since you're in Red Deer, I'm assuming your CCs are Canadaian based.

Kirbs17
01-13-2006, 05:49 PM
Its through ATB I beleive (lol i dont even know).. That makes sense though, didnt know that

eljefe
01-16-2006, 11:19 PM
Originally posted by Kirbs17
When I went to Cuba, we stayed at the Paradisus Varadero (http://www.solmelia.com/solNew/hoteles/jsp/C_Hotel_Description.jsp?codigoHotel=5875) . It was an amazing resort.



The Paradisus and the Sandals Hicacos are both great resorts, the food was a little better at the Sandals resort but all in all the Paradisus to me has a better atmosphere and is just a little nicer but you couldn't go wrong with either !

Have fun and congrats!

koopkoop2
01-17-2006, 01:16 AM
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/mooglemoopie/CUBA1030.jpg
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/mooglemoopie/CUBA1220.jpg
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/mooglemoopie/CUBA2401.jpg
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/mooglemoopie/CUBA1563.jpg
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/mooglemoopie/CUBA0983.jpg
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/mooglemoopie/CUBA0924.jpg
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/mooglemoopie/CUBA0774.jpg
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/mooglemoopie/CUBA0581.jpg
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/mooglemoopie/CUBA0553.jpg

samo147
01-17-2006, 01:21 AM
Wow guys cuba seems like a place i would like to visit at least once in my life...
ill keep this forum in mind if i every plan on taking a trip there...

AD_Runner
01-17-2006, 10:28 PM
Originally posted by Kirbs17
Here are 3 pics of our pool from Paradisus Varadero. Im trying to get the rest, they'll be up this weekend:

http://img516.imageshack.us/img516/7940/x1pur2oslo3xwhta3wfq5ahi8xvnq5.jpg

http://img516.imageshack.us/img516/2403/x1pur2oslo3xwhta3wfq5ahidyex1f.jpg

http://img516.imageshack.us/img516/5899/x1pur2oslo3xwhta3wfq5ahvgczke6.jpg

Some really nice pics ----------:clap:

Kirbs17
01-17-2006, 11:45 PM
^ Thanks, with a resort that nice, it makes it easy

s__dime
01-22-2006, 06:59 PM
Went to the brand new Iberostar Varadero last year amazing resort beautiful beach and pool. Resort has an awesome on site club and the staff there is awesome!!!! Would definetly recommend this resort.